'07 Dodge Ram 4x4 Exploration & 5th Wheel Tow Rig

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
Get the Pacbrake not the Mopar unit.
The Mopar units can freeze up and the truck comes to a screeching halt.
I didn't realize Mopar had an EB... I was just automatically going for the Pacbrake, once I get the OBA system installed. :)

Are you running the stock baldwin in the stock housing?
Having replaced a set of injectors on the common rail from one bad tank of fuel, I will highly suggest a 2 micron kit it will keep your injectors alive. Also some diesel klean every few

This is the one I used
Yes the Baldwin in the stock housing. The plan is adding the 2u filter kit similar to what you have installed. :)

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
Ham-ing it up!

So last weekend I was out in the truck and set the radio up to scan D-Star on the 70CM band.
There was quite a bit of activity, including a conversation between a gentleman in Georgia on a Kenwood TH-D74A hand talkie, and a gentleman in South Korea (not sure what radio).
Over 7,000 miles on a hand held 5W radio, and I'm listening to both sides, like they are riding in the truck with me.
That is pretty darned cool. :victory:

D-Star is just one of three really popular modes that use repeaters linked to the internet. Pretty much Kenwood, and Icom radios.

There is also Fusion which is Yaesu's system.

And DMR which was designed by Motorola for the commercial market, and has picked up a lot of interest on the Ham side:

These systems are not compatible with each other radio to radio, but there are people working on the internet side of things to help with that issue. :)
Because it is digital, the voice is really clear with little squelch needed.
Most of these radios do standard analog as well as digital.

The one thing I like about the Icom (I have no first hand experience with the other digital radios/systems) is how amazingly easy it is to use. The radio came programmed with all the D-Star repeaters already. Based on where the radio is, it will bring up a list of nearby repeaters by hitting "Scan". It can also be updated via an SD card, or a programming cable as needed.
Nice for someone like me who is time limited, and more a "user" than a programmer/hobbyist.

Here is the screen that comes up automatically when I tune into a D-Star repeater with a conversation going on.
The message (MSG) is whatever the radio operator wants to type in. The distance (DST) and compass are relative to my radio's coordinates.


Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
Key point, or pointy keys

keys always seem to put holes in the pockets of my pants. Especially when I'm doing active outdoor activities.

So I found some flip key fobs for the truck on Amazon. These did not come with the ID chip or the remote control guts.
Took them apart, and took the key blanks to a local locksmith.
Bought a pair of ID chip key blanks. Cut them apart to get the ID chip for the flip key fobs.
Also bought one additional remote entry key to scavenge the remote control guts for the second flip key fob.
Bought a Silca SBB programmer, and programmed the ID chips (I only have one original key, so cloning wasn't an option).
I still need to have the second remote control function programmed, but at least it will open the truck and start the engine for now.
And this is what I've ended up with:


Dr. Marneaus

Station Wagoneer
This is awesome Scott, glad to see you working on this build. Judging by the work I have seen you do on other vehicles this should be clean and expertly executed :)

I hope all is well with you and yours.

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
Hitch 'em up!

This weekend I get to pick up the new 5th wheel.
Which meant getting a hitch in the truck.
I ended up getting the B&W with the sliding companion hitch setup.
I was worried about making really tight turns with the short bed.

Have to say that slider base is one heavy son of a gun! I ended up lifting the thing into the bed myself. and set it in the receiver backwards. So, I had to lift it back up and turn it around in the bed.

Lifting it back out, meant lifting and wiggling it at the same time.
I am not a young man anymore, that's for sure! :eek:
Next tiime this thing has to be lifted onto anything, I'm going to hire a couple of weight lifters.

I have it set as high as it should need to be, and it just fits under the roll top bed cover. So that is pretty cool. :)


Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
Base camp

All right, so this weekend we picked up the "Base Camp" unit.
It's a 2018 Alpine 3400rs.
With the truck fully loaded, and the trailer fully loaded for boondocking, it *just* rolls in under all the weight limits.
The reality of boon docking this trailer is pretty slim.
The goal is to find a park for 6 months to a year, and then use the truck to go explore, camp, etc..
What we liked about this specific floor plan is access to the fridge, sink, dining table, bed, and bath with the slides in. Stopping for the night at a truckstop, or even on the side of the road for a lunch break, is not a good place for running out the slides.
Of course, having a dishwasher (besides the dogs tongues), and a washer/dryer is pretty cool too.

Have to say the Dodge is a beast! with only 10psi in the air bags the rear only dropped about 2".
Very happy with the way it pulled. Very stable and smooth. Plenty of power for an old slow guy like me. :)


Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
Hey Brad!
Good to hear from you.

Yeah, this came about a bit faster than expected, but it will all work out.

Hope life is treating you well Sir! :beer: