2020 Power Wagon JUXI Build and Trip Thread

jupp0r

Active member
So after months of consideration we decided to spend the money for a roof top tent. The main reason is to save time setting up tents during the trip and to save time after the trip cleaning tons of debris off the bottom of the tent.

We wanted something with lots of space to fit my wife, me and the two kids who like to do kicking 360 rotations at night while asleep (no kidding). A hard shell would be preferable because of the faster setup/teardown and slightly better resistance against tree branches.

Considering everything and reading online reviews we ended up with the Roofnest Condor XL. It fits perfectly on top of the SnugTop without overlapping too much and offers plenty of space with reasonable weight and profile (160lbs). I installed two Rhino Rack Vortex bars on the yakima tracks that the topper came with from the factory.

I didn’t like the mounting brackets and hardware that came with the Roofnest (nothing particularly bad, it’s the same as all the other RTTs), so I ordered security brackets from Wheel Every Weekend, which are quite pricey at first glance but are really well made and super sturdy. My decision to upgrade the brackets was immediately validated after I broke off one of the bolts when loosening the brackets in order to replace them.

We haven’t slept in the tent yet, that’s on the menu for next weekend. So far it seems really well built and sturdy.










With the additional weight on top, I hope the clamps on the camper shell will still work well. If it wiggles loose I’ll bolt it down. Handling wise it’s still ok unloaded, but I can see a suspension upgrade in the future, just not 100% sure yet whether to go Carli or Thuren, with or without air bags.
 

jupp0r

Active member
We went to the Death Valley area a couple of weekends ago.

The truck worked great, with the exception of some sway on the highway, which was no fun. I guess that’s what you get when you put that much weight in an off-road truck with soft suspension. Hopefully the 2.5 Thuren kit I ordered will get rid of the sway in the future.

We started with a drive to the Trona Pinnacles, which are a really cool area to camp in if it’s not too windy (which it was, to the point that small rocks were flying around). The tent held up well, but we took the rainfly down to get rid of some wind noise.





The next day we met up with friends and drove up a canyon on the west side of the panamints. The plan was to camp in the valley but high winds made the canyon much more attractive!



On the top if the canyon we set up camp and did a short hike to an abandoned mining camp which included a pretty spectacular abandoned gold mill.









The next day we drive up Goler Wash and over Mengel Pass. There were some interesting spots over Mengel Pass and we used the rock sliders once. The flex of the suspension made some of the off camber parts much easier than they would be in an IFS vehicle I think.







We couldn’t find a good camp spot in Butte Valley, so we ended up continuing to Warm Springs Camp, which was great.



The next day, we continued on west side road and did Titus Canyon before camping at Stovepipe Wells and heading home.













Before heading home, we took a detour to
check out the Ghost Town of Skidoo and some artifacts along Emigrant Canyon road.










The super well preserved gold mill in Skidoo was especially impressive.

 
The truck worked great, with the exception of some sway on the highway, which was no fun. I guess that’s what you get when you put that much weight in an off-road truck with soft suspension. Hopefully the 2.5 Thuren kit I ordered will get rid of the sway in the future.
How much weight (payload) do you think you have added to the truck? I ask because I just towed a camper with a dry weight of around 5500lbs and I was surprised how well it towed. Its tongue weight at a lower center of gravity but I was considering a Thuren rear track bar and/or airbags with daystar cradles just to be proactive for longer trips.
 

jupp0r

Active member
How much weight (payload) do you think you have added to the truck? I ask because I just towed a camper with a dry weight of around 5500lbs and I was surprised how well it towed. Its tongue weight at a lower center of gravity but I was considering a Thuren rear track bar and/or airbags with daystar cradles just to be proactive for longer trips.
CAT Scales said I'm 500 lbs over GVWR fully loaded. That would be 2000 lbs of payload (door sticker says 1500 lbs).
 
CAT Scales said I'm 500 lbs over GVWR fully loaded. That would be 2000 lbs of payload (door sticker says 1500 lbs).
Ah, makes more sense now but looking at your pics it does not even look like your rear was sagging. I'm nowhere near that payload but it does not take much to reach that so for piece of mind I went ahead an ordered Thuren's rear track bar for my 2020 PW plus I'll get some air bags and cradles when they are back in stock at my local shop.
 

jupp0r

Active member
Ah, makes more sense now but looking at your pics it does not even look like your rear was sagging. I'm nowhere near that payload but it does not take much to reach that so for piece of mind I went ahead an ordered Thuren's rear track bar for my 2020 PW plus I'll get some air bags and cradles when they are back in stock at my local shop.
The front and the rear axle weights were actually almost the same. I'll see how it drives with the Thuren kit on (after waiting 8-10 months for the shocks though :) ) and then maybe think about airbags. It's definitely not horrible right now. Most of the time it's not loaded that much.
 

jupp0r

Active member
The front and the rear axle weights were actually almost the same. I'll see how it drives with the Thuren kit on (after waiting 8-10 months for the shocks though :) ) and then maybe think about airbags. It's definitely not horrible right now. Most of the time it's not loaded that much.
I actually went ahead and ordered some cheaper shocks to bridge the time until the Kings arrive. That means the Thuren kit can go on in early June hopefully. We have a pretty epic trip through Arizona, Utah and Colorado coming up and I feel better about driving around loaded with the rear track bar and firmer shocks on. I also have some ideas how to save weight, we went a little overboard with food supplies and water last time (we took 20gal of water which is 225 lbs alone). The goal is to stay under GVWR in the future.

On the other hand, I'll install a steel front bumper and an awning soon which will add a little weight 🤷‍♂️.
 
I actually went ahead and ordered some cheaper shocks to bridge the time until the Kings arrive. That means the Thuren kit can go on in early June hopefully. We have a pretty epic trip through Arizona, Utah and Colorado coming up and I feel better about driving around loaded with the rear track bar and firmer shocks on. I also have some ideas how to save weight, we went a little overboard with food supplies and water last time (we took 20gal of water which is 225 lbs alone). The goal is to stay under GVWR in the future.

On the other hand, I'll install a steel front bumper and an awning soon which will add a little weight 🤷‍♂️.
Good luck with the projects and travels. My Thuren track bar arrived earlier this week and once I get some time I'll install it. I actually just pulled the trigger on some Airlift 5000 airbags and daystar cradles. I'm just going to be proactive as I have longer trips planned and some of them will be pulling a travel trailer.
 

jupp0r

Active member
A few things are coming together in preparation for our summer trips. The first thing is a new front bumper.

We have slightly scraped the plastic OEM bumper on several occasions and it was just a matter of time before it would get hung up on something and be destroyed and/or require work on the trail to bend things back into place.

I looked at aftermarket bumper options out there and the Chassis Unlimited Octane bumper fit all the boxes:

- it provides great clearance for tires to climb big rocks
- it protects the winch
- it’s bolt on without major frame mods
- it’s relatively light weight at ~120lbs
- it works well with the OEM winch, in fact you can leave the OEM winch plate in place during the install
- it’s relatively affordable compared to others

So out went the order and after a few weeks I received a very heavy freight package. The install was easy with the exception of the part where you have to remove the OEM brackets that hold the OEM bumper to the frame. They are tack welded on and the instructions tell you to hammer the brackets towards the front of the vehicle until the tack weld breaks. Let’s just say that it took a lot of hammering to get them off. I guess I could have always cut off the front part of the brackets if need be.

After removing the OEM hardware and reinstalling parking sensors and wiring, it was time to put the bumper on. This is when I noticed that it wouldn’t fit on. Something must have happened in transport. It turned out that the center section was warped quite badly on one side. I tried to hammer and bend it back - to no avail.






I decided to call it a night and give Chassis Unlimited a call the next morning. They were super nice and managed to express-ship me a new center section for free, which arrived two days later. That one bolted right on.




Now I have to figure out which lights to put in there and how to switch them on. That’s not a priority for me right now though, because I rarely drive off road in the dark.

The next mods coming up:

- a third crossbar to support the roof top tent better and allow me to install an awning

- my Thuren kit will hopefully arrive end of May (minus the King shock which still have 8-10 months lead time)

- I ordered an awning from Overland vehicle systems which should arrive at the beginning of June

- maybe install a ham radio because using the handheld is not optimal over long distances
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
A few things are coming together in preparation for our summer trips. The first thing is a new front bumper.

We have slightly scraped the plastic OEM bumper on several occasions and it was just a matter of time before it would get hung up on something and be destroyed and/or require work on the trail to bend things back into place.

I looked at aftermarket bumper options out there and the Chassis Unlimited Octane bumper fit all the boxes:

- it provides great clearance for tires to climb big rocks
- it protects the winch
- it’s bolt on without major frame mods
- it’s relatively light weight at ~120lbs
- it works well with the OEM winch, in fact you can leave the OEM winch plate in place during the install
- it’s relatively affordable compared to others

So out went the order and after a few weeks I received a very heavy freight package. The install was easy with the exception of the part where you have to remove the OEM brackets that hold the OEM bumper to the frame. They are tack welded on and the instructions tell you to hammer the brackets towards the front of the vehicle until the tack weld breaks. Let’s just say that it took a lot of hammering to get them off. I guess I could have always cut off the front part of the brackets if need be.

After removing the OEM hardware and reinstalling parking sensors and wiring, it was time to put the bumper on. This is when I noticed that it wouldn’t fit on. Something must have happened in transport. It turned out that the center section was warped quite badly on one side. I tried to hammer and bend it back - to no avail.






I decided to call it a night and give Chassis Unlimited a call the next morning. They were super nice and managed to express-ship me a new center section for free, which arrived two days later. That one bolted right on.




Now I have to figure out which lights to put in there and how to switch them on. That’s not a priority for me right now though, because I rarely drive off road in the dark.

The next mods coming up:

- a third crossbar to support the roof top tent better and allow me to install an awning

- my Thuren kit will hopefully arrive end of May (minus the King shock which still have 8-10 months lead time)

- I ordered an awning from Overland vehicle systems which should arrive at the beginning of June

- maybe install a ham radio because using the handheld is not optimal over long distances
Nice upgrades, this is going to turn into a great build in time. I almost ordered a Chassis Unlimited rear bumper for my 3500 but I went another direction last minute. It's nice to see that they have exceptional customer service that took care of your issue in short order.

I would recommend adding the air bags and Daystar cradles now if you already haven't. I know it's very easy to end up up over the GVWR on these PW's because the number is insanely low but you really can't safely get away with much weight without them and you lose far too much travel and articulation without the cradles so they are a must. While you'll likely still find yourself over the legal limit you can greatly improve the load handling, ride height and ride comfort with the bags. I ran my 4th Gen PW with a loaded down FWC and AT Habitat with the assistance of the bags and cradles and it was like those campers weren't even back there.





Which Thuren King's are you waiting for, 2.5's or 3.0's? I have a pair of each on order as well but I went ahead and picked up some of their Fox 2.0's with eternal reservoirs to hold me over for the time being. It might be an idea for you as well if you don't want to wait another 9+ months for the King's to arrive in order to get the lift on!? Either way I look forward to seeing yours lifted soon.
 

jupp0r

Active member
I would recommend adding the air bags and Daystar cradles now if you already haven't. I know it's very easy to end up up over the GVWR on these PW's because the number is insanely low but you really can't safely get away with much weight without them and you lose far too much travel and articulation without the cradles so they are a must.
We'll see. I talked to Chris at Thuren about it and he recommended trying out how the ride is fully loaded without the bags and add them later if desired. I had some sway on the freeway which wasn't great, I think better shocks will take care of that on their own. Weirdly I don't have a problem with the ride height, no sag in the rear when loaded. If I do bags, I'll definitely do cradles.

Which Thuren King's are you waiting for, 2.5's or 3.0's? I have a pair of each on order as well but I went ahead and picked up some of their Fox 2.0's with eternal reservoirs to hold me over for the time being. It might be an idea for you as well if you don't want to wait another 9+ months for the King's to arrive in order to get the lift on!? Either way I look forward to seeing yours lifted soon.
I went for 2.5 Kings (not worth it for a truck set up like mine to go 3.0 up front unless you can also do 3.0 in the back) and ordered 2.0 Fox (non-reservoir) to bridge the time until the Kings are made and to have them available as spare whenever I need to have the Kings rebuilt. The 2.0 Fox are also out of stock until end of May though ;).
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
The bags eliminated the side to side sway when off-road, it's the above the rail payload that plays hell with the soft 2500 rear coils and the bags are really the only way to truly stabilize that although the 2.5's will likely help. Bags and buckets should be under $500 and you can install them yourself, cheap insurance. The hardest part was drilling the bump stop plate for the center bolt to hold the buckets.

Yea my plan for the Fox stuff is to keep them for backups as well. The 3.0's are likely overkill for mine as well but for the extra $400 I couldn't resist, maybe the heavier diesel front end will warrant them lol. Interested to see these soon to be released Fox 2.5's, might be a good alternative to the King's.
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
Likely the fox 2.5s will be great - unless you live where they salt the road - no option for stainless shafts
So funny, Fox has the cooler more durable aluminum shock bodies but with vulnerable chrome shafts and King has the stainless shaft upgrade but their shock bodies corrode. You'd think they'd both get with the program here lol.
 
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