2020 Ram 5500 DIY Composite Panel Camper Build Thread

Trikebubble

Adventurer
Interesting feedback on the truck seats. As funny and simple as it sounds, seating is close to #1 on my list when looking for the next truck. We tend to drive big miles, and our next setup will be looking to be driven even longer miles, and seating for me is so important. I'm not quite as tall as you, but at 6'2" I still find most seats are made for midgets with no legs. Bucket seats are just killers, the seats in my old Xterra tore me a new one over any long distance, the Tundra seats I don't find too bad (but not perfect), and I really loved the basic seats in my old GMC Astrovan. So thanks for the seat feedback on the Ram truck, it's good to hear.
 

Brad_UT

Active member
Interesting feedback on the truck seats. As funny and simple as it sounds, seating is close to #1 on my list when looking for the next truck. We tend to drive big miles, and our next setup will be looking to be driven even longer miles, and seating for me is so important. I'm not quite as tall as you, but at 6'2" I still find most seats are made for midgets with no legs. Bucket seats are just killers, the seats in my old Xterra tore me a new one over any long distance, the Tundra seats I don't find too bad (but not perfect), and I really loved the basic seats in my old GMC Astrovan. So thanks for the seat feedback on the Ram truck, it's good to hear.
I'm afraid you're going to suffer like me. I'm 6'0" and have the same 5500. The steering wheel is too close to the pedals so you can't straighten out your legs comfortably. When I move the seat to make my arms comfortable, my legs are jammed in there. The ergonomics are either geared for shorter people, or they do this to keep you away from the airbags.

I also feel like I'm sitting really far forward in the cab, with lots of space behind me. I'd look like a granny sitting too close to the wheel if you pulled up next to me. The window tint people said the doors on the 5500 are longer (and thus the cab), but I don't know if I buy that. Still something's going on.
 

RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
I'm afraid you're going to suffer like me. I'm 6'0" and have the same 5500. The steering wheel is too close to the pedals so you can't straighten out your legs comfortably. When I move the seat to make my arms comfortable, my legs are jammed in there. The ergonomics are either geared for shorter people, or they do this to keep you away from the airbags.

I also feel like I'm sitting really far forward in the cab, with lots of space behind me. I'd look like a granny sitting too close to the wheel if you pulled up next to me. The window tint people said the doors on the 5500 are longer (and thus the cab), but I don't know if I buy that. Still something's going on.
Not sure what ya mean here...

I am 6'4" with a short torso and long legs and find the reg cab 5500 SLT seats absolutely amazing compared to my last truck and i find the ergonomics of it awesome
 
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RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
Any DC to DC charger you buy needs to be sized to your batteries and what they can take. Don't buy one till you know what your going to run. The BMS on your chosen battery will determine what you end up getting for a DC charger more than anything..... if it can only take 50 amps and you only have two batteries, well, that's a big limitation right there, even if the batteries allow 100 amps total.

Victron has a great video about charging Lithium batteries with an alternator, https://www.victronenergy.com/blog/2019/10/07/careful-alternator-charging-lithium/ you can check out.

I have the dual 220 amp alternators on my RAM, with 2/0 cable going to the house bank, and I can comfortably push 100 amps out for charging, and have done so when I was using depleted lead batteries. I'm switching stuff out and going with the Sterling 60amp dc to dc charger right now, same as Camperthing has, (and installing 600AH lithium batteries). I'm not an electrical expert, but you may want to check with a pro before you ask a single alternator to push out 120amps over a period of time to charge your bank.
Well said sir
 

RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
I'm probably overthinking this, but I'm trying to find a way I can get as much current as possible from the vehicle to the TC battery bank without risking damaging the trucks charging system.
I think you are for sure, but hey, i do the same thing often.

Reality is, for ME, there's almost no benefit to charging my house batteries at more than 60amp in real life. I literally almost never stay in the same spot more than one night, and when i am moving, i tend to move alot.

I get the theory of wanting everything charged up as fast as possible, but for ME, it just simply isnt needed.

The 120amp DCDC is double the price, almost double the already big size, requires bigger cables, etc... I am not pinching pennies on the build at all, but i look at that are unneeded really.

I'm on the same page with @peculierboy on this.

The other thing is...

Yes, i have dual alts for 440amps total...

BUT... I cant find ANY documentation on how they actually function. Does one run until the full 220 is coming out and then the other one turns on to help out? Do they run together and split it? Is one a backup?

My original plan was to simply use one for the truck and one for the house. I was quickly told by the service manager, and a lot of folks on the Cummins forum that it wont work like that, but no one could actually tell me why!

Lots of ideas and theories on how they work, but cant find any actual documentation proving it!

So i'd rather just do exactly what i did with minimal shenanigans involved, (that may alter warranty) and enjoy it
 
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Brad_UT

Active member
Not sure what ya mean here...

I am 6'4" with a short torso and long legs and find the reg cab 5500 SLT seats absolutely amazing compared to my last truck and i find the ergonomics of it awesome
Sorry. I was replying to @Trikebubble. Seats are fine. Just saying the steering wheel needs to be further away from the pedals, imo. Maybe it's my long legs and dinosaur arms. :LOL: Everyone will be different.
 

peculierboy

New member
@smurfsky101 I've also seen an install where two dc to dc chargers were put in the cab of a vehicle and one was wired to an upfitter switch and turned on when needed. That might allow you to use one alternator and not over tax it all the time with a high output charger.
 

smurfsky101

New member
This is exactly what i was thinking of doing, during cruise, or parked w/ high idle - flip on the 2nd one. I think I'm just going to keep it (relatively) simple and go with this option. 1 60A wired in w/ standard battery isolator logic, and a second one for cruise / high idle

@smurfsky101 I've also seen an install where two dc to dc chargers were put in the cab of a vehicle and one was wired to an upfitter switch and turned on when needed. That might allow you to use one alternator and not over tax it all the time with a high output charger.
 

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RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
There's never in the history of vehicles been an aftermarket alternator that was as reliable as the OEM ones!

Soooooo (insert smiley and middle finger icons here)

Also, i am not messing with anything that will possibly void any warranty stuff.
 

RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
@smurfsky101 I've also seen an install where two dc to dc chargers were put in the cab of a vehicle and one was wired to an upfitter switch and turned on when needed. That might allow you to use one alternator and not over tax it all the time with a high output charger.
Seems completely unnecessary to me.

Have any links to said install? The sterlings are pretty dang huge. I cant imagine how one could fit 2 of them in the cab of the vehicle.
 

RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
Making some progress...

I am doing a majority of the interior with 8020 extrusions (15 series) because of simplicity, and modularity. I can move things around and change them as i see i need to or if i dont like something.

One thing i struggled with was fastening the extrusions to the wall. The recommended cabinet mount method of glueing 5/8" plywood down and screwing to that, didnt appeal to me for several reasons.

Sooooo.... I took a shot in the dark and tried something i hadnt seen done before.

I used the TC Korapop adhesive, and glued one of the 8020 angle brackets right to the wall, let it sit 24 hours, removed the tape, installed a D ring on it with a ratchet strap and yanked the hell out of it to test it. Solid as a ROCK! Winning!

This was just a test, in a area that will be covered up and not seen regardless if it didnt work, but it worked much better than expected, and will greatly ease my install plan.

There will be many of these spread out evenly (or probably just some long strips of sold angle to distribute the loads and such, but this saves me a lot of headache and extra work.

8020mount1_FORUM.jpg

8020mount2_FORUM.jpg
 
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RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
My toilet finally arrived, after an 8 week wait because of the Rona.

I think a sign of getting old is when one gets excited to receive a freaking toilet! Hahaha

I went with the AirHead composting toilet. Many have asked why not the Natures Head. The Airhead is better for a wetbath, much better sealed, has a residential style seat for my large butt, easier to service fan assembly (mounted away from water in said wet bath), and the pee container can be removed without messing with the solids tank. Both are good options, but if you watch any of the 100s of videos on YouTube comparing the 2, all of them give the nod to the AirHead.

Still not 100% sure how it will be mounted, but this way seems to provide the most room for me.

Note the CAD (cardboard aided design) water heater placement mock up! :p

toielt1_FORUM.jpg
 
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