Dually for Overland Vehicle?

Kilroy

Adventurer
I've been inspired by Carlyle's Alaskan camper build up and have been in the process of doing a similar project on a more limited budget. Already have a 2004.4 Dodge 3500 diesel 4x4 longbed quad cab. Ready to get an aluminum flat bed and have made a deal to purchase a used Alaskan camper. Seller has disrupted my plans by suggesting I trade my truck for his rig which is already hauling the camper. His is a 2007 Dodge 3500 4x4 longbed dually quad cab. Trade is financially reasonable and doable. I'm looking for suggestions on what to do. I know ECO-roamer is a dually, I don't know if any other rigs out there are. I hear a lot of good comments about dually's, but am unsure if it would get me as far off the beaten path as I would like. There are already restrictions with the present truck with an Alaskan on, such as height. Though eco-roamer didn't seem too phased on UP trip. Thoughts anyone.
 

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haven

Expedition Leader
The conventional wisdom is that dual rear wheels follow ruts in dirt roads more than singles do, and are more difficult to drive through snow and deep sand because the rear wheels don't ride in the track of the front wheel. However, trucks with dual rear wheels are driven just about anywhere there's a semblance of a road. Many fire department brush trucks are driven off-road with dual rear wheels. Having dual rear wheels doesn't keep beer delivery trucks from reaching some very out-of-the-way locations!

Dual rear wheels can pick up a stone between the tires. If the stone is not removed, it can rub through the sidewall of the tire, resulting in a blowout and a tire that shouldn't be patched.

Because single tires have a lower load rating than a pair of tires do, the single rear tires often have to be larger to give you enough carrying capacity for your camper and gear. Sometimes it's not possible to fit the larger size tire at the front wheel because of interference with the fender or suspension. So you might be tempted to use a different size tire front and rear. That means carrying two spare tires.

Switching from 16 or 17 inch rims to 19.5 inch rims is one way to get tires with greater carrying capacity. This works OK in North America, where 19.5 inch tires are not difficult to find. Outside North America, the common tire sizes are 16 and 22.5. You might not be able to find a 19.5 replacement without considerable delay and the expense of shipping the tire to your location.

Another issue with single rear tires is you may have to run a high tire pressure to gain the load capacity. If the tire is subjected to unusual loads, you don't have any excess capacity. For example, on a severe side slope, most of the weight of the truck transfers to the tire on the low side. Running duals usually gives you more excess capacity.

When looking for tires with greater carrying capacity, be careful that the diameter of the tire does not increase too much over the stock tires. If you want a taller tire, you may need to re-gear the differentials to maintain acceleration at an acceptable level.

Bottom line: Switch to single rear wheels if it's possible without major expense. Otherwise, run duals and don't worry about it.

Comparing the 2004 Cummins with the 2007 model, I think the 2007 requires ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. Today, this fuel is not available outside western Europe, Canada, USA and a few Mexican stations close to the USA border. If you plan to drive south into Mexico and Central America any time soon, you should keep the 2004 model.

Chip Haven
 

Redline

Likes to Drive and Ride
Chip has pretty much nailed it.

Duallys are 'the stuff' for heavy hauling and one could certainly include an Alaskan in this category. But I’m personally biased against a dually for general off-highway use, drivability (width) and the extra tires they require. I think there are plenty of heavy-duty, high load rating LT tires these days that can handle that camper (but maybe not?)

I also agree the 2004 Cummins is better than the newer emissions truck.
 

Capt Eddie

Adventurer
I have an 11 ft flatbed on a Ford F450. I love the security of the extra tires. Your truck body clearance will cause you more problems then dual wheel will.
 

dhackney

Expedition Leader
We're at 28k miles of expedition camper use with dual rear wheels.

One rock between the tires during testing in the high desert of CA, otherwise no issues there.

I have no other 4x4 off-road experience to compare to, but the dual rears have not been an issue in sand, silt or mud in terms of handling or tracking.

Absolutely no issues on the typical market town roads that will take you at least 95% of the way around the planet and to most of what is intesting to see and do.

I agree with Chip regarding common wheel sizes, at least in South America.
 

RusM

Adventurer
I have about 1000 hours off highway experience driving a Ford F-350 dually reg cab shortbed with a flatbed and 250 gallon watertank and a full complement of firefighting equipment. The truck had a 460 V-8, but I really wish it would have been equiped with the diesel as the low end torque was good with the 460 but not as good as the diesel. The dual rear wheels had no adverse characteristics off road. The truck performed really well in severe duty off highway situations and I really can't see a similar truck used for overlanding disappointing anyone. Also, I really do not think someone using a vehicle for overland expeditions would put their vehicle through the same sorts of extreme off highway situations we did with that truck. :costumed-smiley-007
 

WKCwith5

Adventurer
I agree with all the above. I run several F550 with 900 gallon hydroseeders. We have had these trucks in Very rough rock quarrys, forest service roads, rough grade construction sites with out a problem. The width of the trucks is the only factor that has limited our access. My 2003 3500 Dodge dully will go any where it will fit. I am talking to Rickson Wheels about a single wheel conversion to 19.5 tires. just to decrease the width of the truck. The tires will be set out about two inches in the back from the front so they will not totaly line up like a true single axel truck. The conversion is around $3500.00 with Goodyear G124 tires with a weight rating of around 5300lbs. So you can go with a single tire, it just cost a lot. The only bad part of the dual wheel set up is the mud that can get jamed in between in really sticky mud. I have never had a rock hange between a dully tire, but have had several in tandem dump truck wheels. It is not a big deal, just extra work to get it out. Like stated above, most roads will be no problem. Stick with the 2004 diesel if it is in good shape. The 2007 Warranty is nice if it brakes. Good Luck.
 

mog

Kodiak Wrangler
Not an expert but this is what I have come up with, researching the duel vs. super singles for rear wheel set-ups.

Super Singles
Much better mud and sand performance (do to rear wheels following the track of the front wheels)
Better selection for off-road tires (some limited availability because of current government contracts)
Greater ground clearance do to larger size tires in general (factory equipment vehicles are geared accordingly)
Do not pick up rocks between the tires (duel rears can minimize this with a mounted 'rock-pick')
Plus the 'cool' off-road look


Duel rear tires
Factory set-up (other then Unimog, Mann, Ural, etc) warranty and liability issues if changed?
( Darrin Fink's write-up on SRW conversions--http://www.ruf-inc.com/srt.htm )
Greater load capacity with less expensive tires (load can be match with some super singles)
Better flat / blow-out protection
Much cheaper tires / wheels for a given load range
Great selection / availably (depending on wheel size and tread pattern)
Lighter in weight is a benefit for carrying spare(s) and tire changes

Some links

http://expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19192

http://expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16487

http://expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14529

http://expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11555

http://expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12290
 

milo12

Adventurer
I have friends that work for the local power company and you wouldn't believe what they do with heavily loaded F650's. Sometimes I wish I could follow in my truck just for the driving challenge. They drive into canyons and hills that do not have trails. There was a trail 30 to 50 years ago when the lines were strung but now it is rough and wild.:victory:
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Semantics

To follow Chip and Doug:

Dual tires are common on overland expedition vehicles which are driven primarily on - albeit often unpaved - roads and tracks. They can offer the advantage of greater load carrying ability and tread life, especially if you use the (smaller) tire sizes that are most commonly available in the third world. The biggest exception may be military vehicles which increasingly use singles.

Singles may be better for a sport "offroad" vehicle where sheer off road ability is more important than living space, range, etc.

So if you define "overland" as the Rubion run, then you want singles. If, on the other hand, you define "overland" as Africa or South America, then duals are fine and may be much better.
 

1speed

Explorer
To follow Chip and Doug:

Dual tires are common on overland expedition vehicles which are driven primarily on - albeit often unpaved - roads and tracks. They can offer the advantage of greater load carrying ability and tread life, especially if you use the (smaller) tire sizes that are most commonly available in the third world. The biggest exception may be military vehicles which increasingly use singles.

Singles may be better for a sport "offroad" vehicle where sheer off road ability is more important than living space, range, etc.

So if you define "overland" as the Rubion run, then you want singles. If, on the other hand, you define "overland" as Africa or South America, then duals are fine and may be much better.
:iagree: Great thoughts!
I started this similiar thread last year about my truck. http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16575
I have my Jeep and trailer combo for the rough stuff and have decided to eventually build my 3500 dualie 4x4 for my "trip to Alaska/BLM road" type trips. I have it all built in my head, now if I could just get that damn money tree to blossom! :jumping:

So build the 04 truck and give me some more ideas that I can't afford.
 

BigJimCruising

Adventurer
One other point to consider is the weight of this rig. One thing I've discovered is that to change my duals to a single would require moving up to a much larger tire size to handle the weight. That also involves a lift and new wheels for the new tires so all in all it would cost me about $7000 to make the switch. But if I stay with the 19.5's I have now I can move up to 35inch off road tires with nothing more then buying the tires at about $2500. That's a bunch of off roading in that savings! So tell us, did you get the truck?

Can't offer anything on the Dodges since I've never owned one of these newer trucks. Did have some back in the 70's that I loved though!
 

Kilroy

Adventurer
After a lot of consideration, I decided to stay with my SRW rig. I just put on a Ute bed this week. Will be starting a new thread to talk about my build.
 

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