Flatbed FWC on an AT modified RAM

#46
Thanks for the most recent comments.
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I think you've got great taste ;-) Just picked up my 2017 Ram 3500 with the Cummins and Aisin transmission. Next up is either an AEV or ARB bumber and winch, or looking into ARB lockers. Anyway, nice build and I was encouraged to find someone doing something similar.
Nice looking truck, even with the icicles on it. Here’s how mine looked on its way down from Idaho, (Dennis Dillon Dodge in Caldwell) to Prescott with Lake Mead in the background.
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I put mine together based on ideas I’d seen here and at several Overland Expo events. There are several similar builds that are either in progress or out on the road. I follow them all to get more ideas and to see what is working well for others. There is an active thread now on the pros and cons of ¾ ton vs. 1 ton and gas vs. diesel but it is geared toward a full time travel use, with no towing. I’m not full timing in mine and want it to be flexible to do some chores and also work as a tow rig for the Jeep on longer trips. The 3/4 ton diesel seemed like a good fit for my needs.
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Here’s a pic of the 24’ trailer that will be doing tow duty. We call it the aircraft carrier. My plan is to mount a removable aluminum cargo box, (6’-6” tall, 7-9” wide, x 7’ long) on the front to haul “stuff” and act as a wind/debris shield for the vehicle on the back. My next chore is to try and find someone local to build it. I want a single side door, and dual swing out doors on the back, so it is not an off the shelf item. The plan is to store the FWC on the rear of the trailer when it is off the truck.
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Mlachica

TheRAMadaINN on Instagram
#49
Excellent build, very well executed.

I read you mentioned your mpg, I didn't find what gears you're running? Or if you changed them when you added the arb's.

ive been configuring a ram 3500 and i haven't been able to pair a Cummins crew cab with the 3.73 gears. It appears it's only available with the Hemi. Otherwise it's 3.42
 
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#50
I read you mentioned your mpg, I didn't find what gears you're running? Or if you changed them when you added the arb's.

ive been configuring a ram 3500 and i haven't been able to pair a Cummins crew cab with the 3.73 gears. It appears it's only available with the Hemi. Otherwise it's 3.42
Mine came with the 3.42 gears and I stayed with them. I looked at the gear ratios on the manual transmission and first gear is pretty low. I discussed it with the guys at AT and the conclusion was leave them as they were. With the tire size increase it still gets it going fine and once it's rolling there's no stopping it. The gear ratios for the transmissions were available somewhere on the Ram website, but I couldn't find them with a quick search right now or I'd post it in. Seems like first gear on the manual tranny was close to half what it was on the auto and second gear on the manual was closer to first on the auto.

Good luck with your build. There are lots of choices to make.
 
#51
Terrific looking rig. How reliable would you say these RAM trucks are? Would you do a round the world trip in it? Trying to decide between an American or Japanese pick up (Tacoma or Tundra) for such a trip. I've never owned an American vehicle while I have owned Japanese sedans, and they are just consistently low maintenance. Hence my bias, which I am willing to question.
 
#52
Terrific looking rig. How reliable would you say these RAM trucks are? Would you do a round the world trip in it? Trying to decide between an American or Japanese pick up (Tacoma or Tundra) for such a trip. I've never owned an American vehicle while I have owned Japanese sedans, and they are just consistently low maintenance. Hence my bias, which I am willing to question.
I'm no expert on driving around the world. My rig is set up to explore North America and haul my stuff around on some extended visits to different parts of the country. With the ultra low Sulphur diesel requirement it won't be heading south into Mexico or beyond.
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On my travels abroad you always see Toyota vehicles so that seems pretty safe. I came across this on a trip to Norway this past summer. Kind of surprised to see a Ram over there. Pretty sure he has more camper there than his truck is set up to carry, but it looks pretty level as it sits.
 
#53
Time for an update on continuing modifications.
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Solar Panel

First up was adding a solar panel. The camper was wired for solar with a controller so it was just a matter of getting the panel and securing it. I went with a Kyocera 145 watt panel. It was long enough to span the Yakima tracks on the roof. I wanted to keep the profile a low as possible so I bolted some aluminum flat bar to the ends of the panel.
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These were then secured to tracks with bolts into the retaining nuts that came installed in the tracks. Pretty simple plug and play.
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Gray water storage

Next up was a gray water system. With plenty of space under the flatbed I configured three 3 ½” PVC pipes to slide up between the truck frame and the bed decking. They are just over 6’ long and provide almost 7 gallons of water storage.
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I prototyped a pipe hanger bracket out of wood and brought it to a local fabricator to build out of steel. It clips up over the main bed rail on one side and has a pair of bolts and a steel plate to hang it from one of the bed main transverse rails on the inside. This is easier to see in a following photos than it is to describe.
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The pipes are connected together for fill and drain purposes. Each pipe has its own vent at the front and back. The truck will be fairly level when this is used. The fill and drain locations are forward of the rear wheel due to space limitations above and below.
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The fill line tucks up in the wheel well with a cap on it when it is not connected to the drain. A small jumper hose extends down from the drain in the camper.
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Everything was test fit before final assembly. Due to tight clearance the pipes went in with no fittings installed. I drilled and tapped all holes for the fittings so it was just a matter of screwing them in and installing the connecting hoses. A heat gun on the hoses made them easy to slide over the fittings and I didn’t use any clamps since it is all atmospheric pressure service.
Top connections.
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Bottom Connections.
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There are full screw on drain caps at the rear allow for full draining and cleaning as needed.
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The drain line routes to the near the rear bumper and has a ball valve installed near the rear. The outlet can be routed to a disposal tank for organized campgrounds or just dribble out along the trail when that seems appropriate.

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Pull Pal Carrier
Carrying a pull pal is a challenge as the main frame is rather long and heavy. I had my local fabricator build a tray that would also slide up under the bed, similar to the tube AT put together for the high lift jack, (visible under the gray water pipes in a previous photo.) It has some retention straps welded across the top and a retaining bolt with a nut welded below.
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It cradles the long arm nicely and keeps it up out of the way.
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Tray installed.
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Grip for Steps
The Aluminess sliders are a little slippery on top for foot traffic when they get wet. A piece of 3M tread grip looked like a good solution.
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I cut strips to place at both the front and rear doors. No more slipping.
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Shelf Enhancement

My previous shelf for the side of the truck was ok, but a little too long to fit in the galley box. I picked up an appropriately sized cutting board to replace it.
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Two screws, (one on each bracket) placed at the back of the shelf brackets to go into matching holes drilled in the board keep it from sliding.
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That’s it for mods this time around. The most recent truck trip was down toward Big Bend country. The trip report is here:http://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/170076-Beauty-and-Beast-Bouncing-Along-In-Big-Bend

I will be at OVX West in May with the truck and will be doing one of the "My Perfect Overland Vehicle - Full Size" demos on Saturday at 2 pm if you want to see any of this in person.
 
#54
Great thread, great setup. I'm in the process of conceptualizing my FWC build. It will be on a 2002 F-350 Crew Cab Shortbed base as that's what I have already and paid off. The flatbed is kinda my preference. Have you had any issues with an increased center of gravity? I'm wondering whether it's anything more than a slide-in with the stock bed. I'm leaning towards working with the AT team too even though I'm up in Central CA.

What I need most is info and guidance on the suspension specific to the Fords so will keep searching the forum. Subscribed!
 
#55
Great thread, great setup. I'm in the process of conceptualizing my FWC build. It will be on a 2002 F-350 Crew Cab Shortbed base as that's what I have already and paid off. The flatbed is kinda my preference. Have you had any issues with an increased center of gravity? I'm wondering whether it's anything more than a slide-in with the stock bed. I'm leaning towards working with the AT team too even though I'm up in Central CA.

What I need most is info and guidance on the suspension specific to the Fords so will keep searching the forum. Subscribed!
Thanks for the comments. I think the center of gravity is slightly higher with the flatbed than a slide in but it hasn't been an issue for me. We like the floor plan of the flatbed because it doesn't have the trimmed down width to accommodate the wheel wells.
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If you haven't found it yet, here is a thread for a flatbed build on a Ford -http://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/151998-DRE-s-New-FWC-Project
 
#56
I would like to see your truck at the Expo. Right now It looks like I will only be able to be there on Friday, trying to finagle getting Saturday off as well. If Saturday happens will definitely attend your demo.
 
#58
I was about to ask questions about your mpg, gearing and tire size, but I realize you've answered all 3 in previous posts.
14 mpg. stock 3.43 gearing. 37" tires.

I'm surprised to hear that you haven't had any issues with the stock gearing. I'm guessing that has something to do with the manual having different gear ratios from those of the auto?

How have the emissions systems been doing?

Great build! I'm sub'd and looking forward to future trip reports and build updates.

Edit - And one other question I forgot to ask: How are your factory tow hooks mounted with that ARB bumper? As I understand it, in stock configuration those tow hooks mount to a frame bracket, not directly to the frame itself. I'd seen a few owners complain about issues with the brackets twisting or the hooks actually breaking. I just wanted to hear any feedback you might have on how well secured they are with the ARB setup and if they hold up during recovery.
 
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