K5 Camper. My offroad home away from home.

zoomad75

Observer
How did the canvas hold up? Was it tight enough not to flap in the wind. I hear it can get windy in Utah. 😎
Seeing how the canvas on my camper is almost 40 years old, it isn't loose or flappy. It's pretty dang rigid. I heard the tarp hitting all our trucks more than anything. The camper can handle the wind.
 

Oilbrnr

Active member
So the winter snow pack was that bad this year huh? I think you guys told me, but that runoff goes into the Arkansas correct?
 

zoomad75

Observer
So the winter snow pack was that bad this year huh? I think you guys told me, but that runoff goes into the Arkansas correct?
We got less snow in the high country than last year. No risk going up like Larry and I had back in '17. Where we were at is on the east side of the continental divide so this runs into the Arkansas river.
 

ExpoMike

Well-known member
Another successful test run in the books. Larry and Ian got up to the lake early and set up camp off the shore of the lake. Pretty for sure, but it proved to be brutal without shelter from any trees in the wind as we found out last night. I plodded my way up the trail and again was able to make clear contact with the radios with a good distance between us. I was 500ft lower in elevation too. Before I lost cell coverage I checked Larry's spot one last time to get the location of camp also. Larry said he and Ian would get busy finding some rocks to stack to level me up since the site was anything but flat.

But I was able to mostly level it out and get the top popped up and set up in camp mode.


It was spitting rain intermittently so we broke out a tarp I keep stashed for such occasions and tied it between the trucks to make a dry spot to sit and cook in.


Ian's sleeping situation leveled up for this season. He scored on a Air Top hard shell roof top tent on Facebook marketplace a couple of months back. He built a rack to keep the load off of the fiberglass top. He said he was warm and dry up there in the weather last night.


Larry went down to the lake in attempt to drown some worms. All he caught was a buzz with a couple of frosty ones he took with him. Ian and I snacked on some venison summer sausage a customer gave me for loaning him a tool. Tasty stuff.


Due to the wind we relocated to the other side of Larrys truck. We had a litte bit of sun that felt really good out of the wind.


Clouds started moving over the ridgeline and we figured we better get after cooking dinner before the weather really turned on us.


Ian broke out his hand built skottle and started cooking some burgers while warmed up some ranch beans on the stove.


My dog Storm was getting wet so I threw her coat on her, which also saved me from wet dog smell when we finally turned in for the night.


Weather still rolling in.


Somebody really wanted a burger too.


To give an idea of how the weather went, these shots so the progression. When I got there you could see the peak in the center of the image. It was cloudy, but all the mountains were visable.


By the time we finished dinner, sat and talked for a while, the rain set in heavy. We all agreed sitting in the rain sucked and called it a night. You can see the peak barely in the pic and the rain and wind were blowing across the lake.


By morning the sun was breaking up the clouds but the wind was still being a pain in the ass. We bailed on the idea of making breakfast for some quick snacks and move to a lower elevation.


My trusty co-pilot Storm was ready for the rough ride down the mountain.


We plodded our way across the rip-rap rocks to rejoin the trail at the tree line. Keep this in mind last July when I went up here the water level was the fullest I had ever seen it and it would have been all the way to the trees. Meaning where we camped would have been well under water last year.


Near the end of the trail we stopped to check some new noises that had developed on mine and Larry's trucks. Looks like the spring shackle bolt on the left front of mine is kissing the exhaust pipe on that side. I'll address it before we leave.


Due to some excessive washboard sections on the dirt road leading in we saved the air up chore for as close to the highway as we could get.


Ian's CUCV is on it's 2nd year since completion of the 8.1/nv4500 swap. All the major kinks have been worked out and he's really getting it dialed in. Other than a leaky rear hub he doesn't have much to do before we shove off.


Larry discovered that he's got an air leak somewhere to the rear ARB as it didn't seem to be working like it should. Besides that he's a tire swap away from being ready. I'm going to change the oil, grease it and rotate the tires next Saturday at work. I'll do a nut and bolt check on the suspension and steering while I'm there.

Despite the crappy weather we still had a good time.
Does your buddy have a build thread or page on this swap? On my M1010, if I end up having any problems with the 6.2, I am thinking the 8.1L swap might be in order.
 

zoomad75

Observer
Does your buddy have a build thread or page on this swap? On my M1010, if I end up having any problems with the 6.2, I am thinking the 8.1L swap might be in order.
He does not have a build thread anywhere that I know of. He's pretty low key online. But swapping an 8.1 into a CUCV isn't any different than what I'm going to do to put one in mine. That is except for removing the 24 volt business and diesel components. Which to do so he swapped in a complete gas engine harness from another truck and removed the diesel engine harness completely.

He used Larry's 8.1 swap recipe to the letter for the rest.
 

zoomad75

Observer
8 1/2 hours to departure for Desert trip 2020 aka "Escape from Quarantine".

The truck is 90% loaded, washed and ready to run. We got a bunch going this year which should be interesting. Here's the rundown of the crew coming this year with links to their respective IG accounts.

Instagram accounts: (click on the name ahead of the handle)
Mine @Robzulian pretty sure if you are here you know my ride. (CO)
Larry @bigassgas8.1 you all know his ride (CO)
Ian @peein_ian83 (he probably won't post much) K5 CUCV 8.1/nv4500/RTT (CO)
Bill @bill.tiffany.92 Tacoma/RTT (CO)
Ron @capt_ron711 '77 K5/FWC combo aka Crawlabago #2 (CO) *newb to the group
Don @wheelnwagon 16 Powerwagon/FWC camper combo (AZ)
Phil @LandCruiserPhil also bringing a Powerwagon (I think he may have an FWC too?) *newb to the group (AZ)
Nick @noibns 3dr Cummins burb (AZ) he's probably only going to be along for the first couple of days.
Ty and Hugo that is coming out of CA aren't on the 'gram to track. Ty's got a 2500 Cummins Ram with a Phoenix camper while Hugo is running a 4banger Tacoma.
The guy coming with the transit van got pulled back into work (a feeling I know all too well) but will probably meet up with Nick where ever he goes after leaving our group.

If everybody shows up it's going to be a BIG group on the trail. Bigger than we've ever had. But all are experienced wheelers with capable rigs that should be just fine on the trails we will head out on. Most if not all have made the move to GMRS radios too so for the first time we are going to actually be able to communicate from the front of the group to the back even if we spread out over a couple of miles to keep the dust eating to a minimum. Larry and I have extra GMRS handheld radios just in case somebody needs one. Plus they should work well for spotting.

Speaking of Spotting, where we are going to be that is. Here's the link to Larry's GPS spot that's going to be leaving digital breadcrumbs on the web so we can find our way home or heaven forbid we actually need help.
http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0v6Rlob93kMcaExIc8U5mRn378feiJhFQ

The target zone is the San Raphael Swell west of Green River Utah. Start north of I-70 on Fix It Pass and work our way south via Eagle Canyon and roam from there.

Time to go to bed. Got an early start planned.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

zoomad75

Observer
Wish I could have made it on the trip. Pictures on insta look good. Have fun and be safe!
It was a good time. Covered a lot of ground. Saw a lot of scenery and took a ton of pictures. We had some adversity but we overcame it. Larry's truck developed a major frame issue down on the Maze overlook trail. It wasn't a normal frame issue you would see on a squarebody but it was an issue that would require creative trailside repairs and gentle extraction up the Flint trail switchbacks and out past the Hans Flat Ranger station. It got a ride home on a trailer from Hwy 24 all the way back to home in Colorado. The last three days were the longest for sure. It was a trip for the books for sure.
 

nitro_rat

On a Suburban Excursion
Sucks to gear this about Larry's truck. I'm familiar with issues that aren't normal on square bodies with my million mile Suburban. Still plodding through body repairs on it...
 

zoomad75

Observer
Sucks to gear this about Larry's truck. I'm familiar with issues that aren't normal on square bodies with my million mile Suburban. Still plodding through body repairs on it...
I can tell you the last truck in our group from Colorado I would have thought to have a problem was Larry's truck. It's been sorted out for years, dead nuts reliable and been in the "turn the key and go" mode for so long we didn't expect any issues. I figured it would be mine or Ian's but both of those had no major issues other than a bolt coming loose here or there. Larry's was a failure from fatigue. Thousands of off road miles with flexy suspension, flexy frame, 500 ft/lbs of torque, manual trans and a house on the back finally caught up to him. He wasn't doing anything wild, just rolling down the trail coming back up from the Maze overlook. Sucker split both rails right behind the cab. Took some creative problem solving to patch it up to get out of there.
 

nitro_rat

On a Suburban Excursion
I can tell you the last truck in our group from Colorado I would have thought to have a problem was Larry's truck. It's been sorted out for years, dead nuts reliable and been in the "turn the key and go" mode for so long we didn't expect any issues. I figured it would be mine or Ian's but both of those had no major issues other than a bolt coming loose here or there. Larry's was a failure from fatigue. Thousands of off road miles with flexy suspension, flexy frame, 500 ft/lbs of torque, manual trans and a house on the back finally caught up to him. He wasn't doing anything wild, just rolling down the trail coming back up from the Maze overlook. Sucker split both rails right behind the cab. Took some creative problem solving to patch it up to get out of there.
That was going to be my guess at what happened. That area right behind the cab is where all of the bending forces are concentrated. I have seen a few square body 1 ton work trucks break there. I guess a frame swap will be in order. It will be interesting to see what improvements Larry makes during the process! Hopefully he'll document it here.
 
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redthies

Renaissance Redneck
Sucker split both rails right behind the cab. Took some creative problem solving to patch it up to get out of there.
Someone in your group should invest in one of the Ready Arc or similar underhood welders. The trails you go on and length of trips would lend itself to that.

Which GMRS radios are you guys using? Handheld or base models? I bought a couple of handhelds for hunting that I use for offroad too, but haven’t had a chance to really test range yet.
 

zoomad75

Observer
That was going to be my guess at what happened. That area right behind the cab is where all of the bending forces are concentrated. I have seen a few square body 1 ton work trucks break there. I guess a frame swap will be in order. It will be interesting to see what improvements Larry makes during the process! Hopefully he'll document it here.
His Dad's 3/4ton '78 truck had a slide in boom wrecker unit back in the day and he remembers that one had at least two repairs in the same area. Right now the crack on both sides is repairable. It might require help from a person that is more skilled in welding than any of us in our group have, but with the right repair to the crack, added fish plating and then added support to reinforce the area exposed to the bending forces. With all he has, he still might not trust it long term. Still, he already has a frame lined up as the ultimate repair. The new frame would require similar reinforcements too though. He and I had a lot of windshield time in my truck on the way back to discuss both repair possibilities. He's not going to make any quick choices until he drops the fuel tanks to see both sides of the frame rails and assess the damage.

Someone in your group should invest in one of the Ready Arc or similar underhood welders. The trails you go on and length of trips would lend itself to that.

Which GMRS radios are you guys using? Handheld or base models? I bought a couple of handhelds for hunting that I use for offroad too, but haven’t had a chance to really test range yet.
Most of the guys were using Midland base units and we had some extra handheld radios for a couple of the guys to use that didn't have a base unit. We had range that was far and beyond what we were used to with CB for sure. Depending on the terrain we had experienced range up to 10-15 miles in testing and while on the trip. It really made keeping in touch easy and for a lot of us riding solo allowed casual conversations truck to truck on the highway.

As far as having a welder onboard one of the trucks, it would be nice to have for sure. But given the position of the cracks right inside of the side saddle tanks it would have required removal to access the outside of the rail for proper prep and welding. Just welding alone, in this case, may not have done any better than the bolt-on repair we did complete. It would not be a permanent fix, but just enough to limp it off the trail and to a trailer.
 
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