My next new build is about to start - V3 Explorer - Feedback from the group needed

java

Expedition Leader
Sounds like a pretty excellent first adventure!

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

ski_bike_camp

Ski_Bike_Camp
Glad all is well and you're safe. We've all had tough learning moments, anyone that hasnt is a liar! Kudos and thanks for sharing!

What steps are those?

This thing came out saweeet
They are electric 3 step Kwikee stairs. I found mine on ebay. I didn't use all of their wiring harness, switches etc. I was able to use a simple 12v polarity reversing switch. I found a link below.

 

ski_bike_camp

Ski_Bike_Camp
Thank you sir! Happy with them?
Yes, the steps are great. I couldn't find a 4 step model and therefore the first step is a good one. Putting the hand rail on (shower bar from Lowes) makes it easy enough.

They seem to go up and down consistently and I switched them from both the inside and out, so I can raise them when I am down for the night. I also put a stair power switch inside, so I could keep people from messing with them (up or down).
 

RAM5500 CAMPERTHING

OG Portal Member #183
Yes, the steps are great. I couldn't find a 4 step model and therefore the first step is a good one. Putting the hand rail on (shower bar from Lowes) makes it easy enough.

They seem to go up and down consistently and I switched them from both the inside and out, so I can raise them when I am down for the night. I also put a stair power switch inside, so I could keep people from messing with them (up or down).
Awesome! Thanks
 

ski_bike_camp

Ski_Bike_Camp
Rim repaired. Gotta love steel and a hammer. New tire. 37x13.5R20 Nitto Trail Grappler.

I added a gantry sort of thing to the roof and made up a 6:1 hoist out of Harken sailing blocks.

Getting the spare on and off now is a one person job. Problem solved.

IMG_1768.jpgIMG_1767.jpgIMG_1771.jpgIMG_1772.jpgIMG_1773.jpgIMG_1774.jpg
 

mxpatriot

New member
Awesome build!

Couple of questions for you:

- How has the 3500 been handling with the camper's weight on the highway? Are you happy with the 3500 or did you wish that you went with a 5500 size truck?
- Assuming that the truck you started with was not a chassis cab. Were there any challenges dealing with pick up truck frame rails vs the perfectly straight and flat frame rails of a chassis cab.
 

ski_bike_camp

Ski_Bike_Camp
Awesome build!

Couple of questions for you:

- How has the 3500 been handling with the camper's weight on the highway? Are you happy with the 3500 or did you wish that you went with a 5500 size truck?
- Assuming that the truck you started with was not a chassis cab. Were there any challenges dealing with pick up truck frame rails vs the perfectly straight and flat frame rails of a chassis cab.
The 3500 ride has be excellent. You might have seen that part of the build included a leveling kit from BDS. I think it works out to 3" of lift in the front. I also did air-bags in the rear to help with the load from the camper. All of these changed the handling for the better. I already needed to make room for the bigger tires, but had also read about known issues with a speed wobble. This solved all that. Before I figured out how to recalibrate the speedo, I was routinely going 80+ mph on the highway :)

I went with the 3500 versus a 5500 for a few reasons.
#1 - Cost
#2 - I couldn't get the Mega-Cab on the 5500 and I have kids & dogs.
#3 - Since I was lengthening the frame, the RAM is pretty unique in their frame construction (simple rectangular tubes) and allowed me the ability to add length between the cab and wheels out to standard 8' box length and get OEM parts and then another 2' after the wheels. I didn't need flat frame rails because the front of the camper sits on two mounts or feet welded to the rail behind the cab and the end of the camper sits on a teter-totter for a 3-point mount. This lets everything twist as required and avoids stress points in both the camper box and frame. The idea and design was pirated from the Turtle Expeditions adventure camper which is on a Ford chansis. There are pictures of the frame mods in the thread.

Great questions, thanks for asking.

JV
 
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Great Build!

One step I didn't see mentioned was the attachment of the camper box to the subframe.
I watched the videos, but couldn't decipher how you attached the two. Did you use bolts or adhesive or both? What kind & how much?

I'm trying to figure out these different little steps before I start my build.
 

ski_bike_camp

Ski_Bike_Camp
Awesome build!

Couple of questions for you:

- How has the 3500 been handling with the camper's weight on the highway? Are you happy with the 3500 or did you wish that you went with a 5500 size truck?
- Assuming that the truck you started with was not a chassis cab. Were there any challenges dealing with pick up truck frame rails vs the perfectly straight and flat frame rails of a chassis cab.
A further update ...

I had trouble with the Fox 2.0 shocks on the front that came with the BDS kit. Both ended up leaking out and only made it approx 6,000 miles. First bad news, is I had no idea how bad it would be to drive this thing with bad front shocks. It was definitely a handful.

Short term fix - I replaced the shocks with another set of Fox 2.0 shocks, knowing they wouldn't last.

Longer term fix - I ordered new customer valved King 2.5s with external reservoirs from Thuren Manufacturing. I worked directly with Don Thuren to spec out the new shocks and valving. They are on the truck now and seem to have made a big difference. Cost was approx $1,500 for the pair with the mounting brackets.

Don's opinion was that the Fox 2.0 shcks were not up to the task given the increased weight of the vehicle.
 

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ski_bike_camp

Ski_Bike_Camp
Great Build!

One step I didn't see mentioned was the attachment of the camper box to the subframe.
I watched the videos, but couldn't decipher how you attached the two. Did you use bolts or adhesive or both? What kind & how much?

I'm trying to figure out these different little steps before I start my build.
Thanks for the question. It is a good one ... Somewhere in the thread there are pictures of the frame before everything gets mounted.

But, basically it is a 3-point mount.

Front mounts: Custom welded to the frame behind the cab there are two feet or platforms approx 8" square. These were fabricated to attach to the two frame rails (one either side) and then angled outboard. Once the camper was on the frame sitting on these pads, I bolted the camper to them with 5/8" grade 8 bolts through the floor (3/4" plywood with carbon laminate both sides) with big backing plates. These are the fixed, don't move part of the mounts (2 of the 3 points).

Rear mount: This is a teter totter sort of thing mounted on a pivot that is exactly in the middle of the two frame rails and at the rear of the camper box. The part that moves is approx 5' wide and it has approx 4" of swing either side. This means that if the frame needs to twist, it can twist as much as 4" before it tries to break the camper box. The camper box is bolted to the teeter-totter using the same 5/8" grade 8 fasteners through the floor. My guessitmate assumption is that the actual camper box is unlikely to break, but rather it would resit the frame from twisting any more than the 4". After that something else would have to give. This mounting technique is very similar to what is on the Turtle Adventure Truck and also the Earthroamers. I have taken it offroad in Colorado up Mosquito Pass to Leadville (a medium 4x4 trail) with no creaks or growns.

Besides these three points the camper is not mounted anywhere else. The structure of the box & floor is plently strong enough to bridge between these points,

I hope this helps.
 

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mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
High quality fab/welds John! Who did that work?

Completely agree with Thuren on the Fox 2.0's. I've seen many "heavy" trucks/campers here on ExPo running Fox 2.0's and I just don't get it...that's not enough damper for the extra mass. Mercedes Sprinter 4WD's weighing about half as much are running the 2.0's. Glad to see you went with 2.5's from Thuren, and they've made a big improvement!
 
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