My RAM/Lance 650 Adventure(s)

UncleDork

New member
We own a 2016 Ram 3500 CC with the 6.4, Aisin, and 4.44 gears. Have an Eby flatbed with a gooseneck for pulling our 5th wheel RV, our expedition rig. She’ll eat any Cummins powered rig for lunch.
 

LimaMikeMike

Observer
Looks like this thread could use some Cummins love🥰

Nukefreezone, I had the predecessor to your set up, still the best “camping with my truck” millennial overland setup I’ve had. I miss it dearly and I should not have sold it. It took me from NWT to NM with zero issues.

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You made the best decision for long range camper hauling, 6.4 Hemi won’t be eating anything other than it’s own lifters for lunch lol.
 

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We got back from a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is really stunning up there, and mostly very, very remote. The truck was great and a pleasure to drive.

Here is Bodi Lake:

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Bodi Lake resident:

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Lake Superior:

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Tahquamenon River:

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Most of the UP is wooded, but here is part of a 20,000 acre area that burned in 2012. It has been logged out, and is quite a moonscape:

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The UP is one of our favorite places, and we can't wait to get back. The RAM 3500/Lance 650 make it all even more fun.
 
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The modified rear carrier really worked out well on this trip. It holds a ton, and serves as a full width back porch for the camper. It is perfect for washing up, cooking with the camp stove, and keeping our bag of water while in camp:

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Speaking of the bag of water, I really recommend this product. It is made by SmartBottle. They can hold 5 gallons (but I never put more than three in at a time). They also sell the petcock. Super durable and easy to move around with a handle on the top and bottom. We keep it on the floor of the camper while moving, and in camp put it on its side on the back porch. Great product:

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Here is another excellent product that has made life much easier. The fridge in our Lance 650 is tri-fuel, but it has no electronic thermostat. Regulating temperature can be difficult, and of course the gas flame can blow out while driving and you don't know it. A few years ago I found the SensorPush, which is a tiny 1x1 inch sensor I keep in the fridge. It monitors temperature and humidity, and sends the data to an app on your phone via Bluetooth. So, you can keep an eye on what is going on with the fridge at any time. This really took the worry out of the fridge. Excellent product:

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In an earlier post I mentioned I was building a Dinoot trailer. It is now done and road worthy. Just need to get it licensed. Since the Dinoot's fiberglass body has little structural strength and can't be used for any kind of load management, I am putting E-track down on the floor to secure loads. The spare tire will have to live in the bed of the trailer until I can put together a carrier on the tongue.

Dinoot First Run.jpg

Dinoot Side.jpg

Dinoot e-track.jpg
 

redthies

Renaissance Redneck
We own a 2016 Ram 3500 CC with the 6.4, Aisin, and 4.44 gears. She’ll eat any Cummins powered rig for lunch.
Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt... The 6.4 you have may win off the line in a 1/4 mile drag race, but if you think the 429 lb ft of torque is going to “eat a Cummins (with 900 ft lbs) for lunch” in any other real word situation, you are SERIOUSLY delusional!
 

kerouac

Member
Hello NuclearFreeZone,
Question for you....how do you find off-road driving in your rig? How do you feel on off-camber trails? Does the unit feel "tippy" at all? Do you ever have any center of gravity concerns or nervousness? Did you consider a pop up style camper, like a four wheel camper, before going with the Lance? The Lance 650 checks a lot of boxes for us and your thread here only makes it more attractive to us. We do not plan on any "rock crawling" but do want to get off the beaten path. What are your thoughts?
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
We own a 2016 Ram 3500 CC with the 6.4, Aisin, and 4.44 gears. Have an Eby flatbed with a gooseneck for pulling our 5th wheel RV, our expedition rig. She’ll eat any Cummins powered rig for lunch.
Doubtful and you won't pass a filling station with that load.
 
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Hello NuclearFreeZone,
Question for you....how do you find off-road driving in your rig? How do you feel on off-camber trails? Does the unit feel "tippy" at all? Do you ever have any center of gravity concerns or nervousness? Did you consider a pop up style camper, like a four wheel camper, before going with the Lance? The Lance 650 checks a lot of boxes for us and your thread here only makes it more attractive to us. We do not plan on any "rock crawling" but do want to get off the beaten path. What are your thoughts?
Thanks for your questions, @kerouac. Truck campers are inherently "tippy" compared to most any other loads. There is a lot of weight high up. How your truck handles the weight will determine how you feel about it. Even with a 3500 chassis, air bags, and Stable Loads, my truck will still rock back and forth on uneven roads, but it is perfectly stable and you get used to it. I drive on plenty of forest tracks with no difficulty at all, but I have not done anything that seemed particularly off camber. There is a lot of weight back there, so just slow down and be aware of what you are doing, whether on the highway or off road.

I don't know about bigger (longer) campers, but the 650 is very short and will tend to shift in the bed of the truck. Its moment of inertia is low because its base is small relative to the entire camper. I put lengths of 1x4's between the camper and the wheel wells, which take up most of the space and minimize shifting. I have yet to use a rubber mat--I believe TorkLift does not recommend it but I plan to try it out.

We never seriously considered pop ups because we wanted a fully equipped, walk-right-in and use it camper. We never intended to do any driving that approached technical, so we did not require a lower center of gravity. We're really happy with the 650. On our trips, we tend to camp remotely and also go into cities and stay in boutique hotels. The 650 is very comfortable for camping, and is nimble so I can easily drive it in a city and park it in a city parking space. We like the flexibility. Let me know if you have other questions.
 

redthies

Renaissance Redneck
I put lengths of 1x4's between the camper and the wheel wells, which take up most of the space and minimize shifting. I have yet to use a rubber mat--I believe TorkLift does not recommend it but I plan to try it out.
I also put lengths of wood between wheel wells and the camper. One 2x4 and a 1” piece on the other side. I have a Dee Zee rubber bed mat under my camper, and always have done. It really helps minimize movement. The Dee Zee is only 3/8” thick, so it doesn’t compress much if any. I am a “product evaluator” for Torklift, and have their Stableloads and Fastguns on my 3500. I’ve not seen anywhere that says to not use a rubber mat. I use my airbags all the time too, and have set the Stableloads to not quite engage. They are there as a backup in case an airbag lets go, which has happened to me before.

I spend a fair bit of time in mountainous terrain (west coast rainforest) and I don’t have many issues with “tipiness”, but tree overhang is the limiting factor most places I go. Some are 1st gear low range crawls, but on the highway I can go 75 in 60 zones on twisty roads all day long. I’m not speaking for a Lance 650 though.
 

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Cenvalleysteel

New member
The Truck

Since the Lance 650 is designed for a ½ ton truck, I thought I would do better than that and I went with a 2016 RAM 2500 4x4, crew cab, Tradesman, 5.7 liter Hemi. I had the front end leveled for looks when not loaded. The 2500 is coil sprung in the rear, and sagged a good bit with the camper loaded in, so I added Airlift 5000 bags. The bags popped the rear end back up, and helped with the tippy/sway of a truck camper…

The truck handled everything fine-ish… After a few trips, I started thinking (maybe I should have done that before). I had never purchased a full sized truck before, so I just paid attention to the number on the side of the truck, when I should have looked at payload. The 2500 has a payload of about 2,200 pounds. And then I realized that Lance is fibbing a bit. Sure, at about 2,000 pounds wet, the camper is fairly light. But add people, gear, food, water for drinking, etc etc, I realized I was running at about 3,000 pounds. I don’t think even the F150’s have that capacity. Sure, you can stick the camper on a variety of trucks, but you can’t put people in it and use it without being over the load limit.

I was also finding that the 5.7 liter, while ok, got winded sometimes. I realized that the tool I had bought was not the right tool. I did not like being technically overloaded, and I wanted more power. So, I did the thing I should have done from the start, and went for the bigger gun.

I traded the 2016 2500 (with only 9500 miles on it!) in on a 2018 RAM 3500 4x4 crew cab Tradesman, 6.7 liter Cummins, Aisin transmission. I was able to reuse the TorkLift tie downs in the rear, but the fronts were different. I also had it leveled. Since I had experience with air bags, I added a set of Airlift 7500XL bags.

Now we were getting somewhere!View attachment 471168View attachment 471169
Apparently the only differences beetween the 2500 and the 3500 are the rear suspension, the offering of the Aisin Tranny and the advertised GVW. Ram kept the 2500 at 10K GVW mostly for registration purposes. The Diffs, brakes, frame etc. on the SRW 2500/3500 srw are the same. Legalities aside you could stick some air bags under the 2500 and theoretically carry the same payload. To me there is really no physical risk but you could technically get an overload ticket.
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt... The 6.4 you have may win off the line in a 1/4 mile drag race, but if you think the 429 lb ft of torque is going to “eat a Cummins (with 900 ft lbs) for lunch” in any other real word situation, you are SERIOUSLY delusional!
My Cummins reaches full throttle, at half throttle. I love the silly tricks companies do to fool people.

It lifts for each up shift, and still bangs gears even after lifting. Sometimes I think I could almost shift a six speed faster. I can definitely shift my Mustang faster, and obviously the bikes. So maybe all trucks being automatics, might not be such a hot idea.

It's slow. I'll bet that a decent gas engine with huge gears could run pretty well against it. Especially with piddly little overlanding sized loads. It's a good tow rig. But it's slow and ungainly when loaded lightly, compared to a gas truck. You only get that 900# of torque in a few spots. And it sure as heck ain't in 1st or 2nd gear in mine.

Empty, or with just a few thousand pounds, my 6.2 absolutely wails by my Cummins like it's sitting still. The diesel feels fast, right up until that point. Lol. Perfect full throttle up shifts, and 1000#'s less weight, is a decent advantage for the gas truck.

The gas truck only feels slow, because it upshifts too high during normal driving and has to downshift 4 gears to do anything. The diesel, doesn't even have that option, with only 2000 usable rpm.

I have no doubt that his 6.4 with big axle gears, is formidable. This argument is kinda silly for big slow trucks.
 
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