NorthstarTC650-n-Tundra

zidaro

Explorer
Got out for a GREAT 10 day camping trip to the High Deserts of socal. Timing was perfect for 70* days and nights in the 40*'s. Sunshine and little wind

Went to the KOH races in Johnson Valley for 4 nights, got some great wheeling and moto riding in (on my wifes crf150). Watched some amazing racing.
Then went south to Joshua Tree to meet up with my wife and daughter for some great camping and climbing for the remainder. Friends from Mammoth met us there for a couple days too, they have a Crewmax and FWC setup- very nice too, they just picked it up and still are dialing it in.

Camper and rig setup worked PERFECTLY. Tundra handled the load and my heavy foot easily (although 12.3mpg average over 700 mi.) Had a moto on the back bumper, wood for the trip, and full h2o at 70mph on the highways.
Solar ran the ARB, boom box, lighting, h2o pump, and charged cells and laptops with no issues. I cant recommend it enough.
Everything seems to be setup pretty well now. a few things i would like to still add and change, but overall- very comfortable camping was had :)

The Toy my bud owns we wheeled in JV. Here working up Chocolate Thunder



Boondocking outside Joshua Tree NP. Abandoned cabin. woke up to a beautiful desert sunrise





Hidden Valley Campground in JTree


some JTree Trad to be had


getting my daughter on the sharp end. Spent the whole time she wasnt on a rope chasing her around making sure she and her friends werent climbing too high without adults around.


some cuddly bushes




Indian Cove, full moon, my buddies



great hideout caves for the girls


the gang (Im in the Black Antarctica shirt)
 
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ETAV8R

Founder of D.E.R.P.
Great build and adventure thread. Looks great!
I really wish I were smarter with knowledge about solar and DIY stuff.
 

mbryson12

New member
LED Lights

Looks like you guys had a nice trip. Quick question for you on the LED lights. Where did you purchase yours from? I am getting my rig set up for the summer and would like to change my regular lights to LED so I can save a little power. Did you just do the outside lights or inside as well? Also, When you did your solar did you add more 12V outlets so you could charge computers etc?
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
Nice rigs and pics. Curious if you guys have weighed your rigs wet and what the front and rear axle loads are? My wife and I camped at Jumbo Rocks and HV last year. I got goosebumps just watching.
 
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450 DUDE

Adventurer
Looks like a great trip , I keep threatening the wife about going to J-tree.

Thanks for the beautiful pics

ken
 

zidaro

Explorer
Where did you get the rabbit bottle opener? Do they have other versions?
nothing too tricky, its off amazon. I had a hard time finding a stainless steel opener i liked, then this popped up. It opens bottles well!
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/BOTTLE-Bunny-RABBIT-teeth-Opener/dp/B001O9TMPU/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1299038131&sr=8-5"]Amazon.com: BOTTLE Bunny RABBIT teeth Wall BOTTLE Opener wall NEW: Kitchen & Dining[/ame]


Nice rigs and pics. Curious if you guys have weighed your rigs wet and what the front and rear axle loads are? My wife and I camped at Jumbo Rocks and HV last year. I got goosebumps just watching.
I admit i have not. Should and will at some point. I do run about 45psi in the bags full load and 35psi empty camper, they are rated to 250psi standard use, they are designed as a 2800# bag IIRC http://www.theslamstore.com/product_p/ss-8.htm . I'll ask my buddy what he knows on his setup. I can say that i dont feel like i am stressing anything, there are no strange noises or behaviors and i dont look at anything hoping it will hold - if that means anything to you or not is your choice.

Looks like you guys had a nice trip. Quick question for you on the LED lights. Where did you purchase yours from? I am getting my rig set up for the summer and would like to change my regular lights to LED so I can save a little power. Did you just do the outside lights or inside as well? Also, When you did your solar did you add more 12V outlets so you could charge computers etc?
I did add a couple 12volt outlets (one outside for the ARB fridge) and powered them thru my BlueSea fuse block. Do it.

I got the BRIGHT exterior LED scene-light bulbs from here:

http://www.ledtrailerlights.com/rv/RV-1141mega.htm

We replaced the over the bed incandescent fixtures with one of each of these after i left a light on and lowered the top for the day- melted thru the plastic lens and almost caught the comforter on fire and lost it all:Wow1::

http://www.ledtrailerlights.com/rv/RV-led.htm

put the double LED at the foot of the bed where it is nice to have a whole camper light on during the nighttime, single light is at the head for reading.
still have the fluorescents over the kitchen and may get to them later.

I replaced a couple Bargman #99 running light bulbs with these:
http://www.v-leds.com/Exterior-LED/CornerSide-Marker-LED/White-LED/2-HID-WHITE-SMT-5-LED-p6057628.html

Great build and adventure thread. Looks great!
I really wish I were smarter with knowledge about solar and DIY stuff.
I didnt have a clue where to start or have any idea what i was (am) doing. I just started digging in and searching/researching what type of solar i needed to get self-sufficient. I was only interested in trying to do it right and once on the big stuff (panel, wiring, controller) cuz the cost-savings was not great in cutting corners. I really depended alot on web reviews and talking on phone with solar sellers- then had to decipher and wade thru the BS, of course.

I bought the panel and mounts thru www.AMSolar.com . They are thinking about RV solar correctly- and I feel it is a very efficient panel and the mounts have held up VERY well to highway wind and washboard road, also are easy to tilt the panel
http://www.amsolar.com/RVseries.html

bought the Morningstar MPPT 15L Sunsaver charge controller, meter, and sensor thru http://www.thesolarstore.com/index.php - they gave me some great info, very helpful and a great price

alot of my wiring came from www.crutchfield.com , www.parts-express.com and www.audiosavings.com - great prices on quality o2-free wire
 
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shaytj

New member
Solar is installed and working! whew, scary drilling holes in your roof

Charge controller, aux. fuse block, breakers for each are under the cabinet next to sink. this is the closest dry area to the battery for mounting



4G cable to each from the battery, incl. ground to neg. bar on aux. block.
8G to panel hardmounted on roof.

Anderson 50A Connects at panel



scanstrut multi was the ticket for roof penetration. Very easy install and SEALS tight.



I'll get some better inside and outside shots of roof so you can see where i routed and mounted.
heres the truck as it sits

Looks great! How is it off road? Sway? I wanted to put a TC650 on a Ford F150. What do you think? What would you do differently? Any information is appreciated!
 

shaytj

New member
Thinking of the same thing!

Hey, nice job on the camper, and you got a really nice setup. I just recently purchased an '11 F150, and am starting to shop around for a similar model; I'm looking for the t650 with the fan + outdoor shower. I live in Alberta, Canada, and figured I would pick one up in the states this April/May, somewhere in the pacific Northwest or down as far as Utah (and everything in between).

Any idea where I can get a deal on a camper. I been checking those commercial sites (rvtrader, and so on), but their prices seem astronomical, above MSRP in some cases.

Anyway, nice setup, I can't wait to get my hands on one.
Let me know your progress thinking of an 150 long bed 4x4.
Tim
 

zidaro

Explorer
Let me know your progress thinking of an 150 long bed 4x4.
Tim
With the long bed, I would definitely look into the TC800, it will have another couple feet of space for storage and amenities.

The Queen bed front-to-back positioning is great and cant imagine trying to get in/out of bed at night crawling over my wife or the opposite- and were fit and enjoy crawling on each other :drool:. I would like to add a larger porch still and have yet to add the roof rack to the top that has been in the garage all winter. Solar rules, the heater is plenty, the bed is comfy, dinette is large enough for 3 to eat and a pair of 6year olds to sleep, portapotty is nice for my girls at night ONLY, storage under bed is huge, closets along the bedside are big enough for family of 3, fridge is perfect if you have a drink cooler too, water heater is pure lux., outdoor shower is perfect for a rinse most places and great for a shower when you need it, easy to winterize the whole camper in about 10 min. Can you tell i am stoked on this thing???

Regarding the sway:
It is a ~2K# setup loaded and a 1500 truck. The suspension upgrades i made handle the load very nicely on and offroad. So far i am VERY happy with the setup.
We just returned from a 4 day remote Death Valley backcountry trip and drove many miles over nasty washboard rocky roads that twist thru the mountain passes and down forever valleys. We comfortably drove at speeds between 35-50mph on rough washboard and felt great about it. Hit a few washouts that would have been nicer to go slow thru, but absorbed the impact w/o worries except for shaken foamy bottles in the ARB fridge. :coffeedrink:
I can easily control the load height with the airbags. Airbags on a 1500 are a must, IMO.
The front has the swaybar removed to gain better performance and i do have minimal sway when loaded but it is there and Im conscious of it when driving to avoid major evasive maneuvers if possible. I can do them, just rather not. when unloaded, the truck handles well with the camper on- better off though.
My family and I have REALLY been enjoying the camper and all it offers us in convenience/comfort and its ability to take us remote places we enjoy.
My best Bud has a new F150 and i am trying to talk him into a poptop, he came along with his 2 kids on this last trip and may be sold.

GET ONE :wings:
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
I'm aware of the weight of my TC 800 on my Dodge. It sits 3" higher than stock do to the Thuren suspension upgrade, which raises the cog. It's still 1800# of mass back there. It will tax the suspsension,brakes and gas engine on a 1/2 ton rig. People do it all the time,but after removing it you'll feel a huge improvement in the handling,braking and fuel economy.

Mine averages 13 mpg/combined with the camper and Toyo Mt's. At $4.40/gal it's not a cheap rig to drive anymore. The plus is that your accomodations are but a few ft. away.
 

shaytj

New member
150 and northstar

I appeciate your input...want to do it right.

Most of my time is spent on flats...but I do go on a number of gravel mountain roads washboards and a few of the turns have a "pitch" right to left. It can be a bit scary when you see off the mountain and the truck starts tilting:Wow1:

I really hate the "roll" with my last rig.

I would put on a tire that is 1-2 inches bigger in diameter....1/2-1 inch "taller" with the COG and I would put in the Firestone air bags.

The air bags in the last rig had the on board compressor and I would let air out on my "in board" side if the pitch was substantial.

I like the idea of a low COG:)

Thanks
 

zidaro

Explorer
theres a happy medium somewhere with the body roll. I think each person has there idea of exactly what feels best. I like my suspension to not be too harsh so it soaks up some of the washboard and softens the ride for the camper. By keeping the airbags inflated a little less you get that, which also results in a little more roll.
Low COG is all relative when you have a camper on the back, try very hard to pack all heavy items right on the floor. A solar panel and roof rack wont help. :(
 
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