Provan Tiger options?

chromisdesigns

Adventurer
We are getting close to pulling the trigger on a new Provan Bengal Tiger, probably on the Ram diesel 4x4 platform. I'm a Cummins fan from way back. Any Tiger owners with advice on which options to add to the base vehicle?

We don't have any intention of going rock crawling with it, but will be doing dirt, gravel, and forest roads, "modest" 4wd only trails, and of course, plenty of highway. We live in San Francisco and aside from driving home from the factory, our first long trip will likely be to Alaska and back.

We are wondering particularly about tires and suspension mods, and whether to go upsized tires (33's) with single rear wheels (or bead locks?) or duals on the Ram. The factory duals increase the GVWR, which is good, but I read in a couple threads they are less than ideal in slippery conditions.

Are the Provan-option "airless airbags" and Bilsteins worth doing, or would be we better off with something from a local 4x4 shop? Ditto the Aluminess front bumper.

We are going back and forth between standard cab and crew cab (apparently extended cab is not available on the Ram truck?). I definitely like the shorter length with the standard cab, but we could use the additional storage and/or interior space as well.We are thinking a bolt-down chest cooler and a big bean bag lounger in the rear cab space, and maybe some additional storage.

The Provan brochure mentions optional outside storage available, but it's not priced. Did anyone have them do this?

We've rented a lot in Australia and NZ and love the small diesel campers there, but have looked in vain for something similar in the US until we ran across Provan.

Any other advice or suggestions are welcome (except "buy an Earthroamer"...!). We've read most every thread online in this and other forums about the Provans by now.

Best regards,

Bob and Nancy
 
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DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
I have a deposit for a Tiger to be built next year. Based on about 40 years of Third World living and driving, my idea of a proper expedition vehicle looks a bit like this:



That translates to:

-- Oversized or double shocks
-- About 2-4" of lift, with a focus on maximum free suspension travel
-- 8-10" rim with 10-12" of width. 32-35" diameter. (Watch your final drive ratio, go for a smaller tire if it gets too long, or re do your differentials.)
-- Locking rear diff. Manual lock up front is nice if you fear mud.

The standard cab Tiger is REALLY nice and short, but, like most folks, we will probably go with an extended cab to minimize the need for external storage. N.B. There is a credible argument that the standard and crew cabs are stronger than the extended cab which lacks a "B" pillar.

We will take a serious look at 19.5 truck tires for height and the promise of better on road wear.

Everyone who has bought the "airless" airbags has liked them.

May go with an anti sway bar; the Tiger is tall.

Will definitely go with the Aluminess bumper - for the storage, not a winch. (I don't believe in winches, especially for heavier vehicles. I do believe in shovels and sand ladders.)

Again, these are our plans, not/not our experiences. Offered with best wishes.
 

chromisdesigns

Adventurer
Thanks, DiploStrat --

Can I ask what chassis you are planning on using, and why? Like I said, I always liked the Dodge trucks, and Cummins engines in particular, but they are probably the weak sister now in terms of company stability, compared to GM and Ford. That does bother me some.

Bob
 

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fyreles

New member
IMG1319.jpg The Dodge Cummins chassis is better for over all clearance and power/ mileage consideration. I am a powerstroke fan but the Cummins is a great motor...I had a guy make me an extended rear storage platform which is gold for long trips and storage...
 

jebers53

Observer
Last june we purchased the Blackwells "white acorn" after it's little 80000mi 18 month break in America's tour. Upgrades I would consider:
1. 200 watt solar panel with upgraded controller/charger (nice to not worry about your cabin battery reserve if you are boon(not driving) for a few days.
2. Crew cab is a no brainier ( never have enough storage)
3. One of my first mods was installing a backup camera ( big blind spot back there, and with the duramax I like to see who I just passed and their expression)
4. We are planning extended trips this year and we are wishing we had the oven, not much of a trade off in space IMO.
5. Winter package if you plan on any travel above the mason Dixon line other then July or August lol.
6. I am considering the rear bags as we have experienced harsh ride on washboard (currently Rancho rear and bilstein front)
Hope this helps to PULL THAT TRIGGER!!
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
I have always been a Chevrolet owner. The Isuzu Trooper that I drove in Cuba/Bolivia/Venezuela was the model for the current Chevrolet suspension and did very, very well for a lighter vehicle. Obviously, the Duramax diesel and Allison transmission are many generations removed from the old small blocks with Rochesters that I knew, but:

-- The Duramax/Allison still gets great reviews.
-- The Chevrolet 350 got a much stiffer chassis in 2012.

(Still like the Ford interiors a bit more.)

So I will probably go with a Chevrolet 350, extended cab, diesel and a Cognitio Motor Sports (or similar) lift kit.

If I remember correctly, the Dodge one ton can only carry a Tiger in the dual rear wheel model. While I am not as opposed to dual wheels as some, the problem is that there is no "Fat Tiger." This means that you have the extra width of the duals without any corresponding increase in camper space. I would actually like to see a "Fat Tiger" but as long as the roof is a one piece moulding, that is not cost effective.

Ford had a long run of poorly adapted Navistar diesels (dig around for the horror stories on the Earthroamer sites, etc.), but the new diesel is getting very good reviews. Still a bear to get under the hood if you have any expectation of doing your own work.

Again, opinions are worth what you pay for them.

Best wishes!
 
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fyreles

New member
Agreed the 6.0 ltr Ford is a poor engine long term. I did see a dually four door Dodge at the Tiger Factory a month ago that was dark grey and beautiful and ready for delivery. My 3/4 ton 2002 does well even loaded for several weeks on the road. I added an extra leaf to give the one ton configuration. I have a set of airbags to install next.
I would love the four door but my Tiger is not much longer than a full size pick up which helps in tight spots to turn around or maneuver. A larger air intake and larger exhaust with some light engine programming and it gets 17-20 miles per gallon and awesome power. The rear deck I had a buddy add has been the best add on. I can carry a generator and coolers and firewood and keep the cabin uncluttered.
 

chromisdesigns

Adventurer
If I remember correctly, the Dodge one ton can only carry a Tiger in the dual rear wheel model. While I am not as opposed to dual wheels as some, the problem is that there is no "Fat Tiger." This means that you have the extra width of the duals without any corresponding increase in camper space. I would actually like to see a "Fat Tiger" but as long as the roof is a one piece moulding, that is not cost effective.Best wishes!

The Tiger brochure shows the GVWR for the Ram chassis as 10,100 with SRW and 12,200 with duals (10,500 and 13,000 respectively, according to Dodge, though). The Chevy is 10,400 with singles, 13,000 DRW, and Ford anywhere from 9900 to 11,500 SRW, depending on options and cab chosen, and 13,300 DRW.

Curb weights less the camper are harder to find, though. I'm still trying to find out how much each cutaway truck actually weighs, and how much is left for camper and load. That's what really matters, of course.
 

ScottReb

Adventurer
My 2007 Dodge 2500 CTD SRW crew cab long bed without pick up bed weighed in at 7200#. About half tank of diesel. Gives you and idea. 2012 should be pretty close.
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
Here are some data from a gentleman who bought a Ford based Tiger in the last year:

The GVWR for my 2011 F350 Lariat extended cab is 11,000 lbs, the front GAWR is 5,200 lbs and the rear 7,000 lbs. For a Ford 350, the rear axle itself is rated at 7,280#'s, the spring pack is rated at 7,000#'s. The determining factor for the rear GAWR is the tires. According to Ford's specification, my LT275/70R 18E tires can support 3,640 lbs when inflated at 80 psi.


Prior Weights:
09/06/2011 at delivery: Front - 4,080, Rear - 5,600, Total 9,700 lbs
12/05/2011 fully loaded: Front - 4,540, Rear - 6,660, Total 11, 200 lbs


SmartWeigh:
This past week I was at an
Rally and had each wheel weighed fully loaded including gas, fresh water & LP. Here are the results
Right Front - 2,175 (passenger side)
Left Front - 2,300 (driver side)
Total Front - 4,475 lbs

Right Rear - 3,300
Left Rear - 3,480
Total Rear - 6,780

Vehicle Total - 11,255 lbs


ANALYSIS:
According to the December & April weights, I run 200 to 250 lbs over the GVWR. According to the April weight, I have 725 lbs to spare on the front GAWR, but only have 220 lbs remaining on the rear GAWR of 7,000 lbs. However, the 7,000 lb rating is due to the spring pack and, since I have SumoSprings, I think that I actually have more reserve in the rear.


Critical Issue - The critical issue is the Left Rear weight of 3,480 lbs on a tire rated at 3,640 lbs. That means I only have 160 pounds of reserve on the Left Rear. This reserve is comsumed whenever I fill-up the grey and black water tanks. Thirty gals of dirty water is about 250 pounds.


Summary:
Understanding how much your Tiger weighs front and rear combined with the fact that the left side might be loaded more than the right is important when packing for that 4 week plus boon docking trip. Also knowing the load limit for your tires is very important.


Adding boxes or/and mounting motorcycles on the rear could easily bring you over the rated tire ratings and GAWR.

These data offered for your consideration with no guarantees.
 

TomH

Adventurer
We've rented a lot in Australia and NZ and love the small diesel campers there, but have looked in vain for something similar in the US until we ran across Provan.
The only other small diesel 4x4 I would recommend is a used Sportsmobile Ford diesel. Ford discontinued the diesel for their vans about 3 years ago, so you would have to buy used, or go gas. SMB does offer diesel Sprinters, but isn't allowed to modify them to 4X4 like they do the Fords.

Last june we purchased the Blackwells "white acorn" after it's little 80000mi 18 month break in America's tour. Upgrades I would consider:2. Crew cab is a no brainier ( never have enough storage)
:Wow1: LOL!! I guess I'm brainless then. :( I prefer the extended cab, because in addition to the boonies, I sometimes want to go to the city and fit in a parallel metered spot. I think crew cab is really pushing that. Extended cab with French doors will allow me to modify the seats to swivel without hitting anything, then have just enough foot space. I plan to have regular height Aluminess box on right rear and a double stacked box on the left with fuel rack above that. Spare will go on Aluminess front bumper. All these (along with taller tires and suspension) will be high enough that bumpers on standard cars will clear them when maneuvering to parallel park. Those extras will give me the storage I need, and the cab size with swivel seats will make useable the normally wasted space of the front seats. Hopefully, the reinforcement Provan does to the frame will compensate for the lack of the B pillar. I used to worry about that, but no Tiger has ever broken the frame or reinforcement.
 

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chromisdesigns

Adventurer
:Wow1: LOL!! I guess I'm brainless then. :( I prefer the extended cab, because in addition to the boonies, I sometimes want to go to the city and fit in a parallel metered spot. I think crew cab is really pushing that. Extended cab with French doors will allow me to modify the seats to swivel without hitting anything, then have just enough foot space. I plan to have regular height Aluminess box on right rear and a double stacked box on the left with fuel rack above that. Spare will go on Aluminess front bumper. All these (along with taller tires and suspension) will be high enough that bumpers on standard cars will clear them when maneuvering to parallel park. Those extras will give me the storage I need, and the cab size with swivel seats will make useable the normally wasted space of the front seats. Hopefully, the reinforcement Provan does to the frame will compensate for the lack of the B pillar. I used to worry about that, but no Tiger has ever broken the frame or reinforcement.
I like the extended cab version, too. Would go with regular cab, but I think we do need the extra storage. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Provan will build a Tiger on the short-wheelbase Ram chassis, even with the crew cab, and all the long-wheelbase versions are just as long as the biggest crew cab Ford and Chevy, I think. I'm going down to their new CA dealer in Fremont next week, and that's one of the things I will try to find out. We will probably want a bike or scooter rack on the back, and the overall length gets a bit long with the crew cabs.

Other mods we are likely to consider are 19.5 wheels and tires for increased load handling, but without duals. I'm also going to see if we can get a cassette toilet in place of the tank model.


How do you plan on getting the seats to swivel, if I can ask? Won't you have problems with the air bag sensors, etc?
 

TomH

Adventurer
How do you plan on getting the seats to swivel, if I can ask? Won't you have problems with the air bag sensors, etc?
I will first try to build an adaptor to go between the floor and bottom of the swivel. I will replace the seats with nice captian's charis; if we are going to spend that much time sitting, I want the most comfortable seat possible. If the adaptor doesn't work I will do exactly what Jay Shapiro did on his F-650 build (and will use the same seats as he regardless):

In the following thread, see posts 155, 492, and 495

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/8936-Eco-Roamer-F650-based-Expedition-Vehicle

Also see here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jayshapiro/2541883802/in/set-72157621739529980
 
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