SRW 450 Mountain Build

java

Expedition Leader
I've never actually had it fail to start, I just don't like cold starting if it's below 0F if I can help it. I do run PS +cetane boost in my fuel in the winter and I keep fuel filters and diesel 911 with me just in case.
Cool, I'm in the same boat, never had an issue, don't want to..... I run the white bottle PS. But I have never plugged in. Usually not that cold tho.
 

cph05a

Member
I'm really starting to think about the ride quality... Being an F-450 chassis cab it's a REALLY stiff ride. Kinda beats you death on the road. The MPT-81s and the camper help a little bit but I'm thinking about what I can do to improve the ride while still being able to handle the weight. I'm wondering if maybe my front springs are a bit too stiff for the actual load I have on there? My whole rig is only about 11,500lbs. Maybe remove a leaf in the rear?
 

java

Expedition Leader
I'm really starting to think about the ride quality... Being an F-450 chassis cab it's a REALLY stiff ride. Kinda beats you death on the road. The MPT-81s and the camper help a little bit but I'm thinking about what I can do to improve the ride while still being able to handle the weight. I'm wondering if maybe my front springs are a bit too stiff for the actual load I have on there? My whole rig is only about 11,500lbs. Maybe remove a leaf in the rear?
Welcome to my world! And I have really stiff tires.

Do you know your axle weights?

The new rear springs I got helped a fair bit back there. Still fighting with the front.....
 

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cph05a

Member
I don't, just my overall weight. I guess I need to take it somewhere else and re-weigh it. What did you end up putting in the rear?
 

java

Expedition Leader
I don't, just my overall weight. I guess I need to take it somewhere else and re-weigh it. What did you end up putting in the rear?
Yeah axle weights will be very helpful for getting proper springs. 10-12$ well spent.

I had a custom Leaf pack made. 10 leaf iirc.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

RPhil

Adventurer
I'm really starting to think about the ride quality... Being an F-450 chassis cab it's a REALLY stiff ride. Kinda beats you death on the road. The MPT-81s and the camper help a little bit but I'm thinking about what I can do to improve the ride while still being able to handle the weight. I'm wondering if maybe my front springs are a bit too stiff for the actual load I have on there? My whole rig is only about 11,500lbs. Maybe remove a leaf in the rear?
First step is to get front and rear axle weights. It isn't cheap, but the right answer is to go for a custom leaf pack for the rear (Deaver is well known) based on your payload and ride height requirements. I'm not sure how easy it is to find a company to get custom coil springs for the front. I would try to use something off the shelf there based on whatever height in the rear you ended up with. Your unsprung weight in the front hasn't changed much so you should be able to find something relatively easily. Next is to get some big shocks, they will make the biggest difference. 2.5 or 3.0 King's aren't cheap, but it will probably be a night and day difference. There are companies/shock tuners that could put a great shock package together for you once you have the weights and ride heights ironed out.

Springs support your weight and shocks control the movement. Get springs dialed in based on your desired ride height based on your expected payload. Then get shocks to match.

Good luck!
 
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cph05a

Member
Snowy weather! I tried very hard to find a local shop that would sipe my tires for me but nobody would do it. A couple shops said that they could fit tires up to 38in and a commercial shop could fit tires that big, but couldn't do the mpt-81 because it's too luggy and uneven compared to the commercial skinny tires they do. I decided to do them by hand myself but the snow storms caught me by surprise and I couldn't find a local shop that would sell me a tire sipper either! I ended up doing this by hand with a carpet knife. It worked, but it was very tedious. I drove it before and after, and I did notice a difference on the icy roads around my house.

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We were in the mountains for a few days and we went into town for a few things on the coldest day. It was super snowy and I didn't want to waste my battery running the block heater so I ended up cold starting at like 4F (-15C). I was running white bottle power service kleen +centane boost. It started up, although it took its time. I waited until the oil and coolant temps were at 120F before driving away. I can't wait for that coolant heater.
 
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cph05a

Member
I don't know why I never posted this here, but here were some interesting pics taken at Dusty Dog Garage when we were trying to figure out what size lift to use with the cut out. Seems like so long ago.

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We tried a 2.5in lift and it wasn't quite enough. If I remeber right, we ended up doing 4in of lift with I think 4in of bumpstop.

It looked very different back then!
 

Fatboyz

Observer
I'm in the same boat with the coolant heater. I'm hauling a generator with me this weekend. No way my 7.3 will start at -18C.
 

cph05a

Member
I'm in the same boat with the coolant heater. I'm hauling a generator with me this weekend. No way my 7.3 will start at -18C.
I was a little suprised mine started at -15C. I keep thinking it can't be good for the engine, so I'm just hoping I won't have to cold start it like that again.
 

Fatboyz

Observer
With the 7.3 injectors being high pressure oil driven , and mine has a lot of miles I believe the cold oil contributes to that problem? I just bought a used wabasto thermos top. Its missing the fuel pump though. the cheap Chinese ones are $20.00, the Webasto one is almost 300? With winter camping here we've been out up to -35 with a gas truck. I would get up every 2 hours and start the engine. In the oilfield here it isn't uncommon to leave the truck running all night.
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
Have you actually needed the block heater? My 6.4 has never given me any starting issues....

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
Just a thought and not applicable to this truck. My commute is short. Like 10 minutes. Even in the 30s my 2014 truck wouldn't even remotely get close to full operating temp on that drive. If I plug it in overnight it does quickly. Also, I get cab heat almost immediately rather than when I'm about to pull into the parking lot.

This 2019 seems to heat up significantly quicker than the 2014 did so we will see later in the year when we get our "winter." (Don't laugh.)
 

java

Expedition Leader
Just a thought and not applicable to this truck. My commute is short. Like 10 minutes. Even in the 30s my 2014 truck wouldn't even remotely get close to full operating temp on that drive. If I plug it in overnight it does quickly. Also, I get cab heat almost immediately rather than when I'm about to pull into the parking lot.

This 2019 seems to heat up significantly quicker than the 2014 did so we will see later in the year when we get our "winter." (Don't laugh.)
Oh yeah I am in the same boat, its takes a LONG time to get heat. I dont have the option of plugging in very often though.
 

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Buddha.

Lurker
During the height of the recession I was a repo man. We drove Ford F-350/450’s. Mostly 6.0’s and one 6.4. There was a week in January -30f where none off them would start. We were dumping diesel 911and putting a charger on each battery, they eventually started after a couple hours. We never plugged them in, I have no idea why.

I bought a block heater for my Chevy gasser for those -30f days where the weak used car lot battery wouldn’t turn it over fast enough to start. Theres a plug that needs to come out where the block heater is meant to screw in. The dam thing won’t come out of the block though. I tried my snap-on impact and a 2’ breaker bar. I’m afraid I’m gonna strip the threads in the block if I try the 6’ cheater bar. I upgraded the battery instead.
 

cph05a

Member
New tire rack, other general updates:

We ended up needing to rethink our tire rack. Our tire rack had a little bit of movement in it when we were bumping down the road and we were seeing some cracks in one of the supports forming so I took the camper and tire rack back to phoenix pop up. We decided to change the way it was mounted to the truck and rob wanted to re-weld and reinforce it in general to make it stronger. New supports went in behind the tire rack to keep it from shaking and it's secured down in all 4 corners (the top right corner used to be only a pin, bottom right was a pad lock), plus there are new supports behind it that limit movement. Our tire weighs like 300lbs so any movement on the road isn't good. Phoenix pop up fixed this right away and while it was there we looked over the rest of the camper the problem was just isolated to the tire rack. Taking the spare on and off still works the same way with the winch. It's pretty easy to get on and off.

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The new tire rack is holding very securely and so far so good! No movement on the road.

We also swapped out the poles for our dinette table with ones that were two inches taller, phoenix provided the taller ones in exchange for the shorter ones which was wonderful. There wasn't anything wrong with the shorter ones, we just found the taller ones to be a more comfortable fit for us.

Our bullet proofing has worked out great. We've had no cooling issues whatsoever and the truck has been really reliable for us ever since.

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I've been climbing up on the roof a lot to brush snow off, sometimes a lot of it. Usually I lower the roof and shovel it then raise it again, although I've been up on the roof with the top up when our snow supports were in and it was surprisingly stable, but I tracked in a lot of snow going in through the egress skylight as opposed to climbing the ladder rungs on the side. I put in some x-treme grip around the edges so that I don't slip when it's snowy/icy up there and they're really stable.

Our solar is working, although we usually have short days this time of year and when camping in canyons or foresty areas solar isn't always a reliable source of power. Sunny locations like lake Curecanti (pictured above) usually keep our batteries strong, but we've been on several trips where we just don't get that much sun and our batteries charge up full on the drive and slowly drain while camping. Our 6kwhr battery bank is enough power for a few days though and we haven't run out of power yet since we usually don't stay in the same place for more than a few days before either moving to a new location or going in to town for something or another.

I have 2 UB8D AGM batteries that make up my 6khr battery bank at the moment, but I think I'll eventually want to upgrade this to lithium which will allow for a larger bank. I'm not sure on my timeline for this since the current system does work and hasn't been an issue yet.

On the above photo, that white pole sticking up on the right side is a cell signal booster. It actually does work, but it isn't magic. I've noticed that I've had internet at some locations when I'm in the camper but not when I'm standing outside it so that seems like good enough evidence for me! I work in software so this has been REALLY nice for us! I do think I'll need to change the way this is mounted to the roof before spring though since I'm a little worried about tree branches knocking it. I think I'm gonna make it retractable in some way and put a cover in front to deflect branches.

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We've really been putting our MPT-81s to the test. I've driven in some pretty bad conditions and so far they've been performing well in general, but I think there's some room for improvement on icy pavement. I think in the future I'm gonna see if I can sipe them better. I put 2-3 cuts per lug on the rear tires. I think if I were to sipe them with a hot sipper the sipes would be a bit wider and that might help a bit. I think more sipes might help too. We've got plenty of clearance and that's never been an issue. While we were in Ouray, my friend with AWD and all season tires (I forget which kind specifically) got stuck in an area that we had no traction issues in whatsoever. These things seem good on snow, decent on dry pavement and maybe could improve on icy pavement with better sipping.

In general, my biggest complaint is in engine pre-heating. It's a pain in the butt today. My truck has never failed to start (recently started it at -20C with no pre-heater), but sometimes it takes a while and we have to think about it well in advance to leaving. Over new years I met up with some friends at a KOA and actually got to plug my electric block heater in. I had it plugged in for 2 hours before we left and my coolant was still only -10C degrees when I went to start it. I'm having an espar coolant heater installed in a few days and I'll be really interested to see the difference. I have a 500W electric oil pan heater which I should be able to power with my batteries for an hour or two before we leave as well so I'm hoping that the combination of the two can make for a more convenient departure. I'll give updates on that once I test it.

In general, we've been really happy with our pop up camper. Our floor plan has worked out great! I really wasn't sure if we would make mush use of the pass through, but it was worth every penny. We mostly use it for moving gear and pets around, but it has still been very nice.

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Ouray, CO
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Ouray, CO
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Mt Helen, CO
Here are a few recent adventure photos for good measure. We've been getting after it in the mountains!
We have more on our instagram: @navigation_errors
 
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