View Full Version : Dodge 5500 Flat deck and camper build

05-19-2010, 11:37 PM
The truck will be doing double duty for work and recreation.

For work will still use the Camper rather than hotels, and the storage to carry Rescue & Safety gear (On-site jobs and training).
Recreation will be myself & GF with our dogs in N. America - hopefully down to S. America in a few years if all goes well.

I am new to this forum, found it while searching for info to build my '08 Dodge 5500 and a Camper

Bought the truck 3 weeks ago, doing some engine tuning (parts on the way) and planning out the real fun.

The truck is all stock with an aluminum Hillsboro bed. I am seriously contemplating selling the bed, having one made for the Camper and storage after reading the F550 flatbed thread by boblynch

I have been trying to decide which camper to go with and narrowed it down to the Lance 830 & 1040 (basically an 830+ 17"), however I have discovered they no longer make the 1040, though I have found 1 in BC. I never even thought of the custom bunk option that Bob did.

Next thing is wheels and tires. Looking to go with the MPT 81's in the 335/80R20 or possibly the 365/80R20. Wheels I have been talking to Stazworks about some steel beadlocks.

I don't want to lift it, so I am having the axle moved forward to get clearance. If need be I have an adjustable (1"-5") aluminum spacer to add and/or trim the fender.
That is going to be done by Evolution Machine

First I need to get the rims and tires so we can have them there to position the axle. Looking at having Clay at Evolution do the bed, he has some interesting ideas to improve the suspension and ride with his custom built shocks down the road as well.

Anyone have a good line on the MPT 81's, or even other wheels I should consider?

Bob- I'd love to pick your brain on the Camper, bunk extension and deck if you don't mind me copying what you've done. I am looking at the fold down bunk option, just wouldn't use it in the winter, thought closed up it should insulate OK? Definitely like your bunk option better though!

What are your thoughts on the stock size of the 830? It is going to be 2 of us and our 2 fairly large dogs?

Anything else you've discovered since you did this? Anything you would change?

Appreciate any helpful advice- it's much less costly to learn from someone else's mistakes


05-20-2010, 12:37 AM
First off, welcome to the forum. When you get time post pictures and additional details about your truck (e.g., crew cab? diesel? wheelbase?).

The Lance 1040 is offered as a 2010 model. I was able to locate a number of them in my area. We went with the 830 and a bunk addition to accomodate 4 of us and one dog. If I was traveling with 2 people and 2 large dogs, I would stick with the 1040. The floor space in the 830 is tight. We like the side entry as it keeps the dust out and allowed for the bunk extension. However, this presented a number of challenges including extending the exhaust. You might find other other brands/models that suit your needs without any such mods.

As far as tires the MPTs are nice, but heavy. My 335s on steel wheels are about 200lbs each. I bought a set of five rims/tires from Rickson Wheels in Maryland. The Continental tires are widely available. You can locate a dealer at http://www.continental-truck.com.

The flatbed and storage boxes have been great. It really keeps things inside the rig organized and clutter free. Your flatbed may work out fine depending on what type of camper you select. If not they hold their resale value and shouldn't be too hard to unload.

Best of luck.

Capt Eddie
05-20-2010, 12:57 AM
Yes welcome to the club. Lets see some pictures of what you have to work with. Are you thinking of going more off road, or long distance travel? From what I see, Bob went more off road style , while I plan on more blacktop travel. For now. Now we have to travel 200 miles to find good off roading. Keep that in mind as you do your build.

05-20-2010, 01:35 AM
boblynch & Capt Eddie- Thanks for the info.

I'm afraid I don't know how to post pic's, I'll need to do some research.

The truck is a quad cab 4x4 6.7L Diesel Cab & Chassis truck 64" Cab to axle, 164.5" wheelbase. Stock rims are 10 bolt 19.5's , axles are the same as the F 550- I think- rear Dana 110. GVW of 19,500 lbs.

I do want to go off road- though I have my other truck for more hard core stuff, but want to go off "the beaten path" and be self sufficient.

I have had Michelin XL's and XML's on my '01 Dodge in the past in the 38" size and, yes they were heavy. In reality there will be a lot of highway driving, but I am accustomed to the large off-road type tire, I like the ability to perform well off road and air down.

Other option is going with 22.5 rims and on/off road floats in a 365/85 R22.5 size. Last alot longer, carry the load well and stiff sidewalls- more limited off- road.

Need to nail down the tire choice soon as it will affect the rest of the build.

05-20-2010, 06:50 PM
Well, the tires don't seem to be that widely available- not up here anyway. Kal Tire is now the only authorized dealer for Continental tires it seems, OK tire said they can get Continentals- but no one knows anything about them. One guy just plain didn't believe me!

I also tried Expedition Imports by e-mail with no reply, found another one :

but the e-mails bounce back, I don't think they are in business anymore?

May just have to end up going with Goodyear G178 SS on a 22.5 rim. Heavy tire and can't air down much off road- but will definitely last!

05-21-2010, 01:30 PM
I contacted the USA Sales Manager for Continental Tires who helped me track down tires last year. Continental has 2 dealers in the Calgary area:

T.C. Industrial Tire (Daryl Taylor 1-403-279-5559)

Kal Tire (Cam Parsons 1-403-724-0237)

If you have other questions contact Tim Hubbert, Sales Manager - Industrial Tires, Continental Tire Canada, Mississauga, Ontario (Cell - 416-578-4833)

05-21-2010, 03:03 PM
Welcome to the forum, Ram5500!

Most tires that fit 22.5 inch wheels, and the Michelin XZL tactical tires on 20 inch rims, stand 43 or 44 inches tall. That large diameter may require regearing your differentials.

An alternative is the Toyo M608Z 285/70R 19.5, 35.4 inches high. It's M&S rated, but the tread is not as aggressive as the the taller tires. That makes the Toyo quieter on the highway.

The Toyo is a tough truck tire. Forum member Whatcharterboat, who works for a builder of off-road specialty vehicles in Australia, reports that in conditions that cause an XZL tire to get a flat once a week, the Toyo got a flat once in six months.

The Adam Blaster
05-21-2010, 05:16 PM
I deal with TC Industrial all the time here in Edmonton, just hung up with them and asked about the tires for you.

My contact is emailing a pic of another Conti model they have in stock.

Let me know how serious you are about pursuing this avenue, and I'll help any way that I can.

The Adam Blaster
05-21-2010, 06:11 PM
I called a local OK Tire store, and had them look around for me on the MPT 81's in the 335 and 365 size.
There's VERY little out there in terms of stock.
There's 1 365, and none showing on B/O or anything.
There's 4 only of the 335 in Vancouver, but again, no other customers showing B/O or anything.
These tires are made in Europe, so the turn-around time is usually at least 90 days, but that is when there are orders for the tires, and LARGE orders, like several hundred.
So, my contact telling me there are no backorders showing in their system, chances of finding more units so that you have a spare or two, well, your chances are essentially zero.

I'd STRONGLY recommend finding a brand/model that is more plentiful and easier to replace.

The Adam Blaster
05-21-2010, 07:34 PM
A back and forth email conversation with my contact at TC Industrial says that he could get some of the 365/80R20 MPT 81's shipped in from "out east" (likely Toronto area) within about a week and a half.

My last email to him was asking about their stock accessibility, and if it is plentiful or not.

EDIT: He says they are a normal stocking item in te states, and they can bring them up if they have orders for them. There hasn't been enough demand yet to stock them in the Canadian warehouses though.

So, sounds like you could get a replacement out of the US within 2-3 weeks without much other hassle.
Or, if you're in the US travelling, you might find a source that could get them to you a lot quicker. (And chances are less expensive as well.)

05-22-2010, 03:52 AM
boblynch and Adam Blaster-
Thank you for all the calling around and info.

I did talk to TC here (Pirate Tires) and they found the same tires as Adam Blaster I guess.
4 of the 335/80R20 @ $625 ea and can get the 365/80R20 in a couple weeks at $750 ea.

Going to check a couple other US dealer, see if I can come up with a little better pricing.

You are correct, the Toyo's would be a "smart" choice. I did read the post you referred to, very impressive. With those tires I'd still need to get new rims (my 6" wide are too narrow) but wouldn't need to touch the suspension. BUT i really want to go with a larger single- can't help myself! and moving the axle forward should only put me in for another $1200-$1500, pretty good deal for the work (Clay is a MASTER with suspension mods)

As for re-gearing, I should be OK. The truck has 4.88's with a G56 manual:

even a 43" tire would put me a an effective ratio of 3.56 (my '01 came stock with 3.54's). I am keeping the old wheels and tires for heavy towing if I ever need them, but I thinkI'll be OK with the camper, gear and an 8-10,000 lb trailer on occasion.

If I'm wrong- I'll have to save up for an underdrive I guess!

Going to do some more reading on these different camper mounts as well...Bob, have you found a flexible one necessary for your rig?

I may have found a pretty good deal on an Okanogan 117DBL, it is big- but the "boss" likes it.

The Adam Blaster
05-22-2010, 02:58 PM
Bob, you should definitely look into acquiring the tires south of the border.
I have worked for 3 different tire distributors in Edmonton, and 99% of the time the price that I sell tires to a tire shop, the price can be lower for a retail customer buying out of the US.
The issue with buying tires down there comes up if you have a warranty concern, uneven wear, poor balancing etc. You'll have a very hard time getting any warranty coverage, you'll pretty much be SOL.
Just keep that in mind. ;)

05-15-2011, 06:38 AM
It's been a while, new business has taken up most of the time and funds, but-

Stazworks double beadlocks w/ 43" Continental MPT 81's are finally shipping out next week.

2 days ago made a private deal to trade my Toyhauler RV for a 2010 Arctic Fox 992 and some cash. Not the exact Camper I wanted, really wanted a side entry, but the best deal I was going to get trading the RV.

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_a382ba34.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=a382ba34.jpg)

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_2656631a.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=2656631a.jpg)

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_98986136.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=98986136.jpg)

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_f04a653a.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=f04a653a.jpg)

05-15-2011, 07:13 AM
It fit pretty well on the flat deck

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_48ce8de2.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=48ce8de2.jpg)

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_f166ea94.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=f166ea94.jpg)

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_246590d6.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=246590d6.jpg)

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_1335de3a.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=1335de3a.jpg)

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_91128d2c.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=91128d2c.jpg)

Now I have some other decisions to make: big one is keep the Hillsboro aluminum deck I have and modify it, or sell it and do a custom one...

Custom one would obviously work better, but will be $$

The Camper will stay on the truck pretty much full time. Will use it for work travel hotel/office as well as weekend and holiday excursions.

Once I get the tires fitted up I'll have a better idea, but I will be losing some potential storage space for wheel wells since I'll be lifting it very little or maybe not at all. Worth it to keep as low as possible.

Custom deck may allow mounting the TC lower, possibly a flexible mount, though if I convert to airbags all around I can keep the chassis more level off road.

Other considerations are mounting the spare and making a rack to carry this:

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_298411cc.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=298411cc.jpg)

still be able to tow a trailer (Confined Space Entry/Rescue Simulator yet to be fabbed) and this back to Moab and some other interesting places

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_c07b2241.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=c07b2241.jpg)

at least the "kids" have already picked out a spot :o

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_a5322218.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=a5322218.jpg)

http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/th_7e76ed1a.jpg (http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff423/STRACInc/?action=view&current=7e76ed1a.jpg)

07-17-2011, 04:02 PM
Been working on it furiously the last 2 weeks, have to be ready to
go for next week to Edmonton Indy and then the Expedition Rally.

Some quick info on what we've done and plan to do:

Put in a 2" spacer on top of the coils which leveled it.
Built adjustable control arms and pushed the axle *forward 2" (could
go up to 4" if needed) moved sway bar mounts forward, new bumpstop
plate, lengthened front driveshaft, *made new upper *shock tower (3"
lower), cut out fenders above the stock flare line, cut out a couple
inches of te lower cab corners under body mounts, removed hillsboro
deck and have basic frame of unimog style deck for camper made with
one side rigid mounted and other shackled to flex, added air bag
helpers to rear springs to keep level with camper loaded.

Still to do this weekend:
Finish fenders
Deck for camper
Fab new windshield washer tank
Rack to carry motorcycle.

After I get back from trip:
Cut off stock coil buckets a d fab new ones- possibly with air bags
Also looking at radius arms, Evolution makes some awesome ones. Up
travel will always be limited but try for more droop
Fab up storage for deck
May re do fenders to more of a old Power Wagon style
Air system

Lots of work!

07-17-2011, 04:25 PM
A few pics from earlier this week

For reference, the black Dodge is on 38's

07-17-2011, 08:45 PM
Wow. This build is gonna be cool.

07-18-2011, 12:27 AM
That things a monster. I can't wait to see it all put back together.

08-12-2011, 04:50 AM
Very cool build!
How is it coming along these days?
Any new pics?

08-13-2011, 04:34 PM
Just got back from nearly 3 weeks in the rig, including the Overland Rally in Washington which was fun.

The truck worked well, I have a bit if a balance issue at highway speed with the tires or rims I need to sort out. There are a couple of pics in the Washington Overland Rally thread, I'll try to get some more on here from the trip soon!

08-14-2011, 06:25 PM
definatly shouldnt be reading this build lol really bad ideas for my tow rig lol. great build so far

08-15-2011, 12:44 AM
Very cool build!
How is it coming along these days?
Any new pics?

It's impressive :Wow1: I got a chance to check it out at the Overland Rally in WA. Here are some of the pictures from the WA Rally thread (I'm re-linking them but I didn't take any of them)





08-15-2011, 12:46 AM
WOW ! ! ! that thing is nothing short of beastly!!

Ray Hyland
08-15-2011, 05:19 AM
Awesome to meet you guys Bob, can't wait to see what else you do to this truck.

Stop in and say hi the next time you are on BC Hwy 3.

09-22-2011, 12:29 AM
Well, haven't done much with the truck since getting back. Work has definitely taken back over- (need to finance some this stuff some how!) but since this is a work truck too I guess I should get it (more) done.

I have a fabricator friend who will make up aluminum sides, service body style, this winter so that helps.

I'm also seriously considering a different camper. The Arctic Fox is great and the boss rreally likes it, but for my needs a different one might be better.

1.Side Entry to better be able to mount the spare and a motorcycle on the back
2. Non-slide to cut down on weight and any potential issue on the road with it failing- also makes stealth roadside/ parking lot stays easier when necessary
3. I spent some time with Bruce @ Bruce's Coach in Salmon Arm, he had some great recommendations based on his experience and what I said I wanted to do- namely go to all diesel (no propane) and be self-sufficient. This means getting rid of the propane furnace and going with an Espar/Pro-heat/Webasto coolant heater on the truck and 1-2 heat exchangers in the camper along with a diesel cooktop. Also looking at putting 2 4d AGM batteries on the truck with an outback inverter and having all batteries powered off the truck alternator.

Though the truck is a 5500 and has no problem with the Camper on the road (I still pass most traffic and don't have slow down much for hills or corners), I'd like to go with something lighter- by half if I can- for more off roadability.

I considered the Alaskan Camper due to its hard wall pop-up design, but a couple things won't work to well for me I don't think. The process for putting it up and taking down is fairly quick, but I don't think I'd like that part too much since I use it as my office & hotel on the road, needing to go coast to coast for my business. No inside shower is an issue as well for the same reasons.

Really like the Northern Lite Campers construction & light weight seems like it might work for a true 4 (Canadian) season unit- no side entry though.

That brings me to Lance Campers. I had looked at them before- had a deal on one in fact, but let's just say that the local dealer here is the #1 reason I got an Arctic Fox instead- this after the dealer was supposed to be making up for my 1 1/2 years of Frustration with my Toy Hauler he sold me, that was in the shop for nearly a year of that time for warranty issues existing before purchase and guaranteed to be fixed upon return of the trip we were taking right when buying it- lesson learned (again?) I guess.

Sorry for the rant, but let's just say it would be a cold day waaay down below before I bought something that benefitted him in any way. - I won't post the name of the dealership but will happily let anyone know by PM if they ask!

Man, too many 5 hour energy and Pepsi Max this afternoon I think :Wow1:

Back to Lance Campers
Was originally wanting the 1041 loaded up- but it is a discontinued model. Then was thinking the 1191 which is more comparable with our Arctic Fox with the slide but has a side entry (boss really likes the slide!).
Now I have been mulling over the 831, shorter than the 1041 but still in production. For my time on the road it will be fine, but also has to work for trips/ weekends with the 2 of us and 2 dogs- further down the road an ankle biter to possibly.

I had the idea to use a double boot? to seal between the truck rear window and the Lance front cab window for the mutts, travelling they are in the back seat, and this way they could stay there mostly taking them out of the space equation. Right now they mostly squeeze in under the table in the camper and that is where they sleep, kinda tight for 150 lbs of dog but they like to cuddle.

If I need extra space can do something like Bob Lynch did with his and add an extension to the rear possibly, but getting into more (read$$) custom work.

Didn't intend to write a novel, but trying to work some of this out in my own mind at the same time I guess before I start on custom work to the camper or spending $ on logos/decals for it.

Time to walk the mutts and come back for a :beer:

09-22-2011, 12:41 AM
Awesome to meet you guys Bob, can't wait to see what else you do to this truck.

Stop in and say hi the next time you are on BC Hwy 3.

It was a real pleasure Ray, I will definitely let you know the next time I get out that way!

Would it be possible to get some hi Res copies of your photos of my rig?

Was kind of funny on the trip, lots of people taking pictures-on the highway, gas stations, the ferry- and a few didn't know I was around or it was mine when they were talking about it, but quite a number said "where's the plate- I bet he's from Alberta" ...amazing how people stereotype these days...:confused: can't figure out why they'd assume that ;)

Capt Eddie
09-22-2011, 12:44 PM
For what you are planning. I would look more towards the Turtle Truck for ideas. I think Gary can make or design a campewr like his.

09-22-2011, 03:38 PM
Did you fix your diesel filler cap? Or figure out why it liked to pop off so easily offroad?


09-22-2011, 03:51 PM
Nope, I think I might just need to wire it on for Offroad excursions.

I still owe you some swag. Ordering more, I haven't forgotten!

Waiting till I decide if I keep this camper or go with a different one before the decals, I'll be putting those nice MasterPull ones on then.

09-22-2011, 03:57 PM
Sounds great! When you get a chance to use the Super Yanker post some pictures up or shoot them my way.


09-24-2011, 04:01 PM
I am really looking forward to seeing more of your build Ram3500. i like the look of the camper that slides off the back of the flatdeck. Please keep us updated with LOTS of pics.:)

09-29-2011, 04:51 AM
For flat bed campers, check out the Northstar American Hero. I am building a 5500 as well, but took a less aggressive approach with the tires & suspension. Your rig is awesome and I will be following your build closely. I gave up on the diesel appliances due to the conversion cost and the fact that my travels will be USA and Canada where propane is readily available.

My build thread is http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/67031-2012-Dodge-5500-Expedition-Camper-The-build-has-started

10-19-2011, 04:10 AM
Wahooo this built is huge:Wow1:.

Can we get more pictures of the cutout and front axle re positioning?:)

well some how the recipe for big rubber and lifftle lift:chef:

01-28-2012, 06:22 PM
Well the most recent addition to the truck is 150 MaxiGrip Screw in Tire studs/ tire...and a for sale sign.

Have really neglected updating here and getting up some more pics- but I am unfortunately putting it up for sale effective today:(

Have been tossing this about for some time, sucks as I was just getting my personal dream rig done, but as the boss pointed out:

- We've only used it on the one trip in the summer, just over 4000 km's
- To properly grow my business I need to invest some more $$$ in equipment (Confined Space Training Simulator, more SCBA's, Rope Rescue Gear, etc..)
- I have my reasonably well built 2500 Dodge sitting almost unused in the driveway, along with a Grand Cherokee Diesel and my KTM- too many toys (again says the boss)

Going to put up an ad in the classifieds here and the local kijiji I think

So the upcoming Overlanding season will be roughing it a little (A LOT) more, the 2500 with the cap on the bed and sleeping bags...

I am going to console myself by "upgrading" the 2500 from the 38's to 44's- unless I come across the right steer axles to do 4 wheel steering and 54" TTC Baja Claws- have to try and keep up to the MasterPull crew off road :safari-rig:

I'll still try and get up some more build pics for you guys that wanted them

01-28-2012, 08:27 PM
that sucks i just went through the same thing with selling two of my rigs that i didnt want to but was for the better

01-28-2012, 08:43 PM
It does suck... has not been an easy decision since when we used it we loved it- but priorities change... Been thinking of selling the KTM as well...

01-28-2012, 08:58 PM
Lets see some pics of your2nd gen also!


01-28-2012, 09:28 PM
here you go...


01-29-2012, 12:29 AM
Tough decision for sure... I made a similar one and sold the PW this past fall- really miss it, but as you say- for the better in the long run. If it helps, I have a spare PW ps pump setup for ram assist by PSC. I did a ram, and bought a new pump, then had mine(7k miles) sent out and ported as a spare, which sits on a shelf- pm if it is of interest. Cheers

06-01-2012, 07:06 PM
I was enjoying your build, bummer that we will not see it come to completion.
Is the truck still for sale or is it sold?
Did you or are you selling the Arctic Fox too?

06-01-2012, 07:34 PM
I was enjoying your build, bummer that we will not see it come to completion.
Is the truck still for sale or is it sold?
Did you or are you selling the Arctic Fox too?

Good questions :)

Truck was for sale...then I changed my mind and was going to sell the other one... just put it up for sale again this week...but already re-thinking that.

The Camper is definitely for sale. Was only going to sell as a unit with truck, now will separate. Without the Camper, it is harder to justify the 5500 when I have a built 2500 as well. Considering trading for a non-slide camper like a Northern Lite, if I got a short box one I could carry with either truck...wouldn't be able to tow the size of trailer (work) along with the camper and 2500 though like the 5500 can. Smaller one would be able to go further off road- not as nice or roomy as my Arctic Fox though.

So that's where I am at-today- next week who knows?

Going through this with my KTM 950 Super Enduro as well, want to trade for a smaller dual sport (500 exc), then change my mind every time I ride the SE.

Wow, sounds bad...worse than women and shoes :ylsmoke:

Of course, what I'd really like is to keep em all and be able to add more!

06-06-2012, 08:11 PM
It sucks when wants, finances, priorities, and reality collide...:mad:

06-07-2012, 02:01 AM
Well, I'm in two lottery pools at work, one with 25 people and one with 16 I think...been for a few years and nada...but I am too scared to stop- don't want to be like that guy in Red Deer that quit the pool just a few months before they won!

06-07-2012, 09:21 PM
Any updated pics of the truck?? The 5500 must get some pretty good looks driving around. :Wow1:

06-08-2012, 02:09 AM
Beautiful rig. I wish I had the bank roll to buy that from you!

06-20-2012, 01:00 AM
Now looking at a couple other possible campers- and keeping the 5500

1) Northern Lite 8' 5" (http://www.northern-lite.com/truck_camper_lite_85.html): way lighter, but way smaller and less features. Excellent quality. Could go many more places, have more storage on truck, rear deck and or place for motorcycle and spare tire. Boss not crazy about small size and lack of features- very small sink and bathroom (she is 5'3"" and can't stand up in the bathroom)

2) Adventurer 86fb (http://www.amlrv.com/adventurer-truck-camper-model-86FB.php): really nice floor plan, good amount of space for the size, lots of nice features, bigger holding tanks. Taller than the NL, but roomier- still a short box one so can have more storage behind. Big question is construction, quality and reliability for what we want to do- looks better inside quality wise than many of the more expensive ones we have looked at.

Either one will require some modification to be able have it all the way to the front because of the dump outlets- more of an issue on the Adventurer since it has a fairly long run, about 4' across, below the rest of the floor.

I am awaiting some responses to a couple questions I had from the manufacturers...

07-01-2012, 11:42 PM
i was looking on kijiji alberta and i saw that your ram was for sale damn if i had the money i would pick it up in a heart beat hope everything works out for you

07-29-2012, 08:57 PM
I was browsing through your Moab pics, then I noticed the Alberta license plate! That must have been a great trip! Cool rigs too.

08-01-2012, 06:43 PM
Just got a flat deck gooseneck trailer, mounted the camper on that with the Jeep behind it. I need the trailer for work so it was justifiable- to me anyway :ylsmoke:

Looking at adding a turbo, so twins utilizing the stocker, 5 inch exhaust and head studs.

Down in Missoula at the moment, we did not manage to get the trailer ready for the Washington rally, so came down here to bring the jeep to AEV. Gotta say, Dave, Kent and Jesse have been AWESOME helping us out drawing out maps of places to explore, and anything we needed.

Hopefully be having US diese parts/ Gomer's diesel do the 5500 while we are here- they are swamped with work, but Moe is doing his best to get us in- he really wants to do this truck as well.

Heading towards Billings and the Redlodge area tomorrow I think, then maybe Yellowstone and back to Missoula if they can do the truck the end of next week.

Now I have promised to sell the '01, the Camper might still be going as well. Once we have some more equipment sorted for work then we will look at doing another one. We really like the camper on the gooseneck with Jeep (aka Redneck Toyhauler), can't quite get to some of the places we could with even just the camper but we can base camp and explore with the Jeep- that way if I break anything off reading we can still get home!

08-03-2012, 09:03 AM
The twin turbo setup works well for a lot of people, just be aware that your drive pressures will be really high if you are still running the stock manifold and turbo as your primary. I would highly recommend just calling Diesel Power Products and learning about their Spectre VGT series turbos. They bolt on in the factory location, spool up great, retain the exhaust brake, and reduce drive pressure significantly. The drive pressure is what usually pops the head gasket so that is something that should be addressed whether you go single or twins. Adding head studs helps this, but doesn't always eliminate the chance of it happening.

Ray Hyland
08-03-2012, 08:08 PM
Keep us posted Bob, looking forward to seeing how it goes with both rigs.

08-04-2012, 03:42 AM
The twin turbo setup works well for a lot of people, just be aware that your drive pressures will be really high if you are still running the stock manifold and turbo as your primary. I would highly recommend just calling Diesel Power Products and learning about their Spectre VGT series turbos. They bolt on in the factory location, spool up great, retain the exhaust brake, and reduce drive pressure significantly. The drive pressure is what usually pops the head gasket so that is something that should be addressed whether you go single or twins. Adding head studs helps this, but doesn't always eliminate the chance of it happening.

Now you're giving me something to think about!

I have been talking to the owner at Gomer's diesel/US Diesel Parts in Missoula, he is the one that recommends the add a turbo, 5" exhaust and head studs- he is doing his best to get me in for next week while I am here (even sold offered to refund the S&B intake I got if i decide to go with the add a turbosince it won't work with it.

Just looked at the site for the Spectre turbo's, first I've heard of them. I need to keep my temps down and am after tons of torque for towing. With trailer, camper and Jeep I am at (est.) 15,000 lbs + truck at 10,000 lbs+ around 25,000 lbs with 43's and 4.88's. For work I may end up closer to the trailer's 20,000 lbs max. On the HOT setting of the Black Maxx it hauls it very well, but temps (and I know drive pressure) are getting up there pulling the steep grades.

So, I want it all- lower EGT's, TONS of torque and reliability...who doesn't ;)

We are at a bar in Phillipsburg just now to catch up some emails, setting up base camp at Flint Creek Campground for a few days and explore in the Jeep around here- Carolyn also wants to see YellowStone even though we know it will be crazy busy ... if they can get the truck in at Gomer's it would be likely for Tuesday or Wednesday.

08-04-2012, 01:17 PM
Here is my super-duper-you-can-have-it-all suggestion for power mods: Talk to DPP about which size Spectre turbo they suggest for your application. Add a GDP wasegate kit to eliminate the possibility of drive pressure spikes. Order up the new H&S MCC software for your BlackMaxx. Have someone like Dave Matthews (member on Cumminsforum.com) write you a custom map for your truck using your mods and intended use as parameters. That should just about give you everything you need. You should be able to keep your existing intake and exhaust. The custom tune will make more power at lower EGT's and also get you better MPG's while unloaded. The turbo is the expensive part, the rest really isn't that bad at all.

P.S. If you didn't want to do the waste gate, you could put on an aftermarket exhaust manifold. The stock manifold purposely is very restrictive to create enough pressure for the EGR system to work. That and the stock turbo are the two causes of excessive drive pressure.

08-11-2012, 10:42 PM
Well, just got back home. The truck got a GDP intake manifold, heater grid delete and throttle tube heater, fuel rail plug, S&B CAI and a 5" exhaust exiting just behind the cab and turned down. Also moved the pyro as it was installed post turbo, so now in the proper location pre- turbo.

Drove home pretty good, but I expect a lot- ended up using the Black Maxx set on HOT, most of the way. Was able to keep the EGT below 1200 degrees most of the time, hit 1450 a couple of grades for a moment, just needed to keep below 55% throttle. Seemed to do better that way rather than on mild or no power settings and full throttle.

Went through a scale just to see on the way back- totaled just over 27,300 lbs. I could end up being even heavier by 3 or 4,000 when I finally get it all work ready.

Still thinking about the add a turbo WITH the waste gate ( thank you Saiyan66) and head studs- would have got it done at the same time but USDiesel didn't have time. They do want me to come back and said would make me a great deal on it- and do it on a weekend to accommodate me better, as well as able to concentrate on my truck only. Very tempting, but Missoula is a long way from Calgary and I would still need to take some time off work.

Sooo, looks like I will be keeping the 5500 after all, and the Jeep which did awesome compared to the '01 Dodge on the trails - in no small part due to size, gearing and lockers. We didn't do anything that really pushed its limits, we were by ourselves the whole time and the first trip with the Jeep, but that was also because it made everything sooooo easy! 4 Low and let it crawl with the Hemi at idle for the most part. Used the lockers twice only, once because we lost traction on a knarly, rocky uphill (never did air down the Pitbull Rockers though) once as a precaution when we got into a VERY steep loose long climb and couldn't get turned around (Carolyn wouldn't ride in the Jeep for that one and did a long climb on foot).

The '01 Dodge will likely need to be sold to pay for the work on the 5500 and goodies for the Jeep, a couple people interested in the Camper now that we are back as well. Will try and post up some pics of our RedNeck Toyhauler later- it certainly drew attention ( including at the border!)

08-11-2012, 10:49 PM
Also just need to say that pretty much everyone we met around Missoula and Phillipsburg were terrific- very friendly.

The guys at American Expidition Vehicles we can't say enough about- over and above helping us out (Dave also has an extremely interesting project he is just starting- I may be trying to get some ideas off him from that one). Dave, Kent and Jesse thank you so much!

Also, USDiesel Parts. Fantastic guys and really did their best to help me out- even though they were swamped already. I can definitely recommend talking to Moe for diesel stuff!

08-12-2012, 03:10 AM
If you're going with a flatbed, check out S&S out of kalispell. We're very happy with ours.


08-14-2012, 06:44 PM
What are your plans for cold starts without the grid heater in the intake? I'm assuming it gets pretty cold in Calgary, so I'm curious how you are planning on addressing/dealing with starting the truck without the grid heaters warming things up. I know on my truck, you can start it below freezing (tested down to about 20* F) without the grid heater, but the motor doesn't like it.

08-14-2012, 10:02 PM
What are your plans for cold starts without the grid heater in the intake? I'm assuming it gets pretty cold in Calgary, so I'm curious how you are planning on addressing/dealing with starting the truck without the grid heaters warming things up. I know on my truck, you can start it below freezing (tested down to about 20* F) without the grid heater, but the motor doesn't like it.

Yep, does get a little cool here alright. Deleted the stock grid heater- replaced it with a Glacier Diesel Products throttle valve heater http://www.glacierdieselpower.com/product.aspx?pf_id=07510-MF-TVH

Less airflow restriction and collection of soot.

08-15-2012, 05:02 AM
That looks like a cool product. Thanks for the link.

02-19-2013, 01:40 AM

03-03-2013, 07:10 PM
No real updates...still have all the vehicles, but camper is gone.

I keep going back and forth on them, hate to let any go- but should.

My current pie in the sky wish would be to put a JK Unlimited body on my 5500 with a shortened wheelbase. Would love to have a jeep that could tow! Big fan of the 2007 Ultimate Adventure Rubiwagon built by AEV for Four Wheeler magazine (JK body on '06 mega cab chassis) and the MBRP Rattletrap project (6bt in a stretched and strengthend JK).

I think the next camping unit will be some sort of off road trailer.

May not put a JK body on the 5500, but if it stays I will be shortening the wheelbase and doing some suspension work- might just start with using suspension off the 2500: the Carli springs and king remote resi shocks on the 5500 and see how it is, just use the mini -leaf pack on the rear with some of the stock leaves removed- I have the airbags as well.

Get the departure angle down as much as possible, which means relocating/ replacing the behind the axle 52 gallon tank. Going that route, I think I'd rather have a bumper pull trailer than the gooseneck since I'd have the hitch as close the axle as possible anyway. That would allow me to use the much smaller deck space still.

Also some type of doubler or replacement Tcase with lower gearing.

Without the camper, I really am not having a huge payload (in weight or size) on the deck and would rather make it more maneuvarable, both off road and around town- it is a pretty big unit in tight parking lots and city streets.

Would be an off roadable daily driver/ work vehicle that can tow heavy.

Sorry for all the speculation- just not certain where I'm going with it or the others right now...



03-04-2013, 01:33 AM
that thing is awesome

can you post some more photos of your front suspension work. coilbuckets and what not? id also like to see a better shot of your fender cut and bumper if you have opportunity to

03-04-2013, 02:10 AM
I vote sticking the camper back on the 5500, enjoying it, and towing the jeep. The JK swap has been done. Jeeps are everywhere. Your 5500 on the other hand, is one of a kind. Its the baddest Ram around for sure. I'd hate to see it turn into another jeep project. That's just my opinion though... I would also like to see suspension pics and fender mods. I want to get 39's on my Dodge someday.

03-26-2013, 06:56 AM
How have the continentals held up? How do you like them on the highway?

Love the truck!

01-11-2015, 02:45 AM
I'll see if I can get some more pics of fenders and front end.

The Continentals ride really well- once I got them balanced. Better then he 38" Michelin XL & XML's I had on my '01 previously.

I have re-listed the truck for sale on this site. Dropped the price hugely, combined with the way our Cdn dollar has dropped against the US $$, makes it quite the savings for US guys.

01-12-2015, 06:23 PM

$40K CDN, which, because of our weak dollar right now, is only about $33,500 US

01-21-2015, 07:17 PM
still for sale on this forum and Pirate only...our dollar is down an unbelievable amount $40K CDN= just $32,326 US today...