Build: Ram 5500 and Arctic Fox 1140

n0arp

New member
Long-time lurker here, but I never bothered to create an account. I'm loving how this rig is taking shape so created an account to share. I'm posting it on a few boards I frequent, so apologies to anyone who's seen it elsewhere -- I recognize a handful of usernames and rigs here. This isn't so much a build thread as a built one, because I don't have much left to do.

I took delivery of a new Ram 5500 early this month, and have been busy gathering parts and putting things together to have it replace my 3500. First, a photo of the 3500:

output_image1627441122241 2.jpg

The 3500 served us very well for a couple years, but we were egregiously overweight and masking it with SuperSprings and 19.5" tires.

We've been part-time since 2014 and full-time since 2019. We also have a 39' fifth wheel, but spend most of our time (the last ten months straight) in the truck camper nowdays because it's far easier to find great dispersed camping sites with. Pictures taken in northern Colorado. Two people and three dogs (border collies).

Here are some pictures of the new rig, then build details for both the truck and camper below:

IMG_4182.jpeg
Photo_6553873_DJI_273_jpg_23659321_0_2021924175354_photo_original.jpg
IMG_4027.jpeg

Truck run down - 2021 Ram 5500 Cummins, 4x4, 84CA, Limited
  • Bedrock 9D 11’4″ flatbed, modified for our use
  • Northstar direct-bolt-on 22.5×6.75″ wheels
  • Hercules DT320 255/70-22.5 tires (37″ tall) w/ full-size spare mounted on headache rack
    • 4.89 gearing from the factory is effectively 4.20 with these
    • Strongly considered going MPT81 or similar, but decided not to for a multitude of reasons
  • V-bar tire chains with cams for all six tires
  • 24+48″ toolboxes on each side, below the flatbed
  • 18+48″ toolboxes on each side, above the flatbed
  • Ranch Hand Sport front bumper (for a 3500, modified to fit the 5500)
  • Smittybilt X2O 17.5K winch
  • Viair RV-450P modified for permanent OBA
  • 18″ hitch extension for flat towing our 2020 Jeep JLUR
  • Midland MXT275 GMRS radio
  • Kenwood TM-D710G VHF/UHF radio (waiting on a couple parts for install)
  • Garmin Dashcam 35
  • Firestone outboard air bags w/ Pacbrake wireless control (waiting on a couple parts for install)
Camper rundown - 2016 Arctic Fox 1140 Wet Bath
  • StableCamper support system
  • Custom deck w/ Torklift Stow N’ Go steps
  • RVLock V4.0 Keyless RV Lock
  • Ring doorbell/ alarm system
  • Haier HA10TG21SS 9.8 cu. ft. residential refrigerator
  • Five REC Alpha 360W panels (1800W total)
  • Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C electrical management system
  • Victron Quattro 48/3000/35-50/50 inverter
  • Victron Cerbo GX
  • Victron SmartSolar 250/60
  • Three SimpliPhi 48V 3.8kWh house batteries (11.4kWh total)
  • Factory 12V house bank (to be replaced with Victron Orions eventually)
  • Onan 2500 LP generator
  • Coleman Mach Bluetooth Ceiling Assembly
  • Suburban IW60 tankless hot water heater
  • SinkMi$er in wet bath, w/ residential shower head
  • Air Head composting toilet and combined grey/black tanks
And because it's somewhat relavent, the Jeep we tow behind it:

IMG_4186.jpeg
 
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Superduty

Adventurer
Nice rig, camper and JL. For the uninformed, why are solar panels up on pedestals above the camper? storage maybe?

I can't imagine installing tire chains on all 6 tires....
 

n0arp

New member
Nice rig, camper and JL. For the uninformed, why are solar panels up on pedestals above the camper? storage maybe?

I can't imagine installing tire chains on all 6 tires....

The panels are raised because that's required to fit that many of them. There are lots of things on the roof that would otherwise be in the way. The rack essentially raises the rest of the roof to be even with the top of the AC unit, which is the highest point without it.

As an added benefit, they protect the roof protrusions from low branches and push them up and over.

The chains we have are actually only four chains - the duals use one larger chain that covers both on each side.
 
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n0arp

New member
Could you post a picture of the rear deck? I am working on something similar thanks

Here are a couple older photos. The camper has changed a lot since then, but the deck has not.

IMG_3280.jpeg
IMG_3289.jpeg

The padded bars on the bottom were to hold my tailgate, on a previous truck, when the camper was loaded.
 
Last edited:

akhummer

Member
Othe
Long-time lurker here, but I never bothered to create an account. I'm loving how this rig is taking shape so created an account to share. I'm posting it on a few boards I frequent, so apologies to anyone who's seen it elsewhere -- I recognize a handful of usernames and rigs here. This isn't so much a build thread as a built one, because I don't have much left to do.

I took delivery of a new Ram 5500 early this month, and have been busy gathering parts and putting things together to have it replace my 3500. First, a photo of the 3500:

View attachment 684815

The 3500 served us very well for a couple years, but we were egregiously overweight and masking it with SuperSprings and 19.5" tires.

We've been part-time since 2014 and full-time since 2019. We also have a 39' fifth wheel, but spend most of our time (the last ten months straight) in the truck camper nowdays because it's far easier to find great dispersed camping sites with. Pictures taken in northern Colorado. Two people and three dogs (border collies).

Here are some pictures of the new rig, then build details for both the truck and camper below:

View attachment 684816
View attachment 684817
View attachment 684818

Truck run down - 2021 Ram 5500 Cummins, 4x4, 84CA, Limited
  • Bedrock 9D 11’4″ flatbed, modified for our use
  • Northstar direct-bolt-on 22.5×6.75″ wheels
  • Hercules DT320 255/70-22.5 tires (37″ tall) w/ full-size spare mounted on headache rack
    • 4.89 gearing from the factory is effectively 4.20 with these
    • Strongly considered going MPT81 or similar, but decided not to for a multitude of reasons
  • V-bar tire chains with cams for all six tires
  • 24+48″ toolboxes on each side, below the flatbed
  • 18+48″ toolboxes on each side, above the flatbed
  • Ranch Hand Sport front bumper (for a 3500, modified to fit the 5500)
  • Smittybilt X2O 17.5K winch
  • Viair RV-450P modified for permanent OBA
  • 18″ hitch extension for flat towing our 2020 Jeep JLUR
  • Midland MXT275 GMRS radio
  • Kenwood TM-D710G VHF/UHF radio (waiting on a couple parts for install)
  • Garmin Dashcam 35
  • Firestone outboard air bags w/ Pacbrake wireless control (waiting on a couple parts for install)
Camper rundown - 2016 Arctic Fox 1140 Wet Bath
  • StableCamper support system
  • Custom deck w/ Torklift Stow N’ Go steps
  • RVLock V4.0 Keyless RV Lock
  • Ring doorbell/ alarm system
  • Haier HA10TG21SS 9.8 cu. ft. residential refrigerator
  • Five REC Alpha 360W panels (1800W total)
  • Progressive Industries EMS-HW30C electrical management system
  • Victron Quattro 48/3000/35-50/50 inverter
  • Victron Cerbo GX
  • Victron SmartSolar 250/60
  • Three SimpliPhi 48V 3.8kWh house batteries (11.4kWh total)
  • Factory 12V house bank (to be replaced with Victron Orions eventually)
  • Onan 2500 LP generator
  • Coleman Mach Bluetooth Ceiling Assembly
  • Suburban IW60 tankless hot water heater
  • SinkMi$er in wet bath, w/ residential shower head
  • Air Head composting toilet and combined grey/black tanks
And because it's somewhat relavent, the Jeep we tow behind it:

View attachment 684819Other than the airbags, I didn’t see any mention of suspension mods/ lift. Do the tires fit without a lift or trimming?
 

1Sludge1

New member
I'm looking at an Arctic Fox 1150 on a flatbed. I was wondering how much of your camper is actually on the bed and how much overhangs on the back?
 

n0arp

New member
These numbers are from memory, but I'm pretty sure they're correct. We're in our fifth wheel right now, not the truck camper, so I can't just go out and measure.

The overhang is 29", with the bumper support brackets unmodified and resting right up against the rear of the flatbed. Those brackets are only there on models that have a Fox Step, or a Fox Step ready bumper... you may not have them. If you don't have, or you modify those brackets, and forfeit the spare/equipment storage by the headache rack, you'll be able to shift it another 15.5" forward, for an overhang of 13.5".
 

n0arp

New member
I didn’t see any mention of suspension mods/ lift. Do the tires fit without a lift or trimming?

You can drive around on factory suspension, without trimming, and as long as you are on decent roads, you'll never rub. That said, we rubbed badly under full articulation, and especially under front compression... so that would never work for us.

To elminate that rubbing I had to remove the front mud flaps, trim the front fender liner, and trim quite a bit of the Ranch Hand bumper. I did not have to cut any body metal on the truck. In the rear, I had to arch out wells above the tires and trim up a crossmember on the flatbed.

No modifications to the factory suspension. I do have outboard Firestone airbags in the rear, but don't use them because the Pacbrake controller I bought failed and they're pretty far out on warranty replacements.
 
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buzzuti

New member
This is awesome.
Have a 5500 on order, going CM AL RD 11’4”
Coming from a 3500.

You mentioned your Bedrock 9D was “modified for our use”.

Can you expand on that?

My concern is our front jacks and lower box access. Yours looks like the Jack is all the way up to the gusset and it clears the box door when stored forward.
 

n0arp

New member
This is awesome.
Have a 5500 on order, going CM AL RD 11’4”
Coming from a 3500.

You mentioned your Bedrock 9D was “modified for our use”.

Can you expand on that?

My concern is our front jacks and lower box access. Yours looks like the Jack is all the way up to the gusset and it clears the box door when stored forward.
I sold both the truck and camper a while back and moved on to another rig I'd been looking for, for years. It's not really Expedition Portal material, but we live off the grid in it and it takes us places most people will never go. Among many other things, it has 4380W of solar and 38kWh of battery. My recollection of details on the TC rig might be a little fuzzy.

IMG_6947.jpegIMG_7055.jpegIMG_5321.jpeg

Congrats on your order, hopefully you get it soon and can start working on it.

I positioned the boxes and stops on the flatbed so that the jacks would clear and all box doors would be usable. I don't believe that specifically required modification, aside from simply drilling through it to set the stops for camper loading, and choosing where to mount the boxes so they wouldn't interfere.

For the stops on the side, I used 2x3" angle and mounted it 2" wider (51") than the camper base (49"). I drilled through the angle and the bed, and welded 1/2-13 nuts on the bottom and used 1/2-13x1" bolts on the top so that it was all removable without having to get a wrench on the underside. I used 1" plastic shims (Lynx Levelers with the bumps cut off) on either side to center and hold the camper. I lined the area the camper sat with stall mat.

For the front, I did the same, but with rubber dock bumpers and no shims.

The rest of the modifications were for tire clearance, mounting stuff, bracing, etc.

We broke the aluminum frame on camper when on the 3500 flat bed, and I didn't want the bed twisting under the camper when on the 5500, so I added additional 2x3 box bracing to the 5500 flat bed to resist twisting.

Note that with an aluminum bed, you'll probably have more flex -- but likely no more than than you get with a normal bed on a 3500. If you take it off road much, I'd expect it to crack or at least break welds after a while. Since you're going with a top heavy load, having weight down low in off camber situations would be useful... YMMV, but if you aren't committed to aluminum yet, I'd consider steel. You can protect it from corrosion/rust easily enough, and the weight savings aren't that important on a 5500. Just about anybody can weld on it without special equipment if repairs are needed and I've had several bad experiences off roading with aluminum.
 
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n0arp

New member
Maybe not portal material but I would love details of your off grid class A.

It's a 2000 Country Coach Magna 40 Indulgence; the CC Magna of that era are arguably among the highest quality RVs ever built and we looked at them and just a couple other models for over two years. We found this one in the right condition and at the right price, and pulled the trigger.

It has a Cat C-10 385hp engine, Allison 4000 transmission. We put relatively aggressive (Cooper RM230HH) 12R22.5 drive tires and typical (Cooper RM830EM) 315/80R22.5 steer ties on it, all new air bags, a new radiator, and addressed a few small mechanical things when we got it.

Not sure what you want to know, but this is my running list of notes and I'm sure it's missing some things, but covers a lot.

Electrical:
  • 12x REC N-Peak 2 365W panels (4380W)
  • 10x SimpliPhi 3.8kWh 48V batteries (38kWh)
  • Dakota Lithium DL+ 60AH 1000CCA 12V battery (720Wh)
    • Floated by Victron Orions, powers 12V house loads
    • Two Interstate 8D lead acid batteries for starting, on hardwired maintainer
  • 2x Victron Quattro 48/3000 inverters
  • 4x Victron SmartSolar 150/35 charge controllers
  • 2x Victron Orion 48/12-30 isolated DC-DC converters
  • 1x BMV-712 battery monitor
  • 2x Victron Lynx bus bars, and a few generic bus bars
  • Victron 100A Autotransformer (load balance L1+L2)
  • Onan QD8000 w/ Atkinson GSCM-mini
  • Custom 8kW 100% duty transformer (step up genset to 240V)
  • 2x Cruse N' Comfort custom 48VDC mini-splits, 14k BTU each
  • All Midnite/Outback DC breakers
Appliances:
  • Samsung 22cf residential refrigerator
  • GE Monogram Advantium convection oven/microwave
  • Kenyon 240V induction cooktop
  • Updated to new 4K Samsung 32" Q60A TVs, Bose sound bars, etc
Tanks:
  • SeeLevel tank monitor for fresh/grey w/ Victron integration
  • Nature's Head composting toilet (black tank repurposed for grey water)
  • 2x Mopeka Pro sensors for LP and diesel w/ Victron integration
  • 5x Ruuvi Pro sensors for temp monitoring w/ Victron integration
  • SaniCon Turbo 400S w/ 75' of camlock hoses plus 75' black Zero-G hose
  • 2x 75ft blue Zero-G fresh hose
Connectivity:
  • Cradlepoint AER-2200 w/ AT&T and VZ Unlimited SIMs
  • Panorama Mako 5G MIMO 4x4 antenna mounted on roof
  • Starlink Residential w/ Roaming - rect dish flat mounted on roof
  • WeBoost Drive 4G-X with OTR antenna mounted on roof
 
Last edited:

buzzuti

New member
Many thanks for the great info there n0arp.

I have read a little about bed flex, good to know and appreciate the response!
 

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