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Thread: Byron's new toy...

  1. #1

    Byron's new toy...

    Since I was in my mid 20s I've done a LOT of camping, owned a mini trailer for a little while but mostly it's been out of the back of a pickup truck...with a topper, of course. Sometime in my 40s I started thinking about a full on truck camper, but figured I'd wait until I got closer to retirement before taking the plunge. Besides, being a desert rat has it's advantages...it's not too often that you're socked in for days because of weather and most of the time you can just shift the location.

    But back in March/April when we had the "shutdown", I packed up my truck and booked it to the desert. I got lucky that during the time I was out, it only rained on me one night...so it was all good, but there were other people bugged out around me and some of them had campers...I became envious. For years now I've been thinking I'd buy one when I hit 60 years old, but I figured "Oh hell, why wait?"...I can afford it, why not get the show on the road?

    So now triggers have been pulled. First I ordered the camper...I decided on the Hallmark Flatbed "Nevada", here's a link to what it looks like. hallmark-raton

    I chose the Hallmark because of all the pop up campers available, they make what is far and away the best...and I chose the flatbed unit over the typical "slide-ins" as they're called because I see absolutely no reason the keep the bed on the truck. I'm not going to be removing it...this rig has one purpose only...road trips.

    So I have to wait until the end of February before it's built. In the meantime, I bought a truck suitable to carry it...no half assed cheapo shit here. Also, I just had the bed removed and the aluminum flatbed that the camper will be mounted on installed...those boxes underneath are for storage, of course. It's ready to go, all I'm waiting for now is the camper. I'll be visiting the facility where it will be manufactured (it's about 45 min. away) as they are building it so I'm totally familiar with what's "under the skin"...takes about a month to build and I'll go there maybe twice a week to take pictures, notes, etc...I'll update this thread as time goes by.

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    The end of the world for some...
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    The end of the world for some...
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  5. #3
    Just curious... what are you doing with the original bed? The reason I ask is I modify a lot of cars and that bed will have a significant value on the used parts market. I didn't want you to just walk away from it like a lot of people that do mods do. Ebay might be the easiest place to start.

  6. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe View Post
    Just curious... what are you doing with the original bed? The reason I ask is I modify a lot of cars and that bed will have a significant value on the used parts market. I didn't want you to just walk away from it like a lot of people that do mods do. Ebay might be the easiest place to start.
    I actually did a lot of research on this before my truck was delivered. I wanted to order it with the "bed delete" but they wouldn't give me that option with my configuration...if I would have gone with the diesel or the smaller V8 then it would have been available, but not with the new 7.3 engine. I was offered no explanation...just "it won't let you have it that way". I double checked...it even says so in Ford's literature. N/A with 7.3 engine.

    So I look around to see what they're worth...and they're a dime a dozen. Guys are yanking these things off all the time...mostly to install flatbeds for work and agriculture. There are three places here in Colorado that buy/sell them...Pueblo, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs. They sell from a few hundred bucks to about $2000 for the late model/clean ones.

    Most of these places that install flatbeds will buy it from you if you don't want to haul it back home and sell it yourself...something that appealed to me because I live in a condo and have no place to store it. I sold it for $1000 and had them waive the $150 "removal fee". I'm happy about that and they told me they'll likely get $2000 bucks for it but they may have to wait for weeks or months for the right buyer to show up. They have guys come in from other states sometimes to buy their stock and when it's a "color"...red, silver, blue, black, something that's rare because it was a color only offered for one or two model years, those are more valuable. The white ones are dirt cheap.
    The end of the world for some...
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  7. #5
    I just wanted to make sure you knew the bed had value and received something for it. Sounds like you have it handled :-)

  8. #6
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    Nice! (despite it being a Ford! ). Looks like its going to be a great build!
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  10. #7
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    The storage boxes in front(underbed) I see as a nice benefit.

    The ones in back a likely hindrance in offroad travel.

    I know you won't use it as a rockcrawler but you will likely hang those up crossing washes, etc.

    Any aftermarket suspension/tires?
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  13. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by BruteForce View Post
    Nice! (despite it being a Ford! ). Looks like its going to be a great build!
    Ha! Not a Ford fan, huh? I've been driving them for more than 25 years now and they've all been good to me. Pickups and vans.

    Besides, it's the profit I've made in buying and selling Ford stock since '09 that's paying for it all...the truck, the camper, everything...so I reckon I owed it to them to stay loyal. Also, neither Ram nor GM make an extra cab anymore...it's either regular bed or crew cab...and the wheelbase on those things would be very prohibitive off road, especially with the 8' bed I needed. Regular cab is a no go because I need seats for friends. Also, I've got a girlfriend that hates camping...she only comes with me when I promise that we'll stay at a motel, but I'm thinking she'll dig this because it's got a shower in it...that's her big hang up...she's like OCD with the cleanliness. The extra space behind the seats gives more room for all the crap she brings.
    The end of the world for some...
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  15. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by oldno7 View Post
    The storage boxes in front(underbed) I see as a nice benefit.

    The ones in back a likely hindrance in offroad travel.

    I know you won't use it as a rockcrawler but you will likely hang those up crossing washes, etc.

    Any aftermarket suspension/tires?
    In regards to the boxes, I also considered the clearance....but I was assured by the fabricator that I'd be smashing the tailpipe and scraping the hitch first. He gave me the measurements before he built the boxes and it checked out. The pictures I've posted are a bit deceiving...those boxes look like low hanging fruit when in fact they're not. In order to tag them, I'd have to be seriously off camber. They actually sit higher than the ends of the stock bumper that was on there.

    If you go to the link I put in my OP, the Ram that the camper is being mounted on is owned by a guy named James Langford...that flatbed was the very first of the production and he actually helped design it...you'll notice that he has boxes in front of the wheels, but not in back. He's got a blog and takes that thing on some pretty serious trails, and within the last year he's mounted boxes aft of the tires like mine...so if he's not concerned with it, neither am I.

    I'll be able to take this thing to the end of HITR and out to Crack in the Wall, all over Cedar Mesa and the Abajos...the only place I might have trouble is the Flint...I may have a wheelbase issue there...but I'm gonna find out!

    Suspension and tires...I ordered the one ton because I'm hopeful the stock suspension will be just fine. I don't plan on lifting it. Also, the tires on here are 33.5...when they wear out I may go to 35s...we'll see.

    BTW...the hitch and the spare are in their stock locations...nothing was changed. So you can see the boxes will be fine.

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    The end of the world for some...
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  17. #11
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    Truly, if I could find a new Ford F450 with a Cummins 6.7 in it, I'd be in heaven. Two years ago, I was ready to walk away from my heavily modified RAM 3500 (Mega-Cab) and started shopping for a Ford F450 Dually, but LHM Super Ford lost my custom order and failed to get the order in time for the Ford cut-off. They lost out on $106k on that custom built truck! So, I just put $40k back into my RAM 3500 (fire ring head, ARP 625 studs, full billet RevMax 850 trans, aux trans cooler, larger VGT turbo, larger air-to-air intercooler, etc, etc, etc..)
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  18. #12
    4x4 truck ??

    (Mehtinks that your camper choice is Xlnt), and extra smart move on the shower for the GF

  19. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi_outdoors View Post
    4x4 truck ??

    (Mehtinks that your camper choice is Xlnt), and extra smart move on the shower for the GF
    Yeah, not just for her but for me as well. You know how it is...you've been out all day long and a shower (even a quick one) just puts the life right back into ya. This thing has a plumbing fixture to shower outside, too.

    Yes, it's 4X4. One thing to consider for those that don't live in snowy areas is to get a 2 wheel drive truck with the electronic locking rear differential. They're now building these trucks with that option across the lineup...in the past it was always a limited slip as an option. I chose 4X4 primarily because there's a giant mountain range separating me form the desert I love so much...and sometimes in the winter/spingtime that comes in handy when crossing it. Also, having all four wheels grinding down when driving really chunky dirt/rock roads helps too.

    For those that live down south or stick to the easy roads then that 2 wheel with the locking diff. is certainly an option...better MPG and it'll take 400 lbs off the truck, too.
    The end of the world for some...
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  20. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by BruteForce View Post
    Truly, if I could find a new Ford F450 with a Cummins 6.7 in it, I'd be in heaven. Two years ago, I was ready to walk away from my heavily modified RAM 3500 (Mega-Cab) and started shopping for a Ford F450 Dually, but LHM Super Ford lost my custom order and failed to get the order in time for the Ford cut-off. They lost out on $106k on that custom built truck! So, I just put $40k back into my RAM 3500 (fire ring head, ARP 625 studs, full billet RevMax 850 trans, aux trans cooler, larger VGT turbo, larger air-to-air intercooler, etc, etc, etc..)
    2009, huh?...that's a big boy truck for sure...but I'll tell ya, they've really come a long way with these things in the last 10 years. Can you imagine a 1000 ft.lbs of torque? My God!

    I was going to get the diesel but backed out of it because of the weight...also, the purpose of this camper is more camping, less driving. The 445 I've got in this thing is badass and that 10 speed tranny is just a dream. I'm loving it. Been reading that other guys hauling with around the same weight say it moves like it's not even there. This engine hits 400 torque at 1500 rpm, with room to grow. Not bad for a gasser.
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  22. #15
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron View Post
    2009, huh?...that's a big boy truck for sure...but I'll tell ya, they've really come a long way with these things in the last 10 years. Can you imagine a 1000 ft.lbs of torque?
    Yup, because I'm pushing 800hp and about 1400TQ today, but it wasn't cheap to get to that point!
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  24. #16
    I figured all the mods were to bulletproof the engine...but I reckon you only got to do that to Fords, huh?

    That truck you're driving is more or less a jet engine...you are the man! Go big or go home, I love it.
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  26. #17
    Adventurer at Large! BruteForce's Avatar
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    @Byron Keep this thread updated. Curious to see the final result. I have a 43' Toy Hauler and its impractical for some of the adventures I like to take. I've slept on the backseat floor of my dually more times than I can count. The Jeep has zero insulation, so I carry a tent and that too isn't super practical, but especially in winter. I have a Mr. Buddy tent heater thing, but I learned the hard way that those 1 gal bottles are only good for about 4 hours and when you change the bottle out IN THE TENT, you'll melt the roof and your 'stache when you ignite the new bottle!

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  28. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by BruteForce View Post
    @Byron Keep this thread updated. Curious to see the final result. I have a 43' Toy Hauler and its impractical for some of the adventures I like to take. I've slept on the backseat floor of my dually more times than I can count. The Jeep has zero insulation, so I carry a tent and that too isn't super practical, but especially in winter. I have a Mr. Buddy tent heater thing, but I learned the hard way that those 1 gal bottles are only good for about 4 hours and when you change the bottle out IN THE TENT, you'll melt the roof and your 'stache when you ignite the new bottle!
    Ha! That's funny as hell! I've read quite a bit about people living in their campers full time...and one thing so many have in common is "cheapness"...the furnace breaks down in their unit and they're too cheap to fix it proper, so they go portable. Quite a few have gone the Mr. Buddy route, with varying results (as you can attest) but there's a far superior option. heaters

    Those right there. They're fantastic. Everyone that has one raves about it...I had a client recently that had the big one on his back porch and he told me it's worth it's weight in gold. Some of these campers that have them use them as the only heat source...there's some Youtube on it. I've considered buying the small one for in case I don't need to fire up my furnace...but I'll see if I really need it or it's practical. Sometimes you see something and think..."Oh, I've got to have one of those" and then discover you really don't use it.

    As a replacement for what you've got, you might want to check it out. Funny...I don't see you as a tent guy...I reckoned you're pulling a 40' RV with slide outs and the whole nine yards! Of course I'll keep this thread updated, although nothing is going to happen for at least a month...that's about when they'll start the build. I'll take pictures as it's put together. After it's completed, I'll immediately take the rig on a "shakedown cruise"...two or three weeks to get it dialed in and familiar with a whole new way of camping, really. I'll also discover if the stock suspension is adequate or if I need to do upgrades...I'll post all my impressions, of course.
    The end of the world for some...
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  30. #19
    Check this thing out. Just sitting there waiting for the camper. Pretty fancy pants, huh? I could have done with a base model white one with all the black plastic, but I wanted leather seats...and you have to move up to a Lariat to get them. Up until the age of 28 every vehicle I'd owned was a total piece of crap. So here it is 30 years later and it's like "Oh, I'll take the leather seats, thank you".

    Some guys buy vacation homes, sports cars or boats...I get the truck with leather seats.

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    The end of the world for some...
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  32. #20
    So this was my little project for the day. If you're going to have a camper, you've got to have an air compressor. I built a mount inside the passenger flatbed box and hooked it up to one of the Upfitter switches that came with my truck to make sure it worked (it did)...now I'll run the wires proper when the camper gets mounted. They're going to be running some major power from the engine back to the camper along that side, so I'll just tie in to what they do. Piece of cake, fun little project. Beautiful day, too.

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    The end of the world for some...
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