Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to my educational research. I'm so obsessed with wanting a FWC, my S.O. can't stand it any longer. She wants a house, I want a truck and camper. =) The whole thing began with me spec-ing out the most minimalist rig. Actually this journey began a few years ago. I had an 07 Ranger Sport 4x4, 4.0V6, 4:10 axle, 1700lbs max payload. I was aiming to get a FWC Fleet shell on it but the thing got horrid mpg (empty), was not very efficient for my contracting work, had under body surface rust, and about 100k mi on it. My choice was either to get the FWC or get a new vehicle but not both. After months of research we settled on trying out #minivanlife. I bought a compact cargo van- all purpose vehicle for my work, can be converted to a micro camper and is super efficient. Problem is the camping part was not much better than just tent camping. I discovered, after a 2500mi trip around the western US, that I want more than anything the ability to stand up and move around inside, and she wants a heater and insulation. I had bought an amazing work vehicle, an efficient road tripper, but a not so great camper so here we go again.
The new plan was to get a Taco or Frontier and a FWC Swift or Fleet shell but the payload #s don't work despite this popular combo. I don't get it? I must assume that people are just driving over GVWR. I can see it might work with a shell model, just me, and maybe a bag of chips... And yes I know every truck will need a rear suspension and tire upgrade. Now, looking at the F150 specs, the new aluminum bodies mean that the base models actually wight less than a Taco, have more space, capacity, and a lower price (depending).
A real breakthrough in my research happened this week when I discovered CruiseAmerica's Truck Camper rental. Its a Lance hard side (1600lbs dry) on an F150 Scab, V8, 2wd, (no heavy payload pkg). A customer on youtube posted a vid about their experience and said it all worked great and the truck got about 15.5mpg + 2ppl, dog, gas, stuff. Well, if it can handle a camper like that and be good enough for fleet rental use, then the lighter FWC Hawk shell (940lbs) would be even better! Of course, it has to be the 2wd v8 model that has that payload capacity sweet spot of 2320lbs. This F150 config is widely available and affordable. If you add the 4WD then everything goes to hell: payload, efficiency and cost wise. Then you need the heavy payload package and the price becomes greater than an F250. enter the rabbit hole.
So it begs the question, getting a 2wd 1/2 ton costs less in all ways and can carry the FWC Hawk or Grandy shell no problem, but will I regret it? My last 4x4, I think I turned on the 4wd three times since I owned it but never actually needed it. I live and work in the urban world, I like the Sierras (Tahoe, Gold Country) and AZ during mild winter conditions, and I've thought about the occasional off-road campsite but have no interest in over-landing or sport off-roading, Mostly concerned about slippery bad weather conditions. I hope to take long trips around western US and Canada mainly.
Any 2WD Truck campers out there?
4WD: get it or regret it? Must or bust? 2WD seems really efficient to me.
P.S. By buddy has a newish Taco and we took it on a dirt road in NV (no camper). When we got back to pavement, the 4WD got stuck ON and would not turn off. Turns out the switch failed. Under warranty fortunately but what a hassle for just a flat dirt road.
Edited by natetripsus, 23 November 2019 - 07:30 PM.