Jump to content

- - - - -

Prospective buyer here. Will a base F150 and a FWC Shell model work?

Ford F150 FWC Four Wheel Camper Shell

  • Please log in to reply
56 replies to this topic

#21 Sleddog


    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 153 posts
  • LocationIdaho

Posted 10 November 2019 - 02:27 PM

I drive a 2010 Toyota Tundra, double cab, work truck package, 6.5 foot bed with added airbags and E tires, and have a remodeled 83 Fleet. My specs are about the same as the new F150. The Fleet is right around 1200 lbs fully loaded, add two people and two dogs and we are right at max stated capacity. I think the truck actually drives better with the camper on. Gas mileage drops a little, but otherwise no issues after 3 years with the Fleet. I live in the Rockies and have travelled all over the mountains and desert southwest both on and off pavement, no problems. I am also cheap and wouldn't even consider a 3/4 ton truck because it's too much truck for everything else I do and I've simply never had any issues getting it done with a 1/2 ton, added air bags, and E tires.
  • 0

#22 Happyjax


    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 1,371 posts
  • LocationMaryland

Posted 10 November 2019 - 02:49 PM

Further research. This is interesting to me and reinforces what others have been saying.  I'm playing around on the Ford website and the price of a base F150 plus heavy duty payload package plus V8 etc etc is actually higher than the price of a base F250 that has an excessive max payload for my needs over 4000lbs 2wd, 3000lbs+ 4wd. 


So, the ideal F150 would need lots of upgrades to handle the 1000lb FWC shell plus people and stuff whereas the F250 is more than capable out of the box and may actually cost less. The base F150 engine would be working harder and probably bring down the mpg to ~15 whereas the F250 gets 15mpg anyway and wont notice the camper. The lowest price choice is a base F150 with its 1900lbs+ stock payload with no upgrades, which "should" be "ok" with the FWC shell + people + stuff, but could be "iffy" and overworked, running at near max payload, depending on numerous factors and will need upgrades down the road.


I had high hopes someone would tell me that base/stock F150 is going to be just fine and I wont be disappointed. guess not. 


what a rabbit hole. 

I spent 2 years looking at that rabbit hole and eventually bought the 250 for the exact reasons you said. By the time I made a 150 do what I needed I could buy the 250 and have a better vehicle for the job!

  • 0

2018 Ford F-250. Customized Bundutec Sable :)

#23 Machinebuilder


    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 234 posts
  • LocationEast Tennessee

Posted 10 November 2019 - 07:02 PM

to the OP's original question.


the short answer is yes you can get away with a shell on a F150.




My longer answer.


I have a 2011 F150, Extended cab 8'bed 4x4, 5.0 Heavy Payload, trailer tow. the payload rating is 2200lbs (8800GVW).

I have a 2017 Granby shell.


Before I was fully loaded to go on a 3 week vacation I weighed it at 7600lbs and thought WOW I still have 800Lbs left.


Then I realized 800 - me, 2 large dogs, food, water, beer, 4 seasons worth of clothes cameras recovery equipment etc, Damn I don't have enough for my 350Lb motorcycle and carrier, I'm right at GVW.


I did not have a good opportunity to weigh with a full load.



I see many people pushing to get the heavy payload package. I WOULD NOT do it again.

I had the truck long before the camper

I bought this truck because I wanted an 8'bed and they are very hard to find any more.

I live in the country parking isn't a problem for me most places.

My truck has 7 lug wheels, they are unobtainium, IF you find a used one it is a very rusty steel wheel for $150.

After market suspension is not available unless you go to one of the very pricey custom shocks. the stock suspension is not made for rougher off pavement driving, it is very under damped.


I added Firestone Air bags, mostly to help with the wallowing feel with the camper on, just putting the camper in the truck settles it about 3" in the front, and 4-5 in the back, with the air bags at 10PSI  I get about 1.5-2" in the back.


I am making do with this truck, I do not consider it adequate for longer term travels. I do not like using anything for a longer time at 90+% capacity.

My current desire is to take a months long trip and I plan to replace this truck with a F350 Flatbed and put toolboxes along the sides. that would give me so much more storage and flexibility.



I see many people say the F250 is "too much Truck" that its "So much bigger", the bodies on the current trucks are the same, there are differences in the drive train and suspensions.


YMMV these are my opinions

  • 1

#24 SCHawk



  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 11 November 2019 - 08:21 PM

My own experience indicates that an F-150 works well carrying a Hawk camper. There are two modifications to stock that I would recommend but otherwise we've had no problems with this combination over about eleven months of use over the past 4 1/2 years. The first are air bags on the rear axle and the second is E rated tires, both essential upgrades. Since F-150s come in a wide variety of configurations, I should perhaps be specific about ours. It's an XL with the SuperCab and the 6.5' bed, 4x4 Off Road with the 3.5 EcoBoost engine. We added the 36 gal fuel tank and the lesser of the towing packages. Basically we got the cheapest truck and added what we wanted to it. The EAA discount helped pay for some of that. I think the only option we got that we have never used is the locking rear differential. But it might come in handy some time! The SuperCab gives needed storage (ours is piled high), the Off Road gives slightly better shocks and the towing package has increased transmission cooling as well as the essential towing mirrors. I couldn't drive this rig without them. The Hawk has lots of options, including some we found we don't use and since we generally go out for months at a time it is pretty well loaded. I'm sure we're somewhat beyond the load limit but it's never evidenced itself as an issue. I don't know what percentage of safety factor Ford uses but it would seem that we are within it. The odometer shows 50,000 miles, almost all of which are with the camper mounted. We get about 16 miles to the gallon on average and have plenty of power. There are definitely roads I would not attempt with this sort of weight on the truck but we have been on lots of sandy and/or rocky roads whose conditions we didn't expect and the truck pulled through on all of them. So far. Well, except in the KOFA but that was the stock tires which are now in the attic.

  • 0

#25 Helmut


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 38 posts
  • LocationSouth America

Posted 11 November 2019 - 09:36 PM

Hi trying to make this short :wub:

 - with the camper alone the truck will have no problem.!!

- you probably know what you will take with you and for how long, as what kind of roads you will be travelling. Try to estimate the weight of everything you will be taking with you ( don`t forget water and gas, tools aso) add it to the camper weight and you got it. Also as already has been said, whatever you take with you has to go somewhere, there is no storage room in a small FWC.


we are travelling fulltime (2 1/2 y) in a Grandby on a 8ft bed F150 3.5 ecoboost (35k mls so far). The HD pckg rear springs are not up to the job! added another 4! leafes. Truck came with C-rated tires, no problem, load capacity exeeds our way over GVWR truck.

  • 0

#26 BBZ


    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 465 posts
  • LocationGolden, CO

Posted 11 November 2019 - 09:57 PM

After owning, building, and camping in quite a number of vehicles from a first-year Toyota 4x4 and up, I would never consider putting a slide-in camper on anything smaller than a 3/4 ton again. You WILL end up way over GVWR; really, you will. The first question you should ask yourself, before all of the other "pros/cons" is: How are you going to handle the insurance company and lawyers when "whatever situation you're in" ends up including the fact that your rig was over the GVWR of the vehicle you were driving?

That is not true.. depends what you have an what you need.

2014 F150 supercrew 6.5 bed with 5.0 motor and old Granby redone and built light.. when fully loaded for a month long trip, 2 adults and 2 dogs we are under GVWR.. not by much, but we are under. 

  • 0

2016 F-150 Scab HDPP + 2013 Grandby Shell +





#27 ClimberRob


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 74 posts
  • LocationTahoe

Posted 12 November 2019 - 04:10 AM

That is not true.. depends what you have an what you need.

2014 F150 supercrew 6.5 bed with 5.0 motor and old Granby redone and built light.. when fully loaded for a month long trip, 2 adults and 2 dogs we are under GVWR.. not by much, but we are under. 


So, what, you loaded up and weighed yourself one time and you'll never be over the GVWR of your vehicle? Geez. Give me a break.

  • 0

#28 m.r.h.


    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 113 posts

Posted 12 November 2019 - 07:38 PM

I have been thinking about this post a bunch in terms of what size truck to get. I have a Ram 2500 long bed 5.9 Cummins. Most of the time it is way more truck than I need. However, when I have my Keystone on it, or loaded to the gills with gear it is sure nice to know that I am still under my GVWR and don't really need to worry. Sure is nice to not have to get the calculator out and crunch the numbers. 


Before I bought my truck I had a hard time deciding on a Ford vs a Dodge. I wanted a short bed because it would be nicer to cruise around town in. Long beds seem to be a little easier to find used so I gave a long bed Dodge a drive. I could hardly tell a difference it was a couple feet longer. Driving around town is a breeze. Between my person truck, and a couple Ford work trucks (3/4 ton, 1 ton and 1.5 ton) I much prefer my Dodge when driving around town. I don't think I could go back to anything but a 3/4 ton 8' bed.

  • 0

#29 moveinon


    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 149 posts
  • LocationMilwaukie Oregon

Posted 12 November 2019 - 07:56 PM

I have a half ton truck with fully decked out Fleet and run from just below GVWR to 300 lbs over depending on the trip(I have easy access to a scales).  We are not minimalist but also have camped and backpacked for years and do not carry a lot of extra stuff so you do not need to be overweight just because you have a 1/2 ton truck.  You can see lots of threads on here about weight but basically the GVWR is based on the weakest component of your truck which is almost always the suspension (why you see the towing capacity of every truck much higher than the weight you can carry)  Suspension upgrades can cost but are pretty simple upgrades.  If you go to FWC get togethers you will see hundreds of 1/2 ton trucks of every make that have successfully run for years on and off road.  And the issue of insurance liability - they have never on record weighed a non-commercial truck to asses liability - think about it, no insurance company is going to spend thousands of dollars potentially to deliver a truck to a scales off load it and reload it to asses weight for something that is expected to be on a truck.  Yours could be the first, but I believe it is just a fantasy.  One of the good things about FWC is that if you want one on a F450 they make one for that or clear down to a bronco or Range Rover, there is one for those also, so you should be able to get just the truck and camper you want and have it work well.

  • 0

#30 Bjammin


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 34 posts
  • LocationPacific Northwest

Posted 12 November 2019 - 10:47 PM

We've been running our 2017 F150XL for a year now with a Hawk shell and it's worked great. We have the 2.7 Ecoboost engine, air bags, 6.5 foot bed. We top out at 6350 lbs. fully loaded and weighed at a local truck stop.  Our vehicle is rated to 6500 lbs. The engine doesn't seem to strain at all, gets 17 MGP, has been on quite a number of road trips throughout the west, including a good bunch of rough driving in the Mojave desert.  Couldn't be more pleased.

Edited by Bjammin, 12 November 2019 - 10:50 PM.

  • 2

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Ford, F150, FWC, Four Wheel Camper, Shell

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users