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How much truck camper is too much truck camper?

four wheel camper payload tires

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#1 underpowered

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:55 AM

Hello all! I am brand new to this thread and truck campers in general, BUT I BRING EXCITEMENT!

 

I have a very novice question for you all, sorry. I searched this thread a bit today, and I think I mostly understand, but I couldn't find a direct answer exactly, so here goes:

 

I have a compact truck (2006 ford ranger v6) with a 1200# payload (seems pretty standard for a compact truck). I see a lot of pictures on this forum and else where of FWC and ATC on compact trucks that I assume have a similar payload. Seems like with a modest amount of gear (two adults, bikes, dog, food, fuel, etc.) I would end up needing a camper that weighed 600 pounds to stay under payload. I understand that airbags and load rated tires are a must for these small trucks, but even that technically doesn't increase payload. So my question is: Are y'all just running over-full? What are the dangers of that? How much is too much?


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#2 LuckyDan

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 07:44 AM

I’ll share my thoughts. While I have a full sized Grandby and truck, I also own a Ranger. With the weights listed for applicable models running 935 to 1045lbs, and I’m assuming that’s for the regular, not shell, your discretionary payload is a few hundred pounds or so. I’ll venture that most of these configurations you see going down the road are at or a little over the GVWR. As for the other questions, I’ll leave it to others who may actually have that combo to share. I will add that a LOT of Rangers and Tacomas are FWC equipped and perform well. In my area they are popular and I don’t read about them crashed on the highway or see them flipped on their top out in the brush. I can recall only one of the aforementioned scenarios around here, and it involved a full height hard side on a Ranger not a pop up. I know of a similar accident occurring in BC, but IIFC, it too involved a full hard side.

As for the GVW and camper weight topic, a search of the camper section should turn up several threads on it. In my history here it’s been discussed repeatedly.

Good Luck.

Edited by LuckyDan, 03 July 2020 - 07:55 AM.

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#3 Sleddog

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 12:45 PM

I don't think it is safe to assume that all compact trucks have a payload similar to your Ranger. I had a 2003 Tacoma extra cab with 1600lb payload, some models have even higher capacity.
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#4 Wandering Sagebrush

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:05 PM

I sold my 2007 Ranger (4.0L V6) and ATC Bobcat, but thought both were excellent.  The biggest reason for selling was my inability to limit the amount of gear I was taking.  I literally drove myself out of room in the camper.   It’s surprising how much room an 85 pound wirehair pointer can take up.
 

If doing It over, I would probably go with another Bobcat, but a bare shell, maybe with a furnace.  My camping gear would be minimized in size and quantity to backpacking levels, and activities like cooking would be done outside.

 

The Ranger did feel somewhat sluggish with the camper on, especially on climbs, but it was able maintain reasonable speeds.  Better said, I didn’t have to stay in the right lane and follow the semi trucks.  
 

You will want good tires and airbags on your truck.  I went with Airlift bags, as they were the only fit for my truck.  The tires were C or D rated Cooper Discoverer AT3s.  My opinion is you don’t need an E rated tire.  When I had E rated Toyos, the extra rolling weight seem to make the truck even more sluggish to accelerate.


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#5 JaSAn

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:35 PM

My advice would be to load up your truck with what you will take: people, pets, bikes, gear, food, water, et.al. and get it weighed.

Then you will know what you have to work with on payload.  We all underestimate what our gear weighs.

 

My opinion is that one is best served by staying under GVWR, but many here run slightly over.  You just have to be aware of stopping distances, brake fade on long downhills, side winds, etc.

 

jim


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#6 rubberlegs

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 03:25 PM

I had the same concerns. We are backpackers and know how to go light. No dogs or bikes and our Tacoma is up to 600 lb above GVWR. Nearly all the weight is on the rear axle.
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#7 rando

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 03:52 PM

I would wager that the vast majority of campers you see on 'small' pickups are over GVWR, and a large fraction on 'mid size' truck are as well.   But I would qualify this by saying that GVWR is not some magic number where everything is fine when you are below it, and goes to pot if you exceed it. Weight is a continuum, performance decreases with increasing weight, regardless of the GVWR.   

 

With a smaller pickup (ranger, tacoma, frontier etc) you will need to do some suspension work and should probably replace the tires even if you are not over GVWR, from the factory they are biased towards comfort with light loads.    Your truck will be slower off the line and in the hills, the stopping distance will increase and the center of gravity will be higher with a camper.  Of course this is true for all vehicles and any load.

 

There are endless discussions of these points on this and other forums, but take these for what they are, folks BSing on an internet forum.   That said, we have been happy with our overweight Tacoma (with upgraded tires and suspension) and have had no inclination to switch to something larger.


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#8 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 07:47 PM

Welcome to the cult, Underpowered.

I started my pop up camper experience with a 2009 ATC Bobcat full camper

on an 2006  3.0 V6 Ranger Super Cab. The truck had c rated LT truck tires,Supersprimgs rear.

They were  the only mods.

 

Form 2009/2011 we put on about 20k miles with trips to Yellowstone and Alaska.

Actually the main issue was the 3.0 V6 under powered.

Also the over the road ride,on mainly concrete ones left a lot to be desired.

So on the final trip,Alaska 2011 we said enough of the under power and comfort.

We found a great 2002 Tundra AC 4X4 and after another 35K miles it solved all out issues.

 

There are several members with the combo you are referring to.

Ski has a Ranger , ATC Bobcat combo with the 4.0 V6 and goes everywhere with it.

 

As for over GVW well I am sure most of us have that problem.

That issue becomes a more personal thing.

 

Frank


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#9 underpowered

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 09:47 PM

WOW, This is such an excellent forum. I can't believe the amount of help and feedback y'all provided in one day (the third of July no less). Most other forums I have been on would have said "google it bro" to a question like this! Thanks! 

 

I totally hear you frank, the older I get the more of a personal issue my weight problem becomes....

 

I appreciate all the excellent experience keep it coming.


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#10 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 10:53 PM

On the GVW issue ,I have no problem being a bit over weight.(truck weight,not me)

but that's as I said a personal thing.

 

We all bring our personal choices into our travels/camping.

 

Check out my blog to see the 2 different trucks and how the camper is on each one.

 

One of the great things about this site is all the collective knowledge and the willingness to share.

Happy 4th.

Frank


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