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How much truck camper is too much truck camper?

four wheel camper payload tires

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#11 rubberlegs

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 01:21 AM

I would have appreciated a thoughtful answer to the overweight question when I was purchasing, so I will expound a bit. I used to design aircraft including a little bit on landing gear, which means I know enough to be dangerous, but no expert. We ordered our 4WC Fleet, then while waiting for delivery bought an off-road 2018 Tacoma (GAWR: Front: 2910 lb; Rear 3280 lb. GVWR: 5600 lb). We weighed it with two smaller people and a full tank. Front: 2700 lb; Rear: 2000 lb. We were already at 4700 lb, which means only 900 for the camper "wet" left. The truck looks so dang big (I'm a Prius driver) and has less than a half-ton payload. Hmmm.

 

The day we got the camper, we put 1/4 tank of gas, a few gals of water, (5 gal), removed the sliding bed since we're short, one of the propane tanks, added a nights worth of stuff and weighed it: Front: 2700 lb; Rear: 3150 lb. Right off the bat we are at 92% front and 96% rear but 104% for the total truck. Oops.

 

Our heaviest weighing so far: 96% front and 109% rear, 113% total (i.e. 2800 front, 3600 rear, 6400 total). That's with two people, about half or 3/4 full water tank, full gas, 2.5 weeks supplies. Yikes.

 

I try to minimize water en route and fill up only when we need it, like in Death Valley. I drive slow (and walk fast!) and am pretty gentle in rough terrain.

 

This overweight of 600 lbs really bothered me, but here's how I'm rationalizing.

  • The stock kevlar P-rated tires still have quite a bit of margin -- 125% of derated (that 1.1 factor using P-rated tires on trucks). We've been using E-rated tires which have much higher capacity*, and are good for desert rocky travel, but would still use the P's on pavement and forest service roads in Washington.
  • Brakes are designed for towing so are probably ok (plus we rarely drive at 70 mph, use low gears on steep downhills).
  • Suspension upgrade is just the black Sumosprings which have worked great on all terrain and re-leveled the back end.
  • Engine is designed to tow a heavy trailer, should be ok (plus we don't drive 70 up hill -- ok I often drive 50 or less up hill -- what's the rush!).
  • The rear axle is loaded about 10% over specs, so I'm drive gently and "hope" the safety factor should cover our bases. Folks really abuse trucks so hopefully Toyota has been conservative.

* We pump up or E-rated tires to 45 psi front, 55-60 psi rear. That's a whole 'nother story I put here


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Tacoma/Fleet 2018.


#12 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 07:48 PM

Thanks  rubberlegs.Your info and comments are very interesting.

IMO the weight thing is a personal thing.

My view similar to yours a bit over works for me.

I have a 02 Tundra with TRD package and airbags.

 With a ATC Bobcat full camper.

Frank


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2002 Tundra AC TRD 4WD Limited 2009 ATC Bobcat loaded http://sharychic.blogspot.com/

#13 WillTheThri11

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Posted 20 July 2020 - 05:06 PM

This can really be a truck/camper combo specific question.  I know Toyota axles are considered a little better than a Dana 40 I believe (this is anecdotal...they break less often according to the internet).  If you have good axles and wheel bearings and beef up the suspension and have properly rated tires well the next thing is probably frame twist.  You can mostly avoid this issue but driving sensible and not pushing it too hard off road.  You can also consider boxing the frame or reinforcing it somehow.  Tacomas have a weak shackle mount so some folks put a beefed up one in when doing the suspension.  When looking at suspension, remember that stronger springs have to be mounted to the same truck unless you make the truck stronger too.  Everything has been designed to work together with factors of safety that aren't published by the manufacturer, but I'd guess 1.5x factors of safety are likely the minimum (someone with automotive experience may know more here).  Keep in mind though a 10% increase in payload could lead to a 40% increase in the load on certain parts due to the geometry, moment arms, etc...

 

As someone else said, towing is usually much higher than the weight of the camper so engine and transmission should have no issues with the weight.

 

but ya, google it bro


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