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Old 06-11-2008, 02:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Alaskan Campers

I'm going to buy an older 10ft Alaskan camper this afternoon. But I want to put it on a short-box 1-ton Dodge (diesel/6spd, 4WD, SRW, 2500HD). My question is: how well do you guys think that truck will be able to carry a 10ft camper? The camper mfg said 'no way-no how'. They said that would put the center of gravity 2-3" behind the rear axle. Stretching the wheelbase a few inches isn't really that big of a deal, but I'd prefer to keep it shorter than a long-bed WB if possible.
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Uh, square block not fit in round hole? If the camper was made for an 8' bed, you better put it in an 8' bed. Anything else is just unsafe and sure you get you pulled over.
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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you ever seen what happens when you put to heavy of a trailer ont he back of a pickup ? you have no steering you'll be in the same boat. 10' camper will definately give you unstable steering.
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Also, those old Alaskans are HEAVY pigs, and don't have the weight distribution in mind that the cabovers do to bring the COG forward. Made my 89 F-250 ride nice though
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Alright, no problem. Then the second part of the question is; how much do you guys think I'll need to strech the wheelbase in order to make it handle right? I'm really only asking what I need to think about/consider, not really for the 'right' answer.

First, I'd like to keep the wheelbase as short as possible. We were planning on building the back half of the truck around a mid-travel leaf setup and a basic flatbed. Then we're going to build different modular platforms to haul a camper or dirt bikes, chase, general utility, etc. We'll probably keep the framerails on the sort side of 8ft and then make some sort of frame extension to support the camper.

PS: I went and checked it out this afternoon and it's CLEAN. I was really expecting it to be in a lot rougher shape considering that it was made in 1958. The hydraulics weren't working, so I took the jack home to rebuild it and I'm going to take it back down there tomorrow morning to make sure that there aren't going to be any problems or surprises. I'm not expecting any though. It's straight and there's no water damage.

It's sitting on a janky trailer right now, so I'm just going to haul it home and then start the renovation. Will probably build another little trailer for it, so I can haul it behind some of our smaller trucks too. I just found my expedition camper.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The problem isn't just how long the bed is, but the previously mentioned weight distribution. In order to improve that you would have to move the rear axle rearward. If you aren't running a normal bed, then build a bed and frame long enough to support the camper as it was designed and then move the axle back, at least as much as the factory longbed wheelbase that it was intended for. The further the rear axle goes back, the more weight gets transferred to the front. Keep in mind that these campers are pushing the limits as they are as far as weight and size. A lot of trucks come with a warranty disclaimer against carrying them.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah, I understand what you're saying about the rear axle. No problem moving it. I just need to figure out how little I can get away with moving it because I'm concerned about how it will handle and drive on/off-road without the camper. What's that thing going to weigh when it's all set-up? 2,000lbs? A little more?
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Alaskan's website lists the dry weight at 1,550lbs and the wet weight at 1,860. So even overloadeded, the weight over the back axle should be under 2,500lbs. Think that'll really pose much of a problem if I redesign the suspension and back half of the truck to handle it?
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What's the total weight and weight distribution of a stock truck anyway? Having a hard time finding that info online. It's a 2001 Dodge Ram quad cab, HO cummins/6spd, 4wd, short-box, SRW.

I'm going to call Alaskan tomorrow to see if I can get some more information about the camper weight and how it's distributed. Doesn't look like they've changed the overall design much over the years.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Tag axle? I thought about a similar setup when I had an 11.5ft cabover. My idea was to use a flatbed modular design, then make the camper sit on rails that would be attached to a tag axle mounted to the rear of the truck. Using an air-ride suspension, I figured I could get off-road as much as I wanted to, then park the camper using a set of jacks on the front of the rail setup. Jack up the camper, disconnect the mounts and drive off leaving the camper and the tag axle all in one piece parked at camp. Then wheel it and come back later. You still get your shortbed handling and wheeling ability and you get extra load carrying ability with the possiblilty of pulling a trailer from the tag axle frame.

If you can build a custom suspension, you should have no trouble imagining what I'm describing.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks. Those are exactly the sort of suggestions that I'm looking for. I hadn't seriously considered adding another axle, but that might help with the wheelbase compromise and I'm pretty sure we're going to make some portion of the rear frame section removeable.
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:51 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Keep in mind that another axle will cause a lot of steering and tire wear issues. It's an idea that can work, but there are compromises to the idea.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:19 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Sure, sure. I think it's a lot more likely that I'll just compromise on the wheelbase and use framerail extensions.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I just started two new threads. One about modifying a truck to carry the camper and another about building a trailer to haul the camper around in. These old Alaskan campers are pretty neat and I'm going to restore/update this one, so I'll document that here.

If any of you guys have experience with these, please share.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JESSE_at_TLT View Post
I just started two new threads. One about modifying a truck to carry the camper and another about building a trailer to haul the camper around in. These old Alaskan campers are pretty neat and I'm going to restore/update this one, so I'll document that here.

If any of you guys have experience with these, please share.
Building a trailer is going to be your best bet, there is no way it will go onto your truck and ride right with out stretching your wheelbase 2+ feet.
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