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I bought a truck and a camper.

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    webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    edited April 2021
    Oh yea, I wanted to bring up some more stuff with the SUV. That's a 2005-2006 Durango right? Either way its probably about 15 years old. I would recommend having the radiator flushed and potentially replaced (depending on the condition and build up inside) and all the rubber tubing replaced, along with the thermostat. Also if the transmission allows it, a transmission fluid cooler, along with an oil cooler. Especially if you are going to be towing up and down grade.

    I would also looking at getting replacement heavy duty leaf springs on the back end and new shocks on all four corners. Leaf springs sag over time and refreshed suspension along with brakes will go a LONG way into improving your towing experience, both in comfort and safety.

    Edit: looks like the 2nd gen has coil spring suspension in the back. I'd still look at upgrading to heavy duty.

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Oh yea, I wanted to bring up some more stuff with the SUV. That's a 2005-2006 Durango right? Either way its probably about 15 years old. I would recommend having the radiator flushed and potentially replaced (depending on the condition and build up inside) and all the rubber tubing replaced, along with the thermostat. Also if the transmission allows it, a transmission fluid cooler, along with an oil cooler. Especially if you are going to be towing up and down grade.

    I would also looking at getting replacement heavy duty leaf springs on the back end and new shocks on all four corners. Leaf springs sag over time and refreshed suspension along with brakes will go a LONG way into improving your towing experience, both in comfort and safety.

    Edit: looks like the 2nd gen has coil spring suspension in the back. I'd still look at upgrading to heavy duty.

    Yeah, it's a 2005 Durango 5.7L V8 4x4. Good news, the previous owner did most of that before selling. He had a coolant flush (coolant was looking nice and new when I checked it), trans flush (again the fluid looked nice and fresh when I checked), and an oil change a couple of months ago. The hoses were in good shape and appeared to have been replaced recently. It also had a new coil pack installed late last year. Most of the campers I've been looking at are only around 4k lbs so I don't know if I'll really need to replace the suspension. It has the tow package so it should have good enough cooling.

    I finally got around to ordering the ball hitch today.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SMGAJ6

    I know this is extreme overkill but I really wanted adjustable height. The truck rides pretty high and I want everything to line up perfectly.

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    I ordered a bunch more stuff from ebay for the Durango today. A new driver's side seat trim panel because the one that's there is being held in place with duct tape. The controls still work fine so I can just swap them over to the new panel. I also finally found a 4 to 7 way conversion kit with a brake controller.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/362003855863?_trkparms

    The listing said it has everything you need for the project. It looks like all I'll need are basic hand tools and a few hours. I think I'll head over to my buddy's place who has jacks, jack stands, and a bunch more tools to do the work.

    I'm still a bit nervous about having such an old truck but I feel confident that I can perform pretty much any repair that might come up, on my own.

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    edited May 2021
    Something else to consider if the Durango will not be a daily driver is a battery tender with an SAE connection and battery harness to keep the vehicle battery charged during storage. I suggest the SAE harness instead of standard jumper cable like gator clips in that it is much easier overall, smaller cables/connectors to store, and once installed and you can then easily use a portable solar panel/array to charge if you happen to be off grid and your battery starts having issues. Most if not all portable Solar panel makers will have either standard SAE connections included or adapters are available. I have Goal Zero portable backpacking type panels since we do mostly off grid with our van and camping hammocks so everything can be a bit spread out. Van is central point and each hammock has a small solar setup for battery powered lights, e-reader, music player or whatever.

    Also, sorry I know I keep mentioning off grid and you are not looking to do that. Just experience in that you will, as everyone does/will at some point, break down in some very inconvenient spot and there may be no AC power available for things like charging a phone or hand held radio.

    LeperMessiah on
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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    edited May 2021
    News update, guys.

    I finished installing the brake controller last weekend. I don't have a trailer to test it with but I followed the wiring diagram so I should be good. I don't have access to power where I park the Durango so I picked up a solar powered battery tender. It had battery clips but also a 12v male plug. I determined that the 12v socket in the arm rest is active even when the key is out so that's where I have it plugged in. It's pretty low power but I just need something to keep it charged. That was some great advice, Leper. Thanks!

    Tomorrow I'm going to drive out to Knoxville to look at a camper I really like.
    https://knoxville.craigslist.org/rvs/d/knoxville-2017-forest-river-camper-rv/7323715945.html
    It looks perfect for me. It's got a murphy style bed that drops down over a nice couch. Full bathroom, 2 axle, electric jacks and dual propane tanks. I think my monitors can mount on the 2 end tables. When fully loaded it should come in a bit under my 8000 lb towing limit.

    That_Guy on
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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    edited May 2021
    Forest River is a quality builder of trailers, it looks like you have everything figured out and dialed in for what will work for you. That is the key, know what you want, can deal with/handle, and are comfortable with for whatever time you are out.

    Late Edit: You mentioned you will be at a park with hookups most of the time and you may already know this. Most people I have met and know that stay in parks a lot still keep their grey and black waste discharges closed until least their waste tanks are roughly half full. They still run their sewer line when they setup, but the discharge handles stay closed. If you leave the discharges open all of the time and depending on how much is going into the tank the system can actually clog up. The tanks and discharge system are meant to have a certain amount of liquids to solids and if you leave them open all of the time the liquids may drain out too quick and leave the solids behind either in the tank or drain lines/sewer hose.

    Also please tell me if I am hogging your thread, this is just a lot of stuff I know about and it is awesome you are able to do this. I had/have a few family members do this full time, both in and out of parks with full/partial hookups and 100% off grid in all kinds of climates and conditions.

    LeperMessiah on
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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    Leper, you are absolutely not hogging the thread. Your advise has been amazing. Thanks so much for everything you posted.

    I GOT THE CAMPER! I drove the 2.5 hours to KNOX, spent some time looking at it and learning about the features before doing the deal. Guess what? I TOTALLY fucked up the wiring for the trailer lights. It worked fine on the dude's truck but mine was just not working at all. The brake controller worked through. After a couple hours of troubleshooting I managed to get the running lights, left and right blinkers and 1 of 2 brake lights working in the trailer itself. The rear blinkers on my Durango were both blinking at the same time when either were going. However I felt like it was good enough to get home. I spent a while trying to calibrate the brake controller. It isn't perfect but I didn't feel like I was going to die when come to a stop.

    It was a pretty nerve racking drive home but once I get my camera setup (going to get a standalone wireless 4 camera system with a 9in monitor) I will be more confident. Not being able to see to the side or behind me was super stressful. But I managed to get it back to my friend's house where I will be parking it. I messed up backing it in a few times so he ended up taking the wheel while I guided him in. In the end we got it backed in a d I was finally able to head home.

    Next week I think I will swing by a camper service center near me and see if they can u fuck my wiring.

    I'm exhausted.

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    Awesome! If you don't have them already look into getting mirror extensions for your side mirrors, they help a ton!

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    I ordered a WHOLE bunch of shit for the camper. I'm probably going a bit overboard but I just wanted to get everything on my list and not skimp.

    First is a filter for my water supply. Surprisingly, the 2 stage was cheaper than most of the single stage filters. Plus it uses generic 10 inch carbon block filters which are cheap like borscht.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GBZ83HH

    Next is a pressure regulator. IDK if it is entirely necessary with the filter but better to be safe than sorry.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003BZD08U/

    Next is a wireless camera kit with 4 cameras and a 9in monitor. I plan on installing 2 on the side, one on the back of the camper and 1 on the back of my Durango, pointing at the trailer hitch.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B093H7QZH9/

    Next is a convection toaster. This one should be big enough to do an entire frozen pizza but small enough to fit under the stove.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077PLSSDZ

    Finally I got a 6 layer camper cover for when I'm storing it. The previous owner had it in a garage for most of its life and I'd like to keep it in similar shape.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086V4K82T

    I am planning on taking my first trip on the weekend of June 5th. Since my birthday is on the 9th, I may make it a long weekend just to celebrate.

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    spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Idea for you re: the internet.

    You might consider contributing $500 to the Calyx Institute. https://calyxinstitute.org/
    These folks are open internet advocates who do all sorts of pro-internet good work, lobbying, etc. They also will give you a 4g hotspot that works on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks with 12 months of unlimited 4g LTE. I think for $600 they'll send you one that does 5g where available.

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    edited June 2021
    Snip -

    I am planning on taking my first trip on the weekend of June 5th. Since my birthday is on the 9th, I may make it a long weekend just to celebrate. [/quote]

    Edit -
    How did it go?

    We went on a trip up to Spokane WA, it was short for family business. 2 days overnight and we must have a new parasitic draw on the Coach battery (Van), tried to start it up on the second morning and no go. Always fun with new issues but surprisingly an emergency jump start battery pack we had saved us, not quite rated for the engine but it worked.

    @That_Guy

    LeperMessiah on
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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    Weather ended up being lousy all week. I still havn't been out yet. But I'm planning on making taking a few days off next week to go somewhere. TBH, I've been kind of nervous to take it out. I need to get over that and just go.

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    That_Guy wrote: »
    Weather ended up being lousy all week. I still havn't been out yet. But I'm planning on making taking a few days off next week to go somewhere. TBH, I've been kind of nervous to take it out. I need to get over that and just go.

    Yeah wait for decent weather at least for your first few outings, last thing you want to worry about is a turn of weather while setting up or taking down. I grew up camping in the Seattle Area/PNW - Washington Cascades, Olympic Peninsula (literally the PEMCO Blue Tarp Camper commercial in real life) but it would suck if you are not used to it.

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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    The forecast has called for rain nearly every day for the last couple of months so I'm going to stop putting it off and finally take my first trip out. I booked next Wednesday to Sunday at Devils Fork State Park. It's a nice highish elevation lake park. I plan on renting a kayak and maybe doing some fishing.

    Now I need to finally do the registration on my camper and get a tag.

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    webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    That_Guy wrote: »
    The forecast has called for rain nearly every day for the last couple of months so I'm going to stop putting it off and finally take my first trip out. I booked next Wednesday to Sunday at Devils Fork State Park. It's a nice highish elevation lake park. I plan on renting a kayak and maybe doing some fishing.

    Now I need to finally do the registration on my camper and get a tag.

    Make sure to take pictures!

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    An hour at the tag office and $250 later, I have a tag for my camper. I also ordered some clip-on towing mirrors.

    What I really wanted was to swap the existing mirrors with those fancy pull-out towing mirrors but no one makes them for my Durango and none of the Ram ones look like they will fit and the power connectors are totally different.

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    It's day 2. Day 1 was pretty stressful but I made it safe and sound. Yesterday I was up around 7am to finish packing and loading up the Durango. It took most of the day to get everything ready and shove off. I wanted to be on the road by 1pm but didn't actually leave until around 4. I finally pulled into my camping spot until a little after 5. By the time I got unpacked i was pretty exhausted so I got some shitty gas station pizza instead of cooking.

    Though I can't really see it from my camper, there is a small steep footpath through the trees to the water. I got a quick swim in last night to cool down and unwind. The water was warner than I was expecting which was rather nice. I was expecting it to be cool like the natural springs I used to swim in as a child.

    I've already taken a bunch of pictures but I'm going to have to wait to upload them. There is no wifi and I'm barely getting a cell signal. It's just enough to load the forums but my photo uploads kept failing.

    Today I am going to rent a kayak and paddle around. There are supposed to be some nice waterfalls you can only get to from the water.

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    God damn am I out of shape. Yesterday I spent like 5 hours paddling around and was beat. I didn't even get very far. I ended up heading back to camp around 4 and was done doing for the day. I used the convection oven to roast a couple chicken leg quarters. After that I took a swim float. I finished my audio book, watched some TV on my laptop (no internet but I brought a bunch of stuff on flash drives) and passed out around 9pm.

    I wokeup around 6 this morning and caught the sunrise. It was nice. I found some spots that weren't totally covered in sunscreen yesterday. Ouch. Today I'm going to bring the tube with me and reapply throughout the day. Hopefully I won't get more burned in those spots. My hands got kind of dinged up yesterday so today I am going to try wearing gloves. I have a pair of cheap mechanic gloves that I keep in my laptop bag that I think will work.

    I should get one of those breathable full body swim suits. I may look silly bit it beats getting burned.

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    MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    If you like outdoors, that sounds perfect :)

    Yeah do watch the sunburn. I got absolutely cooked when i didn't reapply on my legs during a full day of canoeing.

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    My inner thighs and calves got the worst of it yesterday. Today I got the big brain idea to just cover my lags with an extra shirt. So all day long I paddled around with a nice wet shirt keeping the already burned parts from getting worse. I practically bathed in sunscreen today. Every hour I stopped and sprayed myself down. I'll find out tomorrow just how effective it all was. I looked at renting a PWC but the only place around here wants $350 for half a day. That is more than double what I paid for the 5 days I'm camping so that's going to be a hard pass from me. It's a shame my buddy already lent his out to our boss for the weekend or I would have asked him to come down for a day.

    I spent a good 8 hours out on the water in the kyak I rented. I explored all the way to the head of the main river that feeds the lake. I saw a few waterfalls but they were pretty disappointing. Hardly a trickle. I took some sandwiches with me so I didn't have to go back until I was ready to pass out. I stopped in a nice isolated cove to get out and eat. I was super sore by the time I got back to my camper. A couple Advil and a couple of hours in the AC did wonders though.

    I absolutely love being able to get out of the heat and humidity. Especially for sleeping at night. I've found that it's best to keep the AC running all day. I didn't do that the first day and it took forever to cool things down and start drying out whatever moisture was trapped inside. It's been near 100% humidity so stuff I leave outside isn't getting dry either.

    Tomorrow is my last full day and night here. Sunday I'm pretty much just going to be packing up and heading out.

    I'm beat. It's time for bed.

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    Something to look into if you have not already is Reflectix, it is not that expensive if you buy a roll and cut to fit. It works wonders in cold weather to keep the heat in, but also in hot weather it really helps as well. Obviously it will help reflect heat if any of your windows are in direct sunlight, but second it insulates and helps keep the cold air from the AC from radiating out the glass. As a bonus it does muffle sound a bit and gives privacy in case you ever have to boondock in a parking lot or on the side of a street. Out here there are a few dry camping spots that are basically pullouts off the road along a river. Great for fishing and catching crayfish but the road noise, depending on the day/time, can be a bit much.

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    I went harder and father than ever today. All the way to the very end of the lake. No other paddler dared go that far so it was just me and the power boats. I found a beautiful waterfall that was more than a trickle.

    Getting there was fine but I about near killed myself coming back. I don't think I have ever pushed myself so hard physically. Just when I thought I was out of stamina, I found a little bit more to keep going. Heave ho, just a little farther, keep going. I could hardly stand up when I got back the the drop-off site. My arms were tingling for a good hour after I made landfall.

    Looking at the map, it was about 5 miles there from my camp site. Considering I didn't go in a perfectly straight line, I bet it was closer to 6. That means I paddled around 12 miles in the 7 hours I was out today. I reckon I did about 10 yesterday and 5 the day before.

    Not too shabby for an overweight IT nerd who's horribly out of shape.

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    Something to look into if you have not already is Reflectix, it is not that expensive if you buy a roll and cut to fit. It works wonders in cold weather to keep the heat in, but also in hot weather it really helps as well. Obviously it will help reflect heat if any of your windows are in direct sunlight, but second it insulates and helps keep the cold air from the AC from radiating out the glass. As a bonus it does muffle sound a bit and gives privacy in case you ever have to boondock in a parking lot or on the side of a street. Out here there are a few dry camping spots that are basically pullouts off the road along a river. Great for fishing and catching crayfish but the road noise, depending on the day/time, can be a bit much.

    So does that Reflectix stuff just go on the windows or is it supposed to cover the whole camper?

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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    Just the windows the way I am talking about. Just like a car windshield reflector but you can cut the rolls to fit the particular shape of your windows, and some people also cut a "plug" for the roof vent opening inside. It it also used as a whole camper/van/shell liner but that is if you are building a DIY type thing, think Tyvek on a house but as an inside barrier before the wall covering, if that makes sense.

    Basically these but you can custom cut for all your needs.

    53vjz6fugy3s.jpg

    Edit: This is what I mean as far usage and cut to fit. Hopefully linking to how to/info videos on YouTube is ok for this.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS44T9LPnGg&t=232s&ab_channel=DoggyU

    LeperMessiah on
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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    edited July 2021
    I got up at about 6am and started breaking camp. It's a good thing I was up that early because that took a lot longer than I expected. I wasn't exactly in a rush but it was nearly noon before I knew it. Checkout was a noon so I had to skedaddle. I managed to get out of there just in time. At the exit to the campground was a dumping station. I didn't have any solids so that went smoothly. Dump the black than dump the grey. The drive home was pretty easy. All the turns to and from the park were very generous and the clip-on towing mirrors helped me keep within the lines. I only ended up hooking up 1 of the cameras. I mounted it up at the top back of the camper. Having the 10in screen was real nice because I could quickly glance at it and see what was going on behind me. When hauling the camper I was doing 5-10 under the speed limit. It was really annoying the people behind me but, W/E. They passed when they could.

    Overall I think this was a pretty great vacation. Camping is so much nicer when you can bring a studio apartment on wheels with you. I'm definitely going there again. I'm loving RVing.

    I took entirely too many photos to upload here. Check behind the spoiler for a link to a Google photos album that has all that I took. Most stuck but some are pretty interesting.
    And behind this spoiler are a few of my favorites
    cycc2te5sqjt.jpg
    f1x0nb1xgeb6.jpg
    hey02or3x1iu.jpg
    c1yl8mpjf7st.jpg

    That_Guy on
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    LeperMessiahLeperMessiah Registered User regular
    Disclaimer - I have only ever hauled one trailer. Everyone I know who has/does always mentions that even if you are doing 5 over some folks just see the trailer as an obstacle and want to go faster and pass. Not sure what the winds are like where you are but here they can and do come in sheer side and take semis off the road so best to be cautious for sure at all times.

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    That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    Disclaimer - I have only ever hauled one trailer. Everyone I know who has/does always mentions that even if you are doing 5 over some folks just see the trailer as an obstacle and want to go faster and pass. Not sure what the winds are like where you are but here they can and do come in sheer side and take semis off the road so best to be cautious for sure at all times.

    I don't really have a problem with people wanting to pass me. Just like I don't really have a problem driving 10 under the speed limit if the road is full of hills, curves, and/or potholes. I intend to get to my destination safe and sound. The folks that sold me the camper also gave me a hitch with a weight distribution system and sway bar. The camper is reasonably aerodynamic. Furthermore the double axle gives you twice the contact with the ground. That is all to say that towing my camper is about as easy as you could reasonably expect.

    That said I could certainty feel gusts want to push me around. The most nerve racking is when a semi passes me. The crosswind can cause buffeting. However the Durango is so ridiculously overbuilt that it doesn't really pose a problem as long as I'm paying attention and keep my hands on the wheel.

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