I need a reality check from people with experience or knowledge with regard to what is and isn't possible with a truck camper + truck. I am most concerned with "systems" particularly using diesel in lieu of propane. While I understand how this is done with the "big boy" motorhomes/expo vehicles, and how this is scaled into smaller vehicles (such as SMBs and trucks like the EarthRoamer) I foresee some significant implementation problems with a truck camper that is -not- permanently mounted to the truck.
In brief: My current "dream" would be to rehab a '00-'02 non-slide out (smaller) truck camper of a reputable brand (Bigfoot, Northern Lite, etc) to put on a '06-'07 1 ton (diesel) truck. While doing this, I would like to replace the propane systems for either diesel-fired or electric systems. Diesel Webasto/Wallas stove, Webasto hydronic heater (with blower or two) as well as hot water system, diesel genny, and electric fridge(/freezer?). I also have some thoughts regard solar and electricity, and a cassette toilet (or composting/incinerating, but unlikely) but that is less a technical challenge then a monetary one.
My problem/concern is: in a SMB, this is relatively straightforward, as the "camper" and diesel engine/fuel tank are always together. On a truck camper, they separate, causing a number of questions and conflicts, such as (a) Should the Webasto hydronic heater be placed on the truck or in the camper? On the truck it can be tied into coolant and used to preheat the motor (very useful and preferable for me) as well as use excess motor heat to make hot water or heat the camper. However, how do you route the water elements to the camper (quick-connect hydraulic couplings spring to mind?) (b) Some of the elements of the system need diesel fuel (e.g. stove, generator) so how do you connect/disconnect from the vehicle fuel tank safely and simply? I think it's obvious that it would be easiest to self-contain the camper to include a diesel tank and treat them as separate units, but that wastes the engine's potential heat as well as drives up costs (if I were to put a Webasto on the truck as well). But what I'm hoping for may not be feasible (either technically or economically or both).
Purpose: This vehicle will be built over the next 6 mos-year and used for regular two week excursions, frequently in cold weather (snowboarding trips). It will probably be regularly moved while on trips (daily) and primarily for dry camping/boondocking. When we're not camping, it needs to "haul stuff" and be used regularly as a primary vehicle (without camper).
Sorry about the length of the post, but I wanted to make sure there was enough information for people to comment. Thanks.