'07 Dodge Ram 4x4 Exploration & 5th Wheel Tow Rig

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
#1
Bought an '07 Dodge Ram CC/SB 4x4 with the Cummins engine a while back.
The goal is to haul a 5th wheel around the country as a "base camp", while exploring the 48 states in the truck.
The truck will be setup to go off exploring for a week or so at a time.
No big plans to modify the truck, other than what is needed to make it usable for on/off road exploration.

Took it to an off road park to get an idea of it's competency off road. Was pretty happy overall.
Here is a video of running up and down some cement stair steps. If you watch this fast forward about 46 seconds, and the truck will come into view.
(Warning: this is like watching grass grow, and is 5 minutes of your life you won't get back ;))

I put Timbrens in the front, and that really helps keep the front end from bottoming harshly on drop offs.

Picture 1). Ran it through this short obstical to see how the frame would twist. Very surprised by how stout the frame is on this truck. When the truck was twisted up hard by putting opposing tires on big rocks, I could feel the cab had some flex, but the bed was still very closely aligned with the cab.

Picture 2 & 3). This has pretty much every option available at the time. Since big trucks don't come in convertible format, the moon roof, and electric rear sliding window is second best option... lol
It's very comfortable and quiet. :)

Picture 4). Mounted up an Icom ID-5100 dual band ham radio. The display is huge. Perfect for old blind guys like me. It's also a touch screen, and very simple/intuitive to use (again a big benefit for an old fart :))

Picture 5). The mutts love this big pad, and the cooler sits down inside very snug. I have a 65Qt Dual Zone fridge setup that will get mounted in the bed, for long range exploration.

Picture 6). Added a matching spare so that all 5 tires can be rotated, to keep everything even.
 

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Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
#3
Sure are a lot of Dodge trucks of every vintage on the road!

I'm amazed at the number of Dodge trucks on the road. They have a pretty impressive build quality.

This truck has just over 126K miles. It has had the ball joints and front axle U-joints done by the previous owner. I *think* it has also had a shift kit done in the transmission. I replaced the aftermarket exhaust with an OEM system because the drone was really bad.
Other than that it seems to be just well serviced. Currently the only wear is to the driver door hinges. It's not enough to rock the door, but enough for the door to lift just slightly when it hits the striker. Not sure if I'll ask a body shop to replace the hinges, or might just do a bushing repair kit.

The truck came from Alberta, and I'm pretty sure the original owner knew these trucks well. The underside is in incredibly great shape for a truck run on salted roads.
The only rust is around the tailgate handle. I'm guessing someone laid salt bags on the tail gate for spreading. (S)He did a great job of protecting the truck, and then keeping it very clean, even inside the rocker panels. :)

I'd like to do:
* Some stainless brake hoses, and possibly a more aggressive pad for better threshold braking off road.
* Exhaust brake for pulling the 5th Wheel
* Some way to monitor exhaust and trans temperature for safe towing
* I found a replacement OEM radio that has an aux input. Or, if I win the lottery it will get a new head unit with Android Auto :)
* Some kind of 5th wheel hitch setup, that doesn't require hiring a crane operator to remove it from the bed.
* Would like to build an aluminum topper that breaks down, and fits on a bumper rack of the 5th wheel. This would be great for out exploring
* Some kind of traction aided differential carriers. As soon as I lifted a front wheel off the ground on a steep climb, forward momentum stopped. lol
* Send the truck to one of the prominent transmission builders for all the 48re upgrades
* Send the truck to a prominent 3rd Gen Dodge shop to have new injectors installed, and the valves adjusted

(Sheesh, this is beginning to sound like Steve Martin going through the house in the movie The Jerk... :elkgrin:)
 

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driller

Adventurer
#4
I'm amazed at the number of Dodge trucks on the road. They have a pretty impressive build quality.

This truck has just over 126K miles. It has had the ball joints and front axle U-joints done by the previous owner. I *think* it has also had a shift kit done in the transmission. I replaced the aftermarket exhaust with an OEM system because the drone was really bad.
Other than that it seems to be just well serviced. Currently the only wear is to the driver door hinges. It's not enough to rock the door, but enough for the door to lift just slightly when it hits the striker. Not sure if I'll ask a body shop to replace the hinges, or might just do a bushing repair kit.

The truck came from Alberta, and I'm pretty sure the original owner knew these trucks well. The underside is in incredibly great shape for a truck run on salted roads.
The only rust is around the tailgate handle. I'm guessing someone laid salt bags on the tail gate for spreading. (S)He did a great job of protecting the truck, and then keeping it very clean, even inside the rocker panels. :)

I'd like to do:
* Some stainless brake hoses, and possibly a more aggressive pad for better threshold braking off road.
* Exhaust brake for pulling the 5th Wheel
1 You will need a way to keep the converter locked up when you let off of throttle. ATS trans command works nicely.
* Some way to monitor exhaust and trans temperature for safe towing
2. Edge juice with attitude. Mount it on steering column easy to see and simple to use.

* I found a replacement OEM radio that has an aux input. Or, if I win the lottery it will get a new head unit with Android Auto :)
* Some kind of 5th wheel hitch setup, that doesn't require hiring a crane operator to remove it from the bed.
3. I use a Reese. take it out of truck in 2 pieces. Pull the head then pull the legs. easy to lift the weight and it is only 1 pin.


* Would like to build an aluminum topper that breaks down, and fits on a bumper rack of the 5th wheel. This would be great for out exploring
* Some kind of traction aided differential carriers. As soon as I lifted a front wheel off the ground on a steep climb, forward momentum stopped. lol
* Send the truck to one of the prominent transmission builders for all the 48re upgrades
4.Randy's Transmission, Grantsville Utah
* Send the truck to a prominent 3rd Gen Dodge shop to have new injectors installed, and the valves adjusted
5. Industrial Injection, Salt Lake City
(Sheesh, this is beginning to sound like Steve Martin going through the hoRuse in the movie The Jerk... :elkgrin:)
let me know if you need anymore.
 
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#5
I hear you on the 5er hitch, had a Reese 20K hitch and it was a 2 person job to remove from the truck. Might look into the Anderson aluminum hitch reviews are a bit mixed on them though.
 

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
#7
let me know if you need anymore.
Every time I see your truck, my wallet gets scared... Your truck is the picture of freedom! :beer:

I hear you on the 5er hitch, had a Reese 20K hitch and it was a 2 person job to remove from the truck. Might look into the Anderson aluminum hitch reviews are a bit mixed on them though.
Yeah, the Dodge has such a short wheel base that the rear axle is pretty close to the cab. Depending on the 5th wheel cap it may require using a sliding hitch. I'm *hoping* not. If not, the Andersen is definitely how I'd go.

Thanks! :beer:
 

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
#8
D-Star heaven

Last night the antenna mount showed up, so I was able to install the antenna, and check out the radio.
Caught the end of a D-Star net chat. There were folks from the east coast talking with folks from the Mid West, and the West Coast... on 2M... :eek:
That's a pretty cool technology. If I understand correctly, folks on Echolink can also join in.
I was so excited, it was like Christmas back in 1954, and I got a Red Rider BB rifle... :victory:

This is the Comet CA-2x4SR with a PL259 mount. Used the PL259, so that the hole in the mount plate didn't have to be enlarged so much.
Drilling through Stainless can be a bit tough.
I've added the spring kit to the antenna, for some flex when in the woods. So the SWR needs to be checked, and antenna adjusted before transmitting.

I'd like to drill one additional mounting hole to ensure the mount doesn't move on the fender. Wished they made a version to mount on the passenger side for the CB antenna.
The mount is the AUDODGE2, and it has a perfect fit to the fender and hood. Really makes for a clean install. :)

Looking forward to getting a range check, and try out some of the D-Star repeaters.

73, :)
 

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driller

Adventurer
#9
Yeah, the Dodge has such a short wheel base that the rear axle is pretty close to the cab. Depending on the 5th wheel cap it may require using a sliding hitch. I'm *hoping* not. If not, the Andersen is definitely how I'd go.


Check out the Reese sidewinder. It replaces the tongue on the fifth wheel and move the pivot to under the coach instead of on the fifth wheel plate. I have one on my 5er and love it. No worries about trailer hitting cab.
 
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Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
#10
Yeah, the Dodge has such a short wheel base that the rear axle is pretty close to the cab. Depending on the 5th wheel cap it may require using a sliding hitch. I'm *hoping* not. If not, the Andersen is definitely how I'd go.


Check out the Reese sidewinder. It replaces the tongue on the fifth wheel and move the pivot to under the coach instead of on the fifth wheel plate. I have one on my 5er and love it. No worries about trailer hitting cab.
Thanks for that info. :beer:
I will check it out. :)
 

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
#11
Ham dual band radio install

Just realized that I didn't have the Ham Radio install documented here.

Icom ID-5100A, with a Cobra HG S500 speaker.

Pictures 1-3). The head of this radio is huge, as it is a touch screen setup, and GPS receiver built in.
Wanted to make sure there was still room to change the stereo to a double DIN setup down the road, and for now to keep the cubby under the radio accessible.
Drilled a hole in the side of the cubby to run the head cable down through the center console.
All HVAC functions are still easy to reach. :)

Pictures 4 & 5). Needed to keep the radio down low, but not so low that is sucks up dirt and dog hair. Hopefully this will work.

Pictures 6 & 7). I was real happy to see that the speaker and mic cord don't get in the way of resting my leg (with the cruise engaged), and also don't rattle. That speaker has very nice sound. :)
 

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Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
#13
Thanks for the links! :beer:
I'm considering a kit like the Glacier Diesel setup, but for the 5.9L. For now I just run the Baldwin filter.
Will probably upgrade when it's time for injectors.
 
#15
Thanks for the links! :beer:
I'm considering a kit like the Glacier Diesel setup, but for the 5.9L. For now I just run the Baldwin filter.
Will probably upgrade when it's time for injectors.
Are you running the stock baldwin in the stock housing?
Having replaced a set of injectors on the common rail from one bad tank of fuel, I will highly suggest a 2 micron kit it will keep your injectors alive. Also some diesel klean every few
tanks.

This is the one I used
http://www.glacierdieselpower.com/product.aspx?pf_id=MK20307-CHMB