Dodge 5500 Flat deck and camper build

Ram5500

Observer
Possible change of plans...or not changing in the first place?

Now looking at a couple other possible campers- and keeping the 5500

1) Northern Lite 8' 5": way lighter, but way smaller and less features. Excellent quality. Could go many more places, have more storage on truck, rear deck and or place for motorcycle and spare tire. Boss not crazy about small size and lack of features- very small sink and bathroom (she is 5'3"" and can't stand up in the bathroom)

2) Adventurer 86fb: really nice floor plan, good amount of space for the size, lots of nice features, bigger holding tanks. Taller than the NL, but roomier- still a short box one so can have more storage behind. Big question is construction, quality and reliability for what we want to do- looks better inside quality wise than many of the more expensive ones we have looked at.

Either one will require some modification to be able have it all the way to the front because of the dump outlets- more of an issue on the Adventurer since it has a fairly long run, about 4' across, below the rest of the floor.

I am awaiting some responses to a couple questions I had from the manufacturers...
 

jasonL_031

Adventurer
i was looking on kijiji alberta and i saw that your ram was for sale damn if i had the money i would pick it up in a heart beat hope everything works out for you
 

RedF

Adventurer
I was browsing through your Moab pics, then I noticed the Alberta license plate! That must have been a great trip! Cool rigs too.
 

Ram5500

Observer
Another change

Just got a flat deck gooseneck trailer, mounted the camper on that with the Jeep behind it. I need the trailer for work so it was justifiable- to me anyway :ylsmoke:

Looking at adding a turbo, so twins utilizing the stocker, 5 inch exhaust and head studs.

Down in Missoula at the moment, we did not manage to get the trailer ready for the Washington rally, so came down here to bring the jeep to AEV. Gotta say, Dave, Kent and Jesse have been AWESOME helping us out drawing out maps of places to explore, and anything we needed.

Hopefully be having US diese parts/ Gomer's diesel do the 5500 while we are here- they are swamped with work, but Moe is doing his best to get us in- he really wants to do this truck as well.

Heading towards Billings and the Redlodge area tomorrow I think, then maybe Yellowstone and back to Missoula if they can do the truck the end of next week.


Now I have promised to sell the '01, the Camper might still be going as well. Once we have some more equipment sorted for work then we will look at doing another one. We really like the camper on the gooseneck with Jeep (aka Redneck Toyhauler), can't quite get to some of the places we could with even just the camper but we can base camp and explore with the Jeep- that way if I break anything off reading we can still get home!
 

Saiyan66

Adventurer
The twin turbo setup works well for a lot of people, just be aware that your drive pressures will be really high if you are still running the stock manifold and turbo as your primary. I would highly recommend just calling Diesel Power Products and learning about their Spectre VGT series turbos. They bolt on in the factory location, spool up great, retain the exhaust brake, and reduce drive pressure significantly. The drive pressure is what usually pops the head gasket so that is something that should be addressed whether you go single or twins. Adding head studs helps this, but doesn't always eliminate the chance of it happening.
 

Ram5500

Observer
The twin turbo setup works well for a lot of people, just be aware that your drive pressures will be really high if you are still running the stock manifold and turbo as your primary. I would highly recommend just calling Diesel Power Products and learning about their Spectre VGT series turbos. They bolt on in the factory location, spool up great, retain the exhaust brake, and reduce drive pressure significantly. The drive pressure is what usually pops the head gasket so that is something that should be addressed whether you go single or twins. Adding head studs helps this, but doesn't always eliminate the chance of it happening.
Now you're giving me something to think about!

I have been talking to the owner at Gomer's diesel/US Diesel Parts in Missoula, he is the one that recommends the add a turbo, 5" exhaust and head studs- he is doing his best to get me in for next week while I am here (even sold offered to refund the S&B intake I got if i decide to go with the add a turbosince it won't work with it.

Just looked at the site for the Spectre turbo's, first I've heard of them. I need to keep my temps down and am after tons of torque for towing. With trailer, camper and Jeep I am at (est.) 15,000 lbs + truck at 10,000 lbs+ around 25,000 lbs with 43's and 4.88's. For work I may end up closer to the trailer's 20,000 lbs max. On the HOT setting of the Black Maxx it hauls it very well, but temps (and I know drive pressure) are getting up there pulling the steep grades.

So, I want it all- lower EGT's, TONS of torque and reliability...who doesn't ;)

We are at a bar in Phillipsburg just now to catch up some emails, setting up base camp at Flint Creek Campground for a few days and explore in the Jeep around here- Carolyn also wants to see YellowStone even though we know it will be crazy busy ... if they can get the truck in at Gomer's it would be likely for Tuesday or Wednesday.
 

Saiyan66

Adventurer
Here is my super-duper-you-can-have-it-all suggestion for power mods: Talk to DPP about which size Spectre turbo they suggest for your application. Add a GDP wasegate kit to eliminate the possibility of drive pressure spikes. Order up the new H&S MCC software for your BlackMaxx. Have someone like Dave Matthews (member on Cumminsforum.com) write you a custom map for your truck using your mods and intended use as parameters. That should just about give you everything you need. You should be able to keep your existing intake and exhaust. The custom tune will make more power at lower EGT's and also get you better MPG's while unloaded. The turbo is the expensive part, the rest really isn't that bad at all.


P.S. If you didn't want to do the waste gate, you could put on an aftermarket exhaust manifold. The stock manifold purposely is very restrictive to create enough pressure for the EGR system to work. That and the stock turbo are the two causes of excessive drive pressure.
 

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Ram5500

Observer
Well, just got back home. The truck got a GDP intake manifold, heater grid delete and throttle tube heater, fuel rail plug, S&B CAI and a 5" exhaust exiting just behind the cab and turned down. Also moved the pyro as it was installed post turbo, so now in the proper location pre- turbo.

Drove home pretty good, but I expect a lot- ended up using the Black Maxx set on HOT, most of the way. Was able to keep the EGT below 1200 degrees most of the time, hit 1450 a couple of grades for a moment, just needed to keep below 55% throttle. Seemed to do better that way rather than on mild or no power settings and full throttle.

Went through a scale just to see on the way back- totaled just over 27,300 lbs. I could end up being even heavier by 3 or 4,000 when I finally get it all work ready.

Still thinking about the add a turbo WITH the waste gate ( thank you Saiyan66) and head studs- would have got it done at the same time but USDiesel didn't have time. They do want me to come back and said would make me a great deal on it- and do it on a weekend to accommodate me better, as well as able to concentrate on my truck only. Very tempting, but Missoula is a long way from Calgary and I would still need to take some time off work.

Sooo, looks like I will be keeping the 5500 after all, and the Jeep which did awesome compared to the '01 Dodge on the trails - in no small part due to size, gearing and lockers. We didn't do anything that really pushed its limits, we were by ourselves the whole time and the first trip with the Jeep, but that was also because it made everything sooooo easy! 4 Low and let it crawl with the Hemi at idle for the most part. Used the lockers twice only, once because we lost traction on a knarly, rocky uphill (never did air down the Pitbull Rockers though) once as a precaution when we got into a VERY steep loose long climb and couldn't get turned around (Carolyn wouldn't ride in the Jeep for that one and did a long climb on foot).

The '01 Dodge will likely need to be sold to pay for the work on the 5500 and goodies for the Jeep, a couple people interested in the Camper now that we are back as well. Will try and post up some pics of our RedNeck Toyhauler later- it certainly drew attention ( including at the border!)
 

Ram5500

Observer
Also just need to say that pretty much everyone we met around Missoula and Phillipsburg were terrific- very friendly.

The guys at American Expidition Vehicles we can't say enough about- over and above helping us out (Dave also has an extremely interesting project he is just starting- I may be trying to get some ideas off him from that one). Dave, Kent and Jesse thank you so much!

Also, USDiesel Parts. Fantastic guys and really did their best to help me out- even though they were swamped already. I can definitely recommend talking to Moe for diesel stuff!
 

SChandler

Adventurer
What are your plans for cold starts without the grid heater in the intake? I'm assuming it gets pretty cold in Calgary, so I'm curious how you are planning on addressing/dealing with starting the truck without the grid heaters warming things up. I know on my truck, you can start it below freezing (tested down to about 20* F) without the grid heater, but the motor doesn't like it.
 

Ram5500

Observer
What are your plans for cold starts without the grid heater in the intake? I'm assuming it gets pretty cold in Calgary, so I'm curious how you are planning on addressing/dealing with starting the truck without the grid heaters warming things up. I know on my truck, you can start it below freezing (tested down to about 20* F) without the grid heater, but the motor doesn't like it.
Yep, does get a little cool here alright. Deleted the stock grid heater- replaced it with a Glacier Diesel Products throttle valve heater http://www.glacierdieselpower.com/product.aspx?pf_id=07510-MF-TVH

Less airflow restriction and collection of soot.
 
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