Dodge Ram 5500 motorhome

#1
Delivered to the local dealers lot today. We ordered it the beginning of April so production and delivery took two months, not bad considering it was built in Mexico and delivered to Canada.

Dodge Ram 5500 SLT 4x4 Bright Silver diesel. Will leave it at the dealers lot until the Kelderman air suspension and King shocks arrive in town. Then, once the suspension is installed, we will deliver it to the camper builder for construction of the camper which should take three-four months. We hope to hit the road for 1-3 month adventures across North America then coming back home to check the mail and cut the grass :)

The camper is a solid aluminum paneled box with no popup or slides, solidly fixed to the frame. It is a forest road/bad road motor home more than it is a rock crawler so no need for a three point mounting system. We hope to have 41" tires which will give us a departure angle of 21 degrees which will be more than enough for where we plan to go. If we are going to a wheeling area we can tow the Jeep. We wanted a bed on the main floor so no bed over the cab except a small 36" area that can be converted into a bed if we decide to take grandchildren with us when we get them. For now it is just Annie and I. We will have 2 250w solar panels on the roof,2 290am hour AGM batteries and a 3000w inverter to help with powering the camper. The Ram is also outfitted with dual 220 amp alternators so they will act as a mini generator should we need. An induction cooktop, convection microwave and compressor fridge will handle the food chores. The bathroom is a wet bath with a small sink and a Nature's Head composting toilet. We will have an 85 gallon fresh water tank and a 50 gallon grey tank. The fresh tank is located inside the cabin under the bed so protected from freezing. The walls will have three inch think insulation as we would like to go north as late in the year as possible. The cabin will be have extended three season capabilities but not set up to be below -25 but I don't want to be in that weather either. Three exterior storage compartments will handle all of the items that cannot go inside the cabin like the propane bbq and tools. The back of the truck will have the swing out spare tire rack, a swing out storage box of some sort and a bike rack for two bikes. Once we get the final details for the camper portion I will include the drawings.
I have to thank XRACER144 in Winnipeg. Seeing his build gave me the confidence to undertake this. Unlike XRACER I am not building the interior. Time is the biggest push for us right now as we have roughly a five year window to see North America and I just don't have the time to do what would end up as a three year build for me.
If you have read my ramblings this far thanks. I know there are many of us out there like myself that consider the build process a large part of the adventure so I will try to include as many details as I can.

This is a photo of our truck delivered to the lot today. This is as close as I could get to it tonight but will be able to get up close tomorrow.
Ward



 
Last edited:
#2
Fantastic
I remember that day.. ....
truck 003.jpg
you've got a lot of decisions to make in a real short period of time, I envy you & I sometimes wish I could do it all over again.
enjoy the trip!
 
Last edited:
#4
Healeyjet,

nice looking truck. I've got a 2010 5500 with a alum. flatbed. Question on the 41" tires. Are you going single in the rear or staying duals? What brand of tire and wheel.

Thanks and have fun with it.
 
#6
Sweet truck, I sure do love my 4500.
Great ideas for the build.

If you haven't ordered the kelderman yet I have a brand new front kit I will sell for a discount. I didn't like how it worked on the front of my brothers cab chassis so I went with Carli front coils on my 4500. (carli does not offer parts for a 45/5500 i had to fabricate new lower coil buckets.) Also be aware the 4 bag kit is -2" in the rear (designed for ambulances,) you will need spacers under the bags to get the height you need and keep the 8" bag height (rides the best at 8" bag height.) Fyi you will need a 8" stroke shock on the back with the four bag setup.

That inverter has waaayyyyy more capacity than your batteries. I would recommend two 6volt batteries in series or better yet a 24v system with two 12v or four 6v. The great thing about AGM batteries is that they can take some serious current and as cheap as panels are put the max your MPPT charger can handle hopefully 750W. Its all about light hours of the day and if you want to park in the sun. There is plenty of info over on solarpaneltalk.com in the off grid section.

Good luck and looking forward to the progress.
 
#7
Ron, we hope to go with 41" Continental MPT81's on SRW. So far it is all just hope. The only 5500 with large tires was the truck in Alberta but they were the larger 43" tall 15" wide MPT81's. We want to use the 40.6" tall by 12.4" wide Continental MPT81's. Clay at Evolution Machining in Alberta says we may have to move the axle forward which he says isn't too big a deal. I am complicating it though by having the Kelderman air ride already installed by the time Clay will see it. Dave at AEV says fitting the 41" tires onto a 5500 isn't hard but as yet we have no procedure in place. The new AEV fender flares and bumper will go a long ways to helping the large tires fit but the flares wont be released until the end of this year or so.
Power steps may be in order. Annie says it is the same height as our Jeep right now and not too hard to get in to but the mod's will change that for sure. We will have to see once everything else gets fitted.
 
Last edited:
#8
Flylow, I ordered the Kelderman about three weeks ago but thanks for the offer. The King shocks are the ones that Kelderman spec'ed so should be correct ( I hope). We are going with the large inverter as we hope to add more solar panels and batteries down the road. I want to have a small inverter to recharge computers and phones, etc. as I hear there is a fair bit of power used up just to run the large inverter.

It's interesting, those of you that have commented on the build so far are the same guys I have subscribed to to follow your builds. The only one I wasn't that familiar with is SARCONCEPTS and it appears we have a lot of ideas in common as I read his entire build webpages today. I haven't read his entire build thread on Expo yet but I will.

Thanks in advance for all of the ideas. I like to think I have thought of everything but there is no possible way that I have.

Ward
 
#9
SWEET! A regular cab build. I love those.

Hey, a suggestion for you... when going to 41" tires, to try and keep it as low as possible (even with the air suspension), consider cutout fenders eventually. AEV (AEV Conversions) is making cutout fenders for the Dodge. They won't be available publicly until later this year, but it's something to look at. They managed to fit 40" tires on a 3 inch lift, but there's TONS of room in those puppies. If it were me I'd also consider their bumper... damn, I wish they made this stuff for Ford! Check out this beast!!!

 
#10
Oh I just realized though, maybe they won't work for the 5500. Not sure. Either way, ill look forward to this build. Fellow Canadian too. Is someone in SK building it? If so, where did you find them to build it? That's cool.
 
#12
Ron, we hope to go with 41" Continental MPT81's on SRW. So far it is all just hope. The only 5500 with large tires was the truck in Alberta but they were the larger 43" tall 15" wide MPT81's. We want to use the 40.6" tall by 12.4" wide Continental MPT81's. Clay at Evolution Machining in Alberta says we may have to move the axle forward which he says isn't too big a deal. I am complicating it though by having the Kelderman air ride already installed by the time Clay will see it. Dave at AEV says fitting the 41" tires onto a 5500 isn't hard but as yet we have no procedure in place. The new AEV fender flares and bumper will go a long ways to helping the large tires fit but the flares wont be released until the end of this year or so.
Here is Annie beside the truck today as it sits fitted with 225 70r19.5's. These tires measure in at 32" tall. With the suspension and larger tires it should raise the hood and entry into the truck by 6" or so. Power steps may be in order. Annie says it is the same height as our Jeep right now and not too hard to get in to but the mod's will change that for sure. We will have to see once everything else gets fitted
OOPS! I just read this and I feel foolish. I see you've done your homework. My bad! I will subscribe to this for sure. Should be awesome!
 
#14
Thanks guys, I consider myself very lucky! Annie is a perfect traveling companion and puts up with all of my crazy ideas :)

Steve, on the Bullet, did you happen to make CAD drawings of the cabinets you built for behind the front seats? We are having a walk through from the cab to the camper so will lose the storage shelf. What you built minus the center section would be perfect!!

Adam88, if I end up with a rig looking as bad a** as the AEV Ram I will be thrilled. I presently have a 4 door Wrangler with some AEV goodies and really like the way they build things. I am considering the snorkel for fun factor but not sure it will play out as well looks wise on the camper as it does on the tray back that they made.

Flylow, I am also going with the Kelderman air on all four corners as much for camper leveling when parked. At most we will be flat towing either the four door or two door Jeep so no tongue weight to deal with.

Ward
 
#15
Sorry, I don't have any Cad drawings of those cabinets, that was early on & I was anxious to start. They probably wouldn't help anyhow, as I'm sure body dimensions & specifics have changed slightly since '08
but I do have a couple pictures that may help..
the original plastic shelf
truck cabinets 002.jpg
once removed, I was able to trace some of the bottom contours, mostly around the middle which won't concern you, but also the bottom of the side pieces
truck cabinets 004.jpg
notice how I had to cut in the outer sides, this was to allow for the seal belt mounts on the side walls
truck cabinets 007.jpg
here you can see the 2 or 3 screws to connect to the vehicle, be sure to find the locations where there is a second interior piece of metal to connect to so you don't penetrate the back wall
truck cabinets 010.jpg
If you need more pictures let me know