Picking a truck to use for a custom build (1-ton vs. 2-ton, gas vs. diesel)

rruff

Explorer
based on the CA length of a crew cab F350, the biggest flatbed Duramag installs is 9 feet long.
Have you checked with them regarding torsion free mounting?

I think the main reason people on here avoid a long rear overhang is ground clearance. The bed on that F350 would typically be 8' long, so sticking that out another 4' (to get your 12' floor) would be a lot. You could always angle up the rear portion to help with ground clearance.

One advantage the F550 has over the F350 is a smaller turning radius (for the same wheelbase). The F350's main advantage is a stiff boxed frame.
 

Mike McMullen

New member
I know folks with 350/5500 and 3500/5500 campers both slide-in and flatbeds. The heavier campers are preferred by far. the 550/5500s don't worry about payload. you can get a 12ft flatbed too. I know a couple that put a 8' slide in with boxes on the sides and on the back on one side of the door. the tire was on the other. Those earth roamer style are very high and it limits where you can go, center of gravity is very high. Every thing is a trade off.
 
Have you checked with them regarding torsion free mounting?

I think the main reason people on here avoid a long rear overhang is ground clearance. The bed on that F350 would typically be 8' long, so sticking that out another 4' (to get your 12' floor) would be a lot. You could always angle up the rear portion to help with ground clearance.

One advantage the F550 has over the F350 is a smaller turning radius (for the same wheelbase). The F350's main advantage is a stiff boxed frame.
I haven't given torsion free mounting much consideration, because, frankly, I'm not planning to use my rig in a way where I'm worried it would be a concern.

I don't plan on doing offroading (other than the occasional dirt road or poorly maintained campground). The newer F-550's have frames that are substantially stiffer than the old ones. Coupled with a flatbed and the weight of my shell, I don't expect a lot of torsion for the kind of driving I'll be doing.

If that ever changes in the future, I assume I could remove the shell and spring mount the flatbed to allow for more movement.

I'm also not terribly concerned about ground-clearance for similar reasons. I'm not going to be using this as an extreme overlanding rig. I have thought about an angled rear, but I'm not sure it'll be neccessary.
 
@rruff You're going to think I'm nuts, but I actually want 14' of floor if I can get it, and your comment made me realize I could go 2' beyond the flatbed if I angled it out at the bottom.

This wouldn't be a weighted area when in transit. It would be for a dinette/bunk bed.
 

rruff

Explorer
The newer F-550's have frames that are substantially stiffer than the old ones.
They are boxed under the cab... but the rear chassis is still very flexible. If you aren't offroading, then it's probably ok. I'd still talk to the subframe manufacturer and anyone else you can find who has done something similar. You want to make sure your stiff camper box isn't the thing that's keeping the whole rear end from flexing. Going torsion free from the start would give some piece of mind, but it does add complication and expense.

For your use case 14' on the longest F550 should be fine.
 

1000arms

Well-known member
... Something else to start thinking about :cool:. See:

indeed! I never want to deal with a black tank again, so I’m weighing a cassette toilet against composting.
I was thinking of water tanks as you had mentioned "lots of water". :)

https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/diy-earthroamer-sorta-newbie-questions.232390/

You might design your camper to make it easy to switch between a cassette toilet and composting.
 

1000arms

Well-known member
@rruff You're going to think I'm nuts, but I actually want 14' of floor if I can get it, and your comment made me realize I could go 2' beyond the flatbed if I angled it out at the bottom.

This wouldn't be a weighted area when in transit. It would be for a dinette/bunk bed.
As @rruff has indicated, with the 12' flatbed on a 84" CA F-550, you could design your camper with a 2' overhang (no angled rear required) for the driving you have mentioned.
 

1000arms

Well-known member
I would be worried about blocking visibility of the tail lights if I overhung the flatbed by 2' without the angled rear.
I think you will need at least a "third brakelight" on the camper (which will be blocking the "third brakelight" on the truck cab), so you could plan to also mount additional "regular" brakelights on the camper.
 
I think you will need at least a "third brakelight" on the camper (which will be blocking the "third brakelight" on the truck cab), so you could plan to also mount additional "regular" brakelights on the camper.
Since I want the camper to be removable with jacks, I'm trying to avoid hard-wiring like that. I suppose I could use a plug like a trailer might.

Most campers I see don't have the top lights, but I suppose it'd be a good thing to do for safety reasons.
 

rruff

Explorer
If the camper is over 80" wide you are supposed to have extra lights... don't know what the exact requirements are.
 

1000arms

Well-known member
Since I want the camper to be removable with jacks, I'm trying to avoid hard-wiring like that. I suppose I could use a plug like a trailer might.

Most campers I see don't have the top lights, but I suppose it'd be a good thing to do for safety reasons.
Plugging the camper in like a trailer would allow for more lights to help the inattentive drivers notice your vehicle.
 

1000arms

Well-known member
You should be able to order the F-550 with or without a CHMSL (Center High-Mounted Stop Lamp), but, remember that it is an incomplete vehicle, and many are ordered to be used with a big body which will have the needed lights.

I suggest you order your truck with the CHMSL to use with your flatbed when the camper is dismounted from (off) your truck.

Depending on Federal and Sate laws, you may, or may not, need to have lights on your camper body as it will be cargo on your flatbed,

Even if you don't legally need to have lights on the camper body, I suggest lights for safety reasons.

Check out the following regarding CHMSL on truck caps in Maine:

" The letter from Lt. Dow of the Maine State Police agrees that "you are correct in determining that a dealer must include a third brake light when a cap is installed on a truck required to have a high mounted brake light. However, it is also correct that the owner of a truck equipped with a cap is not required to have a third brake light on the cap." Maine has concluded that it "will tell the owners of pick-up trucks that the law does not require them to have a third brake light on a cap, but that dealers are required to include them." "

from:

 

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