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Switching from a DRW to a flatbed
#1
After finally taking our ‘fully loaded to go’ 16 DRW Ram 3500, Laramie 4x4, 6.7 and Eagle Cap 995 to the scales, I was kinda surprised to discover that we were 500# over GVWR without passengers…Curiously, this truck has carried this weight so well even without suspension mod’s, that it’s kinda easy to forget that the camper’s even aboard, so now at 84k mi I’d only been guessing the gross loaded weight to be about 14k or so, roughly the same as the truck’s 14k GVWR..

Either way, we decided the time was right to move up to a 4x4 5500 Ram 6.7, 60” Chassis Cab, flat-bed (to be our last truck…), with a GVWR of a whopping 19.5k, and a 9’-4” fully skirted, steel CM cargo bed with 4 built-in side cargo boxes, and more cargo boxes atop of bed, beneath the camper’s side-wings…Ordered the 5500 last weekend, so moving forward lots of valuable storage available with no ‘technical’ weight concerns..Surprisingly, the 5500 really doesn’t cost any more moola than a new comparably equipped 3500 DRW, except for the cost of the flat-bed, so we opted for the 5500 - the welcomed extra storage is mostly what fueled our decision…

Once up-fitted, this is what the new truck and bed will look like:        
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#2
Oops just for reference, this is the current rig with our ever faithful 2009 EC 995!…

FWIW, the 995 has a 4” drop-down area in the rear due to the side wing compartments…Because of this and because of the longer 9’-4” flat-bed, there'll be about a *9” spacing between the camper’s front bulkhead and the so-called ‘headache bar’ at the front end…Thanks to the additional capability of the 5500, this will not present a problem, and the 5500 (often used for tow trucks, ambulances and such…) really won’t care all that much, and in fact (limited only by the imagination - lol) I could increase this distance even a bit more for the addition of an auxiliary fuel or water tank, or enclosed storage box…

*updated to 10” actual


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#3
Very nice!  When is the new baby going to be home?
I traded in the problematic 2014 Lance for an 1150 Arctic Fox - wish EC made the 1150.
The rig looks similar to this - nothing exceeds factory weight limits.
[Image: attachment.php?aid=333]
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#4
(04-26-2023, 07:22 PM)admin-rich Wrote: Very nice!  When is the new baby going to be home?

Hey Rich, kinda hard to say, just guessing in about 3 mos, though surely in plenty of time for our next Feburary trip to Quartzite, AZ’s camper rally…We’re seeing more and more late model flatbed truck campers there each year, and because of tons of extra storage (additional GVWR aside…) it’s kinda easy to see why…As I’d stated, our position was not whether we needed a flatbed, but rather (cost being near equal, minus bed), ‘if we were to replace our truck (the inflection point?), what type would we get’??…

This is where a 5500 4x4 flatbed started to make more sense…

Also, the 19.5” 14 ply commercial tires (@ 110#psi) are reported to last somewhere between 100-200k miles, and the blowout we had this past Christmas Day in Truckee, CA (inner rear dually changeout - ugg!) made me a bit more conscious about the potential for cascading failures - Luckily, no accident, and I was able to get into a nearby parking lot instead of the narrower, snow packed side of freeway….I had previously taken the time to rehearse a tire change-out, and even had a 120v HF electric impact wrench (via inverter) to help expedite the dreaded swap-out - still took 1.5 hrs!!…At a minimum, everybody should try out this rehearsal (including accessing spare tire…) with camper aboard…
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#5
I know very little to nothing about the Ram 5500 flatbed - except - that it has a much better turning radius than my F350 dually - which requires runway space to turn - its the one thing I don't like about this truck.  A friend made the same decision that you came to and purchase a Ram 5500 flatbed.

He's a very intelligent guy and given his decision and your comparative cost analysis I would take a hard look at the same truck when/if it's in my future.
That kind of truck would sure open up one's choices for any type of truck camper.
I traded in the problematic 2014 Lance for an 1150 Arctic Fox - wish EC made the 1150.
The rig looks similar to this - nothing exceeds factory weight limits.
[Image: attachment.php?aid=333]
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#6
(04-28-2023, 06:17 AM)admin-rich Wrote: I know very little to nothing about the Ram 5500 flatbed - except - that it has a much better turning radius than my F350 dually - which requires runway space to turn - its the one thing I don't like about this truck.  A friend made the same decision that you came to and purchase a Ram 5500 flatbed.

He's a very intelligent guy and given his decision and your comparative cost analysis I would take a hard look at the same truck when/if it's in my future.
That kind of truck would sure open up one's choices for any type of truck camper.

Yeah, we’re looking forward to the new rig, while in the meantime trying to keep the trips down on our present rig…We often trip to Sacto (to see grandkids!), and I can’t say how true this is, but heard that at some point CA will ban older 10-12 y/o diesels into the State (ugg…), haven’t verified it, but with things as they are it’s best to plan for the worse, and our present rig is already 7 years old…On the other hand, we’re looking forward in another year or two to taking another trip around the U.S. so by this time a lower mileage rig could then be advantageous (??)…

FWIW, Youtube has lots of stuff on 4,500’s and *5500 Rams (*add $1k), including some with campers…
Other than 16.5k vs 19.5k GVWR, I’ve can see no difference in these two trucks (spring count is equal)  except for a heavier rear axle rating (13.5k) and hood badging - although for a BIG camper (and additional flat-bed weight, passengers and trailer tongue weight), a 4500 is cutting it pretty dang close, if not already over…

We decided that for us there was no real overall advantage in waiting…JMO

Here’s one of several:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9CJMSvIcuo&t=69s

And here’s the bed - we went with the steel (to dampen empty ride…) SKRD which is also *available in 90” O/W (94” to perimeter rub rail) by 9’-4” O/L (slightly tapered inwards near the front), which with a camper front-end gap** makes swiveling the front dually jacks inward possible without a mod…

*in fine print - in my case, this was recommended to me by folks at StableCamper - what they have for a EC 1165…

** due to 4” rear of camper dropdown overhang at rear wings…

https://cmtruckbeds.com/truck-beds/sk-truck-bed/

Here’s Jared’s at StableCamper Rig, with the exact same skirted flatbed, but in Aluminum, and integrated-compatible bed-top boxes mfg by StableCamper - met him at Qzite, a super nice fella!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiFZBzRbTtg
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#7
(For continuity, from another thread):

Here’s a table that shows the Ram 5500 - I went with the 60” C/A (cab to axle center - same as StableCamper’s)… Jared and others with the same rig have said their’s rides just fine when loaded with bed and camper and can be a little bumpy without, but mostly just when going over potholes…Should have plenty of left over weight reserve, even with the biggest camper available…The ideal replacement for a regular pick-up in camper haul service - JMO

https://www.ramtrucks.com/BodyBuilder/se...K7LClKK%0A

BTW, the B&M 2.5” hitch capacity build on the CM bed is rated at 2,400# (10% of CM beds tow capacity), whereas the Ram 3500 2.5” is at 1,800#…
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#8
Update, just got word from Ram Factory that 5500 was completed today and expected delivery to dealer on or about 14 Jun…Shortly after deliver, the next step will be the bed install…

***************

Update, 5500 now expected to arrive by 14 July…
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#9
New 5500 has finally arrived!! Pics can be found here, along with camper rear deck mod. - flatbed is about 6” higher than pickup bed:

https://www.eaglecapowners.com/owners/sh...66#pid2066
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#10
Her she is nearly all complete with the redesigned rear bumper platform, stairs and handrail completed (minus tie-downs…), and first time roll out into the driveway Smile …Note, camper sits about *9” back from the flat bed’s headache bar due to the 4” dropdown section at camper’s rear…CM Flat bed is 9’-4” in length…All that’s left is to add the bed top-side boxes…

* updated to an actual 10”

Oops, Click on pics for proper orientation…


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