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Old 10-04-2013, 05:53 PM   #1
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I wonder if someone can give some feedback on our truck question.

We currently tow our 22 ft. Airstream with a 2006 Jeep Commander 5.7l Hemi. No problems there.

We want to travel through Central and possibly South America and have decided not to take our Airstream trailer, being too high profile and high potential for damage.

We came up with the following solution: sell the Jeep, buy a truck and then buy a truck camper for the trip south.
So, we're in the market for a truck that can tow the AS on our trips in the US but can hold a truck camper for Central America or US trips where we don't want to tow the AS (e.g. off road trips).

I have never owned a truck.
After talking to truck camper dealers, they recommend:
- 1 ton truck (or at least 3/4 ton)
- dually (4 wheels in the back) for stability

I assume both a 3/4 and 1 ton truck have plenty of power to tow the AS, since the Jeep has no problem with it.
We don't want to buy new but also not old/very high mileage, so maybe between 3-7 years old and not more than 75,000 miles. We're hoping to keep it under $30K purchase price.

Questions:

- Diesel or gas? Keep in mind the trip to Central/South America: what is better down there as far as fuel availability and repairs?

- Which brand?
Looking at some online reviews and used car prices, I get the impression that Chevy/GM are the best, followed by Dodge, followed by Ford. Is there any truth to this?
Also, keep in mind the trip to Central/South America: what is better down there as far as repairs?

- I want 4x4, but I assume that the dually is rear wheel powered, so am not sure if 4x4 makes much difference when "2x4" on a dually basically has traction on the 4 rear wheels?

- Even this may sound ironic: fuel efficiency is very important as we'll be driving many miles.

I don't like plastic on a car: things break. So I prefer a truck with less luxury but one that lasts.
I'm also not opposed to a flat bed since this will allow me to build some storage cabinets around the truck camper.

Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:02 PM   #2
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You may want to do some searching using search tab above for other posts.. There have been a lot of "diesel v gas" threads, and truck sizes for trailers.. Not a lot of discussion on truck ratings for camper units, however... A 1 ton is a lot of truck, and may be needed for giant cabover camper that extends to rear, with full bath, shower, etc and large holding tanks.. Smaller and more compact campers should be OK on 3/4 ton rated trucks.. Long bed gives you more wheelbase and steadier tow, though with your trailer ANY of these trucks is overkill.. You might try auto clubs or others to see if unleaded auto gas is readily available everywhere you are going.. If there is even a single questionable stop, the availability of diesel might swing me towards that option..
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:16 PM   #3
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You might want to consider a high quality pop top truck camper like a 'Four Wheel'. They're light, durable, make you highly mobile, and don't require a big truck.

Four Wheel Campers | Low Profile, Light Weight, Pop-up Truck Campers
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:22 PM   #4
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I'll do that, thanks.

I've been looking at these aluminum truck campers: http://www.livinlite.com/truck-campers.php
Supposed to last for generations
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:30 PM   #5
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Check out Bumfuzzle for an awesome travel blog - this couple travelled all over South America in a 1958 VW camper van. They're currently in Mexico, living on a boat. Really worthwhile reading for anybody planning a trip down south.

It's a huge blog, starts in 2006, the South American adventure begins here: http://www.bumfuzzle.com/blog/2007/0...eptember-2007/
Pat, the guy who writes it, is super-nice and will answer emails and questions.


There is a member on this forum who does just what you're planning - he own a truck camper for off-road excursions and tows the AS otherwise. I'll try and look his name up for you later.
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