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Dave's Custom 3500 Camper

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  • Dave's Custom 3500 Camper

    Normally don’t do any build up threads, but since so many of you seem interested, I’m going to give it a try. I’ll update it as I can, but don’t expect too much or too many details, this is a project I’m doing on my own time and the point is to be a relaxing fun project, not a work project, so keep that in mind and please don’t view this as an AEV project where you might expect more timely and or detailed responses.

    Background: Simple, I froze my butt off on a particularly fun trip with a bunch of friends, we had 3 ft of snow to deal with at times, temps as low as -15 and we were in tents. Decided I wanted to do a small camper based on the (at the time) new Brute DoubleCab.

    Thought process:
    • I figured I would try to make it a single cab JK Brute on the DoubleCab chassis and build a box on the back with a simple heater and simple provisions. As the project rolled around in my head I decided while it could be done, adding that much weight to a JK was going to be tough.
    • I realized that I had just spent the last 10 years hauling around three, sometimes four Jeeps on a Cummins Ram, so if I could find the right truck I could just build a camper on that and just tow a Jeep, the Ram wouldn’t even notice the weight or the Jeep.
    • Ive been in a lot of campers and realized that 95% of the “offroad campers” (your Unimogs, Earthroamers, Sportsmobiles, GXV, even the bigger Unicats etc) are still only really comfortable for 2 people, which is great because that’s all I was planning for. That meant getting a four door truck was unnecessary and I could save a ton of wheelbase and keep it decent offroad. I ended up searching for a 2006 Ram 2500/3500 4WD Regular Cab with a manual trans.
    • Plan was to remove the bed, use off the shelf components to fit 37-40” tires and build a custom camper for the back. This would be a dedicated camper, so no flatbed or dual purpose worries.
    • I found the truck, absolutely ideal, manual windows/locks, but ac and cruise, 130K, 2006 (last year of the 5.9, minimal emissions, best stock fuel economy) with the manual transmission, NOT an easy truck to find!
    • I realized quickly that off the shelf Ram suspension components where pretty bad for my intended usage. Damn, that was a disappointment and discouraging. Kind of set the project aside for a bit while busy with work. One of those work things was a marketing trip to Iceland where I saw the Ram was quite popular for work on the glaciers. Standard tire for a Cummins Ram for snow use? 46”! That was too big for what I had planned even though it looked/worked awesome on the snow. After talking with the guys in Iceland, I decided the 42” Goodyear MTR was going to work very well for me. I also came away from there with some suspension ideas, one of which being to redesign all the axle mounting brackets and leave the truck alone. This provided what amounted to an axle tube drop and move forward kit, but everything stayed the same, combined with some bits off a Ford for steering and voila, another project that I needed like a hole in my head. However, this suspension came out fantastic, it ended up being 3 5/8” of lift, moved forward a bit and every angle was stock. I also swapped in some later model Powerwagon axles and swaybar at the same time. In 2010 the Ram’s went to a larger front Ujoint that I really wanted. The PW axles came with lockers and 4.56’s which all worked out perfectly. The only downside to the Powerwagon axles was pre 14 they have a smaller ring and pinion and so technically a downgrade, I had seen Fred Williams beat the tar out of his Cummins powered JK we build him years ago for the Ultimate Adventure with 42” tires and had plenty of confidence in the rear axle, especially considering I wouldn’t be towing 30K.
    • This suspension came out so good that it wasn’t too hard to make it into an official AEV project. So the suspension stuff eventually got handed over to our suspension guys to do the proper engineering for the new trucks and tuning was done to eventually become the heart of our production AEV Ram Dualsport kit only in a bolt on form.
    • So working with the reg cab long bed pickup quickly became a bit of an issue. The Reg cab long bed has essentially a 60” cab to axle measurement and the pickups frame is relatively wide, none of which is an issue at all if you want to go the camper mounted on a flatbed route. Since I wanted to go dedicated camper, in the years that had passed AEV came out with parts for the newer trucks, I decided to sell my 06 to a friend of mine, it was finished off like our 2014 SEMA truck with a traybed etc.
    • The replacement truck is a 2015 3500 Cab Chassis (not a pickup). The 3500 Cab Chassis is a bit of a hybrid between the 3500 pickup truck and the 4500/5500 Cab Chassis. In my opinion, it makes the perfect camper platform for a number of reasons.
      • Available in 60” and 84” cab to axle measurements
      • Uses 3500 pickup front suspension
      • Rear Frame is flat and narrower than pickup frame
      • Uses 3500 axles (lockers and gears available! 4500-5500 axles have no lockers available)
      • Can be ordered with a ton of options that are very helpful towards building a camper
      • Up to 74 gallons of fuel stock!
      • Aux fuel ports ready to plug in heaters/generators, hobs etc
      • Up to 440A alternators.
      • 14000 lb GVWR – gives about 6k of camper…that’s too much and a lot more than I had planned!

    My New Truck:
    So I found my truck at Daytona Dodge in Florida, it was a leftover 15 3500 cab chassis DRW and was the only truck I could find already build with most of the options I wanted. Key items I wanted:
    • 84" Cab to Axle - I want to put the camper door between the cab and the rear wheel, it could be done on the 60 but was tight. Decided to give up the off-road penalty for the added camper size. This is basically a four door long bed wheelbase but with a regular cab...or another way to think of it is a regular cab truck with an 11 foot bed.
    • Ambulance Prep – adds ports on the AC lines to connect an extra condenser for the box. Also blanks out the CHMSL and I think adds a bigger alternator, (but not the biggest which was fine, didn’t really need the 440s!)
    • Luxury package – call me a sissy, I wanted a heated steering wheel.
    • PTO prep – adds the ability to add a hardwired remote start button in the box.
    • Aux fuel – the 3500 CC comes with 52 gal stock, this is an additional 22 gallons in a midship tank


    So…I had my guys at AEV build the truck up. And YES, you can order the same thing or something similar. Send Jeff Clark an email if you’re interested (jclark@aev-conversions.com)
    The AEV parts list is as follows:
    • AEV 3” DualSport suspension
    • AEV 17x10 Katla Wheel (painted to match and machined to allow conversion to SRW)
    • AEV Flares
    • AEV Front Bumper with Warn 16.5 and VisionX lightbar, OE Fog lamps
    • AEV Heat Reduction Hood
    • 41x14.50R17 Interco IROK tires (might get changed depending on final weights)
    • ARB Differential Locks, 4.56 gears, AEV Diff Covers, ARB Twin compressor
    • Rear Wheel Arches are temporary while camper is being built
    • AEV Raised Air Intake with PreFilter (I know its not on in the pics, thanks)
    • PSC Hydro Assist steering
    • Custom Paint



    This vehicle will be on display as is at NTEA next week in Indianapollis and at the Overland Expo show in Flagstaff this May. I’ll probably not start on the camper until May or June.

    dh
    Attached Files
    2015 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis SRW
    2009 Brute DoubleCab 5.7VVT Supercharged, 37s
    2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R
    2013 KTM 450XC-W

  • #2
    Dave, I look forward to watching this build progress. Are you planning a short cab-over design for the camper or is there not enough space gained to make worthwhile?

    Cheers

    Comment


    • #3
      kick. Ass.

      Which visionX light bar did you go with? 10deg, 40deg, or the combo beam one?
      2014 CCSB Tradesman 2500 -- G56 -- AEV dualsport -- AEV Katla -- 37x12.5r17 Toyo R/T -- 315/70r17 Nokian Hakkapeliitta -- AEV bumper -- VisionX 6.7" light cannon -- Warn 16.5TI -- Mopar flares -- 8.4" Uconnect swap w/ customtronix jailbreak (front/rear/trailer cam) -- 3.73 gears w/ ARB front and rear -- Switch-Pros 8100

      Comment


      • #4
        Awesome build Dave. Looking forward to the camper portion of the build. Have you driven a 3500 with and without the large tires? Just wondering if I should plan on the hydro assist myself.
        Ward
        2015 Dodge Ram 5500 "Intercontinental Cruiser" RV
        2007 Jeep JK w/ AT Habitat and lots of AEV goodies.
        2005 Jeep LJ Rubicon
        2014 Jeep JK

        Comment


        • #5
          Great build Dave ! Look forward to this !
          Ram 2500 Reg. Cab
          08 JKU

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ward View Post
            Awesome build Dave. Looking forward to the camper portion of the build. Have you driven a 3500 with and without the large tires? Just wondering if I should plan on the hydro assist myself.
            Ward
            my 2500 w/ 37"s needs hydro assist. Its not bad, but if on a high traction surface (blacktop) you have to have wheel spin to move the tires left and right. I know the 3500's used to have different steering setup, do they still? comment I heard from AEV rep on the SEMA truck was its a must with 40"s, but thats a 2500.
            Last edited by Wapitihunter; 02-27-2016, 03:01 PM.
            2014 CCSB Tradesman 2500 -- G56 -- AEV dualsport -- AEV Katla -- 37x12.5r17 Toyo R/T -- 315/70r17 Nokian Hakkapeliitta -- AEV bumper -- VisionX 6.7" light cannon -- Warn 16.5TI -- Mopar flares -- 8.4" Uconnect swap w/ customtronix jailbreak (front/rear/trailer cam) -- 3.73 gears w/ ARB front and rear -- Switch-Pros 8100

            Comment


            • #7
              1. Haven't settled on a layout just yet. Working through the plus's and minus's of every design now.
              2. Not sure which light. Will have to ask.
              3. Keep in mind the 4500-5500 are probably different, but on the 2500-3500 with aired down 40's...hydro assist is mandatory for off-road use.


              dh
              2015 Ram 3500 Cab Chassis SRW
              2009 Brute DoubleCab 5.7VVT Supercharged, 37s
              2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R
              2013 KTM 450XC-W

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm in Irok heaven right now. Maybe the 37" Toyo's need to find their way over to my highline LJ. I can hear my ball joints crying on that AAM front axle though! Beautiful truck Dave!
                Matt Peckham

                2006 Highline LJ
                3" Nth/OME/JKS
                37" KM2's
                4.88's ARB

                2011 Ram 2500
                Thuren control arms
                Katla's 37" Toyo R/T's

                47 CJ2A

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AEV Dave View Post
                  1. Haven't settled on a layout just yet. Working through the plus's and minus's of every design now.
                  2. Not sure which light. Will have to ask.
                  3. Keep in mind the 4500-5500 are probably different, but on the 2500-3500 with aired down 40's...hydro assist is mandatory for off-road use.


                  dh

                  It's the 10deg beam.
                  2003 Wrangler X

                  4.7 Liter I-6
                  3" Nth Degree Lift & 35" BFG all-terrains

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I look forward to following this build. Hopefully I can see this truck in person in Missoula sometime.
                    2012 Ram Power Wagon
                    Truxedo Deuce Bed Cover with Bed Lights, Black Line-X Rocker Panel, Custom Built Rock Rails Sprayed with Line-X, Front & Rear Bumper and Grill sprayed with Line-X, Husky Mud Flaps, Four VisionX Xmitter Low Pro Prime XP LED Light Bars Behind the Grill, LED Lights Mounted in the Rear Bumper, Heated Seats, Interior LED Lighting, NAV-TV, Camera Mounted in Front Grill, Custom Headache Rack, AEV Raised Air Intake, Salta HD Wheels, 285/75/17 Toyo A/T II Tires

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Looking forward to seeing this!

                      Ben
                      Ben Hedrick
                      www.BenHedrick.com
                      HEDRICK Speedsports

                      "Ive got a Jeep problem"
                      2007 5.7L HEMI Sahara Unlimited - Sold
                      2010 6.1L HEMI Rubicon Unlimited - Sold
                      2011 6.4L (392) HEMI Rubicon Unlimited - Sold
                      2002 4.0L AEV Brute - Sold
                      2003 6.4L "Stroker" HEMI AEV Brute - Sold
                      2005 4.0L SC AEV K9 Brute - Sold
                      2014 345 HEMI Rubicon Xpo Adventurer
                      2000 4.0L AEV 112 Long Wheelbase
                      2006 4.0L AEV Brute Rubicon

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Very Nice Dave. Looking forward to the camper build. Love that color matched wheels!


                        Sent from my JKURX
                        2014 JKURX in Granite, 4.10 Gears, AEV 3.5sc Lift, Geo Brackets, AEV Front Bumper, Black Savegre Wheels, 35" BFG KM2s, AEV Tire Carrier & Back-up Camera, AEV Floor Liners, AEV Diff Covers & Skid Plate, AEV Rear Corner Guards, Spod, Truck-Lites, KC 6" Pro-Sport LED Driving Lights, KC LED Cubes, KC LED Fog Lights, LED Tail Lights, ARB On-Board Air, Safari Straps, Mopar Insulated Headliner, Rampage Grill Guard, JKS Adj Front Track Bar, Northridge Grade-8 Bolt Kit, AFE Y-Pipe, Barracade Rock Rails

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What's the backstory on the single cab with the ARB bull bar? AEV build or Icelandic truck?

                          ETA: Never mind, I see now that it is your old '06 that you sold to your buddy.

                          Cheers
                          Last edited by Tru-bicon; 02-29-2016, 07:33 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Subscribed!


                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                            Certified New Car Sales Consultant & Jeep specialist @ Szott M59 Chrysler Jeep, 6700 Highland Rd., White Lake, MI 48383. (248) 535-4333 jkashat@comcast.net

                            I don't just sell Jeeps, I own them, I modify them, I wheel them, and I occasionally break them and have to repair them.

                            Previous: 2010 JKUR AEV
                            Current: 2012 JKUR AEV (FOR SALE) http://forum.aev-conversions.com/sho...189#post102189
                            Next: 2016 JKUR Hard Rock

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The difference between the stock truck and the AEV truck is amazing. I know that you said that you want a dedicated camper (permanently fixed) but there is a company in The Netherlands that makes an 11 foot camper, among others, that could work well for your build. Or at least you could use it on your truck now while you are building your dedicated camper. It is rugged and unique in design which is beneficial if you wanted to, say, ship your truck/camper to Australia and drive all over the outback as a "promotional trip" now that Australia is importing full size Ram trucks and could be a legitimate market for AEV Ram accessories. (Since it was my idea I would expect an invite on an Australia trip, by the way). At the very least, it might give you some ideas on floorpan and finishes.

                              I am planning one for a Unimog - Similar to the pictures but a U1550L OM366LA

                              http://blissmobil.com/en/products/11ft

                              "With a net weight of 2000 kg and a length of 3350 mm, the 11 foot unit is the basic and compact global traveller for 2 people. The standard model features a water capacity of 175L (475L highbed model) and 3 solar panels with a combined capacity of 0.78 kW. Add the 24V battery pack with a capacity of 400 Ah/more than 10 kW, the 40-litre capacity freezer, air conditioning and numerous additional comfort and travel features and you can leave civilisation behind for 30 days without a problem."

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2qDyTY-VCw







                              Last edited by RF2200; 02-29-2016, 08:21 AM.
                              Ram Laramie Power Wagon
                              AEV Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
                              Land Rover Discovery SD Series I
                              Land Rover 110
                              Unimog U1200
                              Husqvarna TR650 Terra Touratech

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