off road durability?

Discussion in 'Taking Your Camper Off Road' started by plug ugly, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. plug ugly

    plug ugly New Member

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    so one thread talked about it some, but how do these pups do long term, when bounced down wash board fire trails? My plan would be to get a high wall pup, lift it, put some 30" tires on it, a tube front and rear bumper with pvc or steel tube sleeved over it, so it can slide/roll if it gets nose or dragged over stuff.

    My concern really is the walls and cabinetry. is it going to rack the sliders over time, so the dinette or beds dont slide out well? the wife and I have different ideas of what camping is. She wants a hybrid, I want a pup to take to more remote locations in Nor Cal to fish and make base camp to wheel (think rubicon/fordyce). i just hate to buy a nicer highside pup and beat the crap out of it.
     
  2. bearman512

    bearman512 Well-Known Member

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    I have a Starcraft 10RT that is specifically built to go offroad and it has held up well for me. The sink and stove top flips over and rests on the floor and is very secure. One thing to remember when you build IMO you need to incorporate shock absorbers or the pup will bounce all over the trail. I run lower air pressure when heading offroad on my Jeep and lower the pressure in the pup as well. I travel over 30 miles each way on very bad washboard roads as well as roads similar to the Rubi only without 3 and 4 foot boulders just to get to many of the places I like to camp here in NM. As for taking a pup up the Rubi I would think again IMO. As long as you don't push it and take it slow you get almost any place you want without damaging the pup.
     
  3. plug ugly

    plug ugly New Member

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    I wont run the pup on the con, just base camp at loon or any of the local campgrounds, and do day runs from there. Though, i could take the round about way into ellis creek, that is pretty flat, just bumpy with small grapefruit sized rocks
     
  4. Yellowkayak

    Yellowkayak Popups.....when sleeping on the ground gets to you

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    If your going to Mod a pup for offroad, especially one NOT built to take off raod, then you can start by softer springs and shocks so they can absorb rough roads. If the pub bounces up and down its ok, as long as the SHOCK of the road doesn't travel thru the suspension to the floor then to the cabinets. That will lossen most cabinets in a hurry. So soft suspension is used to absorb as much "offroad" roughness you will experience. One other thing that may help is to re-enforce the cabinets by using "L" brackets and screwing them INSIDE, basically attaching the cabinets to the floor using the "L" brackets. This will hold them in place much bettter than the 1 X 1 wood that is stapled to the cabinet then to the floor. Some manufacturers will screw the cabinets to the floor thru the 1 X 1, but must use staples which will pull out on rough roads, so re-enforcing the attachments points of the cabinets, and "softening" the suspension is a start. Hope that helped!

    JJ
     
  5. plug ugly

    plug ugly New Member

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    any reco's on springs? Its easy enough to pull a non trailer spring out of a junkyard, and there is ample room for longer springs with a traditional spring, shackle shock combo. I see no need to overload this thing with crap, just the trailer, some water/fuel/camping stuff, etc. Certainly a pair of late model truck springs would more than suffice for that kind of a load. In fact, i have a one ton rear axle from ford sitting in the side yard that i could throw in if needed (would be nice since it would have the 8 lug my DD and wheeler have)
     
  6. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    Check out this thread:

    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=32659.0

    I'd say that Atoyot1031 was resident expert on off-road pup builds (if not, he ding-donged sure should be.) A PM to him would most likely get most of your questions answered.
     
  7. Yellowkayak

    Yellowkayak Popups.....when sleeping on the ground gets to you

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    Truck springs tend to be a bit stiffer, I'd check out something that rides smoother...like a Cady or Buick!

    JJ
     
  8. plug ugly

    plug ugly New Member

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    I figured like a single spring or two from a down side pickup like a ranger would work. 2.5" wide, 1200 pound spring rating. Still too stiff?
     
  9. bearman512

    bearman512 Well-Known Member

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    IMO I think the Ranger springs would work fine and if they are to stiff you can pull a leaf out of the spring pack very easily.
     
  10. Dusty82

    Dusty82 Active Member

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    Why not talk to a spring expert in your area? Maybe all you need to do is add shocks to what you already have?
     
  11. plug ugly

    plug ugly New Member

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    so ignoring springs and the actual lifting of it which is the easy part, does any one konw how the pups hold up? I hear of staples, wood framing, etc and dont really know which models have them and which dont. I know coleman does not have wood frame boxes, but jayco does. hat about anyo f the other manuf's?

    Does the twisting of bouncing down a forest trail road screw these things up over a short time, or are all the boxes the same between the "off road" versions and the pavement pounder ones?
     
  12. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    plug ugly,
    I would actually give my camper a bid on the con. The limiting factor would be the width and the external lift arms, that's about it.

    I modified a set of rear springs out of my former '87 Toyota minitruck. I threw an add-a-leaf into the pack and removed the overload leaf. I also added a 4" block lift, raised the front perches 4" below the frame, and used 6" shackles. As someone else mentioned, shocks are a must.

    FYI, these springs are WAY softer than any production trailer springs I'm familiar with which helps with the rest of the camper staying in one piece.

    If you intend to wheel this trailer longterm, whether or not hardcore, the wear and tear would be similar IMHO due to the bouncing, bumps, twists, and turns would be to rebuild the frame and box at a minimum. If you do these two things, you could always redo the cabinets later. However, if you go to that extent, you might as well build proper new cabinets as well.

    FWIW, if you search my username on youtube, you'll see a couple videos from this spring of my camper in action.

    Feel free to holler at me with any questions. I'd love to see more "real" offroad popups out there.

    Good luck,
    Nick
     
  13. Atoyot1031

    Atoyot1031 New Member

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    FWIW, a new 8-lug (7,000lb) trailer axle is ~$200 and you gain the ground clearance of not having a meatball. From my experience , you may not intend to "load it down with crap", but after you water it, and fill the dry storage with your camping gear, it will weigh a few lbs. [:D]
     
  14. plug ugly

    plug ugly New Member

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    yeah, I was just looking at 8 lug 6K axles with electric brakes for like 5 or 600. The would be the way to go, and just use H2 wheels like I have on my tow rig, and run the same tires, so I have 17", 8 lug, 295/75 tires. That way, if I am using my rock crawler to pull it, I have spares to get out if need be.


    I dont really plan to bounce this thing down the rubicon, but set up base camp at the spillway or even take the back route in to get to ellis creek. Mostly I think about bouncing down rutted out, cobblestone fire trails to get to good fishing places I know.
     

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