Truck | Camper | Gear

 

Truck

The base vehicle is a 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 ST. Old enough to use ‘dirty’ diesel rather than the Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel sold in more developed areas and low spec enough that we don’t have much in the way of electronics to go wrong. No power windows, no power seats. It had no central locking either, but that turned out to be a pain in the butt for various reasons so we had it added and can always override it with a key if it fails anyway. The rest we can live without.

We have done various truck modifications to greatly assist our overland and off-road curiosity. The suspension has been beefed up, heavy duty replacements on all steering components and lockers to ‘lock up’ the wheels on each axle, avoiding wheels spin and gaining grip when required. A bunch of other items either increase functionality, reliability or ease of travel.

Modifying an overland vehicle is worryingly similar to doing a home renovation. It will likely take longer and be a lot more expensive than you had initially planned for. You’ll continually opt for something slightly better than the thing you already decided upon, because ‘you just never know if you’ll need it’. Why not spend another $300 on something which, from the inexperience of home, could mean the difference between starving to death in Mongolia or actually getting your truck out of that muddy bog. It’s also fun.

Parts

 

Exterior
  • Custom Buckstop ‘XP’ Bumper w/ PIAA LED fog and driving lights / PIAA 18″ LED Ligh Bar
  • Warn Winch – 16.5ti w/ synthetic cable
  • White Knuckle Off Road Rock Sliders
  • Bushwhacker Fender Flares (Front)
  • Weathertech Window Shields
WHEELS + Suspension
  • Fuel Beast Wheels – 18″
  • Yokohama Geolandar M/T oo3 tires – 295/70/18
  • Icon Vehicle Dynamics – Custom matched remote reservoir shocks and springs
  • Deaver Custom Leaf Springs
  • Firestone ‘Red Label’ Ride Rite Heavby Duty Airbags
  • Hellwig ‘Big Wig’ Swaybar
YOKOHAMA TIRES

We run the rather excellent Yokohama Geolander M/T 003 tires (295/70/18). The 18″ wheels give us a lot more load capacity than 17″ wheels and this holds true for the 18″ tires too. The 18″ Yoko’s are rated to 4080lbs each, their equivalent 17″ tire is only rated to 3,195lbs. A significant difference, especially multiplied by 4 wheels.

The new Yokohama M/T 003 have found a way of considerably reducing the road noise affecting a lot of chunky M/T alternative rubber, increasing durability and also improving performance when wet. If you want an M/T tire but spend a reasonable amount of time on asphalt then this tire is an excellent option for you.

 

yokohama m/t 003

Steering
      • Carli Front End Upgrade Kit – Trackbar / Ball joints / Stabilizer
      • Synergy Heavy Duty Swaybar Links
      • Mopar Upgraded Steering box
      • Synergy Steering Box Brace
      • Synergy Heavy Duty Steering Kit – Drag Link / Tie Rod / Bracket
Powertrain
  • ARB Lockers – front and rear
  • ARB Differential Breather Kit – front and rear
  • Yukon Free Spin Hubs
  • Titan 60 Gallon Fuel Tank w/ Skid Plate
  • FASS Titanium Fuel Pump / Filters
  • PacBrake PRXB Exhaust Brake
Accessories
  • ARB Twin Air Compressor w/ Inflator Kit
  • ARB – Deflator / Tire Repair Kit
  • SPod Switch Panel
  • SnoMaster CL56 Fridge Freezer
  • Jimmy Jammer Door Security Plates
  • Tuffy Underseat Security Box
  • Camera – Backup and Forward View
  • Viper Central Locking and Alarm
Scheel-Mann Seats

We are fortunate to have contacted Toby at Scheel-Mann seats in Portland to ask with some help replacing the truly terrible standard truck seats. It would appear that Toby shares our love of Porsche and VW as well as overland vehicles. Despite not knowing us from Adam I think he fell in love with the concept of having Scheel-Mann seats being driven all the way down, all the way up and all the way around. He ran through a few options but, due to Claire and my differing dimensions, recommended the Scheel Mann Vario F and he had some available with a few extras – armrests, back storage net, and heating. Our seating dilemma was resolved.

scheel mann seats

Camper

The XP is pretty capable and should provide us with just enough ‘niceness’ to allow us a lengthy and enjoyable trip but more than enough off-road toughness to get us off the beaten path.

The shell is a two-piece fibreglass/carbon composite. In driving mode the top is lowered to just above truck height, improving aerodynamics, lowering the centre of gravity and allowing it access under lower bridges, trees, powerlines etc. In camping, mode the top shell raises via a series of motors creating a 6’5″ interior height.

Inside, several creature comforts have been cleverly nested alongside each other. There are a ton of features and a surprising amount of storage too. You can cook, clean, sleep, plan, work and relax with ease. Ok, it’s not the largest open plan concept we’ve ever lived in but it should suffice and Claire takes up very little room.

Build

 

Power & Lights

Power Supply

  • 3 solar panels @ 160W ea (480 total) w/30 amp controller
  • 4 batteries @ 300 AH AGM 6V ea (600 amp 12V)
  • Marine grade cables and connectors
  • Marine Breaker 360 – Blue Sea Systems/main shut off switch
  • Blue Sea ACL Charge system (2 way charging system for camper batteries)
  • 1000w Magnum pure sine inverter w/30 amp charger + battery monitoring system
  • 30 amp SmartPlug shore power inlet
  • Upgraded to 8awg cables throughout solar circuit.

Lift System

  • V1e Electronic Roof Lift System with manual override.
Water System
  • 76 gallon heated fresh water tank with gravity fill
  • 23 gallon grey water tank
  • Johnson water pump with prefilter
  • Webasto Dual Top diesel water/air heater
  • 3 stage Doulton water filtration system (1. paper, 2. charcoal, 3. ceramic)
  • Outside shower
Amenities

Kitchen

  • Countertop – fiberglass with water catch in black
  • Faucet – SS, single handle with ceramic valve
  • Hands-free electric operated water delivery system
  • Stainless steel sink
  • 2-way fan over galley
  • Overhead cabinet with LED under-mount lights
  • Stainless steel hardware
  • 4 Storage drawers with ball bearing sliders
  • 4.3 cu.ft. (130l) 12V compressor marine fridge with freezer, double locks
  • Webasto X100 Diesel Cooktop

Main Cabin

  • High grade foam for seats with Sunbrella fabric
  • 3 stage telescoping table – converts to bed
  • Marine hardware for all hinges and latches
  • 3 heat outlets in main cabin
  • 2 heat outlets in storage area
  • 1 heat outlet in water bay
  • 3 LED lights
  • Magnetized bug screen for entry door

 

Bathroom

  • Cassette toilet C402
  • Shower faucet – SS, single handle with ceramic valve
  • Fan to vent bathroom and cabin
  • Shower curtain
  • LED light
  • Toilet paper holder (waterproof)
  • Retractable clothing line
  • Teak grate

 

Bed Area

  • Under bed storage with custom storage bags
  • Gooseneck LED reading light in bed area
  • High-grade foam and Sunbrella fabric for mattress
  • Front storage area behind tent in front nose of camper
  • European spring mattress system from Froli
  • Storage pockets above bed
  • Large operable skylight with lights, mosquito netting, and sunshade

 

Windows

  • All windows with built-in shades and mosquito netting
  • 1 rear large dual pane window
  • 1 side large dual pane window
  • 2 side small dual pane window (kitchen and door)
  • Tent with mosquito netting and removable privacy curtains
  • 2 reversible fans in the ceiling

Rescues

Sherpa loves rescuing other vehicles. It is immensely satisfying to pull up alongside someone who needs help and actually be able to offer it. We carry an ARB flat repair kit and ARB dual compressor along with a whole bunch of tow and recovery gear. Here are our rescues so far.

Vehicle Recoveries (Sand, Mud, Stuck etc)

Tire Trouble (Flats, blowouts etc)

Vehicles Towed

Sponsors

During the planning of our trip, we have been fortunate to meet people who have shown a great deal of enthusiasm about the expedition and have supported us through sponsorship of products and/or services. They played a part in helping make This Big Road Trip a reality, are passionate about what they do and passionate about doing it well. If you're in the market for their product or services then we can highly recommend them.

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