Lassen National Forest, Northern California, dispersed camping.

Beautiful autumn evening in the Lassen National Forest, Shasta County, Northern California, October 2020. Camped at a wide spot on the side of a mountain with fantastic views.

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Resources:

Hallmark Truck Campers

 

 

 

 

Fog lights under front bumper

Moving these super-compact, ultra-wide, All Terrain Projector (ATP) PIAA 1100p lights from the rear of the flatbed, to the bottom of the front bumper skid plate was a great modification.

Designed for the front of motorcycles with high vibration resistance and an SAE-F compliant beam, these lamps were not great when viewed through the mirrors or camper back door. 

Yet these little lamps provide impressively wide and distant illumination (for a fog pattern) when viewed through the windshield. The aggressive, precise line cut keeps the beam on the road, and not in the eyes of oncoming drivers (of course proper aiming is required). What a positive change moving them to the front! 

Though mounted below the bumper, they don’t hang low, and are behind the Buckstop bumper face and tow hooks. I think they’re unlikely to be hit or damaged from a typical dirt nosedive.

With the recent addition of two Hella floods on the back of the flatbed, this rig now has three pair of lamps on the front, and two on the back. Is that enough?

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Resources:

Buckstop Truckware

Hallmark Truck Campers

PIAA

 

Four Wheel Campers outfit crawling to the Crystal Mill

Crawling to the Crystal Mill, Monday, August 10, 2020.

The area was a bit crowded and popular for our liking, we had planned to continue beyond the mill, but decided to go elsewhere.

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James Langan

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Cooper STT PRO first rotation review

Cooper STT PRO LT295/65R20 after the first 2,381 miles.

Research the STT PRO here: Cooper Discoverer STT PRO

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Resource:

Cooper Tire

 

 

 

Flatbed custom fuel tank project, part 1.

The custom auxiliary fuel tank project for our 2017 Ram/Cummins 2500 is underway! June 2019 I added two additional aluminum toolboxes aft-axle on my Hallmark Nevada Hillsboro flatbed camper outfit. My idea was to eventually remove one of the large, 30-inch-long front boxes and replace it with a fuel tank, preferably a commercially available aluminum saddle tank for a medium-duty truck.

The tank project was moved to the back burner and a year passed quickly. For a while I considered a much smaller 10 or 12-gallon tank, hoping to fit one under the chassis between the frame rails, and in front of the spare tire. Just 100 miles of additional range would be a game changer during long highway trips.

Evan a commercially available tank would have required custom mounts and modifications, and surely some compromises. After discussing the project with Chris at High Sierra Fabrication several weeks ago, we decided on a custom tank for my original under-bed location. The goal was to fabricate a tank that looks extremely similar to the toolbox that was removed, and the matching 30-inch box still on the passenger-side.

Custom costs more, takes time, and is never snag-free, but if you have the right business and people involved, the results can be fantastic.

A beautiful tank was constructed using 3/16-inch diamond plate aluminum. Then High Sierra Fabrication proceeded to drill and cut holes in the box, weld-in fittings, a sump, and clean-out port, etc. We are getting close, but still working on it. 

After High Sierra Fabrication completes most of installation, I will still need to plumb and wire the external pump to transfer the auxiliary fuel into the 2017 Ram’s factory tank. 

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James Langan

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Resource:

High Sierra Fabrication (Facebook page)

 

 

 

 

Dodge Ram 35 inch spare tire

Cooper STT PRO 295/65R20 (35.4″), ready to winch under a 2017, fourth generation Ram/Cummins 2500.

Question: How much spare tire can you fit under your truck?

Answer: It depends.

This post is about squeezing a large (35.4-inches) tire into the stock location on a late-model, fourth-generation, Dodge Ram Cummins pickup.

Both my Ram 2500 trucks (2014 and 2017) have had the tailpipe heat shield removed to facilitate winching a much larger tire into the factory spot. Obviously a bigger tire sits closer to the tailpipe. Only you can decide if it’s too close for you and your application. This Cooper Tires STT PRO is only about one-inch from the tailpipe; close!

35.4″ Cooper STT PRO spare is close the factory tailpipe on this 2017 Ram/Cummins.

For several years I have carried oversized rubber in the factory location on my fourth-generation Ram/Cummins trucks, mostly tires that were 34.8-inches tall. The 295/65R20 Cooper Discoverer STT PRO is substantially taller.

This 2017 Ram has plenty of clearance for the rear-axle track bar.

My 2017 has less room overall than my 2014, as the factory trailer hitch receiver is still in place. (It was removed on the 2014.) There are also steel plates on the inside of the frame to mount the Hillsboro 2000-Series aluminum flatbed. The 3/8-inch plates, one on each side, consume 0.75-inches.

3/8-inch steel plates inside the frame are part of the flatbed mounting.

There are advantages to choosing 35-inch or smaller tires on late-model, heavy-duty trucks instead of the popular 37-inch versions, particularly if they will fit in the factory spare location. These include, but are not limited to, not needing an additional tire carrier or pushing a truck camper further aft to fit a spare in front of the camper (which increases rear-overhang, tail-swing, and impacts weight distribution). Unless your rig is geared low—and most new vehicles have tall gearing—the taller overall gearing that results from fitting larger diameter tires is often a negative, as it results in less torque at the wheels.

Many should ask themselves if they really need the extra clearance provided by 37-inch rubber, or are they just following the crowd, and potentially making unnecessary compromises. There are positives and negatives for nearly every modification and upgrade choice. Generally we need to give something to get something. Everyone should decide for themselves if the juice is worth the squeeze.

35.4″ Cooper STT PRO stuffed under a 2017 Ram/Cummins 2500.

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James Langan

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Resource:

Cooper Tire

 

 

 

Factor 55 Rope Retention Pulley or pulley block?

Quick weight and size comparison of the Rope Retention Pulley from Factor 55 and traditional 4WD pulley blocks.

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James Langan

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Factor 55