Camper Project Starts With a Ram 3500 Hemi

TCM Ram 3500 1 II

Our friends in the truck camper world are at it again. Truck Camper Magazine has just selected its next pickup truck for its next camper buildup project. You might remember TCM's last project, a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 LT short-bed single-rear-wheel 4x4 pickup with a 6.0-liter gas V-8. This time it seems TCM's choice makes a little more sense. In an article introducing the new truck, magazine editor/owner Gordon White offers a detailed account of what went through his mind during the decision-making process.

White eventually settled on a new 2014 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty SLT crew-cab dualie with the 6.4-liter Hemi and discovered quite a few interesting details about the ordering and purchasing process. For the full first story (and we're guessing there will be many more parts), click here.

Truck Camper Magazine/Gordon White images


TCM Ram 3500 3 II



They get the hp wrong for their previous GM. They say 380hp/380tq, but it should be 360hp.

If its made in Mexico its off my list.

Nice article but its obvious this guy doesn't get why people should choose diesel over gas. You buy a diesel because you want/need the pulling power, NOT to save money... In his case it doesn't sound like he's going to be a lot of towing and that's why he SHOULD have said he opted for gas, rather than pooh poohing on diesel about silly stuff like cost of oil and DEF. Those costs are a drop in the bucket when your talking about purchasing a +$50k truck.

At least they had a little bit of common sense with the move to a long box and not considering the butt-ugly 2015 Sliverado.

Agreed, he needs to be more objective in his decision making before becoming a regular author on any reputable pickup forum etc.

@sandman and Ken. I do believe he was selecting a power train in regards to "Truck Camping," For his application all the pooh poohing on diesels was justified. He is hauling a max of 6000 pounds, which is well in the capabilities of a gas motor. A diesel in this application would not be the practical and economical choice. Keep in mind that there are two reasons people use 3/4 and 1 ton trucks. Payload and towing. If you are not towing why go diesel. Ram finally understands the need for gas engine in the heavy duty market and with the new 6.4 they will see the reward. For those that want a diesel but can go without the 865ft/lbs i wonder what a HO version of the eco diesel would be like in a 2500 ram?

He is probably going to have about 4 feet of rear overhang on his camper. I would not recommend pulling a massive trailer with the ball located about 5 feet behind the rear bumper. I used to pull about 4,000lbs behind me rig with 4'6" overhang and while it worked well I would not have want to try a whole lot more. I had a 1991 model with a 230hp 7.5 liter engine and it had adequate power for the 4,000lb camper and 4,000lb trailer combination. I suspect that the new hemi will do just fine. As for the tremendous resale advantage of diesels, I sold my 23 year old 2wd superab truck recently for $7,000. I doubt that a diesel would have gone for any more. I never regretted not having the diesel. Having said that, my new rig is a 35' Class A with a 300hp version of the Cummins and I am happy with it too. I get more mpg from it than I did from the truck and camper combination. Nearly as much as the empty truck gave. (about 11mpg) I do use about 10 cents worth of DEF for each gallon of diesel.

@sandman - Most diesel pickup owners would be shocked how well gas engines do, in terms of (max loaded) pulling power and MPG. Gas engines are worth considering now that diesels cost so dang much to buy/own/operate.

One thing he didn't mention is the increased payload from a much lighter gas V8. Or more, easier, convenient places to fill the tank, especially when piloting around a huge truck and camper.

The latest round of diesel have yet to prove their longevity. Remember, just doing the injectors on a diesel can easily cost as much as rebuilding the entire gas V8, including installation. Never mind a the cost of rebuilt, injection pumps, turbos, fuel cont module, etc. Once a modern diesel pickup has high miles, you can easily be out $25K in increased repairs, maintenance and initial cost, vs a gas V8 engine pickup with high miles.

But if it's a race to the top of the grade, loaded with a 5th wheel toy hauler while rolling coal, passing everyone, it's a different story. Otherwise the gas V8 truck will get you there just fine.

@Denverlllmike, He did mention it.

"Objectively, a diesel truck will cost more to buy, maintain, and fuel - and offer hundreds of pounds less GVWR and payload - than an otherwise identical gas truck."

What a gorgeous rig. Can't wait to read follow up on his adventures. With class leading power and great M.P.G The Hemi is a great power plant.

actually Denver, its the other way around, I was one who had the gas, and went to the diesel, and there is no comparison between the 2, and the diesel wins on all fronts, I have mine for almost a year now and it looks like I will save about 400 dollars over the gas, including fuel cost and oil/def, the main reason for that though, is I bought a used one a few years old with very low mileage, IOW my current truck was 50+K in 2011 but I only paid 37K with 35k miles, basically the price of a new 3/4 ton gas, but I wont go back to gas for sure

@nitro - Conversely, I was always the one that swore by diesels. I grew up with them and it's just nothing you ever gave much thought to. It was diesel or nothing. But in '01, I bought a battered '97 Ford with the gas 460 because they were giving it away (almost) with a blown engine and excessive miles/abuse. I put a new (dealer rebuild, $1,850 installed) 460 in it, and was blown away with the performance. You did have to floor it on steep hills with heavy loads, but it did the job just fine. That's just how gas engines operate. Lots of RPM. Never a problem, $10 oil changes and that's it. Close to zero maintenance.

Once I put a total of 500K miles on that truck, it was done. I went back to diesels just out of habit. By then, modern and high tech, DTI and full emissions. But now I'm done with diesels. Totally not worth it.

That 6.4 Hemi may be in my next truck. Btw, I just spent $4,500 for 2 injectors, new EGR valve, cleaned/serviced the turbo, new oil cooler, new egr cooler and all filters.

Diesel pickups for those that actually use them hard, is a high stakes game, and better left for the rich and famous.

@kibbsford: those that don't want or need 865 lbs feet torque can opt for the 68rfe transmission, which it what you get when you chose the non HO Cummins 800 ft pounds, or can chose the 6 speed manual, @650 ft pounds. To my knowledge, they are not upping the power for these two powerplants just the 850 foot-pounds has been brought up to 865.

The 3.0 V-6 in this truck would be ridiculous. You're talking about a truck that is easily 2000 more pounds than the 1500. You would work that little V6 way too hard to put it in one of these with the dually long bed.

Some people did suggest that Ram should have went with the 5 L Cummins. But that engine was tried by Ram a few years back, and the mileage increase was not that much over a hemi. That 5 L would work out pretty well in this 2500.

Campers tend to push a lot of air, and this truck here is pretty heavy. Somebody using it with the diesel engine would save a lot of fuel, if they were going to drive any long distance to go camping that is.

Whoops, I meant to say in a 2500, or a 3500. Because this is not a 2500.

I agree that Ram should still put the 5.0 Cummins in the 2500. It's the perfect engine for the Power Wagon.

Seems like PUTC is advertising.

As soon as I opened the link for this article I see a subscription to some camper magazine site.

As for a 6 litre V8 gas camper on a Ram 3500 chassis, I do consider that quite inefficient and a waste of a good chassis.

Maybe a Fiat/Ram/Ducato could to the same, a lot cheaper and more efficiently.

A large heavy truck, lots of wind resistance, big gas V8, it doesn't seem logical.

@TRX-4 Tom. Its a strange idea yes. But think about it. the 2500 ram with the eco diesel would be about 7500lbs. vs 8000lbs with a cummins. it makes more usable torque 420ftlbs @2000rmp vs the 5.7L 400ftlbs @4000rpm. the eco diesel has more balls then the old 5.9 12v cummins which hauled dodge trucks out of the grave in the 80's. my opinion, is an upgraded eco diesel say (265hp/435ftls) would be a better engine option then the base 5,7 hemi. it would leave the 2500s with three choices. Base 6.4hemi/mid 3.0eco/top 6.7cummins.

Today many apparent online 'news' stories are actually advertisements. I wouldn't be surprised if TCM made some type of financial arrangement with for these periodic advertisements.

Another truck? Where do you park these trucks? That inner city Winnepeg apartment must have an unreal parking contract for you. Remember on TTAC you pointed out you live in a Winnepeg apartment.

As for you diesel comment, what BS.

It is recorded that your view of diesel is they are not of any value. What about the comments regarding diesels aren't effective because of dust and dirt will make them unreliable?

What about you statement that the intricacy of the fuel delivery in a diesel makes them unreliable. Turbo make them unreliable.

You do talk with a forked tongue. I will point out every statement you make that is an 'untruth'.

Holy cyber-stalking!

F150 vs tortoise this turtle smokes a f150 for real HAHA!

The article's author's fuel economy numbers don't wash with the test results PUTC got. They should have figured the numbers on paper and not relied on the lie-o-meter. I think they would have been disappointed.

Cyberstalking, I doubt it.

If someone who debates using beliefs and their beliefs can't be substantiated or there are to many 'facts' delivered by the person that aren't consistent with his/her argument, I do believe it is up to the commenters to point this out regarding that person.

There are some who do read these types of comments and attempt to make judgment on purchasing or whatever regarding a vehicle.

If a person who constantly lies can be pointed out this might in fact protect a person looking for validation or an impetus in making a decision in purchasing a product.

Just be truthful. It's not hard, but if you think you are in this blogosphere for the glory or trolling of your comment or selling a product I will attempt to reduce your stature.

Let the 'real' people use these comments sections and not the trolls, fanboi's, or marketing types. This is where a consistent, longer term moderator is needed.

A decent moderator would point out to DiM that his comments aren't consistent with his past arguements and he should maybe look elsewhere to make a contribution.

Hemi V8 and Zvirus are the same.

@BAFO - There really are people like me that are in the business of buying, selling, transporting, exporting and repairing pickups. You say I'm not one of them, but whatever.

Argue my words if you like. Take your best shot...

You won't for you know very little on the topic. You'd rather attack who I am or am not, instead any points I make. You just keep digging your own hole.

You can call yourself a rocket scientist, and I'm not here to dispute that. Not my deal. But you act like you're 12. May be they have to be emotionally stunted to work in aerospace? You tell me...

Every body no ford pickup have to much twists in the frame whit a camper,,

@Big Al, is there anyone here that you actually like/get along with? You are so condescending to everyone here and then you play the victim card when it doesn't go the way you want it to. How about being respectful of other people's opinions? People might then care more about what you have to say. Just my thoughts, don't get all defensive on me.

Maybe. Something like this, as the 3500 is going to be limited Off Road, due to the Top Heavy nature of the Camper.
Winnebago builds a Class A on the Sprinter Chassis, you can get 4x4 versions.
US Truck Campers that have substantial weight are normally carried on the F550 Chassis

Denvermike you are a UAW Troll, that posts on this and the TAC site. You get paid to do that, not a problem ,common tactic by Unions to have a Everyman on sites that affect them

I thought the large V8's were too inefficient and the diesels cost too much, which is what kept me from considering a 3/4-ton truck before. I don't tow or have a camper, but like this scenario I carry a heavy payload for a 1/2ton. Now I'll definitely consider the Ram 2500, which I'll assume with the 6.4 will get similar or better mileage than the 3500.

@RobertRyan - I'm fan of all trucks. I don't care who builds them, foundry to final assembly.

Thing is most pickups in the world are hecho en Mexico and or non union anyway. Remaining possibly union assembled pickups, I've been just a critical of, as approving. And most of my comments are non make specific.

The bigger question is, why am I even answering troll comments?

the fuel MPG he was getting is amazing! im going to look at this truck. never would have believed he was going to get that MPG. and the truck is not small! that is a huge truck wide long and tall. 10 foot western wideout on that and were in business!

He owned a Ram with a diesel before he bought the Silverado. He switched to gas because he felt the diesel was not worth the extra cost. And he is right! The diesel is not worth it if you can buy a gas engine pickup that will do the job you need done.

I'm surprised that they believed the dash display for mpg.

I would of went with the 4.10 gears. That is a 9% difference that will make a big difference under load. MPG isn't going to change much.

A 1,000 lb of left over cargo weight is a good margin but are they looking at the weight of passengers and gear?

@greg - I can see needing a diesel if you tow 15K on a regular basis. 6k cargo isn't a big stress on a gasser rated to tow 12-15K.

Denvermike, the UAW, cares about the complete assembly, it pays its members from the profits it makes.
Midsize Pickups do not make much profit and their is a huge concern that a General take up of diesel in half tons could affect production of gas engines in other plants,
The UAW like the companies are worried about the bottom line. No profit members out of work

The aluminum SD better bring it! these rams are awfully tempting me. let them put a v10 hemi in it so i can cut the exhaust off and get back to the good ole days!

I too am highly skeptical of the MPG claims--me thinks Fiat is upping its advertising budget... .

That being said, I wouldn't have hesitated to drop a heavy camper into a '98 Dodge 3500 drw--regardless of the 3000lb rating.

RobertRyan - My views concerning diesels are hardly unique. There's a growing movement rethinking diesels in heavy duty applications, up to class 7. So gas engines are making a comeback. I saw it coming long before Ford and Ram started offering big V8s and V10 in medium duty trucks. Just common frack'n sense! So there's even less need for diesels in light duty applications.

I'm not clear why any of this hurts your feelings.

Otherwise, it's the same thing I tell BAFO repeatedly. Since you have not much to say about my specific comments (or the topic in general), and may not like what you're hearing, you come up with any stup!d accusation of sponsorship or nefarious payola.

"Stay on topic"

Remember that part? It's a waste of everyone's bandwidth otherwise.

@Sandman 4x4, Check this Dakota out.

Ok so diesel or gas EH??? unless you work your diesel engine it snot worth owning it. 6.7 is too big for normal applications like under 7klbs once a month. gasoline is fine and way more reliable. if you want diesel get the small one. that little 3.0 will love being worked hard. that's what diesels are for tractor like work. towing is perfect always a load on it. im sure with the success that the 3.0 has they will build other larger and smaller versions. when they do RAM will be a leader and every ounce of experience they gain from being first will help propel them upwards in sales. ford has the right idea though gas turbo is fun fast and diesel like. Ill be waiting for a SD with eco boost formed engine in the future and I will buy it. Really though the big diesels in these trucks are stupid. If busses are running the 5.0 v8 cummins and have a full load and doing just fine a little pickup can use it or smaller and be fine as well.

Got a feeling we might hear about a Raptor tomorrow morning :)

OK maybe not a Raptor, but other F150 news

@Alex - maybe this?

"A letter to Ford dealers -- dated Aug. 20 and signed by distribution planning manager Kevin Giacomini and allocation and commodity manager John Bradley -- leaked on the Internet today details when some F-150s will arrive."

"Ford, in a statement today, said: “Customers are excited for the all-new F-150, which they will be able to buy and drive off dealer lots late this year. Those customers ordering specific configurations may not receive their truck until early 2015.”

No, that's old and not what Mike Levine would be referring to as cool news coming tomorrow!

@ Dave - true.
Having to wait a few extra months for a 2015 F150 so they can make sure they are delivered without problems is not cool news.
It is reassuring but not cool.

@Dave, @Alex - what I'd see as cool news would be:

a. Raptor
b. Raptor with TTDI 5.0
c. Diesel F150
d. Ranger coming to North America.

What I want to see:
build & price up
3.5 EB payload

What I think it will be:
FX4 off-road test

Lou BC
So you won't be able to drive a 2015 F-150 till early next year?
That explains why all my local Ford Dealers are way over stocked with 2014 F-150's and not giving discounts.
Usually this time of year they start to panic offering discounts to sale the remaining stock to make room for the next year model.
I say Ford isn't that confident in the 2015 F-150 so they are holding on to the 2014's as back-up when the 2015's don't sell.
When the NFL Football starts they will advertise it and many people will fall for it, but I will never buy one until PUTC tests it and I have honest gas mileage numbers.
I am surprised PUTC didn't get their hands on one yet!

@Lou, Dave, Alex, Hopefully Ford finds a fix to the spontaneous fire problem for the new f150!

cannot park F-150 on 3 degree incline or moonroof will leak.

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