The Truck Is In Pieces – Part II

October 3rd, 2010

Well the passenger side is done. We knew there was something wrong with it but really had no idea exactly what it was until we pulled it all apart. It appears that the axle seal failed. Dirt was then able to get inside of the bearing assembly. Once things in there were no longer smooth and flush, the axle had some play. That play caused the metal part of the busted axle seal to eat into the steering knuckle. So, after a new steering knuckle, a new Timken 515025 hub bearing assembly, a new vacuum hose, and some new ball joints (we had already bought them), the passenger side noises are all gone.

Rain and our new 515025 Timken hub assembly

We would have the driver’s side done as well, but instead of paying $60 for a tool, we are relying on a local mechanic to install our axle seals and not a single auto repair place is open on the weekends in this town. We hope to be done with the front end work tomorrow. All that we could find wrong with the driver’s side was a bad upper ball joint, a disintegrating vacuum hose, and a “drier than I would like” auto locking hub. Thankfully, unlike the passenger’s side, we only need buy one more part, an o-ring.

Lots more work to do. Come Monday, I imagine that we will get the front end back together, drain and refill both differentials, and do some triage on the turbo.

Enclosed is a picture of Rain next to our new hub bearing assembly. =)

The Truck Is In Pieces

October 1st, 2010

Front end work on our truck
Repairing our truck

Life in the back of a truck (part 3)

March 14th, 2009

This is part of an ongoing series on what it’s like to live in a truck camper fulltime. You may read other articles here:

  1. Part One – The fulltime lifestyle
  2. Part Two – Why a truck camper?
  3. Part Three – Weights & Dealing with them
  4. Part Four – Boondocking resource conservation

We still haven’t got the shiny pictures from Carlsbad uploaded, so I’ll go back to an old standby and bore you all with life in the back of a truck… again!

It’s a truck, you can carry anything, right?

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Weight is a big concern for most fulltimers, but I think it is a much higher priority for truck campers. At first glance, you might think a class C would be heavier than a truck camper, and you’d probably be right… at least until you add the truck. They’re on similar sized chassis, so why would you worry about weight so much more in a truck camper? If you stop and think about the construction differences, I think you’ll get a pretty good idea of what causes the problem.

Class C’s are built on a bare chassis as a stand alone unit. A truck camper is separate from the truck and still needs to maintain structural integrity. Additionally, it’s sitting on a truck that hasn’t been gutted by the manufacturer to remove unneccessary (for camping) features. A truck camper and truck combo has a fair bit of redundant construction compared to a class A/B/C RV. The camper has to hold itself together both on and off the truck, which is more than you would ask of a standalone RV.

But, it’s still way smaller than the giant 5th wheels and trailers you see people towing, right? Sure, but there’s a big difference in the way the weight is carried. Trailers put the bulk of the weight on their own axles, which is why trucks can tow so much more than they can haul. Trucks have all sorts of weight ratings including GVWR, GCWR, GAWR, and tire load ranges.

Confused yet? Ok, let’s see if we can make some sense of these ratings and which ones will matter to you.

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