We recently received this email about matching the right pickup truck with a 1997 Lance 3000 Squire Truck Camper.
Hi, Mike! I’m just getting started with the truck/camper set up and after reading your informative Truck Camper 101 article I feel more informed. I haven’t bought anything yet. I just looked at a very clean and well-kept Lance 1997, 3000 Squire, one owner, for only $5,000. And it turns out I know the guy! So now I want to make sure I get the best truck to haul it. I’m sold on the Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel, but I’m not sure between the 2500 or 3500, 2015 model. I do not tow at this point, but I want to be able to go off-road. It appears that the 2500 can do the job, but it seems like you lean heavy on the one-ton. Any recommendation? Thanks!
Bryan in California.
Bryan, beware! The engineers at Ram made some significant changes to their 2014 and 2015 2500 pickup trucks. The most notable of these being the change to the rear axle suspension from leaf springs to coils springs. Their engineers claim this change was made to improve the truck’s ride. Yes, the ride is much smoother and provides better articulation off-road. But this change, is some cases, also results in an impaired ability to haul a heavy load like a truck camper. Why? Because the leaf springs typically used in Ram’s trucks offer more support than the coil springs Ram engineers use. Not because coil springs, in general, are weaker, but because of the way they are tuned. This change means that many new Ram 2500s may have significantly smaller payloads than their 3500 counterparts. For instance, one crew cab, short-bed, 4×4 version of the Ram 2500 with the 5.7L V8 Hemi offers only 2,370 pounds of payload. Some offer even less.
Yes, different configurations of the Ram 2500 with certain options offer more payload, but why bother with a 3/4-ton, especially if you want a 1,100-pound Cummins 6.7L turbo diesel. Spend a little more for a much more capable pickup truck like the Ram 3500. For example, you can get a crew cab, short-bed 3500 with a Cummins and 4×4 power-train and still get a 4,000 pound payload. However, if your heart is set on a 2500 then be cautious, avoid the low payload 2500’s out there (like the Ram Power Wagon that has only a 1,400-pound payload), and buy the right 2500 with the right amount of payload for your truck camper hauling needs.