Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Under-$16K truck with 3500lb camper payload?

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    • #20443


      Truck camping newbie here, hoping for a little truck-buying advice. I need to replace my current 4×4 project/hauler/bad weather roads truck (not my daily driver–I have a 2wd car for that.) And I’d like to get into some truck camping, so I’d like to find a truck that can do both.

      The truck camper sizes/models I’m leaning towards have a wet weight of around 3500 lbs (something like the Lance 850), so that’s the camper/payload capacity I’d need.

      The challenge is that I need to stick to a $15-$16K budget for the truck, which limits me to older used trucks, and likely full ton rather than ¾ ton models since I’ve seen few older ¾ ton models that would get me the 3500lb payload.

      Another challenge: I live in a rural area with pretty limited “local” truck-buying options, so I’m having to do my truck-buying research via internet/email/phone, and I’ll likely be driving 5+ hours to inspect/buy the truck.

      Any general advice on years/makes/models I might focus on for getting that 3500lb payload on a $16K budget? I don’t have any preference on make. I need gas and 4×4, and would prefer SRW, xcab or crew for the interior storage and the long bed for projects/hauling when not hauling the camper. I’ve been able to find a couple of F-350 Super Dutys Crew LB 4×4 years 2005-2008 that are within my budget; seems like one of these might be a decent choice for what I need?

      Finally, since I’m going to be looking at older trucks that usually have been “worked,” any specific mechanical issues I should keep an eye out for when I physically inspect/drive it?

      Thanks for your help!

    • #20545

      I agree with you, I would go one ton. As to specific truck, arguments about which manufacturer is better range far and wide and might best be answered on an owners’ forum specific to the model in which you have an interest.

      As to F350s, I don’t think you can find a good low miles gasser model with the current 6.2 engine in your p[rice range, but the V10 which preceded it was a beast and if I were going Ford in your price range, that is the engine I would be on the lookout for. You won’t get the fancy new transmission which is a pip when shifted manually in the hills, but you can manage without it.

      Personally I have never found inspecting a used truck to be any different than inspecting a used car and there is a ton of information already available on the Internet about that.

      Steve and Andra
      2012 F350 6.2 gasser SRW LB
      Fab Fours front and rear in case we run into a rhino
      2019 Northstar Laredo SC

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