Southland RV
Lance 2
Cirrus 2
Adventurer
Capri 2
Important Truck Camping Tips

Off-Road Truck and Camper Trip Preparation

You may also want to consider bringing a Haynes or Chilton service manual with you.  I haven’t carried these with my newer trucks, but I went across the country with a 15-year-old Bronco once and brought one with me then.  I also carry one in my 1961 Willys pickup.  Even if you personally can’t do all of the repairs outlined in the manual, it might serve as a reference for a mechanic, especially if you have an older truck.

Professional Truck Inspection

Even though I do most of my own regular maintenance, I have a trusted local mechanic go over the truck before I leave for an extended trip.  His eyes are more trained than mine and he works on many similar trucks, so he knows trouble spots to check.  Expect to pay about $100 for this inspection in addition to any service or repairs that you might need.

Finally, before you leave, you should go over your pickup thoroughly from front to back and bottom to top.  Crawl under the truck and check every single nut and bolt you can reach.  I once found a loose bolt on my stabilizer bar during such an inspection and was glad I did.

Also, as you are traveling, make a habit of regularly checking out the truck in a systematic way on a regular basis.  Parts can come loose or crack.  Finding these problems early will allow you to repair them before they become a calamity.

A Quick Note About Filters

While some may advocate carrying spares of every filter on your truck, unless you own an unusual truck, I don’t recommend this.  These have a predictable service life and are readily available in parts stores and most big box stores.  Space in a truck camper is at a premium, so it doesn’t make sense to carry these for maintenance.

However, there is a situation where you might consider bringing one or more of these.  While you are under your truck, take a look at the location of your filters – are they in a vulnerable spot where they might be punctured by a rock?  Then, these may be worth bringing.  A hole in a fuel, oil, or transmission filter will stop you dead and I don’t know of any effective field repair.

Preventative-Truck-Maintenance-fuel-filter

Above: The fuel filter on a GM Duramax engine is much easier to change in your driveway at home

My truck, for example, is a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 with the Duramax engine.  The fuel filter is tucked up high in the engine compartment and the truck would need to be otherwise damaged beyond repair to injure it.

My oil filter is similarly protected, so is unlikely to be pierced by an errant boulder.  However, my Allison transmission has an external filter which is in a vulnerable spot (it hangs right down in the middle of nowhere), so a spare of that is worth bringing along.

Transmission filter

Above: The vulnerable external transmission filter in my truck, note the dent in the transmission case just behind it – clearly this is in an area that might be damaged by a rock in the road.

However, there is a situation where you might consider bringing one or more of these.  While you are under your truck, take a look at the location of your filters – are they in a vulnerable spot where they might be punctured by a rock?  Then, these may be worth bringing.  A hole in a fuel, oil, or transmission filter will stop you dead and I don’t know of any effective field repair.

Enhance the Stock Suspension

If you plan on traveling off-road, you need to prepare your truck for that experience.  Driving down a rough two-track is much more challenging for your vehicle than going down a paved highway.

First, upgrade your wheels and tires for durability and traction.  There are too many important variables with selecting wheels and tires for this article, but carefully consider what will fit your truck, and what type of travel you’re interested in.  You want the wheels you select to offer right traction for where you are going.

Truck suspension Torklift StableLoads

After upgrading your wheels and tires, consider heavy-duty shocks, air springs, and a rear stabilizer bar.  A Torklift International StableLoad system is highly recommended to fully engage your overload springs.  When you are installing these items, use a product like Locktite to ensure that the connections don’t loosen while you are driving.

First ← Previous ... 2 3 4 ... Next → Last Read Entire Article

Truck Camper Brochures
Northstar Bottom Banner
To Top