camper on a Z71 ??

I'm looking for some experienced advice concerning putting a small camper on a '97 GMC Sierra 1500 short bed 4x4 with the Z71 'off-road' package. I call GMC, gave them my VIN, and they said the dry weight is 4600 lbs,
with a base payload of 1600 lbs. (which agrees with the labelled GVW) However a certified truck scale shows 5200 lbs with 1/2 tank gas and no driver (200 lbs). That would leave only about 700 lbs total payload. Something is amiss, but be that as it may, does anyone have experience or expert opinion on loading this vehicle? (I realize the loading sticker in the glove box says - camper not recommended) I'm driving to Alaska for a couple of months, and just need minimal interior facilities. I c/would use a popup model, so that the cg would stay low, but even 'reasonable' popups go from 1100 to 1300 lbs. (pulling a small travel trailer is a poor 2nd option) Thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've never carried a camper but I've had better than a cubic yard of dirt in my '99 Z71 pickup more than once. A cubic yard of dirt is about 2,500 lbs. So I'll estimate that I've had around 3,500 lbs. in the bed before. You definitely know it's there as the rear springs are sagging, and the brakes are only marginal for that kind of weight. I've Yokohama tires that are rated at 6 ply side walls so that makes it possible.
I wouldn't think that a low camper of 1,300 lbs. would give you much trouble providing that the brakes are in top notch condition and the tires are better than average light truck tires.
Brian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------070106000209060902050203 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
el Diablo wrote:

</pre> <blockquote type="cite"> <pre wrap="">I'm looking for some experienced advice concerning putting a small camper on a '97 GMC Sierra 1500 short bed 4x4 with the Z71 'off-road' package. I call GMC, gave them my VIN, and they said the dry weight is 4600 lbs, with a base payload of 1600 lbs. (which agrees with the labelled GVW) However a certified truck scale shows 5200 lbs with 1/2 tank gas and no driver (200 lbs). That would leave only about 700 lbs total payload. Something is amiss, but be that as it may, does anyone have experience or expert opinion on loading this vehicle? (I realize the loading sticker in the glove box says - camper not recommended) I'm driving to Alaska for a couple of months, and just need minimal interior facilities. I c/would use a popup model, so that the cg would stay low, but even 'reasonable' popups go from 1100 to 1300 lbs. (pulling a small travel trailer is a poor 2nd option) Thanks. </pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap=""><!----> I've never carried a camper but I've had better than a cubic yard of dirt in my '99 Z71 pickup more than once. A cubic yard of dirt is about 2,500 lbs. So I'll estimate that I've had around 3,500 lbs. in the bed before. You definitely know it's there as the rear springs are sagging, and the brakes are only marginal for that kind of weight. I've Yokohama tires that are rated at 6 ply side walls so that makes it possible.
I wouldn't think that a low camper of 1,300 lbs. would give you much trouble providing that the brakes are in top notch condition and the tires are better than average light truck tires.
Brian
</pre> </blockquote> Thanks for the info. I'd be carrying the load longer than you did, I imagine - but a lot less. My rear springs - aren't, they're torsion bars. But according to the original 'sales' brochure, the weight capacity is similar 3600 lbs, vs 3750 lbs. The tires are good to 8400 lbs -- let's say 7000 to be completely safe. Brakes are almost brand new, drive train excellent. The empty weight on the rear axel is 2200 lbs, so 1000 just brings it up to about the same as the front.<br> </body> </html>
--------------070106000209060902050203--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

your rear springs are leafs, just like any other GM truck of the last 30+ model years. your *front* end has torsion bars. hth, Bret
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------060703010900040403030008 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Bret Chase wrote:

:|&gt; :|&gt; :|&gt;&gt;I'm looking for some experienced advice concerning putting a small camper :|&gt;&gt;on a '97 GMC Sierra 1500 short bed 4x4 with the Z71 'off-road' package. :|&gt;&gt;I call GMC, gave them my VIN, and they said the dry weight is 4600 lbs, :|&gt;&gt;with a base payload of 1600 lbs. (which agrees with the labelled GVW) :|&gt;&gt;However a certified truck scale shows 5200 lbs with 1/2 tank gas and no :|&gt;&gt;driver (200 lbs). That would leave only about 700 lbs total payload. :|&gt;&gt;Something is amiss, but be that as it may, does anyone have experience or :|&gt;&gt;expert opinion on loading this vehicle? (I realize the loading sticker in :|&gt;&gt;the glove box says - camper not recommended) :|&gt;&gt;I'm driving to Alaska for a couple of months, and just need minimal :|&gt;&gt;interior facilities. I c/would use a popup model, so that the cg would :|&gt;&gt;stay low, but even 'reasonable' popups go from 1100 to 1300 lbs. (pulling :|&gt;&gt;a small travel trailer is a poor 2nd option) :|&gt;&gt;Thanks. :|&gt;&gt; :|&gt;&gt; :|&gt; :|&gt;I've never carried a camper but I've had better than a cubic yard of dirt in :|&gt;my '99 Z71 pickup more than once. A cubic yard of dirt is about 2,500 lbs. :|&gt;So I'll estimate that I've had around 3,500 lbs. in the bed before. You :|&gt;definitely know it's there as the rear springs are sagging, and the brakes :|&gt;are only marginal for that kind of weight. I've Yokohama tires that are :|&gt;rated at 6 ply side walls so that makes it possible. :|&gt; :|&gt;I wouldn't think that a low camper of 1,300 lbs. would give you much trouble :|&gt;providing that the brakes are in top notch condition and the tires are :|&gt;better than average light truck tires. :|&gt; :|&gt;Brian :|&gt; :|&gt; :|&gt; :|&gt; :|Thanks for the info. I'd be carrying the load longer than you did, I :|imagine - but a lot less. My rear springs - aren't, they're torsion :|bars. But according to the original 'sales' brochure, the weight :|capacity is similar 3600 lbs, vs 3750 lbs. The tires are good to 8400 :|lbs -- let's say 7000 to be completely safe. Brakes are almost brand :|new, drive train excellent. The empty weight on the rear axel is 2200 :|lbs, so 1000 just brings it up to about the same as the front. </pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap=""><!----> your rear springs are leafs, just like any other GM truck of the last 30+ model years. your *front* end has torsion bars. hth, Bret </pre> </blockquote> Right - duh.&nbsp; What about loading them?<br> </body> </html>
--------------060703010900040403030008--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

well if your camper label says its not reccomended, i wouldn't haul a camper in it, especially to alaska.
-Bret
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------050401000209010107010008 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
el Diablo wrote:

</pre> <blockquote type="cite"> <pre wrap="">I'm looking for some experienced advice concerning putting a small camper on a '97 GMC Sierra 1500 short bed 4x4 with the Z71 'off-road' package. I call GMC, gave them my VIN, and they said the dry weight is 4600 lbs, with a base payload of 1600 lbs. (which agrees with the labelled GVW) However a certified truck scale shows 5200 lbs with 1/2 tank gas and no driver (200 lbs). That would leave only about 700 lbs total payload. Something is amiss, but be that as it may, does anyone have experience or expert opinion on loading this vehicle? (I realize the loading sticker in the glove box says - camper not recommended) I'm driving to Alaska for a couple of months, and just need minimal interior facilities. I c/would use a popup model, so that the cg would stay low, but even 'reasonable' popups go from 1100 to 1300 lbs. (pulling a small travel trailer is a poor 2nd option) Thanks. </pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap=""><!----> I've never carried a camper but I've had better than a cubic yard of dirt in my '99 Z71 pickup more than once. A cubic yard of dirt is about 2,500 lbs. So I'll estimate that I've had around 3,500 lbs. in the bed before. You definitely know it's there as the rear springs are sagging, and the brakes are only marginal for that kind of weight. I've Yokohama tires that are rated at 6 ply side walls so that makes it possible.
I wouldn't think that a low camper of 1,300 lbs. would give you much trouble providing that the brakes are in top notch condition and the tires are better than average light truck tires.
Brian
</pre> </blockquote> And your's is a 1500 ?(or maybe all z71's are 1500?)<br> </body> </html>
--------------050401000209010107010008--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
</PRE> <BLOCKQUOTE type="cite"><PRE wrap="">I'm looking for some experienced advice concerning putting a small camper on a '97 GMC Sierra 1500 short bed 4x4 with the Z71 'off-road' package. I call GMC, gave them my VIN, and they said the dry weight is 4600 lbs, with a base payload of 1600 lbs. (which agrees with the labelled GVW) However a certified truck scale shows 5200 lbs with 1/2 tank gas and no driver (200 lbs). That would leave only about 700 lbs total payload. Something is amiss, but be that as it may, does anyone have experience or expert opinion on loading this vehicle? (I realize the loading sticker in the glove box says - camper not recommended) I'm driving to Alaska for a couple of months, and just need minimal interior facilities. I c/would use a popup model, so that the cg would stay low, but even 'reasonable' popups go from 1100 to 1300 lbs. (pulling a small travel trailer is a poor 2nd option) Thanks. </PRE></BLOCKQUOTE><PRE wrap=""><!----> I've never carried a camper but I've had better than a cubic yard of dirt in my '99 Z71 pickup more than once. A cubic yard of dirt is about 2,500 lbs. So I'll estimate that I've had around 3,500 lbs. in the bed before. You definitely know it's there as the rear springs are sagging, and the brakes are only marginal for that kind of weight. I've Yokohama tires that are rated at 6 ply side walls so that makes it possible.
I wouldn't think that a low camper of 1,300 lbs. would give you much trouble providing that the brakes are in top notch condition and the tires are better than average light truck tires.
Brian
</PRE></BLOCKQUOTE> <DIV>And your's is a 1500 ?(or maybe all z71's are 1500?)<BR></DIV> <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV><FONT size=2>Mine is a 1500, I believe that all Z71's are.</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV><FONT size=2>Brian</FONT></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>
------=
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
see http://www.fourwheelcampers.com/ for a good unit. Look at options and accessories to suit your needs. Well built, I have toured the factory. Don't forget the weight of your gear, food, water, plus people. I haven't been on Alaska Highway in 30 years but good tires, and an extra spare (just tire to put on your rim if needed) are always a good idea. I drove 5200 miles round trip from Tacoma, WA!!
cew wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Ball wrote:

I agree that they are one of the best, along with Alaskan. Nice and light, too at 695 lbs dry weight. Wish I could find a used one for under $4K. Any experience with say 1200 lbs on a z71?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No experience with that kind of load on a long trip, I use a 2500 HD, which I bought used just to carry a camper. Makes a lousy commuter car, especially when I got promoted a few months after buying it and parking in a downtown parking garage at the corporate office. You might consider trading for a 2500 of similar value (drop back a year or two, or trade up to same year if you can afford it). You could also look for long bed, have more room on a month long trip. The trip will be less of a "white knuckle" adventure if the vehicle is not at max capacity.
Check with Fourwheeler, they sometimes know of used units, even list them on their web site. Also Do a search for the model that you want. Also try: www.craigslist.com
cew wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I know this is apples to oranges, so to speak, but I drove a 1978 C-10 Silverado Big 10, which is a heavy-duty half ton 2-wheel drive with a long bed, carrying a 9-foot really heavy overhead camper that slept 4 and never had a bit of trouble with it. The truck last 321,000 miles and I never had any suspension problems. But, they made 'em different back then and, again, it's not the same truck. I suspect you would do fine and I'd probably opt for a low profile just for the gas mileage benefit of not fighting the wind. Have you found a model that you want and looked for the manufacturer's website as well as calling the manufacturer for applications?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------080504010809040904060106 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
AnnMef wrote:

</pre> <blockquote type="cite"> <pre wrap="">I'm looking for some experienced advice concerning putting a small camper on a '97 GMC Sierra 1500 short bed 4x4 with the Z71 'off-road' package. I call GMC, gave them my VIN, and they said the dry weight is 4600 lbs, with a base payload of 1600 lbs. (which agrees with the labelled GVW) However a certified truck scale shows 5200 lbs with 1/2 tank gas and no driver (200 lbs). That would leave only about 700 lbs total payload. Something is amiss, but be that as it may, does anyone have experience or expert opinion on loading this vehicle? (I realize the loading sticker in the glove box says - camper not recommended) I'm driving to Alaska for a couple of months, and just need minimal interior facilities. I c/would use a popup model, so that the cg would stay low, but even 'reasonable' popups go from 1100 to 1300 lbs. (pulling a small travel trailer is a poor 2nd option) Thanks. </pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap=""><!---->
</pre> </blockquote> Speaking of 'heavy-half', what IS that exactly?? People think mine is a 'heavy-half', but I assumed it was just because of the 16" wheels and tires. Is there actually a definition, and if so, what is it?<br> Regarding campers, according to my searching, a fourwheel hawk model is the lightest (695) popup specifically for a full size shortbed. In three weeks, I've only found two: one in Ca that is geographically acceptable for Az, but costs twice what I'm willing to pay ($4K+-), and one in Fl that is close to my price, but too far away. I'd also probably go with a grandby model at 795 lbs for an 8' bed - but I'd rather not.<br> I definately want a popup, preferably shortbed, and under 1000lbs max; under 800 better.<br> Any and all camper recommendations highly welcome.<br> Thanks for the info.<br> </body> </html>
--------------080504010809040904060106--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
do a search for pop-up camper. You'll get trailers s well as truck campers but there are about 5 models available. I have looked at two others (visited local dealer) besides Fourwheel. Both had some bathing and toilet facilities that are better than a porta-pottie in a lower cabinet that you pull out into the floor to use.
The 8' model will hang out to about the edge of the tailgate on a shortbed truck (1.5' longer than short bed model camper). The other options would be a tow trailer or fifth wheel trailer, both leave most or all the truck bed avaialbe to carry stuff and will not be constrainted like the truck camper for weight and space. I would suggest small 5th wheel as the ideal solution, either purchased used or rented. Might be able to buy used, resell upon reutrn. Ideal is a 24-26' Class C motorhome but not in our target cost area.
Put heavy flaps on the truck to help protect the front of the trailer. I had flaps and still had to repaint front of the trailer, tongue, and propane tanks when I returned from Alaska trip.
cew wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Ball wrote:

If anyone knows of ~1000 popup truck campers besides four wheel, I'd sure like to know. I've done MUCHO looking. Wouldn't a 5th wheel have almost the same undersireable space/parking/one-lane-road/ferry fee problem as a TT?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
for pop-up, see http://www.northstarcampers.com/ and Sunlite (not the horse trailer one), Hi-Lo, Jayco (may not offer pop-up truck camper any more).
this dealer in NH has 6 new or used brands listed, several in the 1100-1200# range: http://www.polarrv.net/index.asp?pgid=9
for small trailer, see http://www.lighttraveltrailer.com /
new product I recently saw is Jumping Jack, a folding tent trailer from Salt Lake. No web site on their flyer but phone is 801-485-2692. Many of these trailers are 5.5 to 6.5' wide compared to standard campers and trailers that are 7'-6" wide. Any single lane road, etc will be 8' minimum unless it is single track dirt back road. I towed a trailer that was probably 7' wide to from Tacoma to Fairbanks, Mt McKinley (Denali), and Anchorage and back to Tacoma in 1974. 5200 miles/3 weeks including sight-seeing. Installed big mud flaps on rear and hardware cloth gravel catcher on the front using bolts in the winch mount bumper to anchor it and tape on the edge of the hood to keep it from taking off the paint if it made contact. Put it on when we reached the end of pavement, took it off when returned to good paved roads and high speeds. Road is a lot better now than then.
cew wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I can't address what might be a "heavy-half" in modern terms with any reliability, but in 1978 and perhaps a couple of years after, GM marketed the brand "Big 10" for their Chevys and "Heavy Half" for their GMCs. These had extra rear springs and, I think, heavy-duty brakes. They also ran on leaded gas when the unleaded gas was issued as the standard. But, that's all ancient history now. There may be some options to beef up a 1500 to a heavier duty model. Seems like I saw a 1500HD, but also may be thinking of a 2500HD. Enjoy your Alaska trip. I think the mud flap advice sounds good. I'd put extra large, heavy duty ones on. They must have a lot of loose gravel up there. You might also want to put a cow catcher on the front end--make that a caribou catcher :-)
</PRE> <BLOCKQUOTE type="cite"><PRE wrap="">I'm looking for some experienced advice concerning putting a small camper on a '97 GMC Sierra 1500 short bed 4x4 with the Z71 'off-road' package. I call GMC, gave them my VIN, and they said the dry weight is 4600 lbs, with a base payload of 1600 lbs. (which agrees with the labelled GVW) However a certified truck scale shows 5200 lbs with 1/2 tank gas and no driver (200 lbs). That would leave only about 700 lbs total payload. Something is amiss, but be that as it may, does anyone have experience or expert opinion on loading this vehicle? (I realize the loading sticker in the glove box says - camper not recommended) I'm driving to Alaska for a couple of months, and just need minimal interior facilities. I c/would use a popup model, so that the cg would stay low, but even 'reasonable' popups go from 1100 to 1300 lbs. (pulling a small travel trailer is a poor 2nd option) Thanks. </PRE></BLOCKQUOTE><PRE wrap=""><!---->
</PRE></BLOCKQUOTE>Speaking of 'heavy-half', what IS that exactly?? People think mine is a 'heavy-half', but I assumed it was just because of the 16" wheels and tires. Is there actually a definition, and if so, what is it?<BR>Regarding campers, according to my searching, a fourwheel hawk model is the lightest (695) popup specifically for a full size shortbed. In three weeks, I've only found two: one in Ca that is geographically acceptable for Az, but costs twice what I'm willing to pay ($4K+-), and one in Fl that is close to my price, but too far away. I'd also probably go with a grandby model at 795 lbs for an 8' bed - but I'd rather not.<BR>I definately want a popup, preferably shortbed, and under 1000lbs max; under 800 better.<BR>Any and all camper recommendations highly welcome.<BR>Thanks for the info.<BR></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>
------=
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
cew wrote:

    What people refer to as a "Heavy Half" goes by the number of rear leaf springs. 2 to 5 Springs is a "Light Half ton" 6 or more rear leafs is ehat they call a "Heavy Half ton"
    Most of the Factory "Heavy Half tons" also have the larger size rear drum brakes.
    I have 3 chevy/GMC trucks that are in the 73 to 87 body style range. One 77 C-10 with 9 leafs per side (aftermarket springs) a 84 C-10 with 4 Leafs per side. And a 85 GMC 1 ton Dually with 12 leafs per side, a 14 bolt box van rear end and a cut frame.
    Between 1973 to 1987 Chevy/GMC Trucks: 5 Lug 2WD Half Ton. 6 Lug 4WD Half Ton. 8 Lug standard wheels 3/4 Ton & 1 Ton Single Rear Wheels. Only dual rear wheels (daullys) had the Budde type wheels on them. All Budde equiped Trucks are 1 ton's. You could a K-30 with a Dana 60 front diff & Budde wheels between 1973 to 1987. Front 1987 till 1990 or 1991 you could get a "R" chassis truck that way, as a 'Cab and Chassis' model.
Charles Bendig
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
cew wrote:

Little more info. There's a footnote on GVWR; instead of 6200 lbs, it's 6800 lbs with diesel engine. The diesel has 360 ft-lb vs 330 for my 5.7 gas. Front spring capacity 3600, front axle capacity 3925, rear spring 3750, rear axle 3750. Total >7300 lbs. I do not believe that 30 ft-lb of torque is the limit factor. So for a measured weight including full tank and me, I put the perfectly safe cargo capacity at 6800 - 5500 = 1300lbs. (especially with a popup camper) In fact, I'll most likely be under 1100lbs. Disagreements? Please.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
with that truck you are almost limited to a tent and camp gear under a shell, or pull a trailer, preferably a small 5th wheel.
Engine torque is not a factor in GVWR.
cew wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.