Beast
Home From Research to Leaving Home Outfitting the Truck
navTitle titleBarWhite

Now that we had the truck, it was time to start considering the accessories needed for life on the road. More researching on the internet.

The truck already came with a number of options that were essential:

  • GPS Navigation System
  • Trailer Towing Package with electrical fittings

Bed Cover

The truck bed was going to need a cover. After researching various types of covers and manufacturers, I decided on a TruXedo Deuce roll-up tonneau cover. It is a soft cover that rolls up and stores neatly on top of the bed rails (as opposed to a cover that is on a roller that is attached in the truck bed and takes up space below the bed rails). Not only does it open from the rear by rolling up, but has a hinged section at the front just behind the cab, that allows you to access the truck bed even when the cover is extended. With a tool box right behind the cab, getting at tools or supplies would be an easy matter.

Tool Boxes and Auxiliary Fuel Tanks

Which then started a search for an appropriate tool box. What I found were tool box/fuel tank combos that were designed to sit below the bed rails, in front of the fifth wheel hitch. Perfect. I also found Companion Boxes, designed to sit at the rear end of the truck bed and only 10 inches high, so that the trailer king pin would pass right over. Sounded like a good idea of using the space that sits behind the fifth wheel hitch. The plan was to get the Companion Box first (easiest to install) and stop by the manufacturer of the tool box/fuel tank combo unit who would also do the install and connection to the fuel lines. Just so that you know, my plans don’t always work out as intended. Once on the road, we altered our driving patterns to only drive once every 3 days, and only drive 200-250 miles in a day. As the truck had a 37 gallon tank, giving us a 300-400 mile range, filling up at a local station the day before setting off meant that we would not need an auxiliary fuel tank most of the time. That off course may change too, however a couple of 5 gallon containers in the bed can give me an additional 15 gallons of capacity if needed. This is still a work in progress.

Air Ride Suspension

One of the pieces of advice I was given ‘If you don’t want to get a divorce, get an air bag suspension on the truck’. With that in mind, I started researching various systems (several more pages on notes in my library). In the end, I settled on a Kelderman Air Ride Suspension for 2 reasons;

-It seemed to be the most highly regarded on a number of blogs

-As it turned out, the president of New Horizons happened to be friends with a truck upfitter in Elkhart IN (which by the way is on the route from Boston to Kansas) who dealt with Kelderman systems and he provided an introduction. A few e-mails latter and I had a system reserved and they just needed a couple of weeks notice for when I would be passing through Elkhart on my way to Junction City.

CB Radio

There seemed to be a great debate among RVers about the value of a CB Radio. Many complained of the foul language filling the truck cab. Many others mentioned being able to communicate to other trucks when cell phones could not get a signal. One suggestion on a blog was to get a radio with an external speaker jack and use a headset/earphone so that only the driver would hear the chatter. That seemed like a good idea. Then you get into issues of types of antennas, mounting, etc. I went with a whip antenna with a magnetic mount that sits on the roof of the cab. Not wanting to start drilling holes, I found a handy air vent in the back wall of the cab, behind the rear seats. So it was just a matter of fishing the wire through the air vent and capturing it in the 1 inch air space between the back of the cab and the front of the truck bed. Easier said then done, but then necessity is the Mother of Invention!

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Another hot topic on RV and Truck blogs was tires, tire pressure and monitoring. The recommendations were all to have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) on your truck and RV tires. A blowout at 65 miles per hour can really ruin your day. There are a number of good systems out there with many devotees of each, so it was really the toss of a coin. It so happened that the mail forwarding service that we had decided to deal with was also a PressurePro dealer, so it seemed as good a choice as any.

I struggled mightily trying to get the valve extenders connected to the inner dually tires. Why are truck makers so obtuse when it comes to something so simple as making the tire valve of the inner tire accessible? Anyway, I sort of cheated, and had the fellows at Utility Bodywerks (the Kelderman people) install the extenders when they had the truck body all apart installing the air bag system.

Hitch

Now of course by this point, you are asking why I haven’t said anything about the truck 5th wheel hitch. That is because New Horizons had a very specific recommendation for the hitch to be used, and they were going to install it. It is a 3 bag Hensley TrailerSaver. It was one of the many hitches that I had come across in my research and new it to be a good choice. They first install a ” steel plate into the truck bed, through bolted to the frame. This provides a solid base for the hitch. The hitch is then bolted to the steel plate. Heavy but solid, but be warned, this adds a lot to the weight on the rear axle.

featured

Please check out the new sections of our Web Log:

To see our current travels and plans, click here.

Pictures
All of the pictures in our log are available for viewing on Smugmug and each picture or map links to the exact picture in our gallery. Thumbnails of the pictures in a gallery appear on the left. You can increase the size of the displayed picture by clicking on it. Once in a gallery, you have the choice of using thumbnails to navigate or scroll from one picture to the next. The Navigation Bar at the top allows you to move from one gallery to another. Tool bars at the bottom allow you to download pictures from the site.
 

<< Back Next >>

  Research  
  Purchase  
  Outfitting the Truck  
  Getting Ready to Go  
  Home  
  Currently  
  Introduction  
  From Research to Leaving Home  
  2011, The First Season  
  Winters  
  2012, The Second Season  
  Our Triple D Adventures  
  Natashas Excellent Adventure  
  2013, The Third Season  
  2014, The Fourth Season