Better Fuel Mileage and Lower Costs Makes Downsizing a No-Brainer
John Cappa –
Nov 1, 2011
Photo 1/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize ram 1500 | Unlike many of the 3/4- and 1-ton trucks on the market, most half-tons are equipped to handle the bulkiness of a full-size camper.
Photo 2/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize ram 1500 | Unlike many of the 3/4- and 1-ton trucks on the market, most half-tons are equipped to handle the bulkiness of a full-size camper.
Photo 3/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize bilstein Shocks Added | With the factory shocks removed, we bolted the Bilstein shocks in place. On trucks with A-arm type suspensions, like our two-wheel-drive Ram, we supported the frame with jackstands and then supported the lower A-arm before we removed and replaced the shocks.
Photo 4/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize tire Tread Detail | On most half-ton trucks you can upsize slightly from the factory tires if you choose to. Our BFGoodrich 245/75R17 tires (right) were about an inch taller than the factory 245/70R17 tires.
Photo 5/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize heat Shield | The passenger side required a heat shield to protect the air bag from the exhaust pipe. The small shield is included with the kit and needs to be positioned halfway between the air bag and the exhaust before cinching down the hardware. Check for clearance and make sure the shield won’t come in contact with anything as the suspension moves.
Photo 6/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize firestone Air Hoses | When we routed the Firestone air hoses, we were careful to keep them away from sharp objects and heat sources. Once the lines were connected, we inflated the system to 70 psi and checked for leaks by spraying soapy water on the connections.
Photo 7/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize no Drill Firestone Ride Rite Air Springs | The No-Drill Firestone Ride-Rite air springs bolted to the axle housing and replaced the factory bump-stop on our Ram. We removed the tires for accessibility, but these air springs can be installed with the vehicle on the ground.
Photo 8/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize fill Valves | We installed the fill valves so they didn’t get damaged. Sometimes you can put them in place of the license plate mounting bolts in the rear bumper. This wouldn’t work for us so we simply drilled a couple holes next to the license plate. When the truck is unloaded you can decrease the air bag pressure to 5 psi for a smoother ride. When you’re ready to haul the camper you can pump them up to the desired pressure and ride height.
Photo 9/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize bilstein B6 Rear Shocks | The Bilstein B6 rear shocks bolted to the original mounts using the factory hardware. They provided more dampening than the stock shocks to help control the increased weight of a bed-mounter camper.
Photo 10/10 | half Ton Camper 2004 Ram 1500 Downsize oem Tires | Not only were our OEM tires succumbing to dry rot, but they were designed for a car as designated by the "P" in front of the metric size molded into the sidewall. The stock P245/70R17 tires were rated to support 2,205 pounds at 35 psi. We upgraded to BFGoodrich light truck ("LT") tires, which are an E Load Range tire rated to support 2,910 pounds at 80 psi.