In April 2021, we purchased a 2011 Ram 5500 and a 2000 Bigfoot 3000 Series Truck camper. Over the summer months, we completely renovated the inside and built up the outside into a luxury off-road overlanding vehicle.
The Bigfoot Truck Camper
The 2000 Bigfoot 3000 series was in excellent condition when we bought it but looked outdated. Most upgrades were cosmetic, starting first with the electrical system.
We set up our truck camper to be an ultimate off-grid and off-road travel rig. The heart of our off-grid power system includes two GC3 Game Changer 3.0 Battle Born Lithium batteries. At 270AH each, these batteries give us a total of 540 amp hours.
This system uses the Victron Lynx shunt and distributor, the Victron Multiplus 3kVA inverter, Victron MPPT solar charge controllers, and 495 watts of solar power with Battle Born’s flexible solar panels.
We also have a 30 amp 12v DC to DC converter and the Victron Orion-TR Smart to charge the batteries from the truck’s alternator. The last component of our truck camper system is the brains of the operation – the Victron Cerbo GX. This unit takes all the data from each of our other Victron components and aggregates it.
Interior Truck Camper Renovation
Next, we proceeded with painting all of the interior walls.
Most replacement parts like light switches, lights, and the sink were from RecPro.com, a company dedicated to RV replacement parts. (Get 5% off your order with Coupon code “ONTHEMOVE5“)
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We replaced the cushions with RecPro dinette cushions and got additional matching fabric to reupholster the headboard, cushioned cabinets, and other fabric areas throughout the RV.
For our countertops, we updated the existing kitchen, dinette, and vanity counters with an epoxy countertop kit from Leggari Products. We used Kit #15.
We replaced the carpet with EVA boat foam flooring and covered the aisleway with vinyl plank flooring.
- 【 Material 】 EVA Foam - ethylene vinyl acetate is a dense and...
- 【Size and Color】 94.5"(L)x35.4"(W) ; 240cm(L)x90cm(W) ;...
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The Ram 5500 Truck
The truck is a 2011 Ram 5500 flatbed that has been singled out. We bought it from a guy on Kodiak Island in Alaska, shipped it on the ferry, and Tom flew to meet it in Washington and drive it off the ferry.
Since then, we added Centramatics wheel balancers to help balance these large tires. Storage boxes on the truck bed provide tons of storage space for our gear. Finally, we had a welder custom fabricate an off-set hitch to mount our RoadMaster spare tire carrier.
In addition to all the truck upgrades, we had to modify the sewer system on the camper to work with the truck. We are using the Thetford Sanicon system which has been a great way to dump/ pump our tanks.
The Engine Rebuild (Complete Aug 2023)
The Ram truck has a Cummins 6.7 engine in it, the standard for RAM diesel trucks. The engine had suffered a cylinder 6 meltdown before we bought it due to a plugged EGR valve. The previous owner had the engine fully rebuilt using performance aftermarket parts. Unfortunately, a few major things were done wrong during the rebuild, and we ended up with a failure again only 30k miles later.
Our failure may not have been caused by the rebuild problems, but they probably contributed. One of our injectors in the engine (that was wrong for this particular engine) stuck open and leaked so badly that we had a hydro lock on startup. This cracked the engine head and bent the piston connecting rod on cylinder 6. In the video below, we detail what happened and the repair.
During the repair, we replaced many of the engine components and made many upgrades. The intended build of this engine is for longevity and fuel economy. Here are the major components we used in our drivetrain build.
- Hamilton 178- 208 cam (had 188-220)
- Hamilton Pushrods / Tappets
- XDP Trunnion Set
- Powerstroke Products Head+ HD springs + Firering Cut
- Industrial Injection Injectors
- Mishimoto Thermostat
- Industrial Injection Fire Ring Head Gasket
- Mahel/Cummins crank, bearings, pistons
- Bulletproof Diesel Water Pump
- Dorman Lifetime Oil Cooler
- Fleece Coolant Bypass Kit
- Pusher 3.5-inch air intake +Silicone Boots
- S&B Cold Air Intake And Filter
- South bend dual disc clutch
- High Gear Awesome G56 Trans Rebuild
For this truck camper, we used almost the same system that we installed in our fifth wheel. You can learn more about it in this video.
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