1991 Dodge W250 Overland Tourer Build and Adventures

1stgenoverland

Adventurer
I know it’s not much of a camper idea since it’s an off the shelf four wheel camper but the whole rig was a culmination of ideas from a couple decades of different builds with overlanding as the focus. Honestly besides being loud I’d say the first gens are a perfect platform to build off. The four wheel camper I bought new for a 2012 Toyota Tacoma then decided to build the dodge around that camper. In a lot of ways the first gens aren’t all that much bigger than a late model Tacoma . Turned out drastically better than the Tacoma in every category besides noise. The bodies are quite thin and the factory paint isn’t great but if you make sure no body rust gets ignored I don’t see why you couldn’t keep one earning its keep for a lifetime. Getrag might not have the best rep but seems like at lower power levels with sensible driving and care they last just fine.
Well, my camper is also off the shelf, but it doesn't have that sweet pop up roof. I think about that a lot actually, I'd sure love to fit under some trees, once in awhile.

I do agree with you that the first gen is hardly bigger than the modern Tacoma. I've been offroading a couple times with friends who drive Tacoma's and they all agree that my truck looks big and feels big, but seems to fit in all the same places and burn half as much fuel.

Most of my paint is covered up by an extra layer of logging company colours...I'll just keep slathering on keeping it tidy. I have two small rust patches to fix currently, and plan to do a few more repairs when I get down to Mexico.

I actually don't mind the getrag. Sure it makes a few noises and buzzes under certain loads, but its easy enough to work on, and I feel like on an overland trip, if I did run into an issue, I feel like to could be rebuilt on a picnic table, worse case scenario
 

burt

Observer
Does the tranny make noises in high torque conditions? My truck isn’t far from stock power but the tranny is as Smooth and quiet as any manual I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t be surprised if that changed with turning it up though. Maybe experiment with fluids overfilled of course. My taco was a 4cyl and my first gen gets almost the same fuel economy fully armored and Loaded for extended travel as the taco empty. Load the taco down and try to keep up with mountain traffic and it and the difference becomes large. I put a ord magnum range box in mine which I absolutely love.
 

1stgenoverland

Adventurer
Does the tranny make noises in high torque conditions? My truck isn’t far from stock power but the tranny is as Smooth and quiet as any manual I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t be surprised if that changed with turning it up though. Maybe experiment with fluids overfilled of course. My taco was a 4cyl and my first gen gets almost the same fuel economy fully armored and Loaded for extended travel as the taco empty. Load the taco down and try to keep up with mountain traffic and it and the difference becomes large. I put a ord magnum range box in mine which I absolutely love.
Yeah mine does make noise in high torque conditions. I've played around with fluid and levels and have tried between 5w30 and15w40. Doesn't seem to make a difference at all under those certain torque loads. I do intend to pull it and reshim the bearings before I go on my trip and when I do my new clutch.
 

1stgenoverland

Adventurer
So, How do I fund my overland builds? Mainly I work as a mechanic, for a logging company, but, when the opportunity presents itself, I love to work on vintage Landcruisers. A fellow, more travelled overlander, Needed some work done on his landcruiser. I offered to travel a number of hours to his place to swap in another engine, as the one that he had was really tired, with low compression. He plans on a huge trip with this landcruiser, so it's been fun to be apart of the project. IMG_3029.jpeg
I walked in on this view of the Landcruiser on day one. He had done quite a bit of the removal and marked everything diligently. This makes a mechanics heart happy.




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I suppose this is where the mechanic comes in. Going through another used engine, and deciding if its any better then the previous. It definitely is! Good compression, good bottom end. Just needed a clean and fresh gaskets.

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Here's the new block installed in the landcruiser with some tape to protect it until I can return to put the head on. It was in the machine shop, at my request, being tested and machined accordingly.

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Here's the Head installed and torqued down. You can see I'm a real stickler for marking head bolts to make sure that they're all done and in order. Three dots means three passes 30-60-90 ftlbs in that order.

At some point, I really need to start working on my own truck. To be honest, Its so much easier working on things with people. This landcruiser project has been a lot of fun for that reason.


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frojoe

Adventurer
Saw your rig driving off the ferry in Departure Bay last night.. I was 1st in line to get on the lower deck of the boat, you drove right in front of me..... truck and camper setup looks great!
 

1stgenoverland

Adventurer
Saw your rig driving off the ferry in Departure Bay last night.. I was 1st in line to get on the lower deck of the boat, you drove right in front of me..... truck and camper setup looks great!
You know, When I was sitting in Horseshoe bay, waiting for the ferry, I wondered if maybe we'd bump into each other or recognize our rigs in passing. So that actually happened accept that I missed seeing yours. Next time!
 

frojoe

Adventurer
You know, When I was sitting in Horseshoe bay, waiting for the ferry, I wondered if maybe we'd bump into each other or recognize our rigs in passing. So that actually happened accept that I missed seeing yours. Next time!
Haha no way, that's funny! In all fairness, I was driving a different truck.. a "hand painted camo" Chevy C20 regular cab with a Kubota tractor in the 8ft bed, and it was pretty dark at the front of the lane I was parked. I'm sure we'll cross paths again though.
 

1stgenoverland

Adventurer
Haha no way, that's funny! In all fairness, I was driving a different truck.. a "hand painted camo" Chevy C20 regular cab with a Kubota tractor in the 8ft bed, and it was pretty dark at the front of the lane I was parked. I'm sure we'll cross paths again though.
definitely!
 

1stgenoverland

Adventurer
Here's the pilot hole injectors I was talking about in the previous post. If you zoom in on the second picture, You will see the tiniest hole with two larger holes. That is the magic formula. I installed them, and realized, I had a whole bunch more pump tuning than I thought I had. One the first drive, with just the injectors, before retuning, I may more may not have added to my carbon foot print. Lots of black smoke and the engine was boosting past the turbos wastegate. Detuned, still burning rich, detuned some more, still not happy, detuned a third time, and have it close. Still trying to get the last of the inappropriate smoke out of the tune.

It's pretty amazing how well these injectors work. They are quieter!, they idle smoother, and the turbo builds crazy boost, super fast. I still need to dial them in better, but I'm generally super impressed by them. Detuned the pump a lot from what I had it set at for the factory injectors, and its still has more power than before. I hope it translates into better fuel mileage. We shall see. So far, Its been terrible, as I can't keep my foot out of it. Just puts a ******** eating grin on my face, it's so fun to drive. Not to mention the camper has been on it. Best fuel mileage so far has been, 13L/100km, worst has been coming home in stop and go traffic, with a bad headwind, and I got 16L/100km.



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1stgenoverland

Adventurer
Been awhile since I posted. It's impressive how fast life can run away on you. Don't worry! It's all fun stuff. An update on those pilot hole injectors, it took a bit of work to really get them dialled in well but now that they are, I'm impressed even more. Smooth, quiet and the fuel mileage in town seems to be pretty stable at around 12L/Hundred or 19mpg.

Back to the Camper build ideas. I frustrate myself on how much I flop between just building this camper out or Building a pop up camper from scratch. This week, I'm building this camper out in my head. I have it, it's a shell that's already built, that needs some basic adaptations to make it work with the flat deck better. As I am adding a second fuel tank, my spare tire has to be located somewhere different. If I build the back of that camper properly and have it bolt to the flat deck, it will allow me to have the spare tire hang of the back, on a swing out bracket. I really like this idea because the spare tire becomes security for the rear door as the door will not be able to be opened, when the spare tire is locked. I also like the idea of adding a storage box to the other side, on the back, but also want to have a ladder, so the roof is easier to access.
IMG_3075 2.jpeg

The second thing I'm looking at is filling in the sides with storage boxes. On the drivers side, the box will be kept simple. It will hold propane in one vented cabin, and the rest will be storage, accessible from the outside or the inside, under the galley cabinets. Was even thinking of insulating it really well, for cool dry storage for vegetables, in one section, and only accessible from the inside. the remaining cabinet would be available for gear storage.
IMG_3074 2.jpeg

On the other side, things get more complicated. I want to have all the electrical and batteries in one cabinet, A small generator locked away in another cabinet that's insulated in a way, that the generator could run inside that cabinet, or pulled out and ran a distance away from the camper.

If I integrated these cabinets really well, So that they are a sealed part of the camper, it would allow for another idea I have. This bench is awful. It's not a nice place to sit, by any stretch. If you want to have the table set up while you use the bench, it pinches the camper off, so that it's uncomfortable to prepare food on the counter, or even walk past the table. If I build the boxes on the outside of the camper strong enough, it will allow me to cut out the centre of the bench, creating a foot well, and a table can be attached to the wall. This would be a much more functional use of the space, but it would permanently make the camper a flat deck truck camper. I wasn't okay with this idea, on the off chance I ever wanted to sell the camper but it sure has grown on me. Maybe, I'm just making an almost fully integrated camper, and I just have to accept that. IMG_3256.jpg

Anyways, That's all for now, Let me know what you all think about the ideas, I love how much the forums can be a think tank, with the right people giving good input.


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Been awhile since I posted. It's impressive how fast life can run away on you. Don't worry! It's all fun stuff. An update on those pilot hole injectors, it took a bit of work to really get them dialled in well but now that they are, I'm impressed even more. Smooth, quiet and the fuel mileage in town seems to be pretty stable at around 12L/Hundred or 19mpg.

Back to the Camper build ideas. I frustrate myself on how much I flop between just building this camper out or Building a pop up camper from scratch. This week, I'm building this camper out in my head. I have it, it's a shell that's already built, that needs some basic adaptations to make it work with the flat deck better. As I am adding a second fuel tank, my spare tire has to be located somewhere different. If I build the back of that camper properly and have it bolt to the flat deck, it will allow me to have the spare tire hang of the back, on a swing out bracket. I really like this idea because the spare tire becomes security for the rear door as the door will not be able to be opened, when the spare tire is locked. I also like the idea of adding a storage box to the other side, on the back, but also want to have a ladder, so the roof is easier to access.
View attachment 834064

The second thing I'm looking at is filling in the sides with storage boxes. On the drivers side, the box will be kept simple. It will hold propane in one vented cabin, and the rest will be storage, accessible from the outside or the inside, under the galley cabinets. Was even thinking of insulating it really well, for cool dry storage for vegetables, in one section, and only accessible from the inside. the remaining cabinet would be available for gear storage.
View attachment 834063

On the other side, things get more complicated. I want to have all the electrical and batteries in one cabinet, A small generator locked away in another cabinet that's insulated in a way, that the generator could run inside that cabinet, or pulled out and ran a distance away from the camper.

If I integrated these cabinets really well, So that they are a sealed part of the camper, it would allow for another idea I have. This bench is awful. It's not a nice place to sit, by any stretch. If you want to have the table set up while you use the bench, it pinches the camper off, so that it's uncomfortable to prepare food on the counter, or even walk past the table. If I build the boxes on the outside of the camper strong enough, it will allow me to cut out the centre of the bench, creating a foot well, and a table can be attached to the wall. This would be a much more functional use of the space, but it would permanently make the camper a flat deck truck camper. I wasn't okay with this idea, on the off chance I ever wanted to sell the camper but it sure has grown on me. Maybe, I'm just making an almost fully integrated camper, and I just have to accept that. View attachment 834065

Anyways, That's all for now, Let me know what you all think about the ideas, I love how much the forums can be a think tank, with the right people giving good input.


View attachment 834068
In dealing with my NL 6.10 build for long term overland travel, I could not agree with you more about the " L shaped dinette " getting in the way. In addition, building in more storage is a plus. I removed the L bench that sticks out into the walkway as I wanted a pass thru to the drivers compartment. I then cut the fiberglass to create a two person " face to face " dinette as you purpose. I used p.t. plywood with FRP panels to cover the exterior and simply bought off the shelf rv baggage doors for access. From the inside of the dinette foot well I can access the Li Ion Batteries and the Porta Potty simply by un screwing wing nuts that hold the wood panels in place. I have attached pictures to help. Keep up the good work,
 

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1stgenoverland

Adventurer
In dealing with my NL 6.10 build for long term overland travel, I could not agree with you more about the " L shaped dinette " getting in the way. In addition, building in more storage is a plus. I removed the L bench that sticks out into the walkway as I wanted a pass thru to the drivers compartment. I then cut the fiberglass to create a two person " face to face " dinette as you purpose. I used p.t. plywood with FRP panels to cover the exterior and simply bought off the shelf rv baggage doors for access. From the inside of the dinette foot well I can access the Li Ion Batteries and the Porta Potty simply by un screwing wing nuts that hold the wood panels in place. I have attached pictures to help. Keep up the good work,
Wow! You've done some of the things Ive wanted to do already... but I Have to ask.... is that pass through into the cab?
 
Wow! You've done some of the things Ive wanted to do already... but I Have to ask.... is that pass through into the cab?
Yes, based on they type of travel and places I go it was something that I felt was worthwhile. I don't have any pictures of it open but here is one showing the rough framing / opening during contruction. The power center and water tank was removed.I built an all new electric system and placed the new water tank on the deck under the oven. I used a 24" X 36" steel access door from Home Depot. ( Attic style access door. ) Between the F-150 and the NL 6.10 I used an accordion style boot to deal with the flex between each unit. Note: After my first shakedown trip I noticed too much air / wind noise. I then added / covered both sides with auto / marine carpet and finished with three barrel bolt locks to secure from inside the camper. ( see previous pictures. ) It's not perfect, but I have been very happy with it for over ten thousand miles so far... Final note: I used wood to frame as that is what I know, but If you have welding skills you could do a more professional job with the opening.
 

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