WE'RE SELLING DARLENE & THE CAMPER, HOLY SHIT!
$22,000 for the whole assembled package. WE. ARE. NOT. SEPARATING. THEM.
Seriously - if I get one more fucking email asking if we'll sell just the truck or camper.....I'll come to your house and teach you how to read more better.
Four years ago when we purchased this glorious 1997 Dodge Ram 2500 with its 12 valve Cummins engine, I said I’d never sell her. We christened her “Darlene”. When we finally found the perfect Four Wheel Camper Grandby and it slid oh-so-perfectly into the bed of Darlene, I reiterated to Beth that we were never selling our rig, and that we would pass this beautiful beast onto our children and revel them with tales of our life on the road.
But life happens. After two years of living in Darlene and traveling the country we found ourselves on the opposite coast from where we set out, happily settled in Eugene Oregon. Now that we have running hot water, a flushing toilet, and an oven we aren’t quite sure we want to live that nomadic life for a while. We want to embed ourselves here, learn the area, save some money, start the next adventure, follow the next dream.
We honestly thought Darlene would just be our family truck & camper, and that we’d drive her till the wheels fell off. But a series of financial setbacks and some soul-searching led us to realize that she just isn’t the ideal truck for us anymore. We, bear with me, might need more of a family-friendly daily driver. No, we’re not expecting kids just yet, but the discussion is on the table...and getting 14-17mpg just isn’t cutting it when you’re 30 and struggling to pay off debt and build savings while switching careers and earning paltry entry-level pay in a new career. Throw getting married and potentially starting a family into the mix. Yeah, we might need something a bit smaller and more “city friendly”. Honestly if we were still traveling the country, we’d stick with her. If we made more money we’d stick with her. If we had more time off to take longer vacations we’d stick with her. But unfortunately the sad reality is she just is too much truck and camper for us, and so Darlene is now for sale. I re-found my love and passion for motorcycles, and riding a motorcycle to work is far more exciting than driving what used to be my home. Not to mention getting 45-55mpg is waaaaaaaay better.
If you’ve followed our adventures, you probably already know Darlene. If you haven’t followed our adventures, or want to see some honest history of this rig, just pop on over to Traveling-trio.com, instagram.com/traveling.trio or facebook.com/that.traveling.trio - we have nothing to hide. We’ve met many of you on our travels, or probably hung out with/know someone you know.
Let’s get the quick facts out of the way here for those of you who are already tired of reading:
1997 Dodge Ram 2500 with a 12v Cummins at 238,657 which might go up because every now and then I don’t ride my motorcycle. For you CA residents, I’m pretty sure she’s SMOG-exempt, and you don’t have to buy DEF! We bought her at 190k from a sheriff-turned-farmer who had apparently purchased it from the original owner (or that’s what we were told). We basically drove across the country 5 times and then up and down the West coast and all over California so the miles added up, but most of them were highway miles if that matters to you.
2007 Four Wheel Camper “Grandby” shell model that has been modified inside to be more than just a shell. It has a couch, solar panels, Dometic fridge, Thetford potty, and some other goodies outlined below.
Eugene, OR is where she lives. If you wanna do a fly and ride, I’ll pick you up in her and you can crash in the front yard for the night before you head on your way. If you’re located somewhat nearby and can commit to a down-payment and pay for fuel, I’d even consider driving to you, within reason and availability of my schedule.
Clean and clear Oregon title in my name.
$22,000 is what we’re asking. If you don’t think that’s fair then make an offer. We’re not in a rush or a bind. We know what this rig is worth and we have a folder of receipts and documents to back it up. We’re open to talks. We’re also open to potential trades for something smaller and slightly more fuel-efficient. For a list of potential trades look below.**
She is turn-key ready minus two things that I’ll elaborate on below, but you’ll need a jack and a new thermistor for the fridge.
Truck and camper are sold together. We’re not separating them unless NOBODY makes an offer, for like, a year or something. I told you, we’re not in a rush. The truck was specifically set up and balanced within her suspension to hold the weight of the camper, including our gear, so separating them would just be inhumane. They were made for each other. If you want to separate them later, that’s your business, but we’re gonna let them stick together for now.
Additional photos can be found here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/NkqYUAZV9R7j4qpj2
I’ll probably upload more as I have time, so check them out. We included old photos of before the big upgrades of tires/suspension so you can see where she came from.
Contact us via PM or email: TravelingTrio88@gmail.com
Now for those of you who are willing to read a bit more. Let’s explore the details of Darlene. Since our acquisition of her she’s seen, in somewhat of a chronological timeline:
6/14 - A/C charged and sealed
New pioneer stereo head unit installed
7/14 - Felpro valve cover gaskets replaced
KDP tabbed & timing cover gasket replaced
Ujoints replaced on drive axle
New water pump
Transmission flush & band adjustment
Transfer case fluid flushed & replaced
11/14 - Rear wheel speed sensor replaced
Neutral safety switch replaced
Front hitch mount installed - so you can mount a bike rack up front, or precisely maneuver a trailer with the front of your truck like all the cool kids or whatever.
1/15 - New batteries installed
fuel feed/return soft lines replaced from engine to hard lines
New belt tensioner
2/15 - new tires
Front & rear differential oil changed
New lift pump installed
3/15 - steering damper installed
Rear axle leaf spring u-bolt replaced (old one was rusty and I didn’t trust it)
Leaky brake line replaced and whole system flushed & bled
FSS boot replaced, FSS cleaned and checked, and new relay installed.
Starter rebuilt with heavy duty parts
4/15 - new door speakers
7/15 - new brake lines because a couple were rusty and making me feel funny
New front brake pads
8/15 - Fuel heater core part thing delete. Still went through the system, but the actual heater was removed. Installed new screen and 90 degree hose.
New fuel overflow valve
10/15 - Hydraboost, power steering pump, steering gear and vacuum pump all replaced. See story below*
Steering gear replaced again, see story below*
12/15 - Transmission speed sensor replaced
Electronic speed sensor replaced
Throttle Position Sensor replaced
1/16 - New muffler & exhaust installed
Transmission governor sensor & solenoid replaced, band adjustment and new fluid.
Heater core & hose replaced. (Holy **** if this wasn’t the HARDEST and WORST job I’ve done, hands down, in the entire time we’ve owned Darlene)
3/16 - Pyro, Boost & Trans temp guages installed
Front disc brake pads replaced
Rear brake shoes replaced, drum checked, springs replaced, parking brake reset, brakes reset, etc.
Steering gear replaced the third and final time, along with power steering pump seal.
Steering brace from Synergy installed
6/15 - Oil pressure sensor replaced
7/15 - New auxiliary driving lights installed
9/16 - a lot of the following is documented here: https://www.facebook...ing.trio/posts/
New front brake pads and NEW rotors installed.
New wheel bearings installed on front
New studs installed in rotors & lugs to match
New 17” Method Racing wheels installed (all 5)
New Cooper ATP tires installed (all 5) 285/70R17
New Bilstein shocks on all 4 corners
New front coil shocks from Deaver Springs (+2 in lift)
New leaf springs in rear to match height and PERFECTLY dialed in for the weight of the camper, two occupants, gear and fuel. So so so so so much more smooth and balanced drive.
Brand new custom steering linkage that ELMINATES any kind of steering wobble, and drastically increases the strength. Heim joints too, so no more shitty ball joints.
Brand new rebuildable Dynatrac HD balljoints (should be last time they EVER need to be done)
All U-joints on front driveline, as well as main driveline replaced.
Remember that old exhaust & muffler? Yeah, it was cheap and the guy who installed it screwed up so I got that chopped off and had a new exhaust tip put on. She’s back to being louder, but now the exhaust doesn’t come up between the cab and bed!
Transmission completely rebuilt with upgraded hardware by Walter Selva at Walter’s Transmissions in Temecula CA
New ATS transmission pan installed
New Kenwood 2-meter radio and antenna installed.
Light bar installed on grill, where it should be.
10/16 - valves adjusted to spec
2/17 - Transmission cooling line replaced
4/17 - transmission cooling line replaced, again
5/17 - damnit, transmission cooling line replaced again, but this time with custom USA made hose. The built in valve to prevent TC drainback is NO LONGER THERE, so you have to start the truck in neutral and let it warm up for like, 30 seconds or a minute at most. Which you should do anyway for the engine. See story below*
6/17 - Cooling system cleaned and flushed with Cummins Restore Plus and proper coolant.
New Cummins thermostat
New Gates water pump
New Viton marine-grade bio-diesel resistant rubber fuel lines from tank to engine.
Fuel heater bullshit bypass. Just straight from the tank to the lift pump and out to the injector. No more wonky routing
New Cummins lift pump
New TorkTek adjustable fuel overflow relief valve - biodiesel safe with Viton & adjustable pressure
Fuel pressure sensor installed.
12/17 - new “sport” headlights installed, and wiring FIXED so that it doesn’t pass all that voltage through the friggin in-cab switch and melt it. SO MUCH MORE LIGHT AT NIGHT!
Other things include:
Custom rear platform. Great for a dog, that’s where Alfredo spent most of his time. Below is storage. Sturdy and reliable. If you don’t like it, it’s easy enough to take out with a couple hours and a six pack of beer, and the rear seats are still there. If it’s a deal-breaker for you unless it’s removed I’ll take care of it as long as you send a deposit.
Fire extinguisher mounted under driver’s seat
Flashlight holster, I’ll probably keep the flashlight though.
Tire chains for all 4 tires
All kinds of spare parts, bits & bolts, fluids and who knows what else
Overhead netting for in-cab gear
Towing brake system
Polycarbonate dash cover, because the dash underneath is basically non-existent
Free scrapes and scratches from tons of adventures
Free stickers from adventures, sponsors and cool folks we met along the way. If these are a deal-breaker for you just let us know and we’ll get them removed best we can. But we think it adds character and a bit of a story to the history of this rig.
Secret Kill-switch installed (don’t worry, you’ll get the rundown on how it works, if you you buy her, but not before)
There’s probably more that didn’t get on this list. Basically nearly every sensor has been switched, and just about every preventative thing has been done to keep Darlene running for many many more miles. If I had to guess what might give up next? I honestly have no friggin clue - alternator? Coolant temp-sender? A turn signal bulb? Fuck, I dunno - but I feel confident it won’t be anything major and it won’t be anything for quite a while.
Now onto the Four Wheel Camper Grandby - she started life as a shell model, but she’s had some improvements made. Things changes have been a lot more fluid with the camper since it was essentially our house for two years. We tried lots of configurations and eventually smoothed out the details into what best suit us. This was the most-used part of the rig, so obviously there’s a bit more wear here. A few spots where stickers or adhesive pulled off the faux-wood laminate look a little unsightly, there’s some scuffing and I might have farted a time or two in there, but I promise the smell is gone. Some of the modifications/upgrades include:
Fold-over couch/bed FACING THE WINDOW so you don’t sit and stare at a wall! Tons of storage underneath and behind.
New lift struts for the roof. Paid good money for the since I learned my lesson on cheaper ones that stopped holding after a week of use. These guys are like 60 - 80lbs of lift EACH and there’s 4 of them. I wanted it to be super easy for Beth to lift. Over the two years they were used they’ve lost a tiny amount of their power, but they still can lift the roof on their own just about.
Solar panel. I have the specs written down somewhere, but I think it’s 120 or 130 Watt. It always worked great for us - running laptops, charging phones, fridge, lights, fans.
US Battery 6V deep-cycle batteries wired in series for 12v throughout. Model US2200 @ 232Ah
Charging ports galore. USB, cig-lighter style
A cheapo inverter for when you need AC power
Hardwired ChargeMaster 12v battery tender with external plug for battery tendin’
EP Solar Tracer MPPT solar controller with external control/info screen
Swivel table from FWC
New clear PVC windows installed as per FWC’s instructions. Sadly these too shrank after a while (the reason for them being replaced originally) but they’re still FAR BETTER than when we bought the camper and actually seal out rain/wind. There’s somewhat of a weird seam at the bottom where the old-meets-new but if you open the windows and fold the flap like we do, you’ll never see them. We’ll show you.
Roof screws replaced & sealed as a preemptive measure. NO LEAKS!
Vent cover installed over rear Fan-Tastic fan so it can be opened during rain/snow. HUGE improvement for us.
Extra Fan-tastic vent & fan installed over bed
New (as in we slept on it maybe a month) foam for over-cab bed from A1 Foam in Orange CA. SO SO SO MUCH BETTER. Honestly I sleep better on this foam than our $500 Tuft & Needle mattress!
Thetford port-a-potty. Don’t worry, it’s been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
Custom rear propane tank holster & cute little 13.3lb propane tank with a line splitter
Olympian Wave 3 Catalytic propane heater
Dometic/Waeco CF-50 fridge ***NEEDS NEW THERMISTOR*** I’ve been lazy, and I realize this is one of TWO things that makes this non-turnkey. I mean, you can still use the fridge, it just runs and runs and runs, and that’s not good. Last time we turned it on it gave us an error code. I don’t know how it ran non-stop for nearly two years and then just decided to give up now, but damn if that wasn’t luck.
All lights replaced with LEDs. Light over bed replaced with selectable red/white light for night-time pees when you don’t want to disturb your partner or kill your night vision
FWC passthrough foam “donut” between camper and truck - allowed us to leave rear window open so Alfredo could come/go from his spot.
Truck wired to charge from alternator (with separator, so you don’t ever kill the truck), from a drop cord (through the battery tender) or through the solar. All automatic, and can explain to purchaser.
Camp Chef “Everest” model two-burner range
Custom behind-couch storage shelf/bin. Blends in with camper and wouldn’t even know it was aftermarket
Brand new screens in the rear door and side window
Reliance water jug with Living Overland water pump hard-wired into camper
Lynx Levelers. Probably one of the best investments we ever made for sleeping
Small trash can with locking lid
4 manual jacks for lifting the camper, and also two handles for operating the jacks.
Again, there’s probably more that I’m forgetting, but that’s the jist of it. We slept in this thing for over 600 nights and loved (almost) every bit of it. These things are solidly built. There are a few minor blemishes here and there. The rear door frame may have cracked (as evidenced by some minor spider-cracks in the siding above the door) but it shouldn’t be an issue and is a known thing to happen (as per what FWC said) on these models before they changed how they welded the rear frame. The roof has a slight “sag” to it that you have to look for, otherwise you wouldn’t notice it, but again FWC says this is normal and nothing to be concerned about.
We’re not looking to rip anyone off. We just want to get some of our money back out of this so that we can start the next chapter of our life. We put far more than what we’re asking into this rig, because Darlene was our dream - she allowed us to pursue a lifestyle many dream of and few chase down. The time in her was priceless and I want to make sure that the next owner treats her well and knows her quirks. The last thing we want to do is have someone ride off into the sunset and have some crazy **** happen. We’re into building community, this isn’t just a business transaction for us. Of course she is a 30 year old vehicle and things might break down the line, so obviously we’re selling her as-is with no implied guarantees or warranties. We just have our word that she’s been well-kept and that we believe in Darlene, and you should too.
*Transmission story - so we drove back to NC/GA to pick up our old stuff in storage when we decided we were going to move to Eugene and live in a house. On our way West while towing a tiny little U-haul trailer one of our transmission cooling lines began squirting out of a hair-line crack at a fitting. Luckily I caught it right after it happened when we stopped for gas. We had to order a new line and once fitted and refilled with the quart or two that had sprayed out, we were back on our merry way. Flash forward a few months living in Eugene and when we got to work one day I noticed a drip of ATF from under the truck. I chased down the leak and a fitting on the aftermarket line had begun to leak where the hose crimped to a hard line. I replaced this with a brand-new line from NAPA and this lasted for nearly a week until it too blew ( I was monitoring it closely ) and rather than spend more time and effort on an obviously over-priced and under-performing part, I had a local shop custom make a line for me and since then have had ZERO issues with this line or anything else regarding the transmission. No damage was done to the transmission. I called my transmission guy, gave him all the details, asked his opinion, checked the fluid, etc and was reassured that my newly-rebuilt transmission was A-OK!
Toyota Tacomas - 4x4 only, prefer manual transmission but not a dealbreaker. No 3.0 engines. Anything from the old pre-taco with the 22RE up to something newer. I really like the late 90’s/early 00 body style. Double cab or extended cab a must. Under 200k on the odo mandatory unless paper trail of certified rebuild included.
Toyota 4Runner - 4x4, manual prefered but not mandatory. No 3.0 engines. Fine with 22re, older body-styles, etc. Just needs to be in solid condition like the Tacoma requirements above.
Toyota LC - maybe. Maybe. This would fly in the face of having something fuel-efficient though. So probably not.
4x4 van - potentially. It would need to be somewhat fuel efficient (at least better than 14-17mpg, if that’s even possible) and reliable. Also nothing huge - remember we need something we can navigate a city with.
Camper van - same requirements as above, just minus the 4x4. Think Ford Transit Connect, Econoline, or something similar.
Maybe a cheap Subaru - something fun, maybe lifted, definitely running. We're thinking something cheap like $5,000 in value or less. Just a little fun awd vehicle to play in for a while until we build out our next rig.
HONESTY FIRST a.k.a. Known issues/flaws/cons/reasons you’ll use to barter with me:
Thermistor on Dometic fridge is out. Now it’s throwing an Err2 code last time I turned it on. Not willing to fix myself but from what I’ve heard replacing the board on these is easy-peasy. We got this as a scratch & dent sale (there’s a huge dent on one corner) and it worked great for nearly two years until we moved here and turned it off.
You’re not getting my Safe Jack system. Sorry. So you’ll need to provide a bottle jack yourself or figure out if you want a hi-lift or whatever. Right now if you got a flat you’d be **** out of luck, so that’s probably a good idea. If you HAVE to have a jack before you purchase, I’ll go to Harbor Freight and buy one to include.
Darlene has had a fair share of minor issues since we’ve owner her. She’s an older vehicle and so I was aware this would happen. Just about every switch and sensor has been replaced but I still generally trust her. Would I trust her to get me across the country? Fuck yeah, she’s done it nearly five times already. Do I generally have trust in her? Yeah, for the most part - but I feel this way about EVERY vehicle I’ve owned. I generally trust them, but I trust in myself more. I know that any used vehicle could have lurking issues, but I trust that I’ll be able to sort them out. The major systems have been thoroughly gone through and those would be the ones I’d be most concerned about, and I feel assured personally that they are in solid shape.
There’s a tiny amount of body rust bubbling up on a fender well. Small as in measured-in-centimeters small. There’s some surface rust under the truck, and a spot here or there on the body-mounting plates that was iffy that I fixed with a steel plate. Nothing wrong with the frame though as far as I’ve seen.
She has somewhat-new paint (I think the PO re-painted her) but her adventures have chipped and scratched up some of it. Nothing huge or major, but in the efforts of full disclosure, it’s not showroom-ready.
Recently the starting batteries have begun to give up the ghost. Good chance I’ll replace them soon.
Installing the new sport headlights meant I had to cut some spots out of the front headlight area to make them fit. I didn’t have the best blade on my sawzall so the cuts aren’t pretty. The edges are filed down and everything fits (and you don’t see ANY of this unless you take the ENTIRE headlight assembly out) but if you ever have to change the bulbs you’ll eventually see my somewhat-shoddy handywork (I didn’t have to change bulbs in over two years, and I used new bulbs of the same brand). So just for sake of full disclosure I want you to know that.
Timing cover has a small weep that get's flung around occasionally. It's been doing it for a while. Look - with a diesel I've learned that you pay attention to the fluids that are IN your engine, not the ones that seep out. Because something is going to eventually leak or weep on a damn diesel. Never had to top off oil or anything like that, just being transparent.
If there’s anything else that I forgot or that someone brings up I’ll add it here.