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Old 04-23-2017, 10:28 PM   #1
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Difference between a regular popup and an 'off road' model?

Could anyone explain differences between a regular popup and an 'off road' model? Are there any other real differences other than the rims and tires? Is the suspension different? Is it mounted different?
And I mean pupups like the Fleetwood Evolution, of Jayco Baja, not the custom one-offs.

Thanks for you input.
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Old 04-23-2017, 10:31 PM   #2
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No diff. Fancy rims and cookie cutter tires, probably a higher price for the snazzy graphics too.
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Old 04-23-2017, 11:00 PM   #3
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Usually higher clearence on axels
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:50 AM   #4
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No diff. Fancy rims and cookie cutter tires, probably a higher price for the snazzy graphics too.
Yes, there are differences.
Often depends on brand.
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Old 04-24-2017, 03:32 AM   #5
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The RV manufacturers definition of "off road" is a freshly graded gravel road. Other than the wheels and tires, a few more inches of ground clearance, and on a few a heavier spring, they are put together exactly the same as their other pop ups from the same parts including frames.

If you take one consistently on true off road goat trails, you'll bounce and twist them to pieces in short order. Take lots of tools and a wide selection of screws and other fasteners.
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:17 PM   #6
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This is my 206STSE. Another feature that comes with these are the diamond plate at bottom that will help with brush scratches and rocks also mine has the roof racks built in and little bigger hot water tank. Higher clearance and all terrain tires was the main reason for me.(and I like the colors better) wasn't much difference in price either
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:30 PM   #7
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I came across a really heavy duty built pop up on Pintrest awhile back. They are not family friendly as in space, but heck let the kids sleep in tents. You are not going to get anything with t.v.'s and AC units.

Trailers - Highland Expedition Outfitters or one from Australia.
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Old 04-24-2017, 12:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mdstudey View Post
I came across a really heavy duty built pop up on Pintrest awhile back. They are not family friendly as in space, but heck let the kids sleep in tents. You are not going to get anything with t.v.'s and AC units.

Trailers - Highland Expedition Outfitters or one from Australia.
Patriot Campers X1 Standard Edition Camper Trailer

Those are truely off-road versions!! Little to much to my bank account though!
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Old 04-24-2017, 01:05 PM   #9
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Off-Road is a nebulous descriptor - kind of like "natural" in foods. It depends on the brand.

But, don't discount the value of an "off road" setup. 2 to 3 inches of extra clearance, especially for a solid axle on leaf-spring models, can be critically important. We have a conventionally suspended high-wall, and we must exercise great care once the going gets rough. I've sledge-hammerd my steps back into shape more than once.

Options. A "problem" with many "off road" models is that they tend to be spartan and small. Maybe you want something bigger and nicer. If so, even my HW-277 with a 15 foot tub can be modified to be better-suited for rough terrain.

While every solution and configuration is a compromise, you can convert your camper to "off-road" status by "flipping" the axle and installing larger tires.

Flipping the axle: In leaf sprung suspensions, the axle is usually on top of the leaf springs. It's possible to dismount the axle and move it to the underside of the leaf springs, thereby gaining about 1 1/2" to 2" of additional clearance for the trailer tub. Bear in mind, however, that the axle is no higher off the ground (with standard wheels/tires).
That's where bigger wheels and tires come in.

My trailer has torsion axles. I was told by the dealer that they could "flip" my axle for more ground clearance, but the work would cost about $500. The roof on our high-wall is already about 6' off the ground when closed, so we chose to leave it stock. Torsion axles are nice because the center beam is higher than the wheel center. A trailing arm holds the axle spindle lower than the axle cross beam. But, after looking at the suspension several times, I do not see what they'd have to do to raise the ground clearance. If you're buying new and you want this done, I'd recommend getting this modification negotiated into the final price.

Changing from, say, a 14" to a 15" wheel that also has a wider width allows also for a bigger tire. Tire profiles are a factor of a percentage of tire tread width to sidewall height. So, if you go from a 205 width tire to a 235 width tire with the same sidewall dimension (e.g. "75") that "75" is a percentage of width, so the 235 width tire will be taller than the 205 tire, plus you gain an inch in wheel diameter (1/2" in clearance). You might even specify a different profile - say "80" or similar to gain more clearance.) Altogether, the larger wheel and tire size might give you 1 1/2" of additional AXLE clearance. Obviously, you need to ensure that your new wheel/tire combo will fit under the trailer without contacting the wheel well. As with a blow-out, if a "giant" wheel/tire bangs into your camper body, you can do $1500 worth of damage before you know it.

The axle change is probably best done in a shop. Getting the axle properly positioned under the spring leaves, and keeping the spring leaves perfectly aligned is crucial for strength and safety. You may also want to substitute larger "U-Bolts" to hold the axle to the springs, because the impact forces may be higher.

If you are doing this work on leaf springs, it's a good time to upgrade the shackles, bolts, and bushings, because most come with "junk". New kits replace plastic bushings with bronze, simple bolts with bolts containing zerk fittings to allow greasing the joints, and heavier gauge shackle plates. It's also wise to examine the spring mounts on the frame to be sure they don't need reinforcing. If you are going off-road, you'll put more stresses on the suspension, as will the unsprung weight of larger wheels and tires.

Some of these modifications will add weight. Take that into account. Bigger wheels and tires weigh more, and that will use up a bit of the trailer's carrying capacity. And if you're near the weight limit with your tow vehicle, that vigilance about weight will be doubly important. But larger tires MAY have the same load capacity at somewhat lower pressures, and that will take some of the stresses off your trailer suspension and frame mounts.

One more tip for off-roading. If you buy bigger wheels, get simple steel wheels. They take far more abuse than cast aluminum. You'll note that most Jeeps setup for serious off-roading use steel wheels, because an impact that will just bend a steel wheel may ruin an aluminum wheel. Plus, steel is cheaper.

Other things you can do - and not all "off-road" camper manufacturers bother - is to "clean up" the underside of your trailer to get the "low hanging fruit" out of harm's way. My steps are a great example. They are big, clunky, low-hanging obstructions. When I finally ruin them beyond sledge-hammer repair, I will replace them with something that retracts more cleanly. Fortunately, all of my plumbing is pretty tidy, but I expect I'll clean off the black and gray water drains one day if I don't raise my trailer.

Finally, if you are serious about off-roading, get a high quality air pump. I have a Viair that connects straight to the battery with big alligator clips (not a cigarette lighter model). When going on rough terrain, soften your tires to allow the tires to soak up a lot of shock. We go on a lot of washboard roads, and at the recommended 60 PSI, my trailer quickly shook itself apart. At 40 PSI, I have far fewer problems. If I were going on really rough roads, I'd drop them to 30 PSI and let the tires soak up rocks, ledges, and so on. At the low speeds you travel off road, heat build up from the low pressures isn't a problem. Then, with the air pump, you're ready to inflate them to recommended pressures for highway use.
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:11 PM   #10
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Yes there is a difference! 2-3 inches more clearance & much more aggressive all terrain tires make a huge difference when boondocking! A clean underbelly also helps.
Our Rockwood Freedom 282XRT, great pop up. We've had ours through some very rough, muddy, snowy terrain. Have since upgraded to our current Shamrock 21SSL also with off-road package. Also all the tanks are heated.


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Old 04-26-2017, 07:00 PM   #11
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I took a 228BH had the springs mounted above the axle, installed stronger springs (but that was after I broke one off-roading it in Moab no complaints I was going places I probably should not have gone, towing it with my Hummer), stronger shackles and went from stock 13" tires to 15" AT tires. Gained about 4 inches of added clearance with the box to the ground and maybe 1.5 inches for axle to ground.

One thing I learned was standard highway ST tires are terrible on nasty rock trails. I originally went from 13 to 14 inch and kept the ST tires, but after having three sidewall failures I decided to go to AT tires. And to get the same or higher load rating, I had to go a lot larger with non-ST tires.

If a lot of nasty roads are going to be driven, and you are running wet cell batteries, I suggest carrying along a jug of distilled water and check the batteries. It's amazing how much will shake out.
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:47 AM   #12
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This is my 206STSE. Another feature that comes with these are the diamond plate at bottom that will help with brush scratches and rocks also mine has the roof racks built in and little bigger hot water tank. Higher clearance and all terrain tires was the main reason for me.(and I like the colors better) wasn't much difference in price either
We're looking in to buying a new 206STSE. Any tips or suggestions you can offer? Is there anything you wish you knew before buying?
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