Buying A Used Camper for my 1994 Toyota Pickup

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New member
Oct 5, 2006
Dear RV Forum Members,
I am a brand new member this evening. I just attended the Tacoma RV Show in Tacoma Washington at the Tacoma Dome this evening (first day of a five day run) and spoke with a dealer of Six Pac light weight truck campers who recommended a T100S (cost around $8,000-$10,000)
Well, it seemed like the style I liked, low maintence and simple for my needs as I only plan to travel in it for one or two night trips to places within a few hours of my home. I want a dry comfortable place to sleep etc...I will be wanting to use my 1994 Toyota Pickup Truck, it is a SR-5 model Extra Cab- 4 wheel drive with a 3.0 V-6 Engine. I bought it new and have maintained it well the past 13 years, and will probably get another vehicle if I get a camper for this pickup. I am getting around 20 miles per gallon now on the Highway and I reckon I may only get 15 or so with the camper but it is a lot better than most larger trucks get.(not to mention motorhomes)
I then got home from the RV show and got on the internet and saw a 1998 Model Six Pac that would also fit my 1994 Toyota SR-5 Pickup truck for only $1,700 on Craig's list in Portland Oregon(a three hour drive from me) $1,700 VS $9,000 is a big difference. Do these campers value really depreciate THAT much?
My question is this: What do I need to know to make sure that I get something that will not give me any trouble? Are there any Mobile RV dealers that will travel a reasonable distance from their shop to inspect something for a fee? I am mainly concerned about leaks and whether the camper is compatible with my pickup. Is there really that much that can go wrong with these campers over time?  Since I am not planning on doing a lot of long term camping or camping in stormy or winter weather, I want something that doesn't cost a lot but at the same time will do for me with my short one and two night trips around my state during nice weather.
Any advice would be helpful.
Thanks in advance,
Bob from Tacoma.
Do these campers value really depreciate THAT much?

You haven't addressed the most important question, though. How much does this camper weigh and can your SR5 carry it safely?  The dealer is not a reliable (or  even likley) source of advice on this - you have to get the actual weight and GVWR of your SR5 and the "dry" and fully loaded (maximum Gross) weight of the camper and see if the camper is less than the truck's max limits.  And given that it is an older truck, you can assume there has been some loss of power and some mechnaical wear, so you ought to stay well under its max limits.
Thanks for your input. I do remember the Six-Pac dealer representative last evening at the Tacoma Washington RV show touching briefly on the subject of weight, but you pretty much emphazized that I better get those facts correct before I pursue anything else such as a general inspection for leaks etc.. and not rely on what any salesperson tells me alone. That is to find out exactly what the camper weighs and also the actual weight and GVWR of my Toyota SR-5 Pickup. Now, I am not sure what you mean by GVWR, but I am sure I can find out once I get talking to people who are familiar with those topics. It is most likely Gross Vehicle ???
I also agree with you on the fact that I should stay well under the max limits because of the age of the truck. It is true the truck runs well, as I bought it new and have kept all the maintenence records since new and have had all the required work done. I have also kept it looking pretty good cosmetically, although I know that has nothing to do with the discussion here. Heck, I paid $25K for it in 1994 (with tax and license) so it is a quality vehicle. Nonetheless, it still is now 13 years old and has 80,000 miles on it, but I've heard that these trucks run forever. Realistically if I do this I will probably only put a few thousand additional miles per year on it, maybe less. When you mentioned "mechanical wear" in your post, that did get me a bit concerned as I know the extra weight might make some difference there.
Basically, I am trying to keep my camping expenses below overall what I would spend in a Motel. It just seems like it is hard to get a clean motel room in an unfamiliar town for a reasonable price, unless you know the area and know which ones are decent for the money. With the truck and camper, I could be assured of a good bed and clean place to sleep most anywhere.
However, I won't do it unless I can get these issues you raised resolved, and can get someone in the local area to help me check it out for leaks. Other than that, I guess I can see if there are any books out there on bargain but clean motel rooms...
Thanks again,
Get all the specs  as to engine, tranny, weight GVWR, tires, weight of the truck and everything that you can in ways for info  and the same for the camper  Then these guys can definitely tell you weather or not your truck can handle it  before you make a drastic mistake. from my stand point I don't;t think your unit is capable of handling it  but then I don't know the specs as these gents do, not am I a truck camper.
Thanks for your input on this as well. You might be correct. I towed a small 8 foot by 5 foot U-Haul trailer earlier this summer with only a few pieces of furniture that I was giving to a friend in need and have to admit going over the mountain pass in the Cascades of Washington State got a bit slow.... This camper I am talking about would not be towed, but fit over the truck, nonetheless the weight is probably more than that U-Haul I was towing.
This truck I own does have a 3.0 V-6 engine, larger than the 4 cylinder engine also offered that year, but less than the 3.4 V-6 engine the Toyota Tacoma made the following year (1995) I will have to really pay attention to the specs you described as there is  no sense in making a mistake, although by your admission you are not a truck camper. I am just trying to keep this simple, if I wanted to really travel a lot for long periods of time, I would go for some other solution, I just wanted to keep the costs low but on the other hand if it is not safe for the truck it wouldn't be a good financial descision anyway.
Thanks again,
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