Happy truck!

Continued from the last post …

Backup camera for the truck.

While Wescraft RV was doing all that work on the trailer, I took the truck to CarToys and purchased (and had them install) a super backup camera/system for the truck that had an in-dash monitor that was also a GPS/navigation/music system.

As usual, I had researched a number of options.  Some backup camera systems bolted the camera to the top of the canopy (not the back face or door of the canopy) in order to let the canopy door open fully, but that meant I couldn’t park the truck inside my garage because of the extra height created by the camera.  Some backup camera systems were a replacement for the tailgate handle, but I couldn’t find one that connected to an in-dash monitor that was also reasonably priced; most of them connected to a monitor that had to be secured to the top of the dash or the windshield.  Some systems had the camera installed using the screws on the license plate, but they too did not connect to an in-dash monitor or seemed expensive.

I wanted to keep the top of the dash in the truck free of clutter so that my line of sight to all of my mirrors would be clear and so my line of sight to pedestrians and such would be clear.  And I wanted to pay as little as possible for a reliable unit with clear monitor resolution.  There were a couple of systems that would have met my criteria, but I would have had to install them myself.  I wanted to have the installation done by a professional installer who would stand behind and fix any problems, especially since the installation required messing around with an in-dash monitor/radio/GPS installation.  In the end, I chose a Kenwood DNX893S in-dash monitor/GPS/navigation/music system with an Audiovox ACA800 license plate camera.  The first camera failed within three days, but CarToys replaced it without question for free and the second camera has worked flawlessly ever since.

The angle of the camera is adjustable.  The hinge is stiff and it takes some effort to adjust, so it won’t move simply from the vibration of the truck.  I adjusted the angle so I can just see the top outer edge of the bumper at the bottom of the monitor screen and so the hitch/ball on the truck is perfectly centered on the monitor.  This sure makes backing up to the trailer a breeze when I’m single-handing.  An additional benefit was how easy it made it to parallel park the truck or back out of a parking space in city traffic.

The photo above does not show the ball or hitch because they weren’t on the truck
when the photo was taken, but the edge of the bumper

(the white line) can be seen at the bottom of the monitor screen.

Canopy and running boards for the truck.

I then took the truck to Canopy World in Des Moines, WA, where I purchased and they installed a Leer 100XR canopy on the back of the truck.  This canopy is super nice, is an absolutely waterproof canopy that is made to fit the curved top of the tailgate of the Dodge Ram, and matches the white of the truck exactly.  I can’t recommend anyone more than these folks at this specific Canopy World location.  David, the manager, was exceptionally knowledgeable and was more than willing to spend as much time as I wanted going over all the choices of all the brands.  Canopy World sells three brands, but the only brand that was built to fit the exact shape of the truck was Leer.

I had them add an interior dome light, a light grey felt headliner (to mitigate effects of condensation, although the roof is insulated!), and a sliding (and also fully removable) forward center window (to make access from the back seat of the truck a bit easier).  The canopy comes with a a top/center exterior brake light, a curved single piece back glass door, and the back of the canopy (around and behind the door) has a molded in lip that routes water around the sides of the door rather than allowing it to pour into the back end of the bed of the truck even with the door open.  This model comes with a single exterior center handle so I can open it with one hand.  But it has two interior latches, one at each of the far outer sides of the door for more security and a better fit.

Johnna who runs the office at this Canopy World location and the fellow who did the installation there were also both just outstanding.  I showed up for my appointment for the canopy installation and also brought along a set of running boards that I had already purchased for the truck.  I asked for a future date for installation of the running boards, but they insisted on installing the running boards the same day and did that work for free.  Can’t recommend them highly enough, did I already say that? 🙂

Big White Truck with new backup camera, canopy, and running boards installed.

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