The Weekend Warrior
THE WEEKEND WARRIOR
A True Multi-Purpose Vehicle
What would it be like to have a luxury SUV that also had the capabilities of a serious 4X4, with the option of a quick-connect fully self-contained camper for a couple of weeks in the desert or the mountains? Need to haul a load of firewood? No problem. The Rhino Lining in the bed is virtually indestructible, and the remote adjustable dual Air Lift rear suspension air bags, in combination with remote adjustable Rancho 9000 shocks, can handle the load.
Listen to the rumble of the Borla Performance exhaust system as you zip around those twisty mountain roads. Feel the power of the 5.2 liter Magnum V8 equipped with a K&N Fuel Injection Performance Kit. Tune the suspension to your personal driving style and lean back in the comfort of Recaro orthopedic seats. Adjust the Schroth four-point safety harness so you can reach the CD and AC controls. Back in town, the custom one-of-a-kind graphics featuring a holographic eagle in full flight are accented by a sleek Lund tonneau cover and Alcoa Aluminum wheels. The Weekend Warrior stands out in a crowd.
See that rocky two-track? Flip the shift-on-the-fly lever into four-wheel drive and feel the rear locking differential grab. Tweak the remote controls on your Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks and your Air Lift rear air suspension for a better ride, all from inside the cab. Push your luck! Those BFG Mud-Terrain KMs will take you anywhere. If they don’t, there’s a high-speed Warn 9,000i winch up front, and a Hi-Lift Jack and MAX Tool on the rear. Lower your tire pressure. There’s plenty of air in the Power Tank to re-inflate before you hit the pavement again. A carefully selected arsenal of PIAA driving lights will get you home after dark.
That is, unless you find a nice camp by a babbling brook. If you’ve taken the ten minutes (yes, 10 minutes!!) to back under your expedition-equipped self-contained Four Wheel Pop-Up Camper, you’re already home. Relax with a cold brew from the Norcold compressor refrigerator—which doesn’t have to be level to keep those steaks frozen. Take a hot shower after dinner, using the R&M Hot Shower system, and don’t worry about running low on water. You can fill up from the creek because the Everpure filter in the camper will remove everything harmful. Crawl up into the comfortable double bed and watch the moonrise through a screened picture window next to your pillow. Tomorrow is another day and another fishing hole, but mark this camp on your dash-mounted Magellan Tracker GPS. It’s a good one!
You’re getting the image now. We’re talking about a multipurpose vehicle taken to its extreme, and with 29 years of backroad travel experience, The Turtle Expedition, Unltd. knows how to outfit a camper and truck. This is The Weekend Warrior!
Specifications in a Nut Shell
Base Vehicle: 1999 Dodge Dakota Club Cab
Design and Assembly: The Turtle Expedition, Unlimited
Engine: Dodge Ram 5.2 L Magnum V8
Horsepower: 230 hp @ 4400 rpm
Torque: 300 lb/ft @ 3200 rpm
Transmission: 4-speed heavy-duty automatic with overdrive
Transfer Case: NV 231 heavy-duty 2-speed part-time with “shift on the fly”
Locking Hubs: Automatic
Suspension: Rancho 3-inch lift kit and Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks with remote control kit / Air Lift Load Controller II with dual gauge remote control system
Rear Differential: Factory with limited slip
Front Differential: Factory
Tires: BFGoodrich 32 X 11.50R15 Mud-Terrain KM’s
Wheels: Mickey Thompson hot forged aluminum wheels by Alcoa GVWR: 5,600 lbs.
GCWR: 10,500 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 22 Gallons
Camper: Four Wheel Pop-Up Camper, Eagle model modified to Turtle Expedition specifications
GENERAL HISTORY 1999 to 2001:
The Weekend Warrior was a magazine project vehicle, but it was also a personal project. We wanted to see if the most important features of our bigger expedition trucks could be combined into a true multi-purpose vehicle. The Dodge Dakota was selected because it was neither too big nor too small. The mid-size Dakota has received rave reviews from magazines since its introduction a few years ago, and it had both the brawn for the “work truck” capabilities and the sexy profile of a sporty commuter. Add performance suspension and tires with a very positive limited-slip rear differential, and it can perform admirably on most backroads and two-tracks.
A primary goal in designing and building The Weekend Warrior was to assure its ability to change personalities quickly, from commuter to backroad explorer, to work truck, to weekend camper, and back to sport truck for a night on the town. Each of these metamorphoses had to be truly functional. With our extensive experience in the specialty equipment marketplace, we could pick and choose the highest quality components based on their ability to perform the quick-change acts we required.
We also had our own personal interests at heart. It would be unreasonable to ask a wahoo-world-class-hard-rock-four-wheeler to handle like a sports car. Though The Weekend Warrior could probably make it through the Rubicon, it was not a goal. The specially modified Eagle Four Wheel pop-up camper is perfect for a weekend, and we have proven its long distance capabilities to ourselves by traveling and living in it for over a month in relative comfort. Since we knew that 90% of this truck’s life would be on paved roads, an emphasis was made to provide creature comforts normally associated with a luxury SUV, and its highway and byway handling were not sacrificed for its “off-roading” ability. We know the sandy Baja backroads we love to follow do not require an 8-inch body lift or eighteen inches of wheel travel. Compromises were necessary, but the results demonstrate a true multi-purpose vehicle.
5.2 Liter Magnum V8, 16-valve OHV, 9.1:1 Compression Ratio, 230 hp @ 4400 rpm, 300 lb. ft. Net Torque @ 3200 rpm
Sequential Multi-Port Fuel Injection K&N Fuel Injection Performance Kit Regular gasoline
Borla Performance T304 stainless steel cat-back exhaust system
Factory heavy-duty cooling system
Optima Red Top starting battery. 136 amp alternator Painless Performance heavy-duty water-proof remote fuse block supplies power to the various accessories
TRANSMISSION & TRANSFER CASE:
4-speed heavy-duty automatic with overdrive NV231 heavy-duty 2-speed part-time with “shift on the fly” Full skid-plate protection
Factory with limited slip in the rear K&N remote filters mounted in the engine compartment
Power-assisted vented front disc, rear drum, with rear anti-lock
WHEELS AND TIRES:
BFGoodrich 32 X 11.50R15 Mud-Terrain KM’s on Mickey Thompson hot forged aluminum wheels by Alcoa. The SmarTire monitoring system keeps minute by minute tabs on pressure and temperature. Wheels are protected by McGard wheel locks.
Rancho three-inch lift kit Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks with the Rancho Remote kit Air Lift Load Controller II with dual gauge remote control system
Factory tilt steering wheel which incorporates the electronics for the cruise control system.
Hanson Enterprises heavy-duty bumper designed to hold Warn’s 9000i winch with a 4.6 hp series wound motor and a no-load line speed of 38 ft./min. Reinforced notches on each corner of the bumper were designed to fit the foot of a Hi-Lift jack. PIAA 910 110-watt driving lights were incorporated into the main bumper, and 80 PRO XT 120-watt driving lights were added to the sturdy grill guard. The quick-connect hose adapters for an R&M Hot Shower System were incorporated into the bumper’s design, and the R&M heat exchanger and SHURflo pump were also built in. Prismatic Powders applied three layers of Intense Blue Pearl Coat in a custom matched powder coat color. The rear factory bumper of the Dakota was retained. Its built-in trailer hitch receiver was capped with a Carr Hitch Step which plugs in for easy access to the bed. A custom adapter allows a Hi-Lift foot to lift from the strongest point on the frame, without even touching the bumper. The rear step is covered with 3M 310 Safety-Walk.
Recaro orthopedic seats with adjustable side bolsters and head rests. Passenger and driver’s side are fitted with adjustable lumbar supports. Schroth three-point safety harnesses supplement factory belts. Each seat has a Platypus Waterchest 3 by Cascade Designs which holds 3 liters of liquid with bite tubes next to driver and passenger.
A custom center console crafted from solid walnut snakes around the 4X4 shift lever and houses the Rancho 9000 pressure gauges and control buttons, the Air Lift pressure gauges and control buttons, switches for the PIAA auxiliary lights, and the SmarTire remote receiver. Cup holders were sized to fit Aladdin insulated travel mugs in front of a Cobra Sound Tracker which includes a PA and seven weather channels. A Cobra Dynamic External Speaker increases the CB’s clarity which is fed by a Wilson Trucker 5000 antenna. Behind the CB is storage compartment, and a Sony 10-disc CD changer with remote control.
The factory premium overhead console holds sunglasses, garage door opener, and incorporates electronic compass, temperature, miles of remaining fuel, miles traveled, time traveled, current mpg, and average mpg, (all in metric or standard), and an automatic dimming day/night mirror
•Save-A-Load Cargo Bracing Bar
•Save-A-Load Cargo Bracing Bar Locking Bike kit
•Next Generation driver & passenger air bags
•Power door locks with remote control and keyless entry
•Yakima Pick-Up Bike Rack with lock kit
•Yakima Pick-Up Roof Rack with fairing and lock kit
•Ancra Ratchet Tie-Down Straps
•Lund’s Premier Snap-On tonneau cover
•Lund Cold Front Custom Grill Insert
•MAX Tool including axe, pick, rake, hoe, shovel and mattock.
•Power Tank Compressed Air Supply System
•Keeper 30,000 lb. Vehicle Recovery Strap
•Weather Guard Aluminum All-Purpose Locking Chest
•Recaro Style fully adjustable orthopedic seats
•Schroth Rally 4 Safety Harnesses
•Auto Meter Water Temp, Volts, Oil Pressure & Transmission Temp. gauges
•Magellan Tracker GPS
•Wilson 1000-Trucker antenna
•Valentine One Radar and Laser Locator
•Two McCoy Big Shot fire extinguishers
•Kraco All-Weather floor mats
•Covercraft custom cab cover
•Factory air, tilt steering and cruise control
•AM/FM/Cassette/CD stereo with premium speaker system
•Sony 10-disc CD changer
•WARN winch kit with straps, gloves, snatch blocks, tow chain, etc.
•Custom one-of-a-kind graphics
•Plasticolor heavy duty mud guards, front and rear
Major Repairs or Maintenance in the Last 5,000 Miles
•All new BFGoodrich 32/11.50R15 Mud-Terrain T/A KM tires
•All new Rancho 9000 shocks
•New Air Lift Load Controller II with dual gauge remote control system
•New front bushings
•Front breaks, hubs, seals and bearings inspected and replaced as necessary by Dodge mechanics
Four Wheel Camper’s EAGLE model was built to our specifications. The EAGLE was the perfect size for our application. By extending the double bed over the club cab of the Dakota, a reasonably comfortable camper was possible without extending beyond the truck’s tail gate, nor excessively over the side rails. The results are an aesthetically pleasing camper that has good living space, excellent balance, and does not make the truck look grossly overloaded. In fact, the Four Wheel Camper with its aluminum welded frame is the lightest on the market.
With The EAGLE as a foundation, The Turtle Expedition worked with Four Wheel Camper to design a unit that would incorporate many of the important features we have proven over hundreds of thousands of backroad adventure miles. It was never our intention to outfit this camper for extended international travel, but it must be said that it is very capable for a month-long journey into the remote areas of Canada, Alaska or Mexico. In truth, it is more comfortable, better self-contained, more capable off-pavement, and more reliable that the 109 Land Rover we traveled and lived in for nine years in Mexico and Central America.
Aluminum welded frame with aluminum skin, fiberglass insulation, and wood panel interior. The light-weight roof pops up in seconds and locks in place. The vinyl sides with the top up include opening windows, mosquito screens, interior privacy covers, and external storm covers. With proper seam sealing, it offers good weather protection for three seasons. The Arctic Pack Insulating system extends this for limited winter use. The Turtle Expedition has used a similar but larger model for many years all around the World, sometimes in extreme weather conditions.
•Liteco fluorescent lights
•Liteco Co-Pilot halogen map lights
•Fantastic roof vent
WATER SYSTEM / HEATING / SANITARY
•12-gallon (45 liters) main fresh water tank
•Heavy duty Shurflo water pump with SHURflo accumulator tank
•Everpure two-stage water filter using EPA approved superchlorination purification system
•Outside shower using the R&M Hot Shower System incorporated into the bumper
•16,000 BTU automatic forced air furnace
•Thetford Porta Potti
•Stainless steel sink
•Separate faucets for purified water and fine-filtered, purified & dechlorinated drinking water
•External portable grey-water tank with hose
INTERIOR FURNISHING and COMPONENTS
•Norcold DE451 AC/DC compressor refrigerator/freezer (Does not need to be level.)
•Slide-out bed converts to a nap-couch during the day
•Formica counter tops
•Portable table can be used outside with auxiliary pedestal
•JRV water level and battery monitor
•Floor covering is high-traffic vinyl
•Two Optima Yellow Top deep cycle batteries
•Progressive Dynamics solid-state Inteli-Power converter supplies a cool quiet 30 amps of charge power, and the Inteli Power Charge Wizard turns the converter into a completely automatic system.
•JRV 12-volt outlet conveniently located
•110-volt outlet conveniently located
EXTERIOR SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND FEATURES
•A&E Catalina 2500 8-ft awning
•Two PIAA 55-watt Quartz Halogen back-up lamps
•Manchester 20# LP tank with level gauge
•Blitz jerry can rack locks extra Blitz water can in place
•Folding steps and stainless steel hand-holds facilitate climbing on the roof
•Outside porch light
•Yakima Tracks and locking cross-bars on camper roof can hold an assortment of canoe, kayak, bike, ski or multi-purpose racks offered by Yakima
•Yakima-Packasport model 10 locking storage pod for skis, fishing poles, canoe paddles, backpacks, chairs, etc., painted to match the truck
•MAX Tool combination axe, pick, rake, hoe, shovel and mattock
•Power Tank Compressed Air Supply System
•Two Travel Chair folding chairs with head rests
•Outside table stand
•Black & Decker vacuum
•MagCharger onboard rechargeable flashlight
•Kiddy Safety ABC fire extinguisher
•Rear sliding window for crawl-through into cab
•6,000 lb Hi-Lift jack with sand plate
•Two military sand ladders lock to a custom bracket. Sand ladders are powder coated with an anti-skid material