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Old 11-05-2003, 01:57 PM   #1
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At the moment the M2 106 (which is the dimension from the front bumper to the back of the cab) chassis is the front runner for my next conversion.



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Engine Options
MBE 900 4.3L engines with ratings from 170-190 horsepower (standard engine)
MBE 900 6.4L engines with ratings from 190-280 horsepower (300 for fire and emergency)
MBE 4000 engines with ratings from 350-450 horsepower
Caterpillar C9 engines with ratings from 335-400 horsepower
Caterpillar C11 engines with ratings from 305-370 horsepower
Caterpillar C13 engines with ratings from 380-430 horsepower
Caterpillar C7 engines with ratings from 175-300 horsepower (330 for fire and emergency)

Transmission
Mercedes MBT 6-speed synchronized transmissions
Eaton Fuller 5-,6-,7-,9-,10-,11-, or 13-speed transmissions
Eaton Fuller 10-speed AutoShift
Allison Transmissions:
1000/2000/2400
MD and HD series
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At minimum I would want to be at 330 hp with preferably the Meritor automatic, but I do not see that as a option, if it is unavailable I would go with the autoshift. One reason to shy away from the full Allision automatic is for resale reasons. Since the majority of current customers are racers pulling large trailers a manual automatic is the preferred transmission.

As far as suspension this is the same as my current setup 12,000 frt spring & 21,000 rear air with a GVW 33,000





As far as seating, I would go with something cheap from the factory and upgrade to a high end leather air chairs to match the conversion seating.

This truck is basically a class 8 with a small compact cab. All of the chassis components are the same found on their Class 8's, and with with engine and trannie options to get you into the 400 hp range, I am finding it hard to look at the larger Columbia & Volvo chassis's.

Bill

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 11-05-2003, 03:28 PM   #2
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Ah!....have you decided on a price for your "old worn out-beat up-high mileage Showhauler" as of yet?....without all the electronic gizzmos-which I can't work anyway?...I will say you have the Showhauler disease really bad-thank God they don't build large marine Showhauler boats...geof ; > )
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Old 11-05-2003, 06:35 PM   #3
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Bill -- --

The 1st thing that strikes me as I look at these pictures ....... Is the cab roof. It's flat -- And this reminds me of a class C .. Where one has to bend down to enter the cab area - Ok for you young fellows !!

I've a Volvo 610 ....... And the roof is slanted up appreciably -- Making it a better entry to the rear.

I'm in favor of any vehicle that has a "Flat Dash" -- So much easier to go from the "Chair" to the rear. This is one of 2 faults I find with the Volvo -- The second is a "Sleeper Door" -- Although this doesn't apply in this application.

Thanks for posting the picture of the "Volvo Conversion" ....... Strikes a note with me !!

Tootles ......

OLDphoneman
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Old 11-05-2003, 07:42 PM   #4
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The "stand up" height from cab to coach is certainly a compromise in the M2. But, a beneficial side effect is that the height of the cabover bunk is much higher -- could even be the primary bed if you're so inclined. Lonnie estimated the floor-of-coach to floor-of-cabover-bunk dimension to be about 55". (Note that I'm willing to compromise some on the primary bed to keep the overall length as short as possible.)

As for power options... please keep us posted on what you find/learn. It's my impression that some of the engine options are only available in the M2-112 chassis. I'd like to have the Meritor autoshift transmission too but it's unclear if this is available on any of the M2 models.

So, where can one find the BBC (bumper to back of cab) and cab height (frame rails to roof) dimensions for various trucks? For instance hows does the Volvo VNL 300 compare with the FL M2 or Columbia?

Regards,
Alan
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Old 11-05-2003, 08:23 PM   #5
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Of interest to me is the price. I can see the possible virtues of a smaller rig now that we ended up having to buy the second house anyway. I would be able to get by with something smaller as I would not be living in it 5- 14 days at a time, but only a few days during vacations. (Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, etc are within reasonable driving distance. Heck, all I need to do is cross Idaho and pull into a rest area for the night somewhere in Montana.) About the only real trip would be going to Maine in the summer to hit the Golden Road; that's 4-5 days each way running easy, and 4 days to spend there, more or less.

I would do my best to set it up with plenty of storage (deep cycle) batteries and water capacity, with no propane - use only engine/generator to load up the batteries for night time use. I want a real bedroom and bathroom, not the little closets of the typical class C. A real kitchen would be less necessary. Dog/cat room is a big deal - we are adopting another rescue this weekend, and 3 dogs (the smallest at 85 pounds) and a cat make for a heck of a load in most passenger vehicles.

If enough lighter, the power train can be less stout. Torque is the real issue, and many of the other class 7 rigs are stuck with nothing of interest - there is a real gap between the small motors (3126 Cat, etc) and the 14+ liter motors. Here, they have the C10's and C12's successors, etc - and that should be plenty of torque. Much as I prefer the 13 speed, the co-pilot situation calls for serious consideration of the 10 speed autoshift. What I want is a unit that will cruise at a set speed (about 70) all day without trouble, and not slow down on hills like Vantage/Ryegrass, Sherman, the ones on the eastern stretches of US17 in NY, and Jacob's Ladder.

One possible reason to consider a full size 8 - Western Star (and I think Mack, although it is off their website) can easily make a factory long frame 4WD chassis. I tend to think that this would be the hot ticket for camping Yellowstone in the winter. I don't see any sign that the M2 can be had with a 4WD front end from the factory. Other than that, these may well be a good option.
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Old 11-06-2003, 11:22 AM   #6
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<<This truck is basically a class 8 with a small compact cab. All of the chassis components are the same found on their Class 8's, and with with engine and trannie options to get you into the 400 hp range, I am finding it hard to look at the larger Columbia & Volvo chassis's.>>

am new to this site (am researching for a possible toterhome purchase) and after reading all great posts about the class 8's, I was becoming convinced that the M2 was not going to be enough truck for the toter (most of the manufacturers I've talked to so far are pushing the M2 if purchasing new....)...

Now I read the comments above, and am confused....and wondering if the M2 would be a good choice after all?

thanks,
Kathy
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Old 11-06-2003, 01:23 PM   #7
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Here is a clarification on the M2

The M2 106 is the one in the above pictures, this chassis has a maximum hp rating of 300hp at 860 ft lbs of torque. The limiting factor is the size of the radiator. IF you want more ponies you have to go to the M2 112 which is damn ugly with a snub noise do to the increased radiator size. I though the old FL 112 was a great looking truck, I have no clue who the bone head was that screwed that up in the new design.

I spoke with Lonnie on this and he really likes the truck and what it offers, with increased over cab bunk room and very manageable wheel base. They outfitted the one on the front page with the Cat 3126 300 hp and Allison full automatic (not autoshift, but their 6 speed world transmission)and he said it really moves out and is a blast to drive. He recommends this chassis setup with a 26 or 28 motorhome and towing a smaller trailer or a car. For toterhome use it is good up to a 12,000 lb trailer. If you are going to be towing a big stacker trailer go to the Columbia or Volvo.

Lonnie also mentioned if you are going to be running big mountains and you want to maintain the speed limit plus, this setup is not for you. He felt that it should run mountain grades at 45 mph plus depending on your setup.

I still feel that this is the way to go for me, and I really like the thought of a full automatic trannie. One of the uses we would like to employ this for is day trips and the easier to drive in tight places the more likely I would be to get it out for those short 2 hour trips.

I am seeing that the M2 runs about $20,000 cheaper than the Volvo or Columbia.

Bill

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 11-06-2003, 02:16 PM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Doug:
... with no propane - use only engine/generator to load up the batteries ...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
This whole thread is very interesting to me... I was beginning to think I was the only one who wanted something smaller than the 50+' monsters that have been featured/discussed.

Anywho, I'd like to know more about how you propose eliminating propane -- electric cooktop and microwave cover the cooking needs; what are your thoughts/choices for heat, hot water, and refrigeration?

Regards,
Alan
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Old 11-06-2003, 05:44 PM   #9
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Here are the M2 chassis spec's

Engine: Caterpillar 3126 7.2L In line 6 Cylinder 300 hp high torque @ 2200rpm 860 lb/ft @ 1440rpm, HEUI Electric Fuel Injection

Front Axle: Meritor(Rockwell) FF-961 12,000#

Brakes: Meritor Q+ Series Air Brakes front & rear.

ABS System: WABCO 4S/4M ABS 4 sensor/4 modulator system.

Tires/Wheels: 275/80R22.5 Michelins
Front: XZE Steer Tires
Rear: XZE Drive Tires
22.5 x 8.25 Front & Rear
Polished Alum. F/L Turbo HP
10 Disc Wheels.

Cab Equip: SS Htd. Dual Motorized Mirrors
Dual Air Ride Seats
Dual Power Windows
Tinted Windows w/Door Vent Windows
Tilt Telescoping Steering Wheel
Electric Intermittent Wipers
Aluminum cab, large one-piece windshield,
High volume electronic operated heater A/C w/ 12 position fan control. Recreational vehicle rated silencer package.
Dual cup holders molded in dash.
Wood grain dash.

Transmission: Allison MD3060P 6 Speed
Push Button Automatic Electric Shift Control

Rear Axle: Meritor (Rockwell) RS-21-145
4.88 Ratio Traktec Lock
1900rpm in 6th @ 75mph
1900rpm in 5th @ 65mph
1900rpm in 4th @ 55mph

Frame: 7/16"x 3-11/16"x11-1/8" Steel, 110,000 PSI Rail, 2,448,000 lb/in.

Fuel Tanks: Dual 50 Gallon Polished Aluminum tanks. Equiflow Fuel System

Suspension: Front: 12,000# Taperleaf
Rear: 21,000# Airliner



2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com

[This message was edited by warpath on November 06, 2003 at 08:52 PM.]
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Old 11-06-2003, 08:53 PM   #10
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....so your going to a MTD truck instead of a class 8 correct?....My roll-off wrecker is a Cat 3126e set at 207 hp and 520# torque....I'd get a box truck and drive it before signing.....you could be somewhat supprised....geof
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Old 11-06-2003, 09:31 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by drfun:

This whole thread is very interesting to me... I was beginning to think I was the only one who wanted something smaller than the 50+' monsters that have been featured/discussed.

Anywho, I'd like to know more about how you propose eliminating propane -- electric cooktop and microwave cover the cooking needs; what are your thoughts/choices for heat, hot water, and refrigeration?

Regards,
Alan<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
*****
The maximum length for a single unit here in WA is 45', and I think that is typical - I'd be careful about going over that. While large for a single unit, it is not really that big; I drove semis (mostly from Illinois to Maine) for several years while my wife did her PhD. Those old east coast cities are tight, and I made it. For a unit mostly used on the open road, and not used for real boondocking, 45' is not a problem.

My idea for electrical is to use the weight capacity of the truck to have a lot of deep cycle storage batteries. I have seen a few depicted that have under body storage, with what appears to be room for trays of batteries. Given the capacity of a truck, especially if equipped with a tandem or tag axle, the weight would not be a problem.

Combined with that, a big diesel generator, used partially for operating power, and partly to charge the batteries while not in a place/time that requires quiet. I think that someone who knows what they are doing (not me) can calculate the likely power requirements for some period, such as 48 hours, the storage and recharge capacity needed, and go from there.

At the time I was thinking this way, I was looking at a large unit, and living it for significant periods of time. Now, it's not quite the same, but I am inclined to have ordinary residential appliances for ease of maintenance. Since my move has been delayed, I think I'll have to think while I save....
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Old 11-06-2003, 10:22 PM   #12
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I did see a bus conversion with 2 tow motor batteries in it for power when off the grid. I was thinking of limited power usage>15 amps after quiet time During the day 100 amps[my generator] to do wash cook A/C heat running freezer/refrig-to make this work only requires more insulation in walls and insulation shades for windows.....not that really much of a problem. Now, most parks have 50 amp service available which will do all of the above anytime. Cooking at nitetime on a protable gas grill with front mounted tank on a trailer and a longer hose for the grill gas hook up-or outside [vented] mounted storage of 20# steel grill tank. If you really study the problem you can come up with cheap solutions.I can't think of a time when I have used more than 20 gallons of hot water.....geof
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Old 11-13-2003, 07:55 AM   #13
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Great Site.

This is a very good thread. Looking at doing something similar with a M2.

Does anyone know if the new MBE 4000 will be available in the 106.
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Old 11-13-2003, 09:03 AM   #14
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Nope, not available in the 106. You have to go to the 112 due to increased radiator required for the bigger motor. Actually the 3126 can be wicked up to 330 & maybe even 350 hp, and I know the trannie can handle it, but they say the increased hp will increase heat and require a bigger radiator. I am sure the warranty would be void.

The new 112 is fugly, the hood looks like a after thought to fit the bigger radiator. The old 112 was a much better looking truck, not sure who voted for that new hood design, but they should be fired.

Bill

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 11-13-2003, 11:33 AM   #15
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My 3126e can be turned up with a plug in and resetting operational data-after 300 hp you got to buy some new parts I think-its for Emergency Vehicles-but available....I've been told that the fuel mileage goes out the window though...I'm set at 207hp and 520# now.....enough for now....geof
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Old 11-13-2003, 12:50 PM   #16
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by warpath:
... not sure who voted for that new hood design, but they should be fired.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Just so the poor sap at Freightliner doesn't get a complex I happen to like the looks of the M2-112. The two-tiered grill and square-shouldered hood appeal to my eye.

I'm considering an M2-112 with a MBE 4000 engine with at least 375 HP. I'm also interested in knowing more about the new MB autoshift tranny (see: Mercedes AGS) Does anyone have info on this new (?) transmission?

Also, does anyone know if the cab height (top of frame to top of cab) is the same for the 106 and 112?

Regards,
Alan
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Old 11-13-2003, 01:27 PM   #17
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Alan -

Do you have any pictures?

This is the only truck I could find (I have a few other views) but how can the 106 look so modern and the 112 be so squared off.



Here is a 106 toterhome, it just looks so much sleeker.



Bill

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 11-13-2003, 01:47 PM   #18
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Greetings Bill,

We may be looking at the same M2 brochure from the Freightliner web page but here's a different view:
M2-112 front quater view

I agree that the 106 is sleeker but the 112 doesn't make me gag.

What about the transmission and dimension questions?

Also, how do you post photos inline to your messages?

Regards,
Alan

[This message was edited by drfun on November 13, 2003 at 04:56 PM.]

[This message was edited by drfun on November 13, 2003 at 05:06 PM.]

[This message was edited by drfun on November 13, 2003 at 05:16 PM.]

[This message was edited by drfun on November 13, 2003 at 05:48 PM.]
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Old 11-13-2003, 01:55 PM   #19
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I don't mind the looks of the 112, but I haven't seen one in person yet.
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Old 11-13-2003, 04:49 PM   #20
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I would have to see a conversion with it, probably could look cool if they would add the air dam they used on the old FL112 version.

Bill

P.S. add a picture by coping the location of the pic online and paste it in the slot when you click the picture icon in the reply window.

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com
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