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Old 10-13-2004, 12:55 AM   #1
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I am interested in a garage unit. I am now confused.
1. A 2004 ShowHauler Demo@ Becks $195
2. A 2004 Haulmark Demo @ American Trailers $174 and I believe this price will go down.
3. A 2005 Haulmark @American trailers $174
4. A 2005 United Specialties @ WestSide $182
I have seen this unit for $179 on another site.
Bob,say's that is a mistake.
I have listened to these Dealers and all of there units are the Best. I am looking for some
feedback on these units.
I also have the option of buying a used truck and building my own.

Thanks Rob
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Old 10-13-2004, 05:33 PM   #2
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Rob,
I am still studying and learning about the conversion industry myself. I can tell you for sure that everyone building them thinks that their method is the only "right" way to build them.. If it is a cheaper method you will never know it by the price...
You will have to decide what you think is the "best" method and look for the manufacturer that uses that method... the price is always negotiable..moreso than the automotive industry..
Probably because of my history I feel the welded steel tubing framework is the strongest.. unfortunately I also would like to see Styrofoam brand insulation of at least 2" in the walls and none of the manufacturers seem to be interested in doing that.
But then there are a lot of other things to consider... unless you start out with your own list of amenities and compare each company's product with those only, you cannot compare apples and apples... each has their own 'standard' features...for the coach as well as the chassis...
Good Luck and keep us informed,
John
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Old 10-13-2004, 09:15 PM   #3
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John I agree with many of your comments.

Last May I toured what I call the "big 5" truck conversion manufacturers in the Elkhart area. United Specialities, Renegade, Haulmark, NRC and Showhauler.

Insulation, including insulated and heated holding tanks is a big issue with me, especially because of where I live. I live at 9,100 feet in the Colorado mountains on the west side of the Continental Divide. To go almost anywhere from my house within 10 to 20 miles I have to go over a 10,000 foot to almost 12,000 foot mountain pass.

I toured a total of 9 RV and truck conversion plants. Most use beadboard insulation yet called it Styrofoam. They don't even know the materials they using.

Beadboard is R-4 per inch. Styrofoam is R-5. I would like to see polyiso used. Polyiso is R-7 to R-7.2 (foil faced). So 2 inches of Styrofoam would be R-10. 2 inches of polyiso would be R-14. Goef who posts a lot is knowledgeable on insulation. Perhaps he could post about any problems to using polyiso.

I have been disappointed with what I see in the motorhome, RV industry in how they insulate units. Few built anything resembling a four season unit. The insulation designs are so poor that the only way you can keep them warm is to constantly run the furnace.

Two weeks ago I looked at a $300,000 diesel pusher motorhome. The waste tank, dump valve area looked impressive. Seemed to be insulated. The door was insulated with at least 1 1/2 inches of beadboard. Fancy kitchen style faucet next to the dump valves for cleanup. Paper towel holder, soap dispensor, etc. Under the dump valves was this nice moulded fiberglass drain basin. Probably 1/8" thick, 12" deep by 18" wide. I reached underneath to see how it was insulated. No insulation. So no matter how much the walls, doors and ceiling were insulated you would probably freeze the valves unless the furnace was running.
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Old 10-13-2004, 09:37 PM   #4
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....if you want to be very comfortable in a 4 seasons coach/trailer one has to use polyisocynate insulation [sprayed or board]-installed properly or one has to run the heat or A/C constantly to keep it reasonably comfortable....There are too many horror stories of coaches either freezing up in the cold or the owners can't sleep because it is too hot.....and too many stories of running out of propane or a circuit breaker popping in the night and of course the wide spread problems of low voltage burning out A/C motors....By insulating the coach properly-or in my case-trailer and Volvo 610 tractor-I have very little to worry about as my heat and A/C is/are running at a very low speed-if at all-when I go to bed....usually just the fan on after cooling down the trailer.....as for the tractor-I have a seperate unite that runs off the Onan generator or shore power and not much of that....the A/C is 9000 btu's and it is a meat locker in the sleeper because of the increased insulation and stoppage of the air ventulation system.....the other issue is the Incinolet toilet-it's all electric and there is no tanks to empty or freeze and no water lines to crack-leak....most impressive product I have invested in while building my rig.....geof
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Old 10-13-2004, 10:07 PM   #5
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Geof,
I have been waiting for a report on that Incinolet (as I am sure many have).. tell us more please,
John
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Old 10-14-2004, 12:45 PM   #6
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Rob -

To get this thread back on track, owning this site has given me the privilege to talk to a number of people in the industry as well as many owners of conversions. All this along with owning a conversion for 2 years, I have seen and heard the good, the bad and the ugly. The biggest mistake being made today in the conversion market is buyers basing there total buying decision on $$$. They think that since it is big and on a class 8 chassis that the rest is the same. I can tell you right now that that type of thinking is a mistake. I had more guys contact me while I was selling my rig that where crying the blues because they didn't do enough investigating before they purchased. Also you really need to take the time and crawl all over each rig you feel has potential and focus on those items you feel are important. Also how long do you plan on keeping this conversion. If it is long term, go with the newest rig with the newest technology. This industry is evolving so quickly that used rigs with new conversions are already being frowned upon in the resale market. Also don't even consider a conversion with anything other than a meritor manual auto (no clutch version) Manual trannies are totally unwanted and even the Allison semi auto is on the outs.

Not sure how much time you spent talking with Nathan at Beck's, but he probably more than any other dealer has the most experience in the industry. I know he is a dealer and dealers are not always thought of as being honest, but Nathan is the exception. He has a reputation of telling it like it is and has a ton of repeat biz because of this.

Good Luck in your search

Bill
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Old 10-14-2004, 04:35 PM   #7
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Hey Bill-
Allison SEMI-AUTO? I thought ALL Allisons were fully automatic, at least those for road-going trucks. Correct me if'n I'm wrong, please.
Gary
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Old 10-14-2004, 05:38 PM   #8
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bill, and others interested-- your last post was spot on bill,, on matter how much you investigate your options, you'll find that trying to have the best-newest latest stuff will drive you crazy. thats why the pusher market is the way it is-- "everybody" thinks that they will keep a coach for years-- then two or three years later they see "new" stuff an' just gotta have it. IF yes in caps. you do build a conversion you may end up like bill {no slight intended, sir}, and want to change your unit,, thats cool but unless you really really like building coaches--- then check with the members herew, pick their brains,, go see coaches -- make your best guess - hold on tight - and build the way you think it ought to be done-- that way when you're done it's yours- . if its close and you have made good decisions then some of the small stuff post build-- hope this helps a tiny bit-- oh-- i wouldn't trade mine for any number of anybody elses coaches-- why--? cause i'm too satisfied with mine--- does that make it the best? --- nope-- just makes it right for me-- . mase
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Old 10-14-2004, 06:06 PM   #9
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Gary -

Your right it should be the Fuller Auto Shift not Allison.

But I do think that the Allison World Transmission which is a true full automatic will become more and more popular. I road in a Prevost Tour Bus with this tranny and a 500 hp Cummins and man that thing was smooth!

Bill
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Old 10-14-2004, 09:24 PM   #10
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Hello everyone,
guess you noted the byline has not changed yet...still studying- guess I am doing as you suggested Mase...
yes the WORLD transmission is a true slushbox... there is a new player in the ultrashift as well as the Freedomline... I drove the Freedomline and it was like having an experienced OO shifting for me... A true manual transmission that is shifted and clutch controlled by the computer.. but it will sense the load and skip shift as needed..and will start off in the proper gear for the load after the first time and reset after restarting the engine.
good to see every one chatting again..
Mase, send me an email and let me know when you are available for me to give you a call,
JOhn
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