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Old 09-22-2005, 05:25 PM   #1
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Hi all

Following are many questions for all you experienced guys out there. Im looking for real life experience, not just stats or numbers.

I am looking at a conversion not longer than 26 to 28 ft, most likely custom floorplan. Most standard converters (Showhauler, Haulmark, Kibbi) like to run 30 or more. Mainly for camping, not racing, towing around 8,000 lbs, which of course always might get more.

"Out west" in southern CA, so lots of mountains to get away to north and east. (To go west I take my boat)

Checking Webpages and talking to Cobra Trailers and Wildside LLc I get the feeling they both promise about the same. Any experiences on these? I remember some of you guys were checking into Wildside a while ago.

Second question is the truck itself. Both these and other converters put their boxes on used trucks. Mainly Freightiner or Volvo. Most use Century reconfigured day cabs.

I do know the numbers on M2 106, M2 112, CL 112 and CL 120. Warparth seems to be happy with the M2 106. Whats the general consense on these? What do I really need if I dont tow heavy, but want to have enough power on mountains. Overall height is lower on M2, easier for camping?

Reconfigured day cab is the cheapest ($ 35,000 to 45,000 after stretch) and the "most" truck. Any disadvantages? Also, nearly everone of these guys advises me to keep the twin screw. Better ride, more traction, better braking and so on...

But what about the rougher ride as im not really heavy? Do i lose too much basement storage?

OK, wonder what else I forgot to consider and I will hear now...

Thanks

Walter
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Old 09-22-2005, 05:38 PM   #2
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Walter,
I don't believe that you will have a rougher ride with a twin screw. You will be than happy to have the extra braking. I think that the downside to using a used truck is the mechanical break downs that will occur ever now and again. Most of the reconfigured cabs are 5 years old or older. If you are not mechanically inclined then go with a new chasis. If a little preventative maintenace and some general repairs don't scare you then go with a used chassis. I am a firm believer in more is better...so go with as much horse power as you can....
Show Hauler and Haulmark will be happy to build any of the shorter lengths that you want. You will loose some basement space with the twin screw but not that much. I have no knowledge of Wildside or Cobra. I believe that you should talk to as many customers of each manufacturer that you consider and get straight answers from the "horses mouth". Learn from their expeiences. Research is you best ally.

Wick
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Old 09-22-2005, 11:00 PM   #3
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...I have a lot of faith in W& M Enterprises in Lawrenceburg Indiana.....they will build you what you want- the way you want it-at the most reasonable price.....they will deal and can make changes as you go along without going crazy....Carlos and His son Mike are racers buy nature and fabricators by trade-they also repair airline shipping containers-build race cars and trailers-motorhomes and anything custom.....geofkaye
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Old 09-22-2005, 11:13 PM   #4
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Walter,

CA is tricky with twinscrew. You need a non commercial class A for it, with single rear (and trailer under 10000 lbs) the regular license should be ok.
IMHO forget the M2 106, limited to too small engines. With a M2 112 you could get a bigger engine, but when you are going used, use the CL's.
Look also for a jake brake and stay away from the exhaust brake. You will be much more relaxed going down Cajon (or any other grade)

Thomas
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Old 09-23-2005, 09:13 AM   #5
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Did not know that CA required non-commercial class A for twin rear.

I do know that CA is one of the few states where weight (the onymous 26,000 lbs) does not matter, as long as you are under 40 feet, talking about RV. When we opened it to 45 feet 2 or 3 years ago (even some DMV websites still have 40 as max lengh), they required non-comm A for over 40 feet.

My trailer is stamped at 9,999 lbs, so no problem there.

I wonder how many class A diesel pusher with twin or tag have the right license?

If I go with Freightliner Select Used Truck, 2 year and 200,000 mls (extended) warranty, how much risk do I take compared to new?

Walter
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Old 09-25-2005, 08:42 PM   #6
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V8rail, you had me scared there for a while. But I found info in the new California Drivers Handbook 2005 edition.

"" Class C

You may drive:

any 2-axle vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less.

any 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. or less gross.

any housecar, 40 feet or less.

a vanpool vehicle, designed to carry more than 10 but less than 15 persons including the driver. The driver must have a valid medical report on file with DMV and carry a valid medical card.. The driver must also have a signed certification stating he/she has not been convicted of reckless driving, drunk driving, or hit-and-run in the last five years. (VC Section 12804.9[j] ).

a motorized scooter. ""

So you are right that pretty much for any 3 axle vehicle you need more than class C license, as even my 3/4 ton pickup weights more than 6,000 lbs.

BUT THEN AGAIN, I would stick with the 3rd item, ANY housecar 40 feet or less. No weight or axle mentioning, so I guess all that matters is the length.

And as for non-commercial class B:

""Class B Noncommercial

You may drive:

any vehicles listed under Class C.

a housecar over 40 feet but not over 45 feet, with endorsement. ""

So there we have the RV over 40 feet, again no weight or axle mentioning.

And of course for towing over 10,000 lbs you need non-comm class A.

I would therefore bring the CA drivers handbook with me just in case I have to argue with some LOE. If you had some other experience please let us know.

So, IF im correct here then the license is no more questions and were are back again at just the merits of keeping the twin or removing one axle.

And of course my question as to which converter to use.

Walter
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Old 09-26-2005, 07:14 AM   #7
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In CA for any three axle tractor/conversion you will need a non-commercial class A. I checked with them when I was planning on doing one and took the test. The test was not that hard, I passed it without studying too much. But, be prepared, they will make you re-take ALL licensing tests that you have(i.e. motorcycle, regular driver's). I failed the motorcycle and had to re-take it.

Mike
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Old 09-28-2005, 07:49 AM   #8
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I had pretty much the same requirements as you , we race and we have hills and we have to get in tight areas !
I talked to cobra , wildside, Randy Butler and the guy that started wildside that is on his own now !
I visited the Indiana shops also !
I tested a short wildside with twin screw and found the tire noise to be the bad part + that was a short conversion and it did not have enough weight to plant its tires !
cobra was cool but very expensive and based on where they are made I assume that labor is the $$$ part there !
I took a volvo factory single axel with a 500+ hp series 60 and kept the integral sleeper and the stock wheelbase (which means all the parts on my build sheet still apply) and had NRC turn it into a very short motorhome conversion ,15.5 feet of box behind the sleeper,a king size bed above the sleeper! 7 feet of box and hitch behind the axel and a turning radius about the same as a 2 wheeldrive chevy short bed !
I get 10+ mpg towing under 24k the world is flat , there is no such thing as a hill (at least to this truck ) it will run 100 mph !
the conversion is 2 weeks from complete so I can not tell you if NRC is the way to go or not But I will say that they put up with me with a smile and were more than willing to accommodate my many strange and uncommon requests !
I pulled a tag trailer for 2 years with this truck (racing) before I decided it was the one and being the mechanicals are not being changed I think it will only get better with the conversion ! NRC was not cheap but (very nice to deal with so far ) , wildside and cobra were cool and would have been ok
Randy Butler was my first choice (too busy when I was ready) but Randy butler advised me on many things and this helped me make the decission that I did ! my advise , call Randy Butler and start there, you will not get any B.S. from him!
Good luck T.
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Old 09-28-2005, 03:38 PM   #9
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Hey Fastlap!
I would LOVE to see some pictures of your conversion, as it sounds like it would be VERY similar to what I would do, except I would not build above the sleeper(personal tastes, etc). Keep us all posted on progress, as I'm sure I'm not the only one whose curiosity is piqued!
Gary
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Old 09-28-2005, 07:38 PM   #10
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I will try to post pics but I am not so good on the confuser! email me direct if you like fastlap@hvc.rr.com and I will email pics ( that I can handle ) maybe !!
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