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Old 04-05-2013, 09:07 AM   #1
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Default good rv box coach brands and how do you know

We have found our way to this site and the HDT conversions because we do not want something that is overloaded right from the factory and a lot of the class a are on good chassis but the body of the coach seems not as sturdy as we want. So far we are only close enough to look at pictures on rv trader sites and racing junk but want to know some coach bodies that may be good.
The fancy blingy stuff is not important, but long term reliability and functionality is.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Cliff & Wendy
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
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Just like Ford vs Chevy you are going to find people who swear by or at any of the different manufactures. Great thing about this site is there is a wide range of folks on here with just about every kind of unit out there, and they are willing to share their thoughts. We have been looking for a rig that fits our needs for some time now. Our current RV is a Class C that has been overloaded since day one. I was a truck driver for many years before i gave it up to be an engineer. Without a doubt having a rig based on a class 8 truck is about as heavy duty and safe as you can get.

On of the best things we did was take a trip to the mid west and visit as many of the manufacturers as we could. Every builder we contacted was very welcoming and happy to show us around. Seeing the coaches in various stages of construction was very helpful to me in narrowing down manufactures that we like.

I will say that all the companies we visited produced a very nice looking end product with good workmanship. All the fit and finish, cabinets and electrical were far above that of traditional mass produced rv's. For us it came down to how the coach bodies were designed and the construction methods.

This is of course just our opinion but for what its worth I have listed the manufactures in the order that we liked best down to the ones we liked least. The first two are pretty much a tie and would probably come down to final cost, and to which one could build exactly what we want.

Hawk Engineering. Welded steel framework with aluminum siding. Jason welds the box sub-frame directly to the truck, so no squeaks or box moving, but also no taking it off to put on a new chassis if so desired. All cabinets are built in house by the owner and are of custom cabinet quality. Small but very nice and organized shop, they work on just a few coaches at a time. Very willing to build each unit totally custom. Big plus is Jason sells direct, not through a dealer network so no middle man. Jason will build on any chassis, new or used, and is willing to build to any level of completion.

Showhauler. Lonnie builds an excellent coach. welded steel framework with aluminum siding. box is bolted down and seemed very secure. pretty big facility with quite a few coaches on the line. Interior was excellent, with all cabinets built in house. Lots of Amish doing outstanding work throughout the coach. Lonnie does sell only through dealers, but still is very easy to work with. Showhauler will build on a used chassis, and is willing to build on most brands of chassis. (being an ex trucker I want to use a classic pete with a manual transmission. He strongly suggested an automatic due to resale, but will build on what ever we want.) Lonnie actually suggested that we go visit all his competition before we make a decision, as he believes his to be the best.

NRC. We did not get to do a tour, due to being held up at a different manufacture and getting there too late. however they did send some photos, and after talking with some satisfied customers about the way they build, they are very similar to show hauler and make our list that we would visit before making a final choice. Gordy on this site just had his coach built there and i am sure would be happy share his experience.

Haulmark. Great customer service, and nice looking unit. we would consider buying a used one if it was available for the right price. As far as new goes, they would not build on a used chassis, and only freightliner. They were not willing to build a unit with out an cab over bed. They seem to only build standard plans with some options. the laminated wall construction has great insulation value, but i am concerned with the corner connections and how well they would or would not stand up in an accident or long term vibration.


Renegade. Customer service was not good. we were left sitting in a waiting room for over an hour (we did have an appointment) before we saw anybody. (no receptionist even, just a phone at the front desk that you call back on) did not leave a good impression with us. The coaches were all very nice inside and well finished. They also would not build on a used chassis or anything other than freightliner or volvo. I did not like the wall construction method. they use FRP plywood with limited wood framing inside only where cabinets or walls occur. the box is connected at the corners with screws into tubing. most of the internal wood framing did not run full height. We will be using our future coach to go up to Alaska, and we camp deep in the woods a lot. I would be worried about the box structurally both over time and in an accident.) We would not buy one new or used.

We have narrowed it down to probably one of the top two, either complete units on used chassis, having them build a shell, and we complete the interior. or a complete unit if we can find one used. I would like to build one from scratch, but the wife tells me I do not have enough time...lol That one is still to be discussed further.



Good luck on your search.

Dave
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:44 AM   #3
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thank you Dave, this is this is very helpful and you put a lot of effort and good information here!
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dragonslayer140 View Post
being an ex trucker I want to use a classic pete with a manual transmission. He strongly suggested an automatic due to resale, but will build on what ever we want.)
Anyone building new, this should be the only way to go. Mr. Dragon, I presume you're talking Peterbilt 379 or 359 Extended Hood, twin external exhaust stacks, no bunk over cab, lots of chrome, lots of lights, visor, train whistle, and CAT engine (that way you can proudly wear the CAT hat going down the road).

Did I get it right?

PS: He is probably right about the automatic, though tough to find.
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Started looking for 379 Peterbilt TC, 24' to 30' box, bumper pull--but ended up w/1999 Liberty Coach conversion of 45' Prevost XLV bus. 1,000sf heated/AC'd race shop w/dump station, 50amp shore pwr where bus parks, 3 NASCAR/ARCA race cars & 26' Bravo trailer.
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:30 PM   #5
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Cliff & Wendy, Your welcome.

#90, Am I that transparent?... lol. Yes pretty much that's it. You also left out loud... We really do not fit into the mainstream rv lifestyle. If we did there are tons of class a units out there for a steal. We want to be able to haul our Harley in a garage (and yes it has lots of chrome, lights, and noise too.. lol) and still be able to pull a trailer. From the front it should be all big rig. I know that I really limit my resale ability especially with a manual, but still worth it in my mind. Not much out there that meets our specs in the used market, new is a lot of $$, and home build be a lot of time. Our next step is to turn our napkin sketches into full blown design plans, then we can get solid quotes from the top builders on our list for both complete units and shells. Then I can compare to building from scratch. I am lucky that the company that I work for gives me wholesale acess to materials, appliances & a weld shop
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:56 AM   #6
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Dave- before I gave NRC the order to build my coach, I too did the factory tour gig. Granted my 2007 Freightliner Century only had only 30,000 original miles but everyone would build on my "used" chassis.
I think Showhauler and NRC dealers own the chassis, whereas Haulmark and Renegade provide the whole package.
I too have heard/seen good things from Jason and if he was Canadian compliant I would have entertained him building mine. May contact him to build a stacker trailer for behind the rig.
At the end of the day, the 2013 Renegade IKON is a very nice conversion just a little pricey at $565,000 and yes toured 2 at Sporttruck in Phoenix this winter.
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:25 PM   #7
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Gordy, I am assuming you had more luck with haulmark and renegade willing to use your chassis due to it being a freightliner model that is what they usually build on. When you mention Peterbilt they take a few steps back, obviously so they do not catch what ever it is that made me crazy.. lol. Jason does make a nice trailer, he even works on and upgrades trailers built by others.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by #90-GTSC View Post
Mr. Dragon, I presume you're talking Peterbilt 379 or 359 Extended Hood, twin external exhaust stacks, no bunk over cab, lots of chrome, lots of lights, visor, train whistle, and CAT engine (that way you can proudly wear the CAT hat going down the road).

Did I get it right?

PS: He is probably right about the automatic, though tough to find.

Now we want a Pete!
This one
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:44 AM   #9
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Default Peterbilt

Nice looking 359. If you go with an older Pete make sure you have all the air system and wiring checked out because it can take lots of $$$ and time to get it trustworthy. My truck took lots of effort to get it to the condition it is in now.
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Cliff & Wendy View Post
Now we want a Pete!
This one
Kenworths work well too! I guess I am am a little old school as well. It must have twin stacks,big motor, prefer a two stick 4X4 but a 15 roadranger will work and lotsa chrome!
MMM
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