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Old 05-31-2007, 08:50 PM   #1
gil
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hi guys -

i was wondering if any of you are familiar with the "Supernova" model produced by Gulfstream (www.gulfstreamcoach.com)

the cab looks like an M2, but it is an International.

specifically, how does this unit compare to the ones built by haulmark or other truck conversion companies?

thanks for the info!

gil
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Old 06-08-2007, 08:05 PM   #2
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my guess would be: its a piece of sh!t
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Old 06-10-2007, 07:40 AM   #3
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It is getting good reviews so far. While Gulfstream has had some issues in the past, they seem to be trying to turn it around. International dod put the bigger motor in the unit which will be nice.
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Old 06-11-2007, 07:16 PM   #4
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I seen one up close on the weekend, and it definately doesnt compare to any truck conversion on an M2. Plus it's only got the 300hp motor...
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:28 PM   #5
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hi matt and camping dutchman -

when you saw the unit last weekend - how was the workmanship vs. a haulmark or other truck conversions?

isn't there "only" 50 hp difference in the 2 motors, but around 300 or so ft/lbs of torque - and is it the torque that makes the big difference?

also about the motor - was/is the motor similar to one that would be installed in a HD pickup?

thanks for both your input

gil
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Old 06-21-2007, 01:41 PM   #6
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Hey Boys! Long time no chat.

To answer your question. Don't even think about a conversion weighing in at 28,000 lbs. or more and a automatic trannie with less than 330 hp & 900 ft/lbs of torque. And that is just going to get ya by. If your towing a trailer than you want to be in the 400 hp range. The Meritor or Eaton trannie's will help some what when climbing hills, but it is still going to suck when you get caught out on every uphill you hit.

Also, stay away from exhaust brakes on an automatic! They do not provide nearly enough braking for rigs over that 28,000 lb mark. You definitely want a 2 stage jake.

After all of my experience, I would say the Columbia with a 450 hp Mercedes and a 6 speed Allison would have been the perfect chassis for most applications less hauling a big stacker and than I would use the Meritor.

Don't go cheap on the truck, you'll be miserable and looking to sell in know time to do it right.

As far as the Gulf Stream goes I will at least say they are moving in the right direction by getting away from the Kodiak chassis. But again if your a racer looking to haul a trailer than don't even go there. The thing is just not going to hold up to the hard miles of towing.

People use to say "you can never have to much motor" and of course I would never listen.

Well take it from me they're right!
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Old 06-21-2007, 03:43 PM   #7
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hey warpath -

thanks for the input.

i noticed that you owned and then sold a unit based on the M2 chassis - do you think the supernova is a step below units like your old one based on the M2?

we will only be towing a dinghy and not a trailer, but my concern was being able to go up inclines w/o having to go down to a slow crawl.

we had looked at a number of haulmark units based on the columbia with the 450 MB engine - but i thought they came mostly with the meritor transmission?

(for some reason i cant find my brochures or i could probably answer the question myself)

also, do the haulmarks come with an exhaust brake or 2 sstage jake?

thanks again for the info!

gil
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Old 06-21-2007, 04:07 PM   #8
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hey warpath - #2

i was able to find my brochures - the m2's are listed as having 350 hp with 860lb/ft torque and an allison automatic.

those specs seem to be close to what you called for in your reply

also the entire haulmark line is listed as having engine brakes - is this sufficient a problem to look elsewhere?

keeping in mind what i will be towing (just a dinghy) - do i still need to look into the columbia's?

also, i found this ad on racingjunk.com. i believe it is one of the few 30' units with the m2

http://racingjunk.com/post/869364/20...MOTORHOME.html

thanks,

gil
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Old 06-22-2007, 06:41 AM   #9
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I will be totally honest, I wouldn't even consider a conversion on anything less than a Columbia. The M2 is ok and would get ya by, but I will bet money that it won't take long before you are unhappy with it. 860 ft/lbs of torque is just not enough. On a cool day when the clutch fan doesn't engage you will do ok on rolling highway terrain. But get in the heat on a 4% plus climb and that clutch fan kicks in and it's over.

I know most guys say it won't bother them to slow down on the hills, but believe me it will. You will roll on by the truckers down the hill in the passing lane and than get caught out there and slow down and everyone is climbing up your butt and it just makes traveling a big pain.

The Allison automatic would be the best option specially in your case (just using it as a motorhome) but your not going to find to many used rigs setup that way. The Meritor is going to be a little jerky, but if it is just you and the wife (no one riding in the back) it won't matter as much.

When they say engine brake, that is the same as a Jake so your good to go there.

As far as Haulmark goes, they are not a bad rig, but the fit and finish is not as nice as a Show Hauler, Trendsetter, or Renegade. I climbed all over a couple of Haulmarks and I wasn't impressed with the amount of sealant they used in large gaps on the exterior. Interiors even on optioned out rigs seemed sparse, but I do see they are dumping them out for a great price. Exterior storage space on the Renegade seemed to be less than others and I hate that they do not close in the sewer bay. Interiors on the Renegade are very nice. Never did see a Trendsetter, but Camping Dutchmen seems to like his. If I where to do another one I would probably do another Show Hauler or possibly a Dynamax if I had the money, but that probably will never happen.

To be honest my Vectra rides 100% nicer than a conversion, with the motor out back is super quiet while driving, and all the little creature comforts they put into it makes living in the thing like a taj mahal versus a hunting camp for the conversion. Most of the conversion guys still have not come up with a rig designed for the RV'er.

Hope that helps.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:06 PM   #10
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hi warpath -

thanks for your insights!

which model vectra and what engine do you have?

it seems like a common thread with the "regular" motorhomes is that they are always very close to the maximium weights and you have to be careful not to overload it (both the weight of things in the coach and the type of vehicle that can be safely towed)

what were the big items that made you switch from the truck conversions to a regular motohome?

thanks again!!

gil
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
what were the big items that made you switch from the truck conversions to a regular motorhome?
I can think of two things: Wife and Kids.
It probably went like this- "Dad, why do we hafta ride in a box on a TRUCK when ALL our friends get to cruise in a really COOL motorhome?"

I can understand why he feels the ride is so much smoother in the Vectra- when a suspension is loaded to within 95% of its capacity, it gets REALLY soft and cushy. I just hope he never carries a few extra guests along with completely full fuel, water, and holding tanks. 'Course, the ride will be REAL smooth then.....
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Old 06-28-2007, 06:16 AM   #12
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Actually, the GVWR is the same on my Vectra as it was on my last conversion.

The big difference with the Vectra is the Independent Front Suspension along with Air Ride on the front axle. And to be honest the Vectra starts to ride real nice with full fuel, water, and the bays filled with crap. One thing that kills the stability of a pusher is the independent air level adjusters and the huge 1/2" airlines they use to tranfer that air quickly from side to side. This gives you alot of lean and instability in high speed corners and on secondary roads. Also allows the wind to push you around quite abit. We just found a product called Super Steer Motion Control Units and did a 2500 mile test with these installed and the improvement in stability, cornering and wind is so dramatic I cannot even believe it. This chassis easily out performs my other 2 conversions in every aspect now.

Don't get me wrong, I am not here to say motorhomes are better than conversions or vice versa. If your not someone towing a trailer and your not pounding out 50,000 plus miles a year and you plan to live in the thing quite abit there are some pushers out there you should probably take a look at.

Gary is right about the family seeing a motorhome and loving the huge amount of space you gain by having the motor in the rear.

To me conversion companies need to get there heads out of their (add expletive here) and make that decision alot harder by adding the systems and niceties that motorhomes have. But hey if they have so much business and they don't need more than I guess they don't need to.
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:23 PM   #13
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Looking to have a Demo model For Sale Soon.
Contact if interested. hoosierace@gmail.com

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Old 07-13-2007, 03:27 PM   #14
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i would not want to be driving a motorhome w/ a 300hp motor, 40' long, with 150 gal of water, 140 gal of fuel, and probably 1500lbs of cargo in the back...EEEK
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Old 07-13-2007, 07:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matt295:
i would not want to be driving a motorhome w/ a 300hp motor, 40' long, with 150 gal of water, 140 gal of fuel, and probably 1500lbs of cargo in the back...EEEK
Funny most class A's are set up that way.. Some even with th v10 ford, that I say eek too.

You can never have enough horsepower!!
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Old 07-13-2007, 09:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
You can never have enough horsepower!!
hi guys -

just wondering - when you compare the different engines, shouldnt you be looking at the torgue produced?

i dont have the figures handy - but i thought i recalled the engine in the supernova and the engine in a M2 are both 300 hp, but the torque of the M2 is a couple hundred ft/lbs greater? (not sure about the v-10 ford engine.)

thanks,

gil
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:02 AM   #17
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You can get the M2 with a 330/960 Mercedes. Which I mentioned would be O.K. for motorhome use on a rig right at or under 30,000 lbs.The VT365 maybe able to be bumped to 300 hp with 620 torque and that 2500 trannie keeps the torque down there. Another big horsepower/torque limiter is the size of the radiator.

The rig looks well equipped, but if your looking to tow with it your sure to be close to 30,0000 combined and that motor is going to be the major weak link in the equation.

Like Camping Dutchman said you can never have to many ponies under the hood.
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Old 07-15-2007, 10:32 AM   #18
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You can get the big 450hp in the M2, you have to order. That would be an AWESOME combo...
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Old 07-20-2007, 02:15 PM   #19
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It appears to me that there is generally a good impression of ShowHauler (the note string below this shows someone that has had two and will go there for the third). That tells me a lot. One issue for me will be how flexible they can be with using concepts and materials less common in RV construction. I want to have big electrical capacity (deep cycle storage batteries, with a 10K generator and solar panels - look at the stuff EarthRoamer does with their Ford P/U conversions), and none of of this 12V BS. All household type current and appliances; no propane or other such silliness. Likewise, lots of water capacity, both fresh and grey/black. Having talked to Transport Designs, I know they can handle that one-off type stuff without much hassle, and I have seen favorable references to them, too.

The interior has to be low maintenance, and not subject to a lot of the silliness revealed this week about poor quality construction in the mobile homes used by FEMA after Katrina. The insulation has to be first rate so we minimize the discomfort from heat, and sometimes cold. There are 2 adults, and will be two dogs (we have three now, but two are almost sure to be gone by the time the project goes forward due to their age). We like Rotts and rare Mastiff breeds, so there has to be adequate room for them, including a King bed (we have learned that the queens are too small).

Tractor: The base rig will be ordered for the project, and probably paid off up front so we only have to finance the RV part (not a problem given the relations with our credit union). I am undecided about the tractor, although it will of course be a class 8. Western Star was likely to have had the most flexibility in addressing the needs, but they are now part of Freightliner, which has had a bad QC reputation for a long time. I like Macks, but they are part of Volvo, which has had power plant "issues", and commonplace components make service easier. I'm guessing that I will go with KW, as they have very good and consistent customer satisfaction ratings.

Drivetrain: Cats are pretty darned expensive to work on, but have a good reputation - admittedly the odds of serious work being needed in a 10-15 year span are slight. I suspect I will go with a Cummins ISX, as the Cat C-15 MT ratings are not available with their additional hydraulic retarder. Mimimum torque I would consider is 1650 ft. pounds. The transmission will of course be an Eaton AutoShift 18, for maximum flexibility in dealing with varying speed limits across the country with the most ease of operation.

The other question is tandem or tag; as long as I can get the same maximum capacity, the tag has the advantage of putting more weight on the driving axle by partially lifting the tag in slippery crap. Air ride is of course manadatory.

The conversion has to fit 3 main roles: one is summer travel of 6-8 weeks, as my wife is a professor and I am looking to move over into academe from practicing law; one is short weekend trips fom Spokanistan to places such as Glacier, or training classes I want to attend; the other is as an escape pod for turmoil (pandemic flu, etc). "Too much" power and capacity is not a problem - not enough would be a hell of a problem.
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Old 07-21-2007, 03:28 PM   #20
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In regards to getting the Eaton 18 speed, I'd advise against that. Our 12 spd freedomline seems to have too many gears at times. 12th gear will get you from 50 mph to 80mph (or however fast you want to go). Another thing is, with 18 spds that alot of shifting. Even on ours the shift pattern is 3-5-7-9-11-12, and it seems like alot of shifting. If i'm not mistaken the Eaton's have to shift thru every gear, and cant skip any.

For Truck selection the only reason I;d run anything other then a Volvo or Frtlnr, is looks, and the Kenworth T2000 is definately trhe sharpest looking truck out there.

I think ShowHauler could easily satisfy your needs, as everything you have mentioned is not that out of the norm. (other then your 'pandemic proof' bubble that you should own)
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