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Old 07-07-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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Talking I'm Back! Did you miss me?

Hey Boys! Been playing around with traditional RV's for the past 5 years and it is time to build another conversion. I see there has been major attrition in the conversion mfg arena, there where alot of good companies and they all did a piss poor job of marketing as well as targeting new markets. These companies made no attempt to diversify themselves other than just playing in the racer market and they paid the price. I remember when Racingjunk.com had under a 100 rigs and now there are 600+. Well I guess it leaves the door open for new players.

So we are in the planning stages and the main decision was who would we go with and no surprise to many of you it will be ShowHauler. Talking with Lonnie, he has the same excitement for the company, what they are doing and building conversions as he did 10 years ago when we built our first conversion. Also like what I heard as far as product improvements go such as powder coated undercarriage, welding box frame to truck frame versus u bolting, making it one solid unit, the have also brought in structural engineers to help them build stronger boxes. I also like how flexible they are to allow us to really build a custom RV. So much new stuff I plan to run up to the factory in a week or two to see all of the changes. Since I am involved with the aftermarket side of the business they are interested in possible innovations in that area.

Anyway I am very excited to go through the build process once again and plan to take our time to get this right.

Bill
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:44 AM   #2
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Guess not, as I hear crickets playing in the background.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:48 PM   #3
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I guess there are alot of newcomers since my departure, so here is my BIO. Back around 2000-2001 after seeing a Renegade parked up in Niagara Falls, I decided I wanted one. But I needed information, so I started this site truckconversion.net. Initially I thought I would build one myself and purchased a used FLD120 truck and after many month just refurbing the truck, I thought it a good idea to find someone else to build the box and picked Showhauler to do the job. Got tired of slamming gears on that one and built an automatic on the M2 which turned out to be under powered and had me wishing for air ride on the front axle. Sold it and the wife wanted to try a pusher and more recently thought down sizing was the thing to do and currently have a class C. BTW down sizing was not the thing to do so now learning as many lessons as one can learn in this area it's back to a conversion.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:41 PM   #4
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Default Hi, there. Glad you are active now.

So, tell me more about the rig you have displayed in your post. It looks like a well done, totally usable motorhome. What leads you to want something else?

I am interested in a smaller coach than most people might want...and better MPG than the big homes are likely to get (at the expense of power obviously) so I am extremely keen on hearing about why you were unhappy with your "down sizing".
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:46 PM   #5
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Warpath,
I don't think I ever got to rap with you, but I have followed many of your posts and pics. I was glad to see you active again. I was just waiting for some of the old timers chime in.

If it were not for some of your posts and the help of guys like Geofkaye, I would have had much more trouble. I am finally putting in a "diesel" generator. should have it painted in the next month or so and that will complete Grande Rojo (for the most part).

But I'm not finished. My mother is talking about me building a conversion for her. Glad to know you'll be around for any new questions.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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Doc, I remember you just beginning your conversion, glad to hear your out rolling on the roads of this country. I saw some posts about your generator issues, I had genie issues as well on my trip out west in my 2011 class C so new doesn't always guarantee that it will work.

sbphoto, the M2 conversion (lower pic) was sold back in 2006. That conversion had a Mercedes 300 hp / 960 torque with 6 speed Allison automatic towing a jeep. It weighed in at about 34,500 lbs and I got tired of being in way on the highway every time I came across a rolling hill. It was a dog. That rig got 9 mpg. The rig in the top pics had a M11 350 hp with a 10 speed manual and I got close to 12 mpg and could pull a 4% grades without leaving 10th. So size doesn't always mean better fuel economy, although many times it does.

Going through this process many times and having owned just about every type of RV we will definitely be taking our time and listing out every possible item we can think of and making sure it is exactly what we want.
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:00 AM   #7
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Default Good information

Warpath,

Thanks for the comments. This is the sort of stuff I need to know; I don't have much experience with motorhomes and none (yet) with truck conversions. Your comments about useful power and fuel efficiency are just what I need. My wife and I won't be "full timers". We use the motorhome for short trips around the South Western Unites States or up the pacific coast...and, for travel back and forth between a cabin in Montana and home in Southern California.

We only need to sleep the two of us and two mid sized dogs. MPG is a consideration given fuel costs. Most importantly, We want safety. Our present rig is unstable in cross winds and does not have adequate braking power. When we bought it neither of us knew what was important. What we did buy has all the interior features one would look for but insulation is inadequate, the suspension is sloppy, it is underpowered, and the brakes are less than they should be. It is time to do better, but how without spending a fortune?

After much looking around, I am considering converting a medium duty truck. One with air brakes, air suspension, a Jake brake, and a good cab. Most of the time we won't tow anything and when we do, it will not be heavy. Do you think 250-275 HP is adequate (I don't remember torque figures even though I know that is at least as important). We are hoping to get 14-15 MPG with a type-C setup on a straight truck, having approximately 22 feet of coach behind the cab.

Comments? Does this make sense?

Thank you.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:03 AM   #8
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Welcome back. I am relatively new here, but read through all of your old posts and browsed you old pics back when I was just lurking. Did not realize you were the one who started the site. Thank you! I'm in planning stages on the conversion of the 6500 top kick chassis I have here to a toterhome for our gooseneck trailer, and check in here often, ask and answer questions. Good to have you back. We must be neighbors, I see you list N.E. Ohio, we are in Hubbard.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:23 PM   #9
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hot rod, we are neighbors. We are up in Middlefield.

sbphoto, power to weight is what you will want to keep in mind. We took that M2 conversion with 300 hp out west and with the heat and the engine requiring the power robbing engine cooling fan it was a slow go up any grades more than 3%. Without the fan running and with a decent run it did ok on those hills but still lost speed. In comparison we just came back from another trip out west in our Class C which is 14,500 with a gas V10 and towing 4400 lbs and it did surprisingly well. It has all of the suspension upgrades and handles great until you hit those cross winds like you mentioned which is almost always specially out west and you just don't get that long haul comfort like you do in a Class 8 truck. Oh and a nice big bathroom.

Are you monitoring racing junk? There are some insane deals going on over there. Toterhomes/RVs/Motorhomes For Sale
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:33 PM   #10
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I'm glad you're back, too. I had always wondered why you left for a class A. I thought that was interesting. I never knew you even went to a C. The new rig is sure to be awesome. Make sure to keep us posted on how it's going. Have you decided on the truck yet? Engine? Trans? Twin screw?

sbphoto, that's some pretty lofty mpg hopes. I don't think you'd even get that bobtailing with a medium size sleeper cab. My t/c has 26' living quarters and I weigh 27k lbs. I cruise at 72-74 mph. I just completed a 4800 mile trip to CA and back (MN) in May and got 9.8 mpg overall. Best fill I got 11.3 mpg. I'm very happy with my mpg's. I think some of those Sprinter chassis type B campers might get about 15 mpg.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:05 PM   #11
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Default ? reality

Bob86zz4,

Thanks for the comment. I looked at one of the sprinter vans--not what I want. The one we saw did about 18 mpg (no towing, no mountains). You are correct that 14 to 15 mpg might be better than we can do. Anyway, I don't want to be down around 7 to 8 mpg for sure. I wish I knew what sort of energy was expended to move an 8.5 foot X 13 foot (front area) down the highway at 65 MPH...
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:44 PM   #12
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Hey Bob, I had to try a pusher and to be honest it was a great machine, 40ft w/ pre-emission cummins 400 that thing had great power. But there was always a few issues that bugged me and towards the end of ownership to many things started breaking. Now I am looking for a machine with good power 450 +, big tanks (fresh, grey & fuel), at least 3 slides, most likely twin screw, trying to keep this thing at 42-43 ft. I would love to do it on the new Lonestar (love the vintage look) but also am interested in Showhaulers fairing they have put on a few Columbia's. So until I get up and see the boys at Showhauler and discuss the possibilities I really won't start any decision making.

BTW I saw your trip blog and we just came through 70 in Colorado a few weeks ago and that river was really cranking away, alot of that bike bath was under water. There was still snow up top.
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:26 PM   #13
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I Love the new Lone Star.......only problem is so does International.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:28 PM   #14
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Default making my head hurt

Well, my last go-round seemed to stray into fuel efficiency territory. It caused me to think about something I don't know enough about but I am starting to find out what I can.

Given the usual size of a truck trailer or a toter/motorhome, a large percentage of fuel use for highway travel is because of wind resistance. The usual area being moved along the highway is about 110 to 115 square feet. I looked at several information sites (Kenworth has a good one) which show that at 65 MPH on level ground (yeah, yeah...there are hills and mountains), 2/3 of the power is consumed moving against air resistance. If one wants to save fuel, you can slow down...but we want to get to where we are going. Modifications in shape (aerodynamics) can modify power requirements and fuel use to some extent but here we are talking fairly small percentage changes.

The weight to power/fuel use is important starting from a stop, changing speeds, going up hills, and so forth. So, a heavier rig will burn more fuel going up hill than a lighter one will given the same size and shape and speed.

None of this looks at changes caused by using your generator in transit but my head already hurts so I am not going to think about that.

The fact I found most interesting and want to know more about is that for a given size and wieght truck/motorhome there is an optimal engine size. Going larger wastes fuel and does not pay off in much better performance (such as hill climbing) and going smaller also wastes fuel but does result in worse performance. There must be published tables about how to estimate this. It seems to me that many people decide that the easy way to deal with this is to get an engine with gobs of power (500 HP +) and enough torque to pull down a small mountain so they don't have to worry about "not having enough power". That works for the power part but then they get 6 to 8 MPG at ~$4.00 per gallon.

Does anyone know of a place to estimate what the best engine size is for a given rig size and weight???
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:15 PM   #15
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Welcome back Warpath!! I read every post you posted going way way back when I was designing the RumRunner, lots of time enjoyed all the posts.

Good luck on your new project. Big projects like these are double edge swords, the amount of knowledge it takes to build one, then its done, and Finance director would kill me if I used all my hard knocks learning from the first one to build a second. So I hang around and just try to help folks like you and others helped me.

again welcome back.
blizzND

ps sbphoto, start a new post on your design, we can cover most of your challenges with a design I'm familiar with...
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:56 PM   #16
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BlizzardND,

I would like to receive the benefit of your experience. I am not sure my issues would be worth taking up time & space here. I am very "green" and very early in development of my project. I'll go over to the thread you started. I think we share similar perspectives at least in some ways.

Thanks.
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:55 PM   #17
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Wow.. Welcome back!

Please don't do a LoneStar.. it'll make me want one so much worse than I do now!

Honestly, I don't see the reason for the bunks over the cab. with a bedroom, pull out sofas, etc, how many do you really need to sleep? But what it does kill is your cab headroom, makes you crawl between the coach and the cab, eliminates the chance of anyone looking out the windshield while you're going down the road, and makes it look less "big truck" like. The condo-height ones really are what I like to see..
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Old 07-13-2011, 11:09 PM   #18
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Very good points, Eskimo. I do like the cut open roofs they're doing now. My truck is a bit of a duck to get into the cab from the living room. It also seems to create a bit more of a barrier between the two front seats and the living room when going down the road so it's harder to converse with everybody.
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:04 PM   #19
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When we had the bunk the kids would never sleep up there because they where afraid they would roll off the bed and crash to the floor. One thing I did like was the separation from the rest of the rig, far less distractions when driving. Also I am freak when it comes to rattles and when I was in that cab on the first one with that turbo whistling away and that rumble of the M11 that rig was as tight as could be ;-)

I talked to Lonnie last Thursday and we will meet with him this coming Friday. They currently have 7 big motorhomes in production, so i will get a ton of pic's along with answers to a ton of questions I have. I will start a new thread and post them there.

Anyone have anything they want answered?
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:27 AM   #20
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Warpath- Welcome Back!! Good luck on the new Showhauler.

International does not have the epa compliant engine for the LoneStar yet, when they do- I will be building one! They also do not have a heavy front axle yet.

Bob
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