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Old 08-10-2008, 11:39 AM   #1
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I am looking for information on converting an over the road trailer for a live in conversion. I am primarily interested in a long (53 foot?) trailer that I can do basically anything with conversion wise. Any links or info would be appreciated.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:40 PM   #2
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I would suggest you make a trip to Elkhart & visit a couple of the truck conversion companies and also regular RV manufacturers.
I would think the process to be the same as a truck conversion &/or building a travel trailer. You might also visit some of the RV Surplus & Salvage stores in the area,...they should be well stocked as the RV manufacturers are slowing production these days.
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:22 PM   #3
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......"SLOWING PRODUCTION"?....production is dead- the RV industry in in great trouble and it isn't getting any better.....try to find household or commercial equipment[which is cheaper] to use in your conversion as it is better quality and there will be a company to get another or a repair next year....that isn't going to happen in the Rv industry as those suppliers are going toes up also....get your appliances from Lowe's or alike so you can stop and replace an appliance in an hour instead of waiting for 2 weeks for delivery or parts....another words:....take out your old microwave and throw it into the dumpster at Wal-mart and get another one for $39.95 and put it in....use belts or velcro to hold it in place-making sure it has adequate ventilation....if your trailer isn't air ride- mount all your appliances on a 2" thick carpet padding layer to keep them from failing from vibration....any furniture make sure it is bolted to the floor and wall to keep it from shifting in transit----or use E-track with binders.....I'm able to adjust the appliance load for each trip of what I need and what I don't need to eliminate weight....the only things that are not removable are the shower and toilet.....everything else is portable or if heavy, on casters....geofkaye
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:48 PM   #4
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My first question would be, what does DMV, Highway Patrol... say about such a trailer being used on the roads if you plan on moving it ocassionally? You would want to know what are DMV's requirements if any (so you or a class 8 driver can legally move it on the roads, highways), licenses, insurance, registration, inspection...

Call/email the big Truck Conversion or Trailer companies and ask their opinion?

Let us know what you find out.
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Old 08-11-2008, 03:43 PM   #5
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We've done this type of conversion in the past. See: http://photos.transportdesigns.com/v...arter/Kentucky . It was a 53ft double drop deck Kentucky semi trailer. We stripped the interior wall liner and converted the front 12ft "attic" plus an additional 4ft of the cargo deck by extending the attic deck over the main deck. Unfortunately, I have no photos of the rear area that had (2) elevators for storing the customer's pulling tractors. You're going to have to register it as a semi-trailer however. Some states (Montana likely) may let you get away with calling it a travel trailer, but I wouldn't want to be on the same highway with someone who doesn't know what they are doing with an air brake 65,000lb GVWR semi trailer.

We use the commercial plumbing and appliances that geofkaye mentions, although I've not found them to be "cheaper". Kohler and Moen Fixtures, Kitchenaid, Fisher-Paykel and Sub-zero are much more expensive than "RV Quality" products.

Dometic Suburban and others have decent warranties, but if you're doing it yourself, you have to find a source for them. The "source" may mark them up enough that Lowes or Home Depot is going to be cheaper depending on the appliance or fixture, but generally you're not going to find a 120VAC/LP refrigerator at Lowes.

I've read in many trade magazines how down Elkhart is, but we've been blessed in serving a nitch market. Super high end, super custom and staying fairly busy year round. I wouldn't want to be a "production facility" these days with the economy in a crash-and-burn mode. It'll all come back though, with fewer survivors. I'm an optimist - always have been. The companies that can hang in there for as long as it takes will have a few good years without as much competition until the startups start up again and flood the market with price conscience products.

God Bless.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:43 PM   #6
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Ya, no matter what ya do to a 53' semi trailer, or what you call it, it's a commercial truck trailer with the DOT. We pondered doing the same thing, only way around it is a custom builder like Wildside or 5150 trailer that starts life new as a RV Conversion. At least for us Californians! Some other state may see it different?
Take a look at : Wildside Coaches, 5150 trailers and Santek trailers in CA. Santek builds a lot of high end big boy stuff out West here and are decent guys to talk to for ideas and general pricing.
Have fun!
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:24 PM   #7
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Has anyone converted a semi-trailer to living quarters and then hired a truck to deliver it?

My husband and I are considering living in a travel trailer, but would like more space and we're not interested in moving the trailer more than two or four times a year (we own the lots it would sit on.) We thought it might be easier and cheaper just to hire a driver to move it when we need to relocate?

Any suggestions?
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:37 PM   #8
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We've converted portions of a semi-trailer as living quarters, but the customer used his personal truck tractor to haul it around to tractor pulling events. A double drop (furniture van) is ideal for this. However, you are looking for something custom (unless you plan to do the conversion yourself) and the price won't be as inexpensive as a factory built travel trailer (especially in today's economy where I am hearing that dealers are selling units at or below cost just to get them off their lots.) Let me know if I can help.
Steve
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:26 PM   #9
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Well, you're probably right about cost, but I can't stand the synthetic interiors of the new trailers I see. I'm sorry -- I don't think pseudo-Victorian is the way I'd decorate my interior, and if I have to live in it, I don't want it to drive me nuts on the first day.

My husband and I built our own home 12 years ago, and we have a large building to park a trailer in while we work on it, too. We've also got time to build one -- three years before our son goes to college (what empty nest? what nest? ... "Son, don't come home for Christmas... we won't be here...")

I'm eyeing double-drop trailers every day I go to work, now, at the major truck stop I pass. There's also a trailer manufactorer across the street -- they do mostly flatbeds, but the guy there told me they could easily weld a custom frame for me, and then I could take it home and finish it the way I like. I'm also eyeing those beer trucks with the rolling sides. Anyone convert one of those?

My husband has his CDL, but if we only move the trailer a couple of times a year, I'm wondering if it's worth the investment to buy a truck? Let's say we go from Minnesota to Oklahoma and back once a year -- I mean, how much would that cost to hire someone to haul? That way my husband and I could each drive our own vehicles down, too, so that we have our trailer and two cars. (We may sleep in the same bed, and after 20 years of marriage can still share a bathroom, but we don't share cars.)

Anyone care to comment?
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:39 PM   #10
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...your second trip will trash the interior because of hard suspension....I'd stay with a travel trailer and remodel it. use home owner appliances and SS hoses for water with stranded electrical wire in conduit and of course, spray insulation to stop heat loss and heat gain....also there is the issue of moisture in the air so a de-humidifier and an air to air exchanger should be added .....slides are energy wasters so be sure what you want before you buy as they leak all the time so get used to it.....TOWING: $1.75 a mile is standard for tractor hook and drop....wreckers are $3.00 a mile.....I've charged as much as $5.00 a mile if the damn thing is stuck in the soft ground and I have to spend any time with the winch.... I will deal if I feel it is an easy tow though. geofkaye....The Rivercity Group
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