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Old 07-24-2011, 08:10 PM   #1
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Default A trip to Showhauler - Wow!

The last time we visited Showhauler was back in 2004 when we picked up our M2 Conversion so I was very excited to see what Showhauler was up to these days. The first thing we noticed was a much bigger facility, back in 2004 they had just 2 buildings and now there are at least 4 plus an office area. As we walked in we spotted Lonnie who manages things and it was great to see him again. As we started chatting it was immediately apparent Lonnie has the same passion and enthusiasm for what he does as he did back in 2004. We started the tour immediately and headed for the frame shop where there was a completed frame on a conversion. Showhauler has really stepped up there game in this area, the floor and storage bays are welded and powder coated and then welded to the trucks frame. With this and the bonded floor in place, you have a crazy strong foundation to build the remainder of the conversion on. In the past this was undercoated and u-bolted, but these upgrades makes a huge difference in strength and longevity of this critical part of the conversion. We then moved over to the wall shop which are now built on a jig and raised into place versus built directly on the conversion, which is a much faster process. Showhauler now builds all of their own storage doors so compartments can be any size and they can utilize all of the available space. They even put a hinge door around the rear tires so you can open it and spray out dirt or salt from the roads. From there we climbed aboard a pretty much completed rig and I was in awe. You can look at pictures all day long, but when you step inside a new Showhauler you get a real sense of the incredible craftsmanship these guys are putting into these rigs. And it has only been 5 years since I owned one!

The rig we were in had cherry stained oak which both my wife and I agreed that was exactly what we wanted, it was gorgeous!. Some of the new things we saw where the lighted switches which where green when a light was not on and yellow when on and all of them where marked. All pex plumbing with the push on style fittings which are expensive, but save huge on time & labor. Some of the trim is bigger and chunkier, residential fridge is standard, love the ceiling fans and so much more.

We spent 3 hours and it seemed like 15 minutes, we didn't want to keep Lonnie any longer and headed out as excited as could be. Showhauler definitely has their eye on the RV industry and we discussed a number of ideas to get them a tad bit more RV'er friendly. To be honest they are not to far off now. Showhauler is a custom builder and anytime I asked Lonnie about say the draw step, he said no problem they can do it. But I must admit they use this crazy strong standard step that I had not seen before, it didnt move when you stepped on it.

It was an amazing visit, I was so busy looking and talking with Lonnie I totally forget to take pictures. Now I have to go back, oh darn.
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2012 Showhauler 28'6" Motorhome on a Columbia w/ 450 Mercedes.
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:51 AM   #2
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More photos please....also WP, in your research what differences do you think there are between SH and Renegade.... I know Harley at Renegade, he used to work at Silver Crown, they built my Rig, they closed and Harley went to Renegade. When the time comes for me (and it will) SH and Renegade are on my short list, Although I have heard good things about a few smaller builders also.....
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:05 AM   #3
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Ya know it has been so long since I have really crawled around a Renegade that I would not be a good judge as to a comparison of the two. The Ikon stuff really looks nice and it would appear they are using the same body construction as Showhauler with a steel structure vs FRP. There are alot of little things on the Ikon I really do not need or prefer and for 1/2 or more of the price you can get into a Showhauler. But those are personal preferences one has to make a determination on. I just love how your treated like family at Showhauler and I had very little issue with my rigs. So for me there is no reason to look else where.

The only thing that they where lacking where those little RV style touches that I was looking for and the reason I went to a pusher vs doing another conversion in 2006. Back then they where so busy with the racing stuff they really did not have time to work on a rig more geared toward an RV'er, but that has obviously changed.

I will have a bunch of rig pic's shortly to post.
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:22 AM   #4
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Hey Gene, just checked out your rig, how do you like the setup with garage, smart car and bed area raised? Would you do it again or just flat tow a car or use a trailer?

How do you like the Columbia, do you have air-ride on the front axle? Is the 10 speed w/ clutch for starting & stopping or are you automatic? Would you stick to 500 hp + or do you think 450 would be plenty.

I can get my hands on a new 08 Columbia w/ Mercedes 450 & 13 speed Ultra shift chassis at a great price, just not sure of all of the specs and if the newer Cascadia would be the way to go.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:57 PM   #5
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Hey Gene, I don't mean to butt in here. I just viewed your conversion on the website and I really like it! Looks like some outstanding work on the conversion and the paint job. The Smart car is a bit too small for us since we always have three passengers.
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:43 PM   #6
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WP and LEO, It's great to have some good TC conversations, I could talk about them all day, I am probably most happy driving and being in my Rig....WP, I will always have a garage unit, the ability to keep things around 45 ft including the car is something I really like. I am even surprising myself sometimes at the tight spaces I am able to tuck into. Air ride is incredible, I even let the air out in the rear before unloading the car, this lowers the back and reduces the pitch of the ramp, easy in.....easy out. I like the 515 HP Detroit Diesel, turbo, 10 speed automatic Fuller Eaton.....I am sure the new 450HP would be fine. That being said the new CASCADIA would really be nice to have, the newly designed aerodynamic style will probably save you some fuel especially with a nice integrated fairing. Leo, my Rig was designed specifically for the Smart Car or a few Bikes. Since it is just me and my wife, the SC is perfect for us, 40 MPG, comfortable inside, great for touring around after camp is setup, we will be adding a Motorcycle lift to the rear hitch....CANT WAIT, Just when I thought I could not get better......G
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:50 PM   #7
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WP, one more thing, when I do it again I will figure out a different Master Bed setup, we currently have about 5' HT, ducking gets a little old. Maybe some kind of raised roof, not sure yet but I am THINKING.......
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:31 PM   #8
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Warpath - Those light switches are a "big deal" to me, and something I forgot to mention in the other thread... It's a multiplexed switch setup. There's usually an "ALL OFF" button in the bedroom that will kill every light in the coach (no more forgetting that one out near the galley), and there are multiple switches for a single light typically, and those switches can be for water pumps, heaters, you name it.

My friend's American Eagle has them, and they're one of those things "You wonder how you ever lived without" once you have them, according to him. Hawk also uses them in just about everything I've seen of his...
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:56 AM   #9
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Gene thanks for the info. Unfortunately Showhauler made the fairing for the Columbia and it does not fit the Cascadia. They are not sure if they will build a fairing for the Cascadia since the majority of trucks they build on tend not to be the Cascadia as of yet.

Another big development for Showhauler is the increase in body width from the current 96" to the traditional RV width of 102". They can build at this width now but their current rear cap cannot be used which would not be an issue on a garage unit. I had been toying with the same concept you have Gene and after seeing your rig I really think this is the way to go. Now I have to convince my wife of that.

Eskimo, you wouldn't think light switches would be a big deal, but even in my C now I am always flipping the wrong switch. Yeah love the all off feature and if you hold a switch it will dim the lights. Very cool!
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:34 PM   #10
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WP, good to see you active again. It will be interesting to watch your build, having gone full circle as it is. I've followed the TC forum for several years and have just about given up on finding the right rig, maybe you can uncover the right formula. We have decided on a pusher for the same reasons you did, the designs for TC are, for the most part, just not mature and can't match the level of a cheap DP. The ability to bring light in and use space efficiently is sorely lacking, just not enough imagination or familiarity I guess. Racer crash pads need not apply. Maybe if you trapped the designers in one for a month... To keep the rig at a length which will allow us to pull a trailer and stay within a legal 75 foot OAL means we live in a 30 foot box. Ikon and Silver Coach did a nice job, but if I had that kind of money I wouldn't have any other concerns. The ideal solution would be two full wall slides or at least two opposing living area slides, with the same furnishings a nice DP would offer. That seems to be out of my price range, whereas I can get a nice DP with a 505 CAT for $150K. I also travel with with just 2 people (the three dogs are another matter) but need to pull an 18K trailer. Options are slim and momma ain't backing down. She would go the TC route but again, the design issues get in the way. I will watch your journey with more than casual interest.
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