Join Truck Conversion Today
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-05-2006, 07:50 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Bob E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: OKC, Ok.
Posts: 109
Default

Well, here we go! After reading through truck conversion.net for 6 months, numerous other materials, (and a trip to Elkhart & Eastman, Ga) I've decided I didn't like any of the factory built units for various reasons. Nothing wrong with any of them, but they just didn't fit my requirements. Also, I found it's almost impossible to find anything with reasonably low mileage for much less than the price of a new truck. Apparently they aren't depreciating all that much.

Anyhow, I looked at used trucks and concluded that modifying an over-the-road tractor would be time consuming and involve more than meets the eye.
Frame, driveline, & other mods can be expensive, then you need to consider gear ratios, ft axle weight requirements, and numerous other revisions to really do it first class. I bit the bullet and went for a new Freightshaker Columbia spec'd out with a stretched double frame, 450 Mercedes, 10 spd Eaton Auto-shift, etc,... same as the big boys order, up in Elkhart. The spec sheet for one of these is very detailed and 14 pages long. I hated to spend the bucks to go new but, in the long run I think it will come back when it's time to sell. I also found out, most Freightliner dealers don't have a clue as to how to order this kind of vehicle. One told me they just wern't available setup for motorhome conversion purposes. If anyone wants to go this route, I would suggest contacting John Patkunas @ Central Truck, Springfield, IL. He is one of maybe 3 in the USA that knows how to spec out this kind of vehicle from the factory.
Next, I decided to have the motorhome body (shell) built as I don't have enought hands, legs, and time to construct something this massive by myself. After considerable research I struck a deal with Hawk Engineering, Jackson, Mo. to complete the outer shell. He uses 1&1/2" sq tubing (opposed to 1" that most others use) and uses a design for 90 gallon (ea) holding tanks that mount traverse and only take up one baggage bay. He will also mount a 50 gallon propane tank btwn the frame rails (behind the rear axle) which again, doesn't take up bay space, and would appear to be a safe place for a propane tank.
I intend to complete the remainder of the conversion (motorhome components, cabinetry, wiring, plumbing, etc) myself and will post a few photos, progress reports, and other pertinent info, as we go.
I would like to express my appreciation for the info, construction tips, resources, & general knowlege that I have gained within the Truck Conversion web site. I'll likely be asking many more questions in the next few months. I would also be glad to help anyone else that is interested in following a similar path with their project.
__________________

Bob E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2006, 07:58 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: N.E. Ohio
Posts: 768
Default

Hey Bob,

Sounds like your doing it right. I look forward to updates as you start on the interior. If you get any pic's from the box builder, be sure to post them.

Bill
__________________

__________________
2012 Showhauler 28'6" Motorhome on a Columbia w/ 450 Mercedes.
Warpath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2006, 08:24 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Bob E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: OKC, Ok.
Posts: 109
Default

I'll be over at Hawk Engineering, probably "living" with them, for the next few weeks. Will take progress photos throughout the build.
Also, we intend to go with ceramic tile flooring. Need input - advise - thoughts, on sub-floor. The bottom layer is 3/4" tongue & groove plywood.
Has anyone tried laying tile directly over this without any other layers of sub floor? What do I use for tile cement & grout? Any & all suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob E - OKC
Bob E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2006, 09:43 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2
Default

I am new to the forum and I as well have started a new conversion. I have ordered a custom unit through Show Hauler and am working with Beck's in MI. So far I have been very impressed with both the dealer and the manufacturer.

Our unit will become our home. We have four children and plan to live on the road full time. We home school the kids so for us this is, in some regards, an educational adventure. We have never owned a RV before and are a bit apprehensive, yet excited for what the road will bare.

Our unit is 45', bunks in the back, full over and under washer and dryer and is fully loaded. We have the FL Columbia chassis with the Detroit Diesel 60 engine.

Are there any other fulltimer families on the road that can give me some advice?
Bonam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2006, 10:58 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: N.E. Ohio
Posts: 768
Default

Bonam,

Check in here --> Fulltiming for more info on this.

Bob,

Use to be in the tile industry and would have never thought it to be a good idea to have tile in something that flex's like these chassis's do. My current rig has tile and so far so good. I would check with the local tile supplier like a Dal Tile to see what innovative types of adhesives they have out now. (It's been about 12 years since I was in that industry) For grouts we used a latex additive to give it some flex. I can't imagine that my tile in my rig is on anything more that 3/4" plywood.
__________________
2012 Showhauler 28'6" Motorhome on a Columbia w/ 450 Mercedes.
Warpath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2006, 04:48 PM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LaPorte, IN
Posts: 85
Default

Quote:
Originally posted by Bonam:
Our unit is 45', bunks in the back, full over and under washer and dryer and is fully loaded. We have the FL Columbia chassis with the Detroit Diesel 60 engine.
Too bad that is exactly how our 2005 Kingsley Coach is built and it is for sale. You could have just come and drove it home. Three bunks in the rear with a jiffy sofa also, stacking washer/dryer, etc, etc. It cost over $400K to build and we're selling it with 18K miles for only $225K. It is built on a Volvo 780 chassis.

Oh well, good luck fulltiming and home schooling. We are just about to start the homeschooling adventure with our 4 children...but we're doing it mostly at home with the occassional educational trip to different areas of the country.
__________________
2005 Kingsley Coach
Elburn Bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2006, 10:10 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2
Default

Send me some pics...I may be able to get out of my deal. I am not sure...production is schedule to start in two weeks. You can send them to bonam@mac.com or just post on this forum.
Bonam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2006, 08:35 PM   #8
cjc
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Cape Coral, Florida, USA
Posts: 52
Default

You asked a question about tiling the floor in your motorhome. I did the bathroom area in mine almost 3 years and 60,000 miles ago and haven't had a problem because I did it myself and obviously did it correctly. I never had a tile pop nor did I have any problems with the grout. The subflooring in my Showhauler is 3/4" plywood. On top of that I laid down a backer board with thinset underneath and screwed down every 4"o.c. I guess you could use durock or another type cement board, but I used the Hardie backerboard because it's neater to work with and it comes in a 1/4" thickness that you can use on the floor. Most cement backerboard is 1/2" thick and much heavier than the stuff made by Hardie. I also used a porcelain tile because it's super hard and dense, but I'm sure that marble, granite or any other type tile would hold up just as well so long as you prepare your subsurface correctly. All the materials that I used were purchased and are always easily available at Home Depot or Lowes, nothing fancy. I used a modified grout and thinset with the appropriately notched trowel that was specified for the tile. Don't worry about doing the job, it's not really any diferent than doing a quality tile job in your house over plywood subflooring. Don't skip out on the backerboard or thinsetting it down on the plywood and use plenty of screws. One thing that you might want to do is lay the tile on a diagonal. You're dealing with a small space and if you put your tile on a diagonal, it will make the room appear larger. I didn't do this, but wish that I had.
cjc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2006, 08:50 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Bob E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: OKC, Ok.
Posts: 109
Default

cjc,...appreciate the info,...I'm going to visit Home Depot today & take a look at the Hardie board. I'm also thinking of using marine 3/4 plywood for the sub-floor,...more ply's & better grade of wood. Your thoughts?
Bob E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2006, 02:36 PM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 54
Default

Thoughts on wall materials for you. We use 1/4" birch venner core plywood glued and stapled over plywood "subwall". It sands beautifully and paints like sheetrock and if you have to repair it down the road its very easy. Pre-printed panels are impossible to fix.
Tony

www.toolsetmotorhomes.com
anthony desnick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2006, 05:57 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Bob E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: OKC, Ok.
Posts: 109
Default

Progress report: 07 Freightliner build.
The truck mods are now (almost) complete. I spec'd out the longest frame available from Freightliner however,...the frame tails had to be extended 18" to accommodate a 33' body. This was relatively easy, as no mechanical extensions were necessary.
Mounting the Big Foot jacks required moving the (truck) battery box to the rear aprox one foot so the (front) jacks could be mounted directly behind the cab. Again this wasn't a problem, Freightliner actually left enough "extra" cable to make the move without cut/splice & extending anything. The Big Foot system uses four individual hydraulic pumps, one for each cylinder. After looking at the pump/resevoir units I finally figured out that they resemble marine lower unit lift pumps. This little bit of info may come in handy if one gives up on the road. Marine & boat places are usually easier to find than RV supply stores (also maybe less exsensive).
Anyhow,...we went with a frame mounted (aprox 42 gallon) propane tank which was set in behind the rear axle between the rails. This appears to be a reasonably safe location and also saves storage compartment space. We are down to extending the exhaust and cutting the opening in the rear of the cab.
The next step is to build the floor structure, walls & roof, set the completed "cage" on the truck frame, then continue construction with the body mated to the truck.
Hopefully we will have this phase complete in another couple of weeks. Photos to follow (eventually)
Bob E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006, 06:07 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 262
Default

How do you access the fill on the propane tank? Is it exposed in the rear? Just curious
Camping Dutchman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006, 03:23 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Bob E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: OKC, Ok.
Posts: 109
Default

A remote fill is available that has a bleed orfice that lets you know when it's full (as used on most tanks). It spews vapor until near 80%, then it spits liquid.
I'm also using a Vena monitor system that provides constant read-out of fresh, black, grey, & propane levels, along with battery voltage. It reads "through the tank wall" so no holes need be drilled and,(obviously) the sensors don't get corroded, so they actually work! Hawk Engineering has them in stock.
Bob E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006, 05:04 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 262
Default

cool, didn't know such an animal existed, our fill and bleed have to be accessed from the compartment, didin't know you could make them remote!
Camping Dutchman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2006, 04:58 AM   #15
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1
Default

Can I ask where do you find information on building the "box"... I'm assuming there are rules of thumb much like building a house (16" o.c. etc). Thanks !

Sincerely, Bill
D.I.Y. Guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2006, 07:58 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
Bob E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: OKC, Ok.
Posts: 109
Default

Bill, I don't know that there are any exact standards set out for the construction of a conversion shell. The RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) does provide "codes" as in the commercial/residential building industry that governs construction, electrical, plumbing, etc,... from which most manufacturers adhere.
I visited several manufacturers in Elkhart Indiana, and one in Eastman Georgia, and got "somewhat" educated in how their conversions were built.
All (that were using steel tubing) used 16" centers in their wall construction. This makes sense as most demnensional building materials lend themselves to (even) division by 16". However, the floors & ceiling structure on some units used 2 foot spacing. This probably depends on the demensions of the steel being used.
Again, the conversion manufacturers that I observed, used 2"X 3" 11 guage for floor X-members (on 2 foot centers) and 2"X 2" sq tubing for ceilings (also on 2' centers).
You can learn a lot by touring some of the (Elkhart) production-line guys, especially Trendsetter & Showhauler.
When you draw out your floor plan just remember, you are working in sq inches, not sq feet and you need to make good use of every inch.
Bob E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2006, 07:21 AM   #17
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 30
Default

Bob,
I am also just starting a conversion and will fabricate my own box. I am a little nervous about these slideouts. Do you have any pictures of them or know where to get the components from? Also, how are you going to connect the truck to the box to ensure a tight seal?
MHensley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2006, 09:10 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Bob E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: OKC, Ok.
Posts: 109
Default

I've "farmed out" the construction of the sq tubing structure as I don't have the space nor enough arms, legs, a-holes & elbows to do it myself. Besides, I figured it would take me 6 months to complete if I did attempt it. I would suggest you draw a very comprehensive & detailed plan of the structure prior to begin cutting & welding, I've found there is alot more complication there than meets the eye. Anyhow, to answer your questions: The slideout drive & support structures (there are at least 3 different types) all come from the Elkhart area. Jason at Hawk Engineering (who is doing the structure for my project) has ordered in the type that suspends the slide floor from the ends. It also supports the floor from the front and back on both ends.
The telescoping sq tube type only supports the slide from the outside edge of the floor so these generally require a roller in the middle.
I went with the ft-to-back support design as I'm installing granite tile flooring and have concerns with a roller possibly cracking the tile. Also this system uses a drive shaft off of a gear motor that inturn runs (2) screw jacks that move the structure in & out. The whole thing is supported from the sides of the opening, not underneath. The disadvantage (?)is that the slide floor is elevated above the main floor aprox 1 &3/4" (to the top of the floor covering). I'm not sure of the specific manufacturers (names) but I believe you could probably find them on the internet.
The seal (truck to motorhome body) we're using, is an accordian rubber with an aprox 3.5" cross section and has pinch weld grooves on both sides. It apparently comes in a large roll. Again, Jason is supplying this and I really don't know where he bought it.
I'll be back in Mo in a couple of weeks & attempt to get some info on this & the slide manufacturer.
Bob E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2006, 06:18 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Bob E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: OKC, Ok.
Posts: 109
Default

Well,...the shell build is complete! From the exterior it looks like it's ready to live in,...from the inside it looks like a racketball court. Jason at Hawk Engineering did a class A+ job, everything that was specified in the contract was completed in a very professional manor.
Now the fun begins. I brought it home a week ago and (of course) had a 30 mph head wind all the way. Figured my fuel mileage and was pleasently suprised. Even with the head wind I got an even 8 mpg. Hopefully, when it gets broke in (and without a headwind) it'll do even better.
I think I've got a master plan finalized (?) that will map out the interior construction. Next week I'll begin installing awnings, roof AC's, TV antennas, solar panels, exterior wiring, etc. Then start insulating. I've decided to use 2" extruded foam in the walls and ceiling, then add additional 4" fiberglass in the roof between the drop ceiling and roof structure. Hopefully this will make it comfortable Summer and Winter.
I'll attempt to post updates as I progress. There is no doubt my "master plan" will end up being revised a hundred times in the next few months. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.
Bob E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2006, 12:19 PM   #20
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5
Default

Hi could you post the address and phone of the body builder.

hager2780@msn.com
__________________

lovetrucks is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:48 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×