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Old 03-26-2012, 03:18 AM   #1
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Default Box truck conversion

In the ongoing series "doodeling and dreaming"

What I want is a max 30' truck with cab (9-10'), minimal living quarters for two (10') and the rest garage.

Of course the only thing between me and a nice long meeting with a designer at a top grade conversion company is that minor matter of the budget.

So one line of thought is to get a box truck and convert it. (Which is why I am on this forum). I've got the cutters, grinders, torches and welders and somewhat know how to use them.

So again, I'm thinking about converting a box truck. (Reefer maybe? would take care of insulation.......) The first questions that pop up are:

1:Connecting the box to the truck. Assuming the cab is un-sprung and doesn't move in relation to the box, are there seals out there that one can bolt on? Fiberglass fairing pieces? Or do I have to fabricate those? Can I cut out the back of the cab without major structural consequences? I know I'll probably have to put a header in the box over the opening.

2:Suspension. Most trucks are a pretty hard ride until they reach their rated load, which I probably wont reach with an interior fit out. How involved and expensive is installing an improved (air?) suspension?

3:I see a lot of trucks out there with 250K + miles out there. I am thinking that's not a lot and there's another 200+ in there for me without major repairs......am I dreaming? This is an example of what I'm liking (minus the side doors....)

http://www.truckertotrucker.com/listings/144661.cfm

This one's too long, but a heck of a truck....

http://www.truckertotrucker.com/trucking/box-trucks.cfm

Any other comments? Any links to someone who's done this?

Thanks.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:19 AM   #2
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Oscarvan, you should check out my posts through the years. I built a truck very much like what you're describing. My total to date (including the truck and customizing) was under $30k. I learned a lot from the forum and from personal experience. After reading through my posts, if you wish, PM me and I'll send you my phone number.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:52 PM   #3
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Cool, will do!
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:15 AM   #4
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Think I've read the majority of what's on here between 09 and mid 11. Too bad the conversation fizzled somewhat at that point. Particularly like your sound deadening crusade. I know I'll be on one of those too, and it sounds like you've saved me a lot of research time.

Right now I am in the final stages of restoring a sail boat. Once that finishes (mid summer) I can seriously look at getting a truck. I pull our tag along camper with a Chevvy 2500HD with the Dmax/Allison but that's also my daily driver. Getting a TC for RV-ing and a small fuel efficient vehicle for daily driving would be about dollar neutral....
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:33 AM   #5
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give me a shout when you're ready and I'll save you some mistakes.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:17 AM   #6
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Thanks!

Yesterday spent some time digging through the regulations and talking to a few people. It appears there's a LOT of RV'ers out there breaking the law, which fortunately is not enforced too much. But as many pointed out, if there is a mishap it becomes an issue.

The box conversion is to create a vehicle that will serve to 1: haul the gear we carry, 2: to provide for one or two night accommodations as well as "class A walkthrough" style accommodations while on the road, and 3: pull larger accommodations for longer trips.

Initially I will pull our Keystone Cougar 29BHS which is well under 10000 pounds, no problem. But later on I want to convert a tall 30 footer to our specifications.

Most under 26000 trucks do NOT come with a specified MCVW. (max combined) So, the trailer weight comes out of the truck MGVW. Plus, a lot of those trucks don't have the horses to pulll a 15K trailer. 210 or 250 is not enough.

So, it appears I will need a 33K truck. 14 empty, 5 for the conversion (wag) that leaves 14K for the trailer. Plus, the bigger trucks have 350+ horses, preferably more, and will pull all that I need to do. I HATE being underpowered.

So, according to the PENNDOT folks I need a non commercial class B to drive the truck, and a non commercial class A to pull the trailer as it is over 10K.

Problem is, the driving schools either teach your kid to drive a car, or there's CDL schools, nothing in between. I can however take out a learners permit and take the driving test. A buddy has a class A so he can cover that legal angle. (Driving me to the test.) Since it is a non commercial add on there appears to be no additional knowledge tests required.

So, I am looking for a classic full size Pete or Kenworth or similar, with a fully loaded cockpit, a 20 foot box, air ride, a rail lift, a hitch plate and no more than a couple hundred K miles for around 25K...... anyone?
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:53 AM   #7
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Here is the truck conversion "RV" I built on a budget.
My F-700 RV/jeep transport build thread - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

good luck with your build
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:03 AM   #8
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Very cool.....well done!
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekanic View Post
Here is the truck conversion "RV" I built on a budget.
My F-700 RV/jeep transport build thread - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

good luck with your build
Very nice indeed. I have a 95 International 4700 I am going to do a very similar project with. I liked the whole thread you posted on the other site. I am more than a little curious about the finish inside. Insulation, wall materials, etc. The windows/door came out fantastic. At the moment, I am thinking about leaving the original side door in place, instead of using a RV door. I hope to post pics soon. I think my overhang is larger than yours tho.. mine is a crazy 6'...but I am going to put a twin bed towards the box end and a wire shelf (or something else lightweight) for clothes storage for the rest of the attic. Not sure what the 2 rails supporting the attic are rated for, but dont want to find out the hard way I put too much up there...lol
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Weaver View Post
give me a shout when you're ready and I'll save you some mistakes.
I wouldnt mind some advice myself. I am at the very beginning stages of the project, the truck arrives this week. It's a 1995 International 4700. 466 cummings is a little lighter than I hoped for, but I am not towing anything (at least not planning on it) so it will get the RV where it's going
The box is 25' with a 6' overhang. The overhang will be a twin bed with wire shelving (or some other lightweight material) for extra clothing storage. The last 10' (possibly cutting that down to 8') of the box is the workshop. I work for a travelling show, and I carry a bunch of tools (my tools are worth more than this conversion..lol). So I am thinking a 10' workshop/storage. It also has a liftgate to make life easier (and as I get older, I realize how much I like easier..lol)
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