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Old 02-21-2006, 08:15 PM   #1
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I've been reading the discussions here and in other locations for several months now. When I first started thinking in terms of having a large RV, it was in terms of like a Winnebago, well it didn't take long for me to get turned off my the whole diesel pusher motorhome idea. Then I spent a little while checking out 5th wheels and tow vehicles, that too went by the side of the road. Ultimately I started hearing about Class 8 'conversions'. Right away I could see where the answer to most of my objections to diesel pushers and 5th wheels could potentionally be answered by a Class 8 conversion. I still think a Class 8 is the most workable idea -BUT- in reading the discussions on TruckConversion.net I have as many questions as answers. Recently I had been investigating Powerhouse as I had inquired of them and they indicated that having one build the way I think I want is not a problem for them. Then today I found a discussion about Powerhouse, general consesus was not the best. While thinking in terms of a Class 8 I was also troubled by what I perceive as a loss of useable vehicle length due to the long node of a conventional Class 8 truck. Once again I found where someone had specifically spoken very negatively on the idea of a COE for the basis of a conversion. I thought I'd found a nice compromise a Class 8 toter and a 5th wheel mated together and someone shot that idea down 'bad turning radius' http://www.cowboycadillac.com/BENZHAULER6.pdf
Between companies with an "our way or the highway" attitude [and my impression has been there are many] and reading the discussions here and elsewhere I'm about ready to throw in the towel and buy the guy down the street's 1999 Ultimate Advantage and call it a day. Is the only way to get one of these conversions the way you want it to go and be your own project manager, go buy a chassis, take it to whoever is certified to stretch them, get it stretched and go buy a welder and a load of tube steel and hir e a certified welder, etc. etc. etc.
OK I'm done whinning now, give it to me straight.
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Old 02-21-2006, 09:50 PM   #2
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....that is exactly what I did....and now I got exactly what I WANT at the PRICE I wanted to pay.....No more and No less.....I have standing orders for 3 more as soon as I get my superinsulated house done in Fairfax Ohio and get the garage built to start building these things and some other ideas I have borrowed along the way- like a boat over P/U trailer- a P/U with a boat on top and pulling a trailer also- some Disabled Persons specialized equipment so other gimps in the area can enjoy the things I do....geofkaye
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Old 02-22-2006, 09:44 AM   #3
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Where are some pictures of what you built?
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:19 PM   #4
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I think you might have to keep in mind that opinions are like a**holes...everyones got one. Don't get me wrong I'm sure one of those long toters would have some difficulty turning round but a short one with a couple of seats and maybe an overhead bunk (i'm assuming you want the 5th wheel to be the living area) would probably get into at least as many places as you could take a rigid truck of the same length as the 5th wheel.

I can't speak for american trucks but I'm led to believe that european CoE trucks ride comfortably enough. Why not find one that you can get a ride in and see if they really are as bad as the stories make out.

Why not do it as the project manager. I'm sure you have some skills which you could use in the construction. Maybe get the guy from the welding shop down the road to do some work on it in his spare time. It wont be done quickly but it'll be done the way you want.

If all else fails go buy the DP. Get one a couple of years old and hope the other guy got some of the bugs worked out. Of course if the chassis was overloaded out of the factory then theres nothing you can do. Add all the roll bars ect you want. If it was designed bad its going to stay bad. Thats what reasearch is for!

Just my 0.02p!

Mike
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Old 02-23-2006, 03:53 AM   #5
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Well I got to throw in my $.04 Cents of Lower Rear Opinion in here also.

I am not Real Smart to start with, Live in the Woods, Don't always do the right things, Have made and still am way to many mistakes, Not very well Educated and Thickheaded.

There are a lot of Companys and People out there that: Build, Modify, Stretch, Shortin, Add a Rear axle, Remove a Rear axle, Airride, No Airride, Airride on just one side, Auto Tranny, Manuel Tranny, Insulate, Don't Insulate, Use this, Use that, Front axle setback, No axle setback, Volvo vs Studabaker, Cat vs Cummins, Cabover vs Conventional, This is a Forum, And I don't know for sure BUT THE WORDS, "FORUM" & "OPINION" SOMEWHERE HAVE TO BE RELATED. In Europe, Cabover's Outnumber Conventional Cabs Three to One. Has anybody Drivin, Ridden In, Or even seen these trucks in person and not a Picture, But Dumb Fat & Happy Me ???? Yeah its a little scarey driven on the wrong side for the first couple miles. A good place to see Kick-Ass Cabovers is on some of the Yourapeein Truck Sites. And Volvo has a Nice Vidieo on there Global site that is nuthin butt COE's. The Cabover Stigma is outdated. The only two drawbacks IMO is Motor access and Connection/Seal/Mating of the Coach. Some of them have a flat floor no dogbox. And you do get better Forward Vision, Turning Radius, Nosebleeds, First one at the accident your involved in. Oh yeah it may be difficult for the Wasitline & Vertical Challenged to enter and exit from the cab doors, But you can go in & out the Coach sidedoor.
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:00 AM   #6
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Hey marc, thanks for chipping in to the fray. The issue of mating the box to the back end of a COE is something I've been trying to find information about. The Argosy which I've ridden in as a tracto truck not a MH has the tilt over cab for engine access and so far I haven't seen anything that looks like a solution to this question although I'd sure like to know how the Euros do it, lot of Mercedes Benz COE motorhomes makes me thing they do it somehow.
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:59 AM   #7
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Somewhere,Someone is doin Some. There is a lot of stuff out there. I will take a look in some of the stuff I have to see if there is any
info on a COE. What kind of power train and stuff you want in the coach???
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Old 02-23-2006, 09:15 AM   #8
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If by what kind of power train you mean engine and transmission, I'm somewhat of a neophyte. Just from poking around and listening hear and there, it seems like a Cat engine with an automated mechanical transmission [rather then a torque converter auto]. Don't know enough about rear ends or geaaring to say anything even halfwitted. I'd actually go for a manual transmission if push comes to shove.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:04 PM   #9
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By powertrain I do mean the following: Engine: Make Model OR Type, H.P., Transmission, Tandem Or Single Axle, Rear
Ratio. What exactly are you going to do with the Conversion?? Is it A Toter?? Or Coach?? What are you going to tow?? How much weight?? After doing some quick searchs in my files I think what came up will work. What Country or State Are you in?? Do you have large truck driving experience?? Correct me if I am wrong please,I think I read that you are new to this??
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Old 02-23-2006, 08:47 PM   #10
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Wow this is such a long story. I first started thinking about going into full time RV'ing a few months ago. I'm done working for a living and since I'd done nothing but work like a dog for 30 years 2&3 jobs at a times and usually with some sort of gig on the side like buying, fixing and renting fleabag houses, I ws good to go for a really nice RV and I started looking. Well the problem is I didn't like what I found in "off the shelf" models. The 500k diesel pushers are I think for people who are too easily parted with their money. To shorten this I eventually came to the conclusion that something like a Class 8 based motorhome or a Class 8 hauler pulling a 5th wheel of my dreams was the way to go. In answer to your question, I drove bottom dumps about a million [30] years ago, does that count as experience driving large truck? I live in California for now. I have about 6 more months of business to clear up and bring to a close. I figure to buy an RV probably a BlueBird Wanderlodge maybe 10-15 years old and take off and tour around the country visiting manufactirers like United and Renegade and as many others as possible. I'm a great believer in first impressions and those can only be gained in person. Hopefully this will lead me to a builder who I get a good vibe for and who I can find a lot of praise for from previous customers on forums like this. And in the meantime, I'm lurking around, picking peoples brains and readin until I am blurry eyed. As to specifics in powertain etc. I don't have enough experience to make a decision; what I read leads me to believe I could do worse then a good sized cat engine with an automatically shifted manual transmission. As for a chassis, the Argosy looks good but once again, I'm basing that on no practical experience, just reading and listening. I took your advice on European sites and you were right I did find some nice looking [to me] examples of COE coaches. http://www.actionmobil.com/
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