Join Truck Conversion Today
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-19-2011, 08:21 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 527
Default just getting started on toterhome project...

Hello all-

We are just getting started on a toterhome project based on a 2003 GMC topkick cab/chassis to pull our fifth wheel/gooseneck trailer. It's going to be a "renegade" type toter with the bunk over the cab, and the rear fifth wheel hitch. I have been going over the forums for ideas trying to get all my ducks in a row before firing up the 'ol welder.

My first dilemma I have been brainstorming is joining the cab to the box. My ultimate goal would be to have both the roof and cab cutout so we can pretty much just stand up out of the seats and walk back, as opposed to just a square cutout you practically have to crawl through. My concern here is the possible movement between the cab and the box. I saw the info on this site for a supplier for a rubber boot, but that does not seem to be a good option to wrap up over the cab roof and all. I would just weld the cab solid to the box, but I am concerned over stress at that point as the cab is on rubber mounts, and the box would be bolted solid to the chassis.

Any thoughts on that issue? Just one of the many things I want a definite plan for before I start cutting up square tubing and welding it together.

Also, trying to figure out sizing and placement for fresh water and black/gray tanks. There are 2 of us, that stay in the unit mostly long weekends dry camping at the racetrack or fairgrounds, but occasionally for a week or more in a campground with hookups. Is there any reason why the gray and black tanks can't be combined, as long as it is big enough? Also a good source for tanks?

Thanks in advance for any help.
__________________

hot rod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2011, 08:50 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
mmmc101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Choctaw,Okla
Posts: 174
Default

Welcome aboard Hot Rod !
You have come to great web site for your project. There is a wealth of knowledge on this site and many have "been there done that" on about any problem you may encounter. They have saved me many "do overs" with their advice.
I am also building a Toterhome on a Kenworth W900 chassis to pull my race car trailer. I chose not to go with the overhead bunk. My research found the roof cutout significantly reduced the structual integrity of the cab and the cab to box seal can be a problem. I deceided to go with two 76" slide-outs instead.They appeared to be less challenging than the roof cut-out/seal problem. I have my box framed in and generator installed. I am ready to install the holding tanks but like you I am looking for input for sizing the tanks. I only have 26"x29"x72" space to place them. Almost any size and shape tank can be purchased on Ebay or one of the RV surplus places. I am just not sure what the tank ratio's should be.
Again welcome to the site and I am looking forward to following your project.
MMM
__________________

mmmc101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2011, 04:38 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 527
Default

Hi MMM-

Thanks for your reply, and for the welcome. I have been reading through the various threads for a few months now, and gotten a lot of good ideas.

We currently have a 40' gooseneck trailer (around 20,000#) with "living quarters" we are pulling with our dually, and just beating the truck to death and need something bigger to pull it. Going the toterhome route for comfort and to hopefully get around scales, etc.. I know that is a stretch these days though. We have been using the current trailer "living quarters" (really more of a racers lounge) but it only has a toilet and sink, but no shower, been using fairgrounds/campgrounds facilities for shower. The trailer only has 20 gallon fresh water, and each black/gray tank is about the same. We get by for long weekends, but really have to be careful with the water use. The toter will have a full bathroom with shower so I really need more capacity than before, just not sure how much. Obviously I could put in a huge tank, but there is only so much room to work with and I really only want to put in just what is needed. I am sure there is a formula or rule of thumb somewhere based on persons and number of days, but I have had no luck finding anything like that.

I was surprised by your comment about the cab seal vs. slideout. I just automatically dismissed the idea of a slideout as being over-complicated for a first time build. I really don't know what goes into the mechanism, but just assumed it would be difficult to do right. I looked through Blizzard's RumRunner build and saw how it looked like he basically just welded the back of the cab to a piece of sheet steel to form the front of the box. Looks simple, but I was worried about the box wanting to flex vs. the cab. Plus I really want the bunk over the cab not just for stand up room, but it looks a whole lot more like a real RV and less like a box truck when coasting past the scales. Any place I might look for info on building that slideout you mentioned?

Again, thanks for the welcome, and hopefully somebody else will chime in and help us both on that tank size question.

Hot Rod
hot rod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2011, 05:08 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Bob86ZZ4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 1,814
Default

I used to have a 32' Allegro class A gas rv. It had 66 gallons of fresh water, 32 gallon gray, and 32 gallon black. The gray tank would almost always fill before the black. My current truck has 200 fresh, 75 gallon gray, and 25 gallon black. You can see now I need to flush out the gray and black twice with each fresh fill. It works well since it's often easier to find a dump than a fill station. The ratio seems to be pretty good too. I was at first worried I'd be filling the black well before the gray. But it doesn't seem to work that way. They both seem to fill about the same time, or pretty close anyhow. As for combining gray and black into one tank. I don't think I'd do that if you can avoid it. The main reason being it's sure nice to rinse that hose with the gray water after dumping the black tank. You'd be dealing with a biological mess trying to rinse out the hose after dumping from a combined tank, wouldn't you? When I'm dumping the gray tank I grab the hose and wriggle it around a bunch to rinse it out better. I don't know, maybe it doesn't help any but it makes me feel better.
__________________
'03 Freightliner FL112, 295" wheel base, with '03 United Specialties 26' living quarters, single screw, Cat C12 430 h/p 1650 torque, Eaton 10speed , 3.42 rear axle ratio
Bob86ZZ4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2011, 05:12 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Bob86ZZ4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 1,814
Default

As for the pass thru from cab to quarters. I think you can get a pretty good size pass through without cutting into the top roof of the truck can't you? And then build your living quarters to extend above the cab. You might need to remove the rubber between the cab and the frame and just shim it there and bolt it tight. I don't know much about that. BlizzND is our expert there. Mine has the rubber accordian boot between the box and the cab. Seems to work well. I think my cab is bolted solid to the frame but I never looked to see for sure.
__________________
'03 Freightliner FL112, 295" wheel base, with '03 United Specialties 26' living quarters, single screw, Cat C12 430 h/p 1650 torque, Eaton 10speed , 3.42 rear axle ratio
Bob86ZZ4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2011, 07:05 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
mmmc101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Choctaw,Okla
Posts: 174
Default

Hotrod
I crawled under about 50 various types of RV's with slides trying to determine how they worked. What I discovered is there are as many type slide mechanisms as there are RV's.Some are Hydraulic,some electric driven screws and some are cable operated electric driven.I almost gave up the idea. I then called Liftco inc. A company that builds various type slides for many RV companies. I explained to them I wanted to put two slides in my toter that would handle sleeper sofa's.They sent me all of their literature. I chose their "touchless floor model" .They look fairly simple to install although that remains to be seen as they are scheduled to arrive on Monday.I have yet to find anyone that has installed one to get some lessons learned.They have some good pictures of their various models on their website.Just google liftco,select products,then glideouts.
As for the holding tanks,I found a 105 gal fresh water tank that fits just right.($200) I think I still have room for a 30 gal grey tank and a 20 gal black.That is close to the ratio Bob has on his unit and he says his works well.
If you look at the posting "building the outer walls" on this forum you will find some pictures of my project from a few months back.Actually, Blizznd posted them for me. I couldn't figure out how to do it.(lacking computer skills) I just got the truck back from the paint shop last week.It's now white with sunburst orange pearl fenders.I'll try to post some more pictures soon as work progress. MMM
mmmc101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2011, 08:40 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
#90-GTSC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Grafton
Posts: 285
Default

Talking about the hose for the dumping the grey and black tanks took me back 15 years ago when I went racing quite often with a friend who had a Prevost. He started with a GMC motorhome (Toronado front wheel drive), then a Bluebird, and had four or five custom built Prevosts before he retired from motorhoming. He had the converter install a long tub (probably stainless) between and above the tandem rear axles of the bus; transverse, from one side of the bus to the other. There was a little door he'd open and inside the door was the "the hose". I thought that was a clever way of storing "the hose". Maybe a self-builder could use that idea. Good luck!
__________________
Started looking for 379 Peterbilt TC, 24' to 30' box, bumper pull--but ended up w/1999 Liberty Coach conversion of 45' Prevost XLV bus. 1,000sf heated/AC'd race shop w/dump station, 50amp shore pwr where bus parks, 3 NASCAR/ARCA race cars & 26' Bravo trailer.
#90-GTSC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2011, 08:47 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Bob86ZZ4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 1,814
Default

My old rv the back bumper was square steel tubing and I slid the dump hose into that. Worked pretty good.

My present truck has a Liftco slide. It's got two long threaded rods on the underside. One electric motor turns the screws. It has worked fine for me. I think they're a good company.
__________________
'03 Freightliner FL112, 295" wheel base, with '03 United Specialties 26' living quarters, single screw, Cat C12 430 h/p 1650 torque, Eaton 10speed , 3.42 rear axle ratio
Bob86ZZ4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2011, 11:47 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
mmmc101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Choctaw,Okla
Posts: 174
Default

I had not even given any thought to the dump hose.That has been the most challenging aspect of this entire project. Where to put all of the amentities of your house in 100 SF of "mobile" space! I have a great deal more respect and admiration for those folks that design and build RV's than before.MMM
mmmc101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-2011, 12:06 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 49
Default hey hotrod

check out schwintek slide sold by Lippert industries they have several you tube video's posted I have been researching slides for several months, In all my research this seems to be the best one out there, just my opinion,

i''ll let you know more thoughts once I get it installed
377pete is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 12:20 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 527
Default

Thanks for all the friendly responses and help.

Bob and MMM- I am a little confused on your tank sizes, it seems with that much fresh water you would be virtually guaranteed to overwhelm your black and gray tanks, unless you were planning a lot of outdoor use of the fresh water.

Got the truck in the shop and rough plans on wall building done, getting ready to order steel. Will keep y'all posted.

Thanks!
hot rod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2011, 03:13 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
mmmc101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Choctaw,Okla
Posts: 174
Default

Hot Rod,
The biggest users of fresh water is the shower and sink which drains into the grey tank. I have previously camped with friends in their Toterhome at the races.We would leave the grey tank valve opened slightly to allow the water to drain overnight.As did almost everyone.Seems to be a common practice.Since its primarily soapy water it isn't much different than washing your car in your yard.
The holding tanks on his unit are 60/40/20. In four days of camping we had to go fill every jug we could find to refill the fresh water tank. Twice! Thus my logic on the large fresh water tank. Also a good reason not to combine the grey and black tank.
Different subject. I noticed several Topkick toter's on Racing Junk for sale for under 25K.Not trying to discourage you from building one but you will be hard pressed to build one for that price.Just something you may want to think about.
MMM
mmmc101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2011, 12:17 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 527
Default

Once agian, thanks for all the comments. One theme seems to be "don't do it!" from the experienced builders. Sorry guys, guess I've got to make that mistake for myself just like the rest of you. I did some conversion work in my gooseneck trailer for living quarters so I've got some inkling what I'm getting into, and done enough welding and fab work to have confidence in building the structure. As to budget, I did take your advice and do a search on racingjunk.com and elsewhere, and it seems more like $40-50,000 to get into something that isn't 15 years old or a cobbled up piece of junk. And I already have a smoking deal on the 2003 6500 topkick chassis for $4800 sitting in my shop, and a banked budget of $15000 to get the bulk of it done. However I don't have the $50,000 to buy something decent used and don't want to finance anything. So that and my liking a challenge means I am going to build.

I do realize my time estimates are probably off by half, and may be a little low on the budget, but I don't need the newest bells and whistles, can wait on luxuries like the a/c and generator for now, and plan on relying heavily on a few trips to Elkhart for surplus. My main goal for a start is to get the structure and mechanicals done and functional and the exterior done and presentable for towing my trailer. Then tinker with getting the interior finished up as time allows. I can do all welding, electrical, plumbing and paint. I may need help from a carpenter buddy on the finish work, trim is not my strong suit. I think the only thing I am going to have to send out is driveshaft work.

I'll get some pics going and keep you all posted on progress.
hot rod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2011, 12:43 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 527
Default

The immediate dilemma (well, maybe more of a decision process) is lengthening the wheel base on the truck. To really build the 12' floorspace (+ bunk) that I really want I need to add about 4' to the wheel base, which would require stretching the frame between the cab and the axle. This may stretch (no pun intended!) my fab skills, I'm a decent welder, but I may have reached my confidence level at sawing the truck in half and trusting my welding skills to put it back together and don't really want to drop the coin on sending that job out.

Alternatively, I have enough extra frame behind the axle to move the axle back 25", which also conveniently puts the carrier bearing at the next crossmember back to help ease driveshaft fab issues. Looks like a simple, but pain-in-the-ass job of air chiselling off 58 rivets and redrilling 58 holes in the frame to relocate (I do have access to a mag drill). May have to extend by a foot or so past the factory frame for the hualer bed, but that one doesn't scare me. This puts me at a 10' floorplan, which is the bare minimum I can get away with to put in the features I want, but it will mean every square inch is a premium vs. the luxury of the extra 2' to make it easier to fit in what I want and have a little elbow room.

Any thoughts our there on the difficulty of either proposition and anything I am not thinking of here?

Thanks in advance!
hot rod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2011, 08:59 AM   #15
Senior Member
 
mmmc101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Choctaw,Okla
Posts: 174
Default

Hotrod,
I always suggest that everyone look at buying before building. It's just part of the many decesions that you make during the process. That being said, I am glad you have deceided to build. The challenge and satisfaction of building your own is what made me deceide to build.
The frame stretch is really not all that difficult if you have the equipment you need. (the mag drill is a big one) I chose not to stretch my frame since I had enough wheelbase to build a 12' box. In hindsight I wish I had stretched it as I am having a real hard time getting everything in it I want. You need to look at BlizzND's build on his "Rumrunner". He stretched and dropped the frame rails to lower the overall height of the box. Quite an engineering feat and nicely done. JMO, stretching the frame would be easier than moving the axle. Just be sure everything is level and square.
Not sure where you are at but when you get to that point,check the prices on the stuff you need at Colaw's RV in Carthage,Mo. They have 80 acres of salavge and a warehouse full of new stuff. So far, they have beat Elkharts prices on everything I have needed. They also have a Ebay store called RV Exit. Really nice people to deal with.
Looking forward to following your build.
Michael
mmmc101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2011, 09:47 AM   #16
Senior Member
 
Bob86ZZ4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 1,814
Default

I love to watch other people build their own trucks. Mostly because I have no skills whatsoever to try something like that. Have you seen BlizzND's thread documenting his frame build?: Blizzard's GMC 6500 Conversion Project -RumRunner - Escapees Discussion Forum
__________________
'03 Freightliner FL112, 295" wheel base, with '03 United Specialties 26' living quarters, single screw, Cat C12 430 h/p 1650 torque, Eaton 10speed , 3.42 rear axle ratio
Bob86ZZ4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2011, 12:52 AM   #17
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 12
Default

Hot Rod,
I am anxious to see your project take off. I am looking to build what sounds to be a similar rig. I have a 98 IH 8100, M11 Cummins, 10spd, air ride. I figure that I am going to have to stretch it about 8ft. It will have a bed on the back to pull a 5th wheel or gooseneck, a 12ft box, with over-the-cab bunk. I already have purchased an old '79 motorhome that I am going to use for parts. I am sure that I to will run into things that I was unaware of, but overcoming these problems is half the fun....Good Luck...Dick
__________________

Schmidt Racing 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 03:22 PM.


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