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Old 08-20-2006, 01:38 PM   #1
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Still got to move to more open spaces before starting but I have a few more questions.
What are the laws about what constitutes a motor home? maximum weight/ length/ height/ width. One set I gather is it needs a bed, cooking space and bathroom, none of which is of course a problem. Also I found some where there is a 26000 pound limit for motor homes but this may not be true in all states. The state in which I reside is Georgia so it will primarily be what I need to start with.

I have seen some discussion on legal problems in some states. Are there some states that should be avoided with a class 8 conversion? My understanding is that other states should honor the registered home state laws so if it is legally tagged and titled no problems should exist.

In my planning for size I need ideas on what will exclude me from parking in some parks. Also what size of waste water, clean water and gray water tanks to use.

Are there any discussions on how to build a slide-out? I would like to do one but I am weary about the potential for leaks. One good rule of engineering is that parts that can be left out need no service and cause no failures. This rule cannot be beaten so I wonder if it is worth the effort/expence.

I am trying to make a tentative bill of materials and plans so I can arrange finance & hopefully avoid any abrupt changes in direction after making a commitment.
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Old 08-20-2006, 04:16 PM   #2
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I believe you are correct,...each state sets it's own limits as to dimensions. California doesn't like anything over 40' long but, I understand this restriction is up for review.
For height, I would suggest keeping it under 12'6" as this is about the max limit you will encounter for most underpasses (even though) interstate highways accomodate more than this. State highways & back roads might get you in trouble even at 12"6".
Same is true for max weight. You'll want to use caution on back-road bridges. Most 28' to 34' conversions are going to scale 26K lbs or more -loaded for travel.
Several law firms in Montana have websites offering to setup an LLC & vehicle service for aprox $1000. This appears to be legal and may save you big $ if the license & tax in your state is unreasonable. Suggest discuss this with an attorney in your state before proceding. There may be some "back door" dis-advantages {such as} selling the conversion in or outside of your estate, some where down the road.
Most Interstate RV parks can handle a 40' motorhome in this day & age but, there are a lot of "fish camp" parks that would have trouble with a 35' unit so, the answer to your question, depends on how you plan to use it.
The same goes for fresh water & holding tank capacity,...we like to dry camp out in the Az desert for a few weeks in Jan & Feb. Obviously, large capacity tanks are a necessity. I'm going with 200 gallon fresh & 90 gallon (ea) gray & black. From past experience we've found this will give my wife & I aprox 8 to 10 days before calling the honey wagon but then, we are also fairly conservative with usage.
There are at least 3 different slide mechanism's that are commercially built. Personally, I like the design that suspends the weight from the sides (not the outside-bottom). Structurally, this one appears to be a better design however, the disadvantage is an aprox 1.5" step-up from the main floor to the slide floor. Quality rubber seals, if properly placed, will prevent leaks however, keep in-mind "everything" will leak if there is enough wind & rain. To "slide" or "not to slide" is a tough decision. All I can say is they are awful nice if you are going to spend an extended time in it, especially if you or your spouse is even {slightly} claustrophobic.
It appears you're doing your home-work,... planing is at least 60% of the process.
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Old 08-22-2006, 04:51 PM   #3
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Any suggestion on how much or little to hang past the rear axle? This will effect how much I need to stretch the truck frame.

Also anyone with with experiance useing wireless broadband on the road?

Since I have the load capability I am thinking of a different electrical system for the truck. For solar homes they sell a power converter made for use with electrical supplies that vary power, "Wind mills, hydroelectric." When there is enough power it charges a large set of battery's. When there is not enough power it takes power from the battery's or power line depending on battery charge level. My idea is to use one of those converters or a similar converter with one or more solar home type deep cycle battery's or electric fork lift battery's. Although the fork lift battery is less efficient and heavier it is also tougher and can stand sitting up longer periods.

Those power units are made to run 365 days a year and last years. The battery's will charge from a secondary alternator on the engine and the converter will eliminate any need of regulation. No noise, fuel or exhaust to worry about.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:29 PM   #4
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How long you stretch the truck frame kinda depends on your floor plan. The black water tank needs to be under the toilet unless you use one of those marine systems with a macerator pump. This is a major consideration,...along with weight. Axles need to be almost under the (rear) bedroom area not under the bathroom (as with most common floor plans). Also, are you planning to tow a large trailer? Think in terms of a tandem axle if you are.
The motorhome electrical can be designed with solar panels & inverter, however, the initial cost isn't cheap.
I'm using a 24v Trace modified sine inverter- charger that will pump out 3600 watts of 120 vac. It has a 3 stage smart-charger built in, that will recharge the house batteries when connected to shore power or generator. I'm using L-16 batteries (same as used in shopping mall sweeper machines), they have aprox 1/8" thick plates & hold up well under repeated discharge/recharge cycles. Also have 4 - 100 watt (ea) solar panels that produce a nominal 7 amps (ea) in direct sun. Then, for backup purposes, I'm running a 2nd 24v alternator off of the truck engine.
For 12v "house" components, I've installed a 100 amp Vanner voltage equalizer the connects to the 24v battery bank & allows for a balanced 12v output.
Now for the cost: 100 watt solar panels - aprox $500 each, controller $150, 3600 watt Trace inverter/charger with remote $1500, (4) L-16 batteries $140 ea, 24v alternator & custom fabricated mount bracket - aprox $350, 200 amp master cut-off switch $75.
As I mentioned, these systems are expensive and add some complication to the electrical system however, 24vdc is much more efficient than 12vdc.
We decided to bite the bullet & spend the $ as we enjoy dry camping in SW Az for a couple months in the Winter, (no camping fees in a lot of areas). Also,...we rarely pull into a camp ground when traveling point to point (a truck stop or Wallmart does just fine) so,...I figure there is a payback of $15 to $25 a night!
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