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Old 04-10-2005, 01:46 PM   #1
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The folks at Ball Renegade in San Diego have been working with Kibbi to spec a MH that will fit under my 12" high shop door. By all indications, a single change to "basement air" makes this possible.

We are settling in on the 2800CM floorplan with bedroom slide which really makes it a 2900CM.

Now for the hard part:

Do I go with an M2 or the Columbia?

Preface:

* We will tow an open trailer with partial top deck with a combined freight and cargo weight of @7750 lbs.

* The 2800cm will have the 12' living area and a bedroom (rear extension) slide.

* The cabover bunk will be for storage and a sleeping space for one of my kids. It is not needed to accomodate adults.

* It looks like the Columbia equipped with the MBE4000-450 motor comes with an engine or exhaust brake stock. The M2 is equipped with a Cat C7 (3126) and does not appear to mention engine or exhaust braking as standard.

* I see a lot of info about Diesel Catalytic converters to meet 2007 emission standards. The Cat C7 brochure says that this is mandatory now. I see no mention of a catalytic converter for the MBE4000-450.

* We live in Nevada. Our trips range throughout the west, with steep grades as expected.

* Most of our trips are to off-road races and events across the southwest and sometimes into Baja. Sometimes, the outside temp can be as high as 105 degrees.

---------------------------------------------

Questions:

1) Do the 2006 CAT motors require catalytic converters?

2) Is the M2 powerful enough to haul the 29' coach and trailer load as mentioned?

3) What is the most popular exhaust or engine brake for the Cat C7/3126?

4) How does the handling differ between the Columbia and M2?

5) How does the MPG differ between the Columbia and M2?

6) How many BTU's of AC do I need to keep cool? How big of a genset do I need to crank the genset in desert heat as mentiond?

Thanks kindly!
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Old 04-10-2005, 04:25 PM   #2
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I can't give you information on the engine questions. But here is some information that might help.

The automatic transmission in the M2 will be a Allison 6 speed. In the Columbia you can get a Meritor Freedom fully automatic 12 speed.

The Columbia has a bigger cab. In trying to have a shorter overall height this could be a problem. The BBC (bumper to back of cab) distance on a M2 is 8 1/2+ feet. On the Columbia it is 10+ feet. So with the same motorhome box you will have a total length of about 1 1/2 feet longer using the Columbia chassis.

But the Columbia cab is also taller. If you do not order an extra height body on a Columbia the overcab bunk is not useable except for a small kid. I do not remember the exact height that they add to the body on a Columbia to make the cabover bunk useable but I think it is 12 inches taller. If you can compare a M2 and a Columbia cabs you will discover the difference. Even with the extra height I seem to remember that the M2 still has more room in the cabover bunk.

When I was in Elkhart last May I was told that without the extra height the only use for the overcab area on a Columbia is for some storage cabinets.

So it is a trade off between the extra power with the Columbia chassis vs the size problems. And the Columbia is more expensive.
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Old 04-10-2005, 04:41 PM   #3
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Hola CM,

The trans now spec'd for the M2 is the Eaton, 6-speed Automatic Ultrashift. It is a computer controlled 6-speed box with computer controlled wet clutch. No clutch pedal.

I will be visiting Ball Renegade in the next few weeks to view both M2 and Columbia chassied rigs.

Thanks
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Old 04-10-2005, 06:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by pjcnlv:
spec a MH that will fit under my 12" high shop door.
follow the yellow brick road to Munchkin land . .

(sorry, couldn't resist)
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Old 04-10-2005, 09:14 PM   #5
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Oophs Typo... not 12 inches but 12 feet. 11 foor 10 inches to be exact.

The wife and I were talking today. Mostly about some trips over the next 18 months after this beast arrives. I told here we could take her Escalade along as a toad. That didn't go over to well 'till I explained that the "RV slang" and how we'd have her nice SUV to tool around in once we plugged in for the night.
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Old 04-11-2005, 10:51 PM   #6
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We live in the southwest (northern AZ), current MDT is 34 feet long, new hdt will be about the same (total length). currently towing open trailer with sandrail, planned to have enclosed for two cars. new RV will be under 12 feet high ... we have a 14 feet shop door , but we try to build it nimble for the many scenic backways. ...
...when the columbia is inside your size limitation go with it. In the Southwest you will not be very happy with the M2. The hills will kill you (up and down). Also the Columbia is build for driver comfort, the M2 is a city work truck. Columbia will cruise the speed limits even with high wind, the M2 will not keep up ... and most likely the Columbia will have better milage then the M2
We did the medium duty mistake and are currently upgrading to a Pete 379 with N14 cummins.... can't wait to have the three stage jake to go down the Laughlin grades or the mountain pass and the 1550 lbsft of torque that will make the uphill driving relaxing (and having some fun with the DP's)

Thomas
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Old 04-12-2005, 04:47 AM   #7
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I gotta agree. Go with the columbia. More is BETTER!!!!! I have had the 300hp and then the Cummins M-11 and then the 470 Detroit and next will be another 470 Detroit. The engine brake is great on these later 2 trucks. When we need to stop the 45ft conversion and the 32ft enclosed trailer(27,500lbs) I am glad for the engine braking and the tandem axles!

Wick
In the works!! 30ft Show Hauler on Century Condo Freightliner.
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:41 PM   #8
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Here is some info on the cab heights for Columbia & M2

Columbia is 73" from frame rails to roof top.
05 M2 is 67 1/2"
04 M2 is 65 1/4"

Just as a side note Show Hauler runs there ceiling height 7' 6" to make the cabover bunk usable with the Columbia.

From the looks of Renegades lot I would think any M2's coming off the line are going to be on the 04's. They have a crap load of chassis sitting on there lot, more than I have seen before.

pjcnlv -

Not sure of your time frame but I will be able to give good feedback on the M2 after M2. Although it is pretty safe to say that if you'll be playing in the mountains and towing a trailer then a Columbia would be the ticket.

I would also consider doing what ever possible to raise that header on the shop door and make the Rig right the first time. Basement AC can chew up alot of bin space which is limited due to the drive shaft.

Bill
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:16 PM   #9
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The damn software would not let me log in. I kept seeing a "page could not be displayed" error, so I had to create another account.

Thanks for the answers so far.

* I can't move the shop header without moving the roof line to gain what would be worthwhile, i.e. a 13' high door.

* My height estimate goes like this.

39" frame height
8" coach floor structure height
84" interior height
4" ceiling structure height
6" miscellaneous vent height
---
141" or 11'9" in total height

The same equates to a bunk height of @23" external and 18" internal.

* I am bypassing the dealer tomorrow and calling a factory rep to get to the bottom of this.
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Old 04-14-2005, 08:38 AM   #10
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pjcnlv 1+2
here in AZ we have another reason to stay low (under 12');
in most places the RV diesel is cheaper then the Truck diesel (tax) but the RV pumps are sometimes under lower roofs
we need also to fill up our onbord fuel station for the dunebuggies
most gas stations are build at over 12' .....but then they add security cameras, lights and other things later
our old MDT is 12'6"...our Pete will be 11'6" at the solar panels
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-in the shop: Pete "38
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