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Old 04-10-2005, 02:46 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, 05:25 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, 05:41 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, 07:43 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, 10:14 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, 11:51 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, 05:47 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!

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Old 04-13-2005, 02:41 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 04-14-2005, 12:16 AM   #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, 09:38 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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Old 04-14-2005, 11:38 AM   #11
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Spooner.

Who is building your rig?

I assuem that you are going with Basement air?
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Old 04-19-2005, 10:15 PM   #12
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pjcnlv
we will do the conversion in our shop (we build Sand/Desert cars and have all the fab and sheetmetal equipment )
here is the hitachi mini split heat pump we plan to install.
we will also reuse the original Pete sleeper HVAC unit for the seating area
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Old 04-19-2005, 10:44 PM   #13
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did you hear about the farmer who couldn't get his mule to go into the barn because his ears hit the top of the door?? his neighbor suggested that he dig out under the door but the farmer argued.... it is not his feet that are hitting it is his ears... LOL
John
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Old 04-19-2005, 11:01 PM   #14
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....John is enjoying spring time too much already.....needs to go camping..... [and take me I'm stuck in early A/C season]....Looked at Hitachi but locally we don't have much of a parts/service depot yet...."maybe more this summer" and then there is training on the system also....."maybe about 5 hours of hands on to become porficient"...nothing we want to do yet.....geofkaye
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Old 04-19-2005, 11:15 PM   #15
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....did you ever think about taking out the floor a little and making the approach a little longer....might be easier than raising the door height.....just a thought....I have a "sometimes concrete crew" so I have a good thing going for me on a deal like that....My cost is about materials times 3 for a job of cutting the floor and adding sidewalls and a new pored floor.....if I knew your sq ft I can give you an estimated price of what it should cost.....we did something like this on an old warehouse we used to own to get the trailers out of the rain/snow and in to the heat/ventulation so they could be unloaded easy by hand of fork lift......
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Old 04-21-2005, 07:34 PM   #16
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pjcnlv, I agree that you will be better off with the Columbia. One more reason would be the cab cut-out in the M2 is so low that it is uncomfortable except for a smaller and more nimble person than myself.
You will more than make up the price difference if you ever want to sell it or trade up. The M2 will not have a problem with towing capacity, but you won't be happy in the mountains or a 40mph headwind.
Without the extra height in the Columbia, it will be suitable for younger kids but not adults or bigger teens.
If you do use the basement air, remember that KVH now makes a low profile in-motion satellite dish, I think it adds 5".
I just ordered an M2 crew cab with the 330HP CAT and the Eaton Ultrashift, it was ordered with a PAC-Brake exhaust brake. I am not sure who makes the brake but I will research it. The M2 is also available with the Mercedes 300HP and the Allison.
A 10kW generator is enough to run 3- 13,500 btu roof air conditioners, check it out but I think that the basement air will be a single unit and be ok with the 10kW.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-21-2005, 08:03 PM   #17
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duh huh dern Geof.... wish I'd a thought a dat.
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:17 PM   #18
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....yuck yuck yuck....geofkaye
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