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Old 02-07-2010, 04:02 PM   #1
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Here's the deal, I need to tow a 9 ton 5er, and be able to haul six or seven adults while doing so. Basically, I want to build a small (8 or so ft)sleeper with overhead bunk, shower, kitchenette and dinette. Sounds easy enough, right? There are two catches 1) I am not independently wealthy. 2) I want to also use the hitch deck as a flat bed when not towing. I've been looking at 24' flatbeds with Cat motors as a platform to start with. I am a roofer for a living, so with the economy in the gutter I have to travel sometimes. I figure I could also use the truck to haul equipment to the site, and not have to shell out cash for a room. That's why it would only really have to sleep 2-4, a small crew. Seating for so many is more for my family on trips with the trailer. I am married with 3 kids, and both my mom and mother-in-law will travel some with us.(hopefully one at a time) Has a dual purpose working class toterhome been built? Thanks, looking forward to any ideas, already found a bunch in the months I've been looking here.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:11 PM   #2
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RQQFER, Newbie here also--for what it's worth, the best "quickie" combination I can see so far is to hit one of the big heavy equipment auctions, buy a decent diesel box van MDT (or straight truck cab/chassis unit) then chase down a good used bumper-pull RV trailer on Craigs List or your favorite classified. Drop the axles from the trailer, swap the van body for the trailer body, and make a nice transition (pass-thru) from the cab to the front of the trailer body. I've yet to see any major undo-able problems with this approach if you have some fairly decent fabrication skills. You get a self contained unit in very short order, and with all the ultra-light smooth sides out there, you can fabricate some under chassis storage compartments that should match up fairly close. I'm suprised we don't see more of this marriage!
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:21 AM   #3
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Roofer, BBF is right on the money. I bought a FL60 24' straight truck w/53k on it for $9K. I spent about $11k into the conversion (parts). If your willing to put in the sweat, you too can have a decent truck for $20k. There are lots of threads here to guide you, and if you have a specific question, these cats know their stuff.

oh, and welcome

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Old 02-09-2010, 08:45 PM   #4
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Thanks. I had thought of something like that, but was afraid of looking as a cop-out. I'd even given some thought to finding a slightly damaged trailer, then re-skinning it to match. My fab skills are fairly decent, but I've never tried anything automotive on such a big scale. Done a lot of custom car stuff(chop tops, suspension/motor swaps, and all sorts of electronic and fiberglass fab). I had even thought of using a cabover camper as start. The cab and chassis are going pretty cheap out here, every one has had to close. Lots of trucks, but no work. Have either of you ever seen a cab-over-toter-flat-bed-dual-purpose?
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:58 PM   #5
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RQQFER-take a walk thru the photos section, especially the Toterhomes. I'm not sure how big you want the flat bed to be, but it seems like a smaller living "box" could share space with the flat deck over the axle(s). Think of the "GarageToterHome" without enclosing the garage. The newer ultra-lite trailers in the 12-16 ft. length could go against the cab, (or notched over the cab to get your bunk) with the flatbed bringing up the rear. If you are intent on hooking a 5er, you could hang the plate out over the rear a bit, (check out the "Red Rover"Class 8 Volvo guy with calculations for this) and hide it away when you need to. Maybe you consider a bumper pull design for the flatbed trailer and just use the truck chassis for (longer) RV quarters. With under body storage boxes down both sides, you could fit alot of air nailers, roof jacks, band-aids, and beer. Like Doc says, this site is chock full of creative ideas. This can be bad sometimes--I changed my plans a dozen times already! %o
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by bigboyfrank:
This can be bad sometimes--I changed my plans a dozen times already! %o
LOL!!!

The problem I had with cab over trucks is the flat front. They kill fuel mileage and highway speed. The one I had (non-converted) was like pushing a garage door down the road. That aside, there are some who have done it.

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Old 02-10-2010, 07:39 AM   #7
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I was at a RV show 2 weekends ago, there are some very, Very VERY good bargains on almost new pull type units right now. I saw a lower roofed 24' unit 2008 model that looked like a holdover or used a couple times before returned. under 8 grand. I could have put that on the back of my GMC 6500 and put big under box tool boxes all along the bottom, sheeted the lower with Stainless Steel and it would not only looked great, but it would've saved me a year construction time and $40,000 dollars!

Before you do any thing, go to racing junk, there are some older units that still have a lot of life left in them, they just need some TLC. They would serve you very well, and you could be roofing rather than working on your RV.

These things get very expensive very fast. Read Ran St. Clair's logs here on the forum, he is very intelligent fellow, and I'm sure if you ask him what he budgeted, and what he has spent, he'll be the first to tell ya, "damn! I missed my budget way more than I ever expected."

My build has almost doubled what I budgeted, and there is a whole lot of discounted surplus RV stuff in it and lots of heavily discounted parts I bought from clients and family. It's still way over.

I really feel the need to tell folks this not to scare anyone but to inform them.

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Old 02-10-2010, 11:09 PM   #8
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I kinda have to keep it able to tow a 5er, I already own one of them. The sleeper for the truck is for the family to ride comfy, or me and possibly two other smelly roofers to hose off and sleep. I could see a cab over killing mileage, but I was trying to keep the RV section short. Majority of the trucks I've seen out here are 24ft flatbeds. I think I'd have to lose 2-4 feet from the tail to allow the trailer to clear. I'd like to keep something around a 10ft bed when not towing. Even thought about hinging part of the rear overhang, so it would be like a bumper/stone guard while towing, and a bed extension when working. Make sense kinda? I know budgets get way out of control, but that's why I want opinions from people that have or are doing this kind of thing. Been looking at a bunch of trailers and campers on CL.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:39 AM   #9
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Since you've got the 5ver. What about getting a nice used class8 tractor with a good sized sleeper? There are lots of those for sale for good bargains. Then get a medium sized utility trailer, probably a dump box type with it's own hydraulic dump mechanism. Put a hitch on the back of the 5ver. And put a hitch on the frame of your tractor. Pull the dump trailer empty behind the 5ver. Then when working drop the 5ver and used the tractor to pull your trailer. I see lots of 5ver's pulling boats behind them. Is there any law you can't pull a dump box behind one?
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:11 PM   #10
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Not a bad idea, but I'll have a length issue here in Ca. My 5er is 43ft from pin to bumper, and out here they get too picky. With a class 8, I could seat everyone I need to, and have more than enough grunt. But, there's just something neat about a toterhome.
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