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Old 09-12-2003, 09:45 PM   #1
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Hi Guys,

Thought you might be interested in some follow up information on my new NRC Motorhome.

Some of you may have read the previous thread I started on my "NRC Truck Conversion". After 60 days of no posts, it went inactive, so I'm continuing with this new thread!

After being out of the country for over a month in early summer I finally picked up the new NRC in early August. If you want to refresh on the details of this conversion, the previous thread is still available to read in the "Motorhome" Topic, so I won't cover all that ground again.

In addition to the NRC I also picked up a new Classic Stacker trailer 20 miles up the road in Sturgis, Michigan. Then I went to Muskegan and picked up a '57 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham that was previously purchased, as well as a Harley Road King. So towing 16,000 pounds, all 75 feet of my new rig cruised up to northern Wisconsin and then to Austin where I dropped of the trailer at home. Over 2000 miles of towing I averaged 8.2 mpg. Other than being tuned in to the length and bulk going down the road, I barely noticed the extra weight. In most cases it just pulled up the hills on cruise control without even downshifting.

After unhooking the trailer, a friend and I headed west to Monterey for the vintage races and Concorso Italiano car show. Over about 5,000 miles it ran great and averaged 9.4 mpg for the trip. The rig cruises very nice at 70 to 75 mph. It has 3.21 gears.

Overall, I'm pleased with the Freightliner Columbia chassis, Mercedes engine, and Meritor Freedom transmission. I'd make those same choices if I had it to do over again.

The transmission is particularly impressive in that it can be run as a fully automatic, or as a manual box. The programming for the automatic shift points, both up and down, is very intuitive. It automatically does just what you'd expect it to do!

As far as NRC's work, I've got to say, I was pretty blown away by the quality and workmanship they put into the conversion. Naturally there were a few minor glitches, but they are far outweighed by the positives.

I'm not trying to be a salesman for NRC, but I'm damn impressed. It exceeded my expectations after studying the alternatives for almost two years

The things that I like most, and stood out most to my car-guy friends were:

- Steel frame construction, .063 aluminum siding bonded and rivited. Fiberglass bat insulation. Rattle, creaks and groans that are normal for most motorhomes are nonexistant. I drove through some of the hardest rain storms I've seen, and so far not a single leak. The exterior is all metal, no fiberglass or plasic.

- High ceiling (93 inches) gives a feeling of spaciousness most motorhomes don't have. Solid, high quality interior materials. NRC has their own in-house cabinet shop that does solid wood craftsmanship second to none. Vinyl padded walls, day/night shades, kitchen skylight give a feeling of luxury. Also, the Flexsteel sofas with Ultra Leather are a great way to go.

- Extensive indirect lighting with decorative string lighting built into the oak trim. Also, main lighting with classy brass fixtures and spots.

- User friendly set up of control panels for the electronics, generator, inverter, water/waste tanks,and propane were easy to understand (even for me)and have the look and feel of being high quality pieces.

- Carpeted storage compartments with lighting and power outlets. One goes all the way through for skis, ladders, etc.

- Propane tank mounted in the middle between the frame rails for safety, with remote fill. This also saved me one storage compartment.

I'll be back in Indianapolis in a few weeks for the F1 race, and plan to swing up to Middlebury to visit the NRC guys and get little work done. I'm adding an outdoor shower and getting a few "new vehicle gremlins" fixed, e.g., loose piece of flooring, levelers adjusted, etc.

Regards,
Paul
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Old 09-13-2003, 11:57 AM   #2
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Paul,

Thanks for the update, sounds like you've got a great rig. I'm jealous!!!

Gene

'96' Dodge 3500, 5-speed, 3.54 LSD, Ext. Cab, 205,000 plus miles, K&N RE-0880 air filter, Jannety heat shield, TST #10 plate slid forward 1/8", AFC spring kit, 16 cm exhaust housing, Jardine 4" exhaust w/5" stainless steel tip, South Bend Clutch, SPA digital EGT and boost gauge, relay controlled back-up alarm and rear facing halogen tractor flood lights, air horns, bed liner, Tonnou cover, Geno's manual trans. filter, brite box. Dyno run 1-27-02; 375.6 hp and 798.3 ft. lb. torque at the rear wheels.
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Old 09-13-2003, 12:03 PM   #3
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PICS!!!! WHERE ARE THE PICS??!! Sounds like a sweet rig, congrats! The pass through cargo bin has me intrigued. How'd they do that? The frame would be in the way, no?
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Old 09-13-2003, 04:21 PM   #4
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Sounds great Paul, I live in Austin also, sure would like to see it sometime.

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Old 09-14-2003, 10:41 AM   #5
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Patrick, I just posted some pics on my photo album.
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Old 09-14-2003, 01:20 PM   #6
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SWEET!! Nice rig...those wheels are way cool! How about the pass-thru cargo bin....how'd they do that with the frame in the way? You have the same trailer I want. Extended tongue was a good choice, I'm still thinking I'll find one used somewhere for less than $10k...I know, reality will set in soon
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Old 09-14-2003, 02:21 PM   #7
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The pass-thru is the first storage compartment behind the rear wheels and I believe it go under the frame. The pass-thru part is only 8 or 9 inches high (full width), but enough for several pairs of skis or a ladder.

It looks like they gave me as much as possible and still clear the frame.
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Old 09-14-2003, 03:24 PM   #8
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The pass-thru is also great for your roll of outdoor carpet that goes under the awning and fishing poles. Kudos to NRC for inovation! Meanwhile I'll fold my roll of carpet and buy 2 piece fishing poles.
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Old 09-15-2003, 09:34 AM   #9
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I just posted a couple more photos showing the construction of the NRC Motorhome frame.
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Old 09-16-2003, 07:52 AM   #10
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Paul -

Great pictures!(I will get some of those on the front page) And I love that Columbia.

How do you like your awning? I would love to get rid of the awning arms, but how does it handle the rain (which is when you need it the most)

Bill

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FL 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:16 AM   #11
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Hi Bill,
Yeah, so far I really like the Columbia. The Girard awning really hasn't been used very much yet, other than demoing it to my friends! It appears to be well engineered with the supporting arms at the same level as the awning.

It seems to work fine, although I haven't had a chance to see if the auto retraction works. It's supposed to automatically retract when the wind exceeds 20 mph.
Paul
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Old 09-16-2003, 05:39 PM   #12
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Hey Paul,

Call me crazy (or just computer illiterate) but I can not find where your pic's are located? I saw a couple under the photos link of just the bare metal.

Help for the unsophisticated!!!!

Thanks
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Old 09-16-2003, 07:10 PM   #13
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You have to click on the "NRC Motorhome" link right below the "Personal Albums" label.
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:21 PM   #14
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You can find the pictures by clicking on "Paul Dehnert" in the Members Galleries and the on "NRC Motorhome" which is right above the two frame metal pictures. I don't understand how I got the pictures in two different areas. Ah yes, the wonders of computers!

Paul
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:22 PM   #15
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Actually, SandCarFan's explanation on finding the pictures is much better than mine.
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:52 PM   #16
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Paul...what kind of insulation does NRC use?....I also heard of a new company from Angie at Hickory called "Wildside" I believe....they are in Tenn about 5 hours from me so I'm trying to arange a day trip ASAP....I'm still looking at Butler and United...but time is kinda short right now.....geof-near Cincinnati
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Old 09-16-2003, 09:06 PM   #17
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Geof, I believe NRC uses fiberglass bats for insulation. They are attached in a way that keeps them from moving around or settling.

Sounds like an interesting new company in Tenn... let us know what you learn.
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Old 09-21-2003, 10:44 AM   #18
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Mark your email address isn't working, however here are some thoughts on you NRC and trailer questions.

A good friend here in Austin is currently in the process of selling his large Winnebago and buying an NRC. His wife rode in another friends NRC and put her stamp of approval on it. Also, I would say the consistent reaction to mine is that it is very luxurious. Particularly the high ceiling (93 inches) is much higher than most motorhomes. Naturally the choice of fabrics, flooring, counters, etc. are all made buy the buyer.

Regarding cold weather, I will be driving mine in the Midwest alot in that my family in in Wisconsin, and we frequently travel to Colorado for skiing. I could be wrong, but I elected not to get my tanks heated because there enclosed, however in very cold weather I'll pour some antifreeze in the gray and black water tanks. We'll see if I have to add heat strips later on!

Regarding heated storage compartments, with outlets in each bin, I would think you could do that with a portable ceramic heater, as needed. Also, adding spray or dense foam insulation is a good idea. Is there any spray on sound insulation that one could get applied to the whole undercarriage?

I think the NRC definitely is more "industrial strength" looking than the Showhauler. Particularly, I prefer the riveted and glued exterior for long term durability over just the gluing. Likewise with the aluminum vs. plastic rear cap, In the interior I prefer the Flexsteel sofas, indirect lighting and craftsmanship in the NRC. However, I believe Showhauler is a close second.

I agree with your assessment on the noise. This is mainly a function of having a front engine MH. I think the benefits of serviceability and less noise in the rear (bedroom) partially offset the noise factor. We did our best to minimize it in the cab by ordering all the option insulation packages with the new Freightliner.

With that said, however, I'm still planning on installing thick dense foam panels on the underbody above the driveshaft and rear axles. On the NRC there's room for about two inch thick panels 30 inches wide that sit on top of the frame and are glued to the under floor. Thirty inches are all that will fit do to the storage compartment. Also, once the foam is installed probably a sheet medal cover should be put on the bottom. My theory is that would virtually eliminate the drive train and tire/road noise that is noticeable in the living room and kitchen. Mine is already quiet in the bedroom.

Also, our NRC's have a congoleum flooring which I believe is less sound insulating than tile or marble. Probably a few thick throw rugs on the inside would also help.

Regarding the trailer, I paid around $27k. The options were insulation, 4k hydraulic lift, cabinets and work bench, hydraulic tongue jack, motorcycle chalk, Motorhome tongue (five feet), 6,000 # axles, aluminum wheels, extruded aluminum floor and spare tire. This is my third Classic trailer and I've had good service from all of them.

Regards,
Paul Dehnert
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Old 09-21-2003, 06:14 PM   #19
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Thanks for the info. I am going to do more homework on the insulation and will look more closely at Classic Trailers.

Mark
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Old 09-21-2003, 07:27 PM   #20
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by paul.zr1:
Mark your email address isn't working, however here are some thoughts on you NRC and trailer questions.

A good friend here in Austin is currently in the process of selling his large Winnebago and buying an NRC. His wife rode in another friends NRC and put her stamp of approval on it. Also, I would say the consistent reaction to mine is that it is very luxurious. Particularly the high ceiling (93 inches) is much higher than most motorhomes. Naturally the choice of fabrics, flooring, counters, etc. are all made buy the buyer.

Regarding cold weather, I will be driving mine in the Midwest alot in that my family in in Wisconsin, and we frequently travel to Colorado for skiing. I could be wrong, but I elected not to get my tanks heated because there enclosed, however in very cold weather I'll pour some antifreeze in the gray and black water tanks. We'll see if I have to add heat strips later on!

Regarding heated storage compartments, with outlets in each bin, I would think you could do that with a portable ceramic heater, as needed. Also, adding spray or dense foam insulation is a good idea. Is there any spray on sound insulation that one could get applied to the whole undercarriage?

I think the NRC definitely is more "industrial strength" looking than the Showhauler. Particularly, I prefer the riveted and glued exterior for long term durability over just the gluing. Likewise with the aluminum vs. plastic rear cap, In the interior I prefer the Flexsteel sofas, indirect lighting and craftsmanship in the NRC. However, I believe Showhauler is a close second.

I agree with your assessment on the noise. This is mainly a function of having a front engine MH. I think the benefits of serviceability and less noise in the rear (bedroom) partially offset the noise factor. We did our best to minimize it in the cab by ordering all the option insulation packages with the new Freightliner.

With that said, however, I'm still planning on installing thick dense foam panels on the underbody above the driveshaft and rear axles. On the NRC there's room for about two inch thick panels 30 inches wide that sit on top of the frame and are glued to the under floor. Thirty inches are all that will fit do to the storage compartment. Also, once the foam is installed probably a sheet medal cover should be put on the bottom. My theory is that would virtually eliminate the drive train and tire/road noise that is noticeable in the living room and kitchen. Mine is already quiet in the bedroom.

Also, our NRC's have a congoleum flooring which I believe is less sound insulating than tile or marble. Probably a few thick throw rugs on the inside would also help.

Regarding the trailer, I paid around $27k. The options were insulation, 4k hydraulic lift, cabinets and work bench, hydraulic tongue jack, motorcycle chalk, Motorhome tongue (five feet), 6,000 # axles, aluminum wheels, extruded aluminum floor and spare tire. This is my third Classic trailer and I've had good service from all of them.

Regards,
Paul Dehnert<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
paul, mase sanford. i've got a kingsley on a kw t2000. i used db egineering's acustical foam with a mylar backing for under the hood. it's worked great for 15000 mi. made a huge diff. with my c15 cat. www.800n0noise.com or 817 453 1100. hope this helps. mase
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