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Old 02-05-2019, 10:55 AM   #1
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Default Progress on Moby

Moby is my 2001 Freightliner Century with sleeper cab and 24' box. Plans have firmed up and he's progressing. Meanwhile, in another thread Proteus linked some brilliant videos of 20' CONEX converted to tiny houses.
and while I had not previously seen them, I especially appreciated the first one (linked above) because of how they concisely assembled some of the ideas I've been having - and did so far better than any other videos I've seen. Isn't human resourcefulness and genius a wonderful thing?

Anyway, with respect to Moby . . .
Bathroom: I've only roughed-in the bathroom dividing wall. I took 4' from the front of the box (immediately behind the cab). Since the box is a touch more than 8' wide, this means I have an easy 32 sq ft for the bathroom area.

I used a pocket door at the mid-point for entry into the bathroom. A composting toilet goes on the left (driver's side) and the shower stall goes on the right. Toilet on the left because RVs usually have an awning on the passenger side so venting objectionable odors at the driver's side means they're further way, e.g. unlikely to bother guests outside.

Gray water tank: with the toilet on the left and shower on the right, this means a small sink straight ahead between the two makes perfect sense. My gray water tank is a 60 gallon aluminum fuel tank. There are two of these 60g fuel tanks mounted saddle fashion as usual on the rig's frame. I plan to mount the 3rd on the passenger side behind the existing tank. And push come to shove, if a need for 180 vs 120 gallons of diesel arises, it could 'in theory' be plumbed such that the 3rd tank accommodates the need for extended fuel (whilst temporarily sacrificing gray water storage). Experience will tell but for now, it's gray water!

Shower stall: of course, everybody has their own ideas regarding an adequate shower with some going for 2'x2' camping style <$100, and others going for marble lined luxury. My idea for the shower involves a fiberglass type enclosure large enough for two (4' wide x 36" deep). At Lowe's these range between $200-2500: https://tinyurl.com/y9v5mgrj but that said, I also liked the idea I saw in a video of using corrugated metal for the shower wall along with a fiberglass pan. Cheap and easy is a good combination!

Bathroom door: I especially liked the rustic barn-type slider-door the couple in the first video (the one used for entry into the bathroom). I actually spotted the hardware for this at Lowe's recently and had taken a liking to it. Maybe enough so to tear our the pocket door (it's only framed in, not walled up). This in part because it's extremely lightweight if not downright flimsy. If it moves, light is good, right? Maybe.

Thing is, and perhaps only because I've seen too many movies where the bad guys burst into a couple's RV while they're staying in the wild, but in the back of my mind is the thought of the bathroom being the safe room. You know, where you retreat because there's a shotgun clipped to the wall. This would require a more substantial door and that hanging slider fills the bill nicely.

Toilet:
after watching a video for the Loveable-loo on YouTube a while back I became a believer in composting toilets for my application. Frankly, I don't mind dealing with gray water because I can let it run in my yard and the soap will add nitrogen to the grass, but I didn't want the hassle of dealing with black water. Conversation on this forum has persuaded me to use peat instead of kitty litter because a) it's lighter to tote and, b) because unlike clay-based litter, it degrades.

Why such a spacious bathroom? Principally because I've got a touch of claustrophobia. This means even the bathroom in $500K Prevost motorhome feels akin to a large coffin. The 32 sq ft I've laid out for this one is acceptable. And I may expand this to a 5' deep bathroom (40sq ft), which is easy because the wall is actually attached to the side walls using E-clips meaning it's removable!

Sleeping arrangements: there were lots of great idea in that first video. For example, I too considered a Murphy bed. Instead, I opted for an inflatable Queen size bed because the Murphy takes up a fair bit of floor space. May change my mind but for now it'll do until I gain more experience.

Office: the rig has a sleeper cab. It's got bunk beds at present but Lynn likes the idea of my making her a separate office. One of the attached photos shows ideas I gleamed off the internet. She likes this because it's totally separate from the main box (and I intend to humor her). The point being, it can also be auxiliary sleeping accommodations but in fact, this thing is being built for two only because I don't want self-invited 'friends' knocking on the door when it rains during a model event (they can evacuate to a motel).

HVAC - in the video the fellow mentioned 4" of insulation in the walls and how a 9K BTU split was plenty. However, because i won't live-live within it (it's just for glorified camping a few days at a stretch), I'm more inclined to throw cooling capacity at the problem and sacrifice efficiency because I have 104" wall to wall and am loathe to reduce this by 8" just for a more efficient cooling system. The point being; if needs be, I could use a 12K split vs. the 9K BTU he said was adequate and use excess cooling to make up the lack of insulation. I'm open to thoughts and opinions.

APU: in any case, I purchased a diesel-powered APU system and installed it on the frame just aft of a fuel tank on the drivers side. These are interesting in that they provide 6KW of single-phase (30A). I've got it wired to give me 6 circuits. That's enough to easily start the fan-motor and compressor for a 12K BTU split while simultaneously operating a small refrigerator to keep drinks and sandwich makings cold.

Interestingly, the APU - beyond the 6KW of mains power - has an AC compressor providing 20K BTU of cooling, plus 40K BTU of heating. The heat is basically a remote mounted radiator for the 2-cylinder Perkins diesel that powers the whole thing. Valves split the hot water flow between the radiator and the remote radiator based on the wall-mounted thermostat (and remote start panel). Frankly, I see zero need for heating because I don't fly model airplanes when the weather gets cold, but it's there.

In addition, I picked up a 2KW tactical generator recently. It's electric start and diesel powered so just like with the APU, it gets plumbed into the main fuel supply. While insufficient to run everything, it is enough to start and run a 12K BTU split so we can at least remain comfortable. I strongly believe in the Boy Scouts motto, 'be prepared'.

Anyway, between the 20K BTU of cooling plus a split unit as backup, I should have the cooling taken care of. Note, the cooling provided by the APU unit is little more than a glorified automotive system. Meanwhile, I'm skeptical regarding the claim regarding 20K BTU of cooling and thus, the split will be installed as an adjunct/augmenter (or just as a backup unit). Again, experience will tell.

Kitchen: For cooking I had in mind maybe a one eye cook top plus a small propane grill because to be frank, I'd rather eat out. Maybe I'll include a 1000W microwave and call the 'kitchen' done (dirty dishes and utensils can be done in the sink in the bathroom so I fail to see the need for two places for washing).

Main entry door: my rear 'wall' is a roll up door. This door is in very bad shape. I've got a quote for a new one. In the meantime, I framed in for a French door I purchased at Lowe's. I figure if it's secure enough for a home it's secure enough for an RV.

The unit I selected has two 3'0 fiberglass doors complete with mini-blinds enclosed within glass panels. No clue how long the mini-blinds will last before traveling destroys them but since the truck has air suspension, who knows? I'll deal with that when the need arises and worst case I block them off.

In the meantime, I have two sets of the exact same doors leading to the swimming pool deck off my living room and we love them. Not least because they make a 6' opening through which you can adjust for light! Anyway, I figure I can easily get a 4-wheeler or golf cart through that hole without issue. The whole point of the hydraulic lift is it allows me to have the means of using this thing as a toy hauler. I have a 7' long piece of aluminum channel I clip to the lift gate and raise my Harley Sportster so we have an independent means of transportation in case the truck breaks down (truck has 500k miles the engine was done 12K miles ago at the Freightliner dealer).

Note; because the wall into which the French door is framed actually installs using E-track clips, I can remove the entire assembly (wall and door) in a few minutes. For example, if I wanted to tote a car through the opening and had the means to get load it, all it take is two to manhandle it out of the way (if you've eaten your Wheaties). It then attaches to a sidewall for temporary storage.

Anyway, right now I've framed the French entry-door wall just inside the roll-up doors with the idea being to roll it up and expose an attractive entry door at the porch (lift gate). But I am giving though to eliminating the overhead cargo door altogether

I'm also thinking of adding pockets to the perimeter of lift gate surface to accept poles so I can add a chain around the top as a pseudo hand rail. The lift deck at 8' wide and almost 6' deep makes quite an acceptable porch!

Thoughts welcome!
Attached Thumbnails
Moby.jpg   Sleeper-office-ideas2.jpg   APU installed Maggie (2).jpg   DSC07163.jpg   DSC07161.jpg  

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Old 02-06-2019, 06:20 AM   #2
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Jbeech,

I would put the kitchen sink and the shower on one side of the truck, it allows you to put the grey water tank just under it.

No hassle, no second tank needed.

About the composting toilet odours, if you really vent your bathroom space with a roof window/skylight, with no other windows on the sides, you'll be good.
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:54 AM   #3
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Yes, the roof vents are readily available here. However, I need to vent the bathroom through the floor because I need to keep the roof flush. The reason is I'm going to cover the existing fiberglass roof with .125" diamond plate aluminum. The purpose is to create a reasonably non-slip surface for an observation deck (upon which we can walk).

Toward that goal, I have purchased additional roof bows. I am fortunate to be in consultation with the foreman at a local company that makes mobile command centers for various government agencies. He will also guide me in making a slide out for the left side of the box. However, that decision has still not been made.

Anyway, while he says the additional roof-bows were not necessary, he agrees that because I've already purchased them I may as well install them. The added structure (the bows are made of stamped 18GA steel) adds weight up high (where it's not good) but only amounts to about 75lbs. However, this will greatly stiffen the structure when walked on.

The diamond plate at 2lbs/sq ft adds another 400lbs. While adding weight high on the box is less than ideal, the total is a flea on an elephant's back compared to what the truck is meant to transport. And the benefit to me of an observation deck adds greatly to the utility of the rig because it gives me a platform from which to film.

Finally, the reason for such a large gray water tank (60g is ~225L) is due to the potable water supply being 150g (560L). For weekend events I only expect to use 50g of potable water (two people showers 2X/day X 2-3 days plus other demands) but there are two events with a one week duration. And for those, having plenty of water will be a blessing.

This, especially because I am thinking of an underbox-mounted swing out sink for purpose of a makeshift mudroom, e.g. clean up during the day Especially because sometimes I like to go ride dirt bikes. Anyway, this sink (if it's really installed) would just drain straight to the ground. Again, I need to acquire experience before making this decision.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:40 AM   #4
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Going back to the video here above, some features are a "no-no" to me : there is no permanent bed accomodation, the kitchen is waaay too big either...

We cook maybe 2 hours a day, we wash ourselves 30 minutes a day, while we sleep 8 hours a day or sit in a sofa for hours too.

So, what's important in a RV?

Sofa/settees and beds!

I've had 20 years ago a Chevrolet Van, I kept it for two years, it had to go away, because the lack of a permanent bed.

When weather allows, quite easy, a pair of chairs and a table outside, but when it's rainy, staying inside was a PITA, when one wanted to take a nap, impossible for the other to sit anywhere.

In a 20' box, there is enough space to put all the stuff I mentioned here, by downsizing the bathroom and kitchen to a minimum.

This, of course, suits my need, I agree your needs are/may be differents.

Just sayin'...
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:47 PM   #5
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There is the possibility of a Murphy bed but for now, we believe an air mattress will be suitable. If we're mistaken, then we modify the box to accommodate - easy enough.

As for kitchen, ours is almost non-existent because when we attend model airplane flying events, there are usually several food vendors. Thus, we we can get breakfast and lunch on site. Then in the evenings, we go out for dinner with friends at a local restaurant. A compact propane grill allows cooking steaks, hot dogs, and hamburgers if I so please. Along with a microwave for popcorn or making grits, we're set!

However, during the day, we are busy flying our models (and visiting with friends) instead of being in the RV. Watch this 4-minute video for an example of what I mean about attending a model airplane flying event. Notice in the background you can see RVs and tents.


Thus, my use case is actually similar to that of people who attend automobile races and stay at the infield. Basically, it's camping out in the RV . . . but not in the wilderness because we are reasonably near civilization (5-10 miles max).

In fact, the only reason we don't stay in a motel like when we attend by traveling in the Bonanza and I am limited to bringing just one model is with the truck I can bring many models to fly! Plus there's a workbench for repairs (if needed). And lots of chairs so we can have a gab fest with friends!

Finally, when we're ready to head to bed, we run off the friends, lay out the mattress and inflate it - easy! In the morning it's the reverse because the same pump that inflates the mattress deflates it as well such that in just a few minutes it's ready to be rolled up and stored.

Anyway, we'll see how the plan works and adjust accordingly because if it turns out we'd rather have a bed permanently available we can easily modify the box. In fact, I have seen tiny homes where the bed is at a second level (dormer type?). This is an attractive possibility when combined with four 36" electric screws such that we can lower a platform bed to sleep, and raise it out of the way during the day!

By the way, you mentioned weather. Unless it's scattered summer time rain showers, we don't stay home from events when the prognosis is for rain! However, with respect to fast moving summer time rain showers, then we stay beneath the awning unless it begins to blow really hard when we simply run inside and hide until the rain lets up.

So many possibilities when you begin with a naked box!
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Old 02-07-2019, 03:02 AM   #6
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You're absolutely right about the possibilities, we started slowly either as this is/was our first truck.

The bed was first set differently, and after a little while, my wife asked me to change the orientation by 90 degrees, to have more headroom.

You know, the "She who must be obeyed" kind of women ;-)
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:13 AM   #7
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As it happens, my wife Lynn has had many of the good ideas for this project. For example, it was her idea for the French doors in back. And hers once again to make a compact office within the sleeper portion of the cab. This space could, in fact, with a bit of judicious planning be the area where we sleep. To a degree it depends on how well the HVAC of the APU functions because these are typically meant for the dog box versus a 24' foot cargo box.

If with experience we determine the APU doesn't offer sufficiently cooling for the 24' box (the reason I plan to co-locate a 9-12K BTU split unit powered off the generator), then I simply relocate the ventilation head to the dog box where it will surely provide sufficient cooling. Note; the dog box is about 7'x6' and almost 8' high, or approximately 15% of the volume of the cargo box.

Speaking of the dog box, at present there are a couple of single size mattresses deployed in bunk fashion against the back wall. This set up offer sufficient space to stand before them. This, in part, is to ease access to the two closets whilst permit another person to climb into the 2nd bunk without stepping all over someone in the lower bunk (the idea behind these set ups is typically that of a two-man over-the-road driving team).

However, because I like having my woman next to me when I sleep, I've measured and have determined I can fit a double (full) mattress with ease. This is OK but a bit tight, or put another way, I don't love her so much I want to touch all night! However, if I sacrifice the two closets, a queen size mattress would technically fit (but just barely because the edge would be up against the read of driver's seat). Thus, I actually do have more possibilities than merely an air mattress within the main box when it comes to sleeping arrangements. This is why I have been relaxed about what we're going to do with respect to sleeping if the air mattress turns out to be a poor idea.

Plan B is always a good idea!

By the way, these kinds of trucks are referred to as expediters because they are deployed for the purpose of delivering cargo which must be somewhere very quickly. For example, they are especially common servicing oil fields because a stoppage is measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per day, meaning cargo delivery cost is no object when obtaining a piece of equipment, or a failed part that weighs 10K pounds must be there quickly. Around here FedEx expediters similar to mine are common.

What is unique to mine is the presence of a tag axle. It is present because I purchased the truck from a friend who manufactures bronze statues. These mass 10-30K pounds and they used the truck to effect delivery across the country. When he mentioned looking into buying a new truck and how little they were offering on the old one in trade, we made a deal for me to buy it instead. Of course it helped knowing they had just a few months previous spent $16K replacing the engine at the dealer!

Anyway, while I don't foresee any use for the tag, it's not in my way. Thus, I am leaving it there even though it's heavy. However, I do have a standing offer from another friend (who runs a few dump trucks) for its sale if I ever change my mind.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:32 PM   #8
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Default Our 20' box layout

I have a 20' box on my rig. I based the design on some sage old advice.....what is usually the primary reason you enter the RV....restroom or to eat. So restroom with a 32x36 shower is immediately on the right, refrigerator on the left, sink and bar counter are next on the right (cabinet is a clear door front tool box), table and recliners on the left. At the rear, futons that fold out on each side with a twin bed (clad in the same materials as the walls) on each side above the futons. TV straight away at the back. We use gym lockers at the very rear on each side for clothing.

The passage to the sleeper/cab is shown in the top picture. We have a queen size mattress in the sleeper.

not sure why the pics rotated
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:10 PM   #9
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I'd like to see details of how it opens from the box to the sleeper cab. Did you engineer this yourself? Anything you would do differently?

And what's beneath the queen size bed?

Also, what's the floor? Looks great!

Are some of the walls brushed aluminum? I like that also. I used diamond plate within my windowless workshop so using that again is on my radar because it's reflective making the inside feel larger (I have a touch of claustrophobia and this helps).

Anyway, nice job . . . more photos, please! Or have you a build thread?
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:38 PM   #10
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Portal

This is the link to my portal build between the cab and box. Previously there was on a 1980's vintage phone from the box to the cab.....timeless
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