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Old 12-07-2017, 06:31 PM   #1
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Default Track Car Hauler with Token RV aspect.

I've purchased a truck to convert to use for hauling a track car to and from motorsport events.

I broke from what seems to be tradition in this forum in spending quite a bit up front to get most of what I want ahead of time. Please understand that sometimes time is more precious than money, and the less limiting of the factors.

For a variety of reasons, I want to convert the front portion of the box to be RV like. I've read up on the regulations that DOT might hold me to in terms of logs and such, and although I'm under CDL, this is a big truck, and I would like to avoid those headaches. Illinois has the familiar "Walk to LQ from driver seat + 4 of the following 6 items for police to sign off and agree its an RV" rules. I own a gas generator, fridge, and microwave, will look towards adding AC since motorsports will be summertime mostly.

I'm looking for suggestions on:
1) Pass through techniques... I've seen some photographs here, but not tons of advice on welding in patchs to replace glass, plexi to replace glass, and concerns about having to add flanges or not, curved vs straight corners and people's advice "if I had to do it over" type comments.
2) Adding AC to such a tall truck: I've used the overhead ones on my race trailer, but this is a 9 foot tall box, with a 46 inch deck height. I'm as tall as I can go, and there are no roof vents even yet. I suspect people will tell me to add a split unit to get real heat. Assume that would go in the attic space facing forward?
3) Not too many hybrid car hauler/RV all in one in here, will keep searching. Need to find a balance, the car is about 18 feet, and won't have much room left for LQ, but I want to make it look good, and convincing so I can get the RV designation.
4) Unfortunately angle wise, I will have to build semi-permanent ramps in the truck under the car on each side to ease the winching in, and out. These will provide storage for ramps to be slid under them that assist in the loading. They will curve gently down to the edge of the truck to help clear the lip from straight shot to the ground using ramp/liftgate. I expect to put a lot of storage in the top 2 feet of the 9 in the box over the car.
5) Hints towards a generator likely to fit in one of the boxes on the sides? I've read up, and would consider tapping it the diesel tank to run the generator. Would put a premium on quiet. I have one of the really quiet Honda 3000 types, but its tall, and hard to deal with the exhaust neatly for RV type use.
6) I'm afraid its the Cat 3126 with Allison. Hope not is all lost, and maybe someone has some pointers towards people to make it more reliable etc. To be honest I've not re-searched this yet, its my last priority.

This truck hit many of the points I wanted. 2004 California truck for first 70K miles, then 30K more in the south. No rust. 102K miles only. The attic for space, the extended cab for family, the ready installed boxes on the sides, and a serious lift in back for tool box into truck, the occasional engine or heavy object, as well as a serious ability to help out in loading in the car. Car is about 2700 lb, but VERY low to the ground. Not a CJ for rock climbing!

I'm looking for general advice from this crowd. Everytime I come back here to lurk and find inspiration, I'm more and more impressed with the experience and ingenuity I find here. I have done almost all the work on the race car, so I'm fairly handy with fabrication, but haven't any experience with the particulars I see in here. Any help is appreciated very much, suggestions, pot-shots, criticism, I can take it. I will try and keep all my questions in this thread, and just bump it to preserve bandwidth. Alex.


This is the vehicle:
Liftgate on rear is 3300 lb will assist in a system I'll put together for loading and unloading the car.
It is an extended cab with a very large window above the rear bench.
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Old 12-08-2017, 05:46 PM   #2
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How tall is the car? Can you build the living quarters with a short (in height that is) bedroom above the car?
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Old 12-09-2017, 05:34 AM   #3
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How tall is the car? Can you build the living quarters with a short (in height that is) bedroom above the car?
The additional space that could be gained by building over the car is a very good consideration. The car will almost certainly have to sit up on the internal ramps an additional 12 to 18 inches. This means I'd have about 4 feet to the ceiling if I had a platform over it.

There is a consideration I can't quite wrap my head around, which is that I generally bring a tool box that is fairly large and on wheels to the track. Its about 4 feet long, 4 feet tall, and 2 feet deep. Approximately.

There is a part of me that is seriously temped to put in a 4 post lift that would serve similarly to a "stacker" platform. It would have to sturdy as heck if I were to put the tool box up there, or consider bringing a golf cart too, or whatever.

In theory, if it were done properly, spare mounted tires, even the tool box could go up there. It could even be two sided, with the side facing the front being used as a second bed, or cabinets facing the LQ.

If I were to build a more permanent partition to the back, it really has to be an unusual design, probably with access to strap down the car from within the LQ. (hard to imagine), and it really makes the tool box hard to bring on board.

The 9 foot ceiling is a super excellent feature of this truck, and it opens up the possibility for creative builds.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:01 PM   #4
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Are you trying to get RV registration? If so, then you will likely lose the rear seat. The pass through will need some kind of flexible rubber boot. Could the over-cab are be made into a bunk for sleeping?

With your height limit, you might look into a front mounted A/C. Maybe a refer unit like used on truck trailers? That might be tough with my over-cab bunk mentioned.

How long is your box? With 18 ft needed for the car, you seem to have a pretty tight living area. I would put the tool box at the front of the car area, and use ramps to put the car front end over the box. Build a storage area at the back above the rear of the car for your spare tires and parts. I don't think you have enough space to also take a golf cart or similar. Maybe a small pit bike that could go right in front of the toolbox.
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:15 AM   #5
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Are you trying to get RV registration? If so, then you will likely lose the rear seat. The pass through will need some kind of flexible rubber boot. Could the over-cab are be made into a bunk for sleeping?
Yes, absolutely will try and get RV registration. I plan on removing the rear bench seat, and if I can not find a suitable really affordable pair of buckets that match the interior and fit nicely for restricted extended cab vs crew cab, I will likely custom order a pair from a site like "Shop4seats dot com". It looks like I could spec a seat there 17 wide, on a frame of my choosing, in material to match.
That site lets you spec out a jump seat meant for front row, but shortish given front row accommodation for shifters. I'm sure some extra research might yield a bucket from the rear of a medium size SUV too, but my quick look shows exclusively 60/40 rear bench set ups for extended cab. But I suspect with more energy I can find something off the shelf used. (but with shipping items this size, custom might compete price wise too). Yes, Cab over, or Granny attic would be mattress space.

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Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
With your height limit, you might look into a front mounted A/C. Maybe a refer unit like used on truck trailers? That might be tough with my over-cab bunk mentioned.
I can see two possible ways to go: Possibly short term, just for quick RV registration, a wall between garage and LQ, with home window AC unit at the top, with its "outside" in the garage. I'd have to have a large section of the bottom hinged for access to strap down the race car.... alternatively, yes, something like the "refer" units... but I'd look for some way to duct the output towards the middle of the space... Not sure whats out there that lends itself to ducting. I'd love an affordable heat and air set up, we do race/DE events in autumn, some chilly mornings at the track, I've seen snow at Mid Ohio in October.

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Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
How long is your box? With 18 ft needed for the car, you seem to have a pretty tight living area. I would put the tool box at the front of the car area, and use ramps to put the car front end over the box. Build a storage area at the back above the rear of the car for your spare tires and parts. I don't think you have enough space to also take a golf cart or similar. Maybe a small pit bike that could go right in front of the toolbox.
You're thinking outside the box, I really appreciate that. If I understand your pitch, its more or less that I continue the ramp angle from ground to deck height straight on in, and 18 feet or so in, the ramps are like 5 feet up in the air....and the car is stowed at that angle for transport.

I've seen external ramp set ups like that, where cars are carried that way in the open. Kind of scares me to engineer something that will be absolutely safe to keep the car up at that angle.... I worry about CG of the rig.... and executing the design properly. It is food for thought.

Part of me wonders, why not use the height, and instead install a 4 post lift in the back.....it holds a platform. Wheel the cart onto that, centered. Fasten it down. Keep other spares on that platform, tires etc... and then just press a button, it goes up in the air, and I keep the car flatfish underneath. I could convert to a slightly shorter tool box, or a pair of them if need be, and then the lift platform could be 3-4 feet from ceiling leaving well, 5-6 feet headroom, more than enough for car. not much for me, 5-10 to walk around underneath.

Someone suggested I peruse Pirate 4x4 for ideas, more full garage RV combo there?

I really appreciate the dialogue, thank you! Lots of experience in here, that is for sure. I probably spend an hour or more each day drooling over the hands-work I see here, gleaning some really good ideas.

Alex.
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Old 12-11-2017, 08:59 AM   #6
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Yes, my idea is like a ramp truck, just has the ramp part enclosed.

With more thinking about your needs, I would build a shorter ~10 ft garage area in the back and use a trailer for the car. You already have the trailer. Use the small garage for toolbox, spare tires and parts, and the golf cart. This gives you more room for living quarters. It also is more convincing it is an RV.

If you search on racing junk for garage units, many are around 10 ft garage length. Full car length are also longer total truck length, like 40-44 ft range. Even then, these are still tight for living quarters.
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:59 PM   #7
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I will not go back to Trailer. It’s two things to store and insure and plate. I do not want the extra work involved in gassing up, the headaches with brakes, tires, axles, lights, and instability on the highways.
It sold Saturday, it’s gone!

Really, the questions I need help with are not have I chosen wisely, but how to maximize what I’ve chosen.

I do not really intend to do much overnighting. In truth, I would love to have RV-light for daytime hanging out at the track with family. Storage space trumps indoor entertainment and sleeping or toilet or shower needs by a long shot.

I’m committed to car in truck. That is the WHOLE point of the purchase. Incidentally, setting it up as a common Toy Hauler RV with 18 foot garage will ease several ancillary ownership and use issues.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:13 PM   #8
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That should be a very nice start! I think getting the car into the back in going to be the most challenging part. Can you make an "extension" for the lift gate that would do it? That would be my first route to peruse.

Here is the list of builds I was mentioning, look for the uhaul ones. Although the 4x4 guys have less ramp/breakover angle issues to deal with. PBB Tow Rig/Trailer Build Threads - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
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Old 12-15-2017, 04:01 PM   #9
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Default Insurance Headache?

Thank you for your referral to Pirate 4x4, that link in particular. You are correct, quite a few threads for me to review that are similar to my project.

Hey guys?

I gave the VIN to my StateFarm representative. StateFarm says they won't insure a vehicle beyond GVR 14,000 lb. Furthermore they don't insure RV in the first place, but farm that out to a wholly-owned subsidiary "Foremost", and they only cover RV conversions when they are done professionally and completely from the get-go, ie I assume from a new cab/chassis etc.

Anyone have any sure-fire suggestions for affordable coverage for their RV that they have DIY converted? Do you negotiate an agreed upon value?
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Old 12-19-2017, 11:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by xyobgyn View Post
Thank you for your referral to Pirate 4x4, that link in particular. You are correct, quite a few threads for me to review that are similar to my project.

Hey guys?

I gave the VIN to my StateFarm representative. StateFarm says they won't insure a vehicle beyond GVR 14,000 lb. Furthermore they don't insure RV in the first place, but farm that out to a wholly-owned subsidiary "Foremost", and they only cover RV conversions when they are done professionally and completely from the get-go, ie I assume from a new cab/chassis etc.

Anyone have any sure-fire suggestions for affordable coverage for their RV that they have DIY converted? Do you negotiate an agreed upon value?
Good luck, DIY conversions become a huge PITA to insure.... Or so I found out. Geico was willing to do my truck over 14k, but nothing beyond the truck value.

I was able to get my commercial insurance lady (Im a GC) to write up a custom policy for the truck and "camper". Might be worth checking with a local small insurance co.
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