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Old 11-14-2010, 09:12 PM   #1
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First off this forum is great i have learned a lot reading over years of posts. I am completely green to RVing, however i can see it as a long term lifestyle and i have always been a "build it bigger, build it better" kind of guy. I want to personally design and build (with expert guidance) my own motorhome/conversion/etc not sure what exactly it would be titled.

My goal would be to have a self sustainable living environment that would be able to comfortably accommodate 4 people, as well as a small car, and potentially play toys. I am in Oklahoma and would like to travel and basically set up a home for whatever period of time in areas like Alaska, Montana, Florida etc. for several months or more at a time. Maybe even finding a piece of land to buy and dropping my rolling home on it as a second residence when its not traveling. I want to feel as though i am in a full size home as much as possible and no so much camping.

The basic design i have in my head is to have a tractor such as a 387/T2000 registered as a pickup so it is non commercial. and rather than building onto the frame, simply using an actual 53' moving trailer, such as a kentucky drop. I would fully modify the trailer to make it livable and register it as a personal use trailer as well. Aside from all the ideas i have to modify and build into this tractor/trailer i have a few questions.

1. I have not seen anyone on these forums or others do this. Is there a big no no i am missing why others aren't doing this?

2. I read on one of the forums that Oregon was a bit snippy about maximum length on a non commercial motor home. I know from commercial experience Oregon can be a bastard state about tickets. Is this a problem either in Oregon or any other states, and is there a workaround for it if so. How limited will be in travel range.

3. I do not have the intention of spending a lot of time in RV parks as they do not look enjoyable to me. I would much rather find open land and offer a farmer a few dollars to hang out. However as far as dumping/refilling etc i know several truck stops such as flying j have facilities i could fit into. How accessible would rv parks or other places (state parks) be for this.

I have a huge number of questions that i want to ask about other stuff, but if this basic design falls apart then i have to start over and those questions can wait. For now any help or advice you can offer is appreciated.

Thank You - James
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:30 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

There are a few guys that have done what you have planned, the trailers get heavy, but you will have enough truck to pull them. The truck will remain titled as personal truck, I'm not sure if you will have to do some conversions to make the tractor listed as a private RV. I doubt you will be able to title it as a pickup.

To pull that big van, you will need to retain the standard 5th wheel hitch. That will really raise an eyebrow if you ever drive it bobtail, requiring a bit of talking to convince an LEO that you are non-commercial.

For the money you will spend on a big van then convert it, you will be tons of money ahead buying a used race car rig from racingjunk.com, they already have lifts and gates for your car, and most are air conditioned, insulated and wired as well.

Remove the toolboxes you don't want, sell them they are worth a lot of mony and install your walls wherever you want. I'd buy a used pull type camper to get a super "package deal" on all the furniture, plumbing and kitchen fixtures.

-blizz
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:35 PM   #3
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Racing junk trailer, for 40K you cant buy the axles, generator, toolboxes, and lift.
Racing Junk trailer for 40K
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:01 PM   #4
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Good info, i will check into used racing trailers i had not thought about that.

I am happy to hear that the idea of a full tractor/trailer is at least an option.

As far as overall cost, while i could be totally off i estimated under 100k, including truck, trailer, all remodeling, and a pretty nice interior. granted most of the labor would be my own and free. I have found several nice trucks in the 20k range and used moving trailers in the 5k range. and even with all of the effort when comparing this to the 100k-500k rigs i see at rv parks, or buses with super high prices i always figured i would get the custom feel i wanted as a very discounted price.
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:38 PM   #5
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....FORGET MOVING VAN TRAILERS...MY PARTNERS COMPANY RUNS THEM TILL THEY ARE TRASH...MOST OF THE TIME THEY BECOME STORAGE TRAILERS B/C THEY ARE NOT ROADWORTHY...LOOSE AND RUSTY AND NOT WORTH REPAIRS.....SAME WITH MILITARY TRAILERS....FORGET ABOUT THEM....RACE TRAILERS ARE THE BEST WAY TO GO....VERY FEW MILES AND GOOD CARE.....geofkaye and the Rivercity Girlz
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:14 PM   #6
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ebay:
Kentucky Trailer 4 U

blzz
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Old 11-20-2010, 11:13 PM   #7
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yes, that is along the lines of what i want. very nice find.

Geofkaye, i own a small moving company and yes we are generally quite rough on equipment. I have seen however that many of the o/o and specialty carriers equipment is in much nicer condition when sold. The race trailers are very nice, i do see in most cases however they place a high premium on features i would remove or not use.

don't laugh at me but how hard would it be to build large slides into a trailer like that. preferably not from a kit but rather high quality materials made in my own shop. something in the 9x9 size range

for heating and cooling i see most rv's have roofmount units. due to height of a full trailer would a front mounted unit like the one on ebay be an effective solution, or economical long term?
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:51 AM   #8
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James,

I use the wall mount Bard HVAC units on a lot of commercial buildings I design. They are available in a wide range of capacities, and can be ducted down the length of the trailer or free blow through the wall. The heat pump model will provide both heat and cooling, but is not very effective at heating in temps below the low 40's. If using in cold climates electric heat strips need to be added as an option, and that drives the power requirements up. 2 ton unit will use around 6kw for the heat pump + 4kw if you need the electric heat strips. My preference would be the Mitsubishi Mr.Slim mini split system. the outdoor unit is much smaller and could be mounted on the front of the trailer or possibly in a vented compartment. Refrigerant lines connect to a maximum of 4 small indoor wall mounted units (fit above a door or window nicely). big advantage of no ducting to squeeze in, and very quiet. You can set different temperatures for each area of the trailer, and power consumption is less then 3kw. biggest disadvantage is needing a hvac tech to connect and charge the refer lines.

Dave
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Old 11-21-2010, 06:26 PM   #9
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For heat my truck has a propane furnace. There is a 12volt blower motor and ducts run to a few different locations where they blow out the heat. It works very well, seems to be quite efficient, and only uses a small amt of 12v to run. Wouldn't something like that work best for the heat part?
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:07 PM   #10
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...JAMES DIGNAN:...HAVING BUILT MANY TRAILERS AND HAVING MADE A FEW MISTAKES I HAVE FOUND THAT PROPER INSULATION IS THE ISSUE-NOT THE TYPE OF HVAC UNITE OR ITS MANUFACTURE....I CURRENTLY USE 2- 120 VOLT ELECTRIC HEATERS DOWN TO 10 BELOW TO HEAT AND A 13.5 ROOF MOUNT UNITE TO COOL TO 100 OUTSIDE TEMP.....THE REST IS JUST FLUFF....THOUGH I DO HAVE A PELLET STOVE THAT WILL PUT OUT 32K AND WILL RUN ONE OUT OF THE TRAILER....THAT IS USED FOR AMBIANCE AND THE GIRLS LOVE IT! AS A OUTDOORS PERSON I'M TOO LAZY TO EVEN TAKE IT WITH ME WHEN I'M OUTSIDE [TOO LAZY/COLD] TO FIRE IT UP WHEN I COME BACK TO THE TRAILER....I JUST PLUG IN THE HEATERS AND LAY DOWN...[I ALSO USE AN ELECTRIC BLANKET.] WHEN IT IS HOT I NEVER TURN OFF THE A/C...I USE THE GENERATOR OR PLUG IN SOMEWHERE....I'M CURRENTLY WORKING ON A "STEALTH" GENERATOR TO GET ME BY WHEN I'M IN A CAMPGROUND WHERE THEY GET UPSET WITH GENERATORS RUNNING ALL NITE....NORMALLY, I NEVER STAY IN A CAMPGROUND IF THERE IS A TRUCK STOP ANYWHERE NEAR....THAT WAY I HAVE A FRESH SUPPLY OF FOOD COFFEE AND WOMEN.....ON VACATION I STAY IN CAMPGROUNDS THAT ARE SECOND OR THIRD CLASS TO CONSERVE....I CAN OPERATE ON A SINGLE 120x25 AMP CIRCUIT OF I HAVE TO-LESS IF I CUT CORNERS BY NOT ANY COOKING/TV/MOVIES ETC.....geofkaye and the Rivercity Group
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