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Old 04-09-2013, 08:21 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jbeech View Post
Do those codes apply to a motorhome? Something to think about regardless, thanks for the heads up!
cripes if they do im screwed my AC & DC panel breakers/fuses are IN the bath area...just a few inches off the floor !
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:16 AM   #22
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Most rv builders worth a dime build by the RVIA standards. I don't think the NFPA Electrical Code applies to motor vehicles.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:46 PM   #23
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Hmmm, here I kind of thought folks on this forum weren't rv builders worth a dime, but instead are just ordinary folks, asking questions of each other, e.g. self-help. Where can I find a copy of the RVIA standards? And is this free, or for association-members only, and priced that way?
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:52 PM   #24
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I bought a Mac tool truck a couple years ago did a living/sleeping quarters in front and work/storage in back with a wall divider,after living with it for two seasons I decided it would work better if it was flipped.
You would be best off if you "mock up" your layout,I.E place beds work bench etc.where you think you want them,but build it as temp.then go live with the layout,go to your events where you'll use it,you'll find this would be better over there,and that here,and that could be bigger.You'll save a lot of time and money that way.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:49 AM   #25
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Great minds think alike!

I have a side door strapped to the forward starboard side about where I 'think' I want it. Similarly, I have a work table in its approximate location, plus I have used a tarp, which is held in place with bungees to simulate the wall. All this to try and get a 'feel' for the setup.

I am not keen on permanence as a matter of course exactly because I don't know how I want to use the space yet and thus, I am thinking of fabbing the wall unit with thin wall steel tubing secured in place using E-track accessories. I have found one in particular, which I think will be perfect because it features a heavy duty ring. If I cut the ring off, the hole will be well suited for a bolt to attach to the tubing structure. This results in a wall assembly, which may be reposition, or removed altogether in minutes with a minimum of tools.

Similarly, I am thinking of fabbing a steel tubing framework for the shower such that it too can be removed/relocated with minimal effort. Why? Mostly because I've little idea of the real world to which i will put this vehicle to work and this grants me a lot of flexibility should needs change.

Finally, I don't know how large your Mac Tools truck is but I have a step van, which in a former life was a Snap-On tools van. I bought her from the son of the original owner with just 54,000 pretty hard miles (these things are heavily loaded and driven locally their whole working ives). Re-christened Baby because of how she looks when parked near Moby, she my alternative to a pickup truck (many of my friends spend upwards of $40k on pickups, which I think is foolish).

Anyway, just about anything imaginable will fit - once we went into the dump with tear out from the remodel of my home at 12,800 pounds and came out at 6400 pounds, yes, her own weight in cargo! While not my daily driver, she gets a lot of use and is in tip top condition (excepting paint). Baby's most recent update was exchanging the stock 350 Turbo Hydramatic 3-speed automatic transmission for a 700R4 overdrive tranny, which has made a huge difference in gas mileage (from 8.3 to 9.8 mpg average) and more importantly, by reducing highway speed RPMs a lot, which means driving her is a much more pleasant experience on the odd occassion I run downtown or somewhere via a freeway because she's not screaming her heart out.

In closing, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:53 PM   #26
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It's been a while since I updated what's going on with Moby. Anyway, the plan is coming together nicely. if you don't recall, basically I'm building my truck principally as a mobile workshop (for attending model airplane fun flies). These are generally weekend events though there are one or two, which last the better part of a week.

As such, my truck really won't be very much like a high-dollar motor home, e.g. with kitchen and all the accoutrements of home. While I do plan for a shower stall (a smallish 34" wide unit) and a toilet, which will be something like a loveableloo (pretty much a 5-gallon bucket with garbage bag liner, a toilet seat, and some cat litter), once I section off 3' from the 23' box, the remaining 20', give or take, will be devoted to workshop. E.g. pretty spartan accomodations because it'll have worktables, office chairs, etc. plus model airplanes and helicopters. As such, it will be where I and a a few friends can work on models, watch videos, drink beer, shoot the bull, etc. I think of it as a mobile man cave.

As far as sleeping accomodations go, either we'll inflate an air mattress and toss it on the floor in the evenings, or use the cab, which has a sleeper with double bunks. We're undecided which but are, instead, playing this by ear.

Anyway, a major issue for me has been cooling and of course, electric power because few, if any model events have hookups. Moreover, complaints will be few, if any, regarding noise due to running a generator all day and night because everyone else will be doing the same.

My initial plan (to save money) was to use my existing Honda 6500ES. This is a very quite, water-cooled 2-cylinder gerator capable of delivering 50A. E.g. make a mount for the frame upon which to install it, wire it up and presto, electricity for the duration. The issue with this, principally, being the amount of gasoline consumed. It takes a fair bit, on the order of 12-15 gallons per day . . . I know because Hurricane Charley knocked power out for 10 days back in 2004. That's a lot of gasoline to be carrying with us, or fetching to feed it. Anyway, I secured an 80-gallon aluminum tank, just like the pair for the truck figuring to top it off when I got where I was going and once I returned home, to drain what was left into vehicles since gas goes bad.

However, my next idea was a propane-conversion for the generator. This was a nice in principle because propane doesn't go bad with the passage of time and a conversion kit for the Honda is readily available. The downside is the stupidly expensive costs for a large propane tank.

Then I came across one of these and bought it: http://www.rigmasterpower.com/downlo...ator-Model.pdf

This is a self-contained APU which consists of 20k btu of cooling, 13.5 btu of heating, plus a 6KW generator - all powered by a 2-cylinder Perkins diesel, which best of all, plumbs right into the 160 gallon diesel supply onboard the truck. This means I can remain in situ for quite an extended period of time before my fuel supply reaches critical level, e.g. 20 gallons, and I don't have to fetch fuel in the interim - yeehaw!

Anyway, before getting this APU unit, I was going to install a 12k btu mini-split heat pump for environmental needs. Now I think the APU's A/C and heater will be plenty good enough even though it's originally designed to heat and cool dog house. I'm going to try and install it next week so I'll have answers pretty soon but even if they're exagerating by a factor of 2X, I probably still get 10k btu of cooling from it and that should work well enough.

Add to it, I get 6KW of electricity and I don't anticipate needing anything like that because it will no longer be needing to power an electric heat pump unit. Especially since all I will have to run is a smallish dorm-room size refrigerator, DVD player, and what not. In fact, another nice feature is it's designed to charge batteries! Anyway, mine is the MTS-T4-6, which is rated at 278 cfm and the 12k btu mini-splits I've looked at are rated at 175 cfm so I suspect I'll be really getting the whole 20k btu of cooling plus 6KW of power. Meanwhile, they claim 0.3 gph and my Honda is more like 0.5-0.6 gph but it's a diesel so maybe that's prety close to reality as well - we'll see - but that's a fair bit less than 10 gallons per day so running it 24/7 amounts to half my supply, which means I can really be 50 miles out in the boonies and still have enough diesel onboart after a week to make it back to a station.

Finally, regarding potable water, I figure to tote 90-gallons. And I won't have any black water, just gray water from the shower. Since I'll now have a spare 80-gallon aluminum fuel tank I figure on using this for the gray-water holding tank and simply dump it in the yard once I return (no chemicals other than soap from showering and no toilet paper or feces requiring an elaborate valve and piping necessary).

What am i missing?
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:15 AM   #27
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sounds like you are working a good plan. I looked into the APU myself years ago, but by time they were professionally installed they were very expensive. The popularity of them has brought down the price. I think that is a good option.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:58 PM   #28
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It's that time again - here's an update:

The APU is mostly installed. Mostly because what was delivered was a jig saw puzzle of parts. Here's the background. I'd been checking on Craig's List for a diesel generator because I was leery of toting a lot of gasoline for the Honda. I'd seen one a few months back but was too slow because someone wanted it and got it quickly. Diesel gensets don't come up often.

A couple weeks ago I did my now routine search and up pops this things called an APU. I researched what it was and got excited because it handily beat plan A, the Honda plus some kind of mini-split or one of those roll around room AC units because it's a genset and an automotive type AC hybrid device. Best of all, it consumes diesel fuel instead of gasoline.

Since the device is clear across town, we make a verbal deal over the phone. Basically I buy it for a set price and he'll install it for another set price. After several false starts during which I dreaded a call saying someone else had shown up with money the seller arrives, not with a ready to bolt up to the frame APU but a bunch of bits and pieces plus some 5 gallon buckets with bolts and what not. Like I said above, a jig saw puzzle.

Against my better judgement, I agree to fork over the agreed upon dough so he can carry it to the seller (he's the intermediary and the mechanic who takes care of the seller's truck). This, despite my misgivings, e.g. what if this pile of junk doesn't work once it's put together? Or what if the guy takes the money and i never hear back from him come installation time and I have to stop everything I'm doing to figure how to put it together myself? Neither was an attractive possibility but I really wanted this thing so I swallow hard and give him the dough (honest to God, partly based on his honest looking face and good vibes). Along with his promise to return in a few hours, I start pressure washing the various bits to remove accumulated grime and with time on my hands (he's not back in an hour and a half as promised) painting same with black Rustoleum (everything looks better after a spit shine and some paint, right? It did too, but it was still nothing but a pile of parts.

However, in the meantime, I'd noticed Richard had unloaded and left behind his tools. A quick perusal convinced me there was as much in tools as what he was going to charge me in labor, which made me feel quite a bit better about prospects of him coming back. Anyway, several hours later he did and he commenced assembly (and very happy everything was spic and span and freshly painted, if I say so myself). At dark he said, "I'm done for the day, I'll be back tomorrow morning around 9". But best of all, he didn't siddle up and ask for a draw against the agreed upon labor total. Not that I am unlwilling in principal, but there wasn't much to show for his labors because all told he'd only gotten in a couple hours before darkness fell (and in Central Florida, around this time is dangerous to be out because humongous mosquitos venture out for the foolhardy intent on draggin' you you back to the nest intent on consuming you at their leisure).

We sit on our hands over the weekend - he said he hadn't seen his kids all week (divorced) and would it b OK to pick back up on Monday. However, come 9 AM Monday, no Richard. And worse, as far as I am concerned (yes, I am a control freak), no phone call advising me he'd be late, or how there was otherwise some change in schedule. By noon, and feeling rather aggravated, I contact Rigmaster and ask for manuals and exploded view diagrams. Basically, anything and everything they might be willing to share with someone in my predicament , e,g, engaged in a quest to complete assembly and installation.

Let me tell you, the Tech Support folks at Rigmaster are really, really, really nice - Brian specifically - gets two thumbs up because he covered me up with information and documentation. This despite my not having spent a dime with them! Meanwhile, late-ish in the afternoon, Richard shows up - something about having to do a tranny job down in Lakeland for a truck broken down, which was headed to Sarasota, taking priority and he'd not gotten to bed until 5:30 AM and it was all he could do to drag his carcass out of said bed at 1PM and call me. Fair enough in my view (I'm just glad he's back). Anyway, I later that afternoon gently observe how it would be nice if he'd call and keep me in the loop - not that I'm rpssing, just that I have things to do also. (I'm funny that way).

Anyway, dark again he quits and promises to be back in the AM. That was yesterday and it doesn't happen (sensing a pattern here?). This time, I don't hear from him until early afternoon - something about his wife being sick so he took her to her Mom's. Strangely enough, I believe him. Regardless, he sets to it again. Did I mention he really knows how the jig saw puzzle goes together? Not only that but in the meatime he's giving me a lesson on what it can do.

Anyway, the raison d'tre of these devices is to heat and cool the doghouse of a tractor trailer so the engine doesn't accumulate idle time and thereby burn 3X more fuel than the APU does - while also providing 60A DC and AC as well. I, however, want to heat and cool the workshop (the box) instead.

However, beond this, it seems the conmputer also monitors the battery bank on the truck (four 31-size 750CCA batteries in a parallel arrangement, e.g. a massive 12V battery). Upshot of it is this, if the voltage is too low it'll start the Perkins engine and charge the battery and subsequently shut the engine off once it reaches a set voltage (if I set it up that way via menus, which seems reasonable upon inspection - more as it develops).

Anyway, along the way are a series of delays. To begin, Richard (very reasonably) had early on observed he didn't really care if he assembled the unit back together using existing fuel lines and heater hoses or brand new ones if I felt like buying same. This seemed prudent and thus, I set upon the errand of securing same. Another errand saw me sourcing additional nuts and bolts, which were missing or mismatched (again, I'm funny this way and insist on order call it adult ADD). Again, as the beneficiary of a reliable installation, securing these presented no hu-hu on my end, for being the pitch bitch, or parts chaser.

Meqnwhile, however, instead of installing the evaporator/fan/heat exchanger (think of exactly what you have beneath the dash of your car, a valve to control hot water diverted from cooling the engine to a heat exchanger, an evaporator and fan to conduct now cold air through the fins and into the air space, the truck box in this case instead of the cabin of a car) it would be about 20' away as the hose and wires run - instead of just a couple feet - as originally designed.

This meant new high and low pressure hoses, which are 20' long. Two 20' runs of 5/8" heater hose, plus two 20' runs of 18/8 wire. With respect to the latter, try finding that on short notice! Anyway, being blessed by living in a large-ish metropolitan area, what I did find was 18/16 (16 pieces of 18ga within one jacket instead of 8 pieces in a jacket X2), so I just purchased one 20' run of this instead. As for the AC hoses, a well regarded local shop did these for me today as well. (no, Richard didn't come to work today because a) getting all done up would take time and b) he was doing some other job.

Anyway, he says he'll be here in the AM - we'll see but I expect some time during the day if not in th AM. However, the generator is basically assembled and we're now just down to connecting the AC lines, drawing down a vacuum and putting 134a in the system, plus soldering connectors to the new wire - piece of cake because I once required my 1973 240Z over the span of about two weeks using just the factory manuals and the old connectors (a fire once upon a time). Anyway, when I applied the battery, it started right up, everything worked, and I didn't release any magic smoke in the process so push come to shove, I can finish this job too were something to happen with Richard (BTW, he's now 1/2 way into me against the set labor bill, but he's on the downhill side of the job so I am certain he'll come to finish).

Meanwhile, I learn from Rigmaster they know the seller (I'd mentioned his name on the off chance they would and it paid off with data). Seems the seller has been a good owner, e.g. the type to apply updates over the years plus he's been diligent vice the care and feeding of the device. I don't know if this bodes well, or not, and only time will tell but I am encouraged. And, all along Richard has been pointing to things he's done over the years, e.g. new fuel control assembly and injectors last year, engine rebuild two years ago - new rings, valve job with new guides, plus new water pump, updated 60A alternator, etc.

Anyway, tomorrow we try to complete the job but if it extends into another day I won't be surprised. Also, because some of these delays have to do with pecularities of the installation, a bonus for Richard (though he doesn't know it yet). Also, turns out the unit is an older model, so while it still makes 20K BTU, the 6KW isn't really 6KW, it's less. I don't really care because the primary purpose of the genset was to run the AC. Since this is handled in another fashion, this leave ample capacity to run a small fridge, lights, and assorted tools like a Dremel, or haor dryer, or microwave. Fortunately, it does produce the 60A DC of the new ones because this has been updated.

Finally, I have also ordered the 135g tank, set the shower stall into the back of the truck and am about to purchase the water pump for the system. I have decide to use PEX for the plumbing. I became familiar with this stuff when I replumb my house a few years ago. I carefully watched them do the job and subsequently purchased the tool to crip the fittings because I added a hot tub to the joint. The stuff is easy enough to work with plus you don't need to sleep at a Holiday Inn Express to learn to do it. That, plus it's flexible and should be proof againsts road borne vibrations versus rigid pipe like CPVC.

More as it develops - photos below.
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Generator 4KVA.jpg   Perkins-front.jpg   DSC06891.jpg   APU installed Maggie (2).jpg   specs-Generator1.jpg  

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