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Old 02-22-2004, 11:47 AM   #1
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I have been dreaming for years of owning a toterhome for my racing operation. I have lots of questions and will ask over time. I am am not made of gold and all my yard has is pine trees no money trees. I currently have a 1999 Chevy Crewcab Dually, Vortec 350, Automatic with OD, 4.10 gears. I have a 1999 32ft tag Pace American Bigfoot GT tri-axle enclosed trailer that I tow. The dually does great on the road...gets about 10 - 11mpg (depending on my heavy right foot it gets worse). I don't have a sway kit or load levelers on my tow setup yet. I have not been racing much in the past 3 years. I am looking to hit the road pretty hard this season though. I have been very happy with the handling and overall drivability of the rig. I even had my girlfriend (who never towed anything before) tow for her first time last season. LOL...I actally like the truck ride better with the trailer hooked up than I do just driving around everyday getting my kidney beat out of me.

I have some limited seat time in dump trucks and a KW road tractor. I also currently own a 29ft Winnebago Custom Class A RV, that I don't use to tow with since it is TOO UNDERPOWERED for the trailer.

I am a big guy (6'6" and 340lbs) and need my space (LOL). So I also have needs for a larger than standard RV bed, shower, etc. I looked at enclosed trailers with living quarters..and I could not get my shoulders through the bathroom door let alone get in the thing they called a shower.

I am very handy with my hands and resouceful when it comes to saving money. I am looking at getting a chassis (which one I don't know...but I did learn about cabovers from reading the forum today). I am now looking at conventionals and I am open minded from there. I don't have a bunch of money to spend on the chassis at this time. I will probably repair the leaking seal around the AC Units in the Winnebago and sell it to bankroll this effort.

I currently have a 32ft x 42ft garage behind the house with a 9x7 door and a 10x10.5 door opening. What do you all use for storage of your vehicles. My garage is 12.5ft to the truss so if I need to raise the opening a little I have some wiggle room. I am considering building a outrigging off the one side of my garage to park the tow rig to keep it out of the direct weather.

I have seen those canvas-tubular shelters. How are they with the wind, etc?

This is enough for now.....sorry for being so long winded. I am happy I found this forum and group.

Thanks,

-Eric-
2FastDesignz.com / Sledgehammer Motorsports

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Old 02-22-2004, 10:01 PM   #2
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I only found this site about 2 weeks ago. Lots of nice people to deal with and a ton of good info. I wish there were more people hear and info. flowed faster but it has been fun so far!

I have to ask you a question. Have you ever considered using a class 8 motorhome with your existing trailer. Possible replacing your RV with something that will do the same thing and still being able to tow your car? Depending on how much you use the dually the RV & dually would give you a pretty good down payment on a used class 8.
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Old 02-23-2004, 06:23 AM   #3
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Nice to meet you Big Toy. I just found this site yesterday. I use my Dually as an everyday vehicle...after owning a truck for the past 10 years. I would never live without one again. I laugh everytime I go to Home Depot and see those rental trucks and people driving away in them *wink*. I live in my local HD and Lowe's (to the point they know me on sight.)

I plan on getting rid of the Winnebago that is for sure. I can use it for the primary reason of towing to the races so it has to go. I don't go RV'ing much yet....that will change once I get something I am comfortable with.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:09 AM   #4
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Start checking out the class 8's. I never knew what they were called but since I have discovered them I am hooked! Toter & Motorhome styles both have there pros & cons but I don't think you can tow with anything better.

From what I have seen so far 3 years old seems like the best place to buy. The first couple years they seem to drop in value about 15 to 20% a year but then it appears to stop with them only droping about a thousand a year after that. You will never find another tow vehicle that holds its value like a 3 year old class!

I thought I was 2 years away from a new one till I found a nice used one for about 1/2 the price of new. We all know, buying new, the first couple years value drops a good bit what surprised me is once you get past that they really don't drop in price much.

Good luck! I know what you are talking about with the truck. I have never been truckless and have been driving about 30 years. Sometimes a pick-up and sometimes a van, even occasionally a dump truck but always a truck!

Later,
Skip
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Old 02-23-2004, 01:21 PM   #5
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Hi Eric -- --

Nice trailer !!

Now -- Any upgrade to replace your 1-Ton ..... Will require a CDL to operate. Why? -- You are pulling a trailer with signage -- Which states a means for compensation.

I have an RV Hauler -- You'r welcome to view the build pictures .... May not be the way you envision to go -- But .. Just one example -- Here's a link to get you started:

http://community.webshots.com/album/49062992VBcrVd/0

As Skip mentioned -- Start with a Class 8 .... Then as time/money allow -- Convert into something like a Showhauler/Renegade.

Good Luck ......

Dave
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Old 02-23-2004, 03:57 PM   #6
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Having your trailer lettered won't force you into a CDL. Using the rig for interstate commerce will. Hobbiest racers are fine, if you're racing professionally (i.e. it's your only or main job and source of income) then you will need a cdl although even then getting pulled over is unlikely. I only know of 3 teams ot ever get pulled over by the DOT and all three were let go with no problems.


Sean P. Clarke
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Old 02-23-2004, 08:43 PM   #7
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OLDphoneman...thanks. A lot of blood sweat and tears went into paying for that trailer.

No CDL will be needed as long as you don't use the vehicle for a income.

Because I declare my racing as a business for the IRS I will need a CDL. I do actually have my CDL learner's permit I was considering going into the dumptruck or OTR hauling business.

But instead I am toughing it out in the web site and graphic design business. Competition is deep and fierce...thanks to Microsoft and Front Page software.

I am actually looking at going the route that you did. I don't know if I can build the box and the interior before I mount it on the chassis.

Guys and gals...is that feasible? Or is that just asking too much?

OPM...btw..nice rig. Wanna sponsor a race team by loaning your rig...LOL (I couldn't resist) Me having fun in photoshop.


Thanks....

-Eric-
2FastDesignz.com / Sledgehammer Motorsports

[This message was edited by Sledgehamer Motorsports on February 24, 2004 at 12:09 AM.]

[This message was edited by Sledgehamer Motorsports on February 24, 2004 at 12:39 AM.]
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Old 02-23-2004, 09:11 PM   #8
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.....actually Eric, it's easier than many think....you order the box new to your specs for under $10k mounted...the rest is interior fab and side boxes as simple and cheap or a fancy as you want...interior is relativley easy if you can do woodworking and live near a Home Depot.....rest is finishing to your own tastes....geof
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Old 02-23-2004, 09:43 PM   #9
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Really $10K mounted? Sign me up. Now I just need to fix the leak in the seal around the AC unit in the RV....and do a little sprucing up. And off to the class 8 I go.

Man...and a home depot is just down the road and a Lowe's up the road. And they know me by first name in both stores...I built my 32x42 shop out of them.

Where is that Truck Paper I got at the rest area?

Do they lengthen the frame too or do I need to make sure I get a chassis that is long enough to begin with? Learning new things already.

Who are some of the companies that sell and mount the boxes you mention?
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Old 02-23-2004, 09:58 PM   #10
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OBTW....oldphoneman...QRZ de KA3ITJ. Just saw the pics of your communications setup. I will be setting up my 2m and 10m gear in the big rig not enough room in the dually.

-E-
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:22 PM   #11
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It's a problem with you being in Maryland and me in Cincinnati.....get out the yellow pages and start looking for truck body builders....business might drop off towards June 'cuz of oil prices so now might be the time to deal-some are getting nervous...Our local body builder is River City [not related to us]....also there was a box already built for a tool truck....steps and everything for $3300 in Ohio Auto/Truck/RV Mag. looked good form the pix in magazine it was a 26' with an aluminum liftgate-insulation-110/12 lghts and HVAC equiped....granted the sides are not a smooth side construction but the conversion isn't $60,000 either.....geof
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Old 02-24-2004, 05:41 AM   #12
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One thing I am starting to see the more involved I get in this entire class 8 idea and everything that goes along with it is there are a great bunch of people involved. Everyone seems to want to help each other. I find this very refressing with most of the world going the other way!

It also appears that there are a lot of great buys out there. The problem is the stuff is all over the country. But if it means saving thousands I think running for it might be worthwhile. Also gives you a chance to meet up with the guy on the other end of the email or post - while see some of this great country we have all started taking for granted.
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Old 02-24-2004, 01:59 PM   #13
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O.K. guys, lets start to use the proper terms for the type of rig you are talking about.

I keep seeing the word Class 8, but that is just the truck, what are we doing with it? Also since this site is all about Class 7 & 8 conversions of all types it is assumed we are talking about a truck conversion motorhome when we say "motorhome" and not a Winnebago type motorhome.

So

SledgeHammer you mention Toterhome, if you are truely looking at a toterhome than we are talking a living area behind the cab.(ie stretch the chassis, build a box with shower/toilet, table, sleeping accomodations, ect..) Or are we talking a RV Toter which is what OLDphoneman has.

If you plan on keeping your tag trailer why not a motorhome? Also it maybe in your best interest to keep your eye's peeled at the following sites. There is a ton of one off stuff coming available at great prices, so why try and reinvent the wheel.

http://www.racer-net.com/hauler.htm
http://www.pitstop.com/classified/in...=Car%20Haulers
http://www.autoracingtrader.com/car_...s_trailers.htm
http://www.racingjunk.com

Bill

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FLD 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 02-24-2004, 09:12 PM   #14
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Bill...part of the reason why I am not looking at a motorhome comes down to $$$. My trailer in the long run will beat up a motorhome unless I go with a bus conversion. I don't have the $$$ for that either. I can go get a tractor with a sleeper and use that to pull around my trailer like a RV Toter.

I made a grave mistake when I purchased my trailer without being totally informed. I purchased it thinking I would be able to pull it with my Class A. Once I got to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the trailer was moving around in the wind gusts. I knew right there and then that my Class A was not enough for it. I should have turned around on the spot and purchased a Fifth-wheel trailer.

I have talked with other racers that are currently using pushers to tow with and almost every racer has mentioned how their trailer is beating up the RV. Second almost every RV that I have looked at thinks everyone that purchases and sleeps in one is 6'3" or shorter. I currently have that problem in my Class A...where I built a platform between the two single beds in the bedroom to make one bed. Just makes it interesting for someone getting to the bathroom at the rear. The driving area in some is also very tight.

Most RV's are not designed to really be used by long haul racers and the ones that are...are out of my budget range. So I am looking at a tractor to tow with and while I am using it...I will be building a living area to mount behind it for the next season. If that is possible. It might be one of those things that I have to have it mounted before building it out.

Another thing I like about a tractor over a RV is fuel capacity. I am also looking to step up in the future to a bigger trailer.
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Old 02-24-2004, 09:40 PM   #15
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Eric,

When the guys on this site are talking about a motorhome they are talking about a class 7 or 8 truck with motorhome (same as toter home) but bigger with either a class 5 hitch or a 40,000 lb hitch. I haven't driven one yet but they tell me that you pretty much don't even know if the wind is blowing till you get out of the truck. Even the Motorhomes can pull a Stacker fully loaded with a couple or 3 cars inside.

Check out www.kibbi.com or showhaulers site to see what these things are about. As far as I can tell I don't even think the bus class motorhomes come close. The only real difference between the toter and motorhome is the hitch and size of living area. Basically a toter with a 13' living area is on the same truck as the 22' motor home. Just one is set up for the 5th wheel and the other uses the biggest ball hitch known to man. 40,000 lb hitch looks like it would pull a battle ship!
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:58 PM   #16
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BOY DO I FEEL DUMB. There it goes to show if you keep your mouth shut (fingers still) people won't know just how dumb you are. LOL....I am learning and sorry for the confusion.

I am working on becoming fully toter and motorhome compliant.

Thinking about it...if I have a big enough rig...I can work with a tag...maybe sooner or later even a stacker unit. *big grin* a guy can dream ......

-Eric-
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:02 AM   #17
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As some one much wiser than I once said "there are no stupid questions!" Stupid is to think you know it all and not ask questions. As I told you early on I am new at this also but I jumped in with both feet and learned a lot super quick thanks to a lot of great people involved with these rigs. Motorhome or Toter I don't think you can go wrong with a class 8 from what I see.

As far as pros & cons of each I'll let that to someone that knows! Turning and backing are two big issues. I have also been told the 5th wheel arangements tow nicer at higher speeds but I don't know for sure.

One thing I didn't like about the 5th wheel arangement is if you have truck problems it will be much harder to chase down a way to tow one as opposed to being able to rent a larger truck that would tow a regular trailer. Just my 2 cents!

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Old 02-25-2004, 04:54 AM   #18
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I tow a 24 foot tag trailer every weekend with no issues. I've also towed a 34' stacker with my rv with no issues. I wouldn't go with a toter and a gooseneck unless you really need a trailer over 36' or so. The tags up to that size wirk great and tow well. Also the toterhomes are about the same wheelbase so not a huge help in turning.


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Old 02-25-2004, 05:40 AM   #19
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I probably should put up a glossary of terms somewhere.

Yah you be able to pull that trailer with one of these with no problems.



My rig

2003 28' Show Hauler Motorhome on a 1995 FLD 120 www.showhauler.com
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Old 02-25-2004, 07:54 AM   #20
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Bill,

As with anything there is always something that can be done to make it better. But I am very impressed with what you have already done! What a great site with a fine bunch of people working together. I have spent 100's of hours on line researching these rigs and there is no where else I have learned like here.

Keep up the great work!!! As the site grows it will keep improving on it's own because everyone has had their own unique experences.

The idea of a glossery of terms would be a great idea. Another suggestion is an area to talk about options, I have been trying to find out what the weight capacity of a ramp gate is? - what is a ceramic super toilet? - why use an invertor? - the difference in "E" and "L" railing - etc.

Perhaps an area devoted to the pros and cons to options would be helpful also. Another thing would be spell check. I can't spell for shit and I know I am not alone.

All just suggestions but main thing is keep up the good work and thanks for what you have already done.

Skip
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