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Old 06-27-2005, 12:14 PM   #1
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Hi All -
I am new to this forum. I am about to purchase (well in the next 30 days) a toterhome with a double stacked trailer and hydraulic lift gate. I am starting a custom motorcycle touring company, and this rig will be the support vehicle. I have been talking to Renegade, but was wanting maybe something a little more custom than what they do on there standard floor plans. I do not need huge living quaters, just a back bedroom. I really need more of the bathroom, kitchen, pantry and meeting room in the main cab, as well as storage. I am an electrical and mechanical engineer and have some strong opinions on some of what goes in the toter portion of the rig.

So....question is (and this is a loaded question), what company do y'all think is the easiest to work with (when we start talking customizing), has sound construction, is good in customer service, and uses a bucket that would be easy to get serviced on the road?

Thanks for any advice...
Sarah
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Old 06-28-2005, 07:38 PM   #2
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Hi Sarah,

I'd suggest that you check out Transport Designs. They welcome fully-custom designs, are easy to work with, have solid construction techniques, and excellent quality.

For more info, see:
Transport Designs, Inc.
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Old 06-28-2005, 09:59 PM   #3
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I was looking in your post for the most important item..PRICE... If price is not a consideration it puts you into a different class than if it does matter.... Anderson Mobile Estates is in the top line IMHO... starting in the 2-3 million dollar range and then you can go to a few of the mom/pop converters on the other end of the range..Are you wanting to get both units from the same manufacturer?? a particular portion of the country?? Do you want a particular conctruction material to be used?? everything from FRP to total aluminum to tubular steel etc is available.. how about insulation.. are you going to be in extremes of weather?? The question of service on the road is the only one that seems to be easy to answer... all of the HDT conversions are readily serviced on the road as the OTR truckers require 24/7 servicability.. (of coarse some will argue that the companies that use their own engines have less availability of parts) especially compared to the bus style motorhomes...Butler motorcoach Butler is probably one of the better middle priced manufacturers that is willing to talk "outside the proverbial box", a bit higher priced is the Kingsley coach Kingsley
there are literally dozens of other manufacturers out there all over the country.. I have personally visited 7 of them from Minneapoolis to Nashville to norhern Indiana.. we have been investigating for nearly 5 years.. good luck buying in thirty days. the lead time is usually quite a while. If you look at the posts from our administrator (warpath) you will get a GOOD idea of the process involved... there are MANY prebuilt units available at Racing Junk racingjunk If I can offer any assistance just ask.. I don't own one yet but I am committed... or should that be "need to be committed"

This site and the Escapees Forum escapees forum have been chocked full of wonderful and helpful people that love this transportation segment.
Good Luck
John
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Old 06-28-2005, 10:37 PM   #4
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....taking it that you are a racer/show biker I guess....I'd call W&M Enterprises in Lawrenceburg Indiana and talk to Mike or Carlos....give them some Idea of what you want and they will make it for you-just the way you want it.......812-537-4656.....you are not going to find anyone who builds a motorhome or/trailer better than them['cept me!] for the price and exactly the way you want it......also have a sketch you can fax them so everyone is on the right page when you are talking to them.....they are good ol' boys what live and breathe racing.....If you want to spend a little more try Randy Butler-at Butler MotorCoach-He is a little more expensive but developes some outstanding ideas and designs leeding edge stuff....And another leeding edge guy is the Wildside Group.....they do some extreem stuff at a very reasonable price......geofkaye
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Old 06-30-2005, 09:29 AM   #5
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Hi All -
Thanks so much for the advice. Price is not as much a concern, but quality, functionality and reliability is. I am somewhat sceptical of FRP, and was leaning towards aluminum. We will be traveling all over the US, Canada and probably up to Alaska. For the trailer, I have started talking to T&E Enterprises, up in Chicago. Great guys! I guess I have more research to do on the toter portion .

I looked around on the forum, but could not find any direct threads that pertained to NCR. Has anyone had any experience with them? Good or bad...

Thanks,
Sarah Mohrle
Dallas, TX
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Old 06-30-2005, 02:34 PM   #6
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Sarah,

when I looked into Toters I was impressed with the quality ARI builds.
ARI

other I would look into is Randy Butler, he posts also in this board. The ideas I saw from him look very interesting ...

Trailer I think you found already a good one with T & E

I for myself build my own toter and trailer. So I can build them exactly for my needs ... I need a good driving machine that can handle the twisty backcountry roads in the southwest

Thomas

Pete 379 custom toter and 40 foot double deck trailer under construction
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:51 PM   #7
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Dr Fun,

You seem to point every visiter to Transport Design! You seem to have researched every company that builds Truck Motorhome Conversions. With all of the custom builder that do quality work why do you point out this builder?
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Old 01-18-2007, 05:55 PM   #8
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I have been impressed with Anthony Desnick's ToolSet motorhomes. Like you I''m still planning but Tony's responsiveness and ideas have pretty well convinced me he will be my builder. Take a look at his web site and give him a call. Before anyone asks, I don't work ToolSet (i don't work at all!), don't get paid for this comment, and am not in Tony's family- I just like what he has shown me in my limited dealings with the man. He frequently posts on this forum (that's how I found him)
Roy
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Old 01-21-2007, 02:06 AM   #9
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Racing4fun -

I know your busting Dr Fun's chops for talking about his build and his builder, but you have to remember most of the people on this site who own conversions spent an insane amount of time first researching builders and than working with them during the build. If you have a custom conversion built your going to spend 4 to 6 months with a company from the planning stage all the way until it's completion. So you become pretty familiar with that company and how they do things.

If you look back on my posts you would have thought I was the owner of Show Hauler with all of my posts on them. And I was accused of that by some idiot and one point. (So I guess I am Winnebago's CEO now, right?) But you have to remember I spent about 9 months talking with those guys regularly as well as visiting them during my 2 builds. Thats alot of time.

The bottom line is that these are all opinions and it is you who needs to decide what information is worth while in your quest for a conversion or conversion builder.

Bill
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Old 01-21-2007, 02:47 PM   #10
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"My Two Cents "

I am not Bashing Dr. Fun or any person who has spent the time to travel to "EACH" manufacture. It appears Dr. Fun is part of the sales team by his comments. Not giving advice on the other of quality builders he travel to visit or investigated before selecting the company in question. He also offers way to much advice which would only be know by a manufature or member of a sales group. That is what I see. Maybe I am wrong. It would not be the first time. LOL.

I have traveled to the Renegade plant. They have a nice product but it was not what we wanted. But I will not point out the reason why. That would be unfair to the manufacture. I also travel to NRC, Showhauler and the Wild side plant. Each had a great product line. I have met many of the dealers whom sell Renegade and Showhauler and other so called custom conversions. Most everyone I have met appear to be people using the internet to make a living. That is why I support sites like this.

On any Rv Truck Conversion Web Site one common theme appears to be the middle man issue. Renegade, Showhauler and other conversion lines are sold via Dealerships. AKA better known as Middle Men? Most of these middle men sell conversions and or trailer for several companies. All of these middle men make a profit. Without the retail middle men Renegade and Showhauler could not turn out the large numbers of conversion. The small conversion companies also use middle man. So ask yourself why are these guys bashing one conversion or the other? Everyone manufacture a product for customers who like their coach.

For the guys looking for information on Rv Truck Conversions and manufactures, please discount comment positive or negative response about one conversion or another. Every plant I visited had positive marketing and sales points. Why would anyone on a message board push one manufacture so hard if they were not selling the unit or building the unit? Ask yourself why?

When I sold my heavy equipment and construction business I walked into an RV dealership to explore the new truck style motor homes. The sales person did not know of my back ground and started in on the canned sales pitch you speak off which he learned at manufactures meetings. It was far from truthful. But as it has been pointed out for most companies the truth would hurt sales.

About this same time the internet was coming of age. I started reading forms like this. In these forums I found the same issue except this time it is a dealer or sales person posing as helpful blogger. Now anytime a blogger attempts to influence the reader, guess who I call. Yes, the company they are degrading. I am learning very quickly while surfing the internet that many of the people tossing their two cents in on these topics do so on several RV truck hauler sites.

In most cases the companies they are bashing have been the most educational and informative. So I believe the education process is what most manufacture are afraid of. Why?

When the reader finds anyone knocking or spinning anything stop. Contact the vender directly to find out more about that company. This holds true for the company Dr. Fun is promoting. Never take anything at face value. That is what I see. When anyone is looking for a new or used RV only believe a small fraction of what you read on the internet or in trade magazines that generate their profit from RV dealers or RV Manufactures advertising. Remember it's all about the company and the warranty.

These sites are great place to locate new vendor. In my 40 years of dealing with the RV business on a personal level. I have learned when anyone attempts to steer me in one direction or the other they have a personal motive.

Most quality RV is only as good as their warranty. I have owned everything from cheesy travel trailer to Prevost bus conversions. If the dealership tells you the Trailer or Motorhome has less then a three year bumper to bumper warranty run off the lot as fast as you can! Do not fall for the extended warranty B/S.

A quality conversion will have a long warranty. Don't fall for the "it's as good as a Prevost for half of the price". You can't get quality on a beer budget. If you are on a beer budget look for a quality unit that is 3 or 4 years old but remains under factory warranty.

If you are planning to spend $50,000 or $250,000 on a conversion go see all of these manufactures. To close, my advice is to do your own research. Consider a few short vacations to visit the manufactures and ask for a list of customer who have purchased their conversion. It appears to me to be the only way to get the information you need.

If you read my bloggs you will see I was taken for a $200,000.00 dollar ride. I found the builder listed on a web site like this. I traveled to the shop and bam! Before I know it my money was gone! I will admit I was not the brightest bulb in the room. I do not blame the internet. I have purchased many nice products since my loss. I blame the retail RV Dealer AKA middle man who directed me to the builder and the builder himself. The dealer collected his profit and refused to return my deposit. The manufacture filed numbers with the IRS. The internet site I found the ad was not at falt I was for believing the bloggs. Lesson learned.

That is why I question anyone pushing one company too hard. Like Dr. Fun. Again he may be a happy customer but he would appear to me to work for the company in question. If I am incorrect I apologize.

This has been a very positive exchange of Ideas. Thank You Mr. Bill for the Truck Conversion format.

Respectfully Submitted,
Dave
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Old 01-21-2007, 06:42 PM   #11
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Dave, I must admit, I too have endorsed a truck conversion builder (see "starting conversion" dated Aug 5, 2006) under the "announcements" heading.

As I had noted, I visited several of the conversion manufacturers in & around Elkhart, along with Optima in Eastman, Ga. before deciding to go with Hawk Engineering in SE Mo. I have no connection with this company and live in OKC, Ok which is over 500 miles from Hawk's location.

The reason I went with them involved several innovative ideas that no one else offered. For instance, they use custom built 90 gallon (ea) holding tanks, mounted crossways instead of lengthways, which only takes up one (4') storage bay. They mounted a 42 gallon propane tank between the frame rails, which doesn't take up any storage space. They built the main cage out of 1&1/2" sq tubing (on 16" centers) instead of 1" like some of the manufacturers. They use .050" aluminum skins instead of .040" like some of the manufacturers, and they use thermopane windows, all LED lighting, among several other "upgrades" and apparently don't charge extra for these. At least I couldn't find anything in my contract that appeared to be a higher price {other than} which was quoted.

I think it is human nature to want to share information in a "positive light" when one has had a good experience with a dealer or manufacturer, as well as writing about a bad experience.
I would agree, in reading some of the posts, sometimes it's difficult to determine if someone is a representative for a company or just a satisfied customer.

I would think the best way to approach the purchase of a large ticket item is to read the posts (good or bad) learn as much as possible about the subject, visit several competing manufacturers, compare specific design features, and ask as many questions as possible.
Always remember, there aren't any dumb questions, ...just dumb answers.
Bob E. OKC, Ok
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:32 AM   #12
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**Please Note**

Per the Terms of Service that all members have agreed I have deleted the last 2 posts.

Bill
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:43 AM   #13
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Hi Bill, I am glad to see that this site is back up. Over the years I've read some of the articles with interest and replied only rarely. It seems that there were (an likely still are) a number of members representing manufacturers hiding "behind the curtains". I for one want to put everything out in the open and challenge all the other manufacturers and manufacturer reps to register using their company name. I'd like to see it, but I am doubtful as the Internet allows for a incredible amount of secrecy and hence deception.

With regard to Alan (Dr. Fun) - he is a customer of ours. His motorhome can be seen on our website and if you'll email me, I'd be glad to link you the pictures. I like customers like Alan as he researched thoroughly before buying - even visiting the factory - which I am encouraging ALL buyers to do before spending the huge sums of money required to purchase these rigs. Even a used conversion should be researched thoroughly and a visit to the factory will educate you way beyond what a salesman or literature will tell you. We happen to have a regional airport right behind our factory and many of the manufacturers are easy access to the interstate highway system.

Some people will research a coffee maker more than they will a custom motorhome. Checking this website is only a start, but call the manufacturers (not the dealers) and ask about the problems reported on this blog and use your common sense to ascertain whether you're getting an answer to your concerns or not. Every manufacturer has had problems of one sort or another, but the better manufacturers will either be able to explain how they've solved the problem or how they a planning to.

Bashing the competition says nothing to the educated. It is better to make your product look good by simply making a better product, not degrading the competition. With the former the manufacturer is doing something positive to improve their product over their competition, the latter maintains the same product (going nowhere in the positive direction) while trying to make the competition "appear" inferior.
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:03 AM   #14
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Thanks Steve! I am hoping many others will follow your lead.

One reason we have not seen as many builders on here is some of the bashing that has gone on in the past.

By firing up this forum again, I have decided to just delete those posts within a short time that they are posted. Also if a member is signing up under multiple names and trying to appear as someone they are not those posts will be deleted.

I have made the Terms of Service very plain to see, so if they are not abided by than I will take steps to remove the posts and or the member.

Steve, I look forward to hearing more about what Transport Design is up to these days.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:08 PM   #15
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Racing4fun

I like your comments and agree with you. I'm getting ready to have a custom build and I want to read facts, not comments and opinions.

I enjoyed reading the thread from (I think) Bob E about Hawk Eng. They use 16" in centers, uses 1 1/2 sq tubes, does not use FRB, etc,etc.

I have not visited Manuf plants and facts like this, gives me knowledge to ask different builders questions about how the build.

I've had about 25 motorhomes, including 8 New Prevost and two new Newells.
I know Motorhomes, but know almost nothing about truck conversions.
Glenn
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