I took my cue from the list and visited Showhauler last week on my to Florida from Michigan. I was met by Lonnie and had the run of the place. Nothing was off limits and he wasn't afraid to answer my questions.
I have quite a bit of experience with fabrication and I was impressed with what I saw. Of course there were things that I would ask for that were differend from what I saw, but that's the fun of purchasing custom.
Overall fab was great. They were not afraid to take suggestions. I was given the name of the other fabricators that they have do specialized work for them and was able to talk directly to them. I have a little experience in building Limos, and for the most part, manufacturers in that industry play "I've got a secret" and won't tell you more than the minimums.
I'm going to offer some of the things that I have seen to Lonnie in case he wants to incorporate them into his units. Of course, I will have them in mine if they work out.
Of course, I will be traveling back before I work out the final details, but I think I have found my next daily driver :-)
For now, its back to working out the 138 other details for the project.
I know that I appreciated Warpath's chronicles concerning his build, so if you will all indulge me, I will do the same as it comes along.
I have looked at a few trucks so far. From what I can glean, the Freightliners rule the numbers which means, they have the most places ready to service them. I am a bit fond of the Volvos, but will keep an open mind. One opinion was put forth that the Volvo drivetrain would be a bit harder to find service for. I don't know how true that is still and it may be an opinion based on older experience. The truck that I have my eye on has a DD s60 so that eliminates that concern anyway. It was also mentioned to me that there is an expensive difference in driveshafts. There are a couple of newer ones that cost about $1000 more apiece to fabricate for the stretch. Yokes and U-joints are the reason. That would be an expensive oversight.
For some reason, the trucks that I have seen with "day cabs" are in worse shape for the same year. I suspect that may be for a few reasons: (1) The original owner didn't have to live in the truck, so he didn't have to care for it as well to keep his sanity. (2)Quite likely the owner wasn't the driver. (3) It was probably used as a "work" truck, and could get back to the shop easily if needed. (ie... lesser tires, minor breakage tolerated, less expensive than breaking down on a coast to coast run, "its the bosses' problem" etc.)
All that being said, it looks like I will being looking for a person to cut the sleeper off whatever I find. One advantage of that route is that the frame will be longer to begin with and not need as much to stretch it and the driveshafts.
Since I am probably getting a sleeper truck, I'm looking to see if I can change the sloped roof when I take off the sleeper to get more room in the overhead.
Well, enough babling for now.
Feel free to comment, and wish me luck...