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Old 08-01-2003, 09:49 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Columbus, Michigan
Posts: 2


I'm new to the forum, and am hoping that I can find some resources or links to help me better heat and cool my rig.

I'm in my mid twenties, and do a lot of racing so since my funds are fairly limited I went ahead and built my own conversion. It's a 1996 Freightliner FL70 with an 8.3 Cummins and 6speed transmission. It's got all of the original body on it, full stand up sleeper and a 24' box behind that with swing doors.
I made the whole rig RV, minus about 8' in the back that is partitioned off as a garage.

Anyway, I gutted this thing almost two years ago, cut a passage from the sleeper into the box, and got to working on the conversion. All in all it took me a good solid 2 months of work to get it to where it is. I've got wood flooring throughout, full cabinets, and all of the walls are covered in a nice light gray material that matches the cabs upholstery very nice. I deleted the sleepers bed, and built a bench seat that folds up into a bed, I installed a dinette in the back, a full stand up house shower, and a full size bunk over the bathroom. The ceiling is translucent, which is both really nice and at the same time kinda sucks.

The AC from the truck and sleeper keep everything comfortable up front, but in the winter it does not heat the RV portion, and in the summer it is really hot. I think I'm too high to fit a roof unit on the truck, as it was once an expediter and it normal "semi" height.

In the winter it's nearly impossible to get the thing warmed up, even though it is insulated. Again I think the ceiling is hurting me there too. It is comfortable with a propane heater going, but I'm not keen on that for safety reasons, and running down the road with a mr heater running is adefinate no no.

I'm hoping there is something out there diesel operated that can get this thing heated even if I need to run ducts in the floor or ceiling.
Since I have a lot of open space in the garage area, it seems there would be something around that will work.

If anyone has some input or links, I'd really appreciate it. Overall I'm very very happy with this conversion, I've just got some bugs to work out and am learning as I go....


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Old 08-01-2003, 10:05 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Cincinnati Ohio USA
Posts: 286

Send me your sizes....doors windows wall thickness and material and how muchkind/thickness of insulation you have installed I can do a heat loss calculation and give you an IDEA of how big a heating unite you will need-that will help you decide on whether to redue the ceiling or change heating systems to an alternative fuel system...or change your plan completely....say a winter/summer removable insulation blanket....geof in Cincinnati

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Old 08-02-2003, 04:52 AM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: https://community.webshots.com/photo/93826746/94091929JnrVfF
Posts: 68

Hello Matt -- --

Here's one approach you might consider -- in the trucking industry to combat ideling laws -- there are several companys making diesel generators and electric HVAC units.

Here's a link to generators when I was researching:


I selected this unit for my application:


Considering the size of your box -- you may need 2 HVAC units.

Here's a link to the install of mine -- although I've not taken pictures of the under bunk HVAC unit yet:


Gives you something to think about -- --

I'm off to the diesel truck races today at Woodburn Drag Strip ........... :^)

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Old 08-12-2003, 06:43 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Rapid City
Posts: 27


I was looking at a diesel fired hot water heater for a bus conversion a few years back, I think the company that made it was Webasto (it think they have a web page). It could also be used to pre heat your truck engine on cold days if I remember right.

Jeff in South Dakota
1995 Ford F-250 4X4 PSD
1992 Skamper Slide in camper
1984 Holiday Rambler 5er
1979 Mercedes Benz Unimog
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Old 08-13-2003, 09:04 AM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Rapid City
Posts: 27

I looked up the Webasto web page, and they have quite a few options for you.

Jeff in South Dakota
1995 Ford F-250 4X4 PSD
1992 Skamper Slide in camper
1984 Holiday Rambler 5er
1979 Mercedes Benz Unimog
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Old 08-22-2003, 10:34 AM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Eastern Tennessee
Posts: 1

Hey Thunder Valley ...

Let me give you a little more food for thought. Racers are a unique breed as they can build or buy stuff and make treasures out of stuff people call trash. A guy we used to race with built a unit that might just fit your needs.

Dale started out with a VW Rabbit diesel engine but any 2 cylinder or 3 cylinder "D" series Kubota engine would probably work equally well. Anyway, the engine was fitted with a dual Serpentine pulley on the front, and a Sanyo compressor bracket was built. A Leece-Neville alternator was mounted too and the belt laced around them.

Then he pirated a couple of Rear A/C evaporators and blowers off of a GM Van with dual air-conditioning. The condensor was off of one of the vans too I think and it was mounted on the outside with a 12v electric fan on it for cooling. He mounted the two van A/C units inside of his RV box in a regular cabinet at the front and back, and ducted the discharge air both fore and aft. I know he tied in a wall thermostat but I don't recall how he connected it. Maybe to the A/C compressor clutch allowing it to cycle.

The alternator he used was like 100+ amps (maybe 105??) and he bought a Heart Invertor for use where he HAD to use 120v but the majority of his unit was 12 volts. He went and bought 12 volt ballasts out of the flourescent bulbs in a transit bus and then used them in shop type flourescent fixtures. I remember that he used gell-cell batteries and had them turned on their side so he could get to the battery terminals.

For air, he used the truck's brake system to charge his tank going down the road. I am sure you could find a way to add an air-compressor to your aux. engine.

The hot water heater was a unit he bought from an RV surplus place up near you called Bontranger's (??). I think it is in White Pidgeon, MI. I went with him to the place and all I remember it was about a 20 minute ride up from Elkhart. Evidently this company buys up overstock from RV manufacturers. They had rows and rows of RV windows, doors, and everything you could think of in new or slightly damaged condition. The VW engine had a waterpump port that piped water into the hot water heater and it would heat his fresh water in the tank.

I feel sure some aux. heaters out of a school bus could be used to heat your box. School buses are pretty poorly insulated too, so they must put out some decent BTU's and my guess they would work well for your application. With a handful of 'Tee' and ball valves, you could probably figure out a way to use the truck cooling system to circulate through the heaters while driving down the road and then when you are at the track, flip the valves to let the aux. unit cooling heat the heaters. Might be handy as a way to warm the truck's engine too.

I don't know exactly what Dale had in all of his scrounging but my guess $100 was about right for the trashed out Rabbit. I'm sure he sold the salvage for something too. The A/C units probably had little re-sale value too at a Pick-A-Part place. My guess he had about $500 in everything except for the Invertor and his time. I hope this can give you a little thought provoking. I wish I would have taken pictures then. Might have been some help to you now.
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Old 08-24-2003, 11:17 AM   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Mishicot, WI
Posts: 3

The Marine industry has quite an assortment of heaters, coolers, and stoves that are easily adaptable to your "land yacht". Do an internet search for "Marine Diesel Heater". What makes them attractive is that you already carry a plentyful supply of fuel with you. Here are some examples:

See the world from the front seat of a Volvo 610.
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Old 09-14-2003, 07:17 PM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: ellijay, ga. usa
Posts: 235

check out hydro-hot/aqua-hot. they are in ft. lupton co. mase

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