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Author Topic: Truck Based Motor Coach with Garage  (Read 5260 times)
TomC
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« on: October 26, 2007, 07:54:10 AM »

I still have my '84 Kenworth 90" Aerodyne cabover sitting on a 235" wheelbase 3 axle with 400hp Caterpillar and 13spd with a 96" box behind the cab that has full facilities (shower, toilet, 4.2cu reefer, microwave, sink, double bed on hoist, generator, etc).  From running with my bus, I pull my car behind, which I really dislike doing.  Can't backup, puts wear and tear on the car tires, collects oil from the engine, etc.  I've been thinking of taking my old truck, get rid of the 96" box and have a 28ft box made that has a car ramp on the back where I can carry a Mini Cooper, and then will be able to also pull a boat behind when I want (I want to visit the many inland waterways we have-so a 27ft mini cabin cruiser [think Bayliner 2750] would be the ticket).
What I would do would be to have the truck gone over, the 13spd changed to an Allison, and have the 28ft box made that I would convert.  I can't think of a bus I could use for this (maybe a Crown or Gillig mid engine, but they are only 96" wide and require a roof raise, and upgrade on the engine) so the truck seems to be the way to go.  Ideas?  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2007, 08:30:16 AM »

Tom,

   For the 28' box are you planning extending the frame?
 I've seen some high dollar combos out there.
 For the low cost I've seen a fifth wheel placed on a conventional with ramped garage back.
 I was suprised for they did a nice job but the steps up seemed high to me.
 With your Aerodyne that probably wouldn't work

Interesting project.

 Whats wrong with running triples? Smiley (just joking)

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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2007, 12:30:43 PM »

You have probably already seen this site but if not check it out. It will give you some ideas.

I looked at one of these before I bought the bus but didn't buy it because I would spend ALL the time driving it! They are WAY too much FUN if you happen to be an old truck driver!   Grin Grin Grin Grin

http://www.kingsleycoach.com/
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2007, 12:41:16 PM »

I need one of those, LOL.
What a cool vehicle - best of both worlds.
Hope to win the Lottery, Powerball,etc. and get one.
Thanks for the link.  Cool
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2007, 01:41:46 PM »

Tom, as you know we have a truck based motorhome (Freightliner).  What you want to do is very feasible and I would recommend that you look at Transport Designs, Inc. web site and see what they have done for the type of rig you are talking about.  http://www.transportdesigns.com/

Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in the company; I'm just a very satisfied customer.

Before we went with a truck conversion, we had a wonderful GM4104 for 16 years (1985 - 2001).  She was absolutely trouble free in the over 150,000 miles we put on her; including five or six transcontinental trips from California to the Maritime Provinces.  We only sold her because we wanted something newer with more power and more gears to get us over the mountains.  Not wanting to spend the money for a new bus shell and doing another conversion at my age (now 69), we went with a truck conversion.

We visited several truck conversion companies and looked at their shop facilities before we decided on Transport Designs, Inc. They used quality components, had a small shop with dedicated employees and would build it the way we wanted it!

We spec'ed out the truck at our local Freightliner dealer in Bakersfield (sorry, Tom I didn't know you then!).  As  Tom knows, this was an all day job in getting everything we wanted on the truck.

2001 Custom Motorhome

Chassis & Cab:   Freightliner FL70     Engine: Caterpillar 3126B     300 HP &  860 Lb.-Ft. Torque
Transmission: Eaton-Fuller 6-speed Manual Overdrive
Rear Suspension: 19,000 Lb. Air-Ride,      Front Suspension:10,000 Lb. Leaf Spring, 
271” Wheelbase with 128”  Rear Overhang      15” x 5” Front Air Brakes     16.5” x 7” Rear Air Brakes      Bendix Air Dryer
3.91 Rear Axle Ratio        22.5” x 8.25” Aluminum Wheels with Michelin 255/80R 22.5 14 ply Tires
Two 45 Gallon Fuel Tanks       Fuel Separator with Heater
Air-Ride Cab     Crawl-Through opening in back of cab      Air-Ride Driver & Passenger Seats w/arm rests
Remote Controlled & Heated Mirrors      Power Windows     Power Door Locks    Cruise Control     Air Conditioner     Air Horn 
 Variable Speed Windshield Wipers     Tilt & Telescoping Steering Wheel      Dome/Reading Lights
Gauges:   Speedometer     Tachometer     Hour Meter      Primary Air     Secondary Air     Suspension Air 
Water Temperature     Transmission Temperature      Oil Pressure      Fuel      Voltmeter       Low Air Pressure Warning 
Turbo Boost     Exhaust Gas Temperature
Stereo Radio with CD player      CB Radio with Weather Bands     Fire Extinguisher      Flare Kit 
MPH/RPM:  55/1500      60/1625     70/1900     80/2200            Top Speed:  87.8 mph (governed)


Motorhome Conversion:  Transport Designs, Montoursville, PA

Overall Length of Motorhome :  37’-9”       Overall Width:  8’-6””         Overall Height: 11’-9”
Length of Motorhome “Box”: 27’-0” inside + “cab-over” portion        Inside Height:  7’-0”
Aluminum Tubing Frame:  16” on-center, all welded.     Exterior Walls: 0.050” Aluminum,  Riveted 4” on-centers. 
Roof  0.040” one piece Aluminum       Floor: 3/4”         Interior Walls: 3/8”        Solid Oak Cabinets
Insulation: Walls: 1-1/2” Polystyrene  Roof: 3” Polystyrene w/ 1” dead air space top/ bottom  Floor: 2”Polystyrene
8KW PowerTech Kubota Diesel Generator     2500watt Trace Sine-Wave Inverter       240 watts Solar Panels
120 gal. Fresh Water     115 gal. Gray Water     48 gal. Black Water     Two Penguin 13,500 BTU Air Conditioners
Walk-Around Queen Size Bed        Full Size Shower         Porcelain Toilet   
Fully Loaded Weight = 25,000 lb.

To see what our rig looks like, go to our website:    http://www.thegooddeeds.com/TouringTheUSAandCanada.html 

Tom, with what you have done with your bus, this would be a "peice of cake" for you!



 
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Gary D

USBUSIN was our 1960 PD4104 for 16 years Ustruckin' is our 2001 Freightliner truck conversion
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2007, 03:49:32 PM »

Hi Tom,

Very neat idea... And lots of potential, along with many options that could be incorporated in the design.

Just a non meaningful thought, wouldn't they all concider you a class "C"....lol

Nick-
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2007, 03:53:20 PM »

Nick; yes a class "C" on steroids!
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Gary D

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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2007, 09:55:25 PM »

I saw an Airstream mounted on a extra long wheelbase KW at Kew West one year. It looked sharp. I think the answer for you is to combine what you already have. Put enough of your bus behind the cab of that KW to make it 45 feet long.
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2007, 10:37:43 PM »

Here's an interesting thought-I'm thinking of using a cabover truck-so would that make it a class A motorhome since it has a flat front like a front engine motorhome, or would it be a class C since I would be using a truck cab front-can't decide?

I've looked and talked to Transport Designs.  For a customer of mine that wants a 35ft motorcoach with a 14ft garage, they want nearly $210,000 for the conversion- I provide the truck.  There is another converter right here in Los Angeles area (Transport Designs is in PA), that is Santek Trailers that I also have dealt with.  Much the same senario- small shop, all metal design, will build to your specs, etc.  Will be meeting with them on Tues with some floor plans for the garage ramp in back under the bedroom.  One thing I like about Santek is that they will build the rear quarters to any level of completion.  Mainly I'd like them to build the box with insulation, slide outs, and outside skinned-the rest I know how to do.

I appreciate all the encouragement.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2007, 08:40:49 AM »

Hi Tom,
I am not familiar with an '84 Kenworth Aerodyne so I don't know what type of suspention it has. If it is anything other than air ride I would think it would provide too harsh a ride for motorhome use.
You have stated several times that you are a large man so I wonder about a Mini Cooper being a good choice for a car. When we traveled for 10,000 miles, for 2 1/2 months, in 2005 we put about 6,000 miles on the bus and over 4,000 on the car. I was glad that we had a comfortable car for those 4,000 miles. While I have never ridden in a Mini Cooper, they look to be too small for a large man. I hope your experience with one tells you that it will be fine.
I noticed that Transport Designs uses polystyrene insulation. That is a poor insulation at best. I hope Santek Trailers uses something better. I know you used hot spray urethane in your bus and would expect you would want that in your truck conversion also.
Good luck with your new adventure, Sam 4106
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2007, 08:10:10 PM »

Tom,

Get in touch with Bob Evans in OKC. He is building a truck conversion on a newspec 500HP Freightliner chassis with a VERY long wheelbase and frame. He previously converted a 4104, is a great guy and knows just about all there is to know about conversions, probably the smartest busnut I ever met.

I'll send you his email address privately.

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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2007, 06:19:43 AM »

Many years ago, in the 80's, I purchased a new S/S 35 ft Europremier coach. This prior to my purchase of DML. It was built on a truck chassis, but I do not remember what it was. I have to say that the purchase of the Europremier was one of the worst mistakes I ever made in my RV'ing career.

She was a beautiful creation, but the ride was atrocious.She had a very long overhang and was spring suspension. It was absolutely impossible for Janet to rest on the rear bed while we were traveling down the road. She actually would get sea sick.

After one trip from California to Oregon and back, I turned it in to a local RV dealer to get rid of it for me. I do not recall for sure, but I suspect I lost at least 25% of my initial investment.

Based on this experience, I would suggest that anyone planning on building something on a truck chassis be very cautious in the type of suspension it has, how can it be modified for a better softer ride and be very careful in the amount of overhang it will end up with.

Richard
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2007, 09:41:40 PM »

The Kenworth truck I'm going to use has tandem axles on back suspended on Kenworths own 8 air bag air suspension.  It has a total of 7 inches of travel (4 inches up and 3 inches down) with 2" sway bar.  In front is 12,000lb taperleaf that I will enhance with Danvel air bags.  When I drove this truck, it rode so well, I rarely had any air in the air suspension seats-had to look cool in the low rider sense.  I'm confident it will ride well-maybe not quite as nice as the bus, but nowhere near what the older S/S did on truck chassis.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2007, 07:03:17 AM »

While I would love to roll into a campground on the beach with a Peterbilt 379 nose on my RV the deal breaker for me is always the percentage of the overall rig length that you have to give up with a truck chassis.  Your cabover wouldn't be near as bad as my dream 379 but its still going to be more than with a bus.  I figure we get 38 or 39 feet of living area out of our 40' Prevost - I don't see how any truck conversion can come close to that ratio.
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2007, 09:16:42 AM »

If you take the 90" overall, add 3 inches for cab to coach gap-that gives 93" overall.  I will convert the existing sleeper to a small office for bill paying and internet access-that's 32 inches.  So taking that 32" (that is usable "living space") away from the 93", that leaves 61" of actual driving cab space.  If you measure from your front bumper to the back of your drivers seat, I think you'll find your measurement not to far off from the 61" I will have on the Kenworth.  If there are a few extra inches wasted, I'll just consider it a sacrifice to get into a truck that has a normal drive train that any truck repair shop can work on-especially a cabover that exposes both the engine and transmission.  The only bus I'm considering is a Crown-since it has a mid engine, is built on a truck chassis, uses standard off the shelf truck parts, and will facilitate modifying the body to my specifications for a coach with garage-plus you can get a tandem drive on them! 

If anyone knows of a 40ft Crown that is intact as far as the drivers compartment (can be crashed behind since I'm going to remove the bus and have a coach made), 350-400 Cummins with a Allison automatic, air suspension, let me know.  A bookmobile would work perfectly.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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