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48" Sleeper too small for RV conversion?


CrazyCooter

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Hey guys and gals,

 

I have been hanging around here for the past 9 years gathering info as we have wanted to make the jump up to an HDT toter. Back in 2006, it didn't make much sense as I kind of needed a new pickup anyway and we were only towing a 9K lb. 26' TT.

 

We have since traded up to the 40' 19-20K lb. toyhauler we have now and were traveling more than ever. Although it's doing the job, I'm feeling like the old Dodge 3500 isn't liking the 29-31K combined weight very well! Ive done everything I can do to help with stability, braking, and traction for this combo.....

 

Found an old singled and de-rated (26k GVW)1997 FLD120, series 60, Eaton Fuller 10 speed, 2.93 ratio, and 48" sleeper that the guy has used for his toter but is downsizing. Has all the stuff I think would be needed, but being in CA we have to go MH title for the CARB regs.......

 

This is not my ideal truck, but it has an air ride RV 5th wheel hitch and flat bed on it already, tires are good virgin rubber, recent injectors, air drier and a few other things I cant remember. My thought is that if it can be had for $5K, I could play with it for a while to decide if I want to invest in a "Nice" truck and if I can live without 4x4 for the majority of our travels. I could still use my Dodge for the local winter camping.

 

We don't really need a big condo sleeper as a person might sleep there on a long trip while drivingor just a quick overnighter, but need enough room for the proper equipment to get the RV title.

 

 

Is 48" enough? Shore power/inverter, micro, refer/icebox, portapoty in the closet?

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CrazyCooter;

 

9 years? That's 3 federal EPA re rulings, who knows how many California rule changes.

 

9 years, you may want to think on it for awhile!

 

I bet some of the folks on here will be ready to move onto something else, then you will have one already setup!

 

(Just a little jokin!)

 

Curt

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How wide is a typical single sleeper mattress?

 

Since we're not planning to live in the truck, all the appliances could be the smallest available and we don't need a bunch of closets either. Can't remember if it was a flat top from the pics.

 

We have a local outfit here, Registration Express, that I talked to last month about handling the conversion paperwork/VIN verification to stay away from DMV. I guess they were scheduled to do one for a local guy who has his rig registered in MT. Waiting for a call back for them now.

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CrazyCooter;

 

9 years? That's 3 federal EPA re rulings, who knows how many California rule changes.

 

9 years, you may want to think on it for awhile!

 

I bet some of the folks on here will be ready to move onto something else, then you will have one already setup!

 

(Just a little jokin!)

 

Curt

 

9 years is a short time for a young guy like me!

 

8 years ago, all my buddies harassed me about buying too much truck for my needs.......the 3500 DRW. We just finally have found the need to really step it up!

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My '99 FLD is a 60" condo. The mattress for the lower bunk is a twin, which is just over 6' long. Looking at my current sleeper configuration, you could fit all the requirements that you need in MY sleeper. But not sure how you would make it all fit in a 48 without some creative ingenuity, or a complete re-configuration. There is room to put the fridge/microwave in the closet between the bed and the driver seat, and room to put a SMALL port-a-potty in the closet behind the pass seat. Not sure if the smaller sleeper has a smaller bed in it, or if the cabinets are big enough.

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My Volvo 610 has space under the center of the bed for the porta-pot, and we have a chest type refrigerator between the shifter and the passenger seat. The microwave sits on the closet, and the inverter and associated electrics are under the bunk. The bed is a single, about 38" wide. This works well for us on a daily basis. Obviously, another truck may have a different layout.

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I should add that I would set mine up to be able to use the sleeper as a sleeping/living area. If you are just looking to pass inspection, and will hardly use the sleeping area, things don't have to fit as well (above mentioned fridge between seats....we spend a lot of time walking through this area).

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Here are some questions. Where is the truck from (what state) ? What is stated on the title (motorhome or truck) ? Is the truck is already titled as a motorhome ? In some states the title can transfer from one state to another with out any problems. Ask the owner of the truck what is stated on his title. Have you seen the truck ? Does it have want you want for a truck ? Just some things to look at or ask about.

 

Good luck

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Here are some questions. Where is the truck from (what state) ? What is stated on the title (motorhome or truck) ? Is the truck is already titled as a motorhome ? In some states the title can transfer from one state to another with out any problems. Ask the owner of the truck what is stated on his title. Have you seen the truck ? Does it have want you want for a truck ? Just some things to look at or ask about.

 

Good luck

The truck is a CA truck titled as a truck and derated to 26K lbs GVW. If was titled as a MH already there would be no question I would just buy the rig if the price is right. Honestly, it is not what I want in a truck.....I want a new pimped Volvo day cab with an EZ Trac 4x4 conversion, but my pocketbook and state of residency have their limitations!

 

I think this could be had for around $5K which I think is fair considering it is worth scrap here in CA as a commercial vehicle thanks to CARB. It would allow me to try the HDT thing out.

 

I have not seen the truck yet in person, but may have a chance to look at it on Saturday. It is on a non-op registration right now since it costs $900 a year here and he has not used it this year.

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Hey Crazy,

 

I would not be in a hurry to buy a truck. I would do some window shopping and asking lots of questions. The right truck will come along. Follow your gut feelings. Don't just buy because you want to buy something. Make sure you feel comfortable with the truck. The sleeper on my truck is 42".

 

Have fun shopping,

Al

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The sleeper on my truck is 42", and its set up to seat 6, total of 8 seats in the HDT. The high top has room around the top ledge for all the needed stuff.

 

I think you might be on to something. I'm in the other camp--if you can find a nice low price unit already set up in good shape...go for it. A couple years experience will show you if you like the HDT and if you want any specific changes in your next one. All the "retired" full timer folks on here have to get their "last" truck....some of us still have time to play! :rolleyes: Heck, for $5K you are just buying the air hitch and the tires!

I paid about $10K for my '95 a couple years back, w/o air hitch, but set up in the sleeper. The 40' 5r came with it for $20K more. It worked out fine for my family of 7, and I LOVE traveling in the HDT with the nice ride and all the room. But....the 40' trailer is really too big for the State Parks we prefer, and I'm just too busy to get away much, so it sits most of the time. Without spending too much, we discovered that for our type of camping, we might be better off (after the kids get thru college) to trade it off for something smaller. The thing is, I didn't sink $$$$$ into the rig...so I can let it sit, or downsize, or keep running it, without losing my shirt.

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CrazyCooter;

 

Getting it titled RV will not add to it, it now removes it from commercial which makes the buying market that much smaller.

Truck values are all over the place, depending on location, application or condition.

Just on this site we have folks that buy new $140,000 + to older mechanical ones under $5,000. That's a large spread with different values in between. It comes down to "what's it worth to you" in reality.

You must remember one persons treasure might be another persons trash!

 

Curt

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CrazyCooter;

 

Getting it titled RV will not add to it, it now removes it from commercial which makes the buying market that much smaller.

Truck values are all over the place, depending on location, application or condition.

Just on this site we have folks that buy new $140,000 + to older mechanical ones under $5,000. That's a large spread with different values in between. It comes down to "what's it worth to you" in reality.

You must remember one persons treasure might be another persons trash!

 

Curt

 

 

Right now the truck is worth just above scrap in our state as it can't be operated commercially....The local scrap yard is taking them in because they can't be driven here without a re-power that is CARB approved. I don't know if I could even get a permit to move it home before it gets retitled. I do know the state is issuing 72 hour moving permits to get them out of the state........

 

In my circle, people are looking for large toters but with the regs what they are it is more difficult to do here. Even 450/4500's are a major hassle. I know if I build a MH toter and decide to upgrade or just sell, it should be an easy sale. Probably even make a few bucks.

 

Take it out of this state and your statement would be correct for now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

After reading both your comments and those from other owners I am somewhat confused on how you are measuring the sleeper. It sounds like you may be measuring just the bunk? To determine the correct sleeper size you would need to measure the distance from the back of the seats, or the point where the day-cab wall would be, to the back of the existing sleeper wall. I have a '04 670 and while the bunks measure 39" wide the sleeper is considered to be 72" (well, maybe 70").

 

I do know one thing for sure ;) - I am thankful that I don't have to deal with CA registration requirements and the CARB regulations.

 

The truck sounds interesting - especially at $5K.. But, keep in mind even with virgin rubber and a "fair" engine you can spend a lot of money in a hurry on brakes, drums, cans, air valves, batteries, cooling system, king pins, tie rods, drag links, all fluid hoses, air dryer, governor, air bags, shocks, windshield glass, door gaskets, U-joints, etc. I bought my truck in 2009 for $15K and thought it was a good deal. But, it did not take long to drop another $15K (or more) refreshing/replacing the items above plus "cosmetic" upgrades even with my doing most of the wrenching..

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All the pics I have seen online of 48" sleepers the bunk looks like the whole sleeper without any room to spare! That's why I was wondering IF it could be done. Maybe a simple custom sofa and cabinet to house the appliances would be in order.

 

I do expect to put a few bucks into what ever I end up with but don't want to get too upside down on something that is not the truck I want to keep. I worked for trucking company, an alignment shop back in the day, and own a drivetrain shop now....so have a bit of experience and good sources for parts. Doing some repairs doesn't bother me much, but I really don't want to have to rebuild the whole rig..... I have the equipment to mount/balance tires as well as 4 wholesale sources.

 

I was thinking maybe I could have something put together for $7,500-10K total and just trying the HDT thing out. I may not work as I spend a fair amount of time off road with 99.9% of out camping is boondocking. The 5er is over 4 years old and it finally spent 3 nights in a park last month!

 

He should be back from vacation and guess I should call him for a visual!

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I think for the price, you should give it a shot. Something to consider, is if there is a diff lock on this truck. Mine did not come with one, and last fall we had to pull it out of a hole that a locked truck would have driven through. The hole wasn't very deep (4-6") but it was muddy, and the other tires were on wet grass, so it just spun out. (this was on a back road, pulling a 30' GN)

These trucks are not designed to be driven off the paved roads, but lots of oil & gas trucks are driven on 2-tracks and gravel roads every day, so it can be done.

As for them costing as much to make road-worthy as original purchase, just look the truck over really good. We purchased ours for around the same price, and in the 2 years that I have had it, I have had to replace batteries (the day I bought it), 2 sensors on the Detroit, and the rear air bags (slow leak due to dry rot). I am also now purchasing a new turbo for it, but I have no idea how old the current one is (1.1M total miles). It has a broken fin on the air side, so Im sure it is on borrowed time. All these cost me around 3k.

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Much has been written about these trucks not getting around well off road. I've done a little checking under various trucks to see why, other than the obvious lack of weight on the drives.

 

I think I'm safe in saying that we all have air ride drivers. What is different about some trucks, those designed to be used off road, is that the air line connecting the air bags are much larger, allowing the wheels to follow the terrain better. Typically, Volvos, and some other brands, have pretty small air lines feeding each individual air bag. But I bet if LostinAZ would be so kind as to post a picture of his bag supply, we'd see that his KW uses an air line of about 3/4" v. my Volvo or Mack of about a 1/4" line. I don't know that all KWs use the larger lines, but at least some do.

 

I can tell you that I go off road a lot with the Mack, and it doesn't do as well as many other trucks.

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The truck is supposed to be equipped an air diff lock according to the owner. I'm hoping by shortening up the wheelbase a bit it will transfer some weight to the rear axle to get better traction and lighten the front a bit so it doesn't sink as bad. I'm sure like an unloaded dually, it will still get stuck on wet grass......

 

I can see where larger air feed lines would help that and a ping tank would make it better and improve the ride. I always figured the KW 4 bag system would be the best off road......

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Rick, the 1" lines is actually for ride. When the AG200 first barely came out it had regular plumbing and suffered a nasty resonance at 60mph. Going to the 1" lines and parallel plumbing was one of the very first fixes. That cross-axle plumbing combined with parallelogram operation is what makes them do good in the dirt and gravel. They don't have any torque rise and keep a steady pinion angle under articulation so your your torque load at the ground is steady and something you can predict and control with your right foot. I've lost track of how many new trailing arm suspensions KW has added recently, but the AG400 is still what I prefer and spec.

 

That said, their weakness is a low amount of travel (3") and low amount of cross articulation because of the stiff swaybars (despite what's advertised). So yea, it'll do really well and allow you to get the truck right where you want it, but it does tend to get stuck in the dumbest of places if you don't drive for it. Ditches and small swales (ie: field to gravel rd) are what gets me. You better have the right angle and enough momentum going to be able to drop torque before crossing or you are going to be stuck right there. Same goes for 3pt backing a trailer up into a draw to turn around. There's no stopping to think when you've got the trailer high, front wheels turned, and have jacked into the trailer. It'll hobble on two wheel ends and stick you quick. You better get on it and have your line right the first time! Moral of the story for us in the field is we have to disc out all the draws for the KW to survive easily. But we don't have to water the hillclimbs and heads of draws anymore!

 

I guess the 2.-whatever rear ratio on truck above is what would concern me the most. That's pretty hard to work with in the dirt. It is pretty easy to break a shaft with too. But it is just one of those things where you'll figure out its sweet spot and work with it.

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Guest Lostinaz

Rick-

Actually my KW is pretty old and still has the AG-100 8 bag air suspension with the small air lines.

Pretty good proven suspension that keeps its alignment well.

They had some problems when they tried to improve on it over the years-extra parts that wore out, etc.

I'm pretty happy with it, have driven a lot of different AG-100s off road places that would surprise you how well they did. My truck has pretty much spent its life on the highway.

I always liked the Peterbilt 4 bag suspensions better than mine, less air bags and simpler looking to me.

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