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Custom building our full time gooseneck. w8' h10'6" but length... 28, 29, 29.5, 30 or 32????


Leftishut
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Gooseneck length Custom building our full time gooseneck (first rig ever). w8' h10'6" but length... 28, 29, 29.5, 30 or 32????

Some details:

truck- 2002 f350 7.3

we want to be able to camp at as many campgrounds, or boondocking sites as reasonably possible without being too cramped. 

We are building for full off grid capability

we are wanting it to be built starting in feb 2018 and finish interior and systems in that year and head down for the next 3 years of rebuild after these lovely storms. 

I am researching as much as I can. But length and height are hard to find info on. We chose 8' to be sure to be legal no mater where we go. We chose 10'6"on height due to UPS using that for their box trucks, they must have found that the best compromise. But length!! 28' is the minimum. 32' the maximum. I have heard under 30' gets you into the most places without being tiny. 

We are planning 8-10" of spray foam insulation on ceiling,4" on walls and 6" on floor and all wiring pluming and tanks inside, so we want as much space as possible (who doesn't I guess). 

Any wisdom in this regard anyone would be willing to share would be treasured, I have very little experience!

 

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Welcome to the forum. I think for starters you need to rethink the height starting at the ground the more ground clearance the better 16" wheels or better for getting into boondocking sites ( is your Ford 4WD ? , do you plan on upgrading ?) At 10'6" will there be standing room above the goosneck ?  I dont think so considering 6" insulation. Dont forget AC units on top, dual pane windows, slides ? My vote is 32'

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! We will help as much as we are able. It may be helpful also if you would share with us what sort of RV background you have? Since you have never owned one, have you spent any time in one of something similar to compare with? It is not uncommon for people who have no prior RV experience to quickly discover that living all of the time in an RV just isn't for them so I always suggest renting an RV for a trip of a week or two first, just to be sure that you understand what you are getting into. While these forums are mostly populated by ardent supporters of the RV lifestyle, we frequently observe new folks who excitedly join the forums to prepare for fulltime RV living and then they leave in only a short time because it just didn't work. I love this life and only stopped fulltime after 12 years because health issues of my wife forced it. I would go back in a moment if things were to change, but I have known many others that just were not happy on the road so I strongly advise caution. 

With that said, there is little doubt that you can build a higher quality RV than what is readily available so I encourage your project. The minimum size is a very subjective thing as we were quite happy in our 36', gasoline powered motorhome that had no slides for nearly 12 years, while others find it cramped to live in a 40' fifth wheel that has 5 slides. While a limit of 30' would make it easier to find places to park, there is really no need to limit that much in the RV world of today unless you expect to go into far more difficult places than do most of those who use an RV today. If you plan to tow the rig over forest service roads far into the mountains you may need to limit that much but if you plan to use the more accessible disbursed camping that are commonly used by fulltimers, then you could easily go larger. 

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Welcome to the forum - interesting project - 

I've thought through doing a similar build/conversion of a trailer and have a bit of an idea file going on a design that is kinda like a horse or race car trailer but tall enough to have the living space above the systems in the basement. 

Are there any areas of the USA that 102" (8ft 6in) is not legal? 

I know most "tow equipped" sooper pickups don't have mirrors you can see past an 8ft 6in trailer properly...

Radiant heat. 

Controlled ventilation.

Great Big Tanks. 

Edited by noteven
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2 hours ago, Devilishjim said:

Welcome to the forum. I think for starters you need to rethink the height starting at the ground the more ground clearance the better 16" wheels or better for getting into boondocking sites ( is your Ford 4WD ? , do you plan on upgrading ?) At 10'6" will there be standing room above the goosneck ?  I dont think so considering 6" insulation. Dont forget AC units on top, dual pane windows, slides ? My vote is 32'

Thank you all for the welcome! 

It's a f350 4x4 with stock setup. Aout 13.5" clearance .we were hoping to match it.

we are having local horse trailer builder do the build if we can afford him. We want it to look as much like a horse trailer as possible. But lighter and wider frame. I would like it over built but not like crazy.

real horse trailers go down ranch roads but are many times lower for horse comfort. 

Max clearance would be the truck height. But I figure contractors utility trailer height may be sufficient. Open to real world experience in inches here!

we will not upgrade the truck. This's is a one time shot thing. I don't believe in credit  and want a simple life of volunteer work and side work in 3D drafting to fund it. My wife and I have put our noses to the grind stone for 3 years and have $ hopefully to cash flow the build and some systems and a year setup before hitting the open road.

we got the f350 from a trusted friend for $10,000. We'll maintained. And have heard good things about her. It's the most truck we will likely be able to muster and maintain on our budget.

 

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2 hours ago, Devilishjim said:

Welcome to the forum. I think for starters you need to rethink the height starting at the ground the more ground clearance the better 16" wheels or better for getting into boondocking sites ( is your Ford 4WD ? , do you plan on upgrading ?) At 10'6" will there be standing room above the goosneck ?  I dont think so considering 6" insulation. Dont forget AC units on top, dual pane windows, slides ? My vote is 32'

We are going ductless ac unit for heat cool mounted on wall under tongue. Roof will have nothing but max fans

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2 hours ago, Devilishjim said:

Welcome to the forum. I think for starters you need to rethink the height starting at the ground the more ground clearance the better 16" wheels or better for getting into boondocking sites ( is your Ford 4WD ? , do you plan on upgrading ?) At 10'6" will there be standing room above the goosneck ?  I dont think so considering 6" insulation. Dont forget AC units on top, dual pane windows, slides ? My vote is 32'

No slides. Windows I need all the help I can get on those. Insulated for sure. And have a metal cover on outside if we want discretion. 

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2 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

Welcome to the Escapee forums! We will help as much as we are able. It may be helpful also if you would share with us what sort of RV background you have? Since you have never owned one, have you spent any time in one of something similar to compare with? It is not uncommon for people who have no prior RV experience to quickly discover that living all of the time in an RV just isn't for them so I always suggest renting an RV for a trip of a week or two first, just to be sure that you understand what you are getting into. While these forums are mostly populated by ardent supporters of the RV lifestyle, we frequently observe new folks who excitedly join the forums to prepare for fulltime RV living and then they leave in only a short time because it just didn't work. I love this life and only stopped fulltime after 12 years because health issues of my wife forced it. I would go back in a moment if things were to change, but I have known many others that just were not happy on the road so I strongly advise caution. 

With that said, there is little doubt that you can build a higher quality RV than what is readily available so I encourage your project. The minimum size is a very subjective thing as we were quite happy in our 36', gasoline powered motorhome that had no slides for nearly 12 years, while others find it cramped to live in a 40' fifth wheel that has 5 slides. While a limit of 30' would make it easier to find places to park, there is really no need to limit that much in the RV world of today unless you expect to go into far more difficult places than do most of those who use an RV today. If you plan to tow the rig over forest service roads far into the mountains you may need to limit that much but if you plan to use the more accessible disbursed camping that are commonly used by fulltimers, then you could easily go larger. 

Thank you!

sorry to hear about your health.

 

we are new. But we have a history of setting our minds to things and doing them. I have lived in 5 countries (Central America and Europe ) through good times and bad. My wife is from Europe and was actually her idea. I always wanted too but my sexist;) mind never thought she would. But after being in the US for a while she saw the idea of people doing this and in away it's closer to the European standard living practices. 

Plus we are outdoor people. Plus we like helping others as a main way of life, so being trapped in the rat race one second longer than necessary can not happen!

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2 hours ago, noteven said:

Welcome to the forum - interesting project - 

I've thought through doing a similar build/conversion of a trailer and have a bit of an idea file going on a design that is kinda like a horse or race car trailer but tall enough to have the living space above the systems in the basement. 

Are there any areas of the USA that 102" (8ft 6in) is not legal? 

I know most "tow equipped" sooper pickups don't have mirrors you can see past an 8ft 6in trailer properly...

Radiant heat. 

Controlled ventilation.

Great Big Tanks. 

No it's legal. But apperently in many states you have to stay within so many miles from highway. It doesn't seem to be inforced but who know they may decide to later and then our one shot deal is in trouble. (The may increase to, or never inforce) but we will have more parking options. 

We also want to do relief rebuilding in Texas or Florida so easiest reasonable mobility and ability to not look like a Rv are most critical.

ductles for heat and cool primary 

omega rocket stove with percolating water tank batter for radiant heat battery as backup off grid. That with the insulation I mentioned should be toasty!

composing toilet no black tank

3x 105 gallon fresh gravity fed from above tongue 

2 grey water one for kitchen one for bath as large as I can.

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1 hour ago, GlennWest said:

If I was building one from ground up it would basically a clean roof. No ac. Put residential mini split systems in. Very low power consumption, very quite. Price is comparable or less for noisy, inefficient RV ac. Doing this will open your roof for solar. Also have more height for camper. 

Exactly! But we are going suitcase solar for discretion if needed backed by 600ah to 1000ah lithium bank

do you have a trusted model? I will need a slow start fuction for the inverter to handle the initial kick without shore from gen. And small as possible.

I will wire everything I can in the beginning (all plumbing and conduit inside mounted open) but wait until last minute to buy tech hoping for cheaper or better for we lock in.

Edited by Leftishut
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22 minutes ago, Leftishut said:

Exactly! But we are going suitcase solar for discretion if needed backed by 600ah to 1000ah lithium bank

You'll likely need a whole bunch of suitcase solar panels to keep your rig charged.  If you have the roof otherwise empty it might be worth looking at putting your solar up there, lots of real-estate and actually pretty high so hardly noticeable to folks walking or driving by.  Just one opinion.

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8'6 is legal everywhere.  No issues going anywhere you want.  You don't need to put the freshwater tanks over the pin.  With 315 gallons x 8lbs a gallon your at 2520 before any trailer weight.  I don't think your truck will handle the pin weight.  Also, think about the axle placement.... On horse trailers, the axles are at the back end of the trailer meaning the truck carries more of the trailer weight.

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47 minutes ago, Leftishut said:

Plus we are outdoor people. Plus we like helping others as a main way of life, so being trapped in the rat race one second longer than necessary can not happen!

We sure do agree on this point! We took an early retirement and spent nearly 12 years on the road mostly in RV volunteer positions. We loved it and we still do some of it on a seasonal basis.

40 minutes ago, Leftishut said:

We also want to do relief rebuilding in Texas or Florida so easiest reasonable mobility and ability to not look like a Rv are most critical.

I don't understand why working with one of the recovery organizations would mean you need to hide the fact that you have an RV? We have done that sort of work and we know many other groups, mostly faith-based, that do recovery and reconstruction work and travel in RVs. I have worked with Samaritan's Purse and never had a problem. 

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29 minutes ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

8'6 is legal everywhere.  No issues going anywhere you want.  You don't need to put the freshwater tanks over the pin.  With 315 gallons x 8lbs a gallon your at 2520 before any trailer weight.  I don't think your truck will handle the pin weight.  Also, think about the axle placement.... On horse trailers, the axles are at the back end of the trailer meaning the truck carries more of the trailer weight.

I agree. I need them as high as possible to gravity feed. We want an open belly. We are making the tongue are water grab and a huge closet with hopefully 3 pullout drawers 7' long or so 2 clothes 1 food. 

I was thinking tank in truck to fill in place if we sit. But drive with tanks filled to what we can handle. Weight will be a problem with this build.

 

Edited by Leftishut
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16 minutes ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

8'6 is legal everywhere.  No issues going anywhere you want.  You don't need to put the freshwater tanks over the pin.  With 315 gallons x 8lbs a gallon your at 2520 before any trailer weight.  I don't think your truck will handle the pin weight.  Also, think about the axle placement.... On horse trailers, the axles are at the back end of the trailer meaning the truck carries more of the trailer weight.

How centric can I get?  I was planning on leaning on the builder for a lot of build strength issues. I know we are going 2 dexter torsions. I think the 7000 models

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5 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

We sure do agree on this point! We took an early retirement and spent nearly 12 years on the road mostly in RV volunteer positions. We loved it and we still do some of it on a seasonal basis.

I don't understand why working with one of the recovery organizations would mean you need to hide the fact that you have an RV? We have done that sort of work and we know many other groups, mostly faith-based, that do recovery and reconstruction work and travel in RVs. I have worked with Samaritan's Purse and never had a problem. 

Security. Some areas in distress increase in crime. The ability to be discrete doesn't have to be used but it's nice to have the option. Plus with a build like this it can lock down tighter than normal. 

I like options🙂

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If you are ordering a trailer built the builder will engineer the trailer correctly for the load placement.  Placing nearly 3000lbs of water high and forward will present a certain design to be worked out and affect braking performance as well as how the trailer handles.  The time a water pump operates is relatively short compared to other electric devices. Placing the tanks low in the chassis also gives you the opportunity to gravity fill the tanks from containers or portable tank if necessary. 

The "composting" toilets often used  in small spaces are actually "dessicating" toilets that use a medium to dehydrate waste. The mixture is then disposed of as garbage. It has not been heated and broken down into black compost. I have no personal experience but I do not believe volume is reduced as happens when organic material composts. 

Our system is of course geared to giving poop a proper bath in fresh clean, treated, potable drinking water prior to "disposal" :)

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@noteven

we were not planning on traveling full but maybe 100gal and then fill with trips with truck if needed and while trailer in place.

However, I think this is some more of that wisdom and experience I asked for! 

So maybe I could put may "heat battery" water tank high as a gravity system and leave 2 tanks on the floor and use a pump to up fill when needed? Safer for leaks and high centered weight. 

 

Edited by Leftishut
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Maximum weight and weight distribution would be my primary concerns in a build like this. Get those two right and everything else can flex.

In my customized van all the plumbing ran along the floor just inside the walls. Cabinets and furniture had a small cutout at the bottom back to fit over those pipes.

Linda Sand

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So one vote 32' (it's like getting a free bathroom behind a Murphy bed wall!)

no other votes. Everyone seems to lean large or they go van route. I like vans but not what we can do. 28' is truly minimum.

i have heard accessibility takes a big drop at 30' for the most part we will not be up on mountain tops but I would like to pull off on some forest roads from time to time and take a breath.

we will base around Boise Idaho. So forest Blum is plentiful. Barring out obviously 4x4 roads. Would 28' or 30' make a real difference doing up moderate logging/forestry roads?

I have only towed a 50' boom lift on a small highway once, so no abundant towing experience.

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