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Old 06-16-2013, 06:29 PM   #1
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Who has designed their own?

I know there are several SpaceCraft RV's out there and probably other models that someone has had a major part in the design. I am beginning to gather information on my own SpaceCraft build. I have a 2001 Volvo 770 singled long with a 14 foot van box mounted as a vehicle transport garage and storage area when parked. I currently pull a Weekend Warrior Full Throttle with a 12 foot garage that I have my Motorcycle, bicycle's and tools. My initial thought was to have a larger (at least 15 foot) stacker garage with the car (currently a 1999 Isuzu VehiCross) on top with room for the motorcycle, bicycles and tools under. I would need to remove the box from the truck and then shorten and possibly move the axle forward. Both would cause an increase in the cost, but I would most likely never have to make another change.

The second option is to keep the truck as is. It works well for the car and would only need a couple modifications to make it work very well. (It's difficult to tie down the wheels at the front of the box now and in a few years may be impossible.) I would need to put an access door at the front and then a walk out door that matched the position of the drivers door for exiting after backing the car in. With my previous Mini Cooper I was able to open the door just enough to get out with the window down. The VX has a full door frame and I have put on a couple pounds of muscle that doesn't compress like the other stuff.

I have yet to talk more than "ballpark" prices with Marcia at SpaceCraft. Once I have those numbers I will be more prepared. The problem is you have to have a good idea of a plan before you can get a price that's more than "ballpark." (I think.)

I'm new to this site but know some of the posters here from another place. I will attempt to add some photos of my current setup, and would appreciate any comments.

Rod

https://plus.google.com/photos/10135...CNas88yTkImuFA

https://plus.google.com/photos/10135...CK2Fssv8pfLWUg

links for photos above.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:50 PM   #2
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:17 PM   #3
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Hello Rod,
The stacker could give you the most "elegant" answer, but also the most costly, the stacker cost and the truck modifications costs (to bring it back to "more normal"). The fact that you can do bunch of the work might ease some of the pain.
JV solved many of the questions you raise (locking in the front wheel, matching the car door to the box garage door to facilitate exit after you drive it in). I'm sure you have seen Jay's "creation", if you don't recall I have pretty comprehensive set of pictures I took and the ones Jay sent me.
I'm sure Marsha can give you what you want, it's just a question of price.

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Old 06-17-2013, 06:58 AM   #4
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Thanks Henry

Yes, I blame Jay for all of this. I took one look at his "Garage" and just had to have one. I probably have all the same photos. Jay is very good at sharing. I have some other ideas for the trailer that have stuck around since my first meeting with him. The pull out cooking station is one of them. I didn't take any photos of it when I saw it because I think I was too much in awe. Same as I was when you invited me into your trailer during my first rally visit and I saw the single level living area. How early do I need to let you know I will be needing a Super Binkley? I'm sure I will be increasing my pin weight, but I don't know just how much yet and if I will have to go back to a Holland. Got one of those laying around anywhere? If you still troll the other spot the stuff below is posted there too. I just copied and pasted.



I have lots of ideas, most of them cost money and I am not sure is they will pay off in the end. Having only owned one 5th wheel before, I am still a novice. I learned a lot on my first trip with my brothers and thought it was enough to let me get my first purchase right. I got close but since owning my own now for a few years I realize I wasn't as close as I initially thought. I was hoping for 10 years out of the first trailer and I will be a few years shy. Am looking to retire in my next one with it paid off and still serviceable. Kind of like those who lived in one place and got their house paid off. Hope it's not just a dream.

Rick, working from the bottom up is a good start. Figuring out the weights is tough. I have heard reports of people thinking they had plenty and finding out they are at the top of their CCC and still have empty cabinets. I am leaning toward the air ride suspension and hope to incorporate a valve that will allow me to lift the trailer from it's normal ride height to allow for easier campground maneuvers, or other areas that are less than optimal with their road grade angles. I have yet to find the person that can tell me if that is a real possibility. I am close to Kelderman Manufacturing and have stopped by once with that question, but only spoke with a sales person who could only say "sure, I am sure we could work something out" without having a real plan. They do great work on fitting aftermarket bags on an existing non air ride suspension, but I don't know if they would modify an existing air ride axle.

Kelderman's is adding a large extension to their plant this Spring. Will stop by again and maybe be able to speak with the owner.

On the Stacker part, I think I have decided to go with the larger garage with an option of placing a lift in at a later time. Will incorporate the garage into the living space and plan to heat and cool it the same as the rest of the living area. Am downsizing my motorcycle so it will fit across the very end of the garage space. WIll just have to figure out how to turn it after riding it in.

I believe I will want to have the only steps inside to be from the main living area into the garage. The rest can be all one level giving space for real basement storage and of course basement air conditioning. I will also keep the main entry coming through the garage with only an emergency exit planned in the remaining living area. Not sure how that will fly with the regulators, but it's my idea of getting the most out of my living space.

I have heard of some who had a rear kitchen having issues with breaking dishes and things spilling in the fridge. Does that hold true with a front kitchen? My current rig has the kitchen right over the axles so there is hardly any movement of anything in the cupboards and fridge. (unless there has been a panic stop for some idiot who pulled in front of me.) I do know with my current configuration and the extension I have behind the truck axle I have more movement in the Garage items, one of the reasons I initially considered shortening my truck and if I don't shorten I may consider a "Tag axle" to lessen that movement some. Once again those "considerations" are in the K's not just a few C's.

Ok those are my thoughts this morning. Still have a long way to go. Thank you again to those who have posted and also those who look.

Rod
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:24 AM   #5
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Rod, I understand you are thinking about two air conditioners in the basement.
That's what I have on this rig.

I put the picture of the cabinet with the ironing board out deliberately. Here's another view of it with the slide room removed (we were fixing slide hydraulics).

The front air conditioner is just under that cabinet in the basement. They did some clever things with that set up. The drawers in the cabinet and the shelves above the drawers only go part way. In the back, behind a panel wall, is the air conditioning duct carrying the air up. It is split up at the top into two nozzles hidden in the corners of the tray ceilings. This way the cold air is directed forward to the front living room and back into the kitchen/center bathroom area.
That's the air outlet, note the louvered panel on the bottom (there's another one like that on the other side of the cabinet), the air is returned to the air conditioner through those louvers. Both panels are removable, when removed there is access to the air filter which sits over hole in the floor and the return plenum above the air conditioner.
Marsha an Wyatt have been all over my rig and I asked them if they could duplicate it and the said that they apparently have done something similar with the exception that they ran it into their signature center duct in the ceiling. Basement air conditioners give you the option of making the rig taller and making the basement taller too, which is the case on my fifth. The only issue then is that the floor is much higher requiring substantial stairs to get in.


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Old 06-17-2013, 01:45 PM   #6
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Thanks for letting me know that Marcia and Wyatt have some experience in these. I know I have heard Wyatt has a fondness for basement air. I do like their ceiling duct for the A/C but want to have something lower for the heat. May consider in floor heating in the bath and possibly kitchen area, but only in areas that require a lot of standing in one spot. I am also thinking of having the entry door in the garage which I hope will be lower and not require many steps, from out to in but will take a few more to get up into the living area. Would incorporate the Motorhome lid over the entry steps for safety and to not cut into the garage space as much. I have an idea for the motorcycle being inside while using the space for entertaining too. Thanks again for the information.

Rod
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:39 PM   #7
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Rod we must have been typing at the same time, because after I posted mine I saw yours ahead of me.
I still troll the other site but not as often. Seems to have gone somewhat "subdued".
Marsha and Wyatt have lots of "basement experience" building the big 55 footers. Those are mostly flat floor throughout, or maybe a one small elevation in the front.
They said that they would love to build a copy of mine if somebody asked them but they can't afford to build one on "speculation". They think if it was exhibited they would be swamped. Few more suggestions:
I re-plumbed mine completely three years ago (to Pex tubing), took several weeks. Spent considerable time "in the cellar".

Look how much room I have there, I could actually crawl in there to do the work. This section is walled off (wall was removed to do the plumbing), it's right over the three axles and it contains two fresh water tanks, which you see here and behind them is the grey water tank and black water tank. There is a hot water radiator in the section keeping the tanks warm (with the wall up). The black water and grey water valves are also in the heated compartment (inside the walls) so those can't freeze. Because of their location this does not allow for "conventional plumbing", therefore the valves electrically operated (small DC motors) inside the compartment.

Hot water radiator because the hot water and heating system is done by two propane fired hydronic units.

Hydronic is pricey but it's an incredible alternative to the cheap ass hot air stuff. I can give you lots of pointers on it.
I needed to fix a crack in the upper frame (they did a "stupid" during manufacture but it still lasted 15 years), but you can see my welder was able to get right in the cellar.

The rig is double framed, there is a dual rectangular tube frame running from the back all the way forward to the pinbox.

Then there is the cellar space in between with vertical structural tubing members, then there is the lower frame attached to the axles.
There is one other unique aspect of that rig. The flat floor is higher in rear (typically living room, kitchen) and much lower in the front (typically up few steps into the bedroom). That put the pin box way below the typical 47 inches off the ground

As you can see here it was right down on the deck of a typical pickup. This one was not so typical since it had just a deck, no sidewalls.
It was too low for the Volvo,

so in order to go over the rails I had to flip the axles to gain another 5 inches, but I am still only at at about 42 inches which required some fancy deck design to clear things in turns.

Plus my ET sits on the bottom flanges, yours is 4 inches up. So flat floor has its "challenges", unless you pulling with commercial setup.
If you will go with anything Marsha produces I would strongly suggest that we refurbish you ET (it's one of the "seniors"). Regular Binkley does well on ET's because it's such a "gentle hitch", but a Super Binkley would give you a total peace of mind. However, replacing the front shaft mounts is highly recommended for the weights of her trailers.

Note that these now bolt on, they are matched drilled for very precise fit, the shaft pocket is extra long, therefore no need for those stupid collars. So no collars and substantially more support for the shaft. As you can see I can do the refurbishing in the field with my truck.

And I was thinking about bringing couple of refurbishment kits to the Rally.

hjs
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:24 PM   #8
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I really like the electric heat pads for the floors. They are a clean install and work well with many wood floors (engineered floors) and tile. Our next coach will have them in the kitchen area, and in the entire bath area. If you get to where you are wanting them I can give you some references for the type that you can glue floor over AND nail through it.

I helped Robert with his rig - especially the electrical - so if you need help just let me know.
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:34 PM   #9
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Rod, I'm really glad you're here and started this thread. This is looking like it's going to be a great trailer. I agree with others that you should keep the garage on the truck. Not only is it the perfect place for your car, it's way cool. I also agree on using some very heavy duty semi trailer type axles. It just amazed me all the problem chatting at the rally seemed to be about axle/tire/brake problems everybody was having with their 5vers. I kept thinking, why don't you guys put some real axles on those trailers? I sure think that would be a great feature for your trailer. And the ability to lift one (if you have a two axle trailer) or two (if you build a three axle) for maneuvering around would be very neat. As far as the garage area on the trailer. I sense that you're leaning toward a garage too short for a car. You could still put a lift in couldn't you? A full deck lift. That would give you more storage room on the upper area. And wouldn't take up much space for the four corners. I love the idea of doing a single level living quarters and having more underneath storage too. My only concern is that convection micro/oven. Paula hated the one I put in my truck. I ended up cutting out the cabinets/counter and installing a gas oven/stove. I know you will lose some cupboard space for that regular gas oven. But, even if you don't use it much it sure would be nice to have if you ever have to sell it. I know most trailers/campers are using those convection/microwave setups and most seem to be fine with them. Just thinking my wife probably isn't the only one that doesn't like them. And, I think you'll probably have enough cupboard space even with a gas oven.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:07 AM   #10
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Bob, my wife was also frustrated with the microwave/convection oven and the fact that they did not install a "real" gas oven in that fancy rig of ours. At one of the Rallies or places we stayed there was a lady who gave a seminar on micro/convection cooking, so Davena attended.
Turns out that there are a bunch of tricks to do it right and successfully which the typical manual which comes with the oven does not tell you, or if it does it is not spelled out clearly. The manual DW had with our oven was over 15 years old and frankly useless. She was able to do some "interesting things" with this oven after the seminar.
But those ovens are a little "techie", it's like learning a software program.
We are both into gourmet cooking and I will take a gas oven and a gas cook-top anytime.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:01 AM   #11
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Henry - Are these tricks for using the convection microwave available on line. Ours works but doesn't do well on things that are intended to be baked. I have an Atwood stove/oven NIB from a previous project but I am not ready to chop up the cabinets to put in a low quality unit like that.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:26 PM   #12
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The other problem with ours is it was too small. But I still don't think she'd be happy with a large convection/micro. She's oh so much happier with our gas unit. It was a very worthwhile winter project for me. There certainly wouldn't be any problem putting a convection/micro unit in Rod's trailer, and also the regular gas oven. I think he said he wanted a induction cook top. Induction really isn't much different than a electric. Paula hates electric stoves. She needs to see the flame and adjust it accordingly. The other benefit is we can cook away like crazy w/o hooking to shore power or starting up the generator. Rod, let's think through this induction cooktop thing. And micro/convection thing.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:32 PM   #13
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If yo DO put in an induction unit put in a 2-burner module and put a 2-burner gas module next to it.

And for a gas stove, don't use the RV junk. Look at a small apt. oven. Verona makes a nice 24" gas oven that works well. Very high quality - made for residential use.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:29 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bob86ZZ4 View Post
The other problem with ours is it was too small. But I still don't think she'd be happy with a large convection/micro. She's oh so much happier with our gas unit. It was a very worthwhile winter project for me. There certainly wouldn't be any problem putting a convection/micro unit in Rod's trailer, and also the regular gas oven. I think he said he wanted a induction cook top. Induction really isn't much different than a electric. Paula hates electric stoves. She needs to see the flame and adjust it accordingly. The other benefit is we can cook away like crazy w/o hooking to shore power or starting up the generator. Rod, let's think through this induction cooktop thing. And micro/convection thing.
Thanks for the comments everyone. I have one of the portable induction hot plates. To me it works almost better than the propane, at least with my Wedgewood unit in the Toyhauler. It's been several years since I have used a real gas stove/cooktop, so maybe it's just that the induction is better than my current option.

I do find the induction with a near infinite adjustment range. It will boil water much faster than any of my other options, and it will simmer tomato sauce all afternoon for the perfect pasta sauce with out burning it to the pan. Having both the electric and gas is an option but I plan to do the gas cooking outside with a pull out cooking station similar to the one J&V built. Another reason for using the induction is only the pan heats, not the air around it like you have with an open flame. You take the pan off the source. The source stops and in a very short time the surface is cool enough to touch. Don't try that with your resistance electric burner or your cast grate on your gas burner. Significant marks and possible scars will be left.

Looks like I will have some build competition at SpaceCraft. The topic "you ruined me" (or something like that.) looks like maybe that's why Marsha hasn't responded to the message I sent earlier in the week. I'm going to attempt a contact with them and see what ideas we can share and bounce off one another. I will still keep this thread going too.

Thanks again for all the comments, suggestions and encouragements to think and rethink.

Rod
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