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Old 08-29-2012, 01:42 PM   #1
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Newbie with specific project in mind

Hello to all!

I'm glad I found this community, seems like a god place to start for my research.

Here's my situation: I'm 31, no family, living alone in an apartment. My hobby/passion is driving cars on race tracks. I can work anywhere where there's a good Internet connection and am not afraid of a nomadic lifestyle. As it is I spend about half my time in France for work. It seems to me in the summer I'm getting frustrated because I always have to go back home for little other than doing laundry, while I don't have access to a lot of really nice tracks because of the driving distance. In the winter (I live near Montreal), I'm frustrated because there's no track time available within my grasp.

So I figured out that if I ditch the apartment, I could buy a motorhome and enclosed trailer and spend 2-3 years touring around North America, driving all the major tracks and getting to know the continent in detail. Once in a while I'd park in in an RV dealership (where they could also check the rig over), take a taxi to the airport, fly to Montreal to be with family and friends for 1-2 weeks, fly to Europe for business, fly back to Montreal and then back to where I left the rig. Sounds great in theory!

Here's where I have a little trouble: I'm trying to figure out a budget, and it's difficult because of my towing requirements. I will need a diesel pusher with a stronger engine and transmission in order to pull the 9-10,000lb trailer with the car, bike, spares and tools in it. I don't need a large coach, but am told that it will be much more stable in crosswinds, and that I will have trouble finding the stronger engine/tranny combo in anything less than a 40 footer.

To compound the problem, there seems to be a huge variety of diesel pusher models out there, and the ads never list the exact mechanicals. So before I start a list of the suitable models, is there a resource somewhere online where all the models can be classified/flitered by their engine and transmission? Before I start going through manufacturer archives to make my whole list, I wonder if someone hasn't done it before.

Any other tips, advice or comments would be welcome from you guys as well, and finally a good place to look for representative pricing on used units would be nice. And as my priority is on getting a sturdy unit with the least maintenance possible, brand/model suggestions would be great also.

Fire away!
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:21 PM   #2
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Sounds exciting!

A couple thoughts.

1. Make sure you know you the real weight of your trailer loaded. Most any DP comes with a 10,000# hitch but you would be surprised at the weight creep you could encounter. Don't forget to find the true tongue weight also. That should be both loaded and unloaded since some trailers might actually increase tongue weight if nothing is in it. If you see that you will exceed 10,000#, you will have your options severely reduced in the smaller RV options.

2. If you are pulling 10,000#, I would think that size of the DP might matter. That is just an opinion but I would think a heavier DP would be more stable and provide better control over your trailer.
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:27 PM   #3
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Good points, especially the second one which is reinforcing the advice I was given to stick with 40' coaches.

Another question that creeps up: what about old ('97 etc.) Prevost coaches? They should be good for towing and values should hold better, and reliability should also be good. I guess I would compromise on luxury but as it's not a priority, should I consider those?
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:39 PM   #4
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you might check out toter homes like renegade that are bulit on a truck chassis.
this what most race teams in the lower series use to tow and live in during the racing series
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:17 PM   #5
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Those are really cool but they don't seem like they would be suitable for full-time living. Race teams use them because they have huge stacker trailers that well exceed whatever I will need.

So for now it seems either a diesel pusher or old Prevost.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:13 PM   #6
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Thinking ahead (as you are) will be the difference between success and failure.

My thoughts (they're worth what you're paying for them)

1) Go with a DP that has a tag axial -- much more stable, especially pulling a heavy trailer in winds

2) Look for an engine that has a compression (engine) brake (typically Cummins) vs. an exhaust brake (typically CAT) -- very large difference in control, especially in long, steep down grades with a trailer pushing you.

3) Awnings will be important. Some coaches offer full awnings on the curb side (2), others offer them on both sides...vital if you have no natural shade in the summer at a track!

4) I'd recommend a coach with an Allison transmission - very rugged and can be fixed anywhere in the U.S.

5) While other points have been very valid, you'll also want to check out the Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) for any particular coach (capacity, less fuel, water, passengers) just to get a good idea of what load the coach can handle (or not).

6) Specific Coach Recommendations - You didn't mention your budget. Personally, I'd recommend Country Coach in the Magna line. They had a 40' that had a large 600hp Cumins that would still allow you to pull a 20 ~25' trailer and still be under CA's maximum 65' overall length. The thing was a pocket rocket and a 2007 model (which had significant upgrades/design changes) is approaching the "somewhat reasonable" range, compared to it's original "OMG" cost. But it's all about your budget.

Just my two cents ~ but sounds like you're on the right track!

Mark
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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Just my opinion, but I would think you are on the right track with an older Prevost conversion for your application. Those Detroit Diesels are just getting broken in at 100k miles and there are many low milage rigs out there.
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:10 PM   #8
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I think Mark is right on the money. For what you are planning to do
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:22 PM   #9
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Whoops.....finger slip. Anyway, I think Mark is right on the money. For what you are planning to do, I also think you will need a tag axle, two stage engine brake (very, very important if you are towing #10,000), 500hp, Allison 4000 trans. & I'd stay as close to 40' as I could, so you are under 65' total length ( this will be a problem with Prevost) This criteria will narrows your choices pretty quickly, but will also get you into some very nice Coaches!

However, get out your wallet.....you're gunna have to pay to play!
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack1234 View Post
...

However, get out your wallet.....you're gunna have to pay to play!
Wallet!? LOL Might need a Brinks Armer truck to the closing. LOL
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:35 PM   #11
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Wallet!? LOL Might need a Brinks Armer truck to the closing. LOL
I've found a few Prevost coaches from the late '90s for not much more than $100K... Seems like good value to me compared to 65-75K "normal" diesel pusher RVs, given what they look like inside, the durability and robustness, the towing capacity, space and the original asking price.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:38 PM   #12
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I've found a few Prevost coaches from the late '90s for not much more than $100K... Seems like good value to me compared to 65-75K "normal" diesel pusher RVs, given what they look like inside, the durability and robustness, the towing capacity, space and the original asking price.
I was kinda referring to the whole package of coach, trailer and such. But, you are correct on your point and well taken.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:41 PM   #13
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I was kinda referring to the whole package of coach, trailer and such. But, you are correct on your point and well taken.
I'm figuring about $10-15K for an aluminum enclosed trailer. It's a buyers' market for those as well, apparently. I've already got the car and the spares and tools. But yeah; it's not like buying a TV, more like buying a house, but a lot more interesting and exciting, to me anyway!
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:55 PM   #14
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I'm figuring about $10-15K for an aluminum enclosed trailer. It's a buyers' market for those as well, apparently. I've already got the car and the spares and tools. But yeah; it's not like buying a TV, more like buying a house, but a lot more interesting and exciting, to me anyway!
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