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Old 06-04-2013, 06:48 PM   #1
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Do any manufacturers do custom requests on small, lightweight TTs?

Does anybody know of a TT manufacturer who is willing to do custom requests while the trailer is being manufactured? Or perhaps a custom maker of TTs that might be willing to build a very lightweight TT for a relatively low price, in other words, we don't want a "luxury" unit.

What we want is this, and this is not something that anybody else will want. It is for a specific purpose. We want a small and lightweight TT that will only be used occasionally while having full utilities available, i.e. 50 amp shore power, water, and sewer.

And, what we will want it to have is a cabinet and plumbing for a Splendide combo washer (not a stacked unit, just a combo). Consequently, we would want the trailer to have 50 amp (as opposed to 30 amp) and a 10-gallon water heater.

We are looking at a trailer that would be under 7,500 lbs. GVWR and a tongue weight of below 500 lbs. We also want something that is new.

Obviously, no TT on the market is available in such a configuration so we'd either have to 1) have the manufacturer make the modifications at the factory as it's being built, 2) purchase one "off the shelf" and have an independent RV renovation company do the modifications, or 3) have it custom built by a maker that does that ...pretty sure that this option would not be within our price range as we'd like the price to be below $35k.

So far, we've only contacted one manufacturer because we liked a certain floor plan and they told us that they are not equipped to do such modifications and if these things were done after-market, we may have trouble with some aspects of the factory warranty.

We will NOT be using this TT for traveling (however, it may be towed to different locations) and camping ...again, it is for a specific purpose to be used occasionally only where full hook-ups are available and then put back into storage.

Thanks

-harry and amanda
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:17 PM   #2
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For one thing you will not want to tow a trailer that weighs 7500# with only 500# tounge weight, you need at least 10% and 12 % is preferable. With less weight that this, the trailer will be very unstable while being towed. About finding which manufacturer will do the custom work that you want, find a floorplan that you like and like you did, check with the factory . Good luck and hope you get what you want.
Frank
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for your comments, Frank.

I guess I meant to say "a manufacturer's dry hitch weight of below 500 lbs." ...does that make any sense?

I have to do some more studying-up on trailer towing but what I am seeing in the manufacturer's literature is a "dry hitch weight" in their specifications.

At any rate, I probably shouldn't have mentioned any figure for "hitch weight." We're just looking for a TT that will be 7,500 lbs GVWR or less. I'll worry about the hitch weight issue later.

Thanks again!

-harry
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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no problem Amanda, just trying to steer you in the right direction so you doin't get in a jam.
Frank
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:46 AM   #5
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Honestly, I could convert it to 50A and add a 10gal WH for pretty cheap. Might also think about on demand water too.
Basically, find a unit that has room around the WH for the dimensions you'd need to go up to.
50A is easy to do.
Wash/Dry is a bigger challenge. You'd have to find a floor plan that you wouldn't mind taking out some cabinets, but they'd have to be near water lines, and preferably on the off door side so the drain plumbing would be easier.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:23 AM   #6
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Honestly, I could convert it to 50A and add a 10gal WH for pretty cheap. Might also think about on demand water too.
Basically, find a unit that has room around the WH for the dimensions you'd need to go up to.
50A is easy to do.
Wash/Dry is a bigger challenge. You'd have to find a floor plan that you wouldn't mind taking out some cabinets, but they'd have to be near water lines, and preferably on the off door side so the drain plumbing would be easier.
Sounds like a relatively easy project if we have all the requirements.

Start with a bunkhouse TT. Install the new laundry room in the bunk room. Replace the lower bunk with the washer/dryer. If there's not room in the stock water heater area for the bigger water heater, then install the bigger water heater in the bunk area too.

Here's a floorplan with one slide that would work:



That's a Slyline Nomad Joey Select model 288. Relatively small at about 27' box (31' including hitch and rear bumper and spare tire), and it has a slide to make it more roomy in the living area. GVWR 7,750. The drain plumbing should be no problem since it's located between the bathroom and the kitchen. Electrical should be no problem since it's located next to the kitchen where the stock water heater is located. If you locate the new water heater in the bunk area, gas line plumbing would be no problem for anyone who works with black pipe.

Accurate specs can be seen for a different but similar Skyline model, the Texan 267. The Skyline website has errors so the specs shown are wrong for the 288. But they should be about the same length and weight as the Texan 267.
Click here for link to Skyline Recreational Vehicles, Texan model 267

The Nomad Joey 288 has a bigger lower bunk than the Texan 267, thus more elbow room in the new utility room. But the Texan 267 could probably be made to work too, if you want to put up with a really cramped laundry room.

If you don't need the room provided by the slide, The Nomad Joey also comes in model 237 bunkhouse. Traditional 24' box (28' overall length), GVWR 6,200. (Yep, slides are heavy, so without the slide your trailer is a lot lighter.) Longer gas line since the lower bunk is not near the kitchen, but that's a minor irritant for a qualified plumber or good DIYer.





Click here for link to Skyline Recreational Vehicles, Nomad Joey model 237

Finish cabinet work around the washer/dryer water heater would be up to you. I'd probably do nothing more than install a folding door to hide the washer and dryer. But custom cabinet makers can build you whatever cabinet you want.

Even with having the work done by an RV restoration outfit, the out-the door cost should be a lot less than your $35k budget. Skyline Joey comes in several different brand names, including Aljo as well as Nomad, Layton, Texan and others. Here is a 2014 new Aljo Joey 288 for $21,000.
2014 Skyline Aljo 288, Cleburne TX - 110341892 - RVTrader.com

That gives you a $14,000 budget to do the conversion. I suspect that simple job could be done for a lot less than $5000.

But if you plan to sleep in that trailer, then allow another $500 or more to replace the cheap stock mattress with a good one. I replaced the stock mattress in my 2012 Nomad Joey 196 with a Serta Eurotop from Sam's Club.
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:02 PM   #7
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Thanks, jesilvas! We're not about to do anything ourselves, however. Let me tell you, DH is terrible when it comes to anything to do with wiring and electricity. He tries but eventually screws it up to the point were we have to call in an expert to fix what he's screwed up. So we've agreed to let an expert do it from the start and pay the price.

Most TTs will have a 6-gallon water heater from what we've seen. To have a Splendide, we'd want a 10-gallon which from our research, doesn't look as if it takes up too much more room. We do see one manufacturer in Oregon who includes a 10-gallon water heater as standard and we like some of their floor plans and the way they're made ...Nash is the model; by Northwood.

We've thought about the on-demand systems as they seem to be getting more popular. Can we use an on-demand with a Splendide?

Yes, we've been looking at a lot of floor plans lately. So many that we're getting kind of dizzy. We still think it would be less expensive to find a manufacturer that would be willing to do these things as the unit is being built but we're thinking it may be impossible.

I think we will probably end up with buying something and have after-market retrofitting done later by those who know what they're doing.

Great advice. Thanks so much.

~~amanda
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:03 PM   #8
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Good grief, SmokyWren! Thank you so much for the great information! To take the time to outline all that you did was wonderful and gives us a lot now to go on.

Yes, we have have been looking at several of the bunkhouse floor plans by different manufacturers and figure that's a good way to go to utilize the space to the maximum. The only hesitation we had is we were wondering about is the window situation. Most bunks will have a window on both the upper and lower bunks from what we've noticed. We figure that the cabinet will have to block some of that bottom window area and wonder if that is an issue or not. It may not look good but we're not really concerned with looks but rather function.

And yes, we understand about slides and we definitely would prefer one without the slide, if possible, to lighten the weight.

I'm glad you gave us some guidelines on the cost as we have yet to contact an RV renovator about it. If you think somebody could do all that alteration for about $5,000, it would makes us very eager to do it. Some of the trailers we've looked at online appear that they can be purchased for about $20,000 or less. So, it's good to hear that we may be able to get the trailer and all this done for $25,000 or so. That price makes us very enthusiastic. We mentioned the $35,000 figure as that would be what we thought it might be (or more) to have the trailer custom made. It's starting to sound as if we do not need to have one custom made.

If we can get by with $25,000, we'd be really happy. Again, this is going to be used for a specific purpose and we will expect it to have very little resale because who would want such a TT with this kind of alteration? So essentially, if we can get six or seven years of use from it, we expect to scrap it after that.

So you like your Skyline and recommend them? We like the two companies located in La Grande Oregon (Outdoors RV or Northwood) as they are close to our home bases in case we need to drop it off at the factory for any severe warranty issues. They also make very well insulated units that are made for the northwest climate. They call them a 4-seasons trailers. But we will definitely look closer at the Skyline units to see if those would work and what kind of price we can get.

Thank you, again, for all the great information and the time you spend to compose your response to our inquiry. We certainly do appreciate it. We may want to ask you some more questions as we progress with all this. Thank you!

~~amanda
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:37 PM   #9
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Thanks, jesilvas! We're not about to do anything ourselves, however. Let me tell you, DH is terrible when it comes to anything to do with wiring and electricity. He tries but eventually screws it up to the point were we have to call in an expert to fix what he's screwed up. So we've agreed to let an expert do it from the start and pay the price.

Most TTs will have a 6-gallon water heater from what we've seen. To have a Splendide, we'd want a 10-gallon which from our research, doesn't look as if it takes up too much more room. We do see one manufacturer in Oregon who includes a 10-gallon water heater as standard and we like some of their floor plans and the way they're made ...Nash is the model; by Northwood.

We've thought about the on-demand systems as they seem to be getting more popular. Can we use an on-demand with a Splendide?

Yes, we've been looking at a lot of floor plans lately. So many that we're getting kind of dizzy. We still think it would be less expensive to find a manufacturer that would be willing to do these things as the unit is being built but we're thinking it may be impossible.

I think we will probably end up with buying something and have after-market retrofitting done later by those who know what they're doing.

Great advice. Thanks so much.

~~amanda
I don't see why an on-demand couldn't run a washer. It will start running heat as needed, it doesn't care what it's for.

And most bigger WHs don't take up much more room than the smaller ones.
For Suburbans:
(12-11/16" H) (12-11/16" W) (19-3/16" D) - 6gal
(16-7/32" H) (16-7/32" W) - 10, 12, 16 gal. Depths are 20, 22, 27 for depth respectively. So cutout is not a much bigger deal. But room behind it is.

Airxcel | Suburban Manufacturing Products

Atwood has a regular WH and an extra hot WH that uses a valve to meter the hot water coming out for extended release basically.
http://www.atwoodmobile.com/images/waterheater.pdf
http://www.atwoodmobile.com/images/waterheaterxt.pdf

Main cost for this is the actual WH. Cutting a bigger hole is easy. All wiring and piping is all there already, obviously. And as long as it fits.

And changing to 50A from 30A can be expensive or easy, depends on lay out.
Could cost up to around $1500, or as cheap as $500.

W/D combo would require piping and draining. Supply lines might not be too hard, all depends on where the lines would be at to begin with. After that, it's just tapping in and running the neatly and hidden.
Drain would be easiest to just tap into a 1 1/2" drain line AFTER a drain valve, so you don't fill your tank up. Just drain it straight into your outlet and sewer hose. But what's underneath can make it harder or easier.
Elec. supply might be very easy, because you could have an outlet right by. Or you can wire one dedicated if your new 50A box is nearby, which would be better.

I'd just have it converted as needed once you find the unit you like. Anything can be done, it's just money
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:27 PM   #10
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We have heard that many time, jesilvas! "anything can be done if one is willing to fork over the money."

Again, we're hoping to keep the renovation to $5,000 or less.

We'll look into an on-demand but depending on the price, I'm thinking it really is not necessary. We currently have a Splendide combo in our motorhome and, of course, we have 50 amp, and a 10-gallon water heater and it fits our needs quite nicely. Therefore, we're okay with the exact same set-up in the TT.

And since we are only going to be using this while hooked up, we will just keep the gray tank valve open the way we do in the motorhome when we are running a load of wash ...so I'm thinking it's not that important where the washer drain is tapped in. '

Do you also think everything could be modified in an inexpensive TT to be set up in the manner we want for $5,000 or less?

Thanks, again!
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:29 AM   #11
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It's highly likely you can do that for 5k or less.
Like I said, 50A is easy. Say $1.5k max.
10gal WH, biggest expense is the parts. $1.4k max. (Just guessing on price from exp. w/6 gal.)
Combo W/D is hardest. Biggest expense would probably also be parts. (idk how much the W/D is.) $2.5k max.
So top end, most likely worst case scenario, $5.5k.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:42 AM   #12
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It's highly likely you can do that for 5k or less.
Like I said, 50A is easy. Say $1.5k max.
10gal WH, biggest expense is the parts. $1.4k max. (Just guessing on price from exp. w/6 gal.)
Combo W/D is hardest. Biggest expense would probably also be parts. (idk how much the W/D is.) $2.5k max.
So top end, most likely worst case scenario, $5.5k.
If you buy the parts yourself, then have the renovator install them, you can buy the parts at a discount.

Splendide Washer Dryer Combo-Vented | Manufacturer # :WD2100XC | Regular Price: $1,409.95 On sale for only: $989.95 (+ $15 for vent hardware)
Link: Splendide Washer Dryer Extra Capacity Combo on Sale - PPL Motor Homes

Atwood XT 10-gallon gas/electric water heater $1,017
Link: XT Water Heater, Gas/Electric with Heat Exchange

So if the electrical conversion costs $1,500, then that's
$1,500 Electrical conversion to 55 amp
$1,004 Splendide washer/dryer combo
$1,017 10-gallon gas/electric water heater
----------
$3,521 so far
$200 wag for delivery charges
--------
$3,721 so far
=====

That leaves $1,279 for the renovator to do the
wiring and
plumbing for hot and cold water and DVW,and
minimal cabinetry or folding/collapsing door or verticle blinds to hide the Splendide
Link: Shop Style Selections 78-in W x 84-in L Wicker Honey Fabric 3.5-in Slat Light Filtering Vertical Blinds at Lowes.com

Depends on where you live, but I'll bet Casey's Campers in Big Spring Texas would be tickled pink to do that minor job for $1,000 plus the cost to convert to 55 amp - assuming you furnish the washer and water heater and began with a bunkhouse with a floorplan similar to the 2014 Slyline Nomad model 237 (no slide) with the utility room (bunk room) located next to the bathroom.

BTW, that Nomad 237 bunkhouse in a leftover 2013 model (no slide, and it's a retro model instead of a Joey) can be had for $14,000 near Dallas. That gets the completed conversion well below your original $35k budget since you don't need the slide.
Link: Skyline Nomad RV for sale | 2013 Skyline Nomad 237 New Travel Trailer in Denton, TX | from RV Dealer I-35 RV Center | RVUSA.com Classifieds

You said you liked the Northwood RVs. Northwood Nash 25C bunkhouse should also meet your needs, with the bunk next to the bathroom.
Link: Northwood Manufacturing: Nash 25C Floorplan

Nash is a heavier, better insulated, and better built trailer than the Skyline, and the 25C has a slide and 8,000 pound GVWR. And it costs a lot more at about $23,000 for a leftover 2013 model.
Link: 2013 Northwood Nash 25C - Cordelia RV Center | Inventory
Much tighter room for the Splendide, but probably doable if you back the washer into the hole at the end of the bunk, and remove the upper bunk so you'll have head room when using the washer. I wouldn't worry about that window. I'll bet you can figure out some creative way to mask it.

Oregon is a long way from the Skyline factory in Indiana, so delivery charges would be higher than for delivery to Dallas. So don't expect to find that Skyline 237 in Oregon for only $14k. But probably not much more than $15k.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:41 AM   #13
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LivinLite All Aluminum Ultra Light Campers, Ultralight Campers, Lightweight Campers, Ultra-Lightweight Campers does custom work like that. You'll have to give them a call and consult with them, but they have a few examples on their website as well as mention customization in some of their youtube videos.

Price wise, i think you'll be in the same price range with them. And it seems this will be more of a utility trailer, so the all aluminum aspect will mean lots of years of use. Also, the floor is made of aluminum box steel, it'll handle the spilled water and the added weight without issue. Plus all their trailers are really light weight. With no slide you're probably looking at 4000-5000lbs.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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With no slide you're probably looking at 4000-5000lbs.
5,000 GVWR for the 21' bunkhouse which has a small slide. Dry weight less than 4,000. Now that's what I call a REAL half-ton towable.

But even with the slide, it doesn't have a lot of rattling-around room.



And you pay for that light weight aluminum framing. $30,000 for this one, which has optional AC:
Link: 2013 - Camplite - 21BHS - Travel Trailer - Las Vegas, NV

Yes, Virginia. AC is an option.
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