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Old 08-04-2017, 06:35 AM   #1
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Motorhome to Toy hauler conversion

I Recently bought a 1989 Winnebago chieftain 33 RQ and have been going thru the engine and transmission upgrading everything and was thinking that being i'm a disabled vet and starting to lose my mobility that i've been thinking of sacrificing the rear queen size bed and placing the water storage tank in a rack on it's side against one wall and installing a roll up door where the rear wall/window currently is and placing a ramp on the rear frame so i can get a Harley and a mobility scooter/power wheel chair in the back of the RV. Does anyone have any experience with doing this? I live on disability from the VA. and can't afford to drop big money into a ready made model. I Paid $500 for this Motor home and work on it basically pay check to pay check and i have plenty of good fabricating skills and can build anything but just need a few ideas. Thanks.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:05 AM   #2
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Sounds like a good sized project. But doable.
I would map out all electric / plumbing / vent / stuff before cutting in so you know what you are in for once the back wall starts getting cut out.

Then, cut the door / wall out...brace it...figure out what the door will be made out of, figure out a hinge strong connection point....fabricate the door, hang it, trim it out, plug stuff back in...

Will take a few weeks.
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:51 AM   #3
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I'd be mostly concerned with the structural integrity of the rear. Consider a new jam of steel to prevent racking or twisting of the coach.
I wouldn't do a roll up. Too many moving parts and associated noise.
Counterweighted ramp door might be the best way.
Doesn't need to be full width either.
Good luck. Send photos
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:58 AM   #4
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I think you'll run into several issues, like the steepness of the ramp to reach the rear deck height. You'll also have structural issues that will need to be dealt with. It seems to me that it would be SUBSTANTIALLY cheaper and easier to just buy a used trailer to haul your two item's. This would keep the ramp height low and easy to load your stuff.
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:22 AM   #5
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The coach relies on that back wall for stability and strength. Remove it and you have two walls that can twist and move around. If you did not do a full width door, you could retain most of the strength and if you did a ramp type door, It could be clamped tight to regain the stability of a full wall. I agree with Don. A trailer would be a much better option and you would still have a saleable RV when you were done with it.
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:58 AM   #6
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Or get a used ready-made motorhome toyhauler.

http://www.irv2.com/rvclassifieds/sh...n-outlaw&cat=4
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madscotsman View Post
I Recently bought a 1989 Winnebago chieftain 33 RQ and have been going thru the engine and transmission upgrading everything and was thinking that being i'm a disabled vet and starting to lose my mobility that i've been thinking of sacrificing the rear queen size bed and placing the water storage tank in a rack on it's side against one wall and installing a roll up door where the rear wall/window currently is and placing a ramp on the rear frame so i can get a Harley and a mobility scooter/power wheel chair in the back of the RV. Does anyone have any experience with doing this? I live on disability from the VA. and can't afford to drop big money into a ready made model. I Paid $500 for this Motor home and work on it basically pay check to pay check and i have plenty of good fabricating skills and can build anything but just need a few ideas. Thanks.
Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Congrats on the new rig! I agree with what Dutch Star Don said! Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madscotsman View Post
I Recently bought a 1989 Winnebago chieftain 33 RQ and have been going thru the engine and transmission upgrading everything and was thinking that being i'm a disabled vet and starting to lose my mobility that i've been thinking of sacrificing the rear queen size bed and placing the water storage tank in a rack on it's side against one wall and installing a roll up door where the rear wall/window currently is and placing a ramp on the rear frame so i can get a Harley and a mobility scooter/power wheel chair in the back of the RV. Does anyone have any experience with doing this? I live on disability from the VA. and can't afford to drop big money into a ready made model. I Paid $500 for this Motor home and work on it basically pay check to pay check and i have plenty of good fabricating skills and can build anything but just need a few ideas. Thanks.
I'm NOT gonna knock the idea...in fact I researched this exact idea before settling on buying an Outlaw.

This is totally possible and, in fact the Newmar Canyon Star and Thor Motor Coach Outlaw are simply converted standard motorhomes. The one big difference you will not have (must deal with) is that both of these factory made ToyHauler Class A's have a drop frame aft of the rear axle. This allows the ramp to address a lower distance for loading the garage.

So, working from the rear...

First is the rear cap. Remove and replace it with a steel border-frame. This must be strong enough to keep the walls and roof from flexing, side-to-side. But this does not have to be too heavy, because the closed/latched ramp can reinforce the "sheer" strength of that wall.
Say bye-bye to the roof access ladder.

Second is the rear opening. It could be a hinged steel frame platform or roll-up door. Can be full-width or partial. The ramp can double as the door, but that is up to you.

The ramp needs to be long enough to allow easy loading. Since this won't have a drop frame floor, the ramp will need to be about 15' long...so a folding ramp is a good option.

An option to a ramp can be to find a "Tommy-Lift" style device and graft it to the back, but they are typically expensive and heavy. Plus, without a strong power source a Tommy-Lift becomes useless.

The front garage (interior) wall should be upgraded to reinforce the house "box" from flex (maybe adding 5/8"-3/4" thick plywood sheeting)and provide a barrier to vapor and (God forbid) any fire risk (maybe including a vapor/fire-proof door).

Finally, the garage area "should" be stripped of the more flammable materials found in the normal RV bedroom like any fabric ceiling removed, fabric window coverings can be changed to inexpensive metal mini-blinds, flooring can be paint-on non-skid or fuel-proof rubber, and wood cabinets can be covered with enamel paint or swapped to metal units.

Best luck and THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:50 AM   #9
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What i figured so far with my model Winnebago is just cutting a door that will fit in the rear indentation of a 33 rq model. On that model the emergency window and covered tire storage bin are recessed 6 inches so with removing the over the bed cabinet and the bed frame and platform then standing the water tank on it's side out of the way i can install a lift that can pick up a motorcycle or power wheel chair easily. It's the older type that extends out then drops down and can swivel 180* . It only takes up 47 inches. so all i'll have to cut out is the center section and maybe have to remove the roof ladder. The bumper and class 3 hitch will have to be modified and the plastic valance reworked. I Have a good piece of I-beam to re-enforce the ends of the frame legs to double up the cross member to attach the base plate of the lift unit. I Have it mapped out pretty good, the worst issue is finding a way to replumb the water storage tank when i turn it up on it's side against one wall. I'll need to reposition the two furnace ducts coming out of the floor under the bed platform. I thinking i'll put a sheet of the aluminum diamond plate on the floor and the platform floor. The lift is 12 volt BTW so that shouldn't be a issue. The whole idea centers around trying to eliminate using a tow vehicle/trailer to keep my overall length to the stock total length. [IMG][/IMG]
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Old 08-05-2017, 07:28 AM   #10
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Keep in mind that if you stand the water tank on it's side, you will need to provide support to prevent it from bulging out when full. The long sides were designed to be flat supported by the floor.
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:19 AM   #11
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There's no mention of the type of door that will fill the opening in the back-wall. I strongly suggest that special care be used for the door selection because there is a low-Pressure air pocket created behind our RV's when we drive that pulls-in everything from exhaust to road grime. The door should have a tight seal, or the garage will fill with this cloud of nasty.

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This picture of a 1989 Chieftain shows the design borders described. I submit that after cutting a door, this wall will still need stiffening. Maybe adding a sheet of heavy ply to the inside (?)

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This picture shows what is under your floor. It is not very heavy framing, so the floor plate mentioned is a very good idea.

The water tank should be placed inside a strong enclosure (is the water heater back in the passenger side rear corner too?). An enclosure will keep the long sides of the tank that are currently the top and bottom from bulging -and- protect the tank from an accidental puncture if something drops on it while driving. But remember if standing it on its side, the tank venting and fill will be on the side...reducing function and increasing leak risk.

Best luck
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:26 AM   #12
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If you look at the outline of just the emergency window..that is all i'm cutting out from the top of the rubber gasket down to the frame so i don't effect the outer storage compartments and leave in place enough structural integrity to give good bracing. That and two doubled up heavy gauge metal studs on both sides of the opening should reinforce the rear section. The door framing has a pressure gasket that seals it when the door clamps are locked down and there is a warning light for the dash board that lights when the door loses it's seal or is opened. So i'm not concerned with fumes. I'm thinking of fire proofing the interior bulk head wall to the bathroom and shower and passage door with 90 minute rated fire-x sheetrock and trimming it all out with metal trim set in 90 minute rated fire caulk. I know the top of the rear window is under 6 foot in height but i think that overhead section is important for structural integrity and besides, whatever i'm driving out of the back i'll be sitting on it anyways or can duck down till the lift is outside if i have to ride the lift down to hold on to whatever i'm lowering down.
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:17 AM   #13
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A suggestion you might not want to read: get rid of the Harley and buy a toad that hauls your scooter around.

There is life after mc...

If you want a toy and you are determined to haul it inside of your rig. Maybe a light RTV would work better? It can climb up a steep ramp and would spread its weight around on the subfloor.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:34 AM   #14
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Oh this isn't your typical modern Harley. It's a home made Board track racer type with working bicycle pedals. It's small and light weight. Just like everything i'm changing....lightweight. Gotta keep fuel consumption in the back of my mind.
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