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Old 03-25-2005, 10:58 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Plymouth MA
Posts: 194
Possible source of rigs to convert

Hi, I'm new to Skoolie, and decided to put in my two cents on an idea I've been considering.

Recently I was at a car delivery yard, this is the place where automobiles are offloaded from trains, and loaded onto 'portable parking lots' for delivery.

I had noticed some two or three dozen truck/trailer car transport rigs sitting there idle, and asked about them. They were for sale.

These are articulated rigs, not a conventional 5th wheel setup. The trailer 'floors' are VERY low to the ground, and once the hydraulics are removed, the steel could be cut and rearranged/welded to make a very sturdy frame for the living area.

And if you want to haul a personal rig around, you can keep the rear ramp active, and haul your vehicle instead of a toad.

What do you think?

BTW, the first 5th wheel conversion rig I saw was back in the EARLY '70's, even had space for two horses on the back....dunno if it was a Winnebago prototype or not, but seemed pretty nice at the time.

Thoughts? Ideas?
The tool storage is nice, but where do I put the bed?
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Old 04-11-2005, 10:51 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 31
source of rigs

Sounds like it would be heavy and therefore expensive to move around. There is a lot of steel in these things--enough that you could actually put cars on top. I'd stay with something lighter, myself.

Herb in Utah
'90 flatnose Blue Bird
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Old 09-05-2006, 04:37 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lakeport NY (bonus points if you can find it)
Posts: 9
thoughts on those car haulers. I used to manage (dispatch) an autohaul fleet for one of the major trucking companies. Those low rail auto haulers are famous for getting hung up in a heartbeat. Personally I'd go with a medium duty tractor/straight truck long before I'd go with an autohauler. Those steel frames are under huge stresses, while if you were to build a camper into the frame, they're likely weaker than they look from metal fatgue. The trucks I used to manage were in the shop very often for just that reason, being overloaded weight wise was a common occurence and their welds/hydraulics etc... were failing on a regular basis. Now, this might have been to the 'low budget' approach the company took to spec'ing their trucks initially.... but we just won't go there.
incidentally 'look out for' Blue Thunder trucks if those were the ones for sale... I'd look elsewhere if I were you.
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Old 09-30-2006, 10:30 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1
Blue Thunder trucks

No, Swift didn't maintain our trucks at all. Blue Thunder does a (slightly) better job, but these trucks have been run hard.

On the weight side, I have one of the Sterling enclosed rigs, and it's 40k empty.

However, if I were to do a conversion, and *had* to use a BT truck, I'd get one of the Freightliner COE models, dump the trailer, and gut the truck, leaving the roof alone, as it raises up....find some way to make a "sun deck" up top, I suppose. As for entry/exit, I'd either get in thru the living area, or do the fancy fender-pops-out-for-stairs I once saw on another COE tractor.

The Freightliners are a bit higher off the ground, so you'd not have the worries about bottoming out. My rig has air-ride, and I can raise or dump the bags to clear high spots.

A plus is that you could make a trailer that'd hook into the existing 5th wheel (it's a normal 5th wheel, just mounted down low behind the wheels) to haul a car or toy or both...or if you have a mother-in-law like my ex-MIL, you could make her seat back there :D
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