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Old 08-29-2019, 05:47 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: St Louis
Posts: 9
Question New and ambitious

Hello all,

Well, I think I am about to take the plunge. My family has been an RV family and we had a Class C we just sold.

About us.
My wife and I have 3 girls and a dog
We are in St Louis MO
We are not a fulltime family but we go out a dozen weekend a year and at least two 2 or 3 weeks cross country trips a year. We love RVing and would love to do it as much as we could.
We mostly stay at state and national park site and do a little boondocking but very little.


I need some level setting and a reality check. I want to do a skoolie and I have a whole bunch of things that I want but I need some experienced minds to level set me and tell me what is feasible and what is not.

What we are looking for is:

MUST:
- Strong engine and transmission that can tow a car
- Queen bed in the back
- 3 Bunk beds (3 on top of each other)
- Dinette for 6
- Kitchen with sink, dual Fridge and gas stove
- Bathroom (shower, toilet, sink)
- AC
- Water tank
- Grey tank
- Propane tank

Would like to have:

- Solar panel with a 12-volt system
- Black Tank
- RV entry door
- Screens on windows
- Awning.
- Outside Shower and 110V plugs

I am handy and can do most of the work or know people to help me with. I have flipped a few houses and i have a good network

Also, I would like to keep the RV as short as possible. 30ft would be ideal but could live with a little longer.

What do you think is the best bus size, engine, and transmission? Any Buses we should stay away from?

Thank you and i look forward in sharing our build and adventure with you.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:02 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
Posts: 204
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 76
Hey there, welcome and best of luck. 2 years into my build, looking at the meat and potatoes of your post:


Quote:
Originally Posted by SAge59 View Post
MUST:
- Strong engine and transmission that can tow a car
- Queen bed in the back
- 3 Bunk beds (3 on top of each other)
- Dinette for 6
- Kitchen with sink, dual Fridge and gas stove
- Bathroom (shower, toilet, sink)
- AC
- Water tank
- Grey tank
- Propane tank

The only thing that stands out to me here are the triple-high bunk bed, dinette, and then dual fridge:


For a 3-high bunk, you might consider going below the cabin floor, or raising the roof. 6 ft 6", which I'd say is a decent interior skoolie height- divided by three is 2ft, 2 inches of clearance on each bunk, not even counting the thickness of the beds.


Dinette and dual fridge- plus a bathroom- how long is too long for you? Mine is 37'. I made my hallway (rear kitchen, Cal. king bed up front) into the shower, so the bathroom is a dedicated "personal time" space. Dual-purpose spaces are a must if you want to go a heck of a lot shorter.




Quote:
Originally Posted by SAge59 View Post
Would like to have:

- Solar panel with a 12-volt system
- Black Tank
- RV entry door
- Screens on windows
- Awning.
- Outside Shower and 110V plugs
Nothing here really stands out as impossible- just what are you willing to do, how much you want to pay, etc. Your solar system may also end up being 24V or 48V natively, with step-down converters for 12V if you want a lot of panels. Mine is 24V with 12V service via a step-down.


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Old 08-29-2019, 06:03 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 7,424
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Without a roof raise there isn't really room for a triple bunk. no one would be able to sit on a bed. I have 2 bunks, with the base bunk platform sitting on the wheel well, there is barely room for me to sit on the bottom bunk and hit my head (I'm 5'8") on the bottom of the upper bunk plywood, I still plan on boxing in the upper bunk which will lose me 3-1/2" more inches. Unless they are very small children it's something you should consider.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:18 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: St Louis
Posts: 9
Thanks... this is helpful. that is why I need a sanity check.

The other thing I am thinking of doing is 2 bunks on one side and 1 on the other with storage under. That would add to the length.

I originally thought of putting the bathroom across the bunk beds.

My girls are small (9 and 13) but will grow big so I would like to give them as much room as possible.

Don't know much about solar power.... what is the best system or the best bang for the bucks? what do you recommend?
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:23 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
Posts: 204
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAge59 View Post
Don't know much about solar power.... what is the best system or the best bang for the bucks? what do you recommend?
Build it. I love my bluetooth Victron MPPT charge controller, I'd really recommend one of their bluetooth controllers- The app you get with it really demystifies solar generation.



I have lithium batteries, but the 12V AGM batteries out there are more or less plug-and-play with any decent charge controller. If you want a modest sized system, build it! You'll learn alot and get better bang for the buck.



I think o1marc sent me a bunch of easy-to-understand solar diagrams a while back. Maybe he'd share them here.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg victronconnect.jpg (40.7 KB, 3 views)
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:43 PM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 7,424
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
https://www.explorist.life/solarwiringdiagrams/

Do a lot of research on your solar system. It is an intense study of what you plan on using and for how long to determine how many panels, batteries, inverter and charge controller to work together a s a package.
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