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codrus GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/16/14 12:20 p.m.
bigmackloud wrote: Overkill, yea probably. Though 2hrs is outside my realm of driving back and forth for a 2 day event. So inevitably you need a hotel room for a night or two. Here's the local front runner. https://raleigh.craigslist.org/rvs/4650246511.html

Hotel rooms are, what, $100 a night? It takes a lot of those to pay off a $3000 motorhome, plus you're burning an extra $50 in gas if you're towing 300 miles round trip at 8 mpg instead of 12.

I don't think a motorhome ever makes economic sense purely as a tow vehicle. If you want one for family vacations as well, that's a different calculation. If you want one for the convenience of having your own space to spend time in at the track day, that can also make sense, as a non-economic benefit.

golfduke Reader
9/16/14 12:23 p.m.

I RV pretty frequently, both for camping and track day paddocking and such. If I were to do a dedicated, "all in one" tow/sleep/poop rig, it would be an old 80's class C (think RV with a cab and chassis) with either the Ford V10 or the 454 chevy.

Reasons? There's millions of them from the 80's, and you can get them for well below $3000 in usually good running condition (but poor interior condition). They'll tow 5000# without too much issue other than gas guzzling (but frankly, what is 7mpg to 10mpg in variance over a trip really when we are all blowing 600-$1000 a weekend racing anyway). And they're a lot easier to work on than a true bus that is more industrial (and more reliable as a result) in nature.

I'd buy the best mechanical condition unit I can find for my budget, gut anything and everything inside that's nasty or doesn't work, and go grassroots on building/making it livable.

bigmackloud New Reader
9/16/14 12:35 p.m.
KyAllroad wrote: Also, RV graveyards are in Florida and Arizona. Old folks buy them and have visions of touring the country. Quickly tire of that game and when they die the heirs sell off their assets for next to nothing. YMMV

I'm not sure I want an RV that grandpa died in, haha. :)

Thinkkker UltraDork
9/16/14 12:50 p.m.

Many many ways to go. A lot of people touched on a lot of different things. This is a general what I know list.

Things you just upkeep, redo I.E. not build already done Old RV's normal stuff in the price range - Generally check the roof. they are notorious in any old one. which you pretty much have to tear apart the roof, sides, and otherwise to remove rotten wood, replace, recover and reseal. Also, the plumbing. Thats the short falls off hand.

Someone else's conversion of bus or otherwise - Could be nice, could be bad.

Truck bed camper - for one or two people, you can find these cheap. pop-up top versions are nice and cut wind resistance. though, pay attention, Canvas is easy to replace but can be costly. If you travel with others, it is nice to go to the back and make a sammich. You cant do it with these, but otherwise nice

Thing you may build

Ambulance - Normally solid and pretty good. Can take a bit to convert. may be hard to do some things from a space constraint aspect

Bus - I like it, normally, if they leak, its a window seal. which is easy. Huge storage potential underneath with them. You would have to add all of what you want. But you can find shorter versions with teh same engine for a sport like ride :).

Box truck or your go everywhere behemoth - room, same as the bus, just takes work.

For a cheap RV, I am scared of the wood rot. Its a real killer and can turn a cheap option to a ton of sweat and cash to fix properly. They seem to rot fast too. Take your time and weigh options. look at the recycle places for what prices are with bathroom stuff to see if it makes sense to try to do a build. For a marginal make it work, it wont take much, and you can add as you go as budget works.

SVreX MegaDork
9/16/14 12:59 p.m.
bearmtnmartin wrote: Maybe a better idea to invest the money in an enclosed trailer and put a bunk and a bathroom in the front. http://cgi.ebay.ca/ebaymotors/8-5-039-x-20-039-Enclosed-Trailer-Great-Cargo-Trailer-or-Car-Trailer-/231331289870?pt=Motors_Trailers&hash=item35dc6b5b0e&forcev4exp=true

This is BY FAR the least expensive option.

Renovations can be super easy- go to WalMart, buy a cot, a portable potty, a camping shower, and a curtain. Done.

Maintenance is cheaper. Does not have a 2nd engine, drivetrain, etc. to maintain. Roof doesn't leak. 4 tires instead of 6. No tag fees. No additional insurance.

Initial cost is cheaper. Yeah, the buy-in is equal, but the RV you buy is going to have issues in that price range. At a minimum, it will need new tires (6x 150= $900) and a fridge (if you actually buy a 3-way, it will cost $1000). It will also need roof repairs (even if the owner says it doesn't). True buy-in cost will be more like $5500. More by the time you buy tags and insurance. The trailer will be ready to go, in good shape. And, it can be towed by your F-150 (which you already know is in good shape).

Start up cost each season is cheaper. The RV will have a dead battery, mice in the cupboards, frozen water lines, and a couple of dry rotted tires every year when you are ready to go. The trailer will be ready to roll.

Better utility space year round. The trailer can be set up with all the tools and gear you want, and left that way. You can even leave the car inside. An RV needs to be repacked every time.

Higher resale. The RV is a dinosaur. Nobody wants it, that is why it is cheap. Nobody will want it when you go to sell it, either. The trailer will be worth at least what you pay for it. They usually go up a little bit.

Don't get me wrong- I've been RVing my whole life. It is my preferred method. But it is NOT cheaper.

SVreX MegaDork
9/16/14 1:20 p.m.

There is only 1 reason to consider an RV or bus.

Because you want the "rolling party" experience.

If you intend to take a few friends, swap from front to back while rolling, switch drivers, sleep in a bed for 1000 miles while rolling, or play cars while cruising down the interstate, go for it. That's what Steve does with Mongo, and THAT is what they are good for.

If you want to save money, hotel bills, etc... Nope.

I am also no fan of the truck based camper versions. They make the truck unusable for any other purpose, are a PITA to remove and put back, and don't have sufficient bed/ floor space for an adequate party vehicle. They are also a tough climb to get in and out of.

SVreX MegaDork
9/16/14 1:22 p.m.

If anyone is serious about a box truck, I've got a 14' utility box van (with 10 tool boxes on the outside) that I would sell.

pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/16/14 1:25 p.m.

Sky_Render Dork
9/16/14 1:34 p.m.

Get a bus and do this to it?


intrepid New Reader
9/16/14 3:22 p.m.

I'm actually considering an RV as my next tow vehicle for race weekends. With the price of mid sized pick ups heading toward (and beyond) $40K, I think a decent RV might make sense as an alternative. The savings on hotel rooms would actually offset the increase in fuel consumption, depending on miles traveled. It seems there are plenty of decent RVs in the 10-15K range, which is a huge savings over a new truck.


captdownshift GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/16/14 3:24 p.m.

In reply to pinchvalve:

now photoshop a spec Miata in place of the stock NC

captdownshift GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/16/14 3:31 p.m.


also I'll leave this here

Thinkkker UltraDork
9/16/14 3:43 p.m.

PERFECT! If I were looking, I would call.

RealMiniDriver UltraDork
9/16/14 3:59 p.m.

I came in here expecting this:

You guys let me down.

Tom1200 Reader
9/17/14 12:20 a.m.

I have an RV for the exact reason this post was started: I am an hour and twenty minutes from the track I run at the most (Spring Mtn Motorsports Ranch). What I have is a 1990 Ford E250 Coachman camper van. I have a small open trailer to tow my Datsun 1200 and I manage 9-12 mpg depending on how hard I push over the Mtn to Pahrump. It has just enough room to change into gear and sit and eat lunch. I take it to track events, autocross and the motocross track. It has enough room for two people. I have even used the van to get to work on occasion if one of the daily drivers has an issue, no worse in rush hour traffic than a truck. The wife and I will even do overnight camping in it.

As for storage I keep basic tools and minimal spares. The point of having a Datsun or Miata is that they seldom need spares. I have a plastic tub with some gaskets, water pump, starter, alternator etc and this fits in the little mini bath shower along with extra blankets. Because you only need a day or two worth of supplies there is more than enough space. Note I use the over head bunk (it's kiddie size) to store blankets, lawn chairs and my EZ-Up.

As for cost I paid 3k for it, the motor only had 50K on it, 8 years ago. The first year I replaced the radiator and water pump $250. Year 2 I had the tranny replaced, it shifted a little rough and I wanted an upgrade, it would have gone a few more years $1100 installed. 4 years ago I had to pony up for tires $700. In the last 2 years it need a throttle position switch and a power steering hose plus the coach battery needs replacing $350. So all toll call it $5500 for the past 8 year including the van itself. Note that everything works, the key is to used everything regularly.

For day trips or overnighters a camper van or slide in has some real advantages. The enclosed trailer works OK but but they are not insulated and it's like sleeping in a storage unit.

914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/17/14 6:46 a.m.

I keep looking at these to hook a sailplane to and see the southwest.

Probably shouldn't .....


KyAllroad HalfDork
9/17/14 7:19 a.m.

Random thought regarding small RVs. Having owned a 24' class C and a 20' class B+. I strongly recommend getting a dually rather than a single rear wheel setup.

The Pleasureway 20' I had for a bit was positively terrifying to drive due to it's constant rolling/swaying/unsettled/nervous ride.

SVreX MegaDork
9/17/14 7:33 a.m.

In reply to KyAllroad:

Hmmm... Interesting.

Do you think that was a factor of the extra wheels, or the ratio between the weigh, spring rate, and height?

My single wheel F-250 never feels unstable, no matter what I load or tow. It is pretty stiffly sprung.

plance1 SuperDork
9/17/14 7:51 a.m.
bigmackloud wrote: ohh, and on the line of box trucks... I keep trying to figure out how to make an M934A2 practical. (That's the expansible van version of the military 5 ton 6x6 trucks. 8.3L cummins, central tire inflation system, allison automatic, power steering, ABS). *I'm standing in front of a M923A2 in my avatar pic. Which is the same thing, just with a cargo bed instead of the van body.

I keep telling myself I'm going to buy one of those or an M35A

KyAllroad HalfDork
9/17/14 8:16 a.m.

It was a combination of weight, height, longish rear overhang (pobably as much to blame as anything) and a shortish E350 wheelbase.

And we had airbags under it. Excellent E load tires. I added 3" wheel spacers to widen it's track a bit. It was still a scary pig to herd down the road that felt like anything over 70 mph was going to end in a full barrel roll. My dad couldn't even drive it, he tried and lasted 20 minutes before pulling over with the shakes.

Jay_W Dork
9/17/14 11:10 a.m.

The above was yet another excuse to stop towing to events in the Fugly White Van and use the coach instead. Way Less Stress. You show up comfortable and reseted, with everything you need, and thus stand a better chance at not crashing out.

We tested this theory, last rally. We failed the test at a 90 left on stage 4. Maybe some day I'll learn to drive. At least we were de-stressed and rested when we crashed out, so at least we had that going for us...

Tom1200 Reader
9/17/14 11:08 p.m.

My E250 is a club wagon so it is a longer wheelbase and it has no problem with sway it has single rear wheels

Now the 24' class C motorhome we owned before the van had a marked tendency to sway, pumping up the air shocks took care of it. With a loaded trailer it would sit slightly nose up, raising the rear ride height a couple of inches made a huge difference........it had dual tires.

Mitchell UltraDork
9/18/14 2:34 a.m.
captdownshift wrote: http://baltimore.craigslist.org/cto/4669297115.html also I'll leave this here

Knowing nothing of the subject, this seems to be a great option. Its simplicity, age, and low mileage lead me to believe that it will be the smallest net moneypit.

camaroz1985 Reader
9/18/14 10:34 a.m.

But why is it listed in the baltimore craigslist and from san antonio?

captdownshift GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/18/14 10:47 a.m.

In reply to camaroz1985:

I believe because it was formerly a Maryland National Guard bus, the seller may be in Baltimore while the bus is in San Antonio. I wouldn't be too surprised if it was listed in both locations.

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