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Masque

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Posts
14
This could be a long post . . for a first one . . . so please bear with me:

I'm an American, but I've been floating around the World since the 60's and it's time I came back this Winter and say 'hello, goodbye' to members of my family that will open their door and say 'who the heck are you?'

Anyway, many of my family are in the frozen lands of the Northern Mid-West and I need some advice on RV choice but I'll try and keep it short and sweet: My budget to buy is about 60K$ but that's a little flexible either way. There's one other issue and that's width, It needs to be 100" wide max. (if that's possible) with BIG heated pass-through storage. Engine choice has made me dismiss the petrol Ford V10 as not really suitable for heavy hauling and the old GM V8s have been doing sterling work for generations ... but does anyone in the States do an LPG/propane conversion for them . . . and for that matter is LPG(autogas) available in the States?
Diesel choice is easy Cat, Cummins, GM in that order, you can run them on old bacon grease if you have to and they won't complain too much  ;)

I know I need dual pane windows and a good heating system, whats more important is winterised water and waste tanks,  protected pipework and easily fitted snow chains.

Some side points: Is it better not to have slide-outs for a cold weather bus and do you think I'm mad for wanting to use an RV in the Mid-West/Rocky mountain winter?

So six or so years ago, who made an RV that's ready for the worst that the Arctic can throw at it?

Many thanks, John

ps. I have a European large vehicle licence rated for 45 tonnes with air brakes, but we have a size limit of 12 x 2.55metres for RVs if I want to bring it back to Europe.
 

Masque

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Posts
14
Too many questions? Sorry people, I'm still learning, I will get better . . . promise. ;)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,305
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
First, welcome to RVforum.net, Masque.  Is that a real name or a handle?

You've placed a pretty tall order and it will probably take a lot of research to find all the answers.  Have you been doing any research yourself or is this your first attempt to learn about the possibilities?

Where would you expect to park this motorhome when visting the family? In somebody's driveway or an RV park?  You probably won't find any RV parks open during the northern winter and if its snow country, finding extra room in a driveway might also be a challenge.  Where will you dump waste water tanks?

And how long will you be in the frozen north?  Will it for all winter or just a few weeks visit?  Will you be traveling around or staying in one place?  Will you tow  a car behind the motorhome or did you plan to drive the motorome wheever you go?
 
How long a rig are you looking for? The full 12 meters (about 39 feet?) or something smaller if possible?  Sort of depends on what you consider to be adequate living space.

As for LPG conversions, they are not common in the US and LPG for vehicle use is not widely available. A few cities have experimental programs and some commercial fleets use LP, but they have their own fueling facilities.  It's much more common in Canada, so you might want to look toward purchasing a rig in Canada if you want LPG power. Canadian rigs are also designed with colder weater in mind.

As for slide-outs, you can save a lot of money by buying a used rig without slides. Few people want them, so their prices are severely depressed.  I'm sure you could pick up a 8-10 year old, non-slide, high-line motorhome for a price well within your budget. The high end rigs are better made and better insulated and are likely to have the cold weather amenities you will need. Anything newer than 1998 is going to have at least one slide.

Are you mad to want to do this? Probably... but that does not mean it's impossible.  Expect to be somewhat less than really comfortable, though, and expect to have to do a fair amount of cold weather "maintenance" to keep everything working.  For example, you might have to add some insulation around water valves, maybe add some basement heat, deal with the occasional frozen pipe or valve,  maybe dump holding tanks only on relatively warm sunny days, that sort of thing.  RVs generally need some coddling to get by in deep winter weather.  We have a few people here who RV in snow country for the skiing, so they can give you some tips on what they do to get by.

Most diesel RVs have Cat or Cummins engines. Only a few had GM Detroits, e.g. the Bluebird Wanderlodge.  GM doesn't make diesels anymore - they sold off Detroit Diesel and it ended up being owned by Daimler-Chrysler. GM uses an Isuzu diesel in their light trucks - they call it the Duratech. Nice engine but not used in any motorhome chassis that I know of. The gas GM V8 or Ford V10 are excellent engines and have plenty of power for a 35 foot motorome, but fuel will be pricey in Europe  (it's bad enough here!).  I have a 35 footer powered by a GM V8 myself.  But I htink diesel will be a better choice for your needs. Shouldn't have to deal with an LP conversion for European use.



 

Masque

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Posts
14
Many thanks Gary, yeah 'Masque' is a soubriet I picked up in a skiing forum and it's stuck (actually it's much less demanding on fading brain to only remember one handle than many).

I've done an enormous amount of reading/lurking in the shadows here and other RV forums (You're a friendly bunch) just to see if the idea is a goer. I think it is but nearly all you snowbirds head South when the winter comes and there are few winter tales other than cleaning tanks (some tales a wee bit too graphic) and parking it a garage for the season  ;)

Gas/Diesel/LPG: I'm happy with big diesels but with the price of fuel (diesel and petrol) over here at about 8$+ a gallon and LPGautogas ?that, the conversion option is one I have to seriously consider. Add to that it has far less environmental impact.

I'll be in the North/Rockies for most of the 6-7 months, the family visits are important and they're helping me plan for stopovers at or very near their locations so I'll be able to power up and keep tanks, pipes etc. unfrozen (fingers crossed and maybe some pipe heatingtape).

It's the skiing locations for camping wild (boondocking?) or serviced at or near a resort. Over here most resorts have hardstanding for campers (may not have power or water) but they are on the ski-bus routes and there are usually good ablutions at the sports/ski centres so tanks emptying can be extended and it's easy to head down into the valleys and dump and refill at an 'aire' that's not frozen in. (Europe is covered in free or very cheap service places for campers to service themselves). I am researching the US resorts themselves for their facilities. But maybe a small 4x4 hung off the back of the bus could be necessary (but towing 4x4s is usually not healthy for their transmissions)

It's my goal to ski all the great mountains I've always promised myself and learn a bit about my country . . . I've been away a looooong time.

Thanks again, John B
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,305
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
But maybe a small 4x4 hung off the back of the bus could be necessary (but towing 4x4s is usually not healthy for their transmissions)

Don't know who told you that, but most all of us here tow a 4x4 and have done so for many , many thousands of miles. A 4x4 with a manual transfer case is the preferred vehicle for 4-down towing.
 
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