M916 for RV Build Project

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oldMan99

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Maybe I missed it, but I don't think the OP was asking for this kind of input. He seems to know what he's looking for, and just wants some help finding it. So he's planning on using it to do something it was never intended to do. So what? What's the problem with that? Is it ruining a collectible MV that you're opposed to, or the 'foolishness' of something that doesn't make sense to you, or something else?
Thanks for the post!

Did you ever get any feedback on that winch? I looked it up and from the sounds of it, it will be a very nice option for a lot of people. Might even work for my project depending on cost. Since it is brand new I could not find a price for it, or how much cable it will hold. But, from my experience with Warn and looking at the pics I am going to GUESS the wide drum will hold between 95-125'.

It sure is a lot smaller and lighter than the hydraulic option and it is the largest electric I have see so far.

By the way, I really like the way you set up your rig, it looks great! After I build the Giantor RV I may look at building a smaller one like your to use as a "High mobility" RV to get me into the places that mine will never ever see....
 

jesusgatos

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Thanks. That's funny, I think mah deuce is a gigantaur rig. haha. Seriously thought about building on an M36 chassis, and then a stretched 5-ton, but decided against it as I really do want to be able to take it pretty far off the beaten path.
 

Derrickl112

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Cut up? Nobody is cutting anything up. We will be adding quite a bit to it. If it makes you feel better think of it as an Un-Bobbed truck. Think of it as an M820 (See the picture somebody posted on page 1 of this thread) on super steroids (length wise – it will not have expandability) but that is what it is going to end up looking like, only much longer. (OK, we will be cutting the frame and moving the removed rear section back about 20-25’ and inserting new frame members to properly re-attach it, but I don’t really call that “cutting up”.
notice that i said m916a1 as in the freightliners.......the regular am general 916's i could care less about lol



I’m not making a rock crawling 4x4

no one said anything about rock crawling. how stupid do you think i am? im talking about hills that may be between you, and your final destination.
 
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jesusgatos

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I can think of lots of places where it would be nice to have 6WD, even in a gigantic RV that's never really going to go too far off-road. I really don't see what the big deal is. Plenty of people build vehicles like these entirely from scratch. Anything that doesn't suit his needs is easy enough to change. Might get to the point where he regrets starting with a complete vehicle that he ends up making so many changes to, but I've done that - several times. Had a Jeep I built that didn't have one single stock part left on it, except for part of the grill and the tailgate. This guy seems pretty confident in his abilities to take on a big project like this, and it sounds like he's open to input if there are things he's overlooked, or hasn't considered, but what he's proposing really isn't THAT crazy. Is it?
 

jaxsof

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Not THAT crazy. I think it might be an interesting project. Gonna be a long, difficult one though. Well, youre starting with a commercially well received engine and trans(Detroit 60 series and an Allison HT740. The downside I see is that the un-stretched tractor has a turning radius of 80'. The CTIS can be a curse or a blessing. And, for reference, the A2 and 917 have A/C. The axles appear to be new-style Meritor units, and if they are, you can get decent ratios for them. However, Uncles manual sez, "it will maintain 25mph sustained on a 3% grade". Really sounds like that DDEC may need a software modification.

I really wish you the best, OldMan, but youre gotta expect some heat here. Most of us are purists, or at least minimalists when it comes to heavy modification. I, for instance, don't care for the bobbed units, but I appreciate the effort that goes into them, and that their people really love them. Im sure once you get the project started, and keep us up with pics, we'll come around.

Just be warned, it is gonna be a heavy build, but you really can polish a plopper, or maybe make a silk purse out of a sows ear.
 

oldMan99

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Project update:

I have:

Read literally hundreds of posts in almost as many threads both here on SS and on some other boards.

Personally sat in, rode in and or drove several different MV's and commercial trucks.

Spoken at length to my primary chassis fabricator in several different sessions with photographs and drawings.

Researched at length over a dozen different truck/chassis models/versions.

What I am after is a vehicle that will look something like the M934 expansable (See the picture below) and have the ability to go into places not accessible by standard RV's.

Ground clearance, all wheel drive, fording ability, highway ability. The load of the RV components will be in the neighborhood of 20,000 to 25,000 pounds, (Not including the truck itself). Winches front and rear, A/C-heat in both the cab and camper sections, engine large enough to have the grunt to haul this monster with ease up in the mountains and geared to allow for easy 65-70mph highway. Oh, and cool factor... for all the effort, it has to have cool factor...lol.

44" to 53" tires and no critical systems (generator and so forth) mounted lower than the top of the tires. (To allow for maximum protection during fording operations).

See the video below for a tiny sample of what I'm talking about. All vehicles make it but the first 2 are low enough that water level is an issue, (Water damage and a huge wall for the current to hit) Vehicle #4 (F-750) is much better suited. Simply put, I am planning on being better prepared than even vehicle 4.

And before anybody even starts, I know all about the dangers of traversing running water, I have participated in a few emergency rescue ops when idiots tried crossing water that was moving to fast and/or to deep.

I was bidding in the last auction but did not win. I'll try again in about 3-4 weeks when more of what I'm looking for come up.....

I'm still trying to find some info on parts souses and so forth but we have a plan.

Wish me luck!!

YouTube - 2010 Dumont Dunes River Crossing

Here is one that is not all that difficult but representative of what I may encounter while out trekking about

YouTube - Chevy Truck Water Crossing

Here is a sample of what we will NOT be doing... but these sure are cool trucks! Wish we had them here in the US..

YouTube - Truck Trial Ch?í?, Vránov




More info to follow later...





M934 Expansable van:
 

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Ruppster

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I love the idea of what you want to build as I had the same idea several years ago. But that idea was quickly dropped after I drove a long wheelbase semi truck. Making a right turn from a 2 lane road on to a two lane road was a major pain in the arse. I needed both lanes to make the turn and if anyone was coming the other way from the road I was turning on to I was SOL. If you want to come over to Tampa you can take a turn behind the wheel of my International F4370 (the one in my avatar) to see how a long truck is to turn (I have more pics of the beast at Just when I thought the buying spree was over)


Just let me know if you want to come out and try driving it.


Ruppster
 

CobraChris

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How far off road? It only takes 8’ if you pull off the highway in the wrong place. I have been in “Improved” established normal regular every day campgrounds and seen big RV’s get stuck in a regular spot.

I can vouch for this. It does not take much for a regular RV to get stuck. My parents have a new 38' with a single rear axle, and it will get stuck if you look at it wrong. You can't go near sand, and for that matter, I got stuck in the pits at Bradenton with it. That's a lot of RV to push with an open diff in one drive axle.


I love the idea of a large 6x6 camper. I have always wanted to make a trip across the US and on into Alaska with a RV, but there is no way I would do it with a regular RV.
 

Unforgiven

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It sounds like a fun project. Make sure to post your build with lots of photos.

One correction to your info:

If you're over 26,000 lbs (which you will be with a 900 series 5 Ton & 20,000 lbs of gear) you will have to get a CDL. You'll also have to store it in an RV storage/business facility if you live in the suburbs. That is, unless there's some sort of RV exemption from the DMV for such a vehicle.
 

Bighurt

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All Recreational Vehicles are exempt from CDL licensing.

That is only a partial truth.

Yes in most states RV's are exempt from paying the Commercial registration rates.

However you still need a drivers license of the appropriate level to drive the vehicle. However in most states they consider in a non-commercial endorsement. Which means you are exempt from the medical requirement.

Nearly all states have a limit on their license, for example ND has 26001 for a D which is your everyday civilian license similar to C in CA. If my RV GVW is over that limit I need to step up to a Class A. No exemptions you are licensed based on the vehicle weight and nothing more.

Florida is an exception.
 
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Unforgiven

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Nevada requires a special endorsement when towing. That includes RV fifth-wheels & travel trailers.

They passed it just a year or two ago. Basically it's a non-commercial version of a CDL. You have to take a special written & driving tests.

RV Driver's License Requirements

I plan to make a big-dumb-trailer out of a Deuce bed. Therefore, by the new Nevada law, I will have to get J or R endorsed. But I think I'll just get the non-CDL A or B instead just to make Johnny Law (Barney Fife) happy if I get pulled over in rural Nevada.

J & R Endorsement

Nevada is the first state I've heard of that requires a specific endorsement on a Class C license to tow a noncommercial trailer, including RVs. The "R" endorsement is for a trailer with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or less. The "J" endorsement is for a trailer weighing more 10,000 lbs, up to a total combined weight of 26,000 lbs. A combined weight of 26,001 lbs and above requires a commercial license.
 

Ruppster

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However you still need a drivers license of the appropriate level to drive the vehicle. However in most states they consider in a non-commercial endorsement. Which means you are exempt from the medical requirement.
This is only correct in some states ,not all. The federal guidelines say a CDL is required if the truck is used rated at 26,001 pounds or more but gives an exemption for private use and RV's. These guidelines do not say any additional licensing is required to drive a non-commecial big truck or RV. So a regular license can be used to drive a semi truck as long as you are not for hire. The reason for this is the federal government can only regulate licensing for vehicles used in interstate commerce. If you are driving a big truck for pleasure you are not involved in interstate commerce and the feds can not touch you. The trick is when the states incorporated the guidelines set by the feds in to their state statutes each state made their own changes. Therefore each state is different. Some follow the federal guidelines word for word (i.e. can drive anything with a standard driver's license as long as not for hire) while others had taken it further (like CA and the license you have to get for a tandem axle truck, even if it's under federal CDL requirements). What does not help with the confusion is a few states have created non-CDL Class A and B licenses for big trucks used for private use. For this you are correct about the exemption for a medical card (though you can drive a big truck with a CDL and as long as you are not for hire you are exempt from the med card requirement too, you only need the med card when driving in commerce). The thing is not all states have the option for a non-CDL Class A, B, or C license. Since the OP that started this thread is in Florida this is a non-issue as Florida does not require anything more then a regular driver's license to drive a cargo truck of any size regardless of weight rating. The only vehicle Florida requires a CDL for is a semi truck with a commercial fifth wheel on the back that can't haul cargo without the use of a trailer, even if it is not for hire.



Nearly all states have a limit on their license, for example ND has 26001 for a D which is your everyday civilian license similar to C in CA. If my RV GVW is over that limit I need to step up to a Class A. No exemptions you are licensed based on the vehicle weight and nothing more.

Florida is an exception.

As you mentioned each state is different. Just because a few states require it does not mean most states do. And the way I look at it Florida is not an exception. :) They are following federal guidelines almost word for word (the main difference is the need for a CDL when driving a private use tractor trailer truck). The states that are the exception are those states that have created this mess about non-CDL A, B, and C licenses when this is not even required by the feds. They took the federal guidelines and went further with them by adding tighter rules. The first time I drove cross-country with a private use tandem axle truck I was licensed in VA. VA follows the federal guidelines word for word and only has two classes of licensing, regular and CDL. When I was stopped at the weigh scales a few states gave me a hard time for not having a non-CDL class A license, even after I told them VA does not have such a thing and the feds don't require it. Their attitude was that their state required it therefore people from other states must have the same thing. But that was only a few states. All the other states I drove through had no problem with my lack of a CDL or non-CDL class A license since I was not for hire. When we PCS'd out of Alaska last year I had to have an actual Class A CDL (Alaska left out the exemption for personal use but kept the RV exemption) since I was driving a semi truck with a 45 foot trailer as me moved to our next Air Force base in Florida (the pic in my avatar was taken when we were halfway through BC, Canada, and is of the truck I drove with its trailer and the dirt on it is from the AlCan HW). So I did not have any licensing issues on this last cross-country trip but a scale official at a WA weigh scale hassled me about the med card requirement. I had a copy of the Alaskan statute that said I was exempt from med card requirements since I was not for hire but that was not good enough since it was a Washington requirement and since I was in Washington I had to follow their rules. :mad: She started to write me a $150 ticket for lack of med card and got real pissed when I showed her one. I never told her I didn't have one, only that I was not required to have it. :)

Anyhow, as I mentioned above the CDL aspect is a non-issue in Florida (and many other states for that matter) as that is where the OP lives and Florida does not play the non-CDL Class A, B, or C licensing b.s. that a few states do.

Ruppster
 
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Sirblissfull

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I have a M820 in Huntsville I am willing to part with, if anyone else wants to do a camper conversion this year. It looks like its just gonna be in storage for the next year otherwise.
 

oldMan99

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I can vouch for this. It does not take much for a regular RV to get stuck. My parents have a new 38' with a single rear axle, and it will get stuck if you look at it wrong. You can't go near sand, and for that matter, I got stuck in the pits at Bradenton with it. That's a lot of RV to push with an open diff in one drive axle.


I love the idea of a large 6x6 camper. I have always wanted to make a trip across the US and on into Alaska with a RV, but there is no way I would do it with a regular RV.
LOL.... you WILL see me there once the rig is done... This is EXACTLY one of the many places I had in mind in designing this thing.... That grass sure LOOKS innocent enough doesn't it??
 

Bighurt

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LOL.... you WILL see me there once the rig is done... This is EXACTLY one of the many places I had in mind in designing this thing.... That grass sure LOOKS innocent enough doesn't it??
We should make a convoy, Alaska is a place I eagarly wish to return to. Unfortunatly much of Alaska has no roads...oh the pity.

Did I say unfortunatly...
 

oldMan99

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We should make a convoy, Alaska is a place I eagarly wish to return to. Unfortunatly much of Alaska has no roads...oh the pity.

Did I say unfortunatly...
I agree. A MV convoy to some remote AK village (Like Prudhoe Bay) would be cool. However.... I'll need a few days to actually build my MV before we get rolling.

But... we could start planning something for say Feb-March 2013. That would give people plenty of time to start getting ready, schedule vacation time(Save up the funds) and so forth.... Start off in Key West and start picking up people as we progress North...

Sure would serve as a motivator for both you and I (And likely/hopefully many others!) to get our stuff built and tested in time!
 

Bighurt

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I agree. A MV convoy to some remote AK village (Like Prudhoe Bay) would be cool. However.... I'll need a few days to actually build my MV before we get rolling.

But... we could start planning something for say Feb-March 2013. That would give people plenty of time to start getting ready, schedule vacation time(Save up the funds) and so forth.... Start off in Key West and start picking up people as we progress North...

Sure would serve as a motivator for both you and I (And likely/hopefully many others!) to get our stuff built and tested in time!
Do you have any idea how cold Prudhoe Bay is in Feb - Mar?

2 yrs... better get that lottery ticket...

Although by the looks of thing i may not even be stateside then.
 
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