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 Living on the Road :: FAQs :: Motorhomes

Sorry, I'm not looking to buy the great bloody thing. But, I am curious how you setup access between the cab and the main area in back. I own a US made 5 ton cargo truck and I was thinking about such a setup, though not as large.

There is a lot of flex between the body and cab, hence the need for a flexible gusset of some kind. I think this is true for all vehicles; certainly our recent acquisition (a Toyota Landcruiser) has the same affliction, and everyone I know with this kind of setup has made a gusset of some kind.

If doing another one I'd have a canvas or vinyl gusset made something like the following pic.

The gusset would be sewn around the outside edge and screwed onto the body and cab through an aluminium strip.

The two water bladders you use in place of the stainless steel tanks and the related mounting brackets that you pulled out. Did you have to build a mount for the bladders? If not, what holds them, and how are they standing up to the travelling?

We placed the bladders in some existing storage compartments under the lounge room floor. They seem to be working well, although we have had one small leak. Because the compartments were not originally designed for the bladders they are a bit small, and we had to fold the bladders a bit to make them fit. This has caused some bends in the material which I'm not entirely happy about. The aforementioned leak however was not on one of the bends, but in a flat section of the material.

The tanks come from a company called Pack-a-tank (www.packatank.com, 07 3854 1900), they're in Brisbane.

I note from one of your photos that the side walls of your bedroom extention can be folded up to the ceiling when putting the top down. When these side walls are folded down in the vertical position, how do they join with the corner posts and permanent base wall to become water tight?

The bedroom side walls have rubber strips that make up the gap, the bottom strips are good, but the side ones are more "weather resistant" than weather proof. There are also several gaps on corners etc. All-in-all none of this matters because we normally only raise the roof when it's warm. Even in cold howling gales however the small resultant draft has not been a big deal.

I was impressed with the ease of your black water disposal and want to do the same - however I cannot find watertight containers with wheels of any size. Where did you buy yours please.

The "wheely bin" is officially called a Roll Tank 40W by Fiamma, the manufacturers (Part # 02428-01).

I'm fairly certain we bought it from Caravan Accessories in Sydney. Ours is a 40-litre model, you can get smaller and larger, but remember that you have to lift it to the rim of a toilet.

Rob, I read with interest your WORT construction diary. I am just about to apply the skin to my coach, and I wanted to know whether you had any long-term performance issues with VHB tape. Also how did you choose VHB over, say Sikaflex, or rivets (ugh!!)

No problems so far with the VHB, it's been on for 3 years now with about half that actually on the road, so I guess I can say it works.

I certainly didn't want to use rivets. Quite apart from the physical
problems in installing x thousand of the buggers there's electrolysis
between the different metals, problems with sealing, and the high stress at the point where the rivet is located.

Sikaflex would be the next option as you say. It has one advantage, and that is that you can size the panel after it's on, ie. move it around to get it in exactly the right place. But the problems as I saw them are, you have to clamp the panels and wait a day or so before you can apply the next panel (you can work on different areas I suppose but you're still limited in the number of panels that can be done in a single day).

Also, it's not always possible to get a clamp on, certainly on the side that's butting up to the previous panel.

VHB gets my vote.

On your web site, in the specs of the "The big WORT", you mention a "240 litre 24v Fisher & Paykel fridge" is this a typo or are there 24v fridges available from Fisher & Paykel........???

F&P don't actually make a 24v fridge but you can get them converted. We selected the model in Harvey Norman or somewhere then purchased the fridge through an alternative power shop and they in turn ordered it from the conversion people.

They take out the 240v compressor and the defrost facility (too expensive on power) and install a Danfoss 12/24v compressor.

Two points about using normal domestic fridges. Firstly their insulation is nowhere near as good as the serious power-saving fridges like those from Iceer (sp?). Secondly, you often cannot add insulation because the condensers are placed down the side of the fridge.

I'd like to thank you for publishing the info on the wort.
I'm in the process of building a mark 3 inter. It's not in the class you have built but will hopefully service my wife, Patsy and myself on our travels. I have studied your mounting system but would appreciate a confirmation of the size of the support beams used as cross beams either side of the rubber mounts, the main rails front to back and the thickness of the plates the rubber mounts are attached to.

The support beams are 150x75x5mm RHS, the main rails down the body are the same. In retrospect I don't think they had to be so large but they have worked.

My original design called for the rails to go right to the end of the body but I got smarter, chopped them off at the start of the lounge, and made the loungeroom walls support the weight of the body's rear end. This was lighter and stronger than simply using huge beams.

The rubber mounts are designed to fit into 32mm thick steel "donuts" (supplied with the mounts), these are then set into plates of the same thickness.

The system has worked well although, as you may have read, it was a bit TOO flexible so I have since added rubber bracing outboard of the rear pivot to firm it up a bit.

I am thinking of building something similar to use in northern Africa (I am in Spain) and southern Spain (mainly on road).

One thing that I think is great is “body can be pressurised while driving to help keep dust from entering”. As I plan to use it a lot in the Sahara desert, this idea is fantastic. How do you do this?

We pressurise the body with a 6" blower, it's an in-line type as used in air-conditioning systems to move air along a duct. It's 240v but I just use a cheap inverter running off the truck battery. The blower gets its air via a precleaner as I figured there's no point pressurising with dusty air, say if you're following another vehicle.

The system seems to work well although, to be fair, we haven't given it a real test, like 500k on a road with super fine dust.

Other people just have a scoop at the front to ram air into the body, works well I believe, but you want to be able to close it quick when, for example, a truck passes you.

First, How did you wire your system to 24 volts and where did you get your components? It seems that here in America most everything is in 12 volt except perhaps big trucks, and unfortunately I have little experience with it.

Re 24 volts.
Although the main battery bank is 24v most things are 12v, as follows
* fridge 24v (or 12v)
* lights 12v
* water pump 12v
* winches 12v
* hydraulics 24v
as you can see most things are actually 12v. I have a single 12v battery that is constantly charged from the 24v bank. However if you only have low current 12v devices you can just use a 24-to-12v converter. I use a 12v battery only because the winches draw a lot of current and batteries are good at providing high current, converters aren't.

So why have a 24v main bank when just about everything runs on 12v? I wanted a large inverter (3300w) and these aren't made in 12v because the currents are too high and wires to large.

All-in-all it's easier to have the truck and the house the same voltage so you can easily charge house batteries while driving. I don't have this and am thinking of installing a second alternator to charge house batteries.

Second, how are you enjoying your new lifestyle?
Great, there are problems of course, like breaking down in the middle of nowhere and staying in the yard of an engineering firm in a crappy industrial area while something's fixed. But then there's the times when you have a pristine beach or mountain to yourself.

Has there been anything about your motor home you'd do differently,
I would like a newer truck but that's not really an option because of the price. Having said that, the ACCO only has about 20,000 miles on it, and of course the motor and gearbox are new, so I guess I do have a new truck, sort of :-)

or things that especially make it great...
The deck and massive "windows" are the best part of the truck. In most climates we're in we don't need glass and do need ventilation, so the huge opening shutters work really well.

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PO Box 450, Gin Gin, QLD, Australia.