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Old 06-13-2008, 10:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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MT4Runner's Toterhome (UHaul) Project

After seeing a link to Yager's U-Haul Toter Home Project and then the rig that inspired him--Snookwheel's Po Man's Toy Hauler Project, I got inspired to build my own.

I have a company pickup--an '06 Tundra, and while it does a pretty good job of towing 6-7,000 lbs, it's still a company rig, and I'd prefer to haul my junk with my own towrig.

Last summer, we tried an older Class C motorhome--1977 Chevy with a 400cid motor and a T350 tranny. It was gutless, and topped out at about 45mph. It couldn't get out of its own way, so I never even tried to tow a rig with it.

I watched for 12V CTD's for awhile, and then saw the above mentioned build threads this winter, and got inspired. I started looking for local retired UHauls, and they were going for $5,400 to $5,800.

Checked Craigslist, and there was a guy in Spokane who ran a fleet of '89 Internationals for his furniture delivery business. His only problem was that his company was doing well, and the old UHauls were already depreciated out, and he was paying a lot in taxes. He had started liquidating his fleet to buy new Peterbilts he could write off. He was selling his trucks for $3,000-4,500.



I asked him why the $3,000 truck was so low....it had an exhaust leak and bald rear tires. I took it for a test drive, and it ran strong, so I bought it.



I put some traction retreads on it (factory siped Bandag treads on Michelin carcasses) and had the local diesel shop fix the exhaust leak. I probably could have, but I already had plenty of stuff to do with the Toterhome conversion, and 2 trail rigs needing my attention. So far, I'm only into it:

$3,000 Truck
$600 Tires
$500 Exhaust, p-brake and speedo work
$400 doors and windows
$200 misc. framing and plumbing materials @ home depot
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Last edited by MT4Runner; 06-13-2008 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds cool
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I liked Yager's layout, but it didn't quite give me enough flexibility. I liked Snookwheels' layout, but it was too "industrial" for me to "sell" the idea to Mrs. MT4Runner.

So, the plan was hatched for the rig to get a full kitchen with sink, stove, water heater, water tank, electrical, and refrigerator. I sketched about a dozen layouts before coming up with one that would fit all the appliances across the front wall.


After I knew they'd fit, I cut a hole in the wall for the door for access.




I got about one window per evening installed. They were designed for a 1.5" thick wall. These walls are 3/4" plywood with fiberglass skins inside and out. I had to flip the window's "trim ring" around to take up the gap (it's designed to sit inside the opening...it now had to span between the inside flange of the window which protruded into the box, and cover between the flange and inside face of the wall.

More windows:




A friend of mine got an older 5th wheel 1975 Coleman camper that donated the appliances fo free!

Here they are mocked into the incomplete plywood front cabinet:


A friend of my wife's had a rolled Holiday Rambler Alumi-lite trailer that gave up its windows, plumbing, and power convertor for $400. I had quotes from the local trailer manufacturer, and fewer windows would have cost me over $1,100.
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Last edited by MT4Runner; 06-13-2008 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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We took it out for its inaugural trip over the Memorial Day weekend. It rained and rained and rained and rained some more!!
Fortunately, no leaks.

I didn't have the water system plumbed yet, but I did have the propane connected for the furnace and stove. If Mrs. MT4Runner has heat and coffee, she's literally a happy camper!

With a ~5,000lb Runner in the back, I could hardly feel it!

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Old 06-13-2008, 10:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Note in the earliest pictures the PO's 'Dependable Deliveries' decals. He peeled the dachsund image, and put a 4th! layer of vinyl over the DD words.

Vinyl:
Original ancient UHaul vinyl--thin and brittle
2nd layer: white vinyl sheets overlaid to cover UHaul graphics
3rd layer: DEPENDABLE DELIVERIES
4th layer: more white vinyl sheets to overlay and cover DD graphics.


First attempt to peel off vinyl was with a friend's hot-shit (literally) kerosene-heated industrial pressure washer. I succeeded in getting very wet.



Subsequent attempts have been with a small 110V paint stripper-type heat gun. It's not terribly fast, but a little faster than the hot water and a lot drier for me!!!



I have a product from my local graphics place called "vinyl off" or somesuch that is supposed to penetrate the vinyl and loosen the adhesive. We'll see how it works.

The bottom colored layers of UHaul graphics are coming off OK....they just got brittle and cracked in the sun, so don't peel off well in sheets or strips. The UHAUL word somehow got permanently bonded to the fiberglass, and peeling that shit off resulted in peeling off the gelcoat layer of the fiberglass shell.

When it's all peeled, I'm going to Bondo some small screw holes and chips in the fiberglass, and paint the entire exterior with enamel tractor paint. I've already filled and painted the interior 8', and the tractor paint looks really nice. It's just extremely slow drying.

I'm thinking of some graphics schemes that tie in with the black/white cab.
I'm also looking for a '90-up front clip to make the rig look a little cleaner.
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Last edited by MT4Runner; 06-13-2008 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCzuk View Post
Sounds cool
Thanks! I need to get the FToy done, and I'll load it in the Toter and come visit you and your brother!!
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh, and the big rusty thing by the steps is an Indian lance I made for the local High School. It sat in my driveway all winter to develop that "rusty patina"
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Cool project

I'd keep the wiener dog graphic though
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Nice rig. How'd you lay out the rest of the interior?
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:55 AM   #10 (permalink)
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cool! what kind of gas mileage does that beast get?
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Looks like a solid foundation!

What kind of motor?
Estimated MPG?
How wide is the box? I need about 90" min to get mine in something....

I figure if I ever upgrade from the 12V and gooseneck I will go with a full simi.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Cool project......I think you should leave the dog

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Old 06-13-2008, 03:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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FANTASTIC!!!! I love seeing another one in the making. I will be following your build. I have made a transition from the off roading to on roading vehical hauling because my son has gone off to college. I will be needing to shift from 'industrial' (your term and very correct) to something that my wife will be able to handle.

Are you planning a cab-through entry? I was, but never got it done. I have been debating getting rid of our work bench and doing something much like you are across part of the front and finally putting a crawl through. The trucks are not fast... but they are dependable.. by our experience.

We just got back from two days at Sebring and are heading to Gainesville for some GO FAST fun later this month. You will draw a crowd where ever you go with that hauler. BTW, as soon as we put in power, water and a sleeping arrangement, we were able to register it as an RV and had much lower tax and ins. costs.

Good luck!

link to original Uhaul Build and transition to go-fast hauler:https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=480067

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Old 06-13-2008, 08:48 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Looking good, keep us updated with how it turns out.
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plunkinberry View Post
Nice rig. How'd you lay out the rest of the interior?
Check out the pics below
Quote:
Originally Posted by supergildo View Post
cool! what kind of gas mileage does that beast get?
About 10 mpg. I'm hoping I can get at least 8mpg with one rig inside and 2 behind.
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Originally Posted by rcurrier44 View Post
Looks like a solid foundation!

What kind of motor? 7.3 n/a International diesel
Estimated MPG? 10 mpg
How wide is the box? I need about 90" min to get mine in something.... It's 92" or 94" inside the box; about 88" or 90" inside the rear coilng door rails; I'll check the exact door openign for you tomorrow

I figure if I ever upgrade from the 12V and gooseneck I will go with a full simi.
Full semi would be cool, but I think a medium truck is a bit more flexible for our uses. Hauling 4-5 rigs would be sweet!!

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Originally Posted by snookwheel View Post
FANTASTIC!!!! I love seeing another one in the making. I will be following your build. I have made a transition from the off roading to on roading vehical hauling because my son has gone off to college. I will be needing to shift from 'industrial' (your term and very correct) to something that my wife will be able to handle.

Not that ours is entirely "residential". I had to make this nice enough for Mrs. MT4Runner to approve from the get-go.

Are you planning a cab-through entry? I was, but never got it done. I have been debating getting rid of our work bench and doing something much like you are across part of the front and finally putting a crawl through. The trucks are not fast... but they are dependable.. by our experience.

No cab-through for now, but there's room under the sink. Not a lot of room with the appliances we've stuffed inside. Definitely not fast, but not as much as a turd as our previous motorhome!!!

You will draw a crowd where ever you go with that hauler. BTW, as soon as we put in power, water and a sleeping arrangement, we were able to register it as an RV and had much lower tax and ins. costs.

We're already drawing small crowds. :grinpimp;

We'll register it as an RV in March '09 when the current registration lapses. For a 15+ year-old vehicle, we can do a permanent registration for $250, and no RV GVW limit up to 25,999 lbs!

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Old 06-14-2008, 12:04 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Mrs. MT4Runner and the girls

Our 4yo daughter, Mrs. PDC_RNR, Mrs. MT4Runner, our 6yo daughter

RV step

Outdoor shower, furnace fresh air intake and exhaust, and water fill tube.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:22 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Interior (kitchen) layout

Upper bunk (queen sized) in down position

Upper bunk folded up in cooking position

Side bunks for the girls---can be positioned anywhere on the side rails
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:25 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Interior chips/fastener holes Bondo'ed

Interior walls painted with tractor paint
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:28 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Cleats for loading ramps....for some reason, when the front tires climb the internal wheel wells, the back tires grip and spit the ramps out. I finally learned after 3 failed tries.

Loading Ramps

5,000 lb D-rings

D-rings are bolted through 4x4x1/4" continuous plate that is bolted to the framerails---the angle also holds the box to the frame.
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:20 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Cool project......I think you should leave the dog

Attachment 375254
Yeah, not so much. I love dogs, but I have two close friends who would kick my ass if it were anything but a Lab on the side of our family truck.

Shasta, the chocolate turned 9 a month ago. She is literally one of the dumber dogs we have ever known, but is also the most loyal dog I have ever known. We've never been able to teach her to shake in 9 years, and all she knows is 'sit', 'out', 'up', 'eat', and 'lie down'. She smiles all the time and never leaves our sides.

Shadow, the black is 11.5, and slowing down a little. She was an evil genius when she was younger. She could walk and dance on her hind legs, speak on command, and retrieve the newspaper from the box at the curb. Now she lies around and sleeps alot, but she's earned it.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:38 AM   #21 (permalink)
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@ the little kid cot hanging from the wall.

Cool project
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:48 AM   #22 (permalink)
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@ the little kid cot hanging from the wall.

Cool project
There are actually two of them...and no, I don't make my girls sleep on a hard plywood bunk!! I have thermarests for their bunks; just threw it up there for a photo. With two bunks and rails at 2', 4' and 6', I can put them end-to-end, stacked as bunks, on either side, or up high for bedding storage.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:19 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Yeah, not so much. I love dogs, but I have two close friends who would kick my ass if it were anything but a Lab on the side of our family truck.

Shasta, the chocolate turned 9 a month ago. She is literally one of the dumber dogs we have ever known, but is also the most loyal dog I have ever known. We've never been able to teach her to shake in 9 years, and all she knows is 'sit', 'out', 'up', 'eat', and 'lie down'. She smiles all the time and never leaves our sides.

Shadow, the black is 11.5, and slowing down a little. She was an evil genius when she was younger. She could walk and dance on her hind legs, speak on command, and retrieve the newspaper from the box at the curb. Now she lies around and sleeps alot, but she's earned it.
Beutifull Labs......If they are anything like my border collies I'm sure they have made the world a better place at the end of a shitty day

Lost my Border Collie Boze last month a couple days before his 13th b-day, went to sleep that night and never woke up....if you got to go thats the way.

Anyway, I agree by the look in Shasta and Shadow's eyes winnie dog might not go over well.
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:15 PM   #24 (permalink)
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looking
does the truck have air suspension?
gonna have its tongue hanging out hauling 2 behind it though......
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:05 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MT4Runner View Post
Yeah, not so much. I love dogs, but I have two close friends who would kick my ass if it were anything but a Lab on the side of our family truck.

Shasta, the chocolate turned 9 a month ago. She is literally one of the dumber dogs we have ever known, but is also the most loyal dog I have ever known. We've never been able to teach her to shake in 9 years, and all she knows is 'sit', 'out', 'up', 'eat', and 'lie down'. She smiles all the time and never leaves our sides.

Shadow, the black is 11.5, and slowing down a little. She was an evil genius when she was younger. She could walk and dance on her hind legs, speak on command, and retrieve the newspaper from the box at the curb. Now she lies around and sleeps alot, but she's earned it.
Ok... I've got two labs as well.. Holly is my choc and is 12.5 years old... Brandy is my black and she's 15.5 years old...

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