Hotel-on-wheels, Sled hauler, Avalanche classroom trailer mega-conversion

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by SnowMule, Oct 24, 2015.

?

Awesome?

  1. Awesome.

    30 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. Awesome.

    15 vote(s)
    33.3%
  1. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    Getting nagged enough, and we've made enough progress on this build it's not quite as boring now... so here's the thread. :D

    Been working with Tyler's Backcountry Awareness doing avalanche education for a few years now. As the program has grown, we've outgrown our old trailer and spent a lot of money on lodging at various events through the year.
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    With a few sleds, gear, tools, fuel, beer... the space goes quick.
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    Sometimes we'd use the TBA trailer as storage/sled-hauling, while I hauled mine up for living quarters.
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    ...Which works, but we still don't really have any classroom space.
    Classroom safety videos, how to read an avalanche forecast (and the what current day's forecast is), how to efficiently use rescue gear...
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    With the F550, towing capacity really isn't an issue.
    A gooseneck gets us a lot more trailer space without adding significantly more length to the rig.
    So we were looking at something in the 45-50 foot range we could build into a mobile classroom, room for half a dozen sleds, and living quarters for 3-4 people.
    TBA also came in 2nd (to the Rabbit Ears parking lot expansion) for recommendations on Colorado Snowmobile Association's grant program. This, along with a bunch of great sponsors, will help us outfit the trailer and continue promoting avalanche and backcountry safety to the motorized community.

    Goal is to have the trailer snow-ready by Thanksgiving.
    #1
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  2. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    A month or so of shopping, and we found a 45ft gooseneck car-hauler from a race team in Florida.
    Sent a crew out there to pick it up the weekend of Ultimate (Mid-April).
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    It's in "OK" shape. We got a good deal on it, and knowing we were going to go through *everything* this summer, the wiring mess and rotting interior wasn't a huge concern.
    Step one... Bug-bomb it, strip out the rotting interior wood and insulation, wire-ectomy, and bust out the plasma cutter and welder.
    Back of the trailer had a beavertail that needed to go. Rather have a flat interior and ground clearance on the back, since we won't need to haul any low-ground-clearance vehicles in here. Flipped that beavertail up.
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    Filled several large trash bags with cheap polystyrene insulation that reeked of cockroach shit, rotted-out panels, scotch-lock'd wiring, and busted light fixtures.
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    I snapped a few pics, brainstormed some ideas for running AV/DC/AC wiring. Drew up some plans, but the 1" walls are always a challenge in trailers. Doesn't leave a lot of room for connectors/wallplates.
    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    Another big upgrade that'll pay off in the long run is replacing the three 6k axles with two 12k axles. Tires wear better and there's fewer of them.
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    Not there yet... not even close. Roof coming off...
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    Kaiser supervises.
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    One half done...
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    Other half in process. Double-square bolts love to cam out, grinder came in handy.
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    Making good progress.
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    Push it into the grass and coat all the steel with Chassis Saver.
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    #3
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  4. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    With a few pallets of plywood and aluminum in the garage, the assembly process begins.
    Start cutting and installing the floors...
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    Get some plywood up on the roof and screw that down.
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    Start the break-in process on new sleds too. :)
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    Make some room in the garage to keep the new wood dry.
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    Insulation begins. Same stuff I used with the previous sled-trailer builds I've done - foil-backed iso board. Relatively inexpensive, good R-value for the thickness, and easy to work with.
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    Two of us thought we could pull the roll of aluminum for the roof up with some tow-straps. After barely getting it off the ground, we decided the tractor would make the process easier...
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    Wipe down and roll out the roof...
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    Get the back third glued down with some weight on top for a few days.
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    #4
    Mambo Dave likes this.
  5. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    Continued with the roof glue.
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    Last couple of feet... not going to miss this job.
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    Meanwhile the welding crew outside's just finishing up with the interior dividing wall.
    This wall will separate the living quarters from the classroom/"garage", and hold the toolbox/furnaces/AV equipment.
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    Tack it in, double-check dimensions...
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    ...and get the toolbox set in place.
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    #5
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  6. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    Take some measurements and make a plan how the exterior wall's going on...
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    ...and start laying down some tape for the screwless siding.
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    VHB... good stuff.
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    Line up the panels
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    yank the plastic off the tape and stick 'er down.
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    Make some rough cuts around the wheels
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    and keep laying the panels on.
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    Looks real clean, and with enough people to help out, this is a LOT easier than throwing a million and a half screws into the walls.
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    Back at it tomorrow.
    #6
  7. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Wow, what a project.....................
    #7
  8. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

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    Wow, huge job! Going to be ready for the season?
    #8
  9. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    Hopefully by Thanksgiving. With the progress we've made in the past few work-days on it, I think we'll be pretty close.
    #9
  10. SgtDuster

    SgtDuster Long timer

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    :lurk
    #10
  11. cheeseyboy

    cheeseyboy Been here awhile

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    looks like you're doing one heck of a job! awesome garage.
    #11
  12. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    More progress this weekend. Local dealer's kickoff party friday night, then back to the garage saturday/sunday.
    "Kickplate" going on the bottom. This along with the floor will all get rhino-lined (Floor's getting Caliber ski guides installed).
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    Then start figuring out heights for benches and electrical. Want the benches to be high enough to be useful as a desk/workstation for classroom, but also low enough to sit on and get dressed for ride days.
    Also a "keepout" area for handlebars - don't want to mount a TV or electrical outlet where the sled bars are going to snag/break things.
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    Couple inches between the cabin wall and toolbox. Here we'll house all the AV amplifiers and wiring... stuff that needs to be in the trailer, but doesn't need to be accessed often. Couple junction boxes here that route out to all the connectors in the walls, they'll connect to the video amplifiers and headunits. Inside the "cabin" we'll have an access door for this stuff, but it'll be hidden.... able to get into it if we need to, but we shouldn't ever need to.
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    Knocked out holes in the insulation for the junction boxes. Since everything's screwless, the wiring's going in the ribs of the trailer. We'll grommet those holes before we string wire through. (Should have thought of this before we started putting siding on... :baldy )
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    Inside TV's are all 12V, so we won't need to run the generator for on-the-mountain classes.
    Outside TVs need a 120v AC outlet in addition to audio/video; we'll only be using these at shows, so running them off generator or shore power isn't a problem. Two cutouts for each of those locations.
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    Couple 120V outlets on the inside under the desks/benches.
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    Chop some more of this shit... Radial arm saw makes quick work of it, but it makes a huge mess. We do this outside. :lol3
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    Roof's a walk-on roof, so it's a little sturdier structure than most enclosed trailers.
    Means more room for insulation - 2.5 inches of it. R-value ≈ 16.... should stay nice and warm.
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    Got most of the roof insulated sunday afternoon.
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    Next weekend if we can get a bigger crew together, we're going to try and get most of the exterior siding on and start slinging wire.
    #12
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  13. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    Good progress today.
    Started pulling wire for the three internal 120V outlets and the rear exterior TV outlets.
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    Need some 1/2" grommets for the wire. Can't quite make the radius with the BX wire.
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    Since we've got the hands today, throw on some more siding.
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    More work getting everything prepped/aligned/stuck-on, but it's less work than screwing everything in. Looks nicer too.
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    Couple of smaller pieces over the 48" door
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    Done with the right side, as much as we can do. Need a few more sheets of 1" insulation, fill in the gooseneck, then hitch it up to flex everything straight between the hitch and the jacks before the rest of the siding goes on.
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    Couple more sheets on the left side since we're kicking ass with this stuff.
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    48" shop door lined up just about right. 36" cabin door is closed off for now, with a good set of shears we should be able to salvage that cut for the door itself.
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    Window in the cabin
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    Yearly test on some older airbags...
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    And check over some new airbag packs.
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    Metal guys are going to be getting some cabinet door frames built tomorrow.
    I need to spend some time in the garage with my sled.
    #13
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  14. plumber mike

    plumber mike Highdive Deepened

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    Is it going to have a bathroom? Big enough to strip off gear in?

    I was going to vote awesome right before the coffee kicked in.......and then I thought, that would not be awesome. I saw a glamper in one of the photos so I'll assume you've got it covered.

    I've been working on my camper for awhile now and can certainly appreciate your effort.
    #14
  15. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    No bathroom in the trailer; most of the trailheads we're at have vault toilets and none of us have a problem pissing behind the trailer.

    [​IMG]

    Definitely big enough to gear up in. Both the shop and cabin areas are heated, dual 35k BTU forced-air furnaces going in the wall between the two.
    Benches fold down off the wall, detachable so we can put the mounting buttons on the outside of the trailer if we need a bench or three out there. They'll be placed high enough to be a desk when seated for classrooms, or used as a seat for getting geared up. They're currently with SledThreads who's doing the vinyl work on them - Ortovox donated the benches, so they're all getting a big logo on the top.

    Flipping through the latest SnowGoer magazine while waiting for discount to install my truck tires, Sapporo had a full-page ad in there with a "Proud sponsor of Tyler's Backcountry Awareness" in it. :thumb
    We've got some awesome guys sponsoring our program.
    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. cheeseyboy

    cheeseyboy Been here awhile

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    What is the exterior sheathing made out of? And what are the dimensions that it comes in?
    #16
  17. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    Aluminum sheet, probably 18-16 gauge. Comes in 49" x 10ft pieces, if you want it cut to height that adds significant cost.
    We bought a standard pallet (49"x10'x72 sheets) of the stuff, worked out to about $35/sheet.
    Just enough to do the trailer, sheets cut-to-height, cost would have gone up to about $90/sheet.
    What we don't use for this trailer will get used on others (family/friends).

    I know one shipment came from a supplier in Canada, but I think it was the roll for the roof.
    #17
  18. cheeseyboy

    cheeseyboy Been here awhile

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    49"? it overlaps?
    #18
  19. SnowMule

    SnowMule still learning what is and isn't edible Super Supporter

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    Yup.
    Trailers are (mostly) 15" between the 1" verticals.
    Each sheet covers three 15" spaces and four 1" verticals.
    15 [enter] 3 [x], 1 [enter] 4 [x], [+] leaves you with 49. [​IMG]

    If they were 48, you'd start at one vertical, it'd lay over that vertical, and the forward edge of the sheet would be at the rear edge of the 4th vertical. :deal

    ..16" centers: |--16--|
    Trailer ribs: |1| 15 |1| 15 |1| 15 |1|
    ..49" sheets: |----------49----------|
    ..48" sheets: |---------48---------|
    #19
  20. cheeseyboy

    cheeseyboy Been here awhile

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    Gotcha. I'm used to 16" on center. It's looking great.
    #20