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  #1  
Old 03-31-2011, 08:55 AM
Transit Connect RVer Transit Connect RVer is offline
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Question Dually Kit for Transit Connect RV Conversion?

I am investigating making an ultra-light motor home using the Transit Connect as the Chassis. Plans are to buy TC that has been wrecked in the rear and then remove everything behind the front doors down to the frame... and then build an ultra light aluminum RV shell somewhat similar to:
CampLite All Aluminum Travel Trailer Overview by LivinLite

This will entail widening to shell to approximately 80". So for stability, I want to convert the rear single wheels into dual wheels. Current stock wheels are P205-65R15 on basic 15-inch steel wheels. I would like to stay with 15" wheels and same tires... possibly using lighter wheels.

Does anyone know of a Ford 15-inch dually conversion kit that would work for the Ford Transit Connect?
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2011, 09:49 PM
artfd artfd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transit Connect RVer View Post
I am investigating making an ultra-light motor home using the Transit Connect as the Chassis. Plans are to buy TC that has been wrecked in the rear and then remove everything behind the front doors down to the frame... and then build an ultra light aluminum RV shell somewhat similar to...
A very interesting idea, but the project sounds like it would demand a lot of resources, time and $ to complete. Remember a Transit Connect has only a 2 L engine, pushing a box 80 inches wide down an interstate at 55 mph might be a bit ... challenging. Now if the TC had a turbocharged diesel or even an ecoBoost gas engine, that might be more tolerable. It wouldn't be hard to convert a TC into a bare bones RV just by adding counters, a cot & storage in the existing space in back. Adding water tanks, propane tanks and sink/shower space seems impossible in that scenario, though.
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Originally Posted by Transit Connect RVer View Post
Does anyone know of a Ford 15-inch dually conversion kit that would work for the Ford Transit Connect?
I don't know. Seems like a lot of weight to add just to widen the track of the vehicle. I have never heard of a dually on a front wheel drive vehicle, but I'm not an automotive engineer.
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  #3  
Old 04-02-2011, 02:28 PM
Transit Connect RVer Transit Connect RVer is offline
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A bigger box, but not than much difference in weight.

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Originally Posted by artfd View Post
A very interesting idea, but the project sounds like it would demand a lot of resources, time and $ to complete. Remember a Transit Connect has only a 2 L engine, pushing a box 80 inches wide down an interstate at 55 mph might be a bit ... challenging. Now if the TC had a turbocharged diesel or even an ecoBoost gas engine, that might be more tolerable. It wouldn't be hard to convert a TC into a bare bones RV just by adding counters, a cot & storage in the existing space in back. Adding water tanks, propane tanks and sink/shower space seems impossible in that scenario, though. I don't know. Seems like a lot of weight to add just to widen the track of the vehicle. I have never heard of a dually on a front wheel drive vehicle, but I'm not an automotive engineer.
Back in the 80s, there were several RVs based on 4 cylinder Toyota pickups cab chassis. They were heavier than we are talking here and the Toyota had similar power.

Currently the transit is 70.7 inches wide, so pushing it to 80" only adds 4.7 inches on each side. The biggest change in box size is adding about 17" to the height.

I would also be adding about 50" to the wheelbase and overall length. Current overall length in the US is 180". Add 50 and you have 230". Current overall length of a jumbo in the UK is 254".

As far as weight, aluminum is approximately 40% less when used in automotive type construction. In addition, there are four heavy doors that would be removed. Guessing, I believe I could keep it well below the manufacturers 5000 lb GVW rating even when loaded.

Also, I am not wanting a barebones RV. It would just be for the wife and myself... but would be designed for extensive traveling and great fuel economy.

I am alternately considering doing the same sort of thing on a Sprinter Chassis, 2500 High Roof 144" WB. Depending on the year, it is either a 5 or 6 cylinder diesel. The height and width dimensions are already very close to the modifications I would make in to the Transit Connect. Weight would be less than a average Sprinter... so reliability may be better. Instead of pushing the limits on a TC, the Sprinter Ultralight RV would be well below the limits. Fuel consumption is similar and the 5 cyl diesel is less, but diesel fuel costs more. Cost for a not-so-badly-wrecked Sprinter is a bit more than a TC.

hmm, thanks for getting me to think about it... when all said and done, the Sprinter would likely be a better platform than the TC for my purposes.

Ron
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  #4  
Old 04-02-2011, 08:44 PM
artfd artfd is offline
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Small RV

I remember those small Toyotas, I must have passed several thousand of them during the years they were on the road. If I recall correctly, the RV part was covered in fiberglass. They were also rear wheel drive vehicles.
If your mileage is good enough, the cost differential between diesel & gas may not matter. Instead of calculating miles / gal, calculate $ / mile. The Sprinter would take much less engineering to turn it into an RV.
I used to drive all over the country with a slide-on camper on my F250 1983 diesel. I got 13 mpg at highway speeds and few other RVs would pass me on upslopes. Vehicle & camper's gross weight was 7600 lb, it was 10 1/2 feet high. I had to change the injector pump for a different version, a few years later I took it to NM and found out the new pump wouldn't function at altitudes over 4000 feet. The previous time I had been in NM with the rig, it functioned decently at altitudes up to 8000 feet and middling up to 9500 feet. With the newer version of the injection pump, and the higher prices for fuel, it was no longer worth taking that far. So the camper sits on its stilts & I drive the F250 around town, getting better mileage than my much lighter F150.
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  #5  
Old 04-02-2011, 10:45 PM
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A super light high-profile vehicle would be a little dangerous in high wind areas like mountain passes. My parents had an '84 Toyota van converted into a camper, It scared my mom half to death and she refused to drive it on the freeway. That was 20 years ago.
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  #6  
Old 04-03-2011, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by 78_f800crewcab4x4 View Post
A super light high-profile vehicle would be a little dangerous in high wind areas like mountain passes. My parents had an '84 Toyota van converted into a camper, It scared my mom half to death and she refused to drive it on the freeway. That was 20 years ago.
Now that you mention it, I remember hearing from other Toyota RV drivers who had the same concerns, that it was hard to handle.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:44 PM
Transit Connect RVer Transit Connect RVer is offline
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RV Lessons Learned

Quote:
Originally Posted by artfd View Post
I remember those small Toyotas, I must have passed several thousand of them during the years they were on the road. If I recall correctly, the RV part was covered in fiberglass. They were also rear wheel drive vehicles.
If your mileage is good enough, the cost differential between diesel & gas may not matter. Instead of calculating miles / gal, calculate $ / mile. The Sprinter would take much less engineering to turn it into an RV.
I used to drive all over the country with a slide-on camper on my F250 1983 diesel. I got 13 mpg at highway speeds and few other RVs would pass me on upslopes. Vehicle & camper's gross weight was 7600 lb, it was 10 1/2 feet high. I had to change the injector pump for a different version, a few years later I took it to NM and found out the new pump wouldn't function at altitudes over 4000 feet. The previous time I had been in NM with the rig, it functioned decently at altitudes up to 8000 feet and middling up to 9500 feet. With the newer version of the injection pump, and the higher prices for fuel, it was no longer worth taking that far. So the camper sits on its stilts & I drive the F250 around town, getting better mileage than my much lighter F150.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 78_f800crewcab4x4 View Post
A super light high-profile vehicle would be a little dangerous in high wind areas like mountain passes. My parents had an '84 Toyota van converted into a camper, It scared my mom half to death and she refused to drive it on the freeway. That was 20 years ago.
In 1988, I took a 6 weeks RV vacation in a 27' Class C Ford... towing a Nissan. First few days out, one morning my ex wife left the Nissan in first gear... at about 35 mph, I felt the drag... so a new engine for the Nissan. Couple days later, two new tires on the RV. A day later the drive shaft fell out. Then we rocked along for a while... at 4 to 6 miles a gallon... a small fortune in gas. Then coming back of the Appalachians, the engine blew in the RV... so small block time for the large block Ford. Even with all the problems, we enjoyed the trip... but want to learn from the mistakes.
Lessons Learned:
1. No class C van chassis is beefed up enough to be reliable with the RV and pulling a car.
2. Pulling a car makes parking hell.
3. A 27' RV even without the car makes finding a parking spot tough.
4. This next time I will put automatic levelers on my RV.
5. Don't take kids on a 6 week trip.
6. Get the load as close to the ground as possible... that was one reason I was looking at the TC. With FWD and no drive shaft, it make for a lower load. In the 70s, GMC had a FWD motor home... people swear by it.
7. 18-19' is about the max to be able to find normal parking.
8. Travel as light as possible, but with a reliable rig.
9. Know how to work on all parts of your RV.

Ron
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  #8  
Old 04-04-2011, 07:23 PM
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RV experience; cost per mile

Elements of RVs are constantly breaking down, wearing out or giving up the ghost. Very seldom will you be able to find an RV expedition without a similar story to tell. The only variations are just what part gives out and whatever consequences there are.
The longest trip I ever took was 9000 miles / 6 weeks from OH-NM-CO-WY-ND-MI. Even then I had misadventures: the charging jack on my laptop failed halfway along, crippling it and resulting in buying a cheap new Gateway laptop in Billings MT (no sales tax) and setting it up in a Barnes & Noble for several hours one extremely hot summer night. An attempt with a 12VDC coffee machine, resulted in a blown fuse, a melted power jack and a completely shorted out Power Point in my truck that I only just got around to replacing with a new one. On my last big trip a deer attacked my F150 just outside Zion National Park & left a dent in its side. No rig problems that I didn't cause myself and everything fit inside my homemade shell.
IIRC, gas in 1986 was about $0.86/gal. At 4mpg, running 10,000 miles would have cost $2150. That's not a 'small fortune' compared to staying in motel rooms every night for 6 weeks, IMHO. Nowadays at $3.60/gal, gas necessary to push a clunker getting 4 mpg 10,000 miles would cost $9,000. Now that's a small fortune.
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2011, 09:17 AM
Free State RC Free State RC is offline
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I have been the cab over and the class A motorhome route. The TC is to tramsport my R/C hobby. I can fit a 4 ft. table or a 6ft. table and a chair or two making a nice hobby shop on the road. An RV with all the good stuff is over the top for a great truck the way it is.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:50 PM
Mont91 Mont91 is offline
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The first time you try to go up a gravel hill like going into or out of a camp ground, you would find out why there are no FWD vehicles with most of their weight over the rear axle.
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  #11  
Old 03-07-2012, 12:49 PM
FORDSVTPARTS FORDSVTPARTS is offline
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Even if you could make it a dually using the stock rear axle I'd be concerned with the wheel bearings more than anything.

How much weight could this really add that you couldn't compensate for with a higher load range tire?

What about modifying a trailer axle with a high load rating to fit under there, I'd think that would be easier than the dually conversion even if you did have to fabricate brackets.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:30 PM
archangel archangel is offline
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There are serious traction issues with a rear heavy FWD set up.

But you should know that the rear axle is just a simple axle, like those used on trailers.

Just research for an axle that fits your weight, width, brake and tire/wheel specifications.

Also, you could even go with a dual axle set up, one in front of the other.

And best of all, you can move the rear axle back to portion the front rear weight bias to keep some of it on the front.

While you are at it, I'd put in a larger fuel tank.
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Had to sell the Gray 1991 F250 standard cab, 7.3, E4OD, 3.55:1, stock wheels and tires.
It had a verified 19 mpg city taking off slow as hell then shutting it down at red lights, and with the radiator grill blocked flush, no bed cover, "drag shoot" mirrors still on I got 24 mpg at 50 to 55 mph on the freeway empty!
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:30 PM
 
 
 
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