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Old 28th November 2016, 08:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The BIG BEAST

The Beast

Bit of a different project.

As we are no longer able to go camping I thought I would get a motor-home instead.

The UK spec ones seemed very expensive for what you get so the decision was made to get an American Motor home.

After looking around for months and missing out on a few bargains one came up that I could refuse. It seemed to good to be true so I put a deposit on it and got a survey done on it just to make sure. Survey only came up with 1 minor along with a few issues I already knew about Rubber seal above shower/bath needed replacing.

Here are some pictures 35' of American Goodness.

































Its in very good condition,
6.5 turbo diesel
Big Double bed
Dinning area that turns into a double bed
Sofa that turns into a double bed
Shower bath
Central heating
Air con
LCD TV Freeview and Satellite
Self Leveling System
Cooker
Full size fridge
LPG gas system
4.3KW Generator
2 Solar Panels - 5 leisure batteries - 3000W Inverter
240 Volt hookup
Alarm and Tracker
Awning with drop down
Pull out side table with stereo (terry two knob)

Things to sort out:-

Fix Fuel Gauge - DONE
Turbo Wastegate - DONE
Get some more power
Fit a meth inj kit
Fit a boost gauge
Fix the door lock - DONE
Rewire the TV to make it more user friendly - DONE
Fix a seat belt - DONE
Fix the bedroom door - it sticks - DONE
Get some crib sheets made up so I understand how every thing works - 1/2 Way Through
Replace the old reversing camera - 1/2 Way Through
Replace the old worn waste pipe - DONE
Investigate at the noisy extractor fan - DONE
Replace broken extractor fan vent - DONE

Then buy all the stuff to go in it, bedding, towels, etc etc - DONE
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Old 28th November 2016, 08:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Fitted a locking fuel cap. Cant believe they didn't come with one.

Chevrolet Locking Fuel Cap £30 plus delivery
Vauxhall Corsa Locking Fuel Cap £9 delivered.

Guess which one I got



Got one for Ians at the same time. It costs £250 to fill the tank so I don't want that to go missing

Bought a new Waste pipe and rinse tool.
Tested The satellite system at home all works.
Tested the electrics:-

What I've found is that the 110v sockets are dead, may pull through and rewire them to 240 or just put blanking plates over them
There are 2 sockets that run off 5 leisure batteries and are charged from the solar panels, live hookup, alternator or generator.
All other 240 volt sockets run off generator or live hookup.
1 socket that runs the TV satellite system runs from an extension lead that you can either plug into the leisure battery feed or the generator live hookup socket.

Missing the remote for the TV - Found

Got a spare Xbox 360 kicking around though.

Plus a Wifi Bridge and Wifi router so I can hook up to free wifi and create my own hotspot

Would be nice to have broadband hookup, but satellite internet is around £3K
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Old 28th November 2016, 08:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Some more pictures as old references were dead.

















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Old 28th November 2016, 08:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Updated Bits and Pieces

The Table

If you ever have kids or friends with you they will inevitable end up spilling their drinks. So I bought some plastic cup holders specifically for gambling tables, drilled some holes and fitted.








Starter Motor and Battery

I had a few starting issues every now and again. I first thought it was the batteries so I changed these to more modern ones. It seemed to help as 1 of them was completely shot, but when I was out on-site one time the starter failed. manged to get in started eventually. Ordered a new starter and its been 100% fine ever since.






Front Lights

I always though the front lights were very very bad. Changed the bulbs and they either did not light up or were very dim. Tracked this down to some very poor condition adapter connectors. In the end I just cut them out and connected directly. Nice bright lights again.

At the same time the front fogs were not working; old degraded wiring again. Plus the lights were just falling to bits and the insides were just a pile of rust.



managed to get them to work by shorting the feed to the positive side of the battery, but I'd already bought new



Got some dual super bright ones. the main beam side has full E stamped lenses on and then clear I would use to aid high beam.







Stereo

The standard stereo consists of just a head unit and two speakers in the center part of the main console. Not very good for stereo.

Fitted the following:-

Android Single Din Head Unit with Pop up Screen
4 x 400 watt Pioneer speakers in cabinet space (15 mm space so used spacers to move out a little)
1 x 1000 watt amp
1 x 1000 watt sub under sofa
1 x RCA bass control unit just behind driver.

The head unit caused me a few issues as the switched output (blue) was only 8v. Had a moan at the Chinese supplier, they sent out a replacement, but it was just the same. In the end I built a switch using a 8 v relay which then switch the out to 12. Success. This amp output can be switch via the head unit.

As the head unit runs Android I have google maps, waze, bubble PNP, etc and a wireless network setup. This head unit can be controlled by anybody on my wireless network. It can also stream video to the main Television.





Leisure Battery Socket

I have 5 leisure batteries running through a single 3000W inverter to a single socket. Changed this so that it has USB charging.



The leisure batteries are always charged from the two solar panels and I always have the inverter off when not in use. I have not added a trickle charger from the leisure batteries to the main starter batteries so they never discharge, one of the best purchases I've made. Its fitted across the leisure battery to main battery solenoid switch.

Wifi Hot Spot and Network.

I've run a few network ports around the camper for such things as Xbox, satellite receiver and DLNA server. I have also fitted a wireless router and purchased 2 client bridge AP's. Each one can hook up to different class wireless networks. This means I can pull up, get the client bridges to connect to a wireless network send the details to my router and have a Wifi hotspot around the camper.

The client bridges have high power panel antennas so I can get to wireless networks quite far away.

It does help being a wireless expert.
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Old 28th November 2016, 08:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hot Air Furnace

Last year the hot air furnace decided to explode, well the fan and motor did. I did look into getting it fixed, but in the end purchased a replacement from USA (£350 delivered)

Old


Hole


New


Swapped it over and after a bit of wiring replacement it all works as it should. Fixed the air conditioning at the same time which was a bonus.

Service
Gave it a service as well.



2 cans of engine flush

Oil filter
8 liters of 5w/40 fully synthetic
Fuel Filter
Air Filter

Will service the generator next and fix the oil leak (suspect oil drain plug; no washer just tappered pin)
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Old 28th November 2016, 08:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Another Little Update

Oil Change

Finished off the oil change as I forgot my drip tray last time; it only just fitted all the oil in lol, was getting worried for a second I'd have to put the sump plug back in and empty the tray. Replaced the absolutely maaaahoooooosive oil filter, about 4 times the size of a skyline filter . Took quite a bit of getting off as my tool fouled the gearbox protector plate.

Replaced the perished plastic sump washer with a nice new copper version.

So service finally finished

Side Vent Replacement

I broke the side vent getting it in and out of the farm before the trees were cut back.









Trimmed the sealant tape after this as well to make it all nice and tidy.

110v to 240v Hookup Replacment

Since owning the motorhome I've always had to lift up one of the side storage boxes and plug the 240v hookup in there; OK, but a bit of a pain.



Friend lent me his compressor and die cutting tool to open up the hole for the new connector





A few hours later it was ready to hook up, I had to do it a bit at a time as there wasn't much puff from the compressor to work for long so did it in-between other jobs.







Need to remove the old 110v information plaque.

WiFi System

The system is hidden under one of seats.



Mini Patch Panel


Router plus a couple of sockets

Sockets are on an extension lead so I could plug them into leisure batteries or a live hookup. This plan changed as I wanted it running from alternator or live hookup. This threw up quite a few other problems, but I have this in hand.

POE injector fro running Client Bridge

I have 2 client bridges
1 for 802.11 b/g networks
1 for 802.11 a/n networks
Both allow me to connect to a wireless network, but only show its own MAC address. This then feeds into the router on the WAN port and then all other clients gain an IP of a very obscure IP range so that both private IP networks never conflict.
The router has one always on wireless network that's always on. Family and head unit hook up to. Then I can switch the 'Guest' network on via my phone which would provide a hot-spot in and around the motorhome.

Power Distribution



Router 5V
POE injector 24V
12V PSU (for a DLNA Server, but that's where the problems started).

Power Regulators

Note the 12V missing

Main Network Power Control

Off


On

Have a main power switch by a set of sockets so the whole system can be controlled.

The problem I had was with the 12v feed.

When everything is off I have no 12v/110V/240v power anywhere at the back of the motorhome.

On a panel at the front of the motorhome I have a "Battery Isolate" switch. with this set to OFF I then get the 12V and alternator feed to the back of the motorhome. This would work fine if I just put this feed into a small power inverter and fed the 240v sockets.

The problem arises when I do either of the following
Switch the 110v generator on
Hook up to an external 240v feed.

Without my inverter attached all is fine with a nice 12v power supply, but as soon as attach the invertor the 12v jumps to 18v and my inverter stops working due to input overload protection.

OK next plan
Use regulators on the 12V feed to generate the voltages needed to run the network.
Still whenever I attach the regulators to the generator or hookup generated 12V it jumps to 18v.

The problem of the system lies in 2 places.

1. At the heart of 110v to 240v conversion lies a big old transformer.
The motorhome still requires 110v to run the fridge, water cooler, tank heaters, and maybe a few other things I may have missed.
The generator and 110v appliances are on one side of the transformer and the hookup and 240 sockets are on the other. hence why you can't run the generator and hookup at the same time or the transformer will just go into melt down.
With the generator on it runs power through the (No.1) windings and on the other side (No.2) gives 240v output.
With the 240v hookup attached through (No.2) windings the other side (No.1) gives 110v output.

2. The high to low voltage is generated from a board within the 110v consumer unit. Which was built by the Americans.

So to get my 12v feed from generator or hookup the systems doing a lot of work.
My idea now is to build my own relay switching circuit from just after the battery isolator and run from the 240v side with a nice new modern 240v to 12v converter. I've ordered all the parts.

Last bit regarding power. The 240v system is only on one trip with NO RCD. I've already managed to electrocute myself by putting my hand through a hole pulling on some bare live wires, left by the removal of a socket. Not happy with that. Was swearing like a sailor especially as it made my jump and hit my head.
I've ordered a small consumer unit with RCD so I can control all the 240v sockets around the motorthome.
Why these motorhomes don't have to fall under electrical regulations I don't know, but this one will.


Stereo : Entertainment
Bought an android head unit for 1 reason only. With it hooked up to the wireless system, anyone running a DLNA client program on their phone they could stream music/video to it. Link that to my 4TB DLNA server no-one should ever get board riding in The Beast (DLNA Server to be fixed )
It also hooks up to the main TV so all streaming can go to that.



Bass Control

The head unit can switch the sub-woofer on and off (only 8 volt output so had to build a relay switch circuitfor that)
Here is my gain control and pass filter so I can control a few things from the drivers seat (also a few network sockets there so I can plug my client bridge in at the front).

Hello






Sub and amp hidden under the sofa/bed.

Bathroom Skylight.
The seal round the skyline had gone. Basically pressure from inside had put a full crack all the way round. I was going to remove the entire skylight and reseal but when I came to remove the skylight the plastic was so brittle with all the heat cycles over its life there was no way I was going to take it out in one piece and I'd have to replace it. In the end I just removed as much old sealant as I could an re-freshed it with new.







{INSERT PICTURE OF NEW SEALANT}


Started to give "The Beast" a bit of a clean. Put a nice algae treatment in with the wash, but if you don't clean it off it really streaks.
Started on the roof, but it looks like that hasn't been cleaned in about 10 years. Took me about 6 hours with washing, algae treatment and pressure washer. Now the sides are really dirty lol.
Cleaned all the bits on the roof as well. Solar panels, Air con, satellite, aerial and vents.


Tow Bar
Last thing to sort is the tow bar. Its sits at 19" off the ground which is far to high I really need to drop it by 4" min so that my trailer is level otherwise I'll just blow the rear tires. Got a plate version, but need to modify to fit. Cut a bit here and there and drill a few holes. With the plate being so thick I'm dropping it off at a engineer company round the corner to do the work.

Just waiting on a few bits to turn up and then another day to clean and fit bits
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Old 28th November 2016, 08:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Tow Bar

Took some pictures of my tow bar that requires the modifications before I dropped it off to get modified.



Need to cut about an inch off the end as it "bottoms out"


Need to take out a 10mm notch in the angle plate as the end of the recess has a lip going around it.


Finally drill 2 holes at the lowest point and then I'll add a further two in-between.
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Old 28th November 2016, 08:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Spring/Summer Time

Clean

Well as its that time of year its time for the big clean. Unfortunately as its stored on a farm and close proximity to bushes. The back and roof got some serious amounts of algae over it.

Took me 1 complete day to clean the back and roof with an algae treatment.
Finished the roof in that day by giving it a wash and rinse. Just made the sides ready dirty.

Another complete day to scrub the back, nearside and front. Still have the offside to do, but its not as bad as the others as the awning deflected most of the dirt coming off the roof.

Tow Bar

Well the modified tow bar came back, but on first test it wobbles to much; no problem, ordered an anti-wobble bracket. Came to fit it, but it fouls a support by about 5mm.

Moving
Well I've manged to source a secure unit up and Thruxton Race circuit. Enough room for both my cars, trailer and motorhome. Only issue was trying move it all. Friend had an idea, "why not tow you van on the back of the back of the motorohome"

OK

Had to do it without the wobble bracket mod as it was only at this point I found it didn't fit.

Friend Rammed in some chocks of wood.



That's at the end of the journey; as you can see they never made it.

But I got there in the end



Put it away. I had measured that I'd have quite an overhand over the grass, but just enough room to fit it down the side.....





"Like a Glove!"

With my trailer fitted beside it I still have just enough room to get in and out of the motorhome side door and access to the shutter doors

Next things to do.

Sort Anti Wobble Mount
Clean Nearside - DONE
Replace Windscreen wipers (found when trying to clean the screen of bugs they are falling to pieces) - DONE
Sort 12V system (generate from 240v not 110v)
Check out brakes - DONE
Get more Fuel Into the System
Fit Methanol Injections System
Fit New Reversing Camera
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Old 28th November 2016, 08:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Had a quick look at the electrics whilst I was up last.

Found a fault with either the switch or relay for the battery isolate. You have to switch it on and off a few times to get it to switch. It will either be dirty contacts on the switch or a faulty relay.
Should be an easy fix.

I've also taken out the 110v to 12v converter. Some really old technology here.
I have 2 x 110v/240v 40W converters that I can fit easy in the gap it left behind.

Also my 240 hookup decided it kept tripping the main feed into the camper. In then end I switched everything off and just switch the sockets, lights and heating on. I'll find out what the problem circuit is and fix (will be easy to find). On that note the auto step stopped working. Could be related.

Started it up and of course withe the solar panels, 5 leisure batteries, a trickle charger from the leisure batteries to the two main batteries it started without and issue.

Generator started up with no problems as well.

Also tested the modified anti-wobble bar and it worked a treat.

Need top spend a lot more time on it over the winter and possible put it up for sale some time next year.
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Old 28th November 2016, 08:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Great thread, enjoying your progress.
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Old 28th November 2016, 08:55 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dragerboy View Post
Great thread, enjoying your progress.
Cheers. I really need to spend more time on it, but having two Skylines theres always something to do on them

I want to get it ready to take to Gatebil next year and trailer whatever car is running at the time.
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Old 28th November 2016, 09:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Ha ha!

Good project! As random as it comes on here but I love it!
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Old 28th November 2016, 09:56 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Ha ha!

Good project! As random as it comes on here but I love it!
A love a good random project every now and again
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Old 28th November 2016, 10:19 AM   #14 (permalink)
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love it, assume you've got all the glassware for 'cooking', right?
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Old 28th November 2016, 10:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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love it, assume you've got all the glassware for 'cooking', right?
lol got the sticker "My other camper isn't a meth lab"
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Old 28th November 2016, 10:23 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Cool thread!

Pic towing a Skyline would make it sub-zero
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Old 28th November 2016, 10:24 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Cool thread!

Pic towing a Skyline would make it sub-zero
Its on the cards
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Old 28th November 2016, 03:16 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Just seen this thread and enjoying it
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Old 29th November 2016, 06:29 PM   #19 (permalink)
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loving this. If you don't mind me asking, how much does one pf these things set you back and where is it possible to moor something like this up? It's massive!

I'd love to get one but two big issues are stopping me; storage when not in use and the fact I have a 3.5 tonne MAM license :/
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Old 29th November 2016, 07:48 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This one cost just under £14k as I bought it from an old couple that were having g to sell due to health issues. Be expected to pay £15k upwards for a half decent one and get a local specialist to get a survey/report done. I missed out on quite a few that were perfect but outside my budget at over £20k. Two that were £12k when I got an expert to look at them would have cost me quite a fee £k to get rectified so walked away. I spent about £500 all in on surveys, but we'll worth it.

I did find storage was the first big issue make sure you find somewhere you can store it. First time was a friendly farmer at a ridiculous low price £40 a month.

Now I rent a unit at it fits just outside, but that's considerably more, but worth it for added security and hookups.
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