Get big-bunked

| December 12, 2008

The Legacy II is available in six sizes.

Think a big bunk’s only for a high-end team plugged into an expensive-freight niche? Think again. Whether you’re looking just beyond factory lengths of up to 80 inches or have a more elaborate dream in mind, each one of northern Indiana’s custom sleeper shops can do just about anything. Start saving on expenses, and you could be within range of big-bunking your rig in no time.

Investment in such a unit can be a money-saver itself. Having a functional shower, toilet, kitchen and auxiliary HVAC system with generator can nix truck-stop idling as well as those trips to the truck-stop showers or lunch counters. A return-on-investment example at ARI’s website even shows a net gain when resale value and tax savings are taken into account.
Following are examples of what you can get at various price points from four of the leading custom-sleeper makers.


$36,000
American Roads Model A96M by Indiana Custom Trucks

LENGTH: 96 inches

WEIGHT: 3,000 pounds

LAYOUT: Front shower/rear bunk

SHOWER/TOILET: 35-inch with cassette toilet

WATER SYSTEM: Hot water, overall 40-gallon capacity

BUNK/DINETTE: Gaucho bed with fold-down table, rear

KITCHENETTE: Passenger-side with sink

AC/HEAT: Yes

GENERATOR: Not included in price

SHORE POWER: Yes

STORAGE: Cabinets, toolbox

WINDOWS: One 24-by-16 inch, two 15-by-15 inch, double pane

APPLIANCES: TV antenna and shelf, 4.2 cubic-foot fridge (Tundra T42), microwave, Magnum 2000-Watt inverter

CONTACT: website, (800) 800-3244

This big bunk by Indiana Custom Trucks of La Grange, Ind., features a front shower/kitchenette and rear fold-out bed and breakfast area. Including a generator and roof air conditioner would add up to $10,000.

Owner-operator Jason Beggs of Gun Barrel, Texas, who’s leased to enclosed car hauler DeMoise Trucking, upgraded his Kenworth W900L’s standard 70-inch sleeper with this American Roads model in ICT’s Sundowner series in November. In his view, it’s less a luxury than a necessity.

“It made sense financially,” he says. “In this business – we pick up individual cars, we go places where there are no truck stops – we can’t afford to go out of route.”

The 96-inch bunk is the smallest size “where there’s room for a sit-down table and a shower,” says Mike Baxley, ICT general manager. The American Roads low-weight, low-cost model is perfect for “first-time buyers, fleets and smaller independent operators,” Baxley says. “We have even sold some that ended up in the drilling industry, where they are used as an operator’s cab for a drilling rig.”

Beggs says the size allows him to park anywhere, cut his engine’s idling to a bare minimum and not have to “hunt for a shower.” All that convenience saves him in operating costs.

ICT is known for higher-end sleepers. Last year, Overdrive featured a 230-inch ICT sleeper commissioned by Wisconsin team drivers Craig and Lisa Ringelstetter for their munitions hauling operation, and ICT engineering has been featured on CMT’s “Trick My Truck.”


$52,000

Pro Quarters Model RWD by Double Eagle custom truck sleepers

LENGTH: 120 inches

WEIGHT: 3,250 pounds

LAYOUT: Rear shower/rear entry

SHOWER/TOILET: 40-inch rear shower with cassette toilet

WATER SYSTEM: Hot water, overall 45-gallon capacity

BUNK/DINETTE: Fold-out bed and breakfast, driver’s side rear

KITCHENETTE: Passenger-side, 48-inch counter with sink

AC/HEAT: Roof AC/heat combo

GENERATOR: Double Eagle Gen-Pac, 5 to 8 kw

SHORE POWER: Yes

STORAGE: Front wardrobe, four 20-by-8-inch drawers under kitchenette counter and lower and upper cabinets, toolbox

WINDOWS: 24-by-12-inch window passenger and driver’s side, roof vent

APPLIANCES: 15-inch LCD mounted TV with omnidirectional antenna, 6.8-cubic-foot fridge/freezer (Nova-Kool RFU8000), microwave shelf, digital alarm clock, frame mount steps with deck plate for rear entry

CONTACT: website, (260) 768-4121

With a padded-vinyl interior, roof AC, and three-cylinder Gen-Pac generator, this 120-inch, manufactured by Double Eagle Industries, has every feature of a typical shorter model, only with a little more breathing room and a larger bed size for husband-wife teams, or just more storage and accessories.

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