I've caught at least 3 new people in the forum this year claiming to have a Rialta, so I wanted a headcount to connect faces to names and share experiences. Here's a photo album of my build: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100818256773744.3282966.8329234&type=1&l=2aa5d7cf57
Current known owners to be updated: Me, Tynan, Brian, Paul Newcomb? (unconfirmed), Joe in Portland, Hysul (08 Coachman Freedom Express), Shacky (2009 Rialta), Robert Crouse (www.cccgis.com/Rialta.htm), Jason Martin ('95 FD), Dave Rickey (5000BTU AC and high-power antennas), Chuck in Austin ('95), Josh ('96), Mark ('97), John Donna ('96?)
Former R.I.P. owners: Austin Y., Tommy N., Peter Parker
bonus pic on how I fixed the shoddy drawers:
I have a 1995 Rialta Q/D you can see it here http://www.cccgis.com/Rialta.htm
I been working on mine for several years. I used to Own a RV business (I grew up in the biz starting at age 10).
I spend several weeks a month in mine and I got tired of taking "Bird Baths" in the sink all the time, plus the wife does not like to use the bath houses at the campgrounds (nor do I).
Nice job with that cabinet. I may have to do something like that, too... my drawers are falling out and are really annoying.
Â Just bought a '95 FD. I'm unable to light the refrigerator pilot, and the Google search let me here...
Ran into John Dukes in Austin a month or so back, and just got around to following his link and posting here. I have a 98RD (other years it was called a QD, it's the model with a dinette bed and middle seats), which I have modified fairly extensively.
1) Middle area now has an "apartment size" refrigerator and plastic dressers for storage.
2) Removed the roof AC and antenna mast.
3) Mounted two 235W solar panels on the roof, a 60 amp MPPT charge controller, two large inverters (2000W pure sine and 1200W modified sine), and 4 Group 27 batteries (one forward, three in the rear storage compartment.
4) Installed a 5000BTU window-type AC between the microwave and the little bar sink under it.
5) Bunch of electronics, including a Clear Wireless modem, a couple of big antennas, and a 24 inch LED TV and WD media player.
I yanked the old fridge and use that area for storage, and I've built window covers and a "soft bulkhead" behind the cab out of two layers of Reflectix fabric, and a lot of glue. I've also replaced all of the carpet. I'll post pictures of the mods later, after I've figured out how to make Google+ images work for sharing, meanwhile here's a gallery of pictures taken right after I bought it:
Thanks Dave! I'm glad I caught you that night, the AC you rigged up is inspiring; everywhere I had read would say it couldn't be done. I think I've decided to go with a 5000btu window unit like yours; the smallest most efficient 9000btu mini split systems I found seemed to all be rated over about 650 watts and cost over $800, while the window units are closer to 500 watts and can be had for $50 lightly used. I even found some interesting indirect evaporative cooling systems that don't add humidity to the cabin's air, but none small enough are in production yet. Once I have the AC, I'll decide where to put it: either replace the guts in the roof unit with the window unit's, take out my generator and place it there, or build an enclosure inside like you have. Keep ya posted.
Those monster antennas you have are really baller too; I might get back with ya if I decide I need to rob more signal.
Hey guys, this is my 1995 Rialta FD; I bought it off eBay back in November 2012 with around 62K miles on it. Haven’t had a chance to take many pictures until now, it’s been in and out of the shop for the last couple of months (had to get the transmission rebuilt which took a few weeks, and had a custom $2500 JL sound system installed - figured what the heck, if it’s gonna be my home AND my car stereo, might as well go all out).
Haven’t done too many mods yet, mostly been fixing any problems and repairing the interior (filling in holes in the wood, repairing cabinets and drawers, fixing/upgrading furniture etc). This post is quite long as I’m also using this thread to document all of my progress so far, so feel free to skim! :)
Here’s some pics of the exterior:
I’ve taken the Rialta out on a few trips now, and have really enjoyed it; even lived in the Rialta with Tahoe's snow & ice for 10 days, and she took good care of me! (Once I got chains, it was much easier to navigate the ice and snow, lol). The heater kept me plenty warm too, as long as it had enough resources to work properly!
If you notice on the picture above, I broke the bumper. I was backing up into what I thought was a just a fluffy wall of snow...and *crunch*! It was a wall of concrete, just buried under snow. Doh! Just the back left skirt was demolished; I should be able to order a new one for about $99, also going to check any Winnebago junkyards and see if they might have any I can procure =)
Here’s a shot of the bedroom. I love the full-size bed, I’m 6’2 and it fits me just perfectly.
One of the sliders for my drawer completely came off and was bent, had to remount it and re-bend the metal to make it work better. Also, the CO detector was dead, so it was replaced.
Here’s a shot of the kitchen. I love magnets! At the risk of sounding like a nancy-boy, I absolutely love my magnetic salt & pepper shakers I got from Bed Bath & Beyond. They look like little rabbit ears or something, and mount underneath my microwave. Also, the Magnetic Knife Bar is fantastic, it’s the second one I tried (the first one was too long to mount properly, the second one is more proportional and matches the color of the wood).
Above is another shot of the kitchen, showing my NorCold Refrigerator, Paper Towel Rack, and my rubbermaid storage setup.
Here’s the stove & sink. The stove is really clean; according to the previous owner, it had never even been used! (He always ate take-out food and didn’t cook for himself in it).
Here’s a shot of some custom carpentry work; a spice rack mounted to the cabinet above the kitchen. Also the plastic bag holder works well, given that my SimpleHuman trashcan takes plastic grocery bags =)
Here’s a shot of the kitchen drawer. When I bought this RV, the drawer was in really bad shape. While I was in Tahoe, I attempted to open the drawer, and it fell out and completely disintegrated! My Dad helped me rebuild the drawer piece by piece, putting in extra wood blocks to stabilize, drilled screws into it instead of using those crappy weak nails that came stock, and remounted the sliders.
Here’s a shot of the bathroom. It was pretty clean when I got it, other than a little bit of mildew in the roof in the bathroom — bombed it with Clorox and it took care of that little problem =)
Here’s a shot of where my 10” JL 10W6V2-D4 subwoofer is placed. Had to ship it back and get it RMA’d, it shorted out during my trip to Tahoe. Driving back with no bass all the way from Tahoe -> SF -> LA was painful, LOL! I only had my system for a little over a month before the subwoofer crapped out. The sub can handle 600W with no problem, and I’m only pushing 500W with it, so it probably was just a faulty unit from the factory; testing it with a voltmeter showed a short. At least it is covered under warranty; I should have it back again here really soon!
BTW, when I was getting the system installed, I was trying to figure out where to place the Subs. I saw that Tynan placed his where the stock heater is, facing the driver & passenger seats. After consulting with a few audio shops, they actually recommended to put the sub facing sideways, since bass is omnidirectional; this also gives the sound waves a surface to hit and reverberate off of, similar to being in the trunk of a car.
Above is a shot of my JL C3-650 6.5” speakers. These guys sound crisp; it’s a combination speaker and tweeter in one combo (the speaker/tweeter can be separated as well, but in this situation it makes more sense to have them combined)
Here’s a shot of the solar system panel. Not sure the exact wattage of the panel, but when I bought the RV it came wired with one solar panel already installed, as well as this panel. It’s handy to keep my eye on the battery voltage, as well as know if I’m getting any sunlight to charge the battery. Also, above that is my trusty ol’ thermostat which kept me alive in freezing Tahoe :)
Here’s my amp, the JL HD900/5. It’s an amazing little amp, and powers the entire RV just by itself. 500 watts goes to the subs, the remaining 100 watts is split between the four channels (FR, FL, RR, RL).
Here’s a shot of the front of the cab. The pull-out table which I use to eat and use my laptop on (my mobile office/desk) was rickety as hell, pulling on it made it wobbly. With my Dad’s help, we pulled the whole desk assembly out, rebuilt it with strong wood screws, then put it back in and mounted it properly. Now it’s mounted solid, like a rock!
These are the JL Audio C5 Series 6.5" 3 Way Component System Speakers. These components ROCK! Sounds so crisp and clean, I’ve heard parts of my favorite songs that I’ve never heard before on other speakers.
This is my headunit, a Sony DSX-310 BTX. It’s OK, but I’m going to be upgrading to a Pioneer AVH-X7500BT when it comes out in March (Single-DIN large video screen, rear facing camera, touchscreen compatible with my iPhone apps/GPS, line-in for music production/laptop feed, bluetooth, etc).
OK, that was the tour of my new RV — well, new to me anyways =) Thanks for reading! I'll give more updates when I get more upgrades done. [A few upgrades coming up: I'm going to mount a monitor/TV, wiring LED strips that I can control the color/patterns with an Arduino micro controller, as well as match the ambient lighting with average color being displayed on my computer, and new video head unit with rear camera for backing up.]
Nice Jason! Thanks for sharing! My rear corner bumper covers were repaired with fiberglass when I bought it. Glad you're enjoying it! To you and Tynan, I'm curious to find out how often the subwoofers even get used as you won't want neighbors attention when parked and most of us ride motorcycles/bicycles for getting around.
I've been surprised how little of the bass you can hear outside. It can be overpowering inside and totally silent 5-10 feet away. I use mine all the time while listening to music.
Thanks! Was fun to document the whole process, I'm glad I finally have some pictures now!
Honestly, I'm surprised at how well my Rialta seems to insulate sound. When I have my system on, it has to be up pretty loud to be noticeable from the outside, I've done a few tests. Granted, you wouldn't want to have the subwoofer at a high level while stealth parked in front of somebody's house if you planned on staying in the same spot for a while, but I use it all the time in transit, any time I'm chilling in a parking lot, camping, friend's driveways, anytime I'm out during the day, etc. I also tend to frequently move spots while I am urban camping, so I just try to keep the levels chill during night time and I've never had a problem.
When I'm in the front driving in the cab, I have my subwoofer level set to maximum, but when I'm at the desk or on the bed, I turn it down to about 1/2 or 3/4 because at max level it's just overpowering when you get close to the sub. Right now I am just controlling the low frequency levels via the amp or head unit, but I am getting a nice subwoofer control knob installed professionally when the RMA sub comes back from the factory. So, when I want to be more low-profile and stealth, I can turn the knob really low, or off; if I'm just out and about or at a place that is more tolerant with loud sound, such as a campground during the day? Then I'll def crank it! :)
BTW, with subs, I'd recommend maximizing sound quality rather than maximizing for SPL (especially if noise pollution is a big consideration). The JL sub I got has a high frequency range it can reproduce, I set my crossovers at 80Hz on my subs for the LPF filter, and the HPF filter is also at 80Hz; I'm quite happy with the performance of it (when it works, that is, haha). I made sure to get a 10" sub instead of a 12" sub, because I like tight punchy bass for the electronic music I listen to; 12" subs are louder and have a laggier bass that tends to work better with rap music.
I don't have a Rialta, I've got a 2008 Coachman Freedom Express. I bought it on consignment 2 years ago with only 3000 miles on it. I didn't really know much at all about RV's at the time, I just new that after visiting 30+ countries I should spend some time exploring my own. And what better way to do it than go whole hog!? My main criteria was that it needed to be small enough to maneuver in tight spaces, and have big enough storage for a couple bicycles, kiteboard, snowboard & parachute, and have room for a friend or two.
These are the pics from when I first bought it, but it's pretty much unchanged other than some of the stickers peeling off. So now it just reads "xpress" which I'm fine with! ;)
I recently completed my goal of circumnavigating the US, and so now I'm back in California, kinda wondering what to do with my life again! hahah I have grown to really love the RV lifestyle -- especially once I learned I could run my fridge of propane and didn't need shore power all the time! I did stop by an RV dealership the other day to look at some smaller options. Who knows what the future holds...
Sweet; thanks for sharing! I like the floor plan. Have you lived much on the street with it? One thing that gives it away as an RV is the addition over the truck cab, without that and decals, it might more easily be mistaken as a box truck. For those of you wondering, I think this is a 24-foot model.
The solar option is one thing I've been pondering since I'd like to have more access to free power and not have to go to Starbucks or pay $40/night at a RV park every time I want to charge my laptop.
Ohh wow! The interior of that thing looks brilliant.What's going on inside that exterior door? (Goes under the bed?) It's a good candidate for getting stuffed full of batteries!
That floor plan looks crazy efficient. What's it got for water tanks? What part of California?
No generator and your alternator does not charge your batteries? Wiring your alternator up to your batteries would be pretty trivial, assuming you can route a thick enough cable. Solenoids are available cheap anyplace that repairs RVs.
If you don't have a battery monitor in the very least get a voltage reader you plug into a 12volt socket, and plug that into one that runs to the house batteries. Be sure not to let the batteries drain too low or you could shorten their life span. Presently rocking it in the winter with out enough sun for solar, I try and never let them drop under 11.9volts.
I assume you're using a 12volt plug for your laptop, and not the 120?
Yeah, that exterior door leads to tons of space under the bed. That's where I keep my bike and other outdoor sports gear. I'm sure that space could be better maximized though.
Water tank I believe is 30gal.
I'm currently in LA, but heading back up to the Bay Area for a bit and hopefully Tahoe for some snowboarding!
There is a generator (I rarely ever use it) and the alternator does charge the coach (and engine) batteries. I just wish there was a way to not have to use gas all the time. I think I may have let the coach batteries get too low and now they aren't as efficient. The other day the fridge started clicking because there wasn't enough power so that's when I broke down and plugged into shore power for the first time in weeks.
The battery monitor that came with the unit isn't very detailed. It's got 4 lights. Red, Orange, Yellow Green. Who knows what levels those translate to. 100, 75, 50 25 would be my guess.
Yeah, just the regular 12volt plug for the laptop. It's a MacBook Air, so it's pretty good with power, but still. I want more POWER for less money! :)
Those 4 LED ones are based on voltage. I'm _guessing_ the max is 13.8 or 14.1 volts, and the bottom is 11 or 10.5. $15 gets you this: http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3721-Battery-Charging-Monitor/dp/B000EVWDU0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1357273513&sr=8-2&keywords=battery+monitor+12volt which is much better than that thing.
You'll see it shoot up to 13.8 volts when your engine is running. That's the float charge from your alternator. I wish you could run the alternator through the MPPT solar charge controller because those things vary voltage to get very optimal charges. It takes a long time (10 hours I've read) to charge batteries past a certain state with a 13.8 volt float charge. In other words, you can charge your batteries from 11.9 to 12.3 volts very quickly, but after that the benefits start to diminish. The point of a float charge is it wont overcharge your batteries. It works good for a starter battery, but not very good for house batteries.
If you let the lights go out too many times your battery might not hold a charge too well any more. but that's ok, bigger batteries = bigger fun :)
Voltage doesn't really tell the tale accurately. You program a real one with your bank's mAh capacity, and it tracks what's going in and out of them. I use: http://www.amazon.com/Clipper-BM-1-Battery-Monitor-Instrument/dp/B00067XVP8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1357273640&sr=8-4&keywords=battery+monitor+%22bm-1%22
add Woody and Mary in Prince Edward Island Canada........We just bought a2000 Rialta The proof without a picture...try buying the correct tires for a rialta in Canada lol
We just bought a '97 Rialta last year and love it. We would like to remove the small TV (and its cabinet)...taking the screws out was easy, but it's also glued with some kind of super-human adhesive. Anyone have advice about how to remove the cabinet from this mega-glue?
That does not sound like the normal installation, I removed mine a bit over a year ago and other than the screws the only adhesive was some sticky foam between the bracket and the TV. However, when I stuck everything back together I wound up using a large amount of Liquid Nail to secure the overhead portions of that large panel. Sounds like someone was repairing it at some point.
Getting the glue out would depend on exactly what was used. You can try orange oil, or a heat gun.
Great blog--can you turn me on to the make of the MC trailer? How did you attach it? Do you have any detail shots? Thanks--Royce
I hand built the trailer. The suspension came from doublehitch.com, which may be out of business. See the photo album link in the original post to answer your other questions.
What year and miles is everyone's Rialta at? Any guesses at how far these things will go, before major repair (i.e. tranny)?
I'm a who-knows-what owner of a 96 with 108k miles. It's seems to be getting to the point where a few smaller stock components finally, 17-18 years later, are giving out: brake lines, ball joints, a few other things. Other than a few general overall things, she seems to pull like a dream. *knocks on wood*
Im really interested to get into this, although I live in Germany. Im trying to figure out if it could work to live 24/7 in that climate here, but Im not sure. Also im overwhelmed by the hundreds of RV choices. I would really appreciate it if some current owners could give me their opinion:
- Can heating be sufficient during winter or will it be really uncomfortable all the time? (several months of snow?)
- Will energy production be way worse than say San Francisco?
Thanks for your advice. I spend the last 2 hours researching and it seems like it could work here in Europe :) Might as well try!
One post that people request occasionally is a post about how I go about finding the best of something to buy. It's a bit of an obsession for me, as you may know.
I'll write that post some day, but right now I'm on an airplane so I don't have the necessary internet to get all of the links and such.
Today will be a sneak preview of the steps I took to decide which RV to buy and how I will get the best price on it.
That was me circa 1990 right after I graduated from the University of Colorado. My focus was to get "On the Road to Find Out" and decide if not what I wanted to do with my life when I grow up, where I wanted to settle down at least. Purchased a 1976 VW Westfalia pop-up with the idea that the window in my life I was currently in was a fleeting one and if I was ever to go on this wild adventure this was my one opportunity to do so. I had no immediate need to work, a few thousand in savings, two empty credit cards to get in serious financial trouble with, and plenty of time yet until I entered "the real world"... saddled by the monthly mortgage payment, meager paychecks that would leave me with more month than money, and all that comes along with a wife, children and raising a family.
My original plan was to leave Boulder and take a figure eight journey around the country, traveling as far North as Quebec, the French Gaspé, Turtle Island and Vancouver, and as far South as Key West, Pony Island and Baja California. I planned on following every inch of the US coastlines that I could, seeking out as many new adventures and experiences as possible. The estimated time table the trip would require was approximately 2 months to complete from start to finish, with many different family members and friends to stop in and visit along the way.
As one of my favorite quotes from John Lennon goes - "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."