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 Truck Conversion

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  • Total Posts: 64
  • Joined: 10/30/2011
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Truck Conversion Sun, 10/30/11 6:39 PM (permalink)
I have a panel truck I would like to convert to a food truck. I'm pretty handy and can do electrical, plumbing, sheet metal work etc. but I'm wondering if anyone has ever done this or has plans. Not sure what the health department will say for non professional conversion. Would like some specs on stuff like what gauge wire, what size lines for propane, any special equipment I'll need, etc. 
I've see full converted trailers (with major equip, not counter top stuff) selling new for $20k+ and the trailer is about $4k of that, so I figure they buying the equipment and paying labor and profit for $16k. The equipment must be around $10-12k.

    • Total Posts: 1077
    • Joined: 1/30/2011
    • Location: FAYETTEVILLE, NC
    Re:Truck Conversion Sun, 10/30/11 11:34 PM (permalink)
    i decided to go counter top and my equipment cost is going to nearly 10k when its all over and done
    "but I'm wondering if anyone has ever done this or has plans"
    lol, you didnt search the threads did you ?....there are several of us doing just that right now 
    as far as i know there are no "concrete" plans or build sheets for a truck or trailer outside of what any certain company might use in house.....
    wiring would be the same as what you would do in a house, same with plumbing, just follow your local codes and and use good common sense and your fine...
    its non of the HD's business if it was done "pro" or amature, as long as its right, its right....... you dont have to be a pro to produce pro results....
    things like propane line sizes will depend on your total btu output, length of runs, etc....... but figure either 3/4"(most used) or 1" if your doing super high demand cooking
    gauge of wire will depend on what size that particular circuit is, 15 amp, 20amp, 30 amp, will find that all in the code book, but as a rule of thumb...... 14g for 15 amp, 12 gauge for 20 amp, 10g for 30 amp...... most of the time the size of the breaker will determine the size of the wire you use for that branch...
    just wire everything 12g except for your 30 amp stuff but on small branches that have little draw (cash register and a light for example) just use a 15 amp breaker..... the idea being on that you dont want a faulty light fixture to have to pull 20 amps before it trips the breaker, it may not pull that and you will have to deal with an electrical fire for no good reason(at best melted wires)
    hope this gets ya started in the right direction, feel free to ask all the questions you have early in the process, better to plan it out now then to have to go back and start over.....
    <message edited by BackAlleyBurger on Sun, 10/30/11 11:37 PM>
      Dr of BBQ

      • Total Posts: 3716
      • Joined: 10/11/2004
      • Location: Springfield, IL
      • Roadfood Insider
      Re:Truck Conversion Mon, 10/31/11 9:18 PM (permalink)
      Welcome to RF,
      Two things you should think about doing before you go any farther.
      Go speak to your local health department in person and find out what the rules for your area are.
      2nd I suggest you do several searches and read all the build post here on roadfood. There is so much information that could save you a ton of money and a lot of worry.
      If the truth be known there has been a long list of people come to this site and not do the above suggested items and they end up mired in rules and regulations that have cost them most of their start up money. This may keep you from selling a partial or finished rig for 50 cents on the dollar.
      Here is a good thread to consider reading:
      <message edited by Dr of BBQ on Mon, 10/31/11 9:20 PM>
        Blissful Bite

        • Total Posts: 55
        • Joined: 12/18/2010
        • Location: Lawrence/KC area, KS
        Re:Truck Conversion Wed, 11/2/11 12:25 PM (permalink)
        After all your research, take your estimate of cost and factor in the significant amounts of time you will be spending away from paying work, family, sleep, etc.  Multiply your estimate of build time by at least 2.
        Not trying to discourage you but it's a huge undertaking and the more realistic you can be about it, the better your chances for success.  A lawyer once told me that going to court was like grabbing a wolf by the ears. Maybe building your own food truck is like...idk...grabbing a pig by the foot.  Enjoy!

          • Total Posts: 7
          • Joined: 11/3/2011
          • Location: stockton, CA
          Re:Truck Conversion Thu, 11/3/11 4:12 PM (permalink)
          i'm curious of how this is going and have you talked to the hd yet?? i'm from stockton ca. been a cook for a very long time and is considering a catering trailer/truck myself.

            • Total Posts: 185
            • Joined: 2/17/2011
            • Location: Troy, NH
            Re:Truck Conversion Thu, 11/3/11 8:24 PM (permalink)
            Definitely get in touch with town inspectors - HD, fire dept., etc. and make sure you get the OK to do something before you do it....I learned the hard way...We purchased a custom window which I then installed, insulated the wall, and finished off the wall only for the fire chief tell me to remove the window, insulation, and the wall i finished.....Also hopefully your local code inspector is nice...My local inspector swore at me and told me to stop calling him and hire a professional....Best of Luck.
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