Mobile Dental Systems Van Structural Considerations
e. What is the difference between an RV and a commercial vehicle?

An RV is designed to be used 15 to 20 weekends per year by a typical family of four. The HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning—climate control), plumbing, roof, floor and wall structure, generator, engine and transmission are not commercial duty. A commercial vehicle is designed to be used 365 days per year. Think of the door on your house--could it stand being opened and closed over 100 times per day, 300 days per year? Not for long-- wear and tear will soon take its toll on your entire house if used as a commercial building. The doors on an RV are lighter duty than those on a house. If an RV is to be used every day for extended periods as a dental clinic, then the doors and equipment need to be the same quality as in other commercial buildings.


In a commercial vehicle, the first procedure is to weld outriggers/floor joists onto the chassis that supports the floor. Then rails are put on wings to widen the floor. The floor is welded and bolted to the chassis. Rather than wood studs, they weld two-inch square aluminum studs and 16-inch on square. The ceiling is welded to all the studs. This is unibody construction, which makes the vehicle more durable and stable. Commercial units have drive train requirements more like semi-trucks than passenger vehicles. These drive trains will last from 500 thousand to 1 million miles before major work needs to be done.