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Author Topic: Conversion time?  (Read 4172 times)
cody
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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2009, 09:28:35 AM »

lol, I love this crew lol.
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BG6
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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2009, 07:39:16 PM »

Marathon figures in the 4,000 man hours to do a conversion-and that's at a conversion factory with all supplies there an bought. 

Gee, I must be doing something wrong.  I've got my conversion nearly halfway done after 3 weekends of actual working time, working alone.

This is after several months of collecting the stuff I need (again, on weekends) and dealing with a few mechanical and body issues.

However, looking at their claim and matching it to their prices, I think they're being a bit less than factual.   When you add the cost of the powered shell, materials and parts, etc, I don't see where they can absorb TWO MAN-YEARS of labor costs per unit unless they are hiring illegals or paying minimum wage.  THAT'S MORE THAN IT TAKES TO BUILD A TWO-STORY HOUSE.

That might be an average, with the numbers skyrocketing for ultra-custom stuff, but really, it doesn't take any more work to convert a coach than to build a sticks-n-staples RV, and they've built several million of those in the last couple of decades!

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dkhersh
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« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2009, 08:00:08 PM »

BG6,
   
     You da man, I gotta see this super slick coach of yours.  And half way thru in 3 weekends.  I must say you have shown up each and everyone of us here on this board.  Was that coach seated when you got it?  If it was, then I am going to fall in the floor.   Could you post us some pictures and give us some shortcut tricks too....  Thanks for your input.
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belfert
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2009, 05:23:29 AM »

I would like to know how these folks that do a complete conversion in a few weeks or a few month's worth of weekends do it.  They must have some radical time saving measures considering I'm now into summer number four with completion nowhere in sight and hundreds upon hundreds of hours into it between myself and friends.  I have used the bus the last two summers so it isn't a total loss.

Sticks and staples are a radical departure from a bus conversion.  First off, they are engineered from the ground up as an RV.  The chassis has little restriction on where tanks and such are placed.  They also have straight walls and corners so everything doesn't need to be customized.  A production manager makes sure the right parts that fit show up on the assembly line and there s little or no customization.

I wouldn't find it that hard to believe that Marathon puts 4,000 hours into a coach although it seems high.  If each worker costs $40 an hour than the labor would be $160,000 for one coach.  A coach might cost $400,000 for the shell, $160,000 for parts and materials, and $160,000 for labor for a total cost of $720,000 plus add maybe as much as $130,000 for overhead, marketing and other costs.  That would bring us to $850,000.

Marathon charges $540,000 to $600,000 for the shell plus about $1.4 to $1.5 million for the conversion putting the retail right about $2 million.  The real selling price is probably $1.2 to $1.5 million so they are probably doing okay.  Perhaps I underestimated the costs of the shell and the parts/materials, but even adding another $100,000 they are still coming out pretty good.

I never realized Marathon coaches cost anythnig close to $2 million, but that is what the prices where on two of the coaches I looked at on their web site.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2009, 06:18:18 AM »

We got our bus in Sept. of 07 and had it on the road by May of 08.  My windows, caps and siding were already done and I was not going for a roof raise.  I'm 5 feet tall and my wife is 5 foot 4.  We spent until January planning the interior and collecting the needed pieces.  By January we had the roof airs on, vents in, and insulation sprayed and the floor in.  The original floor was in good shape and the PO had filled in the center depression, so I just laid fake pergo and sound deadener down on top.  Worked great.  We did some more planning and I got to work on stud walls and plumbing in March.  I found a travel trailer on the eplace and gutted it for its newer appliances, wiring, wood and the kitchen cabinet/countertop.  That last step saved me a great deal of time.  The layout is right for where the stove and sink are, but I will build a much nicer unit later.  By May, we had a bed structure, working bathroom, kitchen, limited 110 and 12V and we were ready to go.  Since then, I've installed the genset (need to enclose), inverter (being used to charge the house batteries only - the battery bank is not finished), transfer switch, bunks, completed the 110.  I've used 1/4 inch knotty pine for paneling and ceiling.  I saw pictures of MAK's knotty pine and I loved it.  We won't have tons of electrical stuff.  We are not full timing, and we love to be outdoors.  We used to tent camp, but the air matress' just started killing us.  There will not be a TV!  I can use my laptop for that.  Our only concession to "easy camping" is the microwave.  A note here - anyone with a baby wants to have a microwave for sterilizing bottles/heating milk!  I did design this to dry camp for about a week.  100 gal freshwater, 100gal grey, 30-40 black.  I do have solar panels to install, primarily to help reduce genset time.  All of this was done while being a stay at home dad with 1 and a half year old during his naps.

It can be done, you really first need to decide what you want.  If you want a super fancy rig, you will spend MUCH more time and money.  I'll be done with mine for under 20K.  Good luck!

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
Lansing, MI
www.threemenandatenor.com
1968 MCI 7 Ser. No. 7476 Unit No. 10056
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prevost82
82 Prevost 8V92ta 6 speed
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« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2009, 09:30:44 AM »

It took me 2 yrs @ 8 hrs a day 7 days a week, approx 7000 hrs . The first year was stripping out the interior, seats, floor and interior wall coverings. Then raised the roof 8 inch, install new steel wall framing. Then new upper siding and updated caps. New double pane RV windows and paint exterior. Install new plywood floor and isulate the interior walls. Install new dash out of a 96 NavStar OTR truck. Rewire the the coach to 12V and remove any redundant electrical components. Make single motor electric wipers and linkage. Install door hardware. Manufacture generator slide and install gen set in bay. Install new 8V92ta.

2nd year was installing the interior walls, wood work and cabinets as well as floor finish. House electrical systems, plumbing and tanks. A/C ducting and ceiling panels.



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Tenor
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« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2009, 10:19:26 AM »

Wow Prevost 82!  Gorgeous! Your bus and mine are perfect examples of the extreme differences of how much or how little can be done and still have a great time!

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
Lansing, MI
www.threemenandatenor.com
1968 MCI 7 Ser. No. 7476 Unit No. 10056
8v71
4 speed Spicer
David Anderson
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« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2009, 12:31:38 PM »

I took 3 years to convert my Eagle.  Of course that is not full time work on it, but that is what I figured it would take before I started.  I only wish I could have hit my cost estimate that close.  I was way off on it.  Take what you want to spend and about double it. 

David
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BG6
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« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2009, 02:23:23 PM »

BG6,
   
     You da man, I gotta see this super slick coach of yours.  And half way thru in 3 weekends.  I must say you have shown up each and everyone of us here on this board.  Was that coach seated when you got it?  If it was, then I am going to fall in the floor.   Could you post us some pictures and give us some shortcut tricks too....  Thanks for your input.

No, the seats were out, and the former owner had put in new plywood flooring.  All I had to do was measure, come up with the plans for layout, power, water and propane, then build.

Note also that the 3 weekends is ONLY the time doing the actual conversion, putting stuff into the shell.  It doesn't count time to get the shell in good shape, replace the throttle cable, etc.

My "secret" is preparation -- I got all the stuff ahead of time, measured it, then stored it in the reverse order I need it, so I don't have to hunt around for the next thing to install.

Another factor may be that I don't drink beer, so spend my day actually WORKING on the coach . . .  Wink

Seriously, I have no distractions, so I get to the storage yard at 0800 and work straight through until 1900, with only one break during the day to go get food and anything else I need.

I also have a couple of major incentives -- first, I will be fulltiming in it, and currently am in a 24-foot travel trailer (I travel a LOT with my work), so the sooner the coach is ready for prime time, the sooner I will be out of the trailer.  Second, I'm having to pay storage on the stuff and on the coach, and can think of other things I'd like to do with that money.  Getting into the coach will be like getting a $2400/yr raise in pay.

Unfortunately, the coach is a couple of hundred miles from where I'm working for the next several weeks, so to work on it, I have to stay in a motel up there (or wait until I transfer closer again).


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BG6
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« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2009, 02:52:32 PM »

Sticks and staples are a radical departure from a bus conversion.  First off, they are engineered from the ground up as an RV.  The chassis has little restriction on where tanks and such are placed.  They also have straight walls and corners so everything doesn't need to be customized.  A production manager makes sure the right parts that fit show up on the assembly line and there s little or no customization.

Okay, so turn that around.  They start with a bare chassis w/power train, steering, suspension and brakes.  EVERYTHING else has to be added.  With a coach, you only HAVE to do the interior (things like raising the roof are optional and of course will take more time).  If you buy premade cabinetry and kitchen counter, all you have to do is toss them into place and screw them down.  Interior walls are fast and easy.  PEX plumbing saves hours over stiff piping.



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belfert
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« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2009, 08:11:57 PM »

Okay, so turn that around.  They start with a bare chassis w/power train, steering, suspension and brakes.  EVERYTHING else has to be added.  With a coach, you only HAVE to do the interior (things like raising the roof are optional and of course will take more time).  If you buy premade cabinetry and kitchen counter, all you have to do is toss them into place and screw them down.  Interior walls are fast and easy.  PEX plumbing saves hours over stiff piping.

Sure, they have to build the shell, but they have nice jigs for that.  I have been to Winnebago and I would guess there are far less hours into a Winnebago than most of us have into our conversions.  We could only wish we had nice straight walls and a 90 degree corner at the ceiling.

I do plan to use stock countertops, but my cabinets will probably have to be custom made as my walls lean in about 10 degrees starting at the window line.  I could probably modify stock cabinets, but by the time I do that I could make some.  Plus, most stock cabinets weigh a ton unless you pay big money for ones made with plywood.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2009, 06:19:05 AM »

Okay, so turn that around.  They start with a bare chassis w/power train, steering, suspension and brakes.  EVERYTHING else has to be added.  With a coach, you only HAVE to do the interior (things like raising the roof are optional and of course will take more time).  If you buy premade cabinetry and kitchen counter, all you have to do is toss them into place and screw them down.  Interior walls are fast and easy.  PEX plumbing saves hours over stiff piping.

Sure, they have to build the shell, but they have nice jigs for that.  I have been to Winnebago and I would guess there are far less hours into a Winnebago than most of us have into our conversions.  We could only wish we had nice straight walls and a 90 degree corner at the ceiling.

I do plan to use stock countertops, but my cabinets will probably have to be custom made as my walls lean in about 10 degrees starting at the window line.  I could probably modify stock cabinets, but by the time I do that I could make some.  Plus, most stock cabinets weigh a ton unless you pay big money for ones made with plywood.

Your bus shell was designed to carry 40 or more passengers, each weighing 225 lbs, each with 100 lbs of baggage, PLUS the weight of the seats, overhead shelves, toilet and tanks . . .you aren't likely to run into the gross weight ceiling the way the Winnebago owner will, so the heavier cabinets aren't a real problem.

But let's assume that you build your cabinets.  How many are you putting in?  How long to build them?  A day?  Two?

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belfert
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« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2009, 08:20:34 AM »

I am not concerned about exceeding the GVW.  I have at least 8,000lbs remaining with little weight to add for the remainder of the conversion project.  I am concerned about MPG.  The more weight, the more fuel required to accelerate though I am aware that most fuel is consumed by aerodynamic drag, particularly at higher speeds.

I don't have any sort of real shop right now except a garage with a cheapie Craftsman tablesaw so building cabinets would probably take quite a few weekends.  I am hoping to have a real shop again by the time I get around to cabinets.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2009, 06:27:07 AM »

I am not concerned about exceeding the GVW.  I have at least 8,000lbs remaining with little weight to add for the remainder of the conversion project.  I am concerned about MPG.  The more weight, the more fuel required to accelerate though I am aware that most fuel is consumed by aerodynamic drag, particularly at higher speeds.

I don't have any sort of real shop right now except a garage with a cheapie Craftsman tablesaw so building cabinets would probably take quite a few weekends.  I am hoping to have a real shop again by the time I get around to cabinets.

You remind me of something that I had wanted to do, that being run 1000 miles on flat ground with the empty shell, to get a base line on fuel consumption, then another 1000 miles with a bunch of weight in the cargo bays to see what change there would be.  Didn't have time, unfortunately.

Cabinets aren't hard to make.  Go to Home Despot and look at how theirs are built.  You have two choices, one is to build a frame then put on skins, the other is for the skins to be structural, with gussets.  The only difference between the "assemble in 30 minutes" kit and doing it yourself is that their pieces are precut.
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