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Author Topic: Is it cheaper to buy a bus already converted?  (Read 3304 times)
brojcol
Jimmy
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« on: June 28, 2006, 05:06:50 PM »

Is is cheaper to buy a bus already converted, or to buy onen and then pay for someone to convert it. 

I know most of you say, just do it yourself, but it's time consuming and not all of us are as talented as others.

SOOO...

Does anyone have any thoughts on this.  Assuming I already have a shell.

About how much would it cost to get someone reputable to do an interior conversion?

Jimmy
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jjrbus
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2006, 05:26:51 PM »

It is far cheaper to buy an already converted bus.

 How much does it cost to hire someone to convert a bus, is the old how high is up question.

To hire someone contact Jack Conrad down in Arcadia FL, he is a respected, reputable member of the bus community.
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2006, 05:28:35 PM »

Wouldn't be for me.  I'd pay more the bus than a shell and still end up gutting it to the walls.  If you can live with someone elses work, then yes, it should be cheaper to buy already converted, especially in this market.
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brojcol
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2006, 05:31:31 PM »

You know, I don't need rope lights in the ceiling, mirrored walls, granite countertops, gold plated commode seats, etc.  What I want is a nice conversion that can be used and stand up to wear and tear over a period of years.  I was thinking about $30,000.  I could rough one out myself, but it would take me forever...

Do ya'll think I'm having delusions?
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2006, 05:38:34 PM »

Jimmy.

This is a labor intensive project, Unless your buying a few year old shell the labor costs(if you paid for all the work involved) will

always exceed the materials.

If you could find a layout that you liked and just change some of the interior finishes to suit your taste you would almost be

assured to be ahead(Dollar wise) of anyone converting there own.

On the other hand, many of us do have the skills required and its the journey that is part of the fun for us.

Best of luck

Cliff

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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2006, 05:41:05 PM »

Jimmy,

For 30K you can find a good finished bus.

Especially in the market now

Just start looking.

Cliff
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1975 GMC  P8M4905A-1160    North Central Florida

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brojcol
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2006, 05:58:14 PM »

I think Cliff's got a point.  I think if I'm gonna look for one that maybe needs some updating, I can do that.

whenever I'm back in the market that is...
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2006, 06:30:35 PM »

What I did is bought the bus I wanted, professsionally converted in the 1970's, in very poor condition. I whiz-banged through the whole coach with a quickfix for everything. The only thing I did a good job on was to dismantle one small section of the coach. This is where I begin MY conversion.

We will begin to use the coach this weekend. I don't doubt that I will replace everything in the whole conversion before it is over. But it is usable now, the kids are still young, the neighbors don't hate me, (too much), the wife is not burnt out on a nine year project. While I can't live with someone elses work forever, I sure am enjoying it now. I never have to figure out where to start, or what to do next, we let the coach decide. It is juist my job to add it to the list and then cross it off the list when it is finished. I have no problem imagining how I want the coach, or at the very. least how I don't want it. I have absolutly no problem ripping out the particle board closet putting bunks in thier place only to put a closet back in the same spot. I know that no matter how overboard I build any one sytsem, it will not delay when I get to use the coach.

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TomC
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2006, 11:04:40 PM »

Personally, I couldn't afford to buy an already converted bus.  My transit cost $4,000, but nearly $80,000 later...You could buy an already converted bus.  Couple of suggestions.  Buy a bus that has a T drive.  You'll have more choices for higher horsepower and transmissons compared to the V drive (I know-I have a V drive in my transit conversion).  Personally, if someone made a 35' x 102" wide highway bus (actually MCI had the F3500 and VanHool has the 2135) I would use that instead.  I have both wheel wells and the engine protrusion in the back, that if I had a flat floor all the way back to the rear wall would ultimately be about the same room.  Check at this web site in the classified section-usually have some good ones.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2006, 11:37:12 PM »

I know there must be exceptions to this, but I have yet to see anyone that didnít take a beating when they sold a conversion they did themselves, or paid someone to do it for them. You can find older conversions that have been well kept but might need a little updating. This is what I did. I am going to modify my bus to better suit my needs, but the best part is that I can use it now. Read the post from grantgoold: Marriage, Bus Conversion and Ponderings! I think that post applies to everyone regardless of their age, marriage status, kids, or circumstances, if you look into the deeper meaning of it. You could go the route that Christyhicks took. They seem to be building one and using one. Wow! The best of both worlds! I second what FloridaCracker and Phil4501said. I think they said it better than I could have.
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2006, 11:58:14 PM »

I bought  an older conversion from a friend of the family. granted the things there doing now(My 4106 was converted in the 80s) are allot more flashy and bigger. but I have put about 2500 miles on it in 2 months and will be leaving for a month as soon as I can finish the brake job I'm in the middle of.If I had spent the same money on a shell and parts I would be working on the bus and watching the travel channel for the next 2 or 3 years,If I was lucky. There are things I will change as I decide to and when I park it long enough. All comes down what you want to do, build a bus or travel in a bus.

                                    Tucson
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2006, 01:44:09 AM »

TT's words are music to my ears.  We bought an old bus, in surprisingly good shape for her years, mostly done and with the exception of the bedroom, shower and some cabinet work will suit us for what we want.  Over the next couple of years we'll do some minor
tweaks just for aesthetic reasons.

I'll have the running gear in the best shape it's been in years next week and a few months work will find us on our way to FL for the winter.  Easy and cheap?  Not so's you'd notice.  But a great compromise between a shell and a full conversion.

NCbob
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Christyhicks
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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2006, 04:58:38 AM »

OR, ahem, you could do what we did Wink.† As we are early, early, on in the conversion process of our MCI-9, we decided to buy a converted bus to use until the 9 is complete.† We found a bus that had many of the components we plan to install in our 9, such as air leveling system, Webasto, Onan deisel genset, tiled shower, etc, which make it nice to "try out".†

We didn't really plan on doing this, but we stumbled across one with a really good quality conversion.† Although we can't buy ANYTHING without making a few upgrades and fixing it up a bit, Roll Eyes we have a bus we can use, which allows us to take our time on the 9 and still have a good life till it's done.†

Of course, we do get a lot of teasing about the bus fleet, but, oh well, works for us Grin.† †Christy Hicks
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brojcol
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2006, 05:02:33 AM »

grantgoold's post is actually what prompted me to ask this question in the first place. †Because on my first conversion, I spent so much time building and working that I did very little travelling in it. †Which was a shame, because she was a great bus. †

My son enjoyed working on it with me and we did take some small trips, but I think I want one that is converted and just needs a little fixin' up. †So, I should be in the market in the next few months and hopefully it won't take me too long to find what I want. †Of course I could just buy a stick and staple, but that would almost be sacreligious! (no offense Gary)! †
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2006, 05:05:34 AM »

I know there must be exceptions to this, but I have yet to see anyone that didnít take a beating when they sold a conversion they did themselves, or paid someone to do it for them.

That's partly because the banks won't touch them, and finding someone these days with that sort of cash on hand is hand.  Finding someone with equity is even getting tough.  Lots of people are mortagges to the max on a 2nd or 3rd to pay off credit cards.  A converter looking to get his money back on resale needs to start with a newer shell.  Something that the banks will finance.  They WILL finance an owner converted bus as long as it is withing tier year model ctiteria.  Newer the better.

It also depends on what you dream is.  Do you want to cruise around the country in a bus or do you want to own your dream bus/RV.  For me, I wanted what I wanted.  I wanted a luxury coach, not a "camper". Most of the owner converted buses were "campers" that were obviously built on the very tight budget.  Every bus that I looked at needed to be gutted to the outer skin.  Even the older pro conversions all needed new everything.  Appliances, electronics, furniture, etc.  I did look at a few that were in the 60-80K price range that were quite nice, but they were out of my price range.  Sitting here thinking about it, I think it actually cost me less out of pocket to start from scratch.  May have taken a little longer, but I always seem to have more time than money. 
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