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Author Topic: The secret is out, we caved and bought a converted bus!  (Read 5365 times)
Christyhicks
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« on: January 25, 2010, 06:44:52 AM »

Well, now that the Q rally is over, I guess we'll spill to the few members of the board who may not have heard, YEP!  We bought a converted Prevost.  It is an 1991, Le Mirage XL converted by Beaver. 

We really weren't looking for a another bus, seriously!  I simply saw it, because, like I've been doing every day of my life for the last 4-5 years, I looked at every bus listed for sale on Ebay and everywhere else, looking for ideas, different ways of doing things, etc.  (I have a huge folder of pictures gleaned from various sources over the years, all sorted by entries, dashes, living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. . . bay storage ideas, you name it, I've probably saved a picture of it.)

It started with: "Hey, hon, look at this one. . this is the first Prevost I've seen where I really like the interior". . . to a day or two later, "Oh, did you see, that Prevost I showed you is in OKC!!!!" to, "Hmmm, well, we COULD call and see what their minimum is" to, "well, we're going Christmas shopping anyway, why don't we stop and look at it. . .we can't afford it, but we might as well look at it in case they lower their minimum!"  Yep, unsold at auction, a week of negotiations, and we were the proud owner of yet another bus!

I am going to miss the opportunity to do the interior of BigBus, something I've looked forward to for a long time. . . I mean, I've got 5' long drawings, with overlays, I mocked it up inside with cardboard, the windows were skinned over, the central a/c in, the floors and walls insulated, plywood cut and laid in place on the floors, and after Thanksgiving, Larry FINALLY got it drven down the hill into the back yard by my woodshop doors so that I could start pulling down ceiling panels and building out the interior!

OTOH, when we got to adding up all the components this had, the 14.5 kw Kohler, the leveling system, the two 2000 watt inverters, the 20 gallons of hot water, the dual pumps, the leather furniture, Isri driver, electric co-pilot, the BEAUTIFUL light oak woodwork, the Webasto and seven hydronic coils alone for the Webasto, the three cruise airs, the awnings, all the appliances . . well, you add in the big stuff, then start adding in the little stuff like day and night shades and countertops and well, we came to the sad conclusion that we could spend another year converting BigBus, and even if we did an awesome job, it would still have over a million miles on it probably (who knows), compared to 174,000 original miles on this chassis, it would be an 8v71 compared to the 8/92 turbo, and the value of the converted bus wouldn't be 1/2 of this one.  The numbers just didn't work  Add them to the amount of precious little spare time we have, and the damage I've already done to my wrists, and the gobs of trim work I still need to finish on the house and it was a no-brainer for us.

Having said that, we couldn't be happier!  This is a beautiful rig w/next to no miles, and yes, it DOES have the roof windows in the living room and we LOVE them.  Sure, we'll probably have to use reflective foil in them occasionally on hot days when it's parked in the sun, but since we store our buses inside when not in use, that's a small price to pay for the wide open view of  prevost 102" with those tall windows on the side and the roof windows too yet.  Larry LOVED the cruise and the Jakes, and he had a huge grin on his face when running down the road, as it was might tighter than any bus he's ever driven.  We're still learning what all of the buttons do, so every day is a pleasant surprise when we say, "Oh, I didn't know it had that!!!"  There's a lot of stuff on here that I wouldn't have spent the money on in a build situation, but I have to admit, I'm sure glad SOMEONE ELSE did! ha ha.  It was lucky for us that the seller didn't have someone who knew how to market a bus like this, but ask me if I feel guilty we got such a good deal and I'll just grin and say, "even WE deserve a break once in awhile!"

Anyway, we kept the purchase a secret for three long weeks, so that we could surprise some friends in Quartzsite and now that the word is out, I'm sure I'll have lots of questions for all the brains on this board as we learn more about tubros, inverters, equalizers, DDEC, etc.  I'll post a couple of pics in the "picture post" if anyone is interested.  Christy Hicks
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 06:59:36 AM »

No need to feel guilty Christy. They got a price they could live with and so did you......enjoy!!!  Did you happen to see the Prevost just down the street? ( same side, to the East of you) I noticed that it too is a Beaver Conversion. If it is still there you might want to check it out. Maybe they can tell you about some of the features about it that you might still not know about it.
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2010, 07:07:43 AM »

Hi Christy,

PICTURES! PICTURES!!  Where's the PICS? Cheesy

Sounds Nice!! Lots of luck with it!
Nick-
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2010, 07:09:59 AM »

Christy,
Hey great job on the superb find! Now post the bus porn already will ya?

We want bus porn, we want bus porn, we want bus porn! Wink

Did I mention some of us would like to see what ya got? Grin
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2010, 07:19:15 AM »

Larry, needs to go to United Engine in OKC and buy the complete manuals for that 8v92 DDEC engine will save him a lot of heart aches later he may have a heart attack when paying for them.Keep the 8v92 between 1400 and 1800 rpm and it will last a long time.
Hope you have service records on the 8v92 they need a little attention with 175,000 miles and I would not take a chance on the antifreeze that will kill a 8v92 fast not knowing what antifreeze PO used that would be my first priority on the list.
Tell Larry to brush up on the AC units I have 6 of the touch pads if he figures out how to make those work on the switch type I may give him a set if he installs mine LOL

good luck
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 07:38:30 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2010, 07:19:56 AM »

Congratulations on the new bus.  I hope that you got the single most important thing, that is the original docs, especially the conversion wiring diagrams.  The nice thing about a luxury conversion like that is that it most likely has not been butchered up by multiple owners and they are usually very well maintained, at least for the first few years.

Of course, all the appliances and systems are also nearly twenty years old and subject to the same problems that they would be at home.

My own coach, while not a Prevost was also a very well built luxury unit in 1994.  When I bought it a couple of years ago, all systems worked fine.

Since then one air conditioner has quit cooling, the other is marginal, one of two furnaces won't light, the backup camera quit, the transfer switch is flaky, blew the seals on two hydraulic jacks, etc., etc.

Not complaining now, just noting that these things are pretty much normal on an older coach.  Most of my failures have been due to lack of use.  Mine only had 75K on it and checking Carfax, the majority of those miles were put on in the first five years.

Your new coach has averaged 9000 miles per year and I'll bet much less than half of that over the last ten years.

Best wishes for many miles of happy busing.
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Christyhicks
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2010, 08:09:43 AM »

Quote
Did you happen to see the Prevost just down the street? ( same side, to the East of you) I noticed that it too is a Beaver Conversion.
Well, actually, Dick and Cheryl Egler were one of only a couple of people that knew we bought this Beaver conversion.  They actually stopped at our place for an overnight stay on their way out to Quartzsite so we got to pour over eachother's coaches early on.  I was in contact with them and a few other Beaver conversions before we actually pulled the trigger on this one, just to make srue what we were really getting.  After the purchase, we've been in contact with even more of the owners, and have a list of approximately 13 current owners of these conversions, and have been all working together to build a list of what each coach has and where it is.  There were 34 built originally, as per several different employees and the previous president of Beaver.  Several current owners have had theirs for more than 15 years, which is kind of neat. 

Quote
Larry, needs to go to United Engine in OKC and buy the complete manuals for that 8v92 DDEC

Already ordered what we didn't receive with the bus itself.  ha ha.  It also has the anti-freeze filter setup on it, and the filters indicate they were changed shortly before we purchased the bus, but thanks for the tip. . .keep them coming, ha ha.

Quote
I hope that you got the single most important thing, that is the original docs

Yes, we did receive the original manuals, from owners to service to maintenance, to paperwork for almost every item in the coach, includung lots of wiring diagrams!  We also recently received copies of the original brochures and build-out sheets that were produced by Beaver when they were building and selling the coaches.  You can go through the build-out sheet and actually calculate the final delivered price of your coach, ha ha.  We do know that # 10 was built for Ernest Borgnine & #6 was built for Mr. McDonald of McDonald-Douglas aircraft, so that's neat.  Ours is #12.

Quote
all the appliances and systems are also nearly twenty years old and subject to the same problems that they would be at home

Oh, I'm SURE that's the case, ha ha.  Luckily, we enjoy figuring out things and troubleshooting, so I doubt we'll run out of things to do.  The coach hasn't been used much in the last few years, and since the PO was going through a divorce for the last couple of years, he evidently held off selling until he just HAD to, and from the looks of the maintenance records, up until at least the last year or two, United Engines was doing ALL the chassis/engine maintenance and repairs and he had another mechanic who did all of the rv work, down to changing lightbulbs for him.  He also had a driver, can you believe it!

I'll try to get some pictures posted pretty quickly in amongst trying to get some business paperwork finished this morn.  Thanks for all the support!  Christy
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 08:49:04 AM »

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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2010, 09:52:06 AM »

Christy nice bus! Anymore porn shots of it? Wink
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2010, 10:05:33 AM »

Christy, I found 2 guys that can give the skinny on a Beaver Dave Hogue and Mark Storch their dads owned Beaver.
They have their own RV and 5th wheel manufacturing in the old Beaver plant which still belongs to the family.
Got this info from the guy that was over all the painting for Beaver from 1988 till 1993 and has a shop in Bend he said good luck on finding the 34 he told me they did convert few entertainers shell also.
He is going to get me the records on everything Beaver built from 1968 till SMC took it over.  
I will pick the records up for you when I go to Redmond for the FMCA rally that will make it a little easier for you


good luck
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 10:21:01 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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Christyhicks
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2010, 10:26:51 AM »

Thanks, Cliff, we're specifically interested in the Prevost shells converted in 1990-1992, if that helps any.  I guess they converted some back in the 80's, and then again this small group, and that was the last of the Prevost ones.

One of the guys has talked to John Oliveira about this group that was made during the beginning of the 90's, and got a little background.  A couple of people that have had their Beavers since the early 90's talked to the guys at Monaco who had worked on their coaches when they were built at Beaver before Monaco bought them to get as much info as possible.  Since there were so few of them built, the more info we can gather and share the better. 

I guess I understood that Monaco had picked up those records and then let them get wet and damaged so just tossed them away.  I'd sure love to know if anyone had any records that were NOT destroyed, that'd be awesome.  I'm starting to get curious who originally owned our coach, but the Vin searches have only yielded basic info so far.  I may have to get more serious about it when we get home.

The original brochures from these did not indicate entertainer coaches as an option, but it wouldn't surprise me that they did some.

I await with bated breath any info you can provide, thanks, Christy
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2010, 01:21:32 PM »

Very nice Christy! Just think of all the fun you and Larry will miss building one! Roll Eyes

She sure is purdy!

Paul
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2010, 01:51:52 PM »

Nicely done! I'm happy for you that y'all were able to find such a nice coach that fit your needs & desires.

You were rewarded for your diligent search for information. Maybe now you will have the time to actually travel more!  Grin I hear the SE busnuts rally in April is going to be the best one yet!


Sometimes, it pays to have an open mind.
Sometimes, it costs!  Grin

Ain't credit wonderfull!  Grin  Shocked  Roll Eyes

Enjoy the ride!
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2010, 05:09:15 PM »

Christy

We are very happy for you guys. Look forward to photos, if possible inside and out. What type of MPG did you get?

Thanks

John and Tami
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Christyhicks
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2010, 05:24:40 PM »

I did post a few pictures in the "post your bus pictures here" post, if anyone wants to see it.

I don't have a clue what type of gas mileage we'll get, but have been told that with the weight of these coaches being in the 42,000 lb range, we should expect about 5 mpg, haha.  Oh well, no one EVER claimed bussin' was cheap,  Cheesy!!

We actually thought TempBus was a nice looking bus & very comfortable, so this one feels like a real "luxury ride" to us!  We both feel that we were just unbelievably lucky to be at the right place at the right time and I think we'll be pinching ourselves for awhile. 
Everyone has been great and although we've endured a little teasing for being "Pray-vo" people, it's all been in good fun and we've had a blast these days!  Bus people are just so cool!!!!!
  Christy Hicks,
4 buses & quitting counting now
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