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Author Topic: Bus Building on a Budget  (Read 4134 times)
robertglines1
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« on: March 22, 2011, 07:31:03 PM »

It seems to me that allot of people think you have to have the absolute best of everything. The best generator -must have a inverter--aqua hot heat-best best best. I guess what I have to say is go for it if you can afford it! I can't: I do the best I can. a 1500$ used generator. No inverters. no hi tech electronics. Just simple basics and allot of home built features. I paid 1200$for a damaged 98 prevost-1500 for a used 7.5kw gen set-6000$for a used trans and Engine-1500$for rearend-total build to be in 20,000$ range.Allot of ideas came from this board.  The point is do what you can and be proud of what you create.$ don't bring pride.     A busnut is a busnut no matter what your coach cost.    Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2011, 07:53:06 PM »

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It seems to me that allot of people think you have to have the absolute best of everything.

I am not ashamed to say I have been very successful, and have had many a good times on a shoe string budget in my conversion. Some folks like the "warm fuzzies" of having nothing but the best. Nothing wrong with it, I just don't have that option to consider. Along with the greater challenge comes the greater reward! I think $20k for what you are going to have is a huge deal! Good job!
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2011, 08:06:40 PM »

I agree, I did not put all the money in fancy frills. I wanted comfort and safety!!Safety!!!Safety!!!
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2011, 09:15:03 PM »

I look at it this way Bob.. With the way you are doing it, you'll be one of the few that would be able to re-coop your investment if you ever wanted to sell it...probably not counting your labor but if you enjoy the building process then your labor is nothing more than a hobby anyways. Some of us "Think" that we could re-coop our money but how many of us actually could if we tried?? I know that you are not converting to sell nor am I but its something to think about since so many of these conversions end up being for sale. I don't really consider that just "Bus Building On A Budget"..I consider that "Smart Bus Building On A Budget"..

Jimmy
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2011, 11:12:30 PM »

Since I have a 1965 MC5a, it is hard to hide that I go for the best, but I appreciate the sentiment.  I do like having the inverter also even though it is not essential.  My Trace SW2512 MSW is also one of the best for its year of manufacture, which I believe is in the mid 90's.  You know what they say, "Inverters improve with age."  I just had to buy a couple of new tires.  Again, I went for the best.  I got them all the way from China.  We are now thinking of doing some major interior upgrades too, like maybe dye the carpet and put a slipcover on the couch.  Heating system is also top notch.  We went and spent the extra bucks to put a beautiful new motor in our Atwood furnace (maybe it's Suburban, I can't remember), but we kept the classic plastic squirrel cage.  While some people think they're getting something good by molding and finishing real wood so that is comes out looking like plastic, we again have the best--real plastic laminate.
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Eagle Andy
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2011, 06:06:00 AM »

FWIW I bought a coach that the PO had for close to 25 years and reminding me several times while I talked with him before handing him our hard earned cash how much money he had put in to the Bus, and having the latest and greatest back in the 80's and early 90's , Guess what lol I have replaced several things in the four years that we have owned the Bus. It is what it is lol ya run what you brung lol.
I hated the bus this last weekend , I was all set to make a quick run , It was a nice warm spring sunday morning had the heater on , tire covers off did my per trip, jumped in to fire the old girl up........ and nothin I mean zero zip nota lol, long story short, short in the netural safety switch lol all good in my world. I guess to me it's all about the fix , Yes I do get tired sometimes having to work on the Bird alot but Hell what else do I have to do lol Iam not made of money and I did some dumb this with what I had, but It's  not about the money (well sometimes it is lol) but for the most part It;s when I set back and look at the Eagle and just say WOW look what We have .
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1968 Model 05 Eagle # 7481 Miles City MT
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2011, 06:27:47 AM »

I think its wise to buy something that has physical damage, and repair it. After all, I did that going through college in the sixties, up thru the 80's in grad school. It's how i made my living. While i've only had 2 skoolies and 2 with Detroit's, I don't think I have lost money on any of them, but haven't made any money on them either, but got to use them several years each, so that was worth something. Now days, you can join copart and occasionally they have a bus on there, like the new water damaged high end coaches a few months ago that went for something like 60K each. And there is the run of the mill ones that run and drive that are very cheap. After all, what you save can be used for your conversion parts...
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2011, 08:54:04 AM »

I like this post. There are some BusNuts want to build a bus on a limited budget and those who have a limited budget to build a bus. Christi & I had a limited budget AND limited time (90 days) to build a bus and move in after selling our house. Here is how we did it: http://singinglandcruiser.blogspot.com/ . Yes there are somethings we would have done different but we would not change a thing! Think about that! We are re-doing somethings now like slides and inverters... Have fun reading about our build and have fun on your own. M&C and Mrs. Jones  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 09:11:59 AM »

I like to recycle, repurpose and reuse whatever I can in every facet of my life. This guy's bus conversion http://www.vonslatt.com/bus-main.shtml is what got me thinking I could do this and it would be a great way to build a bus conversion for nearly free! Of course, that was before I understood more about insulation, electrical systems, etc. which are very costly. It's ironic that the most costly stuff is the stuff that should be done first  Roll Eyes So the begining, for me, is the big $$$$
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The Little GTO is a 102" wide and 40' long 1983 GMC RTS II and my name is Teresa in case I forgot to sign my post
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 10:47:42 AM »

As the progress proceeds I have changed my mind on just about every aspect & items that my hands have touched. I had an original build out figure in mind knowing it would take a couple of years. I busted the figure a bit & time slot a bit as well. We wanted things like custom type shower stall maybe with tile but installed a full unit that I got from Lowes because it fit the slot to a tee. I planned to custom build the cabinets till I discovered some store bought units we liked very much. Did a bit of modifications to make them fit & we're happy. Wanted stone type counter tops with under mount sinks but went with Formica preformed tops & slip in sinks. One thing I didn't plan to readdress later was the walls. So I installed Formica & it wasn't cheap. You may have noticed I didn't say we "settled for" on any of these ideas. 5-6 yrs from now if we want to have the stone tops we can go back for the change. A lot of our changes came as we discovered how much or how little we might be using the coach. And I don't mind discovering cost savings too. Momma likes that as well!! I definitely wanted to have use of the thing before it needs complete reworking again... So I'm off to install the window valances, cieling panels, etc. etc. & we'll almost be ready for the rally in Myrtle Beach next week. We'll see some of you there. Others we'll see ya at Palmetto Cove at the end of next month. Might even have the generator done by then. Shocked
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John Mellis
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2011, 02:36:33 PM »

It seems to me that allot of people think you have to have the absolute best of everything. The best generator -must have a inverter--aqua hot heat-best best best. I guess what I have to say is go for it if you can afford it! I can't: I do the best I can. a 1500$ used generator. No inverters. no hi tech electronics. Just simple basics and allot of home built features. I paid 1200$for a damaged 98 prevost-1500 for a used 7.5kw gen set-6000$for a used trans and Engine-1500$for rearend-total build to be in 20,000$ range.Allot of ideas came from this board.  The point is do what you can and be proud of what you create.$ don't bring pride.     A busnut is a busnut no matter what your coach cost.    Bob

Bob,

You definetly have the right idea as far as I am concerned.

I'm not cheap (Kyle, stop yourself) , just want to keep all I can for other fun stuff.

Anybody (who has it) can throw money at a project, but to see that diamond in the rough and make it happen, at a minimum cost, thats talent.

Cliff

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1975 GMC  P8M4905A-1160    North Central Florida

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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2011, 04:58:16 PM »

Funny thing is I really don't like "bling"  and when I look at the high end coaches to me it's just bling and stuff.  If that is for you that's great, I am not trying to upset anybody, I am just saying its not me.  Maybe that is because I have to build it and I like to keep things simple because they are much easier to repair and I know who is going to have to fix all this stuff.  If you are doing all your own building that's a great way to keep the cost down, its also a good way to learn new things, although learning can sometimes cost you extra, but you will reap the rewards later down the road. I have learned many skills needed to convert a bus into a motor home, but I have very little experience with buss's in general.  It would be great to have a million, or a million and a half to plunk down on a new coach, but if I had it, I don't think I would spend it that way anyway.
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2011, 05:06:48 PM »

I've got over $90,000 in my conversion and when I use it I am totally pleased with the components I put in it.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011, 05:10:51 PM by Geoff » Logged

Geoff
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2011, 05:48:21 PM »

And??
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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2011, 07:33:10 PM »

 I'd much rather rummage through a salvage yard than order from a fancy catalog. Most things in my bus were from salvage yards and discount outlets. Elkhart is like Disneyland for the converter. The search is an adventure, like a treasure hunt. It brings out the little boy in me.

 There are times when it made more sense to buy new, it broke my cheap little heart. But no sense in shooting myself in the foot over a few bucks!

 If you need to buy the best of everything to enjoy the journey, go for it. This is suppose to be fun Grin

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