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Author Topic: Bus conversions and money  (Read 4194 times)
Devin & Amy
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1980 MC9 8v71 4spd man. Fulltiming family of 6




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« Reply #30 on: November 02, 2006, 08:21:38 AM »

Hi all,

Wow, this is a great thread. I wish I had been able to read it when I was just "getting started", but I am also glad I didn't.
I was thrust into the world of busses without anymore knowledge than the occasional Greyhound ride.
My family and I lived in a travel trailer for two years fulltime. We are fortunate to work in an industry in which we can move about the country earning enough money to pay for the house we don't live in.(Forestry/reforestation) I was almost in an accident when I blew a tire on the Damn trailer and it tried to kill me. I decided then and there we would have something safer.

As far as research goes, I decided to talk to the "experts". I went to the Memphis Greyhound terminal and spent a couple hours talking to the professional drivers. They were so excited to be able to reccomend a style of bus to someone for a conversion. They HIGHLY reccomended the MC9. I then looked on the internet and had to agree with them. The parts are widely available for the bus itself, and the 8v71 is one of the old standby workhorses in the forestry industry so that I could probably find a good mechanic just about anywhere.

I purchased a 1980 model bus because I have the thought that I don't like computers on my motor. I also liked the idea of a manual transmission because I felt more in control of the "powerband". I would only consider purchasing a southern bus because of the rust issues. Besides southern is better in just about anything I can think of. Grin

I took the seats and bathroom out, put in a kitchen, dinette, couch, quad bunk, bathroom, master bed in about three weeks. I also plumbed the grey water, wired with romex, and put in the tanks.
It was not pretty by the marathon standard, but very livable.

We lived in the bus for a year that way, and decided to do a refit. I stripped all but the bunkroom out and replaced damn near everything in four months, while working and helping the wife to raise four kids. We probably have about $35-40K in the bus now, including purchase price of $11K.

I think our bus looks nice. People walk in and say it looks like a house inside, not an RV. We lovingly refer to it as our "Arky farmhouse".

Brian,
Forgive me for this, but if you would spend more time in the bus with your computer, rather than in your house reading these posts, you would probably be farther along.
I also think you are projecting an image on your bus that you may not be capable of producing. You will NEVER have a marathon-style coach, so just do what you can to ENJOY the bus.

Everybody has a different way to do their conversion process. I'm not saying your way is wrong, but I think your time could be better focusing on the inside, one room for example, at a time.

I have a new cuss word from the conversion, so let me give you a word of caution.

LAYERS Angry

Devin

P.S. Sorry so long.
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Devin, Amy, and the kids!!
Happily Bussin'!!
Ace
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« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2006, 08:30:07 AM »

Brian with all the items you listed some are duplicates such as mattresses for your bunks. You must have a lot of bunks for that many mattresses.

Anyway, you obviously have purchased many many items for your conversion and yes some purchased in haste as you say but why in the world would you say you can't use your bus, and at that, call it a steel tent? You've got way more than some others I have seen and they are using there's all the time!

Your bus does NOT have to be completely done by a certain deadline for you to use it. In fact, it's bad for it to sit for a long period while your waiting for it to be done. Use it often and quit worrying about what isn't done! Use it and what you have in the meantime and enjoy it during your younger years of life! Why wait until your OUR age. Heck by then you won't be able to do half of what you can do now!  Wink

Ace
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belfert
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« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2006, 09:18:38 AM »

Ace, I will have eight bunks when the bus is done.  I have purchased six mattresses to date.

I have driven my bus over 2,000 miles in the past month so it hasn't exactly been sitting.  I hope to drive it at least 60 miles a month over the winter as sitting still for 4 or 5 months isn't good for it.  60 miles should be enough to get everything warmed up I expect.

Everyone has different definitions of a usable conversion.  All of my camping is boondocking, so my definition includes a working bathroom.  I don't have that yet, but I'm very close.  An hour or two running some electricity to the pumps and the plumbing will be done.  Until two weeks ago, I didn't have any fresh water plumbing at all.  A marathon plumbing session in the cold with my friend took care of that.

Brian Elfert
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brojcol
Jimmy
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« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2006, 11:03:13 AM »

Brian,

You need to just enjoy the bus for what it is.  The conversion process should not be a burden, financially or emotionally.  Bus conversions should be enjoyable and dare I say it...FUN!  I had more fun working on my bus than anything else I can remember in a long time.  Was it easy, heck no.  Did it cost?  You better believe it.  But, I knew I couldn't afford a $500,000 coach.  So, I settled in on what I COULD do and never really focused my energy on what I couldn't do.

You should find happiness in what you do.  Whether it's work, marriage, bus conversions...whatever.  God did not put us on this planet to be miserable.  That's why He gave us buses!

So, look at what you've done and smile.  You've done what only a handful of people could or would do.  And, the risk is it's own reward in my book.  Life without risk is just not worth living. 

You will get lots of good advice on this board, but none better than this....  BE HAPPY Smiley

Jimmy
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"Ask yourself this question...Are you funky enough to be a globetrotter?  Well are you???  ARE YOU?!?!

deal with it."            Professor Bubblegum Tate
brojcol
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« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2006, 11:04:23 AM »

Oh yeah, one more thing...

If I lived anywhere near you, I would be honored to help you work on the bus.
But you'd have to let me drive it a little!!!

Jimmy
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"Ask yourself this question...Are you funky enough to be a globetrotter?  Well are you???  ARE YOU?!?!

deal with it."            Professor Bubblegum Tate
pete81eaglefanasty
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« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2006, 12:59:30 PM »

Don't be discouraged, it takes time and patience to convert a bus.  We purchased our bus in 1998 and are still working on it. It was a entertainers bus with 12 bunks that we didn't need.
We used it the first year with only a few minor changes.  Then the real work began, the second year we had a queen size bed and a toilet, no vanity, a hot plate and a small refrigerator, and a pole hanging on the wall for a closet.  It cost a little more to convert it than we planned, because the engine blew and we had to have it rebuilt, we also put on new tires, had the torsil's fixed, new radiator and air compressor.  We are lucky to be able to do most of the work ourselves, my wife did the sewing part for the interior, my son built the cabinets and I did floor plan and had the sleepless nights building the bus in my head.   Everything adds up, the little things add up sooner than you think.
We had 3 motorhomes before we bought the eagle and I did four years of searching before I found the one I wanted.We've all been where you are just keep the faith and you'll enjoy it when it's usable to you.

Feel free to enjoy it while your young, you and your children will enjoy it.



          Pete & Jean
            Fantasy

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WHAT EVER YOU DO, OR TO WHO YOU DO IT TOO, DO IT WITH A SMILE, IT MAKES IT LEGAL THAT WAY.
Hi yo silver
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« Reply #36 on: November 02, 2006, 03:11:05 PM »

I have to agree with Devin; this is a great thread.  Brian, your list of expenses is one of the most helpful posts I've read.  For those of us who are still looking, it gives us at least one mans experience relative to replacement/purchase cost.  I don't post much, but I read the mail every day.  Thanks guys! 
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Blue Ridge Mountains of VA   Hi Yo Silver! MC9
JerryH
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« Reply #37 on: November 02, 2006, 04:04:27 PM »

Quote
Brian: I don't think you deserve all the criticism  you have been getting.

May I put my $0.02 back in here.

If you choose to purchase an expensive car, television, house, widget whatever ... and pay whatever you pay for it ... it's a choice you made up front.  I have little pitty or understanding when someone later complains or is frustrated with the money they spent for said item.

On the other hand.  If you (let's say) require roadside service and are told or believe one dollar amount, but are given a bill for something else ... while they hold your bus hostage, requiring payment ... then you've got cause to complain, be frustrated and certainly bitch.

I have 2 MC-8's, one we use but still undergoing some tweaking, the other far from done.  I've got a lot of parts and stuff to finish the one and certainly have time and money invested in it -- I am not bailing out on it ... but it's been tough finding the necessary time in between work, family, life, projects, etc. (not necessarily in that order).  Point is, I enjoy working on the bus, whatever money I've spent on each -- it's been spent (done deal).  To revisit that money "spent" (not invested) would be futile.  It is what it is.

Just my rambing -- sorry.

Jerry H.
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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #38 on: November 02, 2006, 06:00:30 PM »

This solution won't work for everyone but it works for us.  About 14 years ago I started building a 26' Bartender - that's a double ended planing hull designed for coastal use.  I have puttered away at it for the past 14 years with long pauses during that time.  Whenever it gets to be a chore I just stop working on it.  I expect to finish it sometime.  When I do I will start another boat.  In the meantime I have owned 3 other boats which we have used a lot.  I suppose if I hadn't had the other boats I might have done more work on the Bartender but then again I might not have.  As it is I look forward to the time I can work on the Bartender & it doesn't interfere with our ability to spend time in a boat.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
1981 Prevost 8-92, 10 spd
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Simply growing older is not the same as living.
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