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Author Topic: Homebuilt Vs Factory built??  (Read 1981 times)
robertglines1
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« on: November 19, 2013, 04:26:15 AM »

Over the past year I've take a few jabs at the 89 prevost I passed on. Won't say they were not deserved!!  Will offer up the new owner did not have time to come himself for pick up and explanation but sent his custom makeover car team to pick it up.  The only things they would let me explain was how the buttons worked for the slides and how the gen started.The books and drawings I sent with the coach for some reason did not stay there after they left my house at this point I really don't know what all was destroyed..  There is much more to structure on slides than how they go in and out.  My fault I had been lazy and left some bad wiring in from a failure the previous year(ground fault failure) was easy for me because I new what it was(junk to me) also I use twist locks.. rite or wrong that's what I did.  Another debate please(topic) The new owners guys were more interested in where to eat and how to hook up their music device to the surround system.  My present coach was a FACTORY CONVERSION I will leave converter blank  (not a major)  and in all truth I would be disappointed in it's construction. I bought it as a salvage shell and tore it all the way down..The PREVOST side is great the the converter was way sloppy to be a so called PROFESSIONAL.  My point I'm not a professional take what I say as school of hard knocks and opinions only..  My best thought to the old 89 and his owner I do understand your frustration with any type of project gone wrong in ones dreams.         Now to hit post or delete?
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 05:31:59 AM by robertglines1 » Logged

Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2013, 04:42:23 AM »

Regardless of whether a coach is store bought or home built, one of the most disappointing things I have learned is how few new owners fret over petty details and fail to take the time to learn the important stuff.

Usually with a store bought coach a new owner has some backup from the converter. If they get in trouble they can call the company that built the coach. That may be the case with a home built but if I sold a coach and all the buyer wanted to learn was where the key was I would be very reluctant to answer the phone calls after a while because the buyer did not give a damn when I was willing to offer all the training required.

Read the posts on all the forums and see how many new owners ever spent the days (yes days) necessary to learn their new coach.
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Jon

Current coach 2006 Prevost, Liberty conversion
Knoxville, TN
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2013, 04:47:04 AM »

It's an interesting topic. I learnt (about boats) a long time ago that a home built (and I deliberately won't say 'amateur built') boat can be a far better craft than one built by a professional, simply because the home-builder doesn't have to count how many hours he puts into the project. But there's plenty of home-built shockers out there too.

The difficulty comes when a home-builder passes his pride-and-joy onto someone else, especially if the new owner is a 'consumer' rather than a 'creator'. I've built my own slide-outs in my bus, and am 100% confident in them because I know them intimately. But they might flummox someone else entirely, who would then blame the engineering itself, rather than their understanding of their engineering.

So I'm extremely sympathetic Bob. (But then I don't know the bus, and it might be one of those shockers!  Cheesy)

Jeremy
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2013, 05:06:04 AM »

No excuses here guys! It is what one can live with.  Some like magneto power some computer.  I have sellers remorse!  The point to prospective new bus buyers is what can you live with?Huh??    Liberty Coach MFG have 100's of thousands of hrs of R&d the average home converter maybe 2000  ..OK more  because it is never finished.  I have decided this one will prob stay in the family because the boys know why things are like they are built and what can be changed without effecting everything else. If not It will have been a great ride!
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2013, 05:20:26 AM »

The simple fact is motor homes are complicated. A bus converted into a motor home is even more complicated. A 30 or 40 year old bus adds another layer. I think a lot of folks get caught up in the glamor (and I use the word loosely) of a conversion and gloss over the number of systems it takes to make things work, AND the amount of learning it will take to work them PROPERLY.

When I picked up the Wanderlodge, I stayed at the POs house for 2 weeks learning and repairing systems for the trip back. After 3 years I am still learning. Of course, Bluebird over-engineered the conversion in my opinion. It came with four 4" binders of instructions and over fifty 3'x4' blueprints.

You could spend a lifetime working on this thing....... Oh wait! lots of us have!!     Grin Grin

TOM
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2013, 05:23:41 AM »

Just my 2 cents worth after buying a owner converted MCI 5 with no idea or drawing on how the conversion was done after a few years I scraped the bus lost a lot of money on the bus so I can see both sides

When we sold our Eagle I made sure Matt had all the drawing and schematics along with photos from the beginning owner conversions can be a nightmare or a pleasure same as the pro conversions  

Now the slides they can be a lot of problems no matter who does those Prevost had a lot of problems with their factory slides it took several years for Prevost to get it 1/2 right B&B,HB Industries and others had trouble with the add on slides  

Me personally I would not buy a owner conversion without documentation on every aspect of the conversion that was a costly education for me with the MCI 5

 People with the factory bus conversion like the Beaver,Vogue and others having the same problem with the converters long gone with very little info on the conversion JMO  
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2013, 05:42:20 AM »

I haven't paid real close attention to this saga so no doubt I'm missing some important details (as usual).  However, if I buy a used piece of equipment everything that happens after I sign the cheque is on me.  If the previous owner is helpful that's great but if I choose to ignore the PO that's on me. 
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2013, 05:50:57 AM »

it's very easy to criticize someone else's work. it's also very easy to criticize your own work after the project is done.why did I do it that way I could have done this. life is a learning project if we all did it right the first time it could be pretty boring


Rick 74MC-8
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robertglines1
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2013, 05:54:42 AM »

I have this feeling that the first time this new to me 2015  XXXX prevost Ultral linner conversion spaceship  started talking and blinking at me and saying no BOB YOUR WRONG you can't do that!!  there would be a. --- accidental---  FIRE!!!!!      Just though I would add a Joke there...  Maybe my mind just needed a burp...  Thanks..will continue to share screw ups.
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2013, 06:12:23 AM »

I don't know the details of sell that is between Bob and buyer I never saw the bus come up for sale but I tend to agree with Evans he bought the bus he should have inspected the bus or it could be he bought the bus because of Bobs reputation here and wasn't worried about it who knows

 One thing you never post is my slides do not leak they all leak lol except ForeTravel and Newell  
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 06:15:49 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2013, 06:45:59 AM »

   From some of the things I've read about being done by different owners to their conversions over the years..examples: zip cord for wiring, exhaust up through the roof, wood stoves, oil drums for holding tanks, keeping baggage racks, spending 20 grand to change engine to save 2 mpg, using used telephone company batteries, etc.. It's interesting to say the least. Factory conversions can be nice if the company is still around when YOU own it. Many times, some of the components especially electrical or electronic used are no longer available/obsolete. Some of the interior work can be poorly done as far as durability goes. Remember that they built them with profit in mind, and some of these same companies also build the s&s with much of the same materials. Home done conversions can be a fantastic deal also, IF closely researched before buying, but 99% of them have some kind or more shortcomings. Fantastic interior workmanship with crude wiring and or plumbing, or fantastic job with major rust or mechanical/structural issues or some other problem. You just need to inspect carefully and know what you can competently or financially deal with after the sale.
   Younger generation individuals can have significant different desires on a purchase, such as sound systems, solar, whatever.
   Unfortunately, too many new buyers here don't listen to good advice here and purchase hastily.
   Eventually, all of us here will need to sell or trade up at some time in the future. It can be an  exasperating experience to find that buyer, especially with unrealistic expectations on return on your financial investment.  Be patient,get what you can, and move on. Fortunately, the interest in conversions appears to have increased in the past several months, from the indication of new posters, especially with fuel prices. I remember this happening back when Carter was in office, and fuel prices shot up to 65 cents per gallon. My Brill only got 5 miles to the gallon, and money was tight.
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2013, 08:08:52 AM »

Hi All, when I was lurking for such a long time, and before that when working besides a fellow cameraman who also wanted a conversion,( we spent the whole rehearsals talking about converting,) I felt as if you guys were addressing your knowledge and experiences directly at  me, like a student in a class. I looked at 12 conversions and drove 9. Of course I wanted tobuythe first one and become a busnut. But it was your steady mantra of keep looking, that I took to heart, as it turns out I did buy the first one, after a considerable time with barganing, also part of your mantra, and the knowledge I gained during that time was invaluable, not only in knowing what to look for but also the expectation as to what I was getting and hense a lower frustration level after the purchase. No buyers remorse, which I attributed to you guys, lvmci...
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2013, 08:34:03 AM »

In 2004, not looking for a bus, I saw that Courier 96 for sale, realized it was one I used to drive way back then, went to look at it, had to have it, and bought it. Brought it home, fixed what needed fixing and renovated/modified to our taste, and never regretted it. Lots of miles with great memories in it.

Then saw the current MC5 and same thing: loved it at first sight, bought it and drove it home. Fixed what needed fixing, no regrets, still love it, enjoy maintaining and fixing and building new things for it every winter. Great trips and adventures every summer, and soon winters down South.

Various systems either work or they don't and need fixing. Or need tearing off and rebuilding. Then maintained regularly. You can't blame the previous owner once it is yours.

Have fun.

JC
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JC
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2013, 09:40:28 AM »

After 7 years of watching and reading posts on home conversions this probably won't be popular or well received.........there are mayber 6 or 7 people I would actually buy a self done conversion from.   From extension cord electrical installations (which was a absolute no no for me, why?, because I spent 35 years in the trade I know the difference) to some of the most hair brain ideas I've ever seen.........LOL.........I know, I know...........(do it your way) < which means I have no idea what I'm doing or and have no knowledge of what worksmanship is).  That said, I have met many really nice people on here who have great intensions and there are some who would send you on a wild goose chase out of oneryness!  If you have to ask how a turn signal works...........don't buy a bus!  There are no easy answers in converting a bus.........some of these store bought buses........are not much better...........thousands of feet of wire and electronics in one of the worse environments isn't a great idea.......unless you like a support vehicle following you around.......some of these fancy buses in 10 years are going to be a total nitemare for the average person.  I've seen some really awesome ideas and craftsmanship on these boards.........and others........well........I'm not exactly how to describe it!  Love of a hobby doesn't mean you are capable of doing it.......20,000 lbs flying down the highway for some is a out of control missle looking for a place to destruct! It's a tough hobby and expensive and not for the faint of heart.   Bob this was a great topic thanks!
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2013, 10:51:04 AM »

When I bought my country coach I drove to Kentucky to pick it up and made sure I got the book's with it and I don't leave home without them. I looked it over and knew it had a bad engine and some things did not work so that's on me. I drove it to new Orleans then to Texas then up to BK's for his first rally before I got it home. See muldoonman for the engine work I did. This bus has systems to run systems and at time it to much to look at. I don't like the way it is wired and am changing it as I go. I would like to sell it but every time I fix something else I take a trip in it then want to keep it a while longer. Country Coach is out of business and I have to find out who the original supplier was and go the them if I can and get what I need. Now I am having problems with the thetford toilet and can't get the parts I need because they sold to a new co. so I don't know if I will buy a new one or what.  Stuff happens and It 's what we do about it that counts. bottom line is I would do it all over again

Don
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muldoonman
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2013, 11:19:55 AM »

The owner of my 1991 Prevost had passed many years ago and converter had long since quit converting also.  On top of that, the coach had sit in a climate controlled bus barn for about 7 or 8 years without seeing the light of day. When i got it fired up and rolled out the thing looked like it rolled of the assembly line. Just over 50,000 miles on it. Looked like a brand new one, Inside and out. That's when the fun started. No manuals or instructions on nutting. Did have all original Prevost data and schematics .Started figuring out systems and after going on 3 years still finding buttons and switches that go somewhere. Couldn't have got to where I am without a valuble little fella that posts of here from time to time. Justin Griffith has a working knowledge on these puppies for a young guy, and has helped me immensely from Ac's to electrical. I hope he doesn't read this about tooting his horn cause he's so dang cheap on repairs. If and when I sell it will try to help with instructing new owners on bus but wont feel bad when they crash and burn like I did on this one.LOL!
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2013, 12:33:41 PM »

Yes, I am grinning again, Having been thru the MC7 from zero to having a great driving easy and comfy living, every nut, bolt, gear, seal, brake, axle, transmission, and 3 DDC babe's, and knowing every part of the entire assemble, when I decided to sell it and purchased a store bought Foretravel with all the fancy things, like the Aqua Hot, Allison 4000MHR, 3.91 rear, ISM500.  The big difference, I have had it now for over 6 years and am still finding new things about it.  Nice to call the factory and ask a question, they have all the answers, parts, wiring diagrams etc.  Nice to get old/experienced and let others worry about the detail. hahaha, Life is great.
Dave M
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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2013, 04:23:41 PM »

Geoff will testfy:

The worst bus conversion you can buy used is one that was converted by an engineer.

--Geoff
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Geoff
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2013, 06:52:52 PM »

Well, thanks, Geoff.  I really appreciate that as an engineer.  Glad you didn't buy my conversion.  By your standards it was the worst. 
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Gary D

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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2013, 01:37:57 AM »

Yeah, I thought that was an odd comment too. But if you mean that some engineers only consider functionality to be important - with no consideration for appearance or aesthetics - then I get it.

Jeremy
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« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2013, 04:09:25 AM »

Geoff will testfy:

The worst bus conversion you can buy used is one that was converted by an engineer.

--Geoff 

       And a good engineer will understand the meaning of the term "overengineered".  (Probably won't do anything about it, but will understand it!)
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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2013, 06:07:39 AM »

Jeez! I understand Geoff's point of view, I work with some dim bulb self appointed genius engineers who are lost away from their profession, and some times within their profession.  Way too many examples to list in one day.
Always nice when you can get one of em to see the light, you would think they discovered something new.
So, Geoff, I know where your coming from, all engineers are not in that camp, but way too many are.  Mostly the ones who think "if your not an engineer, you could not have a worth while thought"  ya gotta love those meat heads.
Dave M
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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2013, 06:23:57 AM »

My comment was intended to say that engineers over complicate systems that could be a lot simpler, making the conversion a PIA to fix when something goes wrong.  Of course that is a general observation that I have made, it is not about all engineers.  My son is an engineer.  When I offer to show him how I converted my bus he has the attitude that since he is an engineer he can figure anything out.  I don't know about that.

--Geoff
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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2013, 06:41:03 AM »

There has been several engineers on the boards over the years that used common sense in converting a bus Dave Galey is a household name on converting

 My son is a civil engineer in Ok I can relate to a little of Geoff comments Roll Eyes but hey guys you drive the buses and drive on the highways and bridges they design


 I know of not one aspect of life a engineer doesn't play some part in our daily life's so I am not to hard on the guys myself,except the new breed of electrical engineers that bunch is making life complicated for me when a DDEC trouble shooting manual has over 600 pages you don't understand to start with


good luck     
« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 06:55:13 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2013, 06:59:57 AM »

Gee whiz, Bob, no need to get your shorts in a knot just because I'm having a lot of issues getting my rebuild of your old project finished.  I freely admit that a lot of the problems are on me, and even more of them are on the shoulders of an incompetent contractor that quit on me half way through the job.  At this point, ever getting it finished is in serious question -- but how is that on you?  It is not.  For the rest of the readers, there's really no drama here at all.  Bob and I haven't spoken in years.  If he felt that he was taking "jabs" over his project, he could have contacted me, but did not.  I stand by whatever I have posted, and whatever issues I am having.

Bob has a good reputation around here.  Still, I made a key mistake -- I bought based only upon a handful of low-res pictures without an inspection or test drive.  Yep, my fault, and an expensive lesson.  I own that.  This is the first I have ever heard about the behavior of the father-son team that I sent to pick up the coach upon purchase, but given what I have since learned about the son, it comes as no surprise.  Bob -- if you want to bash them, get in line because I go first! 

I suppose I should have realized that the floor plan had major issues, but I originally knew I would be replacing a lot of that anyway.  (Please, Bob, tell me you can laugh about a fridge that won't open when it hits the island while the slide is in!  You don't have to be an architect to chuckle at that.  I knew upfront that an island layout wasn't what I would do.)  I wasn't expecting a rotten subfloor, but hey, that's easily replaced.  Leaks happen, and a spongy floor is pretty obvious.  Redesigning and rebuilding the bathroom is less easy, but the parts are all there and waiting on a motivated installer -- new shower pan, surround, sink, toilet, vanity cabinet, and more.  The bedroom and kitchen have solid cherry cabinetry worthy of a custom home now, but it probably shouldn't have been done until some more serious mechanicals were shaken out like wiring and plumbing -- again, on the original contractor, not on Bob.  All house wiring has been replaced to code.  New DC house lighting wires still need to be run, but a thousand bucks worth of LED pucks and strips are there and waiting along with voltage converters to run them.

Really all I can do is assure Bob that his seller's remorse is a far lighter burden (certainly financially -- but mentally, too) than my buyer's remorse.  Those of you following my other recent thread can see that I am looking at moving (or towing) the coach to another (more experienced) guy to see if it can finally be finished.  Then I can make the decision whether to use it or sell it.  Bob likes to throw stones at people who contract out a job rather than do it themselves -- we're just checkbook builders, right?  We've all heard that before.  There's obviously a lot more to the analysis.  I'm not retired, and I earn ten or twenty times an hour more than what I pay someone else to do this kind of work for me.  Just as most of you would not be your own doctor or lawyer, I am smart enough not to be my own electrician or plumber.  I would be brain-damaged to try to learn specialized skills when I can pay an expert to do the job right and know that it will be safe when completed.  I've got nothing to prove in that regard!  (Plus, no extension-cord wiring here!  I recall that conversation.)

On the other hand...a good economist knows you can't look at sunk costs in a vacuum, and sometimes you just have to know when to pull the plug -- the financially sound thing to do is just scrap it now.  I'm pretty preoccupied with the design and construction of a new ranch home that will take most of a year to complete.  If anyone here is in the mood for a project that is the victim of the 80/20 rule during a rebuild, feel free to shoot me a PM or something.  I'd probably give you $75k worth of coach for $25k -- well less than I paid Bob, and including a collection of new parts comprising multiple new tanks, pumps, wiring, four leather recliners with integrated three-point seat belts, and more.  Are we allowed to post projects for sale around this board or do I have to ebay it?  Don't want to step on anyone's toes about the rules. 

And I'll close by saying there really are not any hard feelings toward Bob; too bad he feels differently and needed to air it out here.  There are plenty of frustrations with the project, and I daresay most of you know what that feels like.  (Having read the responses so far, it seems I have exactly repeated luvrbus's MCI 5 experience!)  Lessons learned, folks...we've all got some lessons learned. 

Cheers, John
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« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2013, 07:25:31 AM »

Well said and respected John!  Communication  was lost here--  I should have given you more feed back.. good speed!   Bob
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« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2013, 02:48:26 PM »

One of the main reasons I converted my bus instead of having it done "professionally" is I've seen too many cluster f___s that were called professional wiring. My bus has been functional now for almost 20yrs with very little that has gone wrong on my side of the conversion. As to the mechanics of the bus-I finally just had everything overhauled. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2013, 03:59:41 AM »

I'll have to keep checking MCI's website to see if they put it in their brochure. We'll see if PREVOST and VAN-HOOL offer it too.
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« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2013, 04:02:32 AM »

Sorry guys. I accidently posted in the wrong thread.
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« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2013, 02:34:26 PM »

John,
Great post!

Bob, Just as good a post!

I see both sides of the coin here.
Knowing Bob and the coach in question, (I and everyone I know of that saw it loved the center isle) I can say I see where Bob could have misread some of the comments to be toward him or his work.

I know without John's better explanation of things his last post I sorta saw things somewhat that way.

But I also know Bob & Judy were both extremely happy with the bus and was even told by them once "we might just keep it around for the kids to use when they want too."

After all the only reason Bob built the 45'er is because Judy surprised him and told him to go ahead an buy it! (at a steal of a deal)
He's stated more than once the reason he's taking so long to finish this one (OK they are never finished, but getting it useable and road ready) is because he wants to be sure everything is done correct as it's his last one!

And to tell ya the truth I was surprised to find out it was sold.

It's been said before and will be again when posting/reading on these boards one needs to remember that sometimes it doesn't always sound the same reading it as it is meant to be by the person typing.

All in all I think Bob an John have done a good job mending the fence, so I'm going to climb back up on it and sit!  Roll Eyes
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