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Author Topic: typical conversion component costs?  (Read 6375 times)
TomC
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2014, 08:25:29 AM »

4000hrs sounds about right. If you're still working and can only work on the conversion on the weekends, will take several years. I started my truck conversion in May 2008 and figure I have at least another year to go. I used to drive the truck I'm using-so that's paid for. I figure the complete conversion to cost about $120,000. In this day and age, that will buy you a 25ft Mercedes based motorhome. Good Luck, TomC
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robertglines1
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2014, 08:59:21 AM »

Just about like lady in your life.  Cost can be same or more  more   and can be a level of happiness or frustration.  Well  you get the picture..  In the real world you can't build one as cheap as you can buy.  If you must you select the level you want to build to $$$ wise and how you want to use=pole to pole or strictly boondocking. or combo.. then your off and running..  Great hobby..   good therapy.    Bob  
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 09:16:36 AM by robertglines1 » Logged

Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
Jon
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2014, 09:43:08 AM »

The 4000 hours is for a factory produced coach with all the programming for the interior done on CNC machines, all the wire looms made to templates on a bench, and with workers who are highly skilled in their respective areas of expertise. The purchased components have already been sourced and the 4000 hours is just direct labor costs.

As an individual you have to do the planning, the sourcing, the purchasing, and be skilled in all disciplines or be prepared for the on the job training with the typical rework to get first class results.

4000 hours might build a basic tin tent with a few of life's necessities, but if that is your goal that is great. Just keep in mind the repair work on the chassis could equal that amount. Then there is resale value.

At the very least, if you plan on doing your own conversion buy a coach that started out as one so at least you are not spending countless hours trying to make a million mile coach into a reliable base for your conversion.
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Jon

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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2014, 10:36:55 AM »

Do you have a budget that you would like to share with us..   Are you going to boon dock or travel from power pole to power pole.   I have two Xantrex sw4024 with 8 AGM..   Just adding up the invoices for those components equal $7800.00   A 7500KW diesel Kubota genset will set you back $5K to $7500 depending on condition.

On another side note..  The Series 60 that is stuffed into the MCI and Prevost is getting tired.   I wouldn't buy a mid 1990's bus with a series 60 in it without planning on an inframe rebuild.   I have probably one of the BEST DDEC4 engines manufactured in 2001 pre EGR and I with 250K on the clock have had to roll bearings into it, address the rear JAKE and replace most of the valvetrain with all Detroit parts..   Doing most of the work myself my parts bill was $3000.00  That's not including a waterpump or assy drive replacement or tearing apart the bull gear (mine is fine)..   This spring I will be replacing the fuel pump and air compressor..

3 or 4 years down the road I will most likely have to address my B500...   

Look at the required repair cost for these buses.   Murphy's law always crops it's head.   Two years ago, I was packing up for a vacation..   I crawled under the bus, and noticed my rear drive axle seals were leaking.  I ended up driving the bus in to have it repaired, because time was critical.   Synthetic fluid (5 gallons) parts, labor and tax was near a grand...

If you like the Bruce coach, buy one used.   In the end it might be cheaper.   If you are retired, you might take you years to convert vs hugging the steering wheel.
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busproject
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2014, 11:54:04 PM »

It's me, the original poster. Call me Bob.

4000 hours? Dang that's more than it takes to do a nice rifle from scratch. Hmmm, doesn't seem like it would take that many hours, but that's why I ask the folks that know.

I've very impressed with what little I've seen of the Prevost H series, only got a chance to see one up close once back east about 10 years ago, when I went to look at an early one powered but a 2 stroke Detroit, $50k at the time, glad I passed on that. But impressed by the full stainless steel space frame. Unless it was really in the salt belt, I would imagine that would hold up pretty good, but I would guess I would want to eyeball all the welds for any signs of fatigue. Like the look of them. Enough wheelbase for their length.

Yeah I considered getting a used pro conversion and redoing the interior, but heck, I thought then I would be redoing one of the primary costs! Regarding installing proven systems, a) I would ask advice and try to use duplicate systems as the pros, b) I'm a retired auto engineer who also knows how to turn a wrench and use large stationary tools, and c) I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy because I designed military vehicles (think redundancy, field serviceability, no single-point failures, etc.) and quality leaders in the auto industry (think 1 part-per-million defects). I'll be performing a detailed failure mode and effects analysis on all systems. What happens if this breaks? Then what? Severity? Occurrence probability? Detectability?

Prevost H's with series 60s have gotten relatively cheap used now, but all over 800k miles. They all seem to have about the same miles, I would expect there is a reason for that, either mechanical issues, or just that is the typical miles when the depreciation write-off is done and it's time to buy a new coach. I would expect an engine rebuild there, would factor that into costs. Maybe trans too. I would not buy without having it dynoed somewhere and compression or blowby checked.

Thanks for the answers regarding the flooring and windows, that's the specifics I'm looking for.

Much to consider. I'll redouble my efforts to look for a conversion instead of a seated coach. I would not expect to be putting a ton of miles on it, diesel is expensive. The RV will be designed to save money (on hotel bills) by driving to a destination and then parking for months at a time. Maybe the slow way, driving the coast 20 miles at a time. But not day after day of hundreds of miles. Probably put less than 5,000 miles a year on it. I don't need the luxury of a coach. Only reason I would want one is the space to have a workbench and desk along with me.

Hey, peripheral question: I already have a 24' box truck on a class 6 diesel chassis. I've seen conversions on those, fully finished box that just drops right onto the chassis. I should say, I've seen the finished product, in pictures. But I can't find online who makes the boxes. That might be the best way to go for me. Anyone knows who sells just the finished box, without the truck?

Thanks,

Bob

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« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2014, 04:02:54 AM »

You will have a tough time finding a shop that will dyno a bus they are not setup to handle the tag,just pull the info from the ecm have the dealer run the serial number if it was ever in a DD shop it will be on record 

800,000 miles one is getting close to the end I saw a repair bill at WW Williams for a 60 series in a H model a whopping 50 grand with transmission work 
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muldoonman
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« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2014, 06:50:21 AM »

50,000 grand for a overhaul. Wow! After buying my 91 Converted Prevost for 50 thousand some odd bucks have spent another 30 grand on it. It still ain't over. Always something it seems.  Nobody said these things were cheap. Good luck on your endevor.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2014, 07:27:18 AM »

You think that is bad Glen I have a friend that has 8v92 in his Eagle Valley Power in Ca got him for 51 thousand just on the engine a year later the turbo sent pieces through the engine as usual it was out of the warranty period cost him another 20 grand life is good if one has the funds lol 

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Jon
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« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2014, 07:28:54 AM »

Bob,

We joke about this, but I am sure everyone will agree there is nothing logical about private ownership of a bus conversion, either professionally done, or home made. Some of us can BS ourselves into justifying one on the basis we save money on hotel rooms when we travel, but those of us who recognize the truth will tell you that ain't going to happen.

Just recognize that regardless of whether you build one or buy one already done your wallet is about to be vacuumed out on a regular basis. If you think limiting the driving because of the cost of fuel is the answer, you need to look at all the costs involved in ownership. Regardless of miles driven you will be buying insurance, tires, batteries and coolant changes because all of those time out. Other items such as brake chambers, air bags and hoses and valves also age out, but at different rates, however you as an owner get to decide your tolerance for dealing with problems associated with them failing on the road, versus replacing them to a schedule to avoid surprises. Look into the cost of all the things I mentioned because even if you never drive the bus those are items you spend money on because they age out.

If you buy a coach dirt cheap you don't have to deal with depreciation, but the offset is a cheap bus is a money pit. You will NEVER EVER recover the money you spend on repairs. You will NEVER EVER eliminate depreciation, but you can minimize it if you are very lucky and buy a good bus well below market price.

But there is an upside to all the costs associated with bus ownership. You have freedom to travel unlike anything you have ever experienced. You set your own schedule, you drink coffee from your own pot, you use your own toilet and pillow. That alone is priceless. But the biggest benefit is the friends you will make and meet all over the country. You talk to them on the forums, you see them at rallies, and when you travel you get to spend time with your bus friends. That is more valuable than anything and as far as I am concerned whatever the cost of bus ownership is, it is chump change compared to the value I receive.
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Jon

Current coach 2006 Prevost, Liberty conversion
Knoxville, TN
lvmci
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« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2014, 07:56:43 AM »

Hi Bob, some thoughtful and insightfull responces for you. With your interest in prevost, to bad you cant come down to las vegas and visit Gary at B&B conversions, hes got 3 wrecked prevost conversions that he Van & Joe are making one from, exposed all the way down to structure, and another they put 3 slides in, always a great learning experience when I visit them. Couple of mci 102s and an eagle, their specialty, the other is Quartzsite going on right now, at Rice Ranch, just on the other side of the Colorado river from CA. More buses than you could imagine, you could drive there in easily,, lvmci...
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Mike in GA
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« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2014, 08:43:23 AM »

Bob :
     Welcome to the club.
     Jon's insights, above, are right on the mark. You'll never justify the money spent, but the convenience of sleeping in your own bed, in rather high comfort, really is glorious.
     Here's another benefit if you do most of your own conversion: you will have a tremendous sense of satisfaction and pride every time you turn the key. Among the entire motorthome community you will be in the 1/10th of one percentile of folks like us who actually crafted their RV. You'll know every nut and bolt, and where every wire goes.
     Priceless!
Mike in GA
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« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2014, 11:38:21 AM »

4,000 hours is two years of a normal full time, 40 hour a week, job.  I don't think that it really takes two full person-years to convert a bus, does it?  Using $50K a year for semi-skilled labour and a normal 2X markup for fully loaded cost of employment, that's $200K in cost for labour alone.  That just strikes me as a lot, but maybe it's the way it is.  That's about double what it costs to build a 2000 square foot house around here, I have some friends who do that, it's three guys for three months and done.

Brian
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« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2014, 12:15:22 PM »

I
4,000 hours is two years of a normal full time, 40 hour a week, job.  I don't think that it really takes two full person-years to convert a bus, does it?  Using $50K a year for semi-skilled labour and a normal 2X markup for fully loaded cost of employment, that's $200K in cost for labour alone.  That just strikes me as a lot, but maybe it's the way it is.  That's about double what it costs to build a 2000 square foot house around here, I have some friends who do that, it's three guys for three months and done.

Brian

Brian - reaching here but maybe the guy Cliff was talking to was referring to the 6 million dollar jobbers.  8 guys for 3 months....with a little boasting thrown in as the owner of the company to add value to a multimillion dollar coach.....and it could be union labor Smiley

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busproject
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« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2014, 01:13:19 PM »

Engine costs: Hmm, I thought I had done some research months ago and saw that a series 60 rebuilt would be $10k, I think that was a motor-for-motor swap (out of the bus), not counting removal and installation. Even double that is way less than I am hearing from you folks. B-500 trans rebuild costs, I could not find info.

I can't count the number of days I've traveled in a station wagon with just a mattress and sleeping bag in back, plus cooler and stove. Fine while traveling, even better than a bus because more mobile, but tough waiting out rain days, and not very conducive to finding lifetime companionship. Bus would be still very high on the list if I was not planning on getting a house, and perhaps still if I want to go south for the winter, so still investigating this. But otherwise, may be better to have just a small camper van, that I can use for hauling when not a camper.

I still would like to know the source and cost for a finished conversion box that I could swap out with the 24' box on my class 6. Those are typically set up like toy-haulers or race vans, strictly business, i.e., utilitarian inside, no frills. Stainless counters, rubber floors, white formica or paint for everything else. Living quarters forward with side man-door to starboard (with deployable stairs), aft area open and flexible.
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« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2014, 01:19:29 PM »

Renegade is one of the better known toter-home makers.  As far as I know they are built on to the chassis, not a drop on box, but you could call them and ask.

Brian
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