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Author Topic: Skill needed to do a conversion  (Read 2000 times)
TomC
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« on: August 04, 2007, 10:06:10 AM »

I am an ex truck driver.  Granted I took about every shop class I could in school, but never had built anything as extensive as a bus conversion.  I did convert a 8ft drom box on my truck into a sleeper.  On my conversion, I did just about everything myself.  The jobs I did not do were the engine and transmission overhaul, rear end gear change, blow in spray insulation (nasty job), lay the carpet, paint the bus.  The one job that was giving me the biggest anticipation fears was the kitchen.  I said to myself that I was going to start and see how far I got until it was impossible to go on then call a carpenter.  You know what-I just kept plugging along and soon it was complete!  This is my point-many don't have or feel they have the ability to do a conversion or part of it.  You need to read lots on the jobs you want to do, then you have to get your hands dirty to learn the task.  There is no right way or wrong way to do cabinetry work.  You know you've done the right job when the cabinets stay up when you drive.  When it comes to plumbing and especially electrical, there definitely is a right way and a wrong way.  Just dive in and do it.  We all had to learn some how-we weren't born with the ability.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
Don4107
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2007, 12:17:07 PM »

Tom,

I must respectively disagree with you.  I was born with the innate ability to screw up anything.  Just ask my mother.  When I was 3 or 4 and driving her crazy one day, out of frustration she told me to go take the wheels off my wagon thinking that would keep me busy for the rest of the day.  She said I came back in about ten minutes with all four wheels!  It's been all down hill from there. Smiley

Don 4107
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Don 4107 Eastern Washington
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2007, 01:03:39 PM »

I agree partly, but each individual has their own skill sets.  and some individuals will never have the ability to even learn certain skill sets.

I have seen Lots and Lots of shoddy  workmanship over the years some from "professionals" in thier respective fields.  Be it lack of tallent of just not caring

That is not to say one should not try. there are some that are going for a high end finish and others are happy with a camper.
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TomCat
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2007, 02:03:26 PM »

I have picked up a few skills in my 54 years, put lots of them to the test while converting, and feel good about the large amount of work I've been able to put into my coach so far.
However, I feel I posses two particular skills that made the conversion process go very smooth...
1. Being able to conceptualize what I wanted, design it, and then effectively communicate that to a craftsman.
2. Being able to sign a valid check.

Jay
87 SaftLiner
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On The High Plains of Colorado
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2007, 02:14:39 PM »

I have picked up various skills in my 57 years. Worked in a lumber yard when I was young, got to know the ins and outs of the building trade. Concrete Block Industry has taught me electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic and hard work. One thing I haven't mastered yet is how to make money to pay for this so called Bus Conversion! Grin
I keep plugging away at it by bits and pieces, one day it will be finished! My wife just said, "Yeah Right". Cheesy

Happy Tails,

Paul

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H3Jim
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2007, 03:11:42 PM »

and we can always re do what we mess up, or what does not work out quite as we imagined it to.
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Jim Stewart
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2007, 03:46:19 PM »

Man just needs Vision.....

I was raised on bus conversions, [a little easier for me] most of you have not. I respect your getting your feet wet without expierence. Major Closed Door for most!

I like following the saying....What one man can do...Another man can do!  thats from the movie "The Edge" Works for me...

Nick-
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buddydawg
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2007, 03:57:29 PM »

When I was a child I would take everything apart, Toys, clocks, vcr's etc...(most of these things were never the same   Grin)  Drove the parents nuts.  I always felt that if a man built it another could take it apart and put it back together.  I never knew I was supposed to be intimidated by such.  I have carried this philosophy into my adulthood, if I want to do something I do some research and have at it.  I think if you have some skill with your hands you can achieve anything.  There is always a learning curve and some things will have to be redone but in the end there is no satisfaction like doing it yourself.  The one thing about doing it myself I enjoy the most is not having to wonder what someone did to it. (like did they really tighten the axle nut on my motorcycle?) 
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2007, 05:18:03 PM »

Patience, money, air tools, covered legal parking, more money, big jacks, overalls, bigger hammers, even more money, and the ability to see things when they are done!

Oh, did I mention the Internet and this site bookmarked! Grin Grin Grin


Grant
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Grant Goold
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2007, 06:19:06 PM »

I really like what Tom wrote and I have the same philosophy. To one degree or another we are all DIY’rs. It might come easier for some than others, and some are willing to devote more time to really do a first rate job. Half of the fun is being able to stand back and look at what you have accomplished. I can think of projects that I have approached with a lot of anxiety and trepidation. Now when I look at them they bring the biggest smile to my face because I conquered them. Nice post Tom.

Laryn
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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2007, 07:00:34 PM »

It is absolutely true that everyone must do everything for a first time.  It is also true that a very real pleasure accompanies acomplishment (I think this was Laryn's point).  Converting a bus will involve doing some things for the first time for everyone (the thrill of conquering the unknown is why some climb mountains).  Those with less 'experience' will enjoy more pleasure in acomplishing tasks they never thought they could.  I really don't think any particular skill is needed, what is needed is a lot of courage, learning from a lot of research and willingness to try new tasks and a lot of persistance to keep going till the pleasure of accomplishment makes it all worth while.  And the pleasure of accomplishment is refreshed every time I use the bus.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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Kristinsgrandpa
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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2007, 07:21:00 PM »

I guess I'm lucky, I've worked as an electrician for 39 years, with a 4 year apprenticeship. I consider the electrical end of a conversion the most important. 

If you mess up on the plumbing, you flush the toilet with hot water and flush it into the baggage bay floor,
If you mess up your cabinets they fall into the floor when you hit a bump. Mess up your electric and your widow will sell the coach to someone else.  (I don't have gas.)

A few years ago I tried giving advise on how the National Electric Code requires it to be done and was "ignored", "ridiculed", "told to not worry about it", and told "it'll work this way" so i quit.
I read some strange situations on here that are downright dangerous.

Wire it your way.

My advise to everyone is, like Carey said, get one of those plug in testers that indicate what is wrong and check everything.

Ed
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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2007, 07:41:07 PM »

Ed, based on several of your posts, I decided to take your expert advise and sought after a willing and seasoned electrician. I have been very please with the results. He has been willing to read all that I can get him on bus conversion electrical and then he compares that against what he knows to be safe. With an all electric bus, I did not want to take the chances of having a little "no big deal" electrocution!

So, remember a few of us are wise enough to know when we do not know! Please provide us your knowledge and suggestions and forget those who have an opposing postion on anything they didn't originally think of! Grin

Thanks

Grant
Sacramento

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Grant Goold
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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2007, 07:41:27 PM »

I will say this, we are so lucky to have so many qualified electricians on this board. I won't name any, too many to list. That way I don't leave anyone out. If someone has do's and don'ts  that want to post it in the help section, I am sure everyone could benefit.
This is one area that deserves the most attention, as far to many times some people get burned. I mean that literally. Someone please make it happen. It could save someones life.

Paul
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
1989, MCI 102C3, 8V92T, HT740, 06' conversion FMCA# F-27317-S "Wife- 1969 Italian/German Style"
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2007, 07:51:36 PM »

Paul,

You just gave me an idea...

Thanks
Nick-
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
1989, MCI 102C3, 8V92T, HT740, 06' conversion FMCA# F-27317-S "Wife- 1969 Italian/German Style"
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« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2007, 08:10:26 PM »

Ok,

Check out the new thread in Board Help section and let me know if this hepls.

Nick-
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buswarrior
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« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2007, 09:11:03 PM »

Doing a bus conversion is easy.

Go look at the stick & staple that you might reasonably afford to buy new. Look inside the cabinets, underneath and inside everywhere you aren't "supposed" to look.

And then you will readily agree that whoever built it, didn't know any more about building them than you do.

If its going to be crap, might as well be for free by me, than over paid for!!!!

That, and the lack of travel in the driver's seat in most of them....

happy coaching!
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« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2007, 03:35:05 AM »

Nick, I think that will help alot. Is there a link that I didn't see? I was looking for a link to the green book. Or is this just for posting electrical information?

Paul
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2007, 05:13:28 AM »

Hi Paul,

Sorry, "green" meaning new to electrical... Lol

But, never the less, informative to the new!

Nick-
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Commercial Refrigeration- Ice machines- Heating & Air/ Atlantic Custom Coach Inc.
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