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Author Topic: cost of conversion parts  (Read 6164 times)
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« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2007, 11:21:57 AM »

even with the do it yourself as you want it concept, I bet 95% who do it that way would make changes after they are done and use it.

Same goes for having a house built.  Some things don;t become aparent till they are complete.

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« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2007, 01:04:44 PM »

ChuckMC9 makes some good points on not making efficient use of time. Several years ago, when professional converters were doing mostly used buses. they estimated 2000 hours. They had the advantage of all the right tools and people who were specialists in each facet of the conversion. Since they were converting a limited number of models, they soon had layouts and patterns already made. Doing your own bus, you have the advantage of not being a union shop so break times and holidays aren't mandatory. Not living close to the bus makes it really difficult. Not having the right material on hand is poor planning. At every stage, several things need to be done simultaneously (cabinets, electrical, plumbing ect,) so if you are held up on one you should be able to work on one of the others

Since you know what mechanical repairs need to be done (remember that bus inspection you had done) you can source the necessary parts while you stripping the interior. Then all mechanical work should be completed before doing any conversion work. If the floor has to taken up, you want to do it before the cabinets are installed.
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« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2007, 02:55:20 PM »

even with the do it yourself as you want it concept, I bet 95% who do it that way would make changes after they are done and use it.

Same goes for having a house built.  Some things don;t become apparent till they are complete.

Even though I wanted to complete(still in progress) mine faster, (full time and a half job, kids, sports, family took a little time away  Wink )

I am so glad that we have used it during all phases, not just for the great times together, but it has allowed me to see what works and what I want to change as I go.

On the cost of my conversion, well I kept detailed receipts and breakdowns at first, but it became a pain in the rumpus, and to tell you the truth, I just don't really care.  I am doing this for the Fun of it, pure and simple, I don't really care what the final cost ends up, I am having a good time doing it and my family loves the process and using it.  I wouldn't trade one red cent for all the times my Kids friends have said Your Dad is so cool for building this Bus.  Whats that worth?

Anyway, am I rambling?

Have fun with yours, no matter what it costs or how long it takes.

« Last Edit: December 13, 2007, 02:57:13 PM by FloridaCliff » Logged

1975 GMC  P8M4905A-1160    North Central Florida

"There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded."
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73' MC-8 8V71/HT740 Southwest Florida

« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2007, 03:24:27 PM »

     I agree with Cliff.  We started using our bus as soon as we got it (took out most of the seats, threw in a couple sleeping bags, a cooler and a Coleman stove and we went camping. When we bought this bus, we set a goal of going someplace in the bus at least once a month. Since October, 1999 there have only been about 10 months that we have not went somewhere and some months we go several weekends. All these trip during the construction gave us a chance to see what worked and what did not before it was permanent.
      Biggest problem doing it this way is that sometimes we had to undo something in order to add something that should have be installed first.
      Also like Cliff, I quit keeping track of all the cost. But let's see 1973 MC-8 purchased in 1999 for 13,500 (that was the going price for an MC-8 back then), probably an additional 30-40K since then. 
      People we have met, places we have been, and pleasure doing the conversion with my own 2 hands PRICELESS!!!   Jack
« Last Edit: December 14, 2007, 04:16:11 AM by JackConrad » Logged

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Arcadia, Florida, When we are home
Jerry Liebler
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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2007, 07:31:19 PM »

   My shell was too cheap @ $3500 so the major repairs & tires add $20,000 to it's cost.  I just did a quick list that's reasonably complete of my 'conversion stuff' and totaled it.  It is just over $17,000.  Some of the items surprised me, like the wood for my cabinets (hard maple& maple veneer plywood) was $1000,  the drawer slides were $200, the material for my tanks was $700, my insulation material was $350. But I found some bargains like the whole Webasto system for $3000, the 7500 W diesel Onan water cooled generator for $2000 and my 800AH house battery for $200.  And some are pure luxury like the $500 TV, the $2000 in motion satellite system, or the $600 jetted bathtub or the $150 water pump.  To be fair I really should add the $1000 I spent on woodworking tools.  But As Kyle pointed out I couldn't get what I wanted any way but by building it.  And as Cliff and Jack mention I got tremendous joy from the project .  PS I sure hope my wife doesn't find my notes.
Jerry 4107 1120

« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2008, 12:07:29 PM »

 Brought this to the top for Tekebird.

 Shell   22k  Stripped out Entertainer w/ invertor, generator, refrig, batteries, propane tank, roof air etc etc.
 walls and doors   2k  so far
 plumbing   2k so far
 appliances  900  so far
 new tools   400 so far
 Joy of having my own long term project    Priceless

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4108, 8V71 w/auto .


« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2008, 12:17:50 PM »

Right on Skip!!!!

 We Americans spend ALLOT of tima and money to "get a good feeling", so why not get that feeling in a job done personally and well done??
  Going out to get a little more of that "feeling",   (and it ain't Toyota!!)

Pix of my bus here: http://s58.photobucket.com/albums/g279/Skulptor/Motor%20Coach/
What I create here:   www.amstudio.us
"Imagination is more important than knowledge". Albert Einstein

« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2008, 12:31:21 PM »


   The jury is still out on the well done part Smiley
   The real kicker is I'm putting stone tile in the guest bathroom (I'll finish that tonight) and the bus will have

    It will take me about 35 hrs to gut, refinish the tub, lay tile and install new sink and stuff in the guest bathroom
  and I have been putzing around with the Bus bathroom for twice that much and it is still a shell of a bathroom.

 Go figure Smiley


 Edited bedroom 2 bathroom   bedroom is the next agenda  (missed a gear)
« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 01:51:17 PM by skipn » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2008, 01:38:59 PM »

I have been putzing around with the Bus bathroom for twice that much and it is still a shell of a bathroom.

 Go figure

But ain't it fun!!??!!??  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin    I dig it.


Pix of my bus here: http://s58.photobucket.com/albums/g279/Skulptor/Motor%20Coach/
What I create here:   www.amstudio.us
"Imagination is more important than knowledge". Albert Einstein
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MC8 under construction

« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2008, 04:24:52 PM »

I bought a partially completed conversion and then gutted it and started over ( didn't have to raise the roof or paint it that was done)

I won't even discuss how much money I spent on the windshields that took over two years to get them in and not leaking

Then throw in a repower and you can see where this is going.

But hey I like working on it and driving it and living in it on the road when I get a chance.

Then taking it apart and doing it over so it works better.

Who can ask for more than that.

So who cares what it cost as long as you have the money go ahead and spend it.


If it won't go FORCE it ---- if it breaks it needed to be replaced anyway
Albuquerque, NM   MC8 L10 Cummins ZF

« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2008, 08:06:35 PM »

1992 Prevost H3-40 bought as a shell with 3 roof airs, aluminum wheels, windows covered over, trailer hitch and painted for 63K. 3 years later and still not quite done, we are just on the high side of 80K. Considering what have so far, we feel we are ahead. It's the aggravating misc. mechanical/electrical issues that make you wonder sometimes but for what it's worth, we wouldn't have done it any other way. Meeting the people from all over the country and sharing good times, not to mention bus/war stories is well worth the blood, sweat, and tears we put into it. Now if I could only retire for good! Smiley

82 Prevost 8V92ta 6 speed
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« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2008, 10:20:09 PM »

Well I've got a bit more than Ace's 80K into ours and I still have the drivers area and stairs to do (stock stairs right now). I did mine in 2 yrs (6000 to 7000 hrs). http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l175/prevost82/ .

I'm a industrial designer and built the bus in 3D in the computer before I did anything, I didn't have to redo anything I did because of this. I'm also a ticketed machinist, welder / fabricator with training in hydraulics and have a good understanding in electrial system. As well I design highend homes and cabinets(I design most of the houses and commercial buildings in our area as a sideline). I also have a small shop with alot of tools, metal and wood.

I don't think that the bus project would have turn out as nice as it has, but also to be honest I don't think I would have taken on the project without all these skill sets. It's been 3 yrs the the bus has been finished, except for the aformentioned, and looking at the prices that some of the buses are listed on eBay for ... well I would have been further ahead to buy one, finished, for the same money as I have in this one, only it would be 15 yrs newer and I might be 15 yrs younger after being cramped up in a bay all day for 3 months installing the gen-set, tanks, plumbing, elec, batteries etc.

I ... unlike some of you, I could not see this project lasting for 5 or 10 yrs ... hell I couldn't see me lasting 3 yrs on it ... so it had to be done in 2 or I knew it would never get done. I have no regrets on doing this project, we use the bus a lot and as Ace stated, love meeting the people from all over the country, Canada, the US and Mexico, sharing good times.

Example is more powerful than reproach. ~Aesop
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« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2008, 05:25:17 AM »

I have to laugh here, I just knew it would only take me a year to do my conversion,  Roll Eyes but it wasn't to be! Embarrassed  Once I saw day light coming in around the rear wheel wells I just knew it was going to take longer!  The actuall roof raise only took three weeks, but it was snowing and slowed me down some.  The front floor raising and new steps took about a week...........it took 3 weeks to strip the bus down to bare chassis.........then there were the health issues (amazing how getting old changes our bodies), not to mention 4 years of playing football in college and the weekends on the road watching them, or the friday nite high school games, plus baseball season, then working on the homefront to keep it up, new roof, paint, new sun room, support work on three extra cars and repairs, (sometimes I wish had didn't have any skills what so ever), but when you think about it its called living your life!  I must say I've been blessed and I do so enjoy it, forgive me for being so......self centered and guilty of wanting and having a few of the things in life that make it worthwhile!....................there is no way that I will ever see monetary gain from this bus.........!   The experiences I have gained from it can never be measured in dollars................only in the satisfaction of knowing my dirty hands, pinched fingers, sore knee's, ripped pants and shirts, welding burns, cuts, scrapes..... that I managed to have fun! Wink


1982 Prevost LeMirage


« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2008, 05:45:35 AM »


Very well said! I totally agree with you!

It's all about the LIFE we choose! And how we choose to live it!  Wink

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1995 Prevost H3-41, series 60, B500 Allison

« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2008, 06:41:05 AM »

Here are some of my numbers.  The estimated is what I guessed when I bought it, the actuals have accumulated over the last 4 years.
I still need to have it painted, and it remains to be seen if my estimate there is even close.  I've done most of the major expensive things, what left is just work and figuring things out.  Such as making all my drawers with dovetail joints, I"ve never done that and it will take some work.  Mosly its just cosmetic stuff left.  While I have not yet finished the heating system, I should have most or all the materials to do it.  Scary how much $ goes into these things.  I don't think I'd ever come close to getting this out if I had to sell.

I looked for a finished one, but all the  professionally done ones used most of the bay space for the conversion.  I have two fully open bays.  And that's what motivated me to build it.  to have space for toys.

                  Est                      Actual
Bus                 $82,000.00     $     82,000
Cash down    $82,000.00     $           -   
Getting bus home    $  3,000.00     $      1,970
New windows    $  3,500.00     $      4,959
rear windows                    $         508
Blank out windows                    $         500
Jake brake    $  2,500.00     $      3,500
Paint                 $  8,000.00    
Ceramic roof paint    $           -       $         430
steering wheel    $           -       $         133
Heater                 $  2,000.00     $             1
Hot water heater    $     286.00     $         293
Boston red hose     $     190.00     $         190
4 zone diode board    $      18.00     $           19
water conditioner    $      95.00     $           95
fuel filter                 $      40.00     $           -   
expansion tank    $     105.00     $         106
heat exchanger    $     314.00     $         314
preheat pump    $     171.00     $         135
System pump                    $         400
toe kick heater     $     142.00     $         749
bay heater    $     160.00     $         160
  fresh 160 gal    $     500.00     $         750
  gray 115 gal    $     380.00     $             1
  black 58 gal    $     300.00     $             1
tank monitor panel    $     500.00     $         645
Electric waste valves $           -       $         225
 propane tanks - none       $           -   
water pump    $     150.00     $         164
filter                 $      50.00    
plumbing                 $     400.00     $         400
generator 13kw    $  6,000.00     $      5,968
Generator auto start       $         545
radiator fan                    $         346
equalizer                 $     515.00     $         515
Batteries                 $  1,800.00     $  1,758.00
sound deadening    $     740.00     $             1
Solar panels & control$  3,366.53     $      3,560
airconditioners    $  1,850.00     $      2,100
electrical                 $     500.00     $         350
Boat cable                     $         700
 Inverter                 $  3,000.00     $      3,495
Shore cord    $     100.00     $           93
relays                 $     368.00     $         368
hose reels    $     400.00     $           -   
Cabinets                 $     500.00    
Mattress                 $     150.00     $             1
DVD player                    $           70
TV                                 $      1,400
Room construction      
walls                 $     600.00    
ceiling                 $     900.00    
plywood for ceiling                    $         280
Kitchen  floor    $  1,120.00     $      1,311
flooring                                           $     200.00    
glass door    $     600.00    
shower walls    $     350.00    
Shower pan                     $         400
toilet                 $     200.00     $         460
bath vanity    $     100.00     $         200
Floor                 $     200.00    
Floor heater    $     500.00    
door                 $      75.00    
kitchen cabinets    $  1,000.00     $         697
counter top    $  1,500.00     $      2,450
refrigerator    $  2,600.00     $      2,975
faucet       $         180
stove top    $     400.00     $         397
microwave    $     400.00     $         500
sink    $           -       $           -   
hood w/fan       $           -   
couch                 $  2,000.00     $      1,574
leather chair    $     750.00     $         800
TV                 $  1,500.00    
stereo                 $     500.00     $         900
Subwoofer                    $         860
dinette              $  1,000.00     $             1
window blinds     $     400.00     $         200
Window blinds                     $      1,070
   CO                 $      75.00    
   LP                 $      75.00     $           -   
   Smoke/Fire    $      15.00    
co-pilot chair    $     800.00     $      1,128
Pilot chair    $     800.00     $         919
Awning-main    $  3,500.00     $      4,518
Awning-windows    $10,500.00     $     11,230
satelite dish    $  2,500.00     $           -   
TV antenna    $      50.00     $           90
spot light                 $      75.00    
back-up lights    $     150.00     $         200
LED lights    $  1,027.00     $      1,027
B/u camera pod    $         150
camera                 $     600.00     $         300
leveling system    $  1,000.00    
Tow hitch    $           -       $      1,450
chrome mirrors       $           -   
6 alum wheels    $  2,300.00     $      2,130
new tires                 $  3,200.00     $      4,000
underbay faucet    $     100.00     $           50
Air horns                 $     600.00     $         432
security system    $     400.00    
cb antenna    $      50.00    
CB                 $     200.00    
Total                 $87,003                 $80,795

 Total with bus       $   169,003     $   162,795
Grand total for Coach    $   169,003     $   162,795


Jim Stewart
El Cajon, Ca.  (San Diego area)

Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep  and permanent, in the ideas of living.
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