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Author Topic: Cost of Conversion  (Read 2573 times)
TomC
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« on: September 03, 2008, 07:36:36 AM »

On another post, one of the "Global Moderators" of this board gave me a good spanking with the idea that I just contract out to do all my work.  That is far from the truth.  The bottom line truth is, I bought a transit (referred to a "turd" by some) because $4,000 was all I could afford at the time.  The bus then sat in Portland, Or while I had some mechanicals changed, and because I didn't have the money to pay for it, traded a 3 axle tractor for the work.  I bought it in '92, finally brought it home in '93 and started to work on it in '94, when I took a year off work to do alot of the initial work on it.  It took me 6 years to build since I only did as much as I could afford at the time to do.
I state what various jobs cost since some converters don't have realistic views on what these beasts really cost to convert.  The actual conversion had been around $60,000 with another $30,000 in rebuilding the mechanicals on the bus.  In hind site, I could have bought a nice Grayhound type in good condition for that $30,000-but I didn't have that chunk of money available, nor did I want to take out a loan.  One of the main reasons for me to do a conversion was to have it paid off at all times.  The only jobs I contracted out on my bus were any major mechanical work, laying the carpeting, blowing in the insulation and painting the outside.  As to everything else-like plumbing, electrical, installing the generator, all the cabinet work, stripping the interior, I very proudly did it myself.  I'm sorry if our illustrious "Global Moderator" can't get his mind around that fact-and in the future please keep your poisonous comments to yourself!  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
RJ
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 07:56:29 AM »

Tom -


Thank you for your well-written clarification about your coach.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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Ednj
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 08:05:18 AM »

That all sounds very familiar.
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MCI-9
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See my picture's at= http://groups.yahoo.com/group/busshellconverters/
That's Not Oil Dripping under my Bus, It's Sweat from all that Horsepower.
----- This space for rent. -----
Blacksheep
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2008, 09:08:47 AM »

Tom let me ask, what difference does it make who does what on ANY conversion? Its your money and your coach! Heck I can also say, as nice as I think mine is, I can't take credit for doing it all myself! In fact when our bus was a feature bus in Arcadia, I had made a sign listing some of the people that help contribute! Do I care? Heck no! When others start sending me $$$$ then they can say who or what gets done and HOW!

Ace
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kyle4501
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2008, 09:20:10 AM »

When others start sending me $$$$ then they can say who or what gets done and HOW!

Ace

Wow, it looks like we agree on something.  Shocked  Grin


I've often said "If someone doesn't like the way I'm doing mine, they can cease & desist their funding"  Grin

After all, isn't it about doing it "our own way"?
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I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. (R.M. Nixon)
cody
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2008, 09:22:28 AM »

Kyle and Ace agreeing? Run for cover, the world is ending soon lol.
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makemineatwostroke
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2008, 09:40:31 AM »

I read TomC posts some I agree with some I don't but I do not like posting prices what he paid 11 grand for another guy could do for 2 grand there are some very talented people on this board and some of us pay to have it done no way would I post what I spent on my slides and the new paint job I get next month from Mike we each have to do it our way       you guys have a great day and play nice
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 09:42:28 AM by makemineatwostroke » Logged
compedgemarine
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2008, 09:41:09 AM »

actually Tom
I kind of like when you state what it cost you to get certain things done. I do most all my work myself but there are some things I am not able to do or comfortable doing and as you said most people underestimate the costs. I for one read all the posts with your expenses as I then have a better idea of what will be involved if I should end up in that position. I have dealt with people in boats and cars who always say "I could fix it for X dollars" and I always tell them to double that and add 10percent and that is probably what you will end up spending. On my bus I have no way of really knowing what things cost other than from those who had to do it already. Keep up the good work.
steve
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buddydawg
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2008, 09:47:30 AM »

I was always told take whatever you think it will cost and multiply that times Pi.  I think that works for time as well.....

 Wink
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Brandon Stewart - Martinez, GA
Kristinsgrandpa
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2008, 09:48:41 AM »

What Compedgemarine said, Steve saved me some typing.

Ed
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location: South central Ohio

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kyle4501
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2008, 09:55:43 AM »

Most aren't accustomed to advertising what something really cost them - unless they got a great deal.
So, that skews the numbers & the casual observer will be lead to believe you can :
- get ANY tire for your bus for less than $300 & in stock
- get a used repower installed for less than $3000 (including the motor)
- home brew fuel is cheap & has no hidden costs
- etc

I think the low #'s that get tossed around all the time are misleading. Sure, some can get it for that, but the norm is for it to cost more & those that don't have the resources to pay end up with a broken down bus they can not keep running.  Roll Eyes


buddydawg, aren't you supposed to also multiply by the page number.  Grin
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Jeremy
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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2008, 10:45:54 AM »

I believe that almost everything can be bought 'cheaply' if you try hard enough. Cheaply meaning 'below normal cost', rather than anything to do with 'affordability', which obviously varies depending with income etc.

Reasons for not getting something 'cheaply' invariably revolve around impatience, such as for instance:

- Having to get something NOW because you didn't plan ahead
- Having to get something NOW because you've just seen it for the first time, think it's really cool and have decided that your life won't be complete until you own it
- Buying a new component because you aren't willing to spend the time and effort to refurbish an old one
- Paying more than you should have done because you didn't research it first

I regard buying things cheaply almost as a philosophical thing - 'beating the system' if you wish. It is certainly a way of achieving things that society tells you you shouldn't be able to acheive (for example, I've got a Range Rover, a Cadillac and a Lexus, but at my income level society says that I should probably driving a Ford Focus). It does require work and planning though - such as hours spent scouring Ebay for good deals on things that you won't need for months or even years yet. Buying a bus for $4000 because 'it was all you can afford', then spending $90,000 on it has got to be a textbook example of bad planning!

Paying for other people's labour is obviously a good way of spending a lot of money, but there are obviously times it cannot be avoided. The only thing on my bus so far that I haven't done myself was the towbar - that cost me 500 ($1000), for probably 25 worth of steel and the peace of mind of knowing that it was built by a coded welder and so probably won't kill anybody. This notwithstanding, on something as personal as a bus conversion, I do believe that you cannot really call it 'yours' unless you have done the vast majority of the work yourself. These creations should be reflections of the skill or character of their owners, and there is not much of either required to write a cheque.

Just my point of view, and in no way meant to disrespect the views of others!

Jeremy
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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2008, 11:27:33 AM »

In order to offend no one,

And since a miracle of Ace and Kyle agreeing has occurred,

I make the following statement concerning the above:

"I agree with a few of you.

I disagree with the others.

I sent a PM to either the Agree's or Disagree's.

If you didn't get one, I may or may not Agree or Disagree with you.

Have a good or bad day.......your choice......"

Cliff
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Lin
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« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2008, 11:38:28 AM »

Partly out of necessity and partly due to a character flaw, I am pretty cheap.  I tend to look at the market value of my bus and try to to spend in such a way that I will go far beyond that value.  That is one reason that I will be keeping my Spicer for a long time.  Although I bought this bus thinking that I had financial room to change over, it is not really the case.  It is clear to me now that if you want an automatic transmission, you should by a bus that has already has one.  Unless you are one of those here that can do the heavy mechanicals and loves doing it, there is no reason to take it on.  There are things that I do.  I like improving what's there.  I like expanding on the different systems.  I like learning about and becoming intimate with what I have.  I like learning new things.  The bus provides an opportunity for all of these.  I certainly do not think it makes sense to get involved in the time and expense of bus conversions only to do what I do not like!

One can point out that there are very few people that completely build their own homes.  We generally buy something that is acceptable and make it "ours" over a period of time. You will note that many people take a great deal of pride in homes that they have not actually built.   A bus can be done the same way.  Further, in our complex society, no one is really totally independent and self sufficient.  Someone else builds our roads, produces our electricity, harvests our food, manufactures our cars, builds our computers and networks, and tells us jokes on televisions that we also did not make.  So if you feel that you want to do "everything" yourself, go at it.  If you feel that you want to have someone else to do everything, great.  I enjoy the bus and this community because of its creativity and diversity.  If this site only catered to one type of person, it would be boring.

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Blacksheep
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« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2008, 11:46:08 AM »

I don't know. I never have had a problem telling people what I spent on my bus or any part of it for that matter! I will say it IS paid for in full and it was done all out of pocket that came from doing my Kettle Corn which was hard work for the most part but an incentive too.
I too look for deals but mostly you get those from friends! Sometimes you barter your work for theirs and sometimes it just cost you at a reduced rate.
Anyway, this hobby has been fun, which it should be for everyone, (if they didn't get so serious sometimes) for Susan and me as it hasn't put us in the poor house as some would make it sound and we have made some very good close friends which we share good timed with.
I'm proud of what we have whether its better or worse than the next persons. I don't judge this over that and vice versa. I have what I have and if it doesn't fit someone else's taste, oh well! It fits mine fine!
Oh and if anyone wants the facts and figures on my coach/conversion...
It's a 92 Prevost H3-40
Paid 63,000 as a shell, painted, 3 roof airs and windows covered over. Used alcoa's with 80% goodyears. Had Jack Conrad get me started on electrical and Bill & Brenda Phelan got me started on plumbing. Had a friend help with my tanks and another friend help with cabinetry! Other than major mechanical work which has been slim, Susan and I did every other piece right down to the screws, glue, and finishing touches.
To date which is going on about 4 years now is still under 90,000. Make that close to 90,000 since I just filled up the tanks! LOL
As you can see, I didn't do it alone but it WAS all my money!

Ace
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