Originally Posted by the_experience03
Just out of curiousity, how long are you looking at for this conversion?
Now there's a tough question!
I'm viewing the conversion in stages.
Stage one is demolition; seats out, ceiling panels down, windows out, side panels out, rubber floor out. That ought to be done within a couple or three weeks (it's weather dependent at the moment).
Stage 2 is the alteration phase (i.e., the roof lift); that's cut the pillars, cut the back, cut across the roof, lift, cross brace, and install the side sheeting. I'd like to be done with that a couple of weeks after the demo phase ends (say by the end of February). Somewhere along the line I also need to install the new entry door.
Stage 3 is the stuff that has to get done with the walls and ceiling out like the basic wiring. There really isn't much as I'll have wiring chases under the chair rail down both sides of the bus. Shouldn't (he laughs) take any more than a couple of weeks.
Stage 4 is interior insulation and sheathing; that is, the whole interior will end up looking like a giant plywood box (see the photos of SeanF's conversion in Flagstaff). Since I'm doing the roof raise the floor will be 2x4's on edge to give me 3.5" in which to stuff as much insulation as possible, over that goes T&G subfloor, the sides will get insulated and 3/8" or 1/2" ply installed over the insualtion, the ceiling get's insulated as much as possible (about 1.75" deep) and I'll use luan doorskin material for the ceiling sheathing (maybe 1/4" but I'm not sure it'll take the bends at the outside edges so maybe 1/4" in the middle and a couple of layers of 1/8" at the bends). This phase shouldn't last more than a month or so (where are we now? mid April or so?).
Stage 5 is "the conversion" per se. This is where it gets interesting because almost all at the same time the interior is going in, tanks are getting positioned under the bus, plumbing is getting run, appliances are getting installed, wiring and lights are going in, windows are being installed, A/C is being installed, etc, etc, etc. I see this phase lasting at least a year.
Stage 6 is "everything else". This is all the finish work like the final flooring material, curtains, shades, painting, trim, TV installation, entertainment system installaion, etc. I think this could take another 6 months or so.
Stage 7 is the final fitting of all the stuff to really finish things off...it's really an eclectic stage. It includes the solar panels, awning, aluminum wheels, new driver's side glass, and all new custom built dash with all new instruments (this may happen sooner; I can't stand the current setup, nor can I see any of the gauges). This has no time frame except as it happens.
Then there are the things that don't quite fit in a specific category; I'm going to upgrade the shift to a Stone-Bennet air shift (and get rid of the very long cable system) and also install a King (probably) cruise control. Also somewhere along the line the bus will need to get painted. We're thinking something like this:
Overall, I'm thinking around 2 1/2 years to the almost finsihed stage; that is, nothing left to do but the gingerbread stuff.
One of my goals is to keep the bus as usuable as possible for as much of the time as possible so I'll try to do the things that make it undriveable in quick spurts and get the bus back on the road.
I have in mind to make Burning Man for 2007; I've never been and I can hardly stand the suspense any longer. I think I can get enough done to make the bus able to sustain us for a couple of weeks (including travel time to and from); it'll be pretty rustic but we should have a comfortable bed, water, toilet, shower and a refrigerator. I'll probably carry along a Honda EU2000 to keep the batteries up since I won't have a solar system by then. We also won't have a lot of power usage so we shouldn't be drawing down the batteries too badly at any rate. The largest load will be the refrigerator; I'll use the Honda to power the micro (if it's onboard) and the espresso maker (which will be or I won't be there!).
I like the idea of the rubber hose over the pex if for no other reason than if you did spring a leak, every hardware store has fittings and hose clamps to at least stop the leak up. Pex is a little more difficult to come by.