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Old 04-04-2016, 12:41 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Hiring outside help

Hello,
I am new to the forum and appreciate all the info so far. We (my husband and 3 young children) will be taking a year+ road trip around the U.S. this fall and we have yet to decide on a vehicle. I love the look and feel of a bus instead of an RV, however, the prospect of removing the interior of the bus and refinishing it is a bit intimidating. If you were to hire out all the work -stripping down the inside, building out the new interior, installing the water tank and toilet- who would you go to? If it needs new tires or to change the brake system do we take the bus to a special mechanic?

Thanks,
Kristen
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Old 04-04-2016, 01:42 AM   #2
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Hello Kristen
This site is pretty much about how to do it yourself, although there is nothing wrong with you playing general contractor and actually contracting certain types of work. There's so much of this you can do yourself, or you can buy a converted bus from someone that has decided to sell.
You can take your bus to Les Schwab or wherever you want. You're talking about a medium duty truck frame which can be serviced practically anywhere, even at semi truck places.
So what size and type of bus are you thinking of getting?
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BluegreenMN View Post
Hello,
I am new to the forum and appreciate all the info so far. We (my husband and 3 young children) will be taking a year+ road trip around the U.S. this fall and we have yet to decide on a vehicle. I love the look and feel of a bus instead of an RV, however, the prospect of removing the interior of the bus and refinishing it is a bit intimidating. If you were to hire out all the work -stripping down the inside, building out the new interior, installing the water tank and toilet- who would you go to? If it needs new tires or to change the brake system do we take the bus to a special mechanic?

Thanks,
Kristen
Honestly, if I were you, I'd buy something already built and save a TON of money and hassle. Removing the seats etc is the easy part, IMO.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:29 AM   #4
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yup the seats are the easier part for sure, just time consuming. and the time frame you have will be an amazingly fast build. ive been building since november on my bus and we will be leaving on our adventure in late july, i will be just barely finishing in time to go. an already built bus or RV may be a better bet for this years trip. however that being said, $$ talks and if you have enough of it then you will have a bus conversion done in time. we spent 5k on our bus, by then end of the build we will have put~15-20k into it. this is with me doing ALL the conversion. If you plan on contracting it out i would plan to pay double that. heck id sell my bus for 35k, would have to finish it first though
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:35 AM   #5
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FWIW my bus has no seats and can be had for the paltry sum of ten grand.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:54 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BluegreenMN View Post
Hello,
I am new to the forum and appreciate all the info so far. We (my husband and 3 young children) will be taking a year+ road trip around the U.S. this fall and we have yet to decide on a vehicle. I love the look and feel of a bus instead of an RV, however, the prospect of removing the interior of the bus and refinishing it is a bit intimidating. If you were to hire out all the work -stripping down the inside, building out the new interior, installing the water tank and toilet- who would you go to? If it needs new tires or to change the brake system do we take the bus to a special mechanic?

Thanks,
Kristen
Buy a Bluebird Wanderlodge. You can get one in good shape in your price range and it will already be properly engineered and built from the factory. You can always do remodels or upgrades yourself (or pay to have it done) but all the systems are already in place and built on a super strong bus chassis. Much stronger and better built than a fiberglass and stick factory rv.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:58 AM   #7
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what your price range?
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Hello Kristen
This site is pretty much about how to do it yourself, although there is nothing wrong with you playing general contractor and actually contracting certain types of work. There's so much of this you can do yourself, or you can buy a converted bus from someone that has decided to sell.
You can take your bus to Les Schwab or wherever you want. You're talking about a medium duty truck frame which can be serviced practically anywhere, even at semi truck places.
So what size and type of bus are you thinking of getting?
Robin,
Thanks for the info. We are hoping to find a bus that will hold a queen or king size bed and two small bunks. With a sink, mini fridge and shower/toilet. Something really minimal that is not built out too much. The Bluebird Wanderlodge someone mentioned does look nice but I believe will be outside of our budget. I am having a hard time finding any completed buses out there for sale near us right now otherwise we would go the route of buying a completed one.

So we are back to thinking of refinishing our own. 35' maximum length. I have considered only having the kitchen and bath built out and we can leave the rest of the interior open and add our own futon and bunk beds. Have others done that type of layout?
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:12 PM   #9
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i am building ours for same size family as yours same reason too!
i think you guys could totally do it yourself. even my kids have had lots of fun helping along the way. once you get all the seats out (really just time and a grinder) the kitchen and bath would be getting the hard stuff out of the way first, great idea. then you could just piece in as you traveled even. build a bunk here and there then the master in the back. i say go for it, and it will be YOURS when traveling in it and awesome family memories.
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:27 PM   #10
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I've seen a Wanderlodge for 20k on here previously. It doesn't happen every day. If you have doubts about being able to finish a build for yourself an already, or partially, converted skoolie might save you a lot of time, effort and money. There are a lot of people that have tried to make a build, but got tired or finances don't make it. Eventually the bus gets musty and resold, but something with the plumbing in it would be your ticket.

Futons and stuff are great if you're parked. Really comfortable. Not such a good choice if you're actually driving. For example, my wood stove. I don't want it to hit me in the back of my head at any time when I stop to fast. The same with futons, and cops would want seat belts. Not that you couldn't do it. I sure did like sleeping on a futon.
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