Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-30-2016, 02:09 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
ourmefa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 208
How long do conversion phases take?

Hey there everyone. I am in the process of planning our conversion. This site has been amazing. We are still in the process of selecting the bus we want. At this time I am leaning toward a 1998-2002 Thomas Activity Bus (the largest one we can find in our budget).

I have been reading through hundreds of threads here and have gathered a lot of research that I will be applying to our build.

But I have one question that I have not found a thread covering: How long does each conversion phase typically take? Here are the major phases I have broken down the conversion into.

If you can provide your gut estimate for low/med/high time estimates in days/half days, I would be most appreciative. Once I have a good number of responses, I will roll all of them up into a spreadsheet and share it with everyone here in the forum.

All of the estimates should assume BASIC or MINIMUM install. I realize there are many factors that can affect estimates, but I am guessing there are a few people on here that have done enough conversions, there is a general time frame allocated for most tasks. I have listed the items in the general order I would attack the work. Please feel free to let me know if I missed anything. Estimates should assume med to advanced level mechanical, welding, woodworking, electrical and plumbing skills (I flip houses for a living).


Phase 1 - Preparation
  1. Gutting Interior - Seat removal, window removal, flooring removal, ceiling removal
  2. Rust repair - fix ceilings, sidewalls or floors that are damaged and rust seal
  3. Raising Roof - 18-24" raise of full roof line
  4. Enclosing Sides - sheet metal install on sides where windows are covered
  5. Framing - Frame out interior walls
  6. Initial Electrical - Install in wall/ceiling electrical
  7. Initial Plumbing - Install in wall plumbing
  8. Insulating - Insulate walls and ceilings with spray insulation, install thermal barrier / vapor shield
  9. Ceiling and Wall Covering - install ceiling and sidewalls
  10. Flooring - Install insulation, subfloor and flooring **Bonus if you know the time to install radiant floor system **
Phase 2 - Systems
  1. Freshwater System - plumbing for kitchen sink and bathroom sink
  2. Greywater System - plumbing for kitchen sink drain, bathroom sink drain, shower drain.
  3. Install Heating and Cooling - install radiant heaters and roof top heat pump.
Phase 3 - Interior Base
  1. Paint Exterior - Includes full exterior and roof
  2. Frame out - Basic walls for bath/shower and rear master
  3. Electrical - 12v lights, 120 outlets, battery system
Phase 4 - Interior Finish
  1. Install Kitchen cabinets and counter
  2. Install appliances - Instant hot water heater, oven/stove, propane fridge
  3. Install overhead cabinets in living/kitchen area
  4. Install queen bed platform in rear with storage
  5. Install two bunk beds with below storage

Thanks to everyone for your input.
ourmefa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 06:53 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
superdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: hills of sw virginia
Posts: 889
Year: 1996
Chassis: thomas
Engine: 8.3 cummins
Rated Cap: 11 window
working with cash on hand, im at just under 2 years. looks like it will be at least 3
__________________
living in a bus down by the river.
my build pics
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...albums942.html
superdave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 06:55 AM   #3
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,055
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by superdave View Post
working with cash on hand, im at just under 2 years. looks like it will be at least 3
Bout the same here, only lagging a couple years behind ya!
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 08:00 AM   #4
Bus Nut
 
GreyCoyote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Danglebury, Tejas
Posts: 310
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 72 passenger
Getting the seats out took me a short weekend with an air wrench and a willing friend. Easy stuff. Those seats literally flew out of the bus once we got it down to a rhythm.

The rest of the build takes the rest of your life. No kidding. I've never actually seen a skoolie that was ever "done".

So: time to completion is infinity plus one weekend.
__________________
"You can finally say you have enough horsepower when you leave two black streaks from corner to corner"
(Mark Donohue, famed TransAm driver)
GreyCoyote is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 09:18 AM   #5
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,128
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
those that have ever built a classic car will tell you that you will likely get the bug to use your bus / vehicle and will work hard to get there as funds and time allow..

then youll thuink you are done only to find another way to do something and will end up re-doing, adding, etc.. .. perhaps as long as you have it..

two things are for sure. one or both will likely apply.

1. youll always wish for more time to work on it
2. youll always wish for more money to work on it..

-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 09:51 AM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
turf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,599
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
my conversion was about 4 years. it was limited by money more than time. i think i spent around $5k per year. its done and usable, but just like Grey Coyote posted, its never really done (it does get cheaper). now i'm dumping some more money on my electrical system. maybe one day i'll get a solar and an inverter,.... like he said, they are never really finished.
this summer i may try my first remodel to improve my storage area.
__________________
.
Turfmobile Build Thread
turf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 10:50 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
ourmefa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 208
I feel like I should maybe explain a little bit why I am asking such detailed questions.

We are in the process of ditching the American Dream, living full time on the road with our family of 4 + 3 cats.

Our house goes on the market in 2 weeks. Here in Nashville, we expect it to take about 1 week for the house to sell and about 4-5 weeks to close (Nashville real estate is crazy hot and we have a desirable property). After this point, we will relocate to temp housing for about 2 weeks while we secure our bus.

We plan to move the bus to a friends property in FL where we will park and I will begin the conversion process. I will have approximately 3-4 weeks to get what I can of the conversion done before we jump to TX where we will establish residency and then begin our adventure. I will be working 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week (200-300 hours). We have about $15-20K to spend on the conversion.

Given this information, how much do you think I can get done in 200-300 hours? I have a strong background in carpentry and metal work. Decent experience in plumbing and electrical.

Thanks to everyone for the help!
ourmefa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 11:55 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Cuyahoga Falls Ohio
Posts: 530
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Startrans
Chassis: Ford e-350 single wheel
Engine: 5.4 litre
Rated Cap: 12
Keep it simple and you should be able to meet your deadline. My build was very minimalist. Flooring and 2 futons. About 3 hours of work. Of course I have more I want to do but for now its operational.
leadsled01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 01:18 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,772
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
I am going on 4 years and would say it is a custom build but very practical. I didn't even begin to convert till I fully understood the bus mechanically and electrically and was sure it was worth doing. hours? I couldn't even estimate as there are snags at each project which effect the next job you intend to do if you don't have plans set in stone. I built piece meal areas to my liking and made everything somehow fit and blend in to my liking.
I wouldn't say it cost much money at all as I had all the necessary skills without having to get advice or hire anyone. Mechanical parts are expensive as is towing etc and why I went with my plan of getting to know the mechanics of the whole bus.
Sorry, I garnered a lot of ideas in this forum so thanks to all who contributed.
__________________
Question everything!
BlackJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 05:23 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
BurlKing's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 502
Year: 92
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 5.9L
Rated Cap: 77
if you worked every day for those weeks doing 10-12 hours a day you should get it done but not sure. if you do every single thing in those phases it''ll be quite a bit. Me and my girlfriend pretty much gutted the interior in a single week (seats out, linoleum up, plywood up, interior side panels out, interior roof panels out as well as rear and forward interior caps, insulation, heaters, dash equipment, and what not. then if you keep on it, fix the rust and convert it and paint it the next week, prep for raise, and so on. just gotta keep on it or it'll seem like its dragging on forever!
BurlKing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 05:29 PM   #11
Skoolie
 
ourmefa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by BurlKing View Post
if you worked every day for those weeks doing 10-12 hours a day you should get it done but not sure. if you do every single thing in those phases it''ll be quite a bit. Me and my girlfriend pretty much gutted the interior in a single week (seats out, linoleum up, plywood up, interior side panels out, interior roof panels out as well as rear and forward interior caps, insulation, heaters, dash equipment, and what not. then if you keep on it, fix the rust and convert it and paint it the next week, prep for raise, and so on. just gotta keep on it or it'll seem like its dragging on forever!
Thank you for the details!! This is the kind of info I was looking for. How far into your conversion are you now?

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
__________________
Family of 4 - Jamie, Mel, Jensen and Maddie (+3 cats) - less than 60 days out from ditching suburbia in a converted school bus.
Find us on Facebook-Affiliate Link Disclaimer
ourmefa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 06:28 PM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 411
Year: 1987
Engine: 6.9L Diesel
I've been going about 20 hours a week for 10 months now. I am hoping to move into her by June. We will see if that's realistic. I couldn't imagine finishing my bus in a month. Procuring items takes a lot of time so you'll want to plan that in. Finding cost efficient windows, sheet metal, and all the little stuff off amazon. I feel like every week I am coming across choke points where I need one small item, screw, washer, tool to get past whatever hurdle I face.

Your goals seem very ambitious, I assume you have the skillset, tools and confidence to get her done(unlike me), so I wish you the best of luck and would love to read through your progress if you can pull it off!
TAOLIK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 06:41 PM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,089
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 65 pax
Quote:
Originally Posted by ourmefa View Post
I feel like I should maybe explain a little bit why I am asking such detailed questions.

We are in the process of ditching the American Dream, living full time on the road with our family of 4 + 3 cats.

Our house goes on the market in 2 weeks. Here in Nashville, we expect it to take about 1 week for the house to sell and about 4-5 weeks to close (Nashville real estate is crazy hot and we have a desirable property). After this point, we will relocate to temp housing for about 2 weeks while we secure our bus.

We plan to move the bus to a friends property in FL where we will park and I will begin the conversion process. I will have approximately 3-4 weeks to get what I can of the conversion done before we jump to TX where we will establish residency and then begin our adventure. I will be working 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week (200-300 hours). We have about $15-20K to spend on the conversion.

Given this information, how much do you think I can get done in 200-300 hours? I have a strong background in carpentry and metal work. Decent experience in plumbing and electrical.

Thanks to everyone for the help!
I picked up my bus October 5th and moved in November 6th. In that month I put in Pergo flooring, electrical (my son in law is a pro) and built a rad deck for my king sized bed, with 42 sq ft of storage space under it. (pics at www.thismidwifetravels.com).

I'm a long way from finished, I am building as I have time, my help has time and as I have money. For my kitchen, I am using a long card table with my microwave, mini fridge, single burner and toaster oven. I purchased my IKEA kitchen three weekends ago and ended up with a tummy bug and then the holidays have happened It'll be in next weekend.

I run my internet based business out of the bus, too, and I have a desk set up and living full time and loving it!

I'd say as long as you have beds, you can move in.

Sandi
www.thismidwifetravels.com
p.s. on the east coast of Florida and we're having a Florida get together 10th February
WanderWoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 06:55 PM   #14
Skoolie
 
ourmefa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 208
This is awesome!!

Sounds like we are on the same track as you! We will get as much done as we can in the few weeks we will have after the house sells and we jump to FL. We plan to chase the fair weather, so insulation is not a huge factor for us. I have designed an cloth shade that will deploy across the top of the bus to provide sun shade and keep the sun from beating down on the roof. All of the windows will be covered in reflective mirror tint.

Our primary goals are to replace the floor and rip out the ceiling (sounds like this can be done in a week). Install some basic electrical and plumbing (using a composting toilet and shower outside), build some bunks and a master bed for the wife and I, setup a stove, fridge and some kind of basic sink. I will likely make some collapsible tables attached to the walls for work surfaces and cooking.

I will be following along on your website!!
__________________
Family of 4 - Jamie, Mel, Jensen and Maddie (+3 cats) - less than 60 days out from ditching suburbia in a converted school bus.
Find us on Facebook-Affiliate Link Disclaimer
ourmefa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 06:55 PM   #15
Bus Crazy
 
Stu & Filo. T's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vacaville, Ca
Posts: 1,623
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Crown / Pusher
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
I set myself a time line of 2 yrs just over 2 yrs ago, right now I figure I'm about 2 yrs behind schedule.
Stu & Filo. T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 07:01 PM   #16
Skoolie
 
ourmefa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 208
TAOLIK - I actually read through your entire site last evening! Great breakdown of all the work that you have done! So 10 months at 20 hours per month is about 200 hours. Sounds like we can knock out the major stuff in that timeframe! Will be following along on your work!
__________________
Family of 4 - Jamie, Mel, Jensen and Maddie (+3 cats) - less than 60 days out from ditching suburbia in a converted school bus.
Find us on Facebook-Affiliate Link Disclaimer
ourmefa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 07:25 PM   #17
Bus Crazy
 
turf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,599
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
200 hours of labor is probably about right on! only for each hour of labor i put in, I easily spent 10 more hours on that same task day dreaming, learning, deciding, planning and shopping for parts. if the work requires a hole in the bus, then it was 20 hours of planning instead of 10.

in my build the first thing in was a bed. in a do over, that would be the last. every major system was either under the bed, or ran under the bed. my bed came in and out 5 or 6 times over the course of the build. and it will have to come out again in my remodel.

decisions pile up fast, from what size screws to use and what color to stain. the labor part is easy, its the decisions that take time. installing curtains is easier than picking them out!

good luck!
__________________
.
Turfmobile Build Thread
turf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 07:40 PM   #18
Bus Nut
 
superdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: hills of sw virginia
Posts: 889
Year: 1996
Chassis: thomas
Engine: 8.3 cummins
Rated Cap: 11 window
Quote:
Originally Posted by ourmefa View Post
This is awesome!!

Sounds like we are on the same track as you! We will get as much done as we can in the few weeks we will have after the house sells and we jump to FL. We plan to chase the fair weather, so insulation is not a huge factor for us. I have designed an cloth shade that will deploy across the top of the bus to provide sun shade and keep the sun from beating down on the roof. All of the windows will be covered in reflective mirror tint.

Our primary goals are to replace the floor and rip out the ceiling (sounds like this can be done in a week). Install some basic electrical and plumbing (using a composting toilet and shower outside), build some bunks and a master bed for the wife and I, setup a stove, fridge and some kind of basic sink. I will likely make some collapsible tables attached to the walls for work surfaces and cooking.

I will be following along on your website!!
insulation should be the main factor in every build, plan on ripping out the inside metal and insulating. prepare for the worst, its the base to a great build. good luck
__________________
living in a bus down by the river.
my build pics
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...albums942.html
superdave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2016, 09:45 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
Carytowncat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 932
Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
In June of this year I pulled the seats and laid a rug down, a chair, put up blinds, brought my pillow and a blanket, some snacks, and moved right in. Took awhile to bring all my stuff and arrange/ tetris where it fit best. Made a bucket with a toilet seat. Then installed door locks. This was within a week after purchase.

A couple weeks later i ordered a 200w solar kit, installed that, when it got cold i installed a craigslist propane fireplace, and then when it got colder i made a wood fireplace. I been here 7 months, full time. Time has come to leave this lot at the end of January.

My build have no running water.

So it all depends on your style and needs. I got a lot of style and needs, especially the need to not be in a noisy place.
Carytowncat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2016, 12:45 AM   #20
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Darrington, Wa.
Posts: 304
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Genesis/Am-Tran Tall Roof
Chassis: International, 643 transmission
Engine: DT 466ci 250hp, International
Rated Cap: 86 screaming Monsters
Please God make it stop.
Geo Jeff is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
conversion, estimate, estimation, time

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:53 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×