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Old 07-26-2017, 09:07 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Most expensive conversion you've seen...

So, last night I was working on my bus at the RV lot removing the interior skins in prep for a roof raise. One of the regulars comes in and has his wife in tow. I talk to the guy all the time when he comes in. Only the second time I've seen his wife. We get to talking about the conversion. Her guess without knowing me is $52k for the build. They have a factory motor coach that isn't anywhere near $52k; more like $252k. Her idea of camping is to run the AC long enough that the woods are at 68. Different strokes for different folks. Only mentioned so as to give a reference point on her. I don't like what she was saying but she's alright if you know what I me. $52k for a build?!!? Good god I certainly hope not.

But it got me to thinking... there are some VERY handy people on this forum. They can spend their money on high quality interior parts/materials. And there are some people with VERY nice tastes but don't have the DYI skills. Likely to go more middle of the road for materials and spend their money on professional labor. Regardless, what's the most expensive build you've seen for a true skoolie? It may be an incorrect bias but I have it in my head that a motor coach conversion is significantly more so I'd like to limit this to the ex-school buses.
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:22 AM   #2
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Location: Columbus Ohio
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
yep! im one of those that wants to sleep in the nice cold A/C and have a toilet not a bucket...

I dont personally know any figures on skoolies.. I do know that anyone having to hire out professionally generally pays through the nose unless they get lucky and its friendly labor.. but put the word "mobile" on anything and the pro guy is going to double the price over what it woulkd cost for him to build the same thing in a backyard shed..
-Christopher
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:37 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
yep! I'm one of those that wants to sleep in the nice cold A/C and have a toilet not a bucket...
Add to that that you just can't leave $hit alone either!! Love ya but I'm in the "good enough" camp for a lot of things. Wish I had the patience to do stuff the right way.

Quote:
I don't personally know any figures on skoolies.. I do know that anyone having to hire out professionally generally pays through the nose unless they get lucky and its friendly labor.. but put the word "mobile" on anything and the pro guy is going to double the price over what it would cost for him to build the same thing in a backyard shed..
-Christopher
I need a mishmash of builds... you and Transcendence or something. You for the whistles and bells for electronics and controls. Mudda for the work working. Turn that boy loose at Hearne Hardwoods with a blank check in his hand.

I wouldn't want to have to pay the bill... hell, I probably wouldn't even want the bus if you gave it to me for fear of messing it up. But I would love to see what the 2 of you could turn out given the creative freedom and 2 years of full time building. It would shame the turn key RV places.
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:39 AM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Where the road takes me
Posts: 191
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466e
Bought an angle grinder...$30

Removed all the seats myself slowly over a month.

Took the seats to a scrap yard...$60

$30 profit!

At this rate I'll get PAID to convert my bus! =)
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:59 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iheartbus View Post
Bought an angle grinder...$30

Removed all the seats myself slowly over a month.

Took the seats to a scrap yard...$60

$30 profit!

At this rate I'll get PAID to convert my bus! =)
I got ripped off!! I only got $24 for 600 lbs. How the hell did you get $60?
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:34 AM   #6
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Probably a dozen years ago I got a ride in a custom conversion done locally. A double-decker Dino built for a guy who owned several printing companies as I recall.

The builder told me they had put $1.2 million into the build...so far...and that did not include the price of the brand new Dino.

There were more widgets, gadgets and James Bondian doo-dads than I knew existed. The second floor looked like the Presidential suite at some luxury hotel. They had also pumped the engine (a monster Detroit, I believe) up to about 800 horses. The frikkin thing accelerated and drove like a Ferrari! There were three, custom leather Recarro seats in the driver compartment (which is down low on those rigs), and as crazy as it sounds...the motor would slam you back in the seat when getting on the freeway!

Impressive...but I gotta wonder what the final bill was.
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:54 AM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Probably a dozen years ago I got a ride in a custom conversion done locally. A double-decker Dino built for a guy who owned several printing companies as I recall.

The builder told me they had put $1.2 million into the build...so far...and that did not include the price of the brand new Dino.

There were more widgets, gadgets and James Bondian doo-dads than I knew existed. The second floor looked like the Presidential suite at some luxury hotel. They had also pumped the engine (a monster Detroit, I believe) up to about 800 horses. The frikkin thing accelerated and drove like a Ferrari! There were three, custom leather Recarro seats in the driver compartment (which is down low on those rigs), and as crazy as it sounds...the motor would slam you back in the seat when getting on the freeway!

Impressive...but I gotta wonder what the final bill was.
That would be cool but that is also why I don't want to use it in this (informal) comparison.
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:09 AM   #8
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Here is someone's expense sheet they used for their build. They were very comprehensive; I don't count every sheet of sandpaper i use.

taken from: https://adventureorbust.com/2016/04/...-expense-list/

One of the biggest questions we had before beginning this conversion was “How much is this going to cost?!”. We could not find any resources online about the cost, so we decided to make our own for those who are thinking about taking the plunge.

This list is ongoing (since we’re still building the bus) and will be updated every few weeks. If you have any questions about any of our purchases, go ahead and ask in the comments.

See the Bus Expense Sheet here!
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:12 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Where the road takes me
Posts: 191
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466e
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
I got ripped off!! I only got $24 for 600 lbs. How the hell did you get $60?
I don't recall how heavy it was, but I think it was 22 seats? The place I went to took everything, the steel, the wood, the seat cushions, they didn't care.

The crazy thing is, I still have a metal seat backing at the entrance where my hand rail hooks into and all the interior metal to send to them, easily another $10 or so!
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:17 AM   #10
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 718
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 RE
Engine: 8.3l Cummins
Rated Cap: 78
It would be fun to do a coordinated superbuild.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
Add to that that you just can't leave $hit alone either!! Love ya but I'm in the "good enough" camp for a lot of things. Wish I had the patience to do stuff the right way.

I need a mishmash of builds... you and Transcendence or something. You for the whistles and bells for electronics and controls. Mudda for the work working. Turn that boy loose at Hearne Hardwoods with a blank check in his hand.

I wouldn't want to have to pay the bill... hell, I probably wouldn't even want the bus if you gave it to me for fear of messing it up. But I would love to see what the 2 of you could turn out given the creative freedom and 2 years of full time building. It would shame the turn key RV places.
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:42 AM   #11
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iheartbus View Post
I don't recall how heavy it was, but I think it was 22 seats? The place I went to took everything, the steel, the wood, the seat cushions, they didn't care.
"Clean" steel and "dirty" steel... I don't remember the official names but they should be a different rate. 4 cents a pound was the going rate for clean. I took the covers and plywood off. It was only 4 screws and the covers/foam slipped off so no biggie.

Quote:
The crazy thing is, I still have a metal seat backing at the entrance where my hand rail hooks into and all the interior metal to send to them, easily another $10 or so!
12 rows... my last row is a bench that's part of the engine cover. I kept 2 rows of regular seats and the "jump" row from the e door isle. It has little hydraulic arms so the seat folds up. Thought I might find a use for it so I kept it. Still have my "front wall" too. total weight loss was 2,000 lbs but only 600 of that was metal. Soggy plywood floors, bullet proof rubber matting, and covers/foam was the balance.

Working on the interior skins now. Just the foot wide stuff on the transition is 50+ lbs. Haven't gotten a ceiling panel down yet. Pulled one lower wall panel off. It has a bit of weight too. I'm going to guess 300~400 lbs for the interior.
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:45 AM   #12
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Here is someone's expense sheet they used for their build. They were very comprehensive; I don't count every sheet of sandpaper i use.
That's going to be me. I don't have all the receipts but I'll go back and get them from the debit statements of the missing ones.

I'm already $6000 to $7000 in but that includes EVERYTHING. Insurance, tags, inspection, angle grinders, sanding disks, etc.

Nice list.
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:46 AM   #13
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronsb View Post
It would be fun to do a coordinated superbuild.
I can provide the meals. The guys with real skills do a far better job than I do but I can run a smoker!!
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