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Old 01-27-2018, 10:38 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 12
Skoolie Conversion Timeline - Newbies!!

Hey all,

My wife and I are at the beginning stages of skoolie planning and are hoping to get an idea from this community of how long it'll realistically take to complete the renovation.

We don't have the bus yet, but are looking for a 10 or 11 window dognose. The bus will be fitted with solar, propane, fresh and gray water tanks.

Aside from a few odd end jobs in our lives, we're pretty new to any type of construction/renovation project, but our family is full of tradesmen that can help with the big stuff or any project that's over our heads.

Our HOPE is to have this thing done (or as close to done) in just 7 weeks after the bus is picked up. We will be working on it full time/day & night next to a shop with all the tools we need.

Is 7 weeks a realistic timeline or are we dreaming?

I understand there are many factors that can derail even a well thought out game plan (especially for us rookies), but any help here to better manage our expectations on what's possible would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 01-27-2018, 11:19 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
I've seen it done quickly, but there were about seven young people doing it. Even they didn't get as far as they had hoped. However, we would be highly interested in observing and sharing as much as you're willing. We can lend a virtual hand of experience.

I've been working on mine very casually over just more than two years. Choose your priorities and try to get those done first, as soon as you're done with the demolition phase. Your first priority will be insulation, right?

Many of us find ourselves chasing our tails and wasting time while researching information about products we want to use. There are to many choices, so it gets to be a process crossed between what we can afford and what actually works well.

You're in the right place because we're all dreamers here. If you've got a plan all made out for your bus and you've got the products you need sitting there waiting to be used, I'd say you've got a shot at getting it done in 7 weeks. And lots of coffee. A few bandaids.

Where have you been shopping for your bus? Don't say CL and ebay.
Nobody's Business
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:40 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,730
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
7 weeks?

How much thought have you put into this?

Tell me in hours even with the very best tradesmen you estimate?
This would be miraculous depending on the sophistication of the build.

Who is organizing this round the clock project to co-ordinate so many facets of construction?
Better be a borderline genius.. we have one here to help you through.
He knows everything! Just ask him.

7 weeks gets you what? Something liveable and far from finished if that works too.

It is great fun though making progress.

Good luck.

Question everything!
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:54 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Grants Pass, Oregon
Posts: 41
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC/2000
Engine: 5.9l Cummins
Rated Cap: 72 - 27800
I'm just started one.

took me most of a week to get the seats out, floor stripped, sealed and new plywood down. Working by myself
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:17 AM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: MNT CITY TN
Posts: 5,158
I think you are very enthusiastic and that may be what burns you out with such a tight deadline

1 week to remove seats, clean and paint floor, add insulation and a base floor (doubt it, this is very labor intense and will make you sore and miserable)

1 week to prep, clean, remove stickers, sand ,prime and paint outside (doubt it with weather a factor)

1 week for solar and electric (doable if everything is laid out)

1 week for plumbing, hanging tanks (making brackets etc) (doable if you know how to weld,cut steel etc and don't rely on other people who will want to do it their way)

1 week for propane tank, lines and stove/heater hook up (doable, worst thing will be cutting side of bus skirt for valve access and making tank brackets)

so that is 5 weeks of intense work, now we have 2 weeks left for the interior, are you making all furniture and beds etc from scratch or using off the shelf items?

SO that gives you and idea, you will need to make an excel spread sheet or whatever kind of timeline to work this out and keep on schedule

Biggest hurdle I see is this WILL NOT be fun and NOT fun projects create tension and possible fights and a willingness to give up and throw in the towel

I would lot more time and then if you get done early it's win/win

Good luck AND do not use power tools when really tired
Our build La Tortuga
Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.
George S. Patton
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:23 AM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,530
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Deadlines are a bummer. Can cause a lot of cut corners and half-assery.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:33 AM   #7
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Upstate, SC
Posts: 275
When I was in the upholstery game, I did one full custom coach conversion on a 40' bus. Working 8+ hours 5 days a week, it took almost two years. I had help with the AC system and some electrical work. The rest was all me. That bus was tight, airtight, insulated to the max with a load of amenities. If you go simple and light, I think you could have it done in less than a year working full weekends and evenings. Everyone way underestimates the time it takes to build their first bus. I have seen people dump their partially completed projects when the build ran a year or more. I'm not trying to discourage you. I'm just trying to prepare you.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:36 AM   #8
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,530
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Roll Your Own Build Thread
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:14 AM   #9
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,074
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 65 pax
That's a tight timeline, but it's not impossible.
Jeff and Missy Miller from the Discovering Us Bus did a conversion in 25 days.
They also have tons of info on their web site to help you get that build done.
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:52 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 2,439
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I did my short bus initial conversion in 6 weeks. With that said, I really should have taken a lot more time and done a more thorough job. The shortcuts you take in the name of saving time can cost you down the road. THis goes double if its your first conversion and you're doing best-buess instead of using real experience and knowledge. My second conversion is explicitly not going to be a rush job, I'm doing it right, and even then will probably have it done in 12 to 16 weeks of after hours and weekends.
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