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Old 01-08-2020, 08:09 AM   #1
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Thinking abt time and effort

Ok so I need some opinions..

I am planning to live full time with 5 (husband 3 kids) we have cats and a big dog. Anyway I plan to do this for at least a year, maybe 2 while we find land to build a homestead.

I dont have the luxury of time once we get the bus. My husband will be quitting his job and we will maybe have 6 weeks to 8 here in the house we rent before we need the bus to be livable.

We plan to do a lot of the conversion on the road but have all the necessities done.
For time sake I wasnt going to rip out all the sheet metal or roof. We plan to redo the floor properly.

I looked into insulating paint on top of the bus and possible insulation and wood covering the walls. This makes me worried abt condensation, mold etc.

I plan on an open concept, lots of air flow. I know how to do plumbing and electrical etc. I wont run wires everywhere though.

Reasonably what can I accomplish in 6 weeks if we full time build it? I'm probably buying a bus from NWBus bc I just cant deal with the what ifs of auctions.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:55 AM   #2
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If you're planning on homesteading then I've got to assume you're pretty hardy folks. You've got plumbing and electrical skills, so that's a good start. Realistically you've got a month and a half of full-time building? That goes by pretty quick, but putting in full days of work might get you to a point where you're up and running. Once you're on the road you'll have a hard time getting RV specific supplies (water pump, water heater, electrical connections, fresh/grey tanks, etc.) so you'll probably want to at least have those on hard to install later. Tanks would have to be installed before you take off.
I don't know how long it takes to gut the walls and floor (ours was gutted already), but it might be worth it to make sure there's no mold lurking in there. We insulated over the metal ceiling and it made a huge difference than leaving the exposed metal. Took a full day to do that. Insulating the walls and putting up the finished wood took a couple days. Putting in the cabinets took a couple days I would guess. Everything takes longer than you plan, and you never have everything you need. Plan on making a lot of trips to the hardware store...that needs to be factored in.
Once the basics are built out you could possibly finish things up on the road, especially if you're camped in a location that's not near other people. One of the biggest challenges will be getting packages from Amazon or whatever...not so easy when you're on the road. Walmart and Home Depot in-store pickup is a good alternative. I'm getting ahead of myself, but these are some things to consider.
If you plan things out the best you can it's a pretty basic concept...the bus just kinda comes together one layer at a time, building from the walls inward to the furniture and finishes.

I wouldn't say a quickie, basic build is out of the question.
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Clark5 View Post
Reasonably what can I accomplish in 6 weeks if we full time build it? I'm probably buying a bus from NWBus bc I just cant deal with the what ifs of auctions.
Based on our own personal experience - bus building & otherwise - as well as reading the experience of others on this forum, I believe putting your back up against the wall of a time deadline is a big mistake. My advice for anyone building a bus for the first time is that if it has to be done by 'X', or cost 'Y', you're setting yourself up for disappointment.
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:38 AM   #4
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This is exactly why I don't have a deadline for my project. I can do a much better job and have more money for nicer build components if I take my time and do it right!

People that try to complete a build while on the road are insane! I don't know how you can even live in a bus that's being constructed. Unless you're just yanking the seats and throwing an air mattress back there.
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Old 01-08-2020, 01:17 PM   #5
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I plan to have tanks installed, plumbing electrical done and some cabinets. Tub/shower. I just meant the walls may be framed or maybe open. We have beds to put in.. 2 bunks and a king mattress. I'll build storage under it. I feel like all of this can get done in time if I do not strip the bus down to the bare frame.

I guess if I can strip it down in a day or so and rebuild in a few days it will be worth it. I just worry abt all the layers of sealant etc .

I have places to park it while I work... family members land etc . I just meant I have to be out of this house and neighborhood within a month or so of him quitting his job bc the rent is high and will cut into budget.

This isnt a hobby build this will be our home so I want it done right but at the same time I do not have much time or money to spend up front. I'll need to cut corners if I build a wall frame maybe cover it in canvas until I get more wood. Idk
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Old 01-08-2020, 02:36 PM   #6
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For various reasons, I'm currently living in a 400 square foot "dry cabin" in Alaska. It has an outhouse and no plumbing (shower, sink, washer/dryer). Other than that, it's pretty comfortable. My monthly bills are 1/4 what I was paying before, the landlord is flexible on the lease, and I can park the bus in the front yard. I don't mind since it's short term.

Rather than setting yourself a firm and very short deadline, is it possible to come up with alternatives for a month or two of inexpensive living?

I've met people that have done the following short term:
-buy a tepee and put it on a lot they bought near work for a summer job

-live in a WW2 wall tent while building a homestead on Mount Shasta

-buy a really cheap trailer and stay in a friend's driveway after selling their house earlier than anticipated

-move into an aircraft hanger and build a small apartment in the back corner out of scavenged materials after losing his job (he was a carpenter so it looked amazing)

-sublease an apartment off craigslist for one month and then a different apartment the following month (he made $200,000/year but hated spending money. Subleases in NYC are half normal rent, so he did this for 2 years)
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
For various reasons, I'm currently living in a 400 square foot "dry cabin" in Alaska. It has an outhouse and no plumbing (shower, sink, washer/dryer). Other than that, it's pretty comfortable. My monthly bills are 1/4 what I was paying before, the landlord is flexible on the lease, and I can park the bus in the front yard. I don't mind since it's short term.

Rather than setting yourself a firm and very short deadline, is it possible to come up with alternatives for a month or two of inexpensive living?

I've met people that have done the following short term:
-buy a tepee and put it on a lot they bought near work for a summer job

-live in a WW2 wall tent while building a homestead on Mount Shasta

-buy a really cheap trailer and stay in a friend's driveway after selling their house earlier than anticipated

-move into an aircraft hanger and build a small apartment in the back corner out of scavenged materials after losing his job (he was a carpenter so it looked amazing)

-sublease an apartment off craigslist for one month and then a different apartment the following month (he made $200,000/year but hated spending money. Subleases in NYC are half normal rent, so he did this for 2 years)
I have places to go (family all over) and my husband has a really good job. We are quitting so we can travel and then settle down near my parents while we rebuild a life from scratch. Doing things our way not 60 he work weeks just to still ask if we need milk or bread by the end of it. I may rent a camper and park bus at campground and slowly build if they allow.
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:44 PM   #8
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I think you can do the basics and have a good platform to work off of in 6-weeks. I would focus on the walls and floor because you need to take everything out or shuffle everything around which would be a large pain if you were on the road and living in it.

A lot of it will have to do with- How you work on it ?
I have my bus in a remote location I have limited time to work on it when I visit. I get stuff done, improvise and make it work. I work like I am on a farm or ranch, I don't go to the store and get stuff I make what I have work, I don't take the time to make thing perfect I get it done. Redneck style.
Many folks have their bus in the yard and have unlimited time to hone, order, craft and polish stuff. Some treat their bus like a museum show piece, that's nice but it takes much more time to work like that.

It sounds like you are a tradesmen so you will have the advantage of knowing how to complete physical projects in a efficient manor.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:31 PM   #9
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I went from seated bus to about 80% and livable in 12 weeks. That includes a roof raise.

To accomplish that I worked from dawn to dusk six days a week. I worked a short day on Sunday.

I also had, depending on what we were doing, one to four hired hands helping.

To be fair, I was younger and healthier back then. I am three years into my current bus.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark5 View Post
Anyway I plan to do this for at least a year, maybe 2 while we find land to build a homestead.
Sounds like us in this regard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark5 View Post
I dont have the luxury of time once we get the bus. My husband will be quitting his job and we will maybe have 6 weeks to 8 here in the house we rent before we need the bus to be livable.
That's uh... breakneck pace.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark5 View Post
Reasonably what can I accomplish in 6 weeks if we full time build it? I'm probably buying a bus from NWBus bc I just cant deal with the what ifs of auctions.
Depends on climate. If you're chasing warm weather you can cut some corners in terms of insulation but if you're going to go where its cold, insulate. Cover/replace the windows. Assuming you wont have limitless funding either.


I'd start this kind of a build with really simple outer walls. Insulated, just cover whatever is already there. This wouldn't be something to last forever, just those couple years. What may help is removing the windows entirely, not just covering them up. Don't run any electrical or plumbing in your walls- just wall off everything you can get away with. Then do the floor after the outer walls are finished. Insulate if you have ceiling height, but go simple. Vinyl or something. Consider radiant heat if cold weather, I live in NH and I didn't. Kinda wish I did, but the floor is not too bad.



Now plan your floor plan. If you're going where it is cold, first thing you should do is place a larger wood stove in the middle. Not a cubic mini, something full sized. If not, start with the bedroom. Put masking tape down on the floor where everything will go. Make room for an electrical cabinet and places for heaters. The little diesel heaters work very well I hear.


Once you know where stuff is going, get skeleton framing up for as much of it as you can, then run your electrical. Just screw metal conduit runs on the outer walls you built with boxes for switches and lights. Decide early on how much you'll invest in that, whether you'll use it unplugged, whether you want primarily DC appliances/lights or AC appliances/lights.


You can also run any plumbing or water lines to the appropriate places. Point is to get it all in post skeleton, prefinish. This will avoid the most redo headaches. Bring in appliances and test your systems as they are installed! If you have AC outlets working, use them!


Finally, conserve your helpers and help funds for the end of the build. Spend it on finishing walls, painting, etc. The raw stuff is up to you anyways. Just my 2c as to how I might do a blitz-build. I've spent 2.5 years on my build, we've just been very thorough and cautious.
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Old 01-08-2020, 10:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I went from seated bus to about 80% and livable in 12 weeks. That includes a roof raise.

To accomplish that I worked from dawn to dusk six days a week. I worked a short day on Sunday.

I also had, depending on what we were doing, one to four hired hands helping.

To be fair, I was younger and healthier back then. I am three years into my current bus.

Wow, that's intense, Steve!
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:04 PM   #12
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I work 2 jobs averaging 60-70 hours a week. I do get lots of time off around holidays and the summertime so I expect work on my bus will pick up around then.
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