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Old 02-22-2016, 09:33 PM   #1
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What did your build cost?

What was the approx total cost of your build? Trying to get realistic numbers from those that have already done it so I can budget accordingly. Plus it's just neat to see how much cheaper some of these builds can be done than a factory el'cheapo rv.
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:22 AM   #2
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Location: hills of sw virginia
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Year: 1996
Chassis: thomas
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right now i have an old couch table chairs and camp stove in mine, with tags im at 6,000. depends on what you want, one guy in here spent 200,000. i hope to get er done for less than 15,000.
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:30 AM   #3
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
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i am over $20k and have a reasonably finished bus.
i paid about $4k for the bus, and a bit more than that each year building it
no solar, or inverter.... that would add another $5k easily.

not the cheapest build. most everything for the build was bought new at homedepot. many others have done it much cheaper.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:40 AM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Houston, Tx.
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 84
I'm budgeted for 30k. Everything will be new, except for the bus itself.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:46 AM   #5
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Location: Kansas
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Year: 2000
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
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we're right at about 7k right now, roof raised, floor and walls roughed in and enough insulation to finish the ceiling. We figure another 3-5k for solar and probably a couple thousand to finish out the inside. We had planned a 10k budget, but I have a feeling we will be going over slightly. Prob more in the ballpark of 15k when its all said and done.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:56 AM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 217
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner HDX
Engine: CAT 3126B250
Rated Cap: 84
I will try to clamp my budget at $50k. I'm around 17k into it right now, not sure how I got there and I haven't even done anything to the inside. I know I could have saved some along the way. Big items to come will be aluminum wheels, air tanks, gas tank hopefully, tow bar and hitch, 800w+ solar system with 3kW inverter, diesel cooktop, diesel heater(s) and water boiler, memory foam mattress, train horn, roof rack, HAM radio system with antenna, spray foam insulation, rv windows, main door, ventilation systems, and so on.

Big ticket items so far have been:
- the bus itself, $6k, I overpayed, couldn't leave without one
- getting it home, another $2.4k: batteries $300, alternator $650 (OW), fluids service and electrical diagnosis and solution from freightliner repair facility $1500
- custom cut metal pieces ~$700 and counting
- radiator recore and intercooler rebuild: $2700
- fridge: $515
- front bumper: $2500
- led lights: $600 and counting
- mirror housing replacements: $250
- new air cleaner system $475
- aluminum tubing $350
- circuit board repair $60
- pipe connectors and clamps: $140
- fasteners and other hardware: $300+ and counting
- paints and coatings: $600+ and counting...

Damn, that's over 18k. Now I have a better idea of how I got here. I'm not going to get into the cost for all of the tools because that's not a "bus only" purchase in my mind.

Part of my problem is that I'm more of a gear head than an interior designer, so if you gave me a couch to design, it would probably end up with motor.
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:07 AM   #7
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
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Engine: Cummins 4BT
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I don't want to know.
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:25 AM   #8
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Awesome info so far from everyone, thanks! Funny how all the small purchases add up quickly to serious $$$$. I'd rather spend 30k on a skoolie that is built to my specs and I know is done right than the same amount for a used factory "plastic" RV that will start breaking as soon as you drive it away.
I am comparing a ground up skoolie build to buying a used Bluebird Wanderlodge that is factory built. To find one in decent shape you're looking at 50k minimum, and even then much of the mechanicals and comfort items look well used and dated. Would rather have a skoolie I built with new/like new items installed.
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:29 AM   #9
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Location: So Cal
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Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
As a stand alone item, Honeysuckle Rose came in at between $14,000 and $15,000 plus two E.R. trips for stitches--priceless if you want to stanch the flow of blood! Jack
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:51 AM   #10
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hoping to be under $5500 total for conversion to wvo and conversion to rv..

the rv conversion should be < $1000, bus cost $2100 +500 tag/title so the rv part will be cheap

wvo will likely around 1500 that inclues filtration set up

got a bunch of free parts from my grandfathers rotting camper (propane electric fridge, power converter, switches, outlets, sink, tanks, foam, air conditioner). also got a bunch of free 11 x 3/4" wood..

pics, etc: http://www.facebook.com/AdventureBus2016/
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leo3000 View Post

got a bunch of free parts from my grandfathers rotting camper (propane electric fridge, power converter, switches, outlets, sink, tanks, foam, air conditioner). also got a bunch of free 11 x 3/4" wood..

pics, etc: http://www.facebook.com/AdventureBus2016/
I'll have to start scanning Craigslist regularly for old "parts" RV's. Be a good, cheap way to get many of the needed items as many have mentioned.
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Old 02-23-2016, 04:41 PM   #12
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Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
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Rated Cap: 19
Make your best guess then triple it.

Ours cost 15k including the bus, repairs to the bus and the conversion itself. I scrounged a good bit and got most of my appliances scratch & dent or lightly used.

Not included is the cost to extend our driveway to appease the local zoning people. That was another 2K.

My original guess was 5K for the whole project. What fools these mortals be!

(but I'd do it all again in a heartbeat)
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:59 PM   #13
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: 3800 International
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we have about $12k including the bus, all the little things add up fast, plywood, steel, fridges, stove , furnace, beds, nuts and bolts add up fast, all the wire, hundred's of feet of 12v and 120, light fixtures, led bulbs, plumbing, tanks, toilet, generator , 2 a/c it just goes on and on. Then the upgrades start, new flooring, etc, etc. Then there's all the beer, lots and lots of beer.
good luck
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Old 02-23-2016, 08:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711 View Post

Not included is the cost to extend our driveway to appease the local zoning people. That was another 2K.
Yeah, I've got to factor in a driveway build in the back yard as well. I'm probably looking at 5k-8k for the driveway alone because I need a curb cut done and the driveway will run the length of the backyard. Good thing is it will be less grass to cut
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Old 02-24-2016, 01:23 PM   #15
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We paid $2500 for the bus, $350 for overhauling the engine ourselves (would have cost $4000 or more at a mechanic), then another $6-$7k for the conversion. No solar yet, and we got most of our supplies for free or cheap used. The most expensive parts were probably the hardware and wood, and I'd estimate 60% of our materials were free. Buying new materials our bus conversion would be in the $15k zone easily.
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Old 02-24-2016, 01:41 PM   #16
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Year: 1946
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Actually, this would make a great sticky poll. Indicate a range of purchase price...then a range for conversion.

???
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Old 02-24-2016, 07:56 PM   #17
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Location: Decatur, Illinois
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Year: 1992
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cost to date...

So far our bus conversion project on the Blue Bird of Happiness has cost $8800. that includes a mini fridge, portable a/c (SWITCHED TO AN icybreeze), all the framing wood, finishing wood, stains, brushes, carpet, wood flooring, water heater, some plumbing, some electrical, electronics, sinks, and misc stuff... We haven't had to hire any outside labor but I still figure that the total cost, when finished will be around $14,000...Mainly due to buying a tandem trailer to pull our smart car, hitch, inverter generator and other finishing materials. the bus is a 1992 mid sized blue bird. visit us at www.Schoolbusadventures.com or on facebook.
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Old 02-24-2016, 09:26 PM   #18
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Year: 1995
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Chassis: International
Engine: 466DT
Rated Cap: 65
At this point I'm right about $13,000. I had alot of stuff I used over though. I would say the last couple years its been very comfortably usable. But, I seem to spend at least $1000-1500 a year adding more to it. I really do think its a disease. I'm happy while I'm spending money on it...
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Old 02-28-2016, 06:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHOMBUS View Post
- radiator recore and intercooler rebuild: $2700

- front bumper: $2500
OUCH! Is that front bumper price a typo? That is way off a realistic price if you look at the price of your radiator and intercooler work. A friend just bought a HUGE Chrome bumper for a heavy duty mack and it was like 600.

No bus yet...but planning on buying a better equipped bus from the start. Must be long, a 40ft, RE, Storage underneath, air ride suspension (got spoiled from air ride big rigs) heated mirrors (again, big rig) and several other things that I cannot remember at the moment.
I expect to pay 5000 to 20,000 for a bus, and another 15-25,000 inside. I am considering slide outs and an internal garage for my motorcycle in the rear. How this all plays out has yet to be seen...but all those extra "ideas" add to the total price. So, all said and done it should be about 5000 to 45,000 not including Roach711's formula, your best guess and triple it! Yikes, I hope that is not accurate.
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Old 02-28-2016, 06:50 AM   #20
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: EHT New Jersey
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International 3000RE
Engine: T444E/AT545
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 100MPG View Post
I am considering slide outs and an internal garage for my motorcycle in the rear
You may want an FE if you're thinking about a garage in back. With the rear door, it'd be easier to maneuver the bike around
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