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Old 01-15-2023, 01:42 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Purchasing & Re-Wiring Used Skoolie

So, I've been considering getting a partially built skoolie, where the insulation, walls, and general maintenance would already be done.
Is there anything I should keep an eye out for when purchasing a pre-built/partially built skoolie? Should I take it to someone to look over to see if they did everything correctly? If so, who and what would be the estimated cost of that?

Also, I'm not sure how difficult it would be to rewire it, (I'd imagine the previous owner did the wiring before putting in the walls). I would think removing just the necessary boards to add/delete outlets and guide the wires would be enough. Or would it be more difficult than that?


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Old 01-15-2023, 10:04 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
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Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
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Engine: 466ci
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Wirestructure: Remove/Replace

I have removed both knob & tube wiring and Aluminum wire, then replaced with Copper, in several residential structures. A few were quite old, predating drywall. Finished with solid wood, plaster or marble walls, which forced me to work through existing holes, utilizing specialty tools & crawl spaces.

Answering your question depends on several unknown factors. Long answer below...

Are the wires in conduit or was cable used? Conduit is easy.

Cable:
If the original installer correctly secured the cable to the framing, they will not be removed easily. Same is true with the device boxes. The method used to secure the box is crucial, the hardware may or may not be accessible from inside the box. If not, removal of the wall surface may be necessary, where cutting nails & screws are not an option.

Look though my Electrical Rough-in thread, in my signature block below. My cables are stiff and secured (as required) throughout, therefore could not be pulled through holes.


Also. How would we secure the replacement cables through a hole? What cable connectors will we install, from inside the box? Conductors flopping around and dangling inside of hollow kindling is a recipe for disaster. Even inside a stationary, slab-build home, unsecured wireruns are not acceptable.

Does installer remember where each cable and staple was placed? We might swiss cheese the finished surfaces to achieve the goal.

With drywall, we cut patchable holes, near the stud, just above each device and near the top (or bottom) of the wall in order to access the two staples, which are required, to remove the existing wire and replace it with new. (The old wire will otherwise obstruct the new).

In a home, it's fairly simple (for an experienced Electrician) and requires one worker in the attic or under the home whilst the other works inside.

No. I would not attempt this method on a skoolie unless all of the impeding surfaces were removed for access.

Maybe we can offer another way. Why will you remove & replace them? What is the end goal?

Sincerely,
Grandpa
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Old 01-15-2023, 11:16 AM   #3
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Location: Rapid City, SD
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Year: 2001
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Chassis: CS RE
Engine: ISC 8.3 L 260 hp
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I would buy a skoolie that already has the outlets and wiring where you want them. Rewiring a skoolie would be alot of work. New wires could most easily be added by running them through conduit under the bus body.

If you find a bus for sale that you are interested in ask the seller if they have pictures of the build. Post the picture here as well as the location and maybe one of the members here would be close enough to check it out for you.

Also check out some of Ross's you tube videos posted by "rolling living" and Chuck Cassidies YouTube videos. Both have vides that show what you don't want as far as build quality and electrical safety.

Ted
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Old 01-15-2023, 09:07 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Well, with those explanations I think I'm already settled on just working with whatever I get.

Referring to DeMac, I'd want something that lined up with the layout I would do if I built it myself. But if that's how much work it'll be, doesn't sound worth it. I'll just have to do what TJones suggested; find one that comes close. Thanks for your help and sources guys c:
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Old 01-16-2023, 08:08 AM   #5
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Location: Grayson County, VA
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Year: 1996
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Chassis: International
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The first option that came to my mind was, are you sure you even need to rewire? You could abandon the existing electrical in place, put blank outlet covers over the boxes, and run new wiring in exposed metal conduit.
Our electrical system is dead simple. We ran metal conduit around the bus (in a sort of giant U-shape) at the top of the walls with drop downs for light fixtures at the top edge of some of some windows and and outlets below that. These are mounted between windows. Not everyone likes the look of the exposed conduit, but I believe its an option.
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Old 01-16-2023, 12:47 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: United States
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Huh, I like the look. I'll keep that in mind.
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Old 01-18-2023, 11:34 AM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayForJohnny View Post
So, I've been considering getting a partially built skoolie, where the insulation, walls, and general maintenance would already be done.
Is there anything I should keep an eye out for when purchasing a pre-built/partially built skoolie? Should I take it to someone to look over to see if they did everything correctly? If so, who and what would be the estimated cost of that?

Also, I'm not sure how difficult it would be to rewire it, (I'd imagine the previous owner did the wiring before putting in the walls). I would think removing just the necessary boards to add/delete outlets and guide the wires would be enough. Or would it be more difficult than that?

Remember that someone selling their partially converted bus already hints (or screams) 'I jumped in without knowing what I was doing.'

From a safety perspective I agree that wiring is #1. There are simply too many examples of rinky-dink wiring out there, and you cannot compromise safety.

Becoming educated on the basics of wiring is essential, in my mind. There is no substitute for knowledge of the particular concerns putting residential wiring in a bus, sizing a battery or connecting an inverter and most residential electricians will not have experience in this. Since you're part of this forum you already knew that, I'm sure.

Having said that, the bigger issues with the greatest annoyance and cost factors are chassis damage due to rust, and window leaks due to poor sealing and preparation. It is very difficult to gauge whether a conversion did this right without living through a rainy season-and if the bus is already insulated and partially converted it's an uphill battle.

If you can confidently tackle these issues, it is also true the used, partially converted bus market is growing and prices are moderating.
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Old 01-21-2023, 04:52 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Apopka, Florida
Posts: 26
Year: 2003
Coachwork: AmTram
Chassis: RE
Engine: DT466e
If your electrical system was not put in right, you will have a high risk of fire. Don’t be careless with this. Also if it has solar there this can be done very wrong and be very dangerous. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, but be sure it is done right.
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Old 01-22-2023, 08:14 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Washington State
Posts: 55
Year: 2009
Coachwork: GMC
Chassis: 3500
Engine: 6.6 Duramax
Are there photos of the build?
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Old 01-24-2023, 06:12 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiyu View Post
Are there photos of the build?
Are you asking me or someone else?
If me, no. I'm just asking as I am searching for a partial build.
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