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Old 05-10-2020, 09:35 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Buy bus already been built out or buy fresh and do it myself?

Hi all! I'm a single gal and wanting to move into a short bus full time by Aug 1. I found a beautiful 2010 Ford Econoline Cutaway with 167k miles that has been built out recently and has tons of features. The asking price is 35k which seems high considering I could buy a used bus for much less. If I buy something and do it myself I will have to pay for contract workers to help me out because I don't have any tools/ have never done this. What would ya'll suggest for a first time bus owner? Buy something more expensive built out and ready to go or try to take the cheaper route and attempt it myself?
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Old 05-10-2020, 10:11 PM   #2
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If you want to be in it by aug 1 I would think you should buy the built one. Especially if you have to hire it to be built you will most likely have as much into it as buying one already built. If you had more time I would absolutely say build it yourself.
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Old 05-10-2020, 10:18 PM   #3
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I think I’d hang out and wait for the right one to come along, maybe something you add a to a little.. I’m really curious what you get for 35K. My cutaway with zero rust in great shape was 5K and I probably have 12 in it for the build. Labor is expensive so I guess it should be expected
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Old 05-10-2020, 11:59 PM   #4
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My thinking is that it depends as much on your personality and goals as it does on any practical considerations. For me, the project, building and learning and designing everything the way I want, is a big part of the appeal of a skoolie. Like you I don't have all the skills or experience I will need to complete a build, but I'm excited to learn the things I don't know, and enjoy the research and the learning. For others this side of it isn't appealing at all, which changes the equation a lot.


What appeals to you? Does the idea of doing it yourself and building and learning interest or excite you, or is it more the finished product you are interested in?
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:14 PM   #5
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If you must be moved in by Aug 1, then buying the converted one makes the most sense. You'd be hard pressed to find a comparable RV for under $30,000 so it's priced competitively and it would take far longer to convert it yourself from scratch. As an example, the Expedition Happiness couple worked on their conversion full time with a hired carpenter and it took them 6 months. Not that I want to discourage you... skoolies are awesome! But if that really is your situation, then I would absolutely buy the skoolie and then you can rework whatever you want while you live on it.
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:05 PM   #6
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http://cars.ksl.com/listing/6367835#.Xrh97OkABHg.gmail

So that's the one for 35k. Yeah as far as spending goes I was thinking the same thing. I could buy something for much cheaper and probably spend less in the end by building myself but I may not be in in by Aug 1. Also I really don't know if I could handle the project alone- and I would spend money on labor.
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:09 PM   #7
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Yeah I feel that for sure and part of me really wants to do it myself but the reality is I don't have any tools and I would have to rent space at a local craft warehouse to park it and do all the work. Feels like quite the undertaking but I'm sure in the end I'd have much more of a connection with the bus I built out myself vs buying a completed one.

The design does appeal but to be honest what excited me the most is the freedom of owning my own mobile living space and not paying rent to someone else every month.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:22 PM   #8
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I suppose a middleground might be to buy a partially converted bus and finish the conversion yourself or with the help of a contractor/carpenter, or buy something with a very basic conversion like this and slowly tailor it to your needs.


But also, I agree with others here, a finished bus might be the best option for you based on your timeframe. But don't jump on the first one that catches your eye, and don't necessarily mistake asking price for the realistic sale price, many sellers expect to negotiate or are hoping for a big profit and the asking price is more 'aspirational' than realistic, lots of people looking to profit off the whole #vanlife trend.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:33 PM   #9
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Whether you buy one converted or not, you still have to know how everything works, mechanically, electrically, heating,, cooling, plumbing, waste etc.

So if a seller can't explain these things to you, you will be lost trying to figure out what has been done in building.
All vehicles have their own quirks and they can become costly as well as a huge inconvenience when something won't work.


Most questions you will have are answered here already but it is an education you are buying, more than a bus, home, whatever.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJohn View Post
Whether you buy one converted or not, you still have to know how everything works, mechanically, electrically, heating,, cooling, plumbing, waste etc.

So if a seller can't explain these things to you, you will be lost trying to figure out what has been done in building.
All vehicles have their own quirks and they can become costly as well as a huge inconvenience when something won't work.


Most questions you will have are answered here already but it is an education you are buying, more than a bus, home, whatever.

That's so true... and that's why I have my build blog, not just to show other newbs like myself how I did things, but to document everything in as much detail as possible--like what size drain did I put on the water tank? What the hell is this white wire coming out of the steps? What's that blue light thingy next to the batteries? I plan on writing a technical "Dash 1" manual so if I do end up selling (highly doubtful) I can include that as a perk
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TheArgobus View Post
That's so true... and that's why I have my build blog, not just to show other newbs like myself how I did things, but to document everything in as much detail as possible--like what size drain did I put on the water tank? What the hell is this white wire coming out of the steps? What's that blue light thingy next to the batteries? I plan on writing a technical "Dash 1" manual so if I do end up selling (highly doubtful) I can include that as a perk

Well Argobus, your efforts in writing all this tech stuff will pay off in the end. Should get you your asking price if you should sell in future.
I did not do the write-up but took pics at all stages and can show anyone the idiosyncrasies they would need to know if I were to sell.
I just built simple everything but built it for my liking only.



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Old 05-11-2020, 06:53 PM   #12
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That's so true... and that's why I have my build blog, not just to show other newbs like myself how I did things, but to document everything in as much detail as possible
Ha ha, I'd have to delete my build thread if I ever wanted to sell my bus.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:57 PM   #13
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Ha ha, I'd have to delete my build thread if I ever wanted to sell my bus.
Have to change the name too.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheArgobus View Post
That's so true... and that's why I have my build blog, not just to show other newbs like myself how I did things, but to document everything in as much detail as possible--like what size drain did I put on the water tank? What the hell is this white wire coming out of the steps? What's that blue light thingy next to the batteries? I plan on writing a technical "Dash 1" manual so if I do end up selling (highly doubtful) I can include that as a perk

Totally agree with you both, as I see it build threads have 3 big purposes (maybe 4 if we are honest)

1. Document your build to make your life easier down the road
2. Document your build to help others (learn, inspiration, etc)
3. Collaborate, sharing your ideas, getting ideas from others, being forced to explain or defend your ideas and choices ideally should lead to deeper understanding and a better build for all involved.
4. Show off a little nothin' wrong with being proud of hardwork and creativity


And Argobus, you do a great job documenting your build, your thought process, your decisionmaking. I love reading your posts.
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Old 05-12-2020, 09:52 PM   #15
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Super appreciate ya'lls advice and links! I went and looked at a beauty today. Fully completed passenger shuttle with 40k miles. He's asking 40,000. Of course I fell in love with it because it's so nice and has all the fancy features but I can't help but to think I could do it for so much less and it would be MINE.
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Old 05-16-2020, 04:16 PM   #16
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Did you buy that bus? I see the ad isn’t posted any more.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:55 PM   #17
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Any luck in your search?
It took me years to learn what I want, need, donít need, and can afford. What can you do without?. What must you have? So after owning a few RVs and buses and Iíve finally got a handle on what I want. If you already know what you want then either go hunting for it or build it somehow. If what you want is very unusual then you may be forced to build it. Or as mentioned find a partially built bus and finish it out the way you want it. However living in a vehicle while working on it can be difficult. But itís a way to learn a lot.
Personally I wouldnít want a expensive really nice rig. I would worry about it getting damaged. I relax more if itís only worth a few thousand and I realize they are all going to end up on the scrap pile anyway so donít get carried away with it. But thatís just me. Iíd rather spend less time and money buying and building the thing and more time using it. Even if it isnít a showpiece.
If I had me a fancy rig Iíd sell it and buy a cheaper rig.
Happy hunting.
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