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Old 12-27-2016, 12:57 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2
Hello from Colorado/Wyoming!

Hello everyone!

Me wife and I recently started seriously considering a Skoolie and are trying to sponge up as much information as possible to determine if this is a good next step! So I'll put down all the details and questions I can think of in hopes of getting some input from the pros!

Our plan at the moment would be to live in a converted bus (just us two for now) for about 1-2 years and use it as a mobile office for me and a way to see more of the country! I'm a freelance TV and corporate video editor by trade and a cinematographer so my work benefits from being very portable.

We like the idea of the mobility to get to different job opportunities and contacts across the country on a whim. I also would love to get into selling stock video from our many different stops across the country. The travel and exploration is huge perk for us lifestyle wise.

We're both young and like living simply. We have several qualified friends (home builders, welders, mechanics) in the area who would love to help us convert our skoolie. We've got a family farm where we would live as we build our new home.

As far as bus we're thinking of just a standard-sized bluebird. Most likely a puller as I'm only an amateur mechanic and I've heard they are easier to learn on.

From what I've seen on this page a realistic construction goal is generally more than a year. We were hoping that 2-4 people working almost every day and several more pitching in on weekends might bring that down to 6-8 months. Any thoughts on the possibility of that?

We've heard $6,000 is enough budget for a comfortable no-frills purchase and conversion if you can find a working bus in the $1000-$1500 range. This sounds unrealistic to us so we're expecting to spend another $2000 for a total of no more than $8000. Any seat-of-the-pants estimates would be very helpful!

We think we can find a lot of cheap or free building materials in the area (including solar panels) but will need a good electrical system for keeping a desktop computer safe. A foreseeable hurdle design-wise would be creating maximum storage to bring my video equipment and my wife's instruments. We're expecting to do a lot of compromises on what we take with us haha.

Ok that's all I can think of. Looking forward to learning from those who have gone before us!


- Z

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Old 12-27-2016, 02:42 PM   #2
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turf's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 2,337
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
hey neighbor! i'm in northeastern Colorado, so you cant be to far.

i think your conversion estimate is real low. your bus and a solar kit will run at least that much. but some on here have done it for cheap! seems like there is a big range of prices that people say and i am on the high side. i bought every board and screw from my local big box and i'm in over $20k. i'm finished but still no inverter or solar. it took 4 years and was a pay as you go thing. when i had money, work got done.

having an income while on the road sure will be nice! that traveling on a whim thing has a pretty high price tag. there is really nothing economical about owning, converting and running a bus.

fuel to skooliepalooza and back will be $700 range. diesel is $2.50 ish now, a few year ago it was over $4. maintenance and changing the fluids isn't cheap either.

it's doable, but it usually isn't as cheap as most people think. i would guess your finished number will be somewhere between your estimate and my cost.

there are quite of few colorado skoolies. we'll probably have another meetup next summer. hope to see you at one!

good luck
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Old 12-27-2016, 03:12 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 2
Thanks neighbor! We're down in the springs right now but would be building the bus in Wyoming. I appreciate the info. We haven't started running specific numbers yet so hearing your experience is a big help. Would love to get in on the next Colorado Skoolie meetup if possible. Have a good one!

- Z

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Old 01-04-2017, 12:59 AM   #4
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Yeah. I'm sure I'm in my bus for 20 K by now if I include the unexpected transmission rebuild. Now I'm crazy enough to get a full size one and start over. I love this hobby and way of life though!

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