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Old 10-01-2021, 10:23 PM   #1
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Howdy! What are the essential skills?

Iíve been intrigued with skoolies off and on for years. Iím a fairly handy person but Iím not really sure a DIY skoolie is practical for me or not.

What are the essential skills for doing a conversion? Iíll definitely have to have someone do engine and similar mechanicals, but fortunately my best friendís hubby is a diesel mechanic (most of our locally available buses are diesel) and actually worked for a time as a mechanic for the district. 😂 Iíll have to pay him but Iím sure I can work that part out and maybe get some edumacation on how to do minor work in the future. Hopefully will find a bus that doesnít need a crap ton of workÖif I go this route.

So, what are your absolutely essential skills to make a conversion feasible? What skills are on your would be really nice to have but you can do without, if you have to?

Thanks!

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Old 10-01-2021, 10:36 PM   #2
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The first one is humility. Being willing to listen to others that have traveled this path. Patience will also be needed too. Can't get in a hurry. The rest you can learn along the way.
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Old 10-01-2021, 10:47 PM   #3
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What are the essential skills?
Stupidity, and persistence in the face of apparent catastrophe.
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Old 10-02-2021, 11:42 AM   #4
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Based on what you've said you probably only need one skill--that of being able to repeatedly write, sign and cover very large checks. I'd suggest you find a completed skoolie you think you could live with and hire your GF's diesel mechanic husband to check it out for you.
Jack
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Old 10-02-2021, 03:33 PM   #5
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Patience, electrical troubleshooting, knowledge of wiring, having a garage full of tools ..
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Old 10-02-2021, 04:15 PM   #6
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Some of the previous answers have focused on personal traits rather than skills. I think it's because the real answer to your question is "every skill". You would ideally be an expert plumber, electrician, mechanic, carpenter, welder, architect, etc. before you start. Since (almost) nobody has all those skillsets, it's more useful to identify the personal qualities that may help you from going insane along the way.

In addition to everything already mentioned, I would add that if you plan on doing much of the work yourself, it really helps if you enjoy solving problems and learning new things. If several years of research, asking questions, and watching YouTube How-to videos sounds exciting, then you're in the right place. If that all sounds like a dreadful chore, then ol trunt's checkbook idea might be your best bet.
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Old 10-02-2021, 04:25 PM   #7
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You have some skills that can be utilized and glean your friends for the rest You'll be a handy person to have around when your finished.
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:04 PM   #8
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Hi there DianaJo. I too am a pretty "handy person" as a rule. I really have very little mechanical knowledge and will absolutely be servicing my bus at a mechanic. I will hopefully be proactive with maintenance and fair well on the road. It is not real for me to learn diesel mechanics at this point in my life. As far as the build, I am using some previous life skills, common sense, and lots of reading and listening. Combine that with persistence, patience, and a whole lot of faith in myself and it WILL come together. It will not be of the caliber of many of the fantastic builds that i see here, but it will be mine. I will own the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hopefully can hide some of the ugly. My advice is to look at what you really want in your heart. If the timeline and finances allow, I say go for it. Just keep the expectations real. Best wishes, Elizabeth.
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Old 10-05-2021, 11:37 AM   #9
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Electrical knowledge:
DC electrical theory
How to SAFELY use a digital multimeter
Troubleshooting (understand cause and effect electrically)
How to read a wiring schematic (specifically the one for your vehicle)
How to check fuses
Solar power wiring
AC to DC conversion and DC to AC conversion
Ohms law equations

This would be some examples of whatís good to know electrically , itís not exhaustive or meant to be overwhelming, any of those topics can easily be searched and you will be able to find pages of YouTube videos or other tutorials. Your mechanic can even show you how to do some of that stuff. There will be similar lists for plumbing and structural knowledge. A lot of what you learn will be experiential and you will learn what you need to know for your specific bus. None of this is out of the realm of possibility and remember what Musashi said: ď when you learn the way broadly you will see it in all thingsĒ or more specifically the more you learn about the more you will notice similarities to other things that you learn.
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Old 10-05-2021, 03:24 PM   #10
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In addition to everything already mentioned, I would add that if you plan on doing much of the work yourself, it really helps if you enjoy solving problems and learning new things. If several years of research, asking questions, and watching YouTube How-to videos sounds exciting, then you're in the right place. If that all sounds like a dreadful chore, then ol trunt's checkbook idea might be your best bet.
Agreed. For absolute beginners, the key skill is enjoying the challenge of learning as you go. You will spend a lot of time becoming knowledgeable about plumbing, carpentry, electrical, to the degree that your bus conversion requires.

The second key skill is dogged persistence.

I would add a third key skill is the ability to keep the build simple as possible to shorten the time from plunking down the cash on a bus to first overnight trip. This means phasing the work so you get the basics in, with room to add or expand the conversion work without ripping things out.
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Old 10-05-2021, 05:48 PM   #11
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The first one is humility. Being willing to listen to others that have traveled this path. Patience will also be needed too. Can't get in a hurry. The rest you can learn along the way.
This is probably the best advice. Know your limitations and don't be afraid to ask questions.
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Old 10-24-2021, 08:03 PM   #12
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Based on what you've said you probably only need one skill--that of being able to repeatedly write, sign and cover very large checks. I'd suggest you find a completed skoolie you think you could live with and hire your GF's diesel mechanic husband to check it out for you.
Jack
Dear Multi-Geek,


Wait! Can I comment on that reply? You see, I am hoping to buy a short bus, hoping to find a Collins, 4 or 5 window bus with a Chevy 6 liter diesel engine or similar. I know very little about mechanical/electrical/conversion in general. But I do know how to tent camp and live anywhere with everything on my back. Would not a bus that I have paid to be checkout out before buying, my porta potty, ice chest, and my mattrress be fine for now?


I was hoping to start there and paycheck by paycheck build on over the years.


What do you think?


signed,
gotta get outta here/away from this concrete city.....
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Old 10-25-2021, 02:37 AM   #13
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Dear Multi-Geek,


Wait! Can I comment on that reply? You see, I am hoping to buy a short bus, hoping to find a Collins, 4 or 5 window bus with a Chevy 6 liter diesel engine or similar. I know very little about mechanical/electrical/conversion in general. But I do know how to tent camp and live anywhere with everything on my back. Would not a bus that I have paid to be checkout out before buying, my porta potty, ice chest, and my mattrress be fine for now?


I was hoping to start there and paycheck by paycheck build on over the years.


What do you think?


signed,
gotta get outta here/away from this concrete city.....
Stay positive. There's a lot of misc expenses involved in owning a bus but you can do it if you're determined and resourceful.
Happy traveling
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:46 AM   #14
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Dear Multi-Geek,
Wait, was this directed to me? If so, that's the best misspelling of my username yet!
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Old 10-31-2021, 09:02 AM   #15
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...what...skills to make a conversion...
.
Imagination.
Observation.
Ears open, mouth shut.
Sense of humor.
Sense of wonder.
.
Tiny steps in tiny stages... instead of diving into TheDeepEnd, then discovering a sense of over-whelmed.
.
My skill is networking, bringing people together, talking with anybody about anything.
.
Explorer nature.
One of my hobbies is walking wrecking-yards (aka 'vehicle dismantlers').
I am fascinated by the ways vehicles burn, wreck, wear out.
.
Among my top five 'absolutely essential' skills:
"I do not know how to do this. Who can I ask for help?"
.
I tend to see any vehicle as a potential home:
* Toyota Pry-us?
* Walk-in work van?
* Semi-trailer delivering soda-pops?
* House-boat, barge, tug, ferry?
.
I seem to possess a cold calculated sense of impending disaster.
This helps me assess a project as financially-feasible or a money-losing hobby.
Hint -- each has its time/place...
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