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Old 05-31-2016, 03:27 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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No Clue What I'm Doing Here - Anyone from Tampa?

Hello,

I found this website during a search of school bus conversions. I would LOVE to do this, but I'm a single female who is probably woefully inept at mechanical stuff, especially left to my own devices. If there was someone else doing it and you tell me what to do, I'm in, but looking at diagrams in a book - not so much.

What was surprising to me having looked around here is that the actual buses can be bought fairly cheap at auction. That makes for a decent starting point, but there is so much more to know.

I wonder if there is anyone working on one in the Tampa Bay Area that could use some extra help so that I could have a clue as to what I might be in for.

While I see that living in an RV is becoming much more popular, it's still pretty out of the ordinary and I'm a very out of the ordinary kind of person. I'd like the freedom of living wherever I decide to park.

I'll get back to perusing around, but for now, I think this is a pipe dream for me.
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:37 PM   #2
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Welcome and lots of single females have made this journey...if you have the heart...you have the way
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YMIHere View Post
Hello,

I found this website during a search of school bus conversions. I would LOVE to do this, but I'm a single female who is probably woefully inept at mechanical stuff, especially left to my own devices. If there was someone else doing it and you tell me what to do, I'm in, but looking at diagrams in a book - not so much.

What was surprising to me having looked around here is that the actual buses can be bought fairly cheap at auction. That makes for a decent starting point, but there is so much more to know.

I wonder if there is anyone working on one in the Tampa Bay Area that could use some extra help so that I could have a clue as to what I might be in for.

While I see that living in an RV is becoming much more popular, it's still pretty out of the ordinary and I'm a very out of the ordinary kind of person. I'd like the freedom of living wherever I decide to park.

I'll get back to perusing around, but for now, I think this is a pipe dream for me.
Auctions are definitely the way to go.
You can work on my bus for free anytime you'd like. We are in Apopka.
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Old 05-31-2016, 05:07 PM   #4
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Hi YMIHere. It is nice having you here. You certainly found the right place. There are so many pics/videos here to help you learn. There are also so many people here that will help you on your journey. I would suggest that you read all you can and look at as many albums/build threads as you can. Ask many questions. You will get many answers. You really can learn how to do it all here. The combined experience of the people here is just amazing. The best part is that you can do it the way you want to. Just be prepared to do a LOT of work and spend a lot of money. It will not happen quickly. Most of us spend years and actually the job is never really done. You can get it livable/road worthy and then keep working at it. It would also be nice if you had some help. I am doing mine by myself so it takes pretty long to get things done. I don't want to discourage you in any way. I think that this is one of the best things anyone could ever do. Lots of work/money but the rewards will be even greater. Start looking at auctions like Govdeals, public surplus, ebay, craigslist etc. Research different types of buses and decide what is right for you. Then buy one. What a feeling when you get your bus. Look up HealthyPetsBus. Virginia is a single female who is doing three buses at once. We would be more than happy to help you every step of the way so don't worry. Go for it and let the fun begin.
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Old 06-03-2016, 02:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Auctions are definitely the way to go.
You can work on my bus for free anytime you'd like. We are in Apopka.
UGH! I just checked - that's 2 1/2 hours away. Too bad you're not in St. Pete or something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrunner View Post
Hi YMIHere. It is nice having you here. You certainly found the right place. There are so many pics/videos here to help you learn. There are also so many people here that will help you on your journey. I would suggest that you read all you can and look at as many albums/build threads as you can. Ask many questions. You will get many answers. You really can learn how to do it all here. The combined experience of the people here is just amazing. The best part is that you can do it the way you want to. Just be prepared to do a LOT of work and spend a lot of money. It will not happen quickly. Most of us spend years and actually the job is never really done. You can get it livable/road worthy and then keep working at it. It would also be nice if you had some help. I am doing mine by myself so it takes pretty long to get things done. I don't want to discourage you in any way. I think that this is one of the best things anyone could ever do. Lots of work/money but the rewards will be even greater. Start looking at auctions like Govdeals, public surplus, ebay, craigslist etc. Research different types of buses and decide what is right for you. Then buy one. What a feeling when you get your bus. Look up HealthyPetsBus. Virginia is a single female who is doing three buses at once. We would be more than happy to help you every step of the way so don't worry. Go for it and let the fun begin.
People always say I don't give myself enough credit (which is true since I just got A's on both my classes last semester and I was upset because I just KNOW I could have done better). I just cannot see me pulling a project like this together on my own. Putting in a toilet? Wiring electrical. My brain explodes just THINKING about it!

I have the most miserable times with diagrams. Some things will click and some I can't find my way around. I haven't looked at too many threads yet. If people are posting YouTube vids about how they do things, that might help me.
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Old 06-03-2016, 03:08 PM   #6
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Too bad you didn't live here in Georgia. My hubby just died a little over a month ago & I don't have a clue either. Plus, like you, I can't just read and do it. I need someone to be there & tell me how to do it as I do it. Even watching someone doesn't seem to help, it all seems so easy till I have to do it alone.

If you were here...we could take turns reading the instructions & doing the job and learn together.
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Old 06-03-2016, 03:30 PM   #7
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Too bad you didn't live here in Georgia. My hubby just died a little over a month ago & I don't have a clue either. Plus, like you, I can't just read and do it. I need someone to be there & tell me how to do it as I do it. Even watching someone doesn't seem to help, it all seems so easy till I have to do it alone.

If you were here...we could take turns reading the instructions & doing the job and learn together.
SO SORRY to hear about the hubs. I know that's rough. Been there.

Girl! No reading instructions! I'm looking for someone to say, "Here, hold this," and "Bring that over here." That's pretty much how I see the limits to my usefulness. That and, "Are you SURE that's right?!?" Because even though I have no idea of what I'm doing, there's a very good chance that I'll realize neither do you lol. I'm very good at picking up on OTHER people's mistakes, but blind to my own. Funny how that works.

When we get to the end of it all, I'll be like, "Put a Bird On It." The very last vestige of my usefulness.
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Old 06-03-2016, 04:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by The-Breeze View Post
Too bad you didn't live here in Georgia. My hubby just died a little over a month ago & I don't have a clue either. Plus, like you, I can't just read and do it. I need someone to be there & tell me how to do it as I do it. Even watching someone doesn't seem to help, it all seems so easy till I have to do it alone.

If you were here...we could take turns reading the instructions & doing the job and learn together.
I'm no expert on anything but I can probably help you put in an ac unit if I can get up there.
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Old 06-03-2016, 05:17 PM   #9
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Appreciate that East Coast....I think I can handle it if I go with the quick fix of sticking it in the emergency window.

Now if your any good at running electric....I sure could use some major help there. LOL
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Old 06-03-2016, 06:00 PM   #10
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Welcome...

If you can't find anyone in that area. EastCoastCB might be worth the drive. Check out their build page.
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:33 PM   #11
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To someone in your position, I would start out by reading countless builds the (Sky wagon is a great build written out in laymen) until you start to see a pattern and develop the smallest amount of confidence necessary to take your first step. If you bookmark your favorite way everyone does X then you'll have directions to follow! There are a lot of varying levels of complexity to conversions so if you're fine with using water jugs and camp stoves, you could convert a bus much easier than someone with a off grid house level conversion.

If you're unwilling to do so, then maybe you should try to find a guy with carpentry skills and you can siren him into converting the bus with you? Otherwise maybe you should start out with simpler work like converting a van, or improving an RV.
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:07 AM   #12
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Lowes/Home Depot/Menards often have free classes on plumbing, electrical and carpentry and there are plenty of DIY books on those subjects. None of it is rocket science but you do need a good grounding in electrical because of it's ability to fry living things.

If you have a desire to learn the stuff, you will.
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:50 AM   #13
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Great idea Taolik, I'll get it done somehow.

As for starting out with something simpler. That is no longer an option. My husband & I have spent 3 1/2 years converting our bus. He tried hard to get it done before he went & died on me but his body just wouldn't let him. I plan to get her finished out however I can & take her down the road. He would have like that and I plan to do it.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:51 AM   #14
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Don't sell yourself short.

Just think about all the dummies you know that get paid to do what you don't think you can do.

This isn't rocket science.

There is no reason why your first bus conversion has to your last bus conversion.

I know of a couple of people who have had more than one bus over the years and their projects are never finished. Yes they are livable and driveable. But new ideas always crop up, especially as technology changes that necessitates changes. It wasn't that long ago cathode ray tube monitors and tv sets were your only choices. Flat screens are much easier to place and install.

Take some free classes at the big box stores or spend some $$$ and take some classes at the community college. Basic auto repair and basic welding is offered at almost every community college in the country.

Few of us on this forum are experts in all things. Knowing your limitations can save you a lot of time and $$$ in the long run. chris'crown just posted some updates to his build. He freely admitted that part of his project was beyond his ability and paid someone to come in and do some welding for him. In the long run that was probably $$$ well spent in time and materials saved.

Remember, you don't have to have something that looks like it just rolled out of the shop at Country Coach to have fun. A roller paint job, a Coleman stove and lantern, and air bed, an ice chest, and a porta potti is all you really need. And who knows, after a few trips doing it minimalist you will have a clearer idea of what you want your final built to look like.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:21 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAOLIK View Post
To someone in your position, I would start out by reading countless builds the (Sky wagon is a great build written out in laymen) until you start to see a pattern and develop the smallest amount of confidence necessary to take your first step. If you bookmark your favorite way everyone does X then you'll have directions to follow! There are a lot of varying levels of complexity to conversions so if you're fine with using water jugs and camp stoves, you could convert a bus much easier than someone with a off grid house level conversion.

If you're unwilling to do so, then maybe you should try to find a guy with carpentry skills and you can siren him into converting the bus with you? Otherwise maybe you should start out with simpler work like converting a van, or improving an RV.
Love this comment lol. Don't feel very siren-like these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
Lowes/Home Depot/Menards often have free classes on plumbing, electrical and carpentry and there are plenty of DIY books on those subjects. None of it is rocket science but you do need a good grounding in electrical because of it's ability to fry living things.

If you have a desire to learn the stuff, you will.
This is definitely worth checking out. I know this stuff and then I forget it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Breeze View Post
Great idea Taolik, I'll get it done somehow.

As for starting out with something simpler. That is no longer an option. My husband & I have spent 3 1/2 years converting our bus. He tried hard to get it done before he went & died on me but his body just wouldn't let him. I plan to get her finished out however I can & take her down the road. He would have like that and I plan to do it.
Sorry to hear about hubby. I started a post about that, got sidetracked and lost it. Been there.

Well when your perseverance pays off, come on down to Florida. If you need someone to take a trip with you, "you just call out my name....and you know wherever I am, I'll come running.....for a skoolie road trip..." LOL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Don't sell yourself short.

Just think about all the dummies you know that get paid to do what you don't think you can do.

This isn't rocket science.

There is no reason why your first bus conversion has to your last bus conversion.

I know of a couple of people who have had more than one bus over the years and their projects are never finished. Yes they are livable and driveable. But new ideas always crop up, especially as technology changes that necessitates changes. It wasn't that long ago cathode ray tube monitors and tv sets were your only choices. Flat screens are much easier to place and install.

Take some free classes at the big box stores or spend some $$$ and take some classes at the community college. Basic auto repair and basic welding is offered at almost every community college in the country.

Few of us on this forum are experts in all things. Knowing your limitations can save you a lot of time and $$$ in the long run. chris'crown just posted some updates to his build. He freely admitted that part of his project was beyond his ability and paid someone to come in and do some welding for him. In the long run that was probably $$$ well spent in time and materials saved.

Remember, you don't have to have something that looks like it just rolled out of the shop at Country Coach to have fun. A roller paint job, a Coleman stove and lantern, and air bed, an ice chest, and a porta potti is all you really need. And who knows, after a few trips doing it minimalist you will have a clearer idea of what you want your final built to look like.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
Seriously, it might as well be rocket science. I was watching a vid and the guy was under the bus and I'm looking at it, with my mouth agape like, "Yeah. I got nuttin'."

And leave it to me to be overly ambitious because honestly, if I got one rolling, I'm done. I'd be living in that b*tch in all of the continental US at some point I think. Or at least half of them. Maybe ignore some of the boring ones, lol. I'd just want to be free to go wherever. I'd want it to be very cush and cute.
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:45 PM   #16
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here is the thing.. like others say your bus doesnt have to be perfect... I know my bus isnt perfect..

it also doesnt have to be done to take it on a trip just to get away....

the classes at home depot, lowes, and such are great !!

also your neighborhood hardware store.. "hey im trying to drill a 4" hole through metal and wood and then put a toilet flange in... what do I need?

"im trying to anchor a cabinet to metal studs.. (the frame of a bus) what do I use?"

-Christopher
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Old 06-04-2016, 03:35 PM   #17
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I feel bad about hacking YMIHeres post. You can continue posting regarding my situation at The-Breeze in skoolie conversions.
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Old 06-04-2016, 07:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Breeze View Post
Appreciate that East Coast....I think I can handle it if I go with the quick fix of sticking it in the emergency window.

Now if your any good at running electric....I sure could use some major help there. LOL
I live in Winder and travel to Gainesville occasionally. Feel free to PM me.
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:49 PM   #19
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Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Welcome. You know i bought a bus and just removed the seats and put in 2 nice rugs and some chairs and a coleman camping stove and a bookshelf and my tools and ... been here 4 nights now. Better than camping and i love all the light from the rows of windows. It's a bit hot in the mid day so i bring all the windows down and it helps. Not perfect but i own my home for $1k.
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Old 06-04-2016, 08:56 PM   #20
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btw i am watcjing Scoony Doo on a laptop. The birds are chirping outside. One day at a time.
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