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Old 06-23-2015, 09:51 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 1
Popup Camper With A Dream -- But Where to Begin?

Hello everyone! I am glad that I found this place, although my productivity has dropped over the last couple of days. ;)

First, an introduction. My wife and I have two little girls, ages 15 months and 3.5 years. I am the proud owner of a 1995 Starcraft Starlounge XL. We just bought it this year, upgrading from a good quality and roomy REI tent. It was time, after a couple of years of camping with little ones. Also, we tried camping with our dogs (95 lb Lab and 50 lb shepherd/mut mix) when using the tent to save money on boarding but it never worked well. Camping with the popup has been a dream come true, but I have more dreams.

My grandfather, who I never met having passed away before I was born, converted a school bus to an RV back in the late 70s. I remember hearing my dad talk about it when I was growing up and I always thought how cool it would be to do the same.

So that's why I'm here. No, I'm not ready to trade in the popup for a bus. With two aging cars and two children still in diapers (one almost out), the funds just aren't there. Well, I decided that if I can't purchase anything right now at least I can learn. It has started by reading, reading, and reading some more. But I also want to work on my skills.

I figure that if I'm going to eventually remodel a bus, I need some skills. Here's my list on what to learn:
  • Welding
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Engine Repair
  • Basic HVAC
I can do wood working, so I'm good on that front. Other than those skills that I've listed, what else would you suggest? Any other thoughts?

Thanks everyone. I've already enjoyed reading so far, and imagine that I'll spend a lot more time here in the future.

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Old 06-23-2015, 11:23 PM   #2
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EastCoastCB's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,761
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
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That's a good list to start with.
You really can do it. You can learn it all as you go.
My general feeling on doing work ones self is that its better to buy your own tools and learn the skills than to pay some idiot five prices to do a half assed job.
The local shops want 600-1000 to do the intake gasket on my truck. Just did it myself. I wouldn't call it easy, but no way would I ever even consider paying some clown a grand to do it now that I'm nearly done with the job.
After this, its on to do the timing belt and a bunch of other stuff in our Focus, and if I can find the time and its not 100+ degrees out, I want to finish up the underside of my bus' roof.
Friends are also an important resource in a project like a bus. They are invaluable.
Having a reliable secure place to park it is really something to look into as well. Have more than one place you can keep it.

I regularly scour the CL ads for cheap local popup campers. Not for actual camping though. I look for the really cheap or free ones for the trailers under them.
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