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Old 01-27-2018, 10:38 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Skoolie Conversion Timeline - Newbies!!

Hey all,

My wife and I are at the beginning stages of skoolie planning and are hoping to get an idea from this community of how long it'll realistically take to complete the renovation.

We don't have the bus yet, but are looking for a 10 or 11 window dognose. The bus will be fitted with solar, propane, fresh and gray water tanks.

Aside from a few odd end jobs in our lives, we're pretty new to any type of construction/renovation project, but our family is full of tradesmen that can help with the big stuff or any project that's over our heads.

Our HOPE is to have this thing done (or as close to done) in just 7 weeks after the bus is picked up. We will be working on it full time/day & night next to a shop with all the tools we need.

Is 7 weeks a realistic timeline or are we dreaming?

I understand there are many factors that can derail even a well thought out game plan (especially for us rookies), but any help here to better manage our expectations on what's possible would be greatly appreciated!


DiscoMoose
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Old 01-27-2018, 11:19 PM   #2
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I've seen it done quickly, but there were about seven young people doing it. Even they didn't get as far as they had hoped. However, we would be highly interested in observing and sharing as much as you're willing. We can lend a virtual hand of experience.

I've been working on mine very casually over just more than two years. Choose your priorities and try to get those done first, as soon as you're done with the demolition phase. Your first priority will be insulation, right?

Many of us find ourselves chasing our tails and wasting time while researching information about products we want to use. There are to many choices, so it gets to be a process crossed between what we can afford and what actually works well.

You're in the right place because we're all dreamers here. If you've got a plan all made out for your bus and you've got the products you need sitting there waiting to be used, I'd say you've got a shot at getting it done in 7 weeks. And lots of coffee. A few bandaids.

Where have you been shopping for your bus? Don't say CL and ebay.
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Old 01-28-2018, 01:40 AM   #3
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Welcome.
7 weeks?

How much thought have you put into this?

Tell me in hours even with the very best tradesmen you estimate?
This would be miraculous depending on the sophistication of the build.

Who is organizing this round the clock project to co-ordinate so many facets of construction?
Better be a borderline genius.. we have one here to help you through.
He knows everything! Just ask him.

7 weeks gets you what? Something liveable and far from finished if that works too.

It is great fun though making progress.

Good luck.

John
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:54 AM   #4
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I'm just started one.

took me most of a week to get the seats out, floor stripped, sealed and new plywood down. Working by myself
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:17 AM   #5
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I think you are very enthusiastic and that may be what burns you out with such a tight deadline

1 week to remove seats, clean and paint floor, add insulation and a base floor (doubt it, this is very labor intense and will make you sore and miserable)

1 week to prep, clean, remove stickers, sand ,prime and paint outside (doubt it with weather a factor)

1 week for solar and electric (doable if everything is laid out)

1 week for plumbing, hanging tanks (making brackets etc) (doable if you know how to weld,cut steel etc and don't rely on other people who will want to do it their way)

1 week for propane tank, lines and stove/heater hook up (doable, worst thing will be cutting side of bus skirt for valve access and making tank brackets)

so that is 5 weeks of intense work, now we have 2 weeks left for the interior, are you making all furniture and beds etc from scratch or using off the shelf items?

SO that gives you and idea, you will need to make an excel spread sheet or whatever kind of timeline to work this out and keep on schedule

Biggest hurdle I see is this WILL NOT be fun and NOT fun projects create tension and possible fights and a willingness to give up and throw in the towel

I would lot more time and then if you get done early it's win/win

Good luck AND do not use power tools when really tired
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:23 AM   #6
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Deadlines are a bummer. Can cause a lot of cut corners and half-assery.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:33 AM   #7
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When I was in the upholstery game, I did one full custom coach conversion on a 40' bus. Working 8+ hours 5 days a week, it took almost two years. I had help with the AC system and some electrical work. The rest was all me. That bus was tight, airtight, insulated to the max with a load of amenities. If you go simple and light, I think you could have it done in less than a year working full weekends and evenings. Everyone way underestimates the time it takes to build their first bus. I have seen people dump their partially completed projects when the build ran a year or more. I'm not trying to discourage you. I'm just trying to prepare you.
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Old 01-29-2018, 07:36 AM   #8
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:14 AM   #9
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That's a tight timeline, but it's not impossible.
Jeff and Missy Miller from the Discovering Us Bus did a conversion in 25 days.
https://discoveringusbus.com/school-...e-man-25-days/
They also have tons of info on their web site to help you get that build done.
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:52 AM   #10
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I did my short bus initial conversion in 6 weeks. With that said, I really should have taken a lot more time and done a more thorough job. The shortcuts you take in the name of saving time can cost you down the road. THis goes double if its your first conversion and you're doing best-buess instead of using real experience and knowledge. My second conversion is explicitly not going to be a rush job, I'm doing it right, and even then will probably have it done in 12 to 16 weeks of after hours and weekends.
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Old 01-29-2018, 09:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiscoMoose View Post
Is 7 weeks a realistic timeline or are we dreaming?
Howdy and welcome DiscoMoose!

Anything is possible... but... this is a big project. Before starting my conversion, I lived in a couple different motorhomes for a few years so I knew what I wanted out of my conversion and how all the systems worked. That is a huge advantage. I think it took me about 4 months to make mine just barely livable. That included holding tanks, toilet, one plastic utility sink (that was bath, shower, kitchen sink, and bathroom sink), mattress on floor, refrigerator and a couch. My (solo) effort level during this time was about forty hours per week.

I've now been living in it and working on for about nine months and she is very livable (in my opinion, many would argue otherwise) but FAR from "done". I don't work on it nearly as much now as I am "comfortable" (which makes me very lazy).

I suspect if you don't know the intimate details of the various systems, you will spend seven weeks on the computer learning about them and finding/ordering the correct items.

But... as I said... anything is possible! You won't know til you try!
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Old 01-29-2018, 09:34 AM   #12
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I've been working on my bus now for about eight or nine years, and I've only recently started on the interior! I've been making my shower walls for the last month or two - even the seemingly most insignificant of jobs will take you significant time. OK, I'm a perfectionist, but I can't imagine how even the most rudimentary interior work could take less than two months!

What takes time, sometimes much more time than the actual physical making, is all the planning and designing. Working out how to do something, and in my case sometimes having to design and make tools and jigs in order to then make the item, can takes much longer than you ever think possible.

John
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:20 AM   #13
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Much time is lost just figuring out what you need and where you need it.

I'm a few months past two years now, and also have slowed down considerably because I'm also comfortable now. I'm not a perfectionist and I'm certainly not making anything fancy here.

I thought I'd be on the road after the first year, but here I am in my driveway.

There is a load of manual labor in these builds, but most of the time is spent researching and making painstaking decisions.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:01 PM   #14
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And just so you aren't discouraged... in my first weekend my daughter and I took out all of the seats in under 4 hours (65 pax bus) and my son-in-law and I laid the subfloor and the Pergo and built a king sized bed frame.
The following weekend my daughter and I painted the interior and I moved out of my temp digs and into the bus with my bed, a home depot bucket, a bar fridge and a 4' card table as my kitchen counter.
I had my kitchen, couch and desk built by the end of December 2016, while living on the bus, but traveling extensively for work and I took my first road trip with the bus in March (4 months after moving in it).
If I had not been traveling so much and worked every weekend on it, my guess is it would have been about 9 weekends of work to have what I have now. A home.
Sandi
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderWoman View Post
And just so you aren't discouraged... in my first weekend my daughter and I took out all of the seats in under 4 hours (65 pax bus) and my son-in-law and I laid the subfloor and the Pergo and built a king sized bed frame.
The following weekend my daughter and I painted the interior and I moved out of my temp digs and into the bus with my bed, a home depot bucket, a bar fridge and a 4' card table as my kitchen counter.
I had my kitchen, couch and desk built by the end of December 2016, while living on the bus, but traveling extensively for work and I took my first road trip with the bus in March (4 months after moving in it).
If I had not been traveling so much and worked every weekend on it, my guess is it would have been about 9 weekends of work to have what I have now. A home.
Sandi
LOL you've had a village to help you along the way, too, Sandi!
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:21 PM   #16
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LOL you've had a village to help you along the way, too, Sandi!
You are right, I was fortunate
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Old 01-29-2018, 09:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
I've seen it done quickly, but there were about seven young people doing it. Even they didn't get as far as they had hoped. However, we would be highly interested in observing and sharing as much as you're willing. We can lend a virtual hand of experience.

I've been working on mine very casually over just more than two years. Choose your priorities and try to get those done first, as soon as you're done with the demolition phase. Your first priority will be insulation, right?

Many of us find ourselves chasing our tails and wasting time while researching information about products we want to use. There are to many choices, so it gets to be a process crossed between what we can afford and what actually works well.

You're in the right place because we're all dreamers here. If you've got a plan all made out for your bus and you've got the products you need sitting there waiting to be used, I'd say you've got a shot at getting it done in 7 weeks. And lots of coffee. A few bandaids.

Where have you been shopping for your bus? Don't say CL and ebay.
Hi Robin! I couldn’t agree more that we need a priority list to stay on track. I hear you about the research side of things - already falling into that trap lol. Seems like you can be endlessly researching and never feel completely comfortable (esp being newbies) with decisions. The good news is we are currently traveling and have lots of time to research so ive got my fingers crossed that we can get a lot of the time wasting out of the way before we purchase.

Speaking of, I can’t lie... we’ve looked at CL and EB but are more focused on using connections we have in school districts and some mechanics to make the purchase. Is there another avenue you’d suggest?

We’re expecting to buy the bus in April and will find some outlet to share our progress : ) Until then, you can expect lots of silly questions from My husband, Dom, and me.

- Chrissy
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Old 01-29-2018, 09:22 PM   #18
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Your time line is ambitious but perhaps doable.
We brought a yellow school bus full of seats home in March and left for Alaska in a fairly complete conversion July 3.
I was very busy on the farm during that time with spring planting and also took a truck ride to New Mexico so I suppose we worked on it for seven weeks.
Get helpers.
Have fun.
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:10 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJohn View Post
Welcome.
7 weeks?

How much thought have you put into this?

Tell me in hours even with the very best tradesmen you estimate?
This would be miraculous depending on the sophistication of the build.

Who is organizing this round the clock project to co-ordinate so many facets of construction?
Better be a borderline genius.. we have one here to help you through.
He knows everything! Just ask him.

7 weeks gets you what? Something liveable and far from finished if that works too.

It is great fun though making progress.

Good luck.

John
Hi John! We’ve thought about it quite a bit, but as you can imagine being newbies we arent even sure what questions to ask.

Something livable but not finished after 7 weeks would be fine : )

Glad to know you’ve got a genius on standby.
Thanks!
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrico Carini View Post
I'm just started one.

took me most of a week to get the seats out, floor stripped, sealed and new plywood down. Working by myself
YESS Enrico! Would love to hear how the progress goes. Good luck!!
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