June 24, 2018, 10:02:58 AM

Author Topic: Cost of Conversion Work  (Read 7559 times)

Offline busdesigner

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2009, 08:57:16 AM »
RV -SAFETYMAN Yes I'm still doing Bus Conversios. Last project I did was to put in a TV lift behind the sofa in a slide out in a Gulf Stream Motohome

Online luvrbus

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19434
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2009, 10:21:56 AM »
Tom, email me a phone number and address I need a TV lift overhead. PS tell Sandy hi   

good luck
Life is short drink the good wine first

Offline grantgoold

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2009, 11:15:19 AM »
50 g may or may not be a good price. I think it really depends on the quality you are eventually looking for. I would contact a few converters, see if you can check out their previous work (or recommendations) and then meet with them to get a realistic bid. I know that with all the work I have done (non-professional) I would say $50,000 seems very logical and reasonable.

Good luck!

« Last Edit: August 12, 2009, 11:17:43 AM by grantgoold »
Grant Goold
1984 MCI 9
Way in Over My Head!
Citrus Heights, California

Online kyle4501

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3796
  • NEWELL in South Carolina
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2009, 12:13:58 PM »
I've heard rumors that a guy hired a couple of shipwrights to build the interior of his bus.
If he didn't like something, he would have them tear it out & do it over.

Final job was most impressive!


But it wasn't his money, it was his kids inheritance . . .  ;D

When it comes to paying someone to do the work, good luck! This custom stuff will carry a price premium - if it doesn't, you really should find out why the guy's time isn't worth more.

Cheap doesn't cost less if you have to redo it.
Is it worth the $$ saved if you hate looking at the results?

Tough choices . . . Good Luck.
Life is all about finding people who are your kind of crazy

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please (Mark Twain)

Education costs money.  But then so does ignorance. (Sir Claus Moser)

Offline busdesigner

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2009, 12:30:01 PM »

http://www.inca-tvlifts.com/   this one has a unit that folds out of ceiling

http://www.auton.com   they are the original TV lift 

http://www.tvlift.com/    this is the one that I used. You can adapt it to come down from the ceiling


  • Guest
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2009, 12:36:45 PM »
I've been watching these posts on this thread, and I have come to the conclusion that many busnuts aren't marching to the beat of a different drummer.... they are just like little birdies. CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!

Try sourcing custom cabinets and granite/Corian/concrete counter tops for the standard kitchen in a 2500 square foot house.

Without an Island, you can push upwards of $100K without going whole hog, depending on how "Custom" you want.

$30K isn't unusual for a normal kitchen remodel.

You pays yer money and you takes yer chance.

Offline belfert

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6023
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2009, 01:00:54 PM »
Most of us busnuts are CHEAP because we can't afford more!  I would just as well pay $100k to someone to do a real nice interior, but I don't have the money.

The kitchen in my 2800 sq foot house cost well less than $100k and it has Corian countertops along real hardwood floors.  I am fairly certain my entire first floor didn't cost $100k.  Sure, you can spend $100k if money is no object and you want Viking and Subzero type appliances.
Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN

Offline Len Silva

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4086
  • Angle Parked in a Parallel Universe
    • Leonard Studio
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2009, 01:17:25 PM »
My only comment here is to be very,very careful who you choose and how you pay them.

There are a lot of people out there who;

1. Are outright crooks.

2. Who over estimate their abilities and underestimate time and cost.

3. Just don't know what they are doing.

So,  get references, itemize EXACTLY what you expect done, when  and  how much.  After you have a contract which carefully spells out every detail, don't change a thing, however minor without an addendum spelling out the time and cost.  If it's not in writing, you didn't say it, and neither did they.

I have been burned a little but I have seen other people charred to a crisp.

That $50,000 can become $100,000 in the blink of an eye and they will have your bus hostage.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2009, 01:19:48 PM by Len Silva »

Hand Made Gifts

Ignorance is only bliss to the ignorant.

Offline Chuck Newman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 99
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2009, 01:46:33 PM »
Thank you for all the comments.  I appreciate the time to respond and the candid information.  I will look at other converters, but the information gained here and some calculator work this morning shed a new and more realistic light on the price range.  And yes, I have seen his work -- very nice.  And I will have a tight contract and scope of work.

Busdesigner, Hi Tom.  Yes Elva and I took one of your classes in Nov. 2003 I believe, at Mike's place in Westminster.  Probably the most important thing I learned in your class was to acknowledge my limitations.

Jim, I hope you've been able to make some progress on your engine maladies.

Thanks again,

Chuck & Elva Newman
Oroville, CA

1989 MCI 102A3, Series 50, DDEC III, Allison 740D

Offline JohnEd

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4571
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2009, 02:39:33 PM »

You seem to have a solid cash foundation.  If you do the electrical and plumbing you can probably "helper" on everything else.  This board has people that have done every aspect/phase of conversion and they liked it and share it.  If you find a concern that "can do it all" you are in a professional shop and you will pay shop rate.  I suspect that is $70 or more.  Try doing this like a general contractor would....get quotes for each stage.  They can't come to you so you have to travel to them.  I have no doubt that there are Knuts on here that would take some of this as a project.  None would do it all but each would beat the crap out of a shop rate.  Take your "concrete plans" down to the scheduled get togethers in Fla and elsewhere and meet and speak with one of the finest groups you might ever find.  Find out what they have to say about your concrete and determine what stages can be done independently.  See who would "like" to do part of your project and when they would "like" to do it.  OR if they can recommend a reasonable shop to do that phase.  You now have a "tin tent" and can travel, right?  Retired?   Have the time?  If you have the time and the money and the min skills and the desire....I think you are headed for heaven.  Wish I could go there.

I urge you to investigate painting the thing outside.  There are posts on here that go through the painting yourself experience.  Out come has been.....near pro job.....a couple grand for materials....lots of work.  Check the shop prices.  You should run into some of these at the meets.



"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Offline Doug1968

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 153
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2009, 08:11:32 PM »

After following stories on this board for almost a year, starting when I purchased my 102A3 last September, I have learned a lot about this hobby that I never dreamed of.

After a slow in start May I am doing my best to keep the project moving forward. I have removed windows and skinned the sides and the bus is currently in primer awaiting paint. A couple of friends and I spent right at 150 hours stripping the bus, adding the skins and preparing the bus for paint. The bus is scheduled to be painted by the end of the month???

I will spend the winter on the inside of the bus with insulating, wall additions, electrical and plumbing systems. I too have purchased components for the inside and have it in storage.

It saddens me to hear or read stories about other bus nuts who either cannot afford to maintain their bus or have health issues that is resulting in not being able to use the bus. Last summer my friend Paul and I went to look at an Eagle that was for sale locally by an elderly fellow that had spent three years completing the conversion. He had used the bus only a few times when his wife developed dementia to a point that she could no longer travel in the bus. He kept the bus for a few more years until last year when he turned 80 and began to have poor health himself. While walking around the bus he was telling me about how he couldn't wait until it was completed and the two of them could ride off into the sunset. Tears came to his eyes and he told me that all his work turned out to be for nothing. At that time bus prices had started to drop and his bus was not nearly worth what he had invested. I left his place feeling really bad about his situation.

Life is very short and I read many stories on this board about bus nuts who are enjoying the hobby and all of the friends they have met. All of us who are still healthy need to stop once in and think how fortunate we are.

Chuck, stick with the bus project and you will find a way to get it done. I plan on doing most of my bus conversion by myself and I hope to complete the conversion for $25k. I have a nice shop for my bus project and I am fortunate to have most of the skills and equipment required to complete the conversion.

I do hope that I have some good luck with my 8/92 engine as I have kept up with those who have/are having engine problems and having to overhaul the engine would be a definite discouragement. I think the biggest surprise I have since becoming involved in this hobby is the high maintenance cost to maintain the bus. Normal things like A/C maintenance, tire replacement and a brake job can cost a small fortune.

Good luck to you and keep us posted on your progress as you move forward.


1986 MCI 102A3 - 8V92 - 5 speed
Vancouver, Washington

Offline Melbo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1203
  • MC8 under construction
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2009, 09:24:29 PM »
Just my opinion mind you but you gotta enjoy the doing.

Building a conversion for some may be all about being done to enjoy it.

I like the building and then a trip or two to see how it all works.

Then a little more building modifying changing improving removing redesigning.

Then another trip or two. I take notes when we travel about what to do during the down time.

WE love to do the traveling and planning I love to do the conversion work.

Sometimes the little things are as satisfying as the big stuff.

Enjoy the bus when you are traveling or working on it.

Just my way

If it won't go FORCE it ---- if it breaks it needed to be replaced anyway
Albuquerque, NM   MC8 L10 Cummins ZF

Offline Ericbsc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 501
  • 73 05
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2009, 07:41:50 AM »
Where are you located. Would you be willing to travel?

Offline John316

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3547
  • MCI 1995 DL3, DD S60, Allison B500.
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2009, 08:01:35 AM »
Somewhere in CA.

God bless,

Sold - MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.

Offline Chuck Newman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 99
Re: Cost of Conversion Work
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2009, 11:37:57 AM »

We currently are in Oroville, CA.  We alternate between here and Sioux Falls, SD.  Have a few more mechanical projects (dryer, air leveling system, etc.) then it's off to Oregon for conversion and paint.


Very nice looking coach you have there!  I wanted a smooth side D series but couldn't afford it back in "04 when we purchased our A3.  I should have waited.  At least I got a repowered unit with Series 50 and DDEC III for the same price as a 8V92.  At 11 mpg, I don't need more power.  Hope to see your's sometime down the road.


Your story of the fellow with the Eagle absolutely hit the nail on the head.  Life IS SHORT.  Elva and I are in good health in early 60's and we don't want to roll the dice any longer.  Hence our decision to let a converter have at it.  In 6 months we can be living our full time dream, whether it lasts 1 year or 20. 

I lost far more money in 2001 in the market and again last year on a "family deal", than the $50-$60K this conversion will cost us in.  I needed some validation that I was going in the right direction here and wanted input to explore all options.  Thank you once again to all of you folks who responded.  The light is now on, and we are moving forward.
1989 MCI 102A3, Series 50, DDEC III, Allison 740D