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Old 09-02-2016, 06:32 PM   #1
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Looking for info on costs for big remodel.

I'm trying to understand what the costs are to do a major interior remodel maybe even an interior gut and redo.

Also what are the biggest issues that need to be overcome with such an undertaking.
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Old 09-02-2016, 08:21 PM   #2
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Non professional opinion: Quite a lot of variables here. Trailer?
The frame and structure must be adequate. A large degree of water damage and varying degrees of mold would render many "Projects" un usable.
You didn't mention whether the "Project" would have slide outs? These can present significant challenges for replacing sub and flooring materials.
Much is also contingent on the cost of your own labor. To farm it out would probably get astronomical quickly. We'll assume you're getting the "Project" for near nothing?
MH, I don't even want to go there.


Best of luck.
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:01 PM   #3
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This would be for a Class A diesel pusher. This is not an exercise in saving money, more of an exercise in being able to get the exact floor plan you want on a good platform - chassis, shell, slides, etc.

Imagine buying a high end motorhome circa 2000-2006 with 4 slides for $100,000. Then putting another $100,000 into it. Is it possible to end up with something that has all the bells a whistles of a brand new 300-400K coach but with better "bones" for $200K?

After 5-10 years you're going to be pretty far underwater in terms of payback on a sale in both cases, so let's not make that part of the discussion....
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:21 PM   #4
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how much sweat equity are you providing? If you are sub contracting all then figure big bucks, get estimates from people. If you are replacing with new then contact the furniture sites for estimates. If you are shopping from salvage and excess liquidation then do some window pricing. My guess is the ave rv'er is doing most with sweat equity, hence do-able.

If you are starting with a rv with salvage or rebuild title, then this would be a very different topic to discuss due to loan/ insurance issues.
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:42 PM   #5
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Ahh, ok I get you. The OP was a tad vague.
I'm with you on the relative amortized values, these things are definitely expenditures not investments. More importantly ending up with what you want, sounds certainly feasible.
Initially what came to mind was a friend who refurbishes travel trailers and makes a pretty good retirement income doing what he enjoys.
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Old 09-03-2016, 11:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryvan View Post
how much sweat equity are you providing?
Possibly quite a bit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryvan View Post
If you are sub contracting all then figure big bucks, get estimates from people.
I might farm out parts. I'm just trying to understand why the cost of remodeling a coach seems to be 10x the cost of doing a house. What is the significant difference. A class A coach is basically like a house on a crawl space. I must be missing something.


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Originally Posted by kerryvan View Post
If you are replacing with new then contact the furniture sites for estimates.
I can look up furniture costs. I can ask for ballpark pricing on custom cabinet work and counter tops.

There must be some aspect of working on a class A that increases the cost quite a bit. I'm trying to understand what that is. If I had a house of a similar size and asked contractors if I could do a nice custom kitchen, custom bathroom, custom built-in cabinets in a bedroom plus some nice furniture for a 100K it would be no problem. I could probably even have a designer in that budget.

For a class A it seems like all I can get for 100K is a couple pieces of furniture and some appliances, maybe a new floor. No moving walls, no redesigning a bathroom. I understand some constraints due to holding tank locations, etc. But I still must be missing something.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryvan View Post
If you are shopping from salvage and excess liquidation then do some window pricing. My guess is the ave rv'er is doing most with sweat equity, hence do-able.
No salvage, I can do lots of work myself. With a large budget like $100,000 I would think that I would not have to farm most of it out. If there's $50,000 of stuff (furniture, cabinets, flooring, etc) then that still leaves 500 hours of **Highly Skilled** labor at 100/per hour do actually do the work.




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Originally Posted by kerryvan View Post
If you are starting with a rv with salvage or rebuild title, then this would be a very different topic to discuss due to loan/ insurance issues.
No salvage/rebuild title.


My question is really this:

Can I buy a high quality 4 slide diesel pusher coach circa 2000-2007 for $75,000-125,000 and put $100,000 into it and end up with a coach that's got all the features and comforts of a new one that lists for ~$400,000 and can be purchased for something like ~$300,000. In other words, get our own custom (within reason) floorplan and still save some $$ vs buying new. This coach would have a solid chassis/motor and would likely already have hydronic heating. The GAWR/GVWR would support any additional weight expected from the remodel.

At the very least this would involve a redo of the bathroom to make it feel more spacious. This would probably involve moving some walls but keeping the bath same general area in the center of the coach between the front a rear slides.

New cabinets in the bedroom or bath for washer/drier pair. Some effort to be smarter about interior storage where possible. A rework of the kitchen to support a dishwasher, electric cook top, convection microwave oven, and residential reefer. We probably would not try to move the location of the kitchen, but rather make it more friendly for someone who does lots of cooking. Most likely new furniture or refurb existing if the size/quality is right. Carpet replaced with wood or vinyl. Existing tile left in place if practical.

Possibly a reworking of the living area.
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Old 09-04-2016, 05:53 AM   #7
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My problem with your idea is if you are buying used and plan on a complete remodel you are remodeling an unknown. You have an older chassis older roof. All the seals, wiring, windows ,caulking and the list goes on and on.

There is some merit to your idea but there is a lot of risk. Even with service records do you really know how the coach was cared for. I have heard of many people upgrading their own coach instead of buying new and that does make sense to me but buying used with the idea of pouring tome and money into an unknown seems very risky.

If you feel comfortable with what you buy and have the time and resources to make it exactly what you want go for it.
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:56 AM   #8
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Good feedback - thank you. I guess you can never know for sure how a coach was cared for. I made an assumption - possibly wrong - that a solid physical inspection of the house and chassis would expose most issues and and engine/trans/coolant fluid analysis would greatly reduce the risk of a big engine issue. I agree that with this idea if a large issue, bad motor or cracked frame is found it would be a major bummer.


I had not thought about things like slide seals which would be considered wear items. I'll have to do some research to see how items like that get replaced. If the slides have to come out I could imagine a non-trivial cost there too.


Caulking doesn't seem like it should be too bad to deal with - barring a long standing leak which I agree could me a major problem.


Wiring. I'm not sure what the risk is here. I would not go older than 2000 or so and would expect it to be in good shape. Is this somewhere were I need to gain some insight?

Windows, I guess the thought here is just that they are getting old and might need to be replaced and could be expensive because they would likely need to be custom ordered? I assume the primary issue there is double pane windows that may develop a leak between panes?


Thanks again for getting me to widen my view on what issues might arise with such an undertaking.
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Old 09-04-2016, 08:03 AM   #9
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Ok, ignore the naysayers. YOU CAN DO IT. Let me explain to you how:
  • Inform yourself -- Dont make a buy before you know exactly what your are jumping into, both with the purchase, AND with being able to do it yourself.
  • Price -- Is it really of little to no concern? Think of that one carefully. The more you dont do, and the more parts you have to buy, you will see numbers rising.
  • How much work are you willing to put in? -- Salvage titles can be tricky, but you might be able to score one with water damage. if you are planning a complete remodel, you will have to gut it anyways, why PAY for stuff you are going to wreck?
  • Buy pre-made. Lots of RV Scrap yards will have complete portions of existing RVs you can cannibalise... kitchen cupboards, etc. Saves both time and $ when you can just 'place' finishing items rather than building.
  • Understand -- Some things can not change. Holding tank locations, slideouts etc. You will have to re-route plumbing and lines and electrical, but that should be simple compared to what you are talking about.
  • BE PREPARED -- You dont know, nor will you be told, about everything. Have extra time and $$$ ready for unexpected 'discoveries' as you work.
  • Think Auto -- What you are doing has to be both to code, and legal for street use. You cannot load it unevenly, front to back or side to side, or it could become hazardous to drive. Be mindful of this during your planning.
  • Size matters -- the larger the space, the more room you have to design, but how big is too big. You decide.

I am doing a simple interior remodel on mine, not a gut. The floor has already been done, will be painting and such in the next year, mine so far has largely been just fixing existing.

RV systems are not like houses. They have the 110v electrical like houses, but they also have 12v wired in, they usually have solar panels and chargers, and converters between the two. There is nothing simple about what you are talking about. It IS do-able. The question is do you REALLY want to?

If I had the money, my answer would be yes. Instead, Im doing the closest thing to that, with the means at my disposal

Another alternative you may consider is purchasing a coach passenger bus, and clearing and building from the blank slate you are provided with.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekim View Post
Possibly quite a bit.

At the very least this would involve a redo of the bathroom to make it feel more spacious. This would probably involve moving some walls but keeping the bath same general area in the center of the coach between the front a rear slides.

New cabinets in the bedroom or bath for washer/drier pair. Some effort to be smarter about interior storage where possible.

A rework of the kitchen to support a dishwasher, electric cook top, convection microwave oven, and residential reefer. We probably would not try to move the location of the kitchen, but rather make it more friendly for someone who does lots of cooking.

Possibly a reworking of the living area.
I see easy, hard and darn difficult (maybe).... replacing cabinets, new cabinets are routinely done, do a search in irv2 search box above for mods or replace. moving tv's couches bench tables, flooring etc are in the easy category (not meaning easy work, just do able).

moving walls are hard, need to understand if they are a structural member of the rv. How to tie them in, access to frame below and above, may require floor and ceiling work to tie into proper frame members. This can easily grow into a bigger project than anticipated.

darn difficult is if you want to re-plum for bathroom, dishwasher, washer dryer. If these already are plumbed then it is a potential move, if not the starting from scratch. access in the basement may make this extremely difficult. Then moving all the electrical, AC, DC, ac interter power, are all three dif systems. then are you messing with the propane system?

Do you have any timeframe in mind for the redo? Do you have 4 season access to do the work? Just asking.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:04 AM   #11
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Your goals do not sound like a major remodel.

Some rigs already have Resi Refer, Convection/Microwave, dishwasher, and electric cook top. Some folks have already made those modifications.

Limit your rig purchase to those that do or can accommodate.

Some rigs already can accommodate a stacked washer dryer.

Buy one that can.

The bathroom being made larger may be a bigger challenge as ours is built over the rear axle and that may cause some flexibility limitations.

The total space in a motorhome is full of compromises. So something made bigger will mean some other space has to be reduced.

The real answer to your question lies in what rig you will be buying. Once you have a platform, the answers can be more specific.

Just like house decor trends, what is "in" today will be "out" in a few years.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:18 AM   #12
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there is a guy selling the whole interier from a brand new 300.000 dynomax zero
use for $ 6500 all pro removed. as he is doing a full makeover to fit him. its on ebay
right now. so it is doable shop around also many bus conversion shops could do
what you want
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:01 AM   #13
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Ok, ignore the naysayers. YOU CAN DO IT. Let me explain to you how:
  • Inform yourself -- Dont make a buy before you know exactly what your are jumping into, both with the purchase, AND with being able to do it yourself.
That's the purpose of this post :-).




Quote:
Originally Posted by superk View Post
  • Price -- Is it really of little to no concern? Think of that one carefully. The more you dont do, and the more parts you have to buy, you will see numbers rising.
I get this. This is another reason why I'm trying to get a feeling for costs and things I might not be considering.





Quote:
Originally Posted by superk View Post
  • How much work are you willing to put in? -- Salvage titles can be tricky, but you might be able to score one with water damage. if you are planning a complete remodel, you will have to gut it anyways, why PAY for stuff you are going to wreck?

I'm willing to do quite a lot. Time is my biggest issue, hence the desire to understand the cost of farming most of it out.







Quote:
Originally Posted by superk View Post
  • Buy pre-made. Lots of RV Scrap yards will have complete portions of existing RVs you can cannibalise... kitchen cupboards, etc. Saves both time and $ when you can just 'place' finishing items rather than building.

This seems like it could end up being almost as time consuming a building cabinets etc. from scratch unless there are a bunch of these scap yards close by.



Quote:
Originally Posted by superk View Post
  • Understand -- Some things can not change. Holding tank locations, slideouts etc. You will have to re-route plumbing and lines and electrical, but that should be simple compared to what you are talking about.
In thinking about this I've assumed that the location of the bathroom cannot change but sinks and showers can be moved around. I'm not sure how flexible the toilet location is yet. I assume it must be above the tank and there's some way to move the location of the pipe into the tank, but I haven't researched that yet.



Quote:
Originally Posted by superk View Post
  • BE PREPARED -- You dont know, nor will you be told, about everything. Have extra time and $$$ ready for unexpected 'discoveries' as you work.

I get this. I'm hoping to reduce the number of unexpected items by asking around here.



[QUOTE=superk;3239216]
  • Think Auto -- What you are doing has to be both to code, and legal for street use. You cannot load it unevenly, front to back or side to side, or it could become hazardous to drive. Be mindful of this during your planning.
[QUOTE]
Excellent point. I've been looking at GVWR/GAWR of candidate coaches. I also need to ensure planned changes are sane. For the most part I don't think we would make huge changes to the "balance" of the coach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by superk View Post
I am doing a simple interior remodel on mine, not a gut. The floor has already been done, will be painting and such in the next year, mine so far has largely been just fixing existing.
If I find one that just needs a freshen up, all the better :-)





Quote:
Originally Posted by superk View Post
Another alternative you may consider is purchasing a coach passenger bus, and clearing and building from the blank slate you are provided with.
We need the slides. I have access to a PD4016 bus for next to nothing. If I thought I get were I need to without slides that would be in the driveway right now.
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:18 AM   #14
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moving walls are hard, need to understand if they are a structural member of the rv. How to tie them in, access to frame below and above, may require floor and ceiling work to tie into proper frame members. This can easily grow into a bigger project than anticipated.
I've assumed that there are no structural walls in an RV. Based on what I've seen the only walls that would be moved would be to remove some walls in a center path to open it up so that it's a walk through bath with no interior wall in the bathroom. This is usually a walled off toilet and sometimes toilet and sink.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryvan View Post
darn difficult is if you want to re-plum for bathroom, dishwasher, washer dryer. If these already are plumbed then it is a potential move, if not the starting from scratch. access in the basement may make this extremely difficult.
I've assume that moving plumbing should not be too bad, as long as the drop through the floor remains hidden as does the old drop. Most moves that we are taking about are reorganizing vs something like moving the kitchen from on side to the other. One example would be to redo the counters and add a dishwasher, move the location of the sink a few feet, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryvan View Post
Then moving all the electrical, AC, DC, ac interter power, are all three dif systems. then are you messing with the propane system?
I'm assuming AC/DC etc are all doable where the primary issue would be time due to needing to run cables in a neat, safe way.

For propane. We're thinking all electric. The used coaches we're considering already have hydronic heat.




Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryvan View Post
Do you have any timeframe in mind for the redo? Do you have 4 season access to do the work? Just asking.
Yes on 4 season access but not in a garage.
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