The Plan

As I mentioned before, I have spent years learning, thinking, and planning. Some of that is dreaming. Some of that is looking at what other people have done and seeing what I like and don’t like. One of the fun parts of this process is that you can do anything you want. But, that also gives you the opportunity to do things that are not likely to work in the long run.

There are some folks who have done amazing conversions and documented their process and decisions. There are also online forums (See link list.) where questions are asked and answered and much wisdom is shared. The difficult part for me was to sort through the “why” of their decisions. There are a number of factors that go into such decisions. They generally land in the following buckets:

  • Safety – Let’s try not to kill anyone.
  • Cost – How much am I willing to spend?
  • Skills – Do I have the skills to do a particular idea, or will I need to hire someone to do it?
  • Intended Usage – How will the RV be used?

Another important factor to remember is that some of the data influencing these decisions is time-sensitive. As technology has improved and prices have changed, ideas which were not viable 10 years ago might make much more sense now. A significant example would be the cost/efficiency of solar panels and lithium ion batteries. These technologies have become vastly more efficient and less expensive during the last decade. This makes the decision around their use much different that it would have been back then.

So, all that to say, all of this information has come together to create a plan for how I want to do this. Here are the general guiding parameters:

  • Off-Grid Capable for 1-2 Weeks at a time
  • Sleep 2-4
  • 100% Electric (no LP, possible diesel hot water heater)
  • Full-size Lavatory (I hate tiny showers.)
  • Full-size refrigerator
  • Not likely to be used that much in cold weather (unless on shore power)

I will have a separate page where I will list major design decisions and update it as we go.

Here are the two basic floor plans I am considering. I am leaning towards the second one, just because of the possibility for bunks and/or extra storage.

Floor Plans

A couple points of note:

  • The oddness at the head of the bed is due to two factors:
    • 1. There is an engine air intrusion into the cabin, so I have to plan that into the footprint.
    • 2. To accommodate another hare-brained idea (more to come later), I am thinking about the viability of a Murphy bed WITH underneath storage.
  • The missing 5 feet is the driver area and stairs at the front.
  • The dark walls on the sides are where we will “blank” out some of the windows with stainless steel siding (to match the rest of the body.)

Once we have the interior stripped out and a new floor in, we can get real measurements and make final(ish) floor plan decisions.

I actually have a large project plan (a Gantt chart with over a hundred tasks) for the build. I don’t have realistic durations for the tasks, so I have no illusions that it projects a true timeline. However, it IS a good way to make sure I think through the dependencies. This will hopefully prevent me from having to undo things because I forgot something. It will also help me track completion of tasks and think through how to keep progress moving forward if I get stuck in one area due to parts availability, contractor timing, etc. I may post the plan here eventually, if I can think of a good viewable format.

4 thoughts on “The Plan

  1. Well thought out and clearly articulated. You should also think about the resulting book, How One Guy Fulfilled His RV Dream” that should result from this adventure.

  2. Pretty cool! I have always wanted to convert an old double-decker Neoplan the same way. Which engine do you have on yours – the DD or one of the Cats? And that tag axle shows to have some steering linkage – is that just caster, or is there a 4WS unit back there?

    1. There is a guy in the bus community that did a beautiful Neoplan and I really thought about doing one. But they are not easy to find and have a couple serious drawbacks. They sit VERY low, so there are ongoing ground clearance issues. Also, finding parts is a HUGE challenge. The guy that did one had to have mechanical parts custom made several times. He also ended up replacing the entire suspension, just so parts wouldn’t be a problem going forward.

      My J4500 has the DD with the Allison B500. The Js did not have steerable tags until very recently. The E4500s have had them for a long time, but many people have MCI lock them because they are known to be problematic.

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