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Author Topic: ANyone out there that IS converting or HAS converted a TRANSIT bus?  (Read 1258 times)
kbunnystarr
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« on: July 10, 2006, 05:55:20 PM »

 ;DI need to communicate with someone who knows, first hand, up close and personal, a transit bus conversion, preferrably a FLxible 1970something, but anything close to that...need to speak about storage and ideas, and a few other thoughts.......anyone??? anyone?Huh?anytakers?   Wink
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grantgoold
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2006, 07:54:49 PM »

My first conversion attempt was a 1961 GMC transit fishbowl. I cut my teeth on this wonderful transit bus. I was able to take doors from a non-transit bus of the same vintage and make my own bay underneath the bus. It looked great and would hold several items for the conversion. AC, grey tank and battery bank. It required a tremendous amount of work to get the strutural stability I wanted. I was slowly getting worried about all the work that it would require to make the transit a good conversion.  I was also growing concerned that at least with my bus, the top speed was only 61 mph. I first thought that was ok until I traveled a bit on the highway and saw how much of a hazard I was to many road warriors. I got more than my fair share of one finger salutes.

I will tell you that once I got comfortable with the bus idea and knew that I was infected bad, I decided to stop pouring money down the drain and get a MCI and play with the big boys (or girls as the case may be). I was also extremely happy the day I sold the GMC to a group of guys who were not true bus nuts. 25,000 lbs of metal is pretty hard to get rid of if the right buyer doesn't come along.

I can only say that I am very happy to be able to call and get parts immediately and not have to worry that something will break and I will not be able to replace the part with OEM. I also had to invest alot of time in learning how to fabricate and the tools to do so.

Of course the major benefit was that I got into the bus conversion hobby with little investment. Depending on your use of the bus and most importantly your budget a transit may work. If you want something that is MUCH more functional I would say if possible look to the more popular and easier conversion candidates.

Good luck!

Grant
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Grant Goold
1984 MCI 9
Way in Over My Head!
Citrus Heights, California
kbunnystarr
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2006, 09:27:42 PM »

thanx for the post..........the conversion is done, 2, 74 gal propane, 200 gal fresh, 100 ea blk an d gry etc, its a full done hard wood nice conversion i got a good deal on............its just that i need more storage..........i opted for something i could still put $ into after i bought and get the way i want/need inside for my biz an dliving , it just happens to be a transit iwht little storage Shocked) so, i need to figure out how to make more, be it adding somethign to the top( does anyone do that??)  or addint storage bays or..............................still lookin for ideas Shocked)
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TomC
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2006, 09:52:15 PM »

I have an '77 AMGeneral transit 40ft x 102" that is completed.  The hardest part is the underneath, and what to do with it.  I think your bus is pretty much the same in that I have 20-22" from the bottom of the floor to the bottom of the body skirt to play with.  To work underneath, I made wheel blocks out of 4-2x4's stacked on top of each other and nailed together.  Then had my tire guy come over and we jacked up the bus to put it on the blocks.  My bus underneath originally was set up-from the front wheels going back-first an empty space of about 5 1/2ft; then the fuel tank with some space on the left side; then the A/C & heat unit with the battery box on the left and the rear door on the right; air tanks then the rear axle.
The first major job was removing the bus air.  I cut out the ducting, disconnected all the fittings, then lowered the complete unit by bottle jack to the floor and slid it out.  I kept the heating coil (which was about 60" wide by 16" tall) and remounted it sideways under my closet in the hallway for going down the road heater, powered with two 14" electric radiator fans (a bit noisy, but not to bad).
The first area behind the front wheels that is just blank, I plywooded it in with an angle iron frame beneath the floor so I could carry my tool boxes.  I ended up with a compartment that is 66" long x 99" wide x 22" tall at the max with access doors on either side.  On the left side of the fuel tank I mounted a 20 gal propane tank.  Behind the fuel tank is the 85 gal gray water tank with the dump on the left side.  Behind the gray tank is the 45 gal black water tank running length wise down the center of the bus with a 3ft x 3" ABS pipe connecting the RV toilet to the tank.  Works well, haven't had any major problems with it (sometimes clogs if not enough water is used, but seem to have the wife trained better).  On the right side of the black tank just in front of the rear door is my 2-8D AGM deep cycle batteries with the starting battery box on the left side.
Probably the craziest thing I did was to mount my 10kw Powertech generator next to the drivers's seat like a front engine.  There is a good space there that required me to just reposition some of the air brake equipment, then make a compartment with 1/4" steel floor and 3/4" plywood sides with 3/4" lead/foam insulation.  What is crazy about it, since the bus has these enormous rubber bumpers, I didn't want to cut the bumper to make a front access to the generator.  So installing it and then maintenence is done from the inside.  Had to install it with a cherry picker engine hoist in from the front door.  Although it is not as quiet as I'd like, if we have the A/C on, we can't here it from the rear bed.
Other concessions of using a transit- I mounted the 130 gal fresh water tank, two 10gal electric water heaters (one feeds into the next with the final one powered through the inverter for hot water while driving), two water pumps, the hot and cold ball valve manifold system under the raised bed in the back.  Since the wheel wells are in the back, I made the floor on either side of the bed a step up (my 5'5" wife can stand up straight) and with the bed raised, the entering or exiting of the bed is the right height to the raised floor.  Then behind the wheel wells, I made trap doors in the raised floor to store whatever underneath.
Just in front of the rear wheel well on the right is my shower stall (36" x 36") home style that is about 12" out from the wall that gave me my linen closet between the wall and the shower that is accessable from both the bathroom and the bedroom, in an enclosed type bathroom.  I have a main door into the bath and also a separate door for the shower stall so two can use the bathroom at the same time.  The reason the bathroom is on the right side is that it is built around the rear outside door.  I have a trap door that comes down over the stair well for normal use, but if you're outside and have to use the bathroom, then you can go directly into the bath without tracking dirt all through the bus.
One other concession of using a transit.  I wanted the electrical boxes near the generator.  Over the left front wheel well I built a wood box cabinet with full access for my electrical center.  In it I have my shore/generator main circut breakers; main circut box; inverter circut box; 12v circut breakes; 2500 watt inverter/charger; 12v master knife switch; and strangely, the expansion tank for the generator in its' own wood box with a built in drain in case of leakage.  My generator radiator is remotely mounted under the driver's seat powered by a two speed 1/2hp squirrel cage blower.
Otherwise, the rest of the conversion is much like any other bus. LOL.  Any questions, feel free to EMail me.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
kbunnystarr
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2006, 10:06:24 PM »

thank you thank you!!! for your post!!!  i am printing and rereadign, mor equestions to come, ;o)  i really appreciate your time!!!!!!!!!!!
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RJ
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2006, 10:48:18 PM »

Kristin -

Send Scott a note (www.dustyfoot.com -  use the "Contact Us" link) and tell him about your bus.  He'll be glad to share, as he has a New Look Flxible just like yours.

Tell him RJ from Fresno sent you. . . and that he still owes me a lunch!   Grin
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RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
Fresno CA
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