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Author Topic: have you seen a 5th wheel bus?  (Read 3006 times)
jpridemore
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« on: July 26, 2006, 11:34:40 PM »

I am currently working in Louisiana, FEMA work ya know. I was installing a mobile home for some folks in there father-in-laws yard when a school bus caught my eye. I have been thinking of my own conversion for quite some time, but what i seen in these folks yard stirred up my imagination in overdrive! A skoolie in progress , but with no dog house, motor, and no trans? i walked around the front of this hefty beast and the firewall was probly 3/8" plate steel and a 5th wheel rig attatched.

The question that I have, is this physically possible? I mean with the weights that are involved, is this a capable thought for a F-350 (non_dually) to handle? I dont know what kinds of weight im dealing with so, in all of your collective wisdoms, do you think this is actually possible? When i asked the gentleman about this configuration, he simply answered " I dont know nothing bout all that, I just attached it, I'll figure out the rest when i needs to". Thanks for the help. Wink

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brojcol
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2006, 05:26:57 AM »

After reading posts on this board for some time, I can honestly say that I think anything is possible with the right tools/equipment, materials and an enterprising spirit (or what some folks call insanity).

Jimmy Cool
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belfert
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2006, 05:38:09 AM »

There was a 5th wheel bus for sale on ebay a while back.  It was not homemade at all.  It had a gasoline or diesel motor driving an A/C compressor for air conditioning.  It was going pretty cheap and included the semi tractor to tow it.

I'm not sure what the advantages of a 5th wheel bus would be.  It wouldn't be all that great for a conversion as you lose the advantage of the driver and all passengers being together.

Brian Elfert
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Casper4104
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2006, 05:46:28 AM »

I Googled "F-350 towing capacity" and came up with 13,400 pounds.  Blue-Bird.com says their dognosed skoolies have a GVWR of "Up to 31,000 pounds".  So let's use the standard 150 pounds per passenger times 77 kids and subtract 11,550 pounds and we have a full length skoolie weighing in at around 19,450 pounds.  I know losing the engine & trans would save a lot of weight, but not that much.

People drive S&S rigs overloaded all the time, and Ford trucks are pretty tough, so there's probably somebody out there crazy enough to try it and get away with it (for a while at least) - but it doesn't sound very smart, does it?  Maybe a shorter skoolie?

IMHO-FWIW-YMMV-My $.02

Casper
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JackConrad
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2006, 07:02:59 AM »

I haven't seen a bus done that way, but I have seen several flatbed and horse trailers converted from bumper pull to gooseneck.  Jack
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2006, 07:49:11 AM »

I know of one guy that took a 35ft Crown and made a fifth wheel out of it.  Course, he had a big rig Diesel to pull it.  As to over loading pickups, this is why Freightliner has the SportChassis and why I spend alot of time with RV'rs (none of the other salesmen will work with RV'rs) to get them set up with a Freighltiner M2 crew cab with a Mercedes-Benz 330hp with 1000lb/ft torque and the 3000 Allison six speed.  Then you have a vehicle with a GCW of 50,000lb or the capability of pulling around a 36,000lb trailer without white knuckles.  Good Luck, TomC
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jpridemore
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2006, 08:18:49 AM »

Yeah, I would  have to agree with those kinds of weights involved. I really dont like the idea of upgrading vehicles. See the only advantage i like about it over driving your rig is when you get to your destination, unhook, see what you want to see. But in that respect, we could always just pull a tow vehicle. I do like the idea, and may have to keep that one in the memory banks for future.

As to Brians comment for all your passengers, I personally only have around four with me, Wife and kids and myself. They can all ride in the truck for its a Crew cab. But if I had further plans with my friends, that would be a nice option that i would have the extra room for even more passengers.

After all the comments, I think  I will stick to just driving a skoolie, and towing a vehicle. Appreciate all your thoughts and feedback.
BTW, Im quite surprised to see that there are more folks than I that have the passion for creation of whats not quite mainstream.
Dad always had a skoolie back in the day, simply out of costs. But as all of us children left the house, he upgraded in his mind to the mainstream "deisel pushers". That suites him fine, but for me, I dont want ordinary, I want to create what the imagination brings.

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FloridaCliff
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2006, 09:23:45 AM »

Hi JPrideMore,


you wrote:" I personally only have around four with me, Wife and kids and myself"

Me Too, but once you get the whole gang inside a Bus and your travelling in comfort, they can move around, eat, use the restroom, only having to stop when

the driver needs a break, I could never go back to a towed vehicle/trailer.

My kids want to load up in the bus, never like that with the travel trailer. Grin

Good luck

Cliff
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2006, 10:49:32 AM »

...having to stop when the driver needs a break, I could never go back to a towed vehicle/trailer.

Us, too. We've never even hauled a toad for that very reason... we always seem to want the bus with us, wherever we "tour". We drove a bus all over San Diego (even downtown) last year and everywhere in the Black Hills just a few weeks ago (hauling up to 13 extended family members).

Before a trip, I scout out parking lots and routes with Google Earth, printing out maps and aerial views... and have never had a problem finding a spot to park. And we've always been happy to have the bus close at hand. We've saved hundreds of $ in food costs at various zoos, theme parks, etc. We also have a "home" to go back to and relax or "freshen up" bewtween touring sessions.

No way you can do this with a trailer. Our family is far too "mobile" to ever consider one.

My $0.02,
Brian Brown
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Brian Brown
4108-216 w/ V730
Longmont, CO
jpridemore
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2006, 10:51:25 AM »

Thanks Cliff, this is a valid point aswell. My children love the TT we have now, which i will keep due to the line of work that I'm involved with "Hurricane chasing". But, i like to travel around the seasons even when im not working.  I think the biggest thing for me as a newbie to this is primarily choosing what type of bus I will go with, there are several hundreds to choose from, and several different price ranges aswell. Not tooting my own horn, but i am a little skilled in woodworking thanks to growing up with my father, a master carpenter. But I previously worked in the steel fabrication industry, so my familiarity with metals are fairly good. So i feel that which ever type of bus i choose, I will have a lot of fun with.  I think personally, I will drift towards the idea of either a Bluebird commercial, or something along that line. Dont get me wrong, the MCI's and such are beautifull rides. But I like the idea of a school bus. But tricked up, I think alot of people have the right idea on school buses, but all to many times the project starts and a lot of corners are cut, and it dont end up like they want. Or the scenario where they dont give two hoots about it, and let it look as tacky as can be. "Hipster style". I want it to look racey.  But that is a horse of a different color.

Thanks again

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belfert
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2006, 12:36:23 PM »

As to Brians comment for all your passengers, I personally only have around four with me, Wife and kids and myself. They can all ride in the truck for its a Crew cab. But if I had further plans with my friends, that would be a nice option that i would have the extra room for even more passengers.

The 5th wheel bus on Ebay needed a semi tractor to pull it.  It is hard to get 4 people in a semi tractor, but not impossible.

Kids will have less opportunity to get bored in a bus/motorhome.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2006, 08:09:42 AM »

The 5th wheel bus (trailer) with tractor to tow it is a Superbus. Most of them ended up at Disney in Florida.
Was a good idea, but never caught on.
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ol713
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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2006, 08:45:01 PM »

Yeah, I would  have to agree with those kinds of weights involved. I really dont like the idea of upgrading vehicles. See the only advantage i like about it over driving your rig is when you get to your destination, unhook, see what you want to see. But in that respect, we could always just pull a tow vehicle. I do like the idea, and may have to keep that one in the memory banks for future.

As to Brians comment for all your passengers, I personally only have around four with me, Wife and kids and myself. They can all ride in the truck for its a Crew cab. But if I had further plans with my friends, that would be a nice option that i would have the extra room for even more passengers.

After all the comments, I think  I will stick to just driving a skoolie, and towing a vehicle. Appreciate all your thoughts and feedback.
BTW, Im quite surprised to see that there are more folks than I that have the passion for creation of whats not quite mainstream.
Dad always had a skoolie back in the day, simply out of costs. But as all of us children left the house, he upgraded in his mind to the mainstream "deisel pushers". That suites him fine, but for me, I dont want ordinary, I want to create what the imagination brings.



Bravo;   I don't want ordinary either - - - - merle  (mc-7)
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