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Author Topic: Bus conversion v.s. Truck Conversion  (Read 7984 times)
Scott Bennett
Scott & Heather MCI-9
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« on: August 23, 2012, 08:13:36 PM »

I know we are busnuts, so please humor me a little. Just wanted to read some of your intelligent thoughts on a truck conversion versus a bus. Heather and I are considering a truck conversion down the road someday. Maybe a Kenworth chassis, cut and stretch frame and build a box on it. A penny for your thoughts 😃


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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise & conversion in progress.
http://www.scottmichaelbennett.com/p/our-bus.html
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luvrbus
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2012, 08:58:14 PM »

That all depends on the individual Scott I have friends that have sold their buses and bought trucks in 2 years they sold the truck and bought another bus they just were never happy with the truck for what ever reason.

I think they are neat I have a buddy in Idaho that converts trucks he uses the Volvo says they make a better conversions could be price also with him lol
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2012, 09:08:00 PM »

On the used truck market, Volvo's are typically priced under the Paccar products.  I had a couple.  One had the Volvo engine which I just never got my arms around, although I never had any trouble with it.  I converted them to water tenders.  The VNL's turn on a dime and ride very nice, I will say that.
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buswarrior
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2012, 11:04:33 PM »

TomC on this board is doing one right now.

Truck conversion can have some advantages.

Control over the shape of the box is a huge one. Busnuts have to go through all manner of contortions to deal with curved walls, and less than square conditions front to back.

Lots more chassis/drive train choices. Gear ratios, number of gears, tire sizes, number of axles and tires, ground clearance, full frame.

A locking differential, or two and a locking inter-axle... Awful hard to get stuck on the wet lawn again with 8 drives all pulling locked together.

Huge towing capacity, if you choose and design for it.

But you have to build the box, and it takes some skill in design and execution for it not to be a "box" on the outside, if you know what I mean.

If off-road was any part of my goal, a heavily modified schoolie or a truck conversion would be my direction.

happy coaching!
buswarrior








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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2012, 11:52:57 PM »

If I were single, i would pick up an m920 and a 20 foot refrigerated box at surplus auction (that way you're already insulated and it comes with diesel genny) and build out of that.
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Rick A. Cone
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Scott Bennett
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2012, 04:45:24 AM »

Interesting. Cliff and Boomer, I never thought of using a Volvo because I liked the look of the early 2000's T2000 Kenworth's. But the newer Volvos look pretty nice too. I'll have to research that.  Cliff
I really am curious to know what they didn't like. I'd hate to repeat their mistake. Boomer, what's a VNL?

Buswarrior, you said it all. Getting the box to integrate with a sleeper cab with full fairing will be hard for sure. But some have done it amazingly well.

Uglydog, I was trying to find out more info on refrigerated boxes. What are they made of? Are they pretty tough?


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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise & conversion in progress.
http://www.scottmichaelbennett.com/p/our-bus.html
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Scott Bennett
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2012, 05:00:24 AM »

Never mind the VNL question. It's a Volvo truck model. Here's a couple of interesting conversions. The silver one appears to be a Prevost bus mounted on a truck chassis. Very cool.





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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise & conversion in progress.
http://www.scottmichaelbennett.com/p/our-bus.html
˙ǝɯoɔlǝʍ suoıʇɐuop ˙snq ʍǝu ɐ pǝǝu ʎlqɐqoɹd ll,ǝʍ 'sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı
luvrbus
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2012, 05:56:34 AM »

Scott both friends never cared for the over hang ,turning radius, and the wasted space up front that's all they ever told me,

Oops forgot about their biggest complaint was entering and leaving the coach being up in age it was almost impossible for them to use the truck doors   .

Our buddy Jim here (the rv safety guy) he had a truck so he knows the ups and downs having been there.

Looks like TomC's cab over would have some advantages over conventional trucks converisions if he can make it ride smooths  those types ride a little rough sitting over the front wheel  

Check out my friends truck conversions in Idaho  www.powerhousecoach.com

good luck
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 06:59:57 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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belfert
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2012, 06:22:42 AM »

The silver truck conversion is almost certainly store bought.

Advantages:

Easy to work on engine.  Any truck shop can fix.
More control on the house portion.  Can be as tall as you want.  Inside can be square.
Engine often has more horsepower than bus and almost always 4 stroke.
Most trucks will be a lot newer than the buses most convert.
Most will have manual transmission with many gears (Also a disadvantage).
No having to worry about rear access hatches or working around engine hump.
Safer for driver with engine out front.  May have driver air bag(s).
Fewer issues with trailer towing with full frame.

Disadvantages:

Engine will likely have electronics.
No 2 strokes if you like them unless you go really old.
Most will have manual transmission or Autoshift with clutch.
Less space for living quarters.
Driving area is very truck like and not like a motorhome.
The living quarters will not be crash tested like a bus.
Living quarters will likely not be as strong as bus in accident.
Must build your own basement and frame rails will eat up space.

The biggest issue for me is the shorter living quarters.  I have at least 35 feet of flat usable space in my bus.  I think it would be hard to get that much usable space in a truck conversion as the truck cab and engine will probably take up more than 10 feet of the 45 foot length limit.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
luvrbus
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2012, 06:28:20 AM »

The sliver one is a Kingsley they been around awhile till they went broke manufactured in Mn I think the owner had ties with C and J bus there also not sure what they were but some connection

good luck
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 07:17:55 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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oldmansax
Tom & Phyllis
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2012, 06:33:50 AM »

If I had the time, I would find a needle-nose Pete or an old Autocar & cut the frame behind the cab. Fab it up to the front of my Bluebird. I figure the drive shaft would be difficult but doable. Remove the 'Bird engine & turn the rear axle over to face the front. Put the genny where the engine was & use the rest of the space for storage. Bluebirds have a full frame so it wouldn't be too hard.

The problem is the name......

"Peterbird"
"Autobird"
"Bluecar"
"None Such"

 Grin Grin Grin

TOM
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2012, 06:39:59 AM »

During the winter in Yuma there is a red one that looks a lot like the silver one. I talked to somebody that knows the guy and he said that the guy did all of the work himself.
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2012, 07:00:39 AM »

As Clifford mentioned, I built a toter home on a class 7 truck.  Almost no comparison to the units pictured here.  The class 7 was underpowered (DT466) for the weight.  While I added air suspension to both the front and rear, it still rode pretty rough.  I suspect the newer trucks ride better.  That said, some of the smooth ride is because of air ride cabs.

I often have the same debate.  If I won the loto, what would I do?  As has been noted, you loose some living space, but the engine/transmission options/location is a big plus.  Obviously cooling is better as well.  As Brian mentioned, you are safer as a driver.

I did an install on a truck/motorhome (probably the largest manufacturer) and was not impressed with the construction. 

I do like the full frame for pulling a big trailer.  The negative of that is that you do not have big bays for stuff.

As is generally the case, there are compromises with each approach.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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lostagain
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2012, 07:32:54 AM »

I am an old bus driver. I like MCIs because that is what we drove back then, what I "grew up with" sort of. So I enjoy my MCI. I like the smooth ride, the space, and the bus feel. It is a personal thing. It's like TomC being an old trucker is going for a truck conversion. Wherever your passion takes you.

JC
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JC
Invermere, BC
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luvrbus
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2012, 07:50:35 AM »

I don't think living space is a problem it is the lost space they can build a truck conversion up to 52 ft long by law Dougie tells me can't do that with a bus

good luck
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