Bus Conversions dot Com Bulletin Board
September 30, 2014, 01:04:38 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: If you had an E-Mag Subscription: You will not have to go out in the rain, sleet, hail, or snow to retrieve it.
   Home   Help Forum Rules Search Calendar Login Register BCM Home Page Contact BCM  
Pages: 1 2 3 [All]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Bus conversion v.s. Truck Conversion  (Read 7849 times)
Scott Bennett
Scott & Heather MCI-9
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1286


Scott & Heather


WWW

Ignore
« 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 😃


Sent from iPhone via Tapatalk
Logged

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
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12580




Ignore
« 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
Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
Boomer
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 659





Ignore
« 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.
Logged

'81 Eagle 15/45
'47 GM PD3751-438
'65 Crown Atomic
Vancouver, WA USA
buswarrior
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3571


'75 MC8 8V71 HT740




Ignore
« 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








Logged

Frozen North, Greater Toronto Area
Uglydog56
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 269


I'd rather be lucky than good.




Ignore
« 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.
Logged

Rick A. Cone
Silverdale, WA
66 Crowny Crown "The Ark"
Scott Bennett
Scott & Heather MCI-9
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1286


Scott & Heather


WWW

Ignore
« 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?


Sent from iPhone via Tapatalk
Logged

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
Scott Bennett
Scott & Heather MCI-9
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1286


Scott & Heather


WWW

Ignore
« 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.





Sent from iPhone via Tapatalk
Logged

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
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12580




Ignore
« 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

Life is short drink the good wine first
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 5445




Ignore
« 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.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12580




Ignore
« 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

Life is short drink the good wine first
oldmansax
Tom & Phyllis
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 995


'82 Bluebird Wanderlodge PT40




Ignore
« 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
Logged

'82 BlueBird WanderLodge PT40 being rebuilt
Delaware

DON'T STEAL! The government hates competition!
Ed Hackenbruch
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 2414




Ignore
« 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.
Logged

1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
rv_safetyman
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 2199


Jim Shepherd


WWW

Ignore
« 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
Logged

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
lostagain
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1531


MC5C




Ignore
« 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
Logged

JC
Invermere, BC
1977 MC5C, 6V92/HT740
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12580




Ignore
« 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
Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 5445




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2012, 07:51:46 AM »

I got my colors of the two truck conversions shown mixed up.  I meant the BLACK one is almost certainly store bought.  The silver one looks like it may be home built.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12580




Ignore
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2012, 07:57:15 AM »

Kingsley did that for year adding the Prevost body to his conversions till Prevost would not sell him the body that sliver one has been for sale a 1/2 dozen times over the past few years it is a Kingsley I bet not a home brew lol
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 08:01:19 AM by luvrbus » Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 5445




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2012, 08:02:23 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

How do they get around the legal length limit of 45 feet in most states on motorhomes?  Only three states appear to allow motorhomes over 45 feet.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12580




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2012, 08:07:25 AM »

I don't know Brian but he sells the hell of the 52 ft toy haulers and for you Google guys type in Kingsley RV and see the Prevost body on his conversions he did it for years
Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
bevans6
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4671


1980 MCI MC-5C




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2012, 08:10:18 AM »

They don't get around the length limit, they just ignore it   Shocked  An awful lot of toter-home - trailer combinations are over 75 feet, too, which is longer than allowed most places.  They just get in and go...

Brian
Logged

1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Spicer 8844 4 speed Zen meditation device
Vintage race cars -
1978 Lola T440 Formula Ford
1972 NTM MK-4 B/SR
Uglydog56
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 269


I'd rather be lucky than good.




Ignore
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2012, 08:22:33 AM »

There was a Kingsley in an RV Park I was staying at when I was full timing before.  They are longggggggg.  There must be 10 carrier bearings in that driveshaft.  Maybe 20.  It was ultra high end, had a big outside flatscreen tv and was all leather, tile, and granite inside.  I thought the 40 footers with slides were titanic (I was in a 21' travel trailer), but this thing generated it's own gravitational field.

The point is, I would want to be responsible for navigating this thing around.
Logged

Rick A. Cone
Silverdale, WA
66 Crowny Crown "The Ark"
Uglydog56
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 269


I'd rather be lucky than good.




Ignore
« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2012, 08:33:00 AM »

Scott, this is an example of a refrigerated box I was referring to, also know as a connex box.  Very beefy:

http://www.supercubes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Camoflaged-20.jpg

Imagine it without the camouflage paint or the conspiracy theorist with the horde of guns, ammunition and cases of canned pork-n-beans inside.  Or, maybe, just leave it I guess... The refrigerated ones have insulation and a diesel powered reefer on the front.

Mount it on this.  400 cummins, 16 speed trans, 8x6 wheel drive:  

http://olive-drab.com/images/id_m920_700_03.jpg

It would be an extremely effective boondocking rig.  Lots of towing capacity too.  Not as aesthetically pleasing as an old bus though.  I don't know how many rv resorts would let you in with that setup.  But, I don't know of too many that could keep you out, either!  Grin
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 08:42:27 AM by Uglydog56 » Logged

Rick A. Cone
Silverdale, WA
66 Crowny Crown "The Ark"
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12580




Ignore
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2012, 08:50:45 AM »

I bet Doug is with in law he is not one for breaking the law fwiw Newell is coming out with a 48 ft RV next year maybe the internet hasn't caught up yet with current laws and regulations lol  

What classifies as a RV I saw the fifth wheels at a RV show that were 45 ft long one was 50 ft long now that is scary some old fart pulling those with a pickup,

 The 57 ft trailers are legal in the trucking world but not used much because they are hard to make the turns in town 

good luck
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 09:29:08 AM by luvrbus » Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
Iceni John
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 803




Ignore
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2012, 12:18:27 PM »

Our antipodean friends from Down Under like WORTs  -  Weird Off-Road Things.   The most infamous is Rob Gray's Wothahellizat, and its mutant offspring Wothahellizat 2:   http://www.robgray.com/graynomad/wothahellizat/index.php   Now that's a truck conversion!   I think some of his design details are interesting  -  I especially like his sliding bed, and the overall clean airy look inside.

I also like the interiors of the MAN conversions made by Unicat:   http://www.unicat.net/en/index2-Galerie.html

Without the constraints of a bus body one can make a small space appear much roomier than it actually is.

As Rick says, imagine showing up to a KOA in one of them!

John

« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 12:22:06 PM by Iceni John » Logged

1990 Crown 2R-40N-552:  6V92TAC, DDEC II, HT740, Jake.      Hecho en Chino.     
Behind the Orange Curtain, SoCal.
TomC
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6815





Ignore
« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2012, 12:49:00 PM »

As mentioned, I am converting my '85 Kenworth 90" Aerodyne cabover to a 40ft motorhome.  It is already registered as a motohome.  It has a mechanical 400hp 3406B Caterpillar and I took out the 13spd and installed an Allison HT740.  Yes it does not turn like a bus, but is EXTREMELY easy to work on as compared to my bus.  It is built with 32ft box with 24" tall basement the whole length except for the last 13ft that is for my car-separate from the interior.  The box was custom made to my specs using 1.5" square tubing with 1/8" walls on 16" centers.
If you want to take a look, go to my facebook page-I'm listed as Thomas R. Christman. Good Luck, TomC
Logged

Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
chuckd
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 278





Ignore
« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2012, 12:54:25 PM »

So I have had 3 heavy duty truck (HDT) pullers for my fifth wheel.  The first was a Volvo 610 with an M11 Cummins and straight 10 spd.  Excellent mileage and great little engine.  Next I purchased a 99 Volvo 770 (taller version of 610) lots and lots of room for me to camp out while pulling me fifth wheel in the winter.  Then purchased another Volvo 770.  On the 770's I had one 10 spd Autoshift, and a 13 speed manual.  Actually like the 13 speed the best.

A couple of things, the trucks in some cases are very plush inside, and have dash  boards that are better laid out than what I have on my prevost.  They are safer!!!  The Volvo is designed so that the engine goes underneath the truck in case of a front ender.  You are not the first at the scene.  Very substantial side cut for steering, I could do a straight U turn if I had 4 lanes.  I would need the better part of a foot ball field for my Prevost.

Good idea on the reefer, there are many. many refrigerated vans without the chassis on truckpaper.com.  I toyed with the idea, but gave it up, to many dollars.

Ride is normally good, air ride seat on an air ride cab on an air ride chassis.  When adding a box - you can put bellows between the cab and box and keep the air ride cab.  You can go tall 770's are 13.25 feet high - use it all and do some two story things.

I will find the link later but there is a truck conversion site where people do these things and write about it.  The escapees HDT site is and excellent resource as well.

Chuckd - who will not answer why anyone would need 3 trucks.
Logged
usbusin
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 504


'60 PD4104-4355(sold) Now Freightliner Conversion




Ignore
« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2012, 02:15:27 PM »

My story:

http://www.ustruckin.blogspot.com/
Logged

Gary D

USBUSIN was our 1960 PD4104 for 16 years Ustruckin' is our 2001 Freightliner truck conversion
lvmci
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 673





Ignore
« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2012, 03:19:27 PM »

Hi All, Darcy & Wally from Maine, met them at Quartzsite, fulltime in a freightliner I think it is, did an open transition, from cab to trailer, was originally a entertainers rv, lvmci
Logged

MCI5A 8V71 Allison MT643
Geoff
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 527





Ignore
« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2012, 05:37:30 PM »

Couple of things on this subject-- when you drive a a bus the diver's area is incorporated into the living quarters.  You have a motorhome, not a truck with living space behind it.  The bus is solid and you feel that when you are driving.  You are driving a home, not a trailer.  It is kind of like the difference between a Class C and a Class A RV.

--Geoff
Logged

Geoff
'82 RTS AZ
Boomer
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 659





Ignore
« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2012, 09:14:25 PM »

If you could find one, why not a Crown HPO (Highway Post Office).  Always thought they were neat vehicles.  Front clip is Crown bus, boxes were custom made by, I think, Trailmobile for Crown.  They came in two flavors, 35' 2 axle and 40' three axle.  Air ride, full Crown frame with midship engine.  I have seen two or three really nice conversions.  IIRC, they built around 50 of them over the years.  After the railroads quit using mail cars the USPS used the HPO's to sort mail enroute.  There were also the Brucks built for NP and GN by Kenworth and Crown.
Logged

'81 Eagle 15/45
'47 GM PD3751-438
'65 Crown Atomic
Vancouver, WA USA
Sam 4106
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 645





Ignore
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2012, 07:33:55 AM »

Hi Clifford,

Ralph Dickinson was the builder of Kingsley conversions and JD at C&J Bus is Ralph's son, so I've been told. There was a Kingsley at Central Truck having transmission work done when we had our bus there Aug. 13.

Good luck, Sam
Logged

1976 MCI-8TA with 8V92 DDEC II and Allison HT740
Entropy
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6




Ignore
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2012, 09:13:02 AM »

This is probably the coolest truck conversion I've seen.  It's a home-built box on a new truck chassis using techniques from the boat industry.  Doug and his family (five in all) traveled Europe for 16 months in this rig.  Overall, it's a pretty impressive use of space.

You can also google "shachagra" for some more info scattered about as well as build and trip videos on Youtube.  His rig was also featured on an "extreme RV" tv show.




That's a pretty nice setup.  We are considering something similar (tailored to our unique needs, of course) for our planned full-time adventure with my wife and three kids, but we're also looking at a bus conversion or a sticks-and-staples RV. It sounds like you're pretty happy with the company that built your box, did you consider any other firms?  Would you mind giving a ball-park cost for the box?

Thanks!

-Andy
Logged
usbusin
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 504


'60 PD4104-4355(sold) Now Freightliner Conversion




Ignore
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2012, 11:32:00 AM »

It sounds like you're pretty happy with the company that built your box, did you consider any other firms?

We are very happy with Transport Designs, the owner Steve Mattie and all of his shop employees.  Yes, we looked at other firms in the Elkhart area and they were not a close second.


Would you mind giving a ball-park cost for the box?

Our rig was built eleven years ago and price would not be applicable today.  It was totally custom built to our layout, so every unit Steve builds is different and to your layout and desires.  Call Steve at Transport Designs (570-368-1403), tell him Gary D from California sent you. Steve will treat you right.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2012, 02:32:59 PM by usbusin » Logged

Gary D

USBUSIN was our 1960 PD4104 for 16 years Ustruckin' is our 2001 Freightliner truck conversion
Entropy
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6




Ignore
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2012, 02:03:27 PM »

Thanks for the info Gary!
Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 [All]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!