Bus Conversions dot Com Bulletin Board
August 20, 2014, 05:36:35 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: If you had an E-Mag Subscription: By clicking on any ad, a hotlink takes you directly to the advertiserís website.
   Home   Help Forum Rules Search Calendar Login Register BCM Home Page Contact BCM  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Ok.... Am I crazy, or just in over my head? [LONG]  (Read 1293 times)
WHT_WS_I_THNKNG
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2




Ignore
« on: June 23, 2008, 11:38:00 PM »

Boy am I glad to know I'm not the only one who's had this idea! Ok, first things first...

I have already bought an old school bus that I am using long-term as a surveillance shack to monitor a piece of property for an associate of mine, but I've been bitten by the bug at some point, I guess because I was spending so much time in the thing. I looked around one day and thought, "It's already gutted for one purpose, how logical of a step could it be?" I can't seem to find much info on the specifics of conversion, however.

Currently, some basic amenities have been added to facilitate the original intended use, such as a small dorm-style refrigerator for keeping water and snacks cold, as well as insulation and an air-conditioner to keep the video surveillance system from overheating, and a small electric heater to keep from freezing during my time there in the winter.

I know that this idea will likely require anything and everything currently done and in place to be scrapped, as none of the current equipment was designed to be used in an RV. So, I am asking a general question of all who have converted this type of bus. How much money, time and work does it typically take to do it correctly, and nicely? I have found a few links on the web, but nothing that really explains the hows and whys.

For those who might need specifics to offer advice, my bus is an 35-foot Blue Bird 65-passenger school bus built on an '89 Ford F700 chassis, probably considered a baby by some of the more seasoned folks on here. It has a 23,400 GVW, with a gas 429, hydraulic brakes and a 4-speed manual, so it does not require a CDL (fortunately). I know from a friend who used to drive school buses for the local school system that this one is kind of overbuilt for its original purpose, so should I be particularly concerned with weight? The basic measurements I have taken to facilitate this idea, should I choose to pursue it, are as follows:

Driver's Seat To Rear Door : 26' 0"
               Floor To Ceiling :   6' 0"
                  Interior Width :   7' 6"

Am I crazy for considering converting this type of bus? Is it feasible? Or should I forget it?
Logged
WEC4104
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 779





Ignore
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2008, 05:36:33 AM »

Providing a reasonably complete answer to your question would take volumes, but I'll throw out several quick comments...

1) Doing it "correctly and nicely" is pretty open-ended and will mean different things to different people.  Currently, it sounds like you are getting by with "tent camping" in the bus.  How much you want to take it beyond that will determine the complexity and cost.

2) Everyone will give you the same advice:  Start with the best bus shell you can.   For most people, a skoolie is not optimal for a conversion.   They do have better ground clearance, and that may be a factor for you in monitoring the piece of property.  Are you taking this off paved roads?

3) Whatever you are figuring in labor hours, materials cost, and time to complete....   triple that.   

4) If it was me personally,  I'd take a close look at some of the used conversions on the market right now.  It is a buyer's market, and you can purchase a completed unit for close to what your materials will cost you.  Just make sure you get it fully inspected and make sure it is mechanically sound.
Logged

If you're going to be dumb, you gotta be tough.
47FLXclipper
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 39




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2008, 05:43:20 AM »

yes you're crazy - also in over your head, just like a lot of other folks Cheesy consider my project for an example of a tunnel with no exit light

I don't think there's any "typical" amount of time and money required to convert a bus, it goes from a few thousand to many tens of thousands, depending on your taste, abilities, and bank account - much of the standard material aimed specifically at RV-ers is expensive, but with a good DIY ability costs can be reasonable if you keep in mind the comparison is to home prices rather than pickups w/ slide-ins

the size you have is common and bigger than a lot of live-aboard RVs, and a lot can be done in a small space with a bit of thought and creativity - if it's mechanically OK and has a sound shell you're half way there, I'd say go for it if you've got the bug

Bill
Logged

1947 Flxible Clipper on Vancouver Island
skipn
Guest

« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2008, 06:52:25 AM »


 Mr. Thinking,

    Welcome there is a lot of info running rampid around here so you should have fun in this process Smiley

    Blue birds do have some very nice conversions done on them so what you have may fit the bill.
   
    just a helpful link for you to explore

   http://www.skoolie.net   is a fine bbs devoted to your type of bus. Check them out there are a lot
   of ideas there. When you get a chance please photo document your journey in converting and post them so
   we can all see..........love them pictures----------->of the bus :0

    Skip
Logged
Airbag
Guest

« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2008, 06:54:47 AM »

I have always admired this conversion of a school bus. I drive school buses and realize there value of being much more suited to back roads than a intercity bus. I drive the kids on many rough dirt roads that would kill my MC5A. Take a look at this guys bus he has built it on shoe string with beautiful results. The front engine buses will go where a rear engine won't.

http://www.vonslatt.com/bus-main.shtml
« Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 07:01:54 AM by Airbag » Logged
Green-Hornet
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 300





Ignore
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2008, 07:23:42 AM »

I have always admired this conversion of a school bus. I drive school buses and realize there value of being much more suited to back roads than a intercity bus. I drive the kids on many rough dirt roads that would kill my MC5A. Take a look at this guys bus he has built it on shoe string with beautiful results. The front engine buses will go where a rear engine won't.

http://www.vonslatt.com/bus-main.shtml


That, and I think the skoolies have a bit more ground clearence too.
Logged
TomC
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6718





Ignore
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2008, 08:02:30 AM »

Make sure you can get your schoolie insured-many insurance companies will not insure a school bus, but will insure a transit or over the road bus.  Personally, it wouldn't work for me since I'm 6'3", but for someone that is 5'9" or less (for roof A/C clearance) it would work.  Course raising the roof is always an option.  I have a 102" wide, and that extra 6" of width really makes a big difference, to the point that you don't really need a slide out.  Good Luck, TomC
Logged

Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
HB of CJ
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1240




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2008, 02:57:24 PM »

No, you are not crazy, nor are you in over your head.  Most of us who do or have owned Bus Conversions have asked themselves the very same questions from time to time, sometimes all the time.  I know I did.

I bought a Crown ex-school bus with the notion of making the ultimate driver's motorhome out of it.  Well, then I got sick and the bank account got wiped out.  Oh well.  Had I kept the old girl (the bus) I probably...

..would have spent quite a bit of money.  Well, that is water over the dam.   To address your concerns, do not be overwhelmed by what you want to do.  Crawl up, thru and under your ex-schoolie (safely) and look...

...at all the different ways you can do what you want.  Get to know your local friendly wrecking yards, both RV and heavy truck.  Lots of good stuff can be had cheap.  Find ways to do it cheaper.  Have fun with the planning.

I lived in my stripped Crown Super Coach for 3 years living the dream.  So can you.  Hot in the summer and frost in the winter.  You can do it.  Nearly all of us are doing the same thing, only in a different manner.  Welcome aboard.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
Logged
Bob Gil
Bob Gilbreath bobgil@sbcglobal.net
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 400





Ignore
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2008, 04:33:56 PM »

You maybe both but so are some of the rest of us that are doing this.  Do the best you can to make it what you can deal with and be proud that you did it. Misstakes and all.

I bought a bus cheap and am trying to figure out what the last several people that worked on it did?

Consider it an adventure and a learing experience that money can't buy!

That is what I keep telling myself and my wife any way.
Logged

Fort Worth, Texas where GOD is so close you don't even need a phone!

1968 GM Bus of unknown model 6V53 engine (aftermarket) converted with house hold items.

Had small engine fire and had no 12 volt system at time of purchase. 
Coach is all 110 w 14KW diesel genrator
Pages: [1]   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!