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Old 08-11-2004, 11:20 PM   #11
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I think that cutting your bus down (like one of the galleries I saw somewhere) and making a fifth wheel on it would work pretty good since you could make a small livingroom or diningroom/kitchen for traveling in the bus while pulling the trailer. That's one thing I don't like about trailers is that you can't do anything while on the move. Not that you could cook much while moving down the road, but it would be nice to have a place for your passengers to crash or to make the driver a coffee while rolling.

In the meantime, I hope you finish Latcho Drom. For those of us who followed your project it's like having a book with the last chapter missing right now. Finish it, live in it while you move back to the states and then sell it or strip it when it's time to get the trailer built.
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Old 08-12-2004, 10:33 AM   #12
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Firearm, I love Schoolies for converting them into moveable ‘Houses’ …but I don’t think they would work out very well to use as a tow vehicle for a very large & heavy trailer.

When I was a member of ‘The Other Group’, I contacted ‘Fifthwheelhauler’ ( the guy who makes 5th wheel haulers out of Schoolies ) and asked him for an Honest & un-biased rundown on how his haulers work.
Among other things …He told me that they take ‘a football field ‘to turn them around in .

Which made total sense to me…our Bus is approx. 26-1/2 feet from the front bumper to the rear wheels.
So, if I chopped off the un-needed back portion and towed a big trailer. Our total length would be around 57 feet long.

That’s not a ‘Bad’ or overly excessive length; it’s the pivoting point where the trailer meets the bus that’s the problem.
You’d run into MANY situations where you’d be in serious trouble trying to back into a narrow spot.

It’s early here so…it’s hard for me to wake up enough to explain the ‘Physics’ of this.
Just take a couple of pieces of paper and draw out those lengths (1/2” =1’)…put a pin in the pivot/5th wheel hitch area and you’ll see what I’m feebly trying to convey here.
Basically, I guess what I’m trying to say is you’ve got two pieces that are almost equal in length pivoting together.
That’s not a problem in a smaller setup (a van towing a car or boat) …but it sure becomes a problem in a big rig.

I think if you’re trying to come up with a good fulltime rig to live in …you have to take the ease of using it into account. For me, it doesn’t make any sense to try to do something that makes life difficult and only allows you to camp in areas that have ‘Football’ field sized areas to back into. Also, imagine what it would be like to try to take a corner on a narrow street with a rig like this….
I think, you have to take this kind of stuff into account …the world isn’t just big wide-open spaces.

Theoretically, I imagine you could pull the rear end (axle) forward to shorten the bus …

But, Then there’s the problem with Schoolie engines & rear-ends. They might carry a huge load and have a very beefy frame…but they’re WAY underpowered for towing a heavy trailer with.

The guys out there towing the big 40 ft. 5th wheels, who have ¼ of a million, or more, in spare change hanging around …buy the big Volvo (MDT’s).
Folks who are not rich (like me) buy a used BIG truck and typically chop it back some (take off one of the dual rear axles) for towing.

………………………………………… …………………………………………
I’m sorry that our bus is a ‘Book unfinished ‘.
I get up early every morning for work and see it out our window and get itchy fingers to start working on her again.

But, I have to be realistic about this.
I’m sure that there are folks out there who think I’m a bit of a whiner and procrastinator …but what they DON’T GET is that I live in a very small town on an Island in Alaska where things are VERY Expensive and 90 % of the time completely unavailable.
There are NO roads to drive to some Home Depot or other inexpensive Building store here.

Every single RV appliance and such in our Bus had to be shipped to Seattle & then put on a Barge and shipped up here. Which almost doubled the price of some things and tripled it on others.

So…if I finished the bus here …it would cost us at LEAST $6000.00 above what we’ve already put into the bus. That might sound like a silly or excessive amount to you…. but that’s what it would take us to finish her here on the Island we live on.

Plus, I’ve been thinking…I’m at a point in our Conversion, where it would be very easy to pull out the stuff I’ve installed and use it in a Trailer.
If I were to finish up the Bus (to my standards) I would lose even more money in the process that could be spent on the trailer.
For around $7000.00 I can completely build that 40-foot trailer frame (3-8000 lb.axles, pin-box, etc. included)

Then Millie & I’ve been thinking of the resale value on our Bus if we do sell her. I’ve got easily over $14,000.00 in her right now…. if I was to finish her up …NO ONE’s going to give me $20,000.00+ for a School Bus Conversion unless they’re completely Crazy.

If I were to start pulling out parts to use in our trailer…the resale value would plummet. Once again NO ONES going to pay me anywhere near what I’ve got into this Bus ($7000.00 just for the bus) if I gut her.
It makes more sense to me to stop at a point where you’re not losing any more money than you have to. Then get what you can out of it.

In the End…It’s totally possible that I might not build the trailer because of health and monetary reasons …and finish up our bus instead.
But even so, if I do …I’m definitely not going to do it here in Sitka.
Are you questioning my Aaa-thoritttyy ?
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Old 08-12-2004, 12:44 PM   #13
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I completely understand and it's tough to imagine the extra cost involved when you don't live on an island like you do. I guess it's more that the work you've done is excellent and it seems like such a shame for all of it to go to waste. I guess it really wouldn't be wasted if you tranfer the items out of it into a trailer, but I have read every word on your pages and have followed your progress and frustration and I do hope that you work everything out. I also hope that you and Millie can get moved soon.

You do amazing work for the situation you're in and the enviroment you've worked in. Whatever you do, I'm sure it'll amaze me even more. I hope you feel better soon too!
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Old 08-12-2004, 07:56 PM   #14
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Thanks so much Firearm…
This is an interesting problem for me…our Bus and all that.
When I converted our last Schoolie “Home” up on the Kenai Peninsula…things were expensive …but not as bad as here.
Plus the weather was great for doing it there.

When I bought ‘Latcho Drom ‘ here in Sitka …I knew it would be more expensive to do a good job converting a Bus on an Island.
But I didn’t take into account how much more it would really cost us …and our pretty limited funds to do something like this.
Which wasn’t a smart move on my part for sure.

Another stupid thing I did was not taking into account the weather patterns here.
So, now if I decide to keep our Bus…I’ll strip it all out and start over in Oregon. I’m not at all happy with lots of stuff I did in our Bus.
Cutting expensive plywood & paneling in the rain was just a stupid waste of money on my part.(it was a rush job and it looks like it)
We build these thing to live in…not to just camp out in or visit football games with. So , its important to me that job is well done and looks & feels good to us.

So no matter what …I’m going to have to tear everything out and start over.
What I’m trying to figure out is whether the Bus has enough space to Fulltime in comfortably or not. 27 feet sounds like a lot of room …but it’s really pretty small.
The folks here who live fulltime in their rigs know what I mean …
Some folks are perfectly happy living in a small space like that 365 days a year for years on end …but some like me who want to have washer/dryer, extra freezer and plenty of food storage and such need a bit more room.
So…I don’t know what we’ll do.

But thanks alot for the compliment…. and Yup ,If I do the trailer it WILL be an amazing Rig. I love Building stuff
Are you questioning my Aaa-thoritttyy ?
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:24 AM   #15
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Re: '91 International school bus w/ vw and slideout (Boogie Bus)

I am the new art director at Bus Conversions Magazine. We run a regular feature called "Unusual Conversions." I am drawn to your Boogie Bus ['91 international school bus with VW slideout]. I'd like to include some picture of this bus and a brief paragraph about it. Additionally, I'd like to follow this up with a 2 page spread featuring you and your conversions. We can make it technical or more human interest...
What do you think?


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