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Old 05-17-2009, 08:39 PM   #1
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TygerCub's Project

Yay... This week I'm finally looking at two buses! Both are from the local craigslist.

The first had very few details and no photos
"64 passenger Bluebird School Bus, 1989 GMC with Bluebird Body, Still in service, Good Tires."
Not much information to go on, but for only $1500, it's worth a look.

The second one had a lot more information.
This is a former school and military bus. It is in VERY good condition. The bus runs GREAT, fires right up with no problem. Fresh 4/10 inspection, this bus is ready for your church, youth group, or for summer trips. The drivers fan works great, but passengers will need to put the windows down! It has a straight 6 diesel engine with an Allison automatic transmission. 169k miles. Power steering and air brakes. All accessories work as they should. Some of the seats are a little raggedy, but it's still a good solid bus.

And some photos:
and
It's a 10 window bus, so based on what I've read in the forum to date, there should be at least 25' of length behind the driver to play with. I'm taking my cousin with me, who is a heavy machinery mechanic for the local cement contractor. Hopefully, he'll be able to spot any deficiencies.

I'm looking at the $1500 bus either Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on my cousin's schedule. Won't get a chance to get out to look at the $2700 bus until Friday. It's all rather exciting, isn't it!

Keep yer fingers crossed and wish me luck!
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:22 PM   #2
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Here's a floor plan I've been working on all afternoon...


There's a clear (i.e. bigger) version of this in my gallery.

One of the things I tried to do is keep an open feel, yet maximize wall space for storage. Have no clue about which windows to keep yet.
Of course, this design totally discounts adding storage for the motorcycle. I may end up pulling a trailer after all. Or, I may add another 4 foot of "porch" onto the back to drive onto. Who knows at this point? I'll change my mind five times between now and the time I'm ready to add walls.

But one of the things I'm adamant about keeping is the large bathroom. I'd get downright clausterphobic in a little 2' skinny shower. It may take up more space, but like a comfortable bed, some things are worth having when it comes to quality of life issues.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:41 PM   #3
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Re: TygerCub's Project

True, long showers won't be possible... but I'm not one to dally in the bathroom. I just hate touching cold, wet walls (ungh!)

However, I took your advice to heart and changed it around a bit, condensed, stirred, and came up with the following:




The living room also doubles as a bedroom now. The twin bed will probably become a futon to maximize flexibility. The shower and toilet now take up a 3' x 4' space. I'm thinking of laying down tile on the floor so the entire space is a shower. I'll just cover the toilet before splashing around. The floor will be sloped towards one corner for better drainage. The kitchen sink is still a cheap industrial unit from Lowes, and the hot water for both shower and sink will come from the same portable camp shower. The stove top is now a stove/oven combo from Camp Chef that I found online today. Check out the link here: http://www.campchef.com/store/group/...er_stoves.html

As you can see, I have the garage now, so the bike's inside. How I'll actually get it inside is anyone's guess at this moment. But at least I'll have a dry spot if I can manage it. I can keep dreaming, eh?

As before, a larger version is in the galleries.
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:53 AM   #4
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Looking good your plans, for the bathroom check out some old campers at the junkyard maybe one of them has one of those Shower-toilet all in one stalls to salvage. they are basicly a built in shower stall and toilet is integrated. You can sit on the throne and shower at the same time
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:29 PM   #5
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Re: TygerCub's Project

I saw that bowl too and thought it was a GREAT idea!

But I also want to do laundry, so thought the deeper sink would be better for double duty. I have one of those hand-spun laundry tumblers that I use when camping. Does a fine job cleaning, but does need a couple of good wrinses to get all the soap from the clothes. That deep sink will help a lot with that.

I'll look at the shower again as I get closer to installation time. Until then, I'll keep my options open and probably keep changing my mind
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:52 AM   #6
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Re: TygerCub's Project

I don't know about the wash tub, but that clothes wringer looks like a winner!
The washer I have now is the "Wonder Washer" http://laundry-alternative.com/washing.htm. I've been using this during camping events for years and love it. But I do get tired of wringing things dry, so having the roller-wringer is awesome! Thanks for the link.
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:20 PM   #7
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Went looking at another bus from Craigslist last night. It was located on the "other side of the water" from where I live... a good 1/2 drive on a good day. Potentially three times as long in afternoon traffic. Although it looked like a great day, I dread riding the motorcycle in bad traffic, so my mother volunteered to drive, no doubt curious what I'm getting into.

We were told the bus would be waiting for us "outside the fence" so we could see it. But when we arrived... nadda. So we drove around a little and looked. There was a junk yard on one side of the road with a huge white bus that looked like it had seen better days parked just inside the fence. On the other side of the road behind a moat-sized ditch was the fenced-in area of a metal scrap yard. The fence had that green screening stuff over it, but we could just make out the shape of four nice-sized school buses.

Hmmm....

Well the big white bus was definitely NOT an option. Just too badly rusted. But the other buses - what we could see of them - looked promising.

Okay, let's try the scrap yard.

When we drove to the front of the business, we asked the guy washing his truck if he knew of anyone selling their schoolbus in this area.

"Yeah, hold on." He threw his towel down and disappears into an office like building behind us.

A couple seconds later, he came back out with two guys in tow - a short, balding guy with a friendly smile and a scruffy looking guy who looks like he spends most of his time buried elbows deep in a motor.

"Smiley" pops his head in the car window. "Yeah, you need somethin?"

"I'm looking for a bus..."

Before I can explain about craigslist, he breaks into an even wider smile. "How many you want?"

I'm both shocked and amused. "Just one. We're supposed to meet someone who had one for sale on Craigslist."

"Who you supposed to meet?"

"Sean."

"Yeah, he prolly fell asleep. Hold on."

At this point Smiley whips out a phone and proceeds to wake up Sean, who forgot we were supposed to meet him and appears to be too lazy to come unlock the gate so we can see the bus. I'm thinking Sean really isn't very interested in selling his buses today.

The guy who called him, however, seemed interested. He pointed to Mr. Scruffy and says, "Go show em my bus."

Scruffy leads us to the side of the office. There's a couple of obviously dead cars, a skeletal truck, and a travel trailer that at first looks like scrap until I noted the new extension cord running to the outlet. And, of course, there was the bus. It wasn't exactly what I want, but what the heck. I took a look.

Nice body. Eight windows. Obviously "custom" black and white paint job with a funny little skull and crossbones painted on the side. Great looking tires with lots of tread. I crawl underneath the bus and look for signs of rust. It's black with grime, but no rough areas that would indicate a bad case of rot. Nice big areas for some grey and fresh water tanks! I'm happy about that.

I snap a couple of pictures and crawl back out from under the bus to go inside. The seats are all there, still in decent shape. The captain's area is the standard utilitarian seat and controls. Automatic drive... I'm liking that, even though I think I'll need a manual drive to crawl over the dirt roads. Scruffy says it's a deisel 9.something engine with air brakes. I'd need a CDL endorsement to drive it.

Overall, it's a very nice looking bus. Obviously well loved and used to take folks to the local games and such. But it's only about 20' of living space behind the captain's chair. I'd really like an extra 5' or so to live. And forget trying to make that small a space long-term livable with an 8' motorcycle in the back!

Just on a whim, I go inside to ask Smiley how much he wants for the bus. Unfortunately, he's on the phone with someone and another customer is waiting to speak with him. As I'm standing there waiting, I'm amused to see a 2 liter bottle of coke, a liter of orange juce, and a big bottle of vodka. These guys know how to relax at work!

Still talking on the phone, Smiley motions me into another office and writes a phone number on a card and stage whispers to call later for more information.

Although I left the scrapyard knowing next to nothing about potential buses for sale, it wasn't a wasted trip. I now know of a good sized scrap yard that has a couple of travel trailers on site that I might be able to scavenge parts from. I need to visit another couple of scrap yards in the local area first to see if they have anything comparable. But if not, I know I'll be making a trip back "over the water" to get some goodies.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:12 PM   #8
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Well, I was at it again with the floor plans. This time, I actually remembered to take the WHEEL WELLS into consideration (DOH!)

Here's a review of the evolution of the floor plan to date:

Plan #1 ... was to use the entire bus as living space.


Plan #2 ... took into consideration I really didn't want to make things any more complicated than necessary, so I made the back into a garage to carry the bike instead of trying to tow a separate trailer.


Plan #3 ... is where I had my "DOH!" moment and realized I never thought about the wheel wells while planning furniture placement. And in both plan A & B, the shower or toilet would have been in that area. Not a good plan.


So far, C is the favorite.

Tomorrow, I'll change my mind again.

I need to decide soon, though, because Friday I pick up my new bus YAY! Then it will be nothing but grinding and cleaning and priming and insulating and... and... and...
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:40 PM   #9
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Re: TygerCub's Project

I like the way you did away with the unnecessary stuff in the latest floorplan. Goofy stuff like the driver's staion, entrance stairway etc.

Seriously though, would you rather put the shower and stool on the same side. Plumbing would be a bit easier and use the space more efficiently.

I am working on a floor plan for a planned skooolie and I know what you are going through. nothing out there is quite what you want, but there are so many nuances to planning the perfect layout (wheel wells for example!).

Carl
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:47 PM   #10
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Okay, told ya it would happen... here are 4 more floor plans for 25 foot of living space.


Note 1 - In all of these plans, I expect to use a Sun-Mar Mobile composting toilet. Minimal space requirements are 24" wide (for the person on the seat) by 36" long (to pull out tray for emptying). I've increased the width to 30" because I'm not a tiny person.

Note 2 - The green couch has a twin sized bunk bed over it, and a storage cabinet/shelf behind it. The television/computer monitor across from it will have cabinets built all around.

Note 3 - In the 1st plan, the kitchen counters are a standard 24" deep. In the 2nd & 3rd plan, the counters are cut down to 18" deep to allow for more "comfort zone".

Note 4 - Everyone has a minimum amount of personal space they need to maintain for comfort. For me, this "comfort zone" is about 30". While making the plan, I used this circle to maintain comfortable walking space between furniture. Doors and some entryways are only slightly smaller at 28" wide.

Note 5 - I agree that the shower and the kitchen sink need to be side-by-side. These plans were put together with the idea I'll just run extra line and have multiple pumps for water flow. While it can be done... I agree it isn't really a good idea.

Note 6 - The last floor plan just says "what the hell" and removes the bike altogether and puts it in a 12' trailer behind the bus. I'm not comfortable with the idea of towing another vehicle, but if this is going to be a 'home-sweet-home', more living space is a good thing. I can hope that I'll just get used to being a +50' long vehicle !!!

Tomorrow... I'll create a few more plans with a standard 24" RV bathtub and plumbing considerations.
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