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Old 11-18-2019, 01:29 PM   #1
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Best bus for conversion, school, transit, motor coach, or city?

Hi All,

I am new to this site, but have been looking around for a few days. I am considering doing a bus conversion, I just don't know what would be the best type of bus for my situation. It will be just my girlfriend and myself, and only part time at the present time. However, we may be traveling a lot more down the road. We would always be in a campground with hookups, so no boon docking in the future.
I am 6' tall, so I am concerned with a skoolie not having enough headroom for me. Then I looked at the transit bus, but will it be geared for the open road? And what about a city bus? I would love to be able to afford a tour bus or a highway bus, but they are more than my budget allows. So I am undecided about what would be the best. I know that there are many people on here that has had experience with many different types. I am looking to gain some knowledge on what the experts think would work best for my situation. Thanks in advance for the information.

Doyle
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Old 11-18-2019, 02:28 PM   #2
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Transit buses have lower floors but oftentimes have complicated transmissions and air suspensions that can prove to be problematic. There are some members on here with converted transit buses but the majority of us stick to school buses.

Your best bet would be to look for a high roof Thomas or Bluebird school bus. They generally have sufficent headroom for 6 ft tall people even after flooring and insulation.
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firedog View Post
Hi All,

I am new to this site, but have been looking around for a few days. I am considering doing a bus conversion, I just don't know what would be the best type of bus for my situation. It will be just my girlfriend and myself, and only part time at the present time. However, we may be traveling a lot more down the road. We would always be in a campground with hookups, so no boon docking in the future.
I am 6' tall, so I am concerned with a skoolie not having enough headroom for me. Then I looked at the transit bus, but will it be geared for the open road? And what about a city bus? I would love to be able to afford a tour bus or a highway bus, but they are more than my budget allows. So I am undecided about what would be the best. I know that there are many people on here that has had experience with many different types. I am looking to gain some knowledge on what the experts think would work best for my situation. Thanks in advance for the information.

Doyle
The highest natural ceiling you're going to find on a bus is 6'7" down the center. If you do a subfloor with 2" of insulation, 3/4" plywood and 1/4" of whatever, and a ceiling with 1.5" insulation between the ribs, an extra 0.5" on top of that and 1/4" or 1/2" thick ceiling, then you'd have decent insulation while losing 4" of headroom (3" on the floor and 1" off the ceiling). So at 6' you could still stand up straight inside, though only down the center of the bus.

And most buses have lower ceilings than this (6'2" or 6'3" or even lower). So for the most part people are forced to do a roof raise if they want to have adequate head room. I'm also 6' and I'm lowering a section of my floor instead, although this is not something to recommend to sane people.
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Old 11-18-2019, 07:54 PM   #4
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Welcome Firedog,
I am only 5'8".

I did a 10" roof raise. Now if I reach up as far as I can, I can touch the ceiling. About 7'.

Raising your roof will make tall folks more comfortable. But for us non-tall folks it adds a sense of space that makes a small space feel larger.

Good luck.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:00 PM   #5
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Best Bus

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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
The highest natural ceiling you're going to find on a bus is 6'7" down the center. If you do a subfloor with 2" of insulation, 3/4" plywood and 1/4" of whatever, and a ceiling with 1.5" insulation between the ribs, an extra 0.5" on top of that and 1/4" or 1/2" thick ceiling, then you'd have decent insulation while losing 4" of headroom (3" on the floor and 1" off the ceiling). So at 6' you could still stand up straight inside, though only down the center of the bus.

And most buses have lower ceilings than this (6'2" or 6'3" or even lower). So for the most part people are forced to do a roof raise if they want to have adequate head room. I'm also 6' and I'm lowering a section of my floor instead, although this is not something to recommend to sane people.
I have been looking around locally and they seem to be 73"-75" in the center isle. I was wanting to do like you said insulate the floor and ceiling, and I was afraid that I would be too close to 6". I have not seen any skoolies with that much headroom, but it it a relief to know that they are some with that much clearance. I was also wanting a/c, and under body storage, and there are not a lot around me with a/c, much less the under body storage. But, I will continue looking.

Thanks for the information.

Doyle
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:03 PM   #6
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Roof Raise

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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Welcome Firedog,
I am only 5'8".

I did a 10" roof raise. Now if I reach up as far as I can, I can touch the ceiling. About 7'.

Raising your roof will make tall folks more comfortable. But for us non-tall folks it adds a sense of space that makes a small space feel larger.

Good luck.
Hi PNW Steve,

Yes I did see quite a few that were raised and that would be great, but I do not have the tools to do that. So I would have to pay to have it done, and I am sure it would be expensive. So at this time I din't see the funds available for that and then do the build too.

Thank you for the information.

Doyle
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:48 PM   #7
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Doyle,

There is a gent here that has an extra bus that was asking what he should as far as demo or upgrades before selling.

Perhaps he could work with you to get the roof raised? Maybe not but it's worth exploring.

As mentioned above, low floor transits have great headroom but lack ground clearance and room for tanks underneath. Also they tend to be very high miles by the time they reach auction. Many in the 500k-800k miles range. I have also seen a lot of them with Voth (sp?) transmissions that can be difficult to find service for. There was a gent on here a couple of years ago that wound up scraping his bus because of the expense and difficulty he ran into trying to get his transmission repaired.

Coaches typically have higher headroom than school buses. They also have prodigious space in the baggage bays for tanks, plumbing, electrical and storage. They generally ride better than a school bus.
I converted an Eagle Model 10 and lived/traveled in it for about seven years. The down side, for me anyways, is the cost. Both purchase price and maintenance. My Eagle was significantly easier to convert than my Bluebird. I expect my Bluebird to be with me for many years. If I ever decide to convert another big bus it will likely be a Prevost.

Good luck with your quest.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:50 PM   #8
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BTW: I did raise the roof on my Eagle 8". It wasn't necessary but made the bus more comfortable. As we lived in the bus full time that was important to us.
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Old 11-19-2019, 01:15 PM   #9
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I got lucky and scored a Bluebird with the rare 78 inch factory roof height. Most of them are 74-72. I am not doing a roof raise since I am 5 ft 11 inch and don't mind stooping periodically.
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