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Old 09-19-2016, 04:22 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Bus converted into a pickup truck ?

Hello I'm sorry if someone has already asked this question and I just didn't see it.
I was wondering if anyone here has chopped a full size school bus then added a pickup truck bed to make it the same overall length as a Chevy Silverado, Ford F- Series, or Dodge Ram ? I'm asking because I'm confined to a wheelchair and unless I spend more than $100,000 I'm going to be stuck with a minivan as my only option, where I've seen a lot of school buses with wheelchair lifts. Thanks in advance for any and all thoughts, opinions, or answers.
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Old 09-19-2016, 04:27 PM   #2
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theres been a lot of people cut the back off a bus and put a flatbed on or a steak-side bed.. if you found a shortie like a 5 or 6 row bus you would be close to the length of a crew-cab long bed dualie pickup..

my 7 row bus fits well within 2 standard parking spaces back to back... im guessing a 5 or 6 row could get you just a little longer than a standard spot..

a cutaway bus like a collins,starcraft, etc (front looks like a van, rear like a school bus) is build on a Cargo Van chassis.. I see these in 4 and 5 window variants, with chair lifts... alot of the cutaways come with front and sometimes rear Air-cond too... more often than a regular school bus does..

-Christopher
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Old 09-19-2016, 04:38 PM   #3
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Can't imagine why you'd want to chop a bus and add a pickup bed, but to each their own, I suppose.

Anyway, I'm sure it's been done or at least do-able. Trick is finding the right bus to start with. Some have wheelchair lifts near the front, others toward the back. Cutting down a full length bus - as in, cutting the frame, relocating the axle, shortening the driveshafts - is likely to be quite an endeavor, and you'd probably be much better off simply starting with a Shorty. Simply cutting off the last 6-8 feet, moving the rear wall/door forward would be mostly a matter of removing some center sections, some cutting, drilling, welding and riveting would be in order, but otherwise seems a fairly straightforward task. Mind you, a pickup bed is likely going to be considerably higher than it would be on a pickup truck.
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Old 09-19-2016, 04:47 PM   #4
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if you started with an IC BE series they are much lower deck height than a standard S3800 style IHC..

im not sure they ever made a front lift in a BE though... ive only seen rear lifts.. the BE was a nice length though at usyally 6 rows...

the wheelchair door on the BE looks to be an add-on on the frame of the bus so it might be reasonably possible to relocate it and the lift.. after-all he is going to chop apart the bus body anyway..

anything is better than a boring soccer-mom van!!!!

what wheelchair vehicles cost over $100k? heck i can buy a brand new school bus with lift, and A/C for less than that.

-Christopher
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Old 09-19-2016, 05:40 PM   #5
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I think its a great idea and i am confident it is possible. No reason it wouldnt be.
I daydream about having a spot of land and making old dump trucks into pickup trucks
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Old 09-19-2016, 05:48 PM   #6
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I think its a great idea and i am confident it is possible. No reason it wouldnt be.
I daydream about having a spot of land and making old dump trucks into pickup trucks
Ah, the metalsmith runs strong in this one...
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Old 09-19-2016, 05:56 PM   #7
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Through my research into my bus. There was a lot of "dump trucks" turned into bad ass pickups. Turning a bus into a pickup truck would only take the dream, hard work, & passion to succeed.

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Old 09-21-2016, 02:14 PM   #8
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Full Size VS Shorty

Hello everyone I know that all of up I are recommending that I should start out with a shorty 5 to 7 row bus, I'll tell you why I would rather start out with a full size. 1. I plan on using a 8.3 L C-Seriers Cummins engine, 2. I want to have the largest approach, break over, departure angles, and ground clearance, 3. Eventually I plan on swapping the stock bus axles for 2.5 or 5 ton rockwells, 4. I plan on putting a SCS gearbox transfercase so it would be front wheel drive until I added power to the rear axle, and 5. I plan on using an Allison 10 speed, or Eaton automatic transmission, I don't think that this Engine,Transfercase, and Transmission would 'fit' under the hood on a shorty without extensive modification first. Thanks in advance for any and all thoughts, opinions, or answers.
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Old 09-21-2016, 02:20 PM   #9
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there are busses out there that already have the cummins 8.3 in it... granted they arent front drive but they exist..

why front drive when in 2WD as opposed to rear drive? seems front drive with the torwue of an 8.3 and a heavy bus is going to make for a lot of torque steer ..

if you start with an RE, i could imagine the light front end actually causing wheel spin in rainy weather unless you engaged your 4WD...

even with an FE and rear drive you have more tire area on the ground for traction...

-Christopher
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Old 09-21-2016, 04:20 PM   #10
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Hello everyone I know that all of up I are recommending that I should start out with a shorty 5 to 7 row bus, I'll tell you why I would rather start out with a full size. 1. I plan on using a 8.3 L C-Seriers Cummins engine, 2. I want to have the largest approach, break over, departure angles, and ground clearance, 3. Eventually I plan on swapping the stock bus axles for 2.5 or 5 ton rockwells, 4. I plan on putting a SCS gearbox transfercase so it would be front wheel drive until I added power to the rear axle, and 5. I plan on using an Allison 10 speed, or Eaton automatic transmission, I don't think that this Engine,Transfercase, and Transmission would 'fit' under the hood on a shorty without extensive modification first. Thanks in advance for any and all thoughts, opinions, or answers.

It might be good to go ahead and find a bus that has the 8.3 already in it. That will save you a good bit of headache and cost right off the top. I can't imagine why you'd want to swap to Rockwell axles; many buses come with Eaton or Dana axles that are plenty solid .... except, of course, you intend to do a 4x4 conversion on it and I expect this is for the purpose of matching front/rear axle ratios. A driving steering axle is definitely going to give you some lift and I expect you'll want the back to match.

I'm not familiar with an Eaton "automatic", at least, not in the same sense as the Allisons. I am familiar with the Eaton transmissions that are set up like automatics (Auto-Clutch, Auto-shift); you'll probably need an air system for the low/high range selector to work. In fact, if my trans ever goes Kaput, I would consider swapping one of these in.

For the conversion you seem to have in mind, a front-engine bus seems to be the way to go. You might find one nearby with a dead transmission on the cheap, since you plan to replace it anyway. I'm personally partial to air brakes myself (and as a professional driver, I am well accustomed and quite knowledgeable about them); if I am correct about the Eaton trans, you may need the air setup as well.
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:43 PM   #11
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When people suggest a short bus they aren't referring to a cutaway style bus which is basically a van or truck with a shell slapped on the back. They mean buses a lot like my bus, which is an 84 AirForce bus. It has a 5 ton Rockwell rear end by the way ;). Mine is an 8 window, after the driver window, with 3 and a half Windows behind the rear axle. This gives it a wheel base only slightly longer then a four door long bed pickup. The front end however is a standard s1700 body and hood. The same body and hood that would used whether for a 20 ft, 30 ft, or 40 ft s1700 or s1800. So what I'm saying is I think you can find the right bus for your project. Look for a 6-8 window full size bus. Heck, you could leave a couple Windows intact to have a really cool sleeper cab style rig and also a pickup bed. I think you can do it. That driveline you have dreamed up is awesome. Pull a house right off it's foundation.
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:42 PM   #12
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Well I plan on completely replacing the entire drive line : Engine, Transmission, Transfercase's,Axles, Brakes, Steering. After I shorten the bus and add a pickup bed I was looking for its overall length to be approximately the same as a Silverado crewcab (2 full size doors and 2 half doors) I was wanting it to be front wheel drive first with optional power to the rear axle since most of its weight (and traction) will be over the front axle so it will be like a compact car (better traction than a rear wheel drive car especially if the rear end is light). And a four wheel steering system so it will have a tighter turning radius.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:38 PM   #13
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with all that work it almost sounds like starting off with a cutaway style bus and then adding a 4x4 driveline and doing the chop chop off the back.. although most ive seen the wheelchair lift is at the back... except for a newer starcraft I recently saw I think it had the lift at the front..

-Christopher
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:11 PM   #14
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Wait you never said anything about four wheel steering before. Like the systems you see in a monster truck?? i don't know man, if I were you I would just buy a heavy truck frame and go from there. What your describing will use so little if any of the original vehicle it would make more sense to start with a blank slate maybe? If you were to scrap the four wheel
Steer plan you could do the following.
Buy a 6-8 window bus. Get the frame up on blocks/jack stands whatever's and remove the axles, and transmission, and most likely the engine as you will be hard pressed to find the 8.3nin a shorty. You could now remount your rear axle at your desired wheelbase, install a front drive axle and now you have a rolling chassis with your desires axles and wheel base.
Next I would begin the process of fabricating engine mounts for the 8.3. Mount the tranny to it and now you have a roller with engine and tranny bolted
In.
Next I would decide how much of the body I want to chop off. I would also chop of the frame rails that would now be extending way far behind the rear axle to desired length. So now I would
Have a bus body with the back chopped off behind the drivers seat plus maybe another seat, sitting on a rolling chassis with my desired wheelbase and frame length. Next, get your driveshaft/shafts made and install them.
Ofcourse there will be inconveniences and roadblocks at various points in this whole process.
Even still I think you might be better off building from
Scratch.
What if you got a really cool old cab over? Or bullnose truck cab, and put it on a mildly dropped frame with a pickup bed, most of those sorts of trucks were big enough I bet you could cram a chair lift in them.

I am in no way trying to discourage you. Anything is possible, and sometimes people, myself included have a hard time seeing it. Whatever you decide to do it's gonna be a unique truck
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:17 PM   #15
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There is a member on here who has a chopped bus, their username is nevittja check their bus out but imagine even less passenger space and the rear axle being farther forward, you could chop all the extra frame rail off behind it and end up with a normal long bed pickup wheelbase


Also, with all of the weight that is going to be involved, I really don't think you need to worry about traction with regards to rearwheel drive. You will not have the kind of wheel hop/skid potential that you would have on a 1/2 or 1 ton pickup. While a fully selctable transfer case capable of driving fronts only sound really cool, I think you would never need it.

Also I am curious, why do you feel you need a 5 ton rear end? I am curious what the intended use is for the rig. Daily driver? What a monster!! The weight of the axle and differential themselves are tremendous, plus the frame, and the truck bed, I can't imagine you doing burnouts by accident... You should build it and prove me wrong... I have also never driven a front wheel drive diesel car or truck. I imagine it would be really odd, but maybe not. Will you be doing heavy towing with this rig? Will you be hauling loads in he bed of the pickup? Or will there be a fifth wheel hitch there?
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Old 09-28-2016, 06:19 PM   #16
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RWD On Ice

Hello everyone I understand that RWD is normally just fine and generally is fine but I've driven a 3500 Silverado with a duramax/Allison as well as a 3500 Dodge Ram with a 5.9 cummins on snow/ice and they just spun the rear tires (even in first gear and at both low and high rpm as well as in sixth gear at both low and high rpm) until I switched the transfer case to 4WD. I'm just saying that I've seen these same trucks with the transfercase switched get around better even in the snow/ice. Because of all the weight over the front axle. Maybe the trucks with the switched transfer cases had a lot of weight in the bed I don't know just stating what I saw.
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Old 09-30-2016, 03:25 AM   #17
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Perhaps I should apologize. I've been in deep woods for awhile now and the cabin fever is strong. What you want to do is very cool to me and I got excited thinking of all the ways I might do it. I probably overshared and expressed way too much opinion. You obviously aren't mechanically ignorant or you wouldn't even consider such a custom build and I shouldn't have talked to you like you are. Anyway, everything your talking about is obviously possible, albeit expensive. It's very exciting for me when I see intense mechanically custom builds. However I would also say, while you're at it, you could consider other types of vehicles, buses trucks breadvans etc to customize to suit all the same needs that may be even more unique and special? Just a thought. But I have lots of ideas and at least half are...creative...so probably best to ignore me haha
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:47 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 50AK View Post
Hello everyone I understand that RWD is normally just fine and generally is fine but I've driven a 3500 Silverado with a duramax/Allison as well as a 3500 Dodge Ram with a 5.9 cummins on snow/ice and they just spun the rear tires (even in first gear and at both low and high rpm as well as in sixth gear at both low and high rpm) until I switched the transfer case to 4WD. I'm just saying that I've seen these same trucks with the transfercase switched get around better even in the snow/ice. Because of all the weight over the front axle. Maybe the trucks with the switched transfer cases had a lot of weight in the bed I don't know just stating what I saw.
I agree on 2WD pickups... Ive driven alot of RWD in the snow over the years, but I have to say that anytime ive had a truck in 2WD in the nsow / ice it does nothing but slide... Ive only ever bought 4WD pickups, I drive them in RWD mode until things get bad then i switch the transfer case.. but not only does 4WD help you gain traction, it also stabilizes the truck on turns and stops as well having the drivetrain locked together...

I do know on stops and slow-downs the weight transfer in a bus is real.. so it tends to slide the rear end or lock the rear wheels..

on a bus I might be inclined to get a rear engine bus though rather than try to build a 4WD system for it... space logistics seems quite tough for a large transfer case and the dana axles.. though you can raise the body up off the frame and build a second frame on top to gain some clearance..

-Christopher
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:05 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Big Block Engine Short Bus

Hello everyone, I recently took the advice and knowledge of member Famousinternetjesus and looked at Nevittja's bus/truck. I was unaware that not all short buses were based on a van style front end (which I was against) I only wish I had researched on my own more. Because I am going to use a 8.3 L Cummins engine if I actually am able to do this bus to pickup conversion. Actually a bus like the one nevittja used only with a wheelchair lift behind the conventional double door bus door and with a short bed or a medium length bed. I will take out the length of the bus so that the back door will be less than a foot behind the width of the wheelchair lift on both sides of the bus. Thanks everyone for all of your knowledge and help it's much appreciated.
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:03 PM   #20
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there are a lot of short busses based on standard full size conventional bus frames.. my carpenter is a Heavy sucker with a 27,500 GVWR.. its uilt like a tank, as a 7 window bus, something like it could be cut down and easily an 8 or 10 foot bed put on it.. and with the side door it has at the front a lift was installed originally

a bus like it could probably be a serious heavy duty rig.. mine has a DT-360 but there were busses like it made with DT-466's the dealer i got mine from had one just like it recently with a DT-466 (230 HP version) so they definitely exist..

Thomas made some FE flat nose busses that were 8 rows and i believe the lift door was at the front.. different engines came in those depending on year it seemed.. some were 230 HP CAT's with allison 2000 trannies... I believe those were over 26,000 GVWR as well...

Most of the shortie Bluebirds i see on conventiuonal chassis seem to be lighter duty.. many with T444E's but a few had DT-466E's.. however the 6 and 7 window units i see out there most are under 20,000 GVWR and the lift doors are at the back instead of the front...
-Christopher
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