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Old 06-13-2016, 07:04 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 160
Year: 1997
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 5.9L Diesel Engine
Rated Cap: 83
I need to ask about wieght

So I need to ask, what about the overall weight on a finished Skoolie? Is there a trick to calculating the weight of the build project in advance? Are there certain building materials that are better to use strictly due to the lower weight, or others to avoid? Or is it even a issue?

I have seen some amazing conversation projects with all wood interiors, but they look like they are too heavy to move around any distance.

We are about to start gutting our newly acquired 1997 Thomas 83 Passenger School Bus (Saf-T-Liner MVP ER). It has a Cummins 5.9L Diesel Engine, Auto (MT 643) with Air Brakes. There will be 6 of us total (my wife and 4 kids) living in it full time driving up to Canada from Texas.

I am still in the planning stage, and have been doing as much reading as possible but have not come across much discussion on weight.
I am aware that the 5.9 is a smaller engine and that the MVP frame is not as robust as a WestCoaster, so I may have to be hyper aware of the weight I am adding, and would appreciate any advice.
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:53 PM   #2
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Because you have a rear engine bus weight issues are not as great as the Type 'D' FE buses with the engine up front. Those buses have a very great weight bias towards the front axle that can result in overloading if too many of the heavy items are placed too far forward.

For your bus, as long as you evenly distribute the heavy items front to rear and side to side it isn't likely you will get anywhere close to your weight limit.

One way to know for sure is after you have your bus all stripped out of seats and anything else you are going to rip out, take it somewhere and weigh it.

You know from the data plate what the maximum weight on the axles and GVWR is for the bus. Subtract your empty weight and the resulting number is how many pounds of built ins, junk, and plunder you can put into your bus.

Be aware that it takes dead dino's to move weight. Granite counter tops look great but do add to the dead weight. It will require more dead dino's to move those counter tops around the country compared to formica.

Heavy can also be bulky. You are not working with a lot of square feet. 2x4 construction is a bit of overkill not only for weight but also for bulk.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:20 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
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Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
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Rated Cap: 19
Remember that the GVW of your bus includes the weight of all those chubby kids.
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Old 06-14-2016, 12:12 AM   #4
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Year: 1975
Chassis: Gillig
Engine: Cat 3208t/10 speed transmission
Our bus is 24,700 lbs loaded if that helps.
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Old 06-14-2016, 09:45 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Texas
Posts: 160
Year: 1997
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 5.9L Diesel Engine
Rated Cap: 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Because you have a rear engine bus weight issues are not as great as the Type 'D' FE buses with the engine up front. Those buses have a very great weight bias towards the front axle that can result in overloading if too many of the heavy items are placed too far forward.

For your bus, as long as you evenly distribute the heavy items front to rear and side to side it isn't likely you will get anywhere close to your weight limit.

One way to know for sure is after you have your bus all stripped out of seats and anything else you are going to rip out, take it somewhere and weigh it.

You know from the data plate what the maximum weight on the axles and GVWR is for the bus. Subtract your empty weight and the resulting number is how many pounds of built ins, junk, and plunder you can put into your bus.

Be aware that it takes dead dino's to move weight. Granite counter tops look great but do add to the dead weight. It will require more dead dino's to move those counter tops around the country compared to formica.

Heavy can also be bulky. You are not working with a lot of square feet. 2x4 construction is a bit of overkill not only for weight but also for bulk.
Thanks, this is useful information, particularly about distributing the weight evenly on the bus.
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Old 06-14-2016, 11:02 AM   #6
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 1,636
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Her, me and Molly
Just for information, here are my weights. 1991 Bluebird AARE
From Bluebird body tag

GVWR 36000
GAWR Front 13220
GAWR Rear 23000

Weight when I bought it, 100 gal fuel, seats still in. Weighed at Certified CAT scale.

Total 24800
Front 8720
Rear 16080

Weight last summer, weighed at a bus ralley with scales that had been recently calibrated. 100 gal fuel, 100 gal water, major part of conversion done (maybe a few hundred pounds of wood trim and things left to add)
Mumsywumsy and I both in seats.This was before generetor which added a couple of hundred pounds to the RR behind the axel in engine compartment.

LF 5580 RF 5060

Front 10640

RR 9140 RR 8300

Rear 17440

Current GVW 27086

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Old 06-14-2016, 11:04 AM   #7
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Her, me and Molly
According to those figures it looks like to loose about 500#
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