I made up my mind around Christmas time that I want to do a skoolie conversion and live out of it for a while and tour the US. I have been doing passive research into the feasibility of this however it is now time to step it up and do some active research! I have a few questions for you based on my situation and needs and I would like your wise and experienced input so that I can properly plan out my future conversion.
I intend to use this vehicle as a home/office for at least 2-4 years. As a programmer I am able to work remotely so I will need to setup a dedicated work area (small desk) to run a laptop and a couple of monitors. There are times I may have to work into the evening so of course power is already a concern for me if I am boondocking. And I do intend to boondock quite a bit so I am going for self sufficiency as much as possible, however I realize there are limits to this.
1) Vehicle length: Considering I this will be my main domicile for work and living I am leaning towards a larger vehicle (72 seats). Is there a drawback to this other than more space to renovate / wire? Will I run into mechanical issues that may be more expensive than say a 44 seat bus?
2) Veg Oil conversion: If you knew what you knew then, what would you do differently for a veg oil conversion? If I setup capacity to store 200 gallons in reserve with the idea that I get grease when the gettin' is good is that feasible and do you think I would be able to store 200 gallons? If these tanks are in the back or in the same spot in the bus is there a weight distribution issue and could that lead to unexpected wear and tear, will it ride low in the back?
3) Power will be a concern so I will plan on investing in solar and lithium batteries. Based on my research though this may not be enough to power the devices I will have on hand. Generally speaking if I am running low on power is it advisable to idle the engine, or would a generator be a better option to reduce engine wear and tear? What are the challenges involved with mixing solar and wind to power / charge? Since I am going the WVO route could I power a generator using WVO? I have to crunch more numbers but I am planning on mounting about 400w of solar panels on the roof and then deploy a ground array (400w) when possible.
4) Refrigeration advice: Since I would ideally like to boondock for extended periods of time refrigeration will be an issue, specifically storing veggies and possibly running out of space. One option is to get a propane fridge. A question I have about this is how long could one expect to run a fridge off of a propane tank of average size that would fit under a bus? I haven't researched this yet so any anecdotal advice would be helpful. Has anyone had success rigging up their own Peltier coolers to run off of solar / DC? Likewise if I went super low-tech what about using an ice box that could drain?
5) Water storage: It looks like most water tanks are around 40-50 gallons. If I want to store an extra 100+ what is the best way to do this?
I'll stop here I have more questions but I don't want to over-do it on the first post
However any advice you may have that is not covered is appreciated. Specifically any costs or issues that new skoolie owners tend to run into but aren't commonly obvious or known. Thanks in advance.