Originally Posted by lordsporkton
Thank you all for your input, it has given me a much better idea of what i can and cant do. It looks like 4x4 will be mandatory for a bus due to where I want to take it. I'm also considering super singles
My approach is to go with one of the larger E450 based buses such as this Collins:
Width and height are pretty much identical to a full size bus, and a six window like this one usually runs about 15'-6" from the back of the driver's seat to the back door. I'm planning on picking one of these up and swapping in a Dana 60 front axle/suspension/steering from a 2003 or so Super Duty. Both vehicles use the same transmission (5R110 automatic)-the tailhousing of the 2WD version unbolts and the transfer case goes on in it's place. I'll probably need to fabricate a crossmember for it.
As for putting the power to the ground, I also think Super Singles would definitely be the way to go:
These Michelin 325/85/16s are military take offs that will fit easy to find 16x9 8 lug wheels. They are 38" tall and will support over 5000lbs per tire-perfect for these types of buses as GVWR maxes out at 14,500lbs. The goal would be to not lift the bus at all, but rather tub the rear and move the front axle forward/trim the fenders to achieve clearance. With a selectable rear locker the bus would go pretty much anywhere a prudent person would take it. I am building a bus that will be used quite a bit for surf fishing and 4WD is mandatory for beach access.