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Old 09-15-2012, 09:26 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 10
living out of a bus

im a new guy here, from utah . my wife and i have 12 acres of land in the mountains to live off grid, with 2 40 ft conex,s to one day build and live up there. but cant afford to pay a house payment and build are little retirment house in the mountains. so now we are thinking of getting the largest bus we can and raise the roof and add a couple slide outs and live down in the city during the week and drive 1.5 hours to our land on weekend to work on it. but im wondering what the bus to look for and for a good price. whats the longest made, best motors and trans to look for. any help i could really use. i can fab fairly well, certified welder and have built some rock crawlers and custom cars. so i think i can handle this , just need a little help on the way. thanks everybody
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:08 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 1,695
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
Re: living out of a bus

It sounds like you have all the skills you need to do a bus conversion. You could end up with a SKOOLIE as your retirement cabin if you are careful with your design. READ, READ, READ, You will learn what works and what doesn't. Good luck with the project and welcome.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:44 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,368
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Re: living out of a bus

Skoolies are 40' in length at most and Blue Birds are probably the best built. Look for a low mileage diesel with an Allison auto trans. They will outlive us both. These days you should be able to find a really solid unit for around 3-4 grand. School district auctions are a good bet and you can often find well maintained units that come with full maintenance records. The roof raising is actually pretty straightforward. My ex and I raised ours 19" which kept the peak below the 13' highway standard but yielded a lot of extra space inside. Can't help with the slidesouts, but as I recall, there a a couple of folks here who have taken that on. Do as much searching and homework as possible before you start a layout. Things like locating the major plumbing often dictate where everything else goes.

Welcome and best of luck with the build.
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:56 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 10
Re: living out of a bus

i think to help with plumbing , i will have the kitchen and bathroom back to back in the center of the bus. and also run a urine seperating composting toilet.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:24 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 119
Re: living out of a bus

If you plan to go to a regular camping site they have all the connections on the driver's side (water, power, drain, etc). You may want to follow the standard.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:39 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 227
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Super Coach II, 36 Ft. RE
Engine: Cat 3208T, MT643
Re: living out of a bus

Your roof raise will be simplified if you buy a bus with vertical sides rather than tapered sides. Most if not all Blue Bird full size school buses have the straight sides. Some others, like my Crown have sides that taper inward a couple of inches.
(Latin) loquor loqui locutus dep. [to speak (in conversation); to tell , say, declare, talk of].

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Old 09-18-2012, 03:38 AM   #7
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 52
Re: living out of a bus

This thread by Elliott Naess chronicles his project raising the roof of his bus, "Millicent":

It actually looks sort of easy, although that's not meant to imply that it's to be taken lightly.
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