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Old 04-23-2016, 05:14 PM   #1
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Moving van + minimal RV conversion?

We NEED to move our important possessions across country as inexpensively as possible. Our WANTS include poking our way from here to there slowly and see the country. When we moved this direction it was a Penske truck and we were in a screaming hurry. Don't want to do that again!

Our plan (well, today) is to have the bare minimum for the RV for titling and to allow as much room as possible for cargo:
  • Get out of debt and save the dough we need. We are two years pre-purchase, I would guess.
  • Pick up a '91 or '92 long conventional bus with air brakes, a DT466, and an Allison 2500 from a local school district via PublicSurplus.com (SUPER shop foreman there, great maintenance + records, and just down the street);
  • Spray over the letters, remove the stop sign, tape over the flashers, and add lettering under the driver's window "Recreational Vehicle for personal use only - not for hire";
  • Hire someone to add an exhaust brake to the engine (we'll be crossing the Rockies, after all);
  • Toss *most* of the chairs, leaving some frameworks still in place in the back 16 feet or so to use as cargo tie-points;
  • Add a propane bottle on a shelf behind the rig, and plumb it in towards the front;
  • Add 110v (I have a 2000w inverter and a deep-cycle battery already);
  • Build a wall somewhere around 1/3 back to isolate cargo from RV sections;
  • Build bunks for our two twin mattresses (we do the split King trick) crossways up against the bulkhead cargo/RV wall;
  • Behind the driver add a kitchen counter with luggable loo bucket underneath;
  • On the passenger side add a used RV Captain's chair to the front, possibly with a pull-up cover for the steps (or is there enough room to put a second seat in the center and forward, just to the driver's right?);
  • Behind the Captain's (co-pilot's) seat, place a tiny closet/cabinet and a refrigerator (we have a full-sized propane refrigerator - why not use it?);
  • Build a swamp-cooler-in-a-bucket contraption to at least give a hint of cooler air; and
  • Retitle as an RV and obtain liability-only insurance for it.

On arrival, use the bus as a storage container until we find local digs. We would sell the emptied bus to someone there who wants a bus to convert. We might keep it and convert it ourselves IF the place we buy/rent has room for it and the wife liked the experience on the way out.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-23-2016, 07:07 PM   #2
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
The exhaust brake may sound cool, but they really aren't worth the money and could just lead to more problems.

Here's a 92 MT643RM for $750. WITH retarder.
http://www.mylittlesalesman.com/1992...ission-8478032
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Old 04-23-2016, 07:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
The exhaust brake may sound cool, but they really aren't worth the money and could just lead to more problems.
I'm kinda nervous about long downhill grades: I recall passing a truck once on the Grapevine that had burning brakes (or something was smoking, anyway). I'll be heading west to Idaho through the Rockies, presumably. If you want to add anything here that would be great, but I think I'll start another thread so folks can find it later.
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Old 04-23-2016, 07:24 PM   #4
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http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f10/re...der-11568.html

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f9/mou...akes-9996.html
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:11 AM   #5
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That vintage bus won't have a 2500. It will be an AT545 or MT643. Second problem for me is your crapper in the kitchen.
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Old 04-24-2016, 01:33 AM   #6
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
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Engine: DT466E
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Last Saturday I drove a 2003 72 pass. bluebird with a DT466E Manual trans for a friend. I had to go over a 4000ft pass with 6-7 percent grade. I switched on the exhaust brake at the top and never touched the brakes until I was down on the flat again at an intersection.
I'm a believer now
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Old 04-24-2016, 07:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freakn View Post
Last Saturday I drove a 2003 72 pass. bluebird with a DT466E Manual trans for a friend. I had to go over a 4000ft pass with 6-7 percent grade. I switched on the exhaust brake at the top and never touched the brakes until I was down on the flat again at an intersection.
I'm a believer now
Any pics?
Who installed the exhaust brake? What brand?
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:40 AM   #8
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That vintage bus won't have a 2500. It will be an AT545 or MT643. Second problem for me is your crapper in the kitchen.
First problem: you're quite right: I typed it wrong. These are 2001 or so buses. I spoke with the shop foreman to get the model number. Apologies, all: the site won't let me edit the original post.

Second problem: mine doesn't stink.

OK, maybe I better rethink that. Trying to save space for cargo - likely overdid it. Here's one of my other ideas, though it cuts down the cargo space quite a bit.



My problem is I keep needing to remind myself that the goal is to move, not to have an RV. Sure, if the wife likes it we might keep it, but we're planning on selling it at the other end. Hm... she might like it more with the loo someplace other than the kitchen...
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:28 AM   #9
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Oh, why didn't you say so. If your poo doesn't stink, go ahead and put it in the kitchen.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:38 AM   #10
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Oh, why didn't you say so. If your poo doesn't stink, go ahead and put it in the kitchen.
My wife saw this. Apparently I mis-spoke.
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