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Old 09-26-2008, 02:56 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 36
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 454
Newbie starting the project

I'm excited, both to find this community and because today I was able to start on a long term dream of mine. We have a family of eight and our travel has been hampered by the fact that hotel rooms require us to book two rooms and it is too labor intensive to tent camp frequently. We have known for a long time that our best option was a school bus, but knowing that and getting it are two different things.

I have had my eye on a bus for about a year. The owner was asking $995 for it, but we never had the cash to seriously negotiate for it. I went to the guy yesterday and he said he would take $600 cash for it. I talked it over with my wife, and we realized we could not afford to pass this deal up. It is a full sized vehicle (not sure about passenger rating, but the GVWR is 21,600) and has a 350 Chevy engine in it. Best of all, it is rated so that I do not need to acquire a class B license.

We've already got the basics figured out, and will probably spending this weekend turning the front two seats around and pulling out extra seats (we have a use for the extra seats already!). We're going to make a plywood table so that we can convert these seats. That takes care of two bunks. We will have a back storage area alongside the bathroom, which knocks out two more, and we will create offsetting bunk beds for the other four. The idea is for the interior to give us just enough to provide the basic living necessities. My game plan is to build something off to the side so that we can cook out whenever weather permits, and only have a small propane stove for the inside. We will put bikes to travel "on location" in the back storage area, accessible by the emergency door.

One of the first questions I would like to ask is, is there a good source for aftermarket seat belts? We have young kids and would like to add this feature before any other renovations are done. I would also like to know what space saving tips that skoolies with families as large as ours or larger would recommend. I am sure individual questions will come up as the project progressses, but these are the two I'd like to find out right off the bat.

I'm excited to see this forum here and look forward to being part of the discussions!
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:33 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
Re: Newbie starting the project

welcome aboard
looks like you have a good project and a good plan,
start by placing an ad in this forums wish list/for sale section looking for seatbelts, some states require that busses be equiped with seatbelts and I'd be willing to bet that their is a skoolie member that has a bushelbasket full of takeout belts that they would be glad to see put to good use.
if you put your location in your info it is a lot easier to help with parts and pieces that are close to you.
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:14 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 36
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 454
Re: Newbie starting the project

Good thought on the wishlist. Most states that I've found have the rule that seatbelts are required only if it was originally equipped; however, it's the safety of my kids that we're talking about, so as far as I'm concerned, they're mandatory.

I'll get more of the specs of my bus this weekend...will probably start with a "before" picture or too, as well.
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:19 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Off-Grid
Posts: 740
Year: 1982
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH S1723
Engine: IH V345 Gas V8
Rated Cap: 66
Re: Newbie starting the project

Welcome to the asylum!

You could also try your local pick-n-pull / scrap yard for used ones, you can usually find belts in great condition for a song. That's where I got mine, paid $20 for eight of 'em out of a wrecked 12 passenger van. (Family of 8 here, too, heh, heh!)

Post pics when you can!
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:58 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 36
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 454
Re: Newbie starting the project

yeah, I'm actually planning to hit up the scrapyards to see if I can find bits and pieces from RV's as well...I might surprise them and show up with a "shopping list"!
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:36 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 704
Re: Newbie starting the project

Seatbelts, there are bunches of them on ebay.... from regular lap belts to 3 point retractables...

Lap Belts for $8
shoulder belt for $16
Note: I have bought from this particular seller on a few occasions, he's a good seller...
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