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Old 12-15-2016, 03:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Park Hills, Mo.
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Opinions needed

I've been reading a lot about skoolies and have often thought "how cool". My interest in living on the road started wayyyyy back in high school when I read a book called Rolling Homes. It got me thinking and I've been thinking about it ever since. I'm retired now and the wife and I are planning on traveling the US and I don't want a run of the mill motor home or camper. I want something that we both can say "we did that". So, first off I'm asking for the opinions of those that have done this interesting lifestyle. Which do you think is the better candidate for a conversion? A flat face or a bus with a hood? I'm thinking that a flat face bus would give you a little more interior room to work with while a bus with a hood might give you a touch more fuel economy. Just guesses here. So, opinions please on maybe why you chose the style you have if you get the time. Thanks in advance for any replies...
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:12 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Motrukdriver View Post
I've been reading a lot about skoolies and have often thought "how cool". My interest in living on the road started wayyyyy back in high school when I read a book called Rolling Homes. It got me thinking and I've been thinking about it ever since. I'm retired now and the wife and I are planning on traveling the US and I don't want a run of the mill motor home or camper. I want something that we both can say "we did that". So, first off I'm asking for the opinions of those that have done this interesting lifestyle. Which do you think is the better candidate for a conversion? A flat face or a bus with a hood? I'm thinking that a flat face bus would give you a little more interior room to work with while a bus with a hood might give you a touch more fuel economy. Just guesses here. So, opinions please on maybe why you chose the style you have if you get the time. Thanks in advance for any replies...
Hi there and Welcome!

I have a 2003, 65 pax (passenger) dog-nosed bus. I did my research and liked the dog-nosed because I was more comfortable with the front wheels in front of me, the other advantage is not have 4 wheel wells taking up inside space versus just 2.

I got my bus in September, from this site: Public Surplus: Auction #1682539 (this is my actual bus). I brought it from VA to FL and began work on it right after Hurricane Matthew passed us (I brought her home the day before the hurricane came!). I moved on the bus November 6th with just the bed built and am using other furniture in the bus at this point, like my office desk. I am living and running my internet based business on the bus.

I plan on taking the bus on the road for a year, or more, next September. You can watch my progress on my blog: www.thismidwifetravels.com.

I look forward to seeing what y'all pick for your skoolie!

Sandi
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Old 12-15-2016, 11:56 PM   #3
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Location: Portland, OR
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Year: 1988
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom Schoolbus
Engine: Detroit Diesel 6v92TA
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I've got a post with some of the pro's cons here - Choosing the best bus body style for your build — Buslandia

Fuel economy isn't really any different, and you're right, a flat front gives you more space compared to a same length conventional bus. Approach angle is better on a conventional, but the really long ones often have a poor departure angle, negating some of that off-road advantage. Personally, I like rear-engine for the smooth, quiet ride, and the great amount of space up front. But I can see the appeal of a conventional too, especially if you're not looking for the absolute most amount of interior space.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:12 AM   #4
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Conventionals are cheaper but you get less interior space to work with.

Flatnose buses are the best, in my opinion. As a person that drives buses for a living, I can personally say that the flatnoses are far superior to the conventionals in most driving scenarios.

Look for buses with the bigger motors, such as the DT466 or the Cummins 8.3. You will end up paying more but it's worth it, trust me.

A lot of districts order full size buses with smaller motors like the T444 or the Cummins 5.9, both of which are fine motors but they struggle with the added weight of a skoolie conversion.

One mistake a lot of new folks do is focus way too much on MPG. You're driving around a vehicle that weights over 10,000 pounds. It's going to suck no matter what bus you buy.

Another mistake is veggie oil. Personally I think it's a dumb idea and a massive waste of time and money. So many newbies try to buy a bus and then make their project 100x harder by converting the thing to WVO.

Oh, and if you see rust on a bus, run. If there's surface rust, it's pretty much guaranteed that the damage underneath the exterior is far, far worse. Nothing worse than having to spend a ton of time on bodywork and rust repair before you can start the actual conversion process.

Let us know what part of the country you're in. The used school bus market varies wildly by state and region.
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
Conventionals are cheaper but you get less interior space to work with.

Flatnose buses are the best, in my opinion. As a person that drives buses for a living, I can personally say that the flatnoses are far superior to the conventionals in most driving scenarios.

Look for buses with the bigger motors, such as the DT466 or the Cummins 8.3. You will end up paying more but it's worth it, trust me.

A lot of districts order full size buses with smaller motors like the T444 or the Cummins 5.9, both of which are fine motors but they struggle with the added weight of a skoolie conversion.

One mistake a lot of new folks do is focus way too much on MPG. You're driving around a vehicle that weights over 10,000 pounds. It's going to suck no matter what bus you buy.

Another mistake is veggie oil. Personally I think it's a dumb idea and a massive waste of time and money. So many newbies try to buy a bus and then make their project 100x harder by converting the thing to WVO.

Oh, and if you see rust on a bus, run. If there's surface rust, it's pretty much guaranteed that the damage underneath the exterior is far, far worse. Nothing worse than having to spend a ton of time on bodywork and rust repair before you can start the actual conversion process.

Let us know what part of the country you're in. The used school bus market varies wildly by state and region.
Very good advice, well said!
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