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Old 12-24-2008, 03:37 AM   #1
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QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

Hello all,
i was planning to convert a Schoolbus into a Fulltime, solar-WVO home, and artist Studio.
Looking around i gathered that 2-3grand will get one a used skoolie with 100,000+ miles.
I have seen some nice looking FireTrucks sell for that amount.. late 70's to mid 80's with only 20,000 miles!!
Garage kept, full time mechanic, suped up suspension, electrical, brakes, no governor, some have generators, etc.. sounds good right?

I realize that Firetrucks are harder to find, that removing the pump, and building from scratch has its disadvantages, but it also would allow a custom home to be built.. no need to raise the roof.. the metal pump, etc might fetch some $ in a scrap yard.. helping fund the materials for conversion.

Before going any further, if anybody here has any knowledge regarding FireTruck engines and chassis.. etc.. how do they compare?

a) Getting replacement PARTS ? (used, new)
b) MPG?
c) build quality?
d) general condition of the engine-tranny-etc after retirement, I read that FireTrucks have fewer miles, but the motors are driven harder.. ?


Any insightful feedback is appreciated!!
Let me know what you guys think..

leo
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:26 AM   #2
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

hmm.. i think one of the main differences would be you'd have to construct the body. so if you're lacking fabrication skills it could be an issue.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:18 PM   #3
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

The transmission will have a pto for the pump that could be used with a generator head for power which maybe a plus. The AT5XX & MT6XX transmissions commonly used on buses have SAE spec port for a pto but are rarely used in bus applications

Engine, transmission, & frame should be a medium truck chassis very similar to whats under a bus.
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Old 12-24-2008, 01:12 PM   #4
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

Have you seen this guys firetruck?



Read all about it here:

http://www.mrsharkey.com/busbarn/damien/damien.htm

-Ray
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:39 PM   #5
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

if you go the firetruck route try to get detailed records for age, hours, repair history, on the items like the pump, often a well funded fire department will get rid of these while they are still very serviceable and if you can document their condition things like the pumps can be worth a lot of money to smaller less funded departments, also do not be misled by the low mileage on fire trucks, they spend thousands of hours running under extreme conditions without moving, hence no mileage but lots of wear and tear to engines and transmissions while sitting at scenes and running that pump puts a beating on the drivetrain
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:10 PM   #6
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

I've seen the fire truck pictured above on TV in a program called RV Crazy... This particular Fire Truck doesn't even run, it was built to stay in one place! I have to agree with the others, if you got the skills and really want to go that route then all the power to ya. Seems like too much trouble to me, a bus is much easier to convert than building from scratch...
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Old 12-25-2008, 09:11 AM   #7
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

i was considering purchasing a fire truck a month or so ago to put a jacuzzi inside of....instead of a bus.

i have been a firefighter for about 11 years and i agree that there are tons of fire trucks that are taken out of service simply because the replacement truck arrived, not because it was worn out or broken.

20K miles for a 20 year old truck sounds about right. However, keep in mind that fire truck miles are like dog years! Also, many older fire trucks don't go very fast...55 or 60 might be top speed. One more thing is that a fire engine is designed to pump water while parked. So it may have a ton of hours compared to the miles it has driven. Fully loaded with water a truck from the 80's or earlier might not even be able to hit 55 mph. You prob won't find cruise control. Manual transmissions might be in rough shape too, since there were 20 different guys, none of whom are truck drivers, trying to drive a 10 speed truck while excited.

If you find a cheap fire truck with few miles on it, why not go for it?

I'm not sure about older stuff, but newer computer controlled trucks can have "E" class engines. I think those engines are allowed higher hp and higher rpm's, especially when parked, and they might not have the same emissions requirements.

i think that they also tend to have class 8 big truck motors, transmissions, and frames all heavier duty than what you find on buses. If you find a truck with dual rear axles from the northern states, it's very likely that it has 2 types of air lockers in it. One locker to connect the axles, and another set of lockers for each axle which gives you 8 wheel drive. They also tend to have big high output alternators.
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Old 12-25-2008, 09:23 AM   #8
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

turn it into a mobile swimming pool?
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Old 12-25-2008, 09:57 PM   #9
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
i was considering purchasing a fire truck a month or so ago to put a jacuzzi inside of....instead of a bus.
keep the truck's water pump to power the jacuzzi and shoot people right outta the tub for fun...lol
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Old 12-26-2008, 11:09 AM   #10
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

My vote is for the mobile swimming pool!!!
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:52 PM   #11
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

Showing one firetruck from the show that does run and move but that guy just don't do it from my understanding. But you can not forget about the other one on the show but it wasn't a regular firetruck like most of us are used to seeing. See linky below

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discove ... -video.htm

Also web site with use firetrucks

http://www.ericksontrucks.com/
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:24 PM   #12
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

If you're interested... Bus Conversions Magazine is supposed to do an article on a converted fire truck next month
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:31 PM   #13
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

there is a Bus Conversions Magazine? how did i miss this?
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:39 AM   #14
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

They mostly deal with coaches... you know, like MCI, Prevost, etc., etc., etc.....
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:27 PM   #15
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Re: QUESTION: Skoolie Alternative.. FIRE TRUCK ??

Quote:
20K miles for a 20 year old truck sounds about right. However, keep in mind that fire truck miles are like dog years! Also, many older fire trucks don't go very fast...55 or 60 might be top speed. One more thing is that a fire engine is designed to pump water while parked. So it may have a ton of hours compared to the miles it has driven. Fully loaded with water a truck from the 80's or earlier might not even be able to hit 55 mph.
One of the tankers here is an old Diamond-REO 5-ton Army truck...it will barely hit 55 empty. It's definitely bringing up the rear when the tank is full.

The ladder trucks will sail up hills with the cars, though...pouring black smoke, and with the 12V71 Jimmy in Ladder 12 drowning out the siren spinning 2500RPM through its 5" straightpipes. It's been overhauled and, uhh, turned up a little. (It's about 600HP according to one of the deputy chiefs.) Ladder 8 isn't quite as crazy, but its turbocharged 855 Cummins Big Cam is turned up pretty high (500HP, maybe). One of the volunteers is a retired truck mechanic & he overhauled them.

Both have finally had their duplex 15-speeds replaced with 13-speed Road Rangers in a nod to the fact that only three guys--none younger than 60--could drive them. They also got power steering (air-assist) around 1995, and Ladder 8 got big super single tires in front. (It got those before the power steering, which is something I do not even want to think about in a tight parking lot.)

Amazingly, the only automatic transmissions in the entire FD are the ambulances.
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