School bus to Custom Van
First, I am so glad I have found this site. It has already answered many questions that I have had about converting a school bus. That being said, I still have several questions that I would love to get answered.
I will explain my project idea. I am in a college campus ministry in Missouri and going into fulltime ministry after I graduate. I want a larger vehicle for road trips and such. I had a 1998 Suburban that I made into a 12 seat vehicle, but I am looking for more people room and luggage room. I work on a farm so I am used to and comfortable with driving large vehicles-I drive a crew cab Durastar and love it. I am in the process of getting an early to mid 90s diesel short wheelbase school bus. I am looking for a 45 passenger bus or handicap fullsize bus because they have the shorter wheelbase. I want to remove the rear cap of the bus, shorten the frame and body to just past the rear axle, and reattach the rear cap to the body. The bus will undergo other modifications to become less school bus like and more medium duty truck like-new paint, new bumpers, possible side skirt removal, etc. I will then keep the most number of seats possible (maybe 15 with regulations?) and turn the rest of the interior into luggage/storage space. I have a lot of experience with all kinds of vehicles and am very ingenuic when it comes to fabrications.
Here are the questions:
1) Is there any bus in particular I should be looking for? I have had good luck with International trucks so I am looking at International 3800 series school buses, most with the 7.3 Navistar but I would love to have a Dt446.
2) What is the measured wheelbase of a 45 passenger or similar bus? I would like to keep the overall length under 25 ft when it is all said and done with.
3) I do not have a CDL and would like to keep from having to have one. I know I have to stay under 26,000lb GVWR to stay away from that. Also, I have read that I need to stay under 16 passengers in order to drive the vehicle on a standard class F license. Again, this vehicle will be going on my personal insurance and I will be the sole driver. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to title the vehicle as my own and not have to go about the commercial vehicle route? Also, does anyone know for sure if 15 passengers is the cap for a personal vehicle?
Thank you in advance for your answers, I greatly appreciate it!