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Old 09-10-2016, 12:32 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Medford, OR
Posts: 21
The Perfect Skoolie

What is the perfect Skoolie?

I'm sure this has been asked before, but I'm interested in the responses as sort of a brainstorming excercise to give me (and anybody else reading the thread) ideas on things to do that they might not have thought to do otherwise.

I'm talking the absolute minutae, the tiniest details, what would be the absolute perfect thing to do to a used school bus? What would make your skoolie perfect? What do you wish you had done differently? What would make a difference now that you didn't think would make a difference back then?

I'm always interested in other people's points of view.
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:42 AM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Posts: 171
Year: 1995
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Carpenter
Engine: d466 mechanical
No one can truly answer this. Too many variables and factors.
How much money do you have? What is your skill set? Where are you located? Is it hot or cold? How many people are in your family? Full time or traveling? Have any specific hobbies? Do you need or want amenities? Do you have pets? How much time can you devote to converting? Are you mechanically inclined? Will you tow anything? What is your electrical wants and needs? Will your bus see snow?

I can rattle off those questions without even thinking, I'm sure there's plenty more. Each person will probably have plenty of different answers. The best part of a skoolie is making it personal to you and your loved ones. Now there are things generally agreed upon like favorable engines, proper insulation, etc. And plenty of advice on what not to do.

The only thing I can think of id do differently is a roof raise, it looks like a cool process. And maybe I'd get a 6-7 window bus for easier traveling if no full timing.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:00 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NowhereFast View Post
No one can truly answer this. Too many variables and factors.
On the contrary, every one can answer. I'm not asking you to tell me what I want. I'm asking you to tell me what you want.
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Old 09-10-2016, 03:01 AM   #4
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Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
The one with my name on the title
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:05 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Posts: 171
Year: 1995
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Carpenter
Engine: d466 mechanical
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiredForStereo View Post
On the contrary, every one can answer. I'm not asking you to tell me what I want. I'm asking you to tell me what you want.
Okay I'll shoot. I love my bus, it's a 1995 DT466 before electronics with a MT643 trans, air suspension and air brakes. I think this is an amazing combo I lucked out on, because after I bought mine I rode in someone else's without air suspension and it was noticeably different.
It's just me and my girl so I don't need the same space like a family would. But, to live in I'd always stick to a larger bus. One day when I fully graduate college and purchase a home I'd consider have a 6-7 window bus to travel around in.

Something I praise a lot is the 40 foot rear engine buses, there's endless amount of space. Electric is important to me, and living in Florida I need proper insulation (spray) and a good rooftop AC. If I had the space I'd want to give a dual split AC mounted underneath a good go.
I have a motorcycle I plan on bringing with me, so any bus I'd want would be a toy hauler or atleast have a platform for the bike. My girls trying to convince me to trade her car in for a new smart car to put in the back of ours
I have solar, but I'm envious of people with like 3000 watts on their roof. I do want a rooftop deck though. And if I did it again I'd do a giant roof raise for the welding experience and comfort.
My ideal bus seems to be an adventure rig, with room for toys and kayaks/ stand up paddle boards. The ability to live comfortable inside, and charge some iPhones/laptops.
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Old 09-10-2016, 08:11 AM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 879
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
We've been working on HF's design for over six years. We've been deconstructing for 14 months. We've JUST started to get the resources together to remodel.

The perfect skoolie depends upon the owner. What works for one may not for another. We're full-timing in HF when she's near completion. This may not work for a family of ten people (yes, extreme example, but those families do exist), or for empty nest homeowners who just want to vacation on the weekends to see the grandkids.

The perfect skoolie depends upon the family needs. Our family needs are to have as much home comforts as the space in our 40' bus will allow. This means we have a full-sized refrigerator, stove, pantry, shower, washer, dryer, galley, dinette, king size bed, and an office for wifie, and my driver's area is also convertible to my office as well. We've drawn ideas from others, come up with a few of our own, but it takes time, and lots of patience - especially to go back to the beginning and do a plan because you found you missed something and it throws all the measurements way off.

One last observation. With these older buses - REWIRE them!!!!! Most of these buses are well over 20 years old when they go to auction. Please do yourself a favor - rewire these buses. Most of the buses that catch fire are due to some part of the wiring gone bad. Two years ago Katy ISD lost six buses because one had a bad wiring issue - manufacturers defect. I'm rewiring HF because I want to keep my family and my bus safe.

M
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:23 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Medford, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NowhereFast View Post
Okay I'll shoot. I love my bus, it's a 1995 DT466 before electronics with a MT643 trans, air suspension and air brakes. I think this is an amazing combo I lucked out on, because after I bought mine I rode in someone else's without air suspension and it was noticeably different.
I've read some of your posts, your bus looks like a good rig. I am totally with you on the brakes and air ride. Also the DT466.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NowhereFast View Post
I have a motorcycle I plan on bringing with me, so any bus I'd want would be a toy hauler or at least have a platform for the bike. My girls trying to convince me to trade her car in for a new smart car to put in the back of ours
Agreed there. In my case, I'd like to pull a covered trailer with a compact car and maybe motorcycle in it. Extra storage too. My brothers have toy hauler trailers and they're great for coming and going, but I wouldn't want to have to spend any time in them on the way. There's always a four-wheeler parked in the kitchen.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NowhereFast View Post
I have solar, but I'm envious of people with like 3000 watts on their roof. I do want a rooftop deck though. And if I did it again I'd do a giant roof raise for the welding experience and comfort.
I'm definitely planning on a roof raise. Fortunately, I grew up in a junk yard and am a proficient welder and my father turns blank sheets of steel into classic car parts, so sheet metal won't be an issue. Solar is a definite plus.

Thanks for your comments.
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Old 09-10-2016, 01:26 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Medford, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
This may not work for a family of ten people (yes, extreme example, but those families do exist), or for empty nest homeowners who just want to vacation on the weekends to see the grandkids.
Have you seen the blog for the Good News Bus? They have a pile of kids. I only have three, so I'm planning a triple bunk (roof raise). My wife works from home, so laptop for her. And I do plan on keeping this until I have grandkids of my own.
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Old 09-10-2016, 02:27 PM   #9
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 879
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiredForStereo View Post
Have you seen the blog for the Good News Bus? They have a pile of kids. I only have three, so I'm planning a triple bunk (roof raise). My wife works from home, so laptop for her. And I do plan on keeping this until I have grandkids of my own.
Yes I have. They have mostly younger children. As that family grows, they very well could outgrow their bus. Just sayin'.

With a larger family there requires a higher level of planning to anticipate how the family grows.

With my example, a wife and one son and me, my son being in high school, our needs are rather set as a family. Our 40' bus fits all our needs and a few small wants to make living in her more pleasurable.

A larger family has more dynamic and challenging needs, especially a younger family. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it takes waaaaaaaaaaaay more planning than what we have done with our bus.

Hat's off to you and tackling that colossal project! It will be a large challenge. The fact you're here and looking for help says you should be successful!

M
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:31 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Mount Victory, OH
Posts: 68
My bus (haven't bought one yet) will be a 40'RE (rear engine). Either a Blue Bird or Thomas Saf-T-liner. Would love to find a Cummins 8.3 with a MD3060 with 6th gear unlocked, lower gears(numerically) for higher speeds at lower RPM's. Do a nice tall roof raise like 13' or 13'6". My plan is my wife and I and our 3 kids to go on the weekends and vacations and to the amusement parks. Then when the kids want to not go with mom and dad so much doing a little traveling.
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