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Old 06-30-2016, 10:54 AM   #1
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thinking of converting one

im a college student in my last year of school. after college i want to go out and explore the united states for a while and live on a fairly modest budget. i've been looking at the skoolies. my plan is to live in one full time all year round. right now it is just a thought in my mind. i have been looking at buses with about 30 feet of living space so it would hopefully be short enough i could also haul my car around in an enclosed trailer with me.
since my plan is to live in it year round i am planning on insulating the entire bus and both the fresh water and waste water tanks then getting a diesel powered heater that can run from the fuel tank. and then using a window air conditioner in the summer.

for power my plan is to have about 100w of solar panels and enough batteries to have a 2 day supply if the weather gets bad. then have a diesel generator as backup.
i will probably add shocks and remove a leaf spring to get a smoother ride depending on how rough it is after getting it loaded.
my total budget would be about 20k for the entire conversion. Is this a possibility? any other recommendations?
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:17 AM   #2
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It's completely doable on 20k. I would, however consider more than 100 watts of solar. I'm planning on 1.2kw for my conversion to power everything. Fridge, tv, computer, lights, etc... And make sure you go overkill on a window air conditioner. I've got a 10k btu unit for the back of the bus and a 5k unit that may go above the windshield in the front... When doing your btu calculations don't forget to add ~3500btu because skoolies have their kitchen area inside the main living space. Typically you need to have around 35 btus per square foot. Then add another 600 per person that will occupy the space and that will give you a good rough estimate of what size ac you will need.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:33 AM   #3
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Yeah, you'll probably need a good bit more solar than 100w. You'll have enough roof area to easily add over 1000 (if not necessarily the budget).

I'll avoid getting into the AC discussion, as this isn't my area of expertise. But I would avoid altering the rear springs as it's doubtful you'll notice any ride quality difference, especially after loading in all the stuff you'll be using to live in the bus (That, and you are altering something engineered to support the weight of the bus and everything in it, which could be considered a safety thing). Buses are (usually) equipped with shocks front and rear, but it's rare they get replaced, so that's one thing you can consider doing. You may also consider finding a bus with air-ride suspension which will be considerably smoother than a spring ride.
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:03 PM   #4
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I meant to type 1000w of solar. I guess if altering the springs is not a good idea then I will avoid doing it.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:42 PM   #5
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Hah, I kind of figured thats what you meant, but just wanted to make sure...
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jimdog View Post
im a college student in my last year of school. after college i want to go out and explore the united states for a while and live on a fairly modest budget. i've been looking at the skoolies. my plan is to live in one full time all year round. right now it is just a thought in my mind. i have been looking at buses with about 30 feet of living space so it would hopefully be short enough i could also haul my car around in an enclosed trailer with me.
since my plan is to live in it year round i am planning on insulating the entire bus and both the fresh water and waste water tanks then getting a diesel powered heater that can run from the fuel tank. and then using a window air conditioner in the summer.

for power my plan is to have about 100w of solar panels and enough batteries to have a 2 day supply if the weather gets bad. then have a diesel generator as backup.
i will probably add shocks and remove a leaf spring to get a smoother ride depending on how rough it is after getting it loaded.
my total budget would be about 20k for the entire conversion. Is this a possibility? any other recommendations?

rather than alter the rear suspension.. find one that has air-ride rear... it makes a huge difference in the way a bus rides.. and there are quite a few out there with this on it...

-Christopher
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
rather than alter the rear suspension.. find one that has air-ride rear... it makes a huge difference in the way a bus rides.. and there are quite a few out there with this on it...

-Christopher
When I finally found someone to insure me the only question I was asked was "
Has the suspension been altered in any way",,

Something to keep in mind.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Stu & Filo. T View Post
When I finally found someone to insure me the only question I was asked was "
Has the suspension been altered in any way",,

Something to keep in mind.
thats why I say Buy a bus that has air ride rear... that is factory installed by the chassis manufacturer so its not altered when it has air ride..

-Christopher
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Old 06-30-2016, 08:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
thats why I say Buy a bus that has air ride rear... that is factory installed by the chassis manufacturer so its not altered when it has air ride..

-Christopher
Its totally worth it to find one with air ride. Makes a really huge difference.
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Old 06-30-2016, 09:59 PM   #10
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Its totally worth it to find one with air ride. Makes a really huge difference.
I had thought my bus seemed rather bumpy... though much better since I replaced the shocks.. but then i drove one without air ride and I think the rear wheels actually bounced in the air on the bad ohio pot holes!
-Christopher
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