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Old 02-27-2017, 05:29 PM   #1
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Too Tall for a Skoolie?

Hello! My boyfriend and I are in the market for a bus for a skoolie conversion, but are having trouble finding one that my 6'3" boyfriend can stand in! We are apprehensive about raising the roof, but willing to do it if left with no other options. We've heard mixed things about the structural integrity of the bus post-roof raise and have also heard that flat front buses are more difficult to work on/get parts for. It seems to us, those might have a taller interior height. We are feeling a little confused, needless to say, and welcome any advice on the subject!! Thanks!!
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:41 PM   #2
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Hello! My boyfriend and I are in the market for a bus for a skoolie conversion, but are having trouble finding one that my 6'3" boyfriend can stand in! We are apprehensive about raising the roof, but willing to do it if left with no other options. We've heard mixed things about the structural integrity of the bus post-roof raise and have also heard that flat front buses are more difficult to work on/get parts for. It seems to us, those might have a taller interior height. We are feeling a little confused, needless to say, and welcome any advice on the subject!! Thanks!!
Son't listen to the nay-sayers. A bus roof is fairly easy to raise.
The things are incredibly strong.
They're simply OVER-BUILT due to the liability of hauling kids.
I'm 5'10 and just raised mine 10". Its 85" without floors or ceilings. If I were 6'3, I'd plan on more like a 16" raise.
The extra room REALLY makes it feel more livable in there. I used to really feel hunched over and cramped in my bus before. Now I'm excited to work in it.
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:46 PM   #3
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I'm 6'3" & can stand in my bus with no problems. The PO is 6'5" & made due. Its a 93 Blue Bird & just a once a month camper not a full time home but I could swing it.
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:00 PM   #4
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Thanks so much! We are planning in living in it full time so we probably will want to raise it... it's just so intimidating! If we only raised it about 16" (as opposed to the max height) that would save us some money and surely be enough room! What material did you use? Did you weld it? There seems to be too many options to wrap my head around!
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:00 PM   #5
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I wpuld say your bus is as strong if not stronger after a roof raise...

1. you are likely going to get rid of alot of windows.. and have them replaced with either stronger RV windows, or metal sheets..

2. a taller Bus has a Lot tougher time landing on its roof as opposed to its side... granted you can careen off a bridge or embankment but even a stock skoolie will have a huge time staying together in that situation...

having been on site during ECCB's recent race I can attest to the strength of the bus post-raise when the raise is done with planning , thought, and the correct materials...

-Christopher
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:03 PM   #6
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Thanks so much! We are planning in living in it full time so we probably will want to raise it... it's just so intimidating! If we only raised it about 16" (as opposed to the max height) that would save us some money and surely be enough room! What material did you use? Did you weld it? There seems to be too many options to wrap my head around!
There's really no one way to do it.
I had some extensions made that fit in the ribs, so when I lifted it we just had to clamp em and weld em.
You could rivet or bolt em, too.
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:04 PM   #7
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Thanks guys! I feel more optimistic already!! Now to actually buy the bus.... We've got a few days carved out around St. Patrick's Day to run around the midwest and pick one out! Is there any make/model/year that would make raising the roof easier?
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:09 PM   #8
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I like AmTran/International. Bluebird are good, too. Thomas builds good buses as well but they have an extra bend to the sides and rear that makes a good raise a bit trickier. So if you're raising it, I'd have to suggest what I know- My AmTran roof raise went as well as could be hoped for and I had virtually no issues with settling or warping after cutting the roof off.
Plan on spending a couple grand if you do it yourself, 5-10 grand if you farm out the work.
Try to look for a bus at an auction in Colorado, Idaho, Utah, or further west. They have NICE buses out west, and better-funded schools.
Colorado buses are my favorite. Happy hunting!
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:14 PM   #9
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If we only raised it about 16" (as opposed to the max height) that would save us some money and surely be enough room!
While at first glance it seems more inches of raise should cost more dollars, in practice it's not so linear. Because materials come in certain standard sizes the cost of a raise may be effectively the same for a range of raise heights. I raised mine 16 inches because it was enough to be comfortable, enough to fit a 3-high bunk bed, etc. I figured the cost difference would have been negligible to go as much as 24 inches of raise but I felt I didn't want to add that much even though the additional 8 inches would have been nearly free.
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:16 PM   #10
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...have also heard that flat front buses are more difficult to work on/get parts for.
Depends on what the engine layout is, and who the powerplant manufacturer is. Cummins and Navistar parts can be found with better availability than CAT or MB. And that will be true of both Class C and D buses

Its all a trade-off. Class D (transit-style) FEs give you maximum useful floor space, a big door in the back, but may require contortionist skills to work on the engine, and require you to hang your tanks outboard of the frame rails. Class D REs give you the next best in floor space use and a smaller door on the side (or two), but give you better access to the engine than an FE, and can allow you to hang your tanks inboard of the frame rails and as close to the center of gravity as you can get. Class C's (conventionals) give you the best engine access, the big rear door; but reduced (relatively) floor space, and the requirement to hang your tanks outboard, and a relatively larger turning radius, but better ground clearance.
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