Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-26-2017, 07:14 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 15
Vintage body swap?

I'm new here and looking into building a Skoolie. Has anyone done a vintage body swap of an old bus body and placed it on a late model bus frame of equal/close enough wheel base length? I may have the opportunity to acquire my grandpa's late 50's/early 60's International Harvester school bus that he built as a Skoolie back in the early 70's. It's got quite a bit of sentimental value which is why I'm even considering this. To be honest I'm not 100% sure the bus hasn't been crushed at the junkyard near my grandpa's town, only that it was taken there within the last 7-10 years... so let's pretend it hasn't been crushed until I know that fact when replying.

The Skoolie had a gas engine with either a manual 3 or 4 speed with OD. I'd gut the Skoolie and start from scratch. I know it would be quite pricey to buy a late model diesel engine and tranny, not to mention upgrading to air brakes and some of those things to make a safer and more comfortable to drive (if there is such a thing). That's why I'm pondering doing a body swap of the old Skoolie onto a late model bus where the wheelbase is the same or close to it. This Skoolie would not be a tiny home build, but a camper to fit a family of six.

I've got access to equipment and a lift (and a friend diesel mechanic) to help with the job, so that question is answered. So here are a few unanswered questions:

1. Has anyone done it before on here? If so, is there a build thread here?
2. Any issues with getting it titled? I'm in Nebraska so laws may be different from state to state. I can contact my DMV too.
3. For those who have not done this before, lend me your thoughts but please be considerate and don't fill this thread with meaningless negative commentary.

I look forward to reading what the Skoolie community has to offer. Thanks!

-Randy
randallg30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2017, 07:31 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Can't comment on your local laws or regs but yes...it is possible to transpalnt on older body onto a newer chassis/running gear. Look up "Ol Trunt" and his 1935 Chevy bus that was plopped onto an Isuzu NPR chassis. Beautiful rig and brilliant engineering. It is a lot of work but can be done and you wind up with a classic body that has all the newer bells and whistles.

You can also update any "old" rig and bring it up to modern standards. I am 6+ years into building a 1946 Chevy. It started with a 90 horse straight six and 4 speed, non-synchro tranny that would top out at 45 mph sucking about 5 mpg's. It now has a Cummins 4BT turbo diesel, Allison 6 speed trans, Dana rear axle and 4 wheel disk brakes and should easily cruise at 65mph for days on end while sipping around 20+ mpg. I am still not done and have purposely given up on keeping track of the $$$ but look forward to a lot of years cruising the country in style.

It all a personal call. Define your purpose, needs and wants and go for it.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2017, 08:13 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 15
Tango,

Thanks for the info!
randallg30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2017, 08:14 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 15
Nice rig btw Tango
randallg30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2017, 12:55 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,523
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
I have long appreciated the aesthetics of the older buses, the rounded roofs and all that. If I were to procure one, I'd swap in a modern drivetrain, maybe find a wrecked truck and cannibalize *EVERYTHING*. A 5.9 Cummins may not have as much power as I'd like in a full size bus, though a larger engine would probably require cutting the firewall and floor. I'd upgrade all the running gear - axles and brakes, engine, transmission, cooling system, electricals (especially if the old system is 6 volts) ...

Yes, it would be a *LOT* of work. I would want to keep the vintage front-sheet metal as much as possible (at least the look). Everything else is fair game for upgrading.
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2017, 08:15 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,505
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
its definitely possible and generally legal to do so.. hot-rodders have been doing it with cars for many years.. those 1930's "deuce coupes" and street rods are almost never running on original chassis. on a more modern vehicle you have to choose your state.. some states like california are esp strict about drivetrain and chassis swaps..

typically the VIN number is with the Body on those older busses.. or thats the VIN you would register under..

you will want to keep the total GVWR of your creation under commercial vehicle limits for that state or you might have to pass full commercial vehicle requirements for DOT in that state to get it titled / registered the way you want.. as a personal vehicle in Ohio it just has to have the minimum requirements for any car... (lights, wipers, defrosters, bumpers, etc)..

a couple guys I know ran into issues resto-modding an old (1940s) dump / farm truck.. the body / cab / bed were in excellent shape but the chassis was rotted mess .. so we surmised to drop it onto a modern school bus chassis would be the way to go.. and use the VIN of the bus chassis because it had been sold separately to the original body maker.. the state wasnt too happy about that idea when they were asked.... the loophole ended up being that we found a bus that was under 26,000 GVWR.. and they built their truck on that. easy at the state inspection for such.

the truck was registered with bare frame rails and bumpers on the back.. AFTER registration THEN the original dump was put on.. Ohio is pretty lenient about mods.. of courser the truck was never ever going to haul a single load of dirt.. its just for cruising around in..

so when you build your bus.. build out the Minimum you need to register it then finish the build after.. if you are going for Motor home just put the minimum requirements in for a motorhome then get it registered.. take it home and finish the build..

every state is different.. I wouldnt wish california on anyone doing customs..


-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2017, 06:29 PM   #7
Almost There
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 71
Speaking of hot rods, or customs really, one thing done often is to graft different pieces of other cars on to your own to create something unique.

Rather than try to swap an entire body on to a new chassis, you might want to look for a bus with similar dimensions that you can graft the front and rear sheet metal on to.

That might make it a slightly smaller job and a more solid structure when you are done.
Drop out is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2017, 06:46 PM   #8
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,505
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
regardless of how much you can salvage from junkyards and how much you can do yourself it tends to get $$$ no matter what to build anything custom..

even the likes of ol trunt and tango who are master craftsmen im sure have a lot of $$ tied up in their builds...

-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2017, 09:24 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Roger that. Like I said before about the $$$...

I don't even want to know.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2017, 08:53 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
ACamper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Colorado
Posts: 167
You can do anything with a car, truck, bus if you have the time and $$$$$.

You will not find that many people who have done a body swap with a school bus. Not many people want to invest that kind of time and money into a school bus.

You will find lots of people who have done body swaps with cars and trucks. I would imagine a bus is the same basic principle just bigger.
ACamper is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.