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Old 11-03-2017, 11:18 AM   #1
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Question What would it take to create an articulated school bus?

There is a good school bus for $1500 here in town, and a guy with parted out buses about 45 miles away who would sell super cheap or possibly free. I have 4 children. We will be homeschooling on the bus. Occasionally would have a couple relatives stay with us. I want the extra space for either a larger kitchen and dining area, a classroom, extra bunk space for company, or possibly a garage to haul our car in. I've not settled on what I want to use it for until I know it is a real possibility for us to do it.

So what exactly would we need to do to convert one school bus and a half of another into an articulated bus?

Any advice you have or resources you know of are greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:36 PM   #2
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Anything is possible with enough time and money! If you want the thing to drive then you are talking some big bucks. I know overseas articulated bus' are pretty common, they are in the states but you are again talking some big bucks.

Don't know your budget, maybe find a nice bus put a big hitch on it and make a trailer out of the 2nd bus, or tow around a legit RV type trailer. Weight would quickly become a problem. chop the front off a rear engine bus use that for the trailer and somehow link the throttle and etc, much like locomotives do.
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:05 PM   #3
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My first thought would be a trailer as well and another bus would be Heavy. Maybe a set of steps that fold down from your back door and onto the tongue of an enclosed trailer which could have a door in the front, possibly an awning to go over the transition once stationary. Poor man articulated but usable/portable
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:36 PM   #4
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one of the issues you likely would run into in an articulated bus is building it such that it can pass inspection to receive licnse and tags for it.. you are altering its weight class and number of axles beyond what it was manufactured with and will require re-classification and full state inspection in your state..

a trailer is considered a temporary attachment and can be removed so it does not affect the weight class of the vehicle itself.. the trailer is registered separately.

if space is a concern you may want to look into a coach instead of a school bus.. typically coaches can be boguth up to 45 feet with more powerful drivetrains that can even pull a nice car hauler if you want.. coaches have lots of under-belly storage you can usefor tank, generators, extra storage, etc..

yes you'll pay more for a coach, however by the time you took 2 busses, married them, made it registerable and inspection-worthy for an articulated bus youd have LOTS of $$$ and fabrication in it..

there may also be maximum lengths in some states for RVs which means you would be in CDL terrirory to drive such a rig..
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:49 PM   #5
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You could buy an articulated bus and refurbish the whole bus for way less than you'd spend building one essentially from scratch.
A much less innovative, yet practical idea would be to tow a nice travel trailer behind a midsize bus.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:14 PM   #6
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You could buy an articulated bus and refurbish the whole bus for way less than you'd spend building one essentially from scratch.
A much less innovative, yet practical idea would be to tow a nice travel trailer behind a midsize bus.
Although I do like the idea of building that travel trailer from the back half of a second bus. As you wouldn't need the power-train, a donor could be had for next to nothing.

It would be one tough trailer and look awesome. Drive rig would need good power, and the brakes would have to be linked, but let's be honest .... we would all be either admiring, or jealous, or both
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:22 PM   #7
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Although I do like the idea of building that travel trailer from the back half of a second bus. As you wouldn't need the power-train, a donor could be had for next to nothing.

It would be one tough trailer and look awesome. Drive rig would need good power, and the brakes would have to be linked, but let's be honest .... we would all be either admiring, or jealous, or both
That WOULD be cool!
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Old 11-03-2017, 07:49 PM   #8
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Old 11-04-2017, 07:10 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by bigskypc50 View Post
Anything is possible with enough time and money! If you want the thing to drive then you are talking some big bucks. I know overseas articulated bus' are pretty common, they are in the states but you are again talking some big bucks.

Don't know your budget, maybe find a nice bus put a big hitch on it and make a trailer out of the 2nd bus, or tow around a legit RV type trailer. Weight would quickly become a problem. chop the front off a rear engine bus use that for the trailer and somehow link the throttle and etc, much like locomotives do.
If you really wanna go to the trouble , how about the king pin plate from a trailer (salvage yard) and a 5th wheel.
Then all you'd need is the accordion like some of the city transit buses have. Good luck. Find some thick rubber soft durometer rated accordion material.

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Old 11-04-2017, 01:33 PM   #10
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The cheapest articulated bus I've been able to find was $70,000. I'd have to pay for inspection and delivery, then conversion into living space. Would it really be more expensive as a DIY, starting with about $2000 for the buses? (That's not sarcasm, I need the wisdom of all you experienced folks! ��)

We had also discussed the possibility of turning the (half) second bus into a travel trailer or toy hauler of sorts. We even (half-jokingly) talked about "reversing" the front end of the second bus, so that "backing out" would essentially entail just driving the second bus lol. Mostly being silly on that one, but it would be cool. I was hoping to avoid having to leave one bus to go to the other. No big deal except when it's extremely cold out. Having to bundle up myself and four children just to walk 20 feet isn't an appealing idea ��, but if it gives us the extra space, it may be worth it. The option of having a walkway from one to the other via the back exit also came up. Maybe register it as an rv and separate trailer and just add the accordion-style walls as something that can be used just when parked for protection from weather?

Thank you all for your help, guys!
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