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Old 01-07-2015, 12:02 PM   #31
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 169
You raise a lot of good points redbear, and I appreciate your advice. While I realize 4x4 isn't the only way to skin this cat, I'm approaching the design from a standpoint of versatility. I can't even predict all the things this rig will get used for, so I'd like to give it every possible advantage. Also not having to get out and chain up just to please our overzealous chain control policy here in California would be nice. Seriously there are times they enact chain control where there isn't a bit of snow or ice across the summit, its insane. But here in Cali we have to cater to the lowest common denominator, which when it comes to drivers is pretty low.

Great example of this, I'm driving up 80 towards Donner summit, and I see 3 minivans pulled over chaining up. There's about 20-25 asians scattered alongside the road, some of which dangerously close to traffic. They're collectively figuring out how to install their chains, all on the rear wheels of their front wheel drives!

I'm already starting to imagine the arguments I'm going to get into with some of the CalTrans guys when I tell them my shuttlebus is 4x4.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:39 PM   #32
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Location: Upstate NY (Mohawk Valley)
Posts: 1,094
RE: Caltrans/CHP Chain Police

I was on the left coast once for a ski tour to Mammoth in 1980. In Bishop, the locals were playing tennis with their T-shirts off with the snowy mountains in the background. Halfway up from there, the chain police made our full-sized coach stop to put on chains to continue on a plowed road.

Of course, that year LA had just had 10" of rain the week before, and the peaks had 10 feet of fresh snow. I thought the chain rule was a special circumstance, but I guess it's not. Once there, I was shocked at a car that could not make it up the plowed driveway of a condo because the driver could not control its power (wheel spin) and momentum.

It was interesting skiing for a week in sunny sweater weather without needing four layers of clothing plus a face mask below my goggles for zero degree weather. But it was harder to breathe at twice the highest altitude of the east.

The favorite bus I ever worked on was a shortened full-size dog nose with 6-wheel drive, and if I ever saw it again for sale . . . . .
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:53 AM   #33
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 169
Ya catering to the lowest common denominator in california gets pretty tiresome. With all the people who can barely operate a vehicle on straight flat roads, the mountains are often a **** show. A lot of people can do little more than point a car in the right direction and step on the gas, with no clue about body roll, cornering, wheelspin, traction, torque curves or anything else that really defines "driving."

And even when they're not behind the wheel they're still obnoxious. The "flatlanders" as we call them come up and drink at 6,000+ ft not realizing the lack of oxygen gets them intoxicated twice as fast. Some old man tried to fight four of us in a pharmacy the other day because he bumped into us. Everyone thinks they're superman all the sudden.
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:14 PM   #34
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 169
this just popped on my radar...

Nice bus for a nice price, wish it wasn't all the way in nebraska...
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:46 PM   #35
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 169
Well guys, life happened yesterday. I got offered a job to wire a very high-end house in downtown SF. The pay is great, the hours are grueling and the schedule is ambitious, to say the least. The nerd in me is super stoked about the project, because I'll get to play with all the best automation equipment and a/v gear with no real budget. The realist in me is a bit overwhelmed, by the sheer scope and timeline of the project. But it'll get done, has to. Hopefully the perfectionist in me can realize I won't be able to do everything I want to given the circumstances.

Anyway, this is going to derail my bus build for the next few months at minimum. I'll be working 6 to 7 days a week and simply will have no time to think about it let alone do anything.

You guys have been very supportive and a great source of knowledge and entertainment. Hopefully I'll make a bus conversion happen at some point in the future, the salary I'm getting certainly won't hurt. I'll of course still stop in now and then to see whats going on here.
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Old 01-20-2015, 04:03 PM   #36
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
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The bright side'll be able to afford lots of new toys for your bus! Hang in there, sometimes life gets in the way for a good reason.
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Old 01-21-2015, 05:49 AM   #37
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Location: southwest lowsyana
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HITT, i thought we were pals till you used that 4 letter word, LIFE, lol
have fun with all that cool a/v stuff. looking forward to your pics of your new bus!
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Old 01-21-2015, 04:22 PM   #38
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 169
Thanks a lot for the kind words guys. I'm hoping to do some really cool stuff in this house automation wise. Evidently they couldn't get a occupancy permit for the rooftop, so they're going to have to make the hot tub retract into the roof on a scissor jack. #firstworldproblems
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Old 03-09-2015, 01:36 AM   #39
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When you're ready to shop again, check SoCal craigslist. I just found a bus that way for under $5k ('97 e450 shuttle w/7.3 turbo, dualies, wheelchair lift etc).

I've also been emailing the owner of the 4x4 lifted bus for helpful Information. Trip to Baja is 1st adventure, end of March.

Check my introduction post for more details, and good luck!
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:45 PM   #40
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 905
My one word of caution in regards to any bus that is on a cut-away chassis is weight.

Regardless of whether the bus is a yellow school type bus or a white plastic commercial bus the maximum GVWR of those chassis is around 14,000 lbs. give or take a few hundred pounds.

With an empty weight of 8,000-11,000 lbs. it doesn't give you much in the way of carrying capacity.

I would think that with the addition of a driven front axle you would not gain many pounds of carrying capacity. If anything the added height could make fully loaded driving a real adventure in stiff crosswinds.

Buses with driven front axles are pretty few and far between. I know that the Rim of the World School District in CA has several Type 'A' mini-buses with driven front axles. I have no idea as to when they surplus them, how often they surplus them, or where they surplus them. But eventually those buses will make it into the used market.

In the meantime, we do have a really nice used bus with a driven front axle for sale. It has really poor pictures online but if you are interested I can get you more that are much clearer. I seriously doubt you could ever overload the interior of the bus no matter what you did to it. It also is stout enough that it could pull a trailer weighing in excess of 10,000 lbs. with not problem.

1997 AMTRAN VOLUNTEER 1HVBBAAN6VH454131 - - Auburn, Washington 98001

If you are interested please contact me and let's talk. I know the asking price is twice what you have to spend but this bus has been in the inventory quite a while and I am sure we might be able to make a deal.
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