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Old 12-07-2015, 03:08 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2015
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Davo's G30

Hey all!

I just picked up a 1995 Chevy g30 short bus last night and figured I'd start up a thread as I'll have this bus for a while and plan to do some work converting it.

The backstory is that I am the best man in my friends wedding and he wanted his bachelor party to be a road trip over to Kentucky to do the Bourbon Tour over a few days with a bunch of guys. I ended up reserving a party bus there which would be $1800 for a guy to drive us around for a few days to all of the stops in his own converted mini-bus. We got to thinking, we might as well rent a bus or van to get us there also but then once we saw that it would be another $750-1000 for that we changed gears and decided why not BUY a bus, then use it to get us there AND do the tour! Then we could sell it once we got back and break even minus gas money and save a few thousand bucks...well after a few weeks of trolling craigslist I found a deal 3 hours away in Kansas and was there the next day to pick this beauty up for $1900. Gave it a quick inspection, gave up the cash, and drove it home!

It's got 212k on the odometer but a fresher 350 SBC out of a wrecked suburban, doesn't leak oil except from one of the hose connections to the oil filter housing so I'll fix that quick. One thing I noticed is that the temp gauge never got up to middle, it read that it was running cool so I'm wondering if the thermostat was stuck open or even removed because the gas mileage I got was only 9mpg (the radiator looked pretty dirty, might just replace it and the water pump and thermostat to be sure the cooling system works, but I drove 70ish the entire way home and it handled great. It had sat for a while before I checked it out so it died a few times at first but once we warmed it up and got on the road it did fine, hasn't died again yet. I just finished replacing the 5.4 on my ford f-150 and I'm prepared to put in a crate engine if I decide I'd like to keep this thing for a while. The neighbors, who I thought would be offended by seeing this in my driveway, are actually pretty stoked about the idea of a camper conversion and some road trips.

Anyways, the title didn't have the model type printed on it, but I had no issues getting an Oklahoma tag, and there was no penalty for it having a 2 year expired Kansas tag so that's good news! I just have to do the VIN inspection to get the hard copy of the OK title. I black-tagged it for now until I find out what I can do about insurance, I hear that's a big gray area and might be a PITA.

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Old 12-07-2015, 03:30 PM   #2
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Old 12-07-2015, 05:12 PM   #3
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Good ride! Solid platform. Bad news is 9 mpg is all you are going to get.
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Old 12-07-2015, 06:12 PM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2015
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I can definitely live with 9mpg. None of the upper controls (bus lights, stop arm, etc) work, but neither do the horn and wipers. No biggie about the horn, I'll put in an aaoogaah horn later, but wipers are a must so I'll track that issue down. It has the inboard heater fed from the coolant lines, I'm thinking maybe I should remove that when I clear out the seats.
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Old 12-18-2015, 07:24 PM   #5
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Finally had some time and daylight to work with so I opened up the old bus control panel up top and to my luck discovered that the only "decommissioning" they did of the bus was to disconnect the main 12v power supply to the bus controls. That wire was still live, however, and I pulled the panel out enough that it connected with the screw clip to the left and sparked up and scared me pretty good.

I hooked that back up to see what all circuits still actually worked and everything did! The fan fired up, the heater fan fired up, the running lights lit up (except for a bad bulb on one) and the flashers and stop sign even worked when opening the door. I'm going to disconnect the flashers and stop sign circuit and use that for something else (12v tv?) since I'm technically not supposed to use those lights anyways.

I spent a few hours after that with a razor blade and heat gun scraping off all of the reflective tape on the outside of the bus to get ready to prep for whatever paint job I decide on. I also took most of the interior decals off as well to get back to a clean slate.

For now, the seats are staying in until after the trip in April, but that will give me time to collect ideas and cheap materials. Tomorrow I'm driving a few hours to show my buddy the bus and talk ideas and cook out, then a group of us are going to pile in and tour the christmas light displays.

Also, I was able to get insured with liability only for the skoolie, which was easy since it was titled as a G30 van and not a bus. The tag agency gave me no hassle either, I'm totally legal! However, I need to see what I can do to cover all bases for this trip we are taking in April since there will be 10 of us on the skoolie most of the time.

Here's a pic of the inside as well as the cool seat cover that came with purchase.

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Old 12-19-2015, 09:41 PM   #6
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Nice! Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!
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Old 12-19-2015, 10:19 PM   #7
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What's the seating capacity? That's where you can get into legal issues. The limit is 16 people including the driver. Over that and you will need a cdl to drive it. To get around this, you could remove a seat or two.
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Old 12-19-2015, 10:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cheepsk8 View Post
What's the seating capacity? That's where you can get into legal issues. The limit is 16 people including the driver. Over that and you will need a cdl to drive it. To get around this, you could remove a seat or two.
It varies from state to state. In California, driver plus 9 = regular license. Driver plus 10 = Class B CDL.
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Old 12-20-2015, 05:11 AM   #9
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In most states the CDL rules kick in any time the bus is yellow, regardless of how many passengers.

In most states, if the bus isn't yellow, the CDL rules kick in when there is 16 or more including the driver.

Since that started out life as a school bus it most likely has seats that are rated for 13" rear ends. In other words, a 39" seat is rated for three people and a 26" seat is rated for two people.

While you can't legally change that definition without changing the seats, you can change the seating capacity by the number of seat belts.

If the number of seat belts is not more than 15 including the driver and you paint it any color besides National School Bus Chrome Yellow you shouldn't have any problem in regards to CDL rules.

The biggest problem in regards to CDL rules besides the need for a driver with a CDL with a passenger endorsement is the bus would also need a USDOT number. With a USDOT number comes all of the compliance issues regarding USDOT motor carriers, a quagmire you really do NOT want to get into.

Once your bus isn't seated for more than 14 passengers and it isn't yellow you should be good to go.

As far as the temp gauge is concerned, if we are talking about the GM factory gauge, those are notoriously inaccurate. I would invest in an infrared thermometer and see how inaccurate the factory gauge is. At that point you can either mark what is hot and cold with a piece of tape or put in an aftermarket gauge.
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:27 AM   #10
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The plate says 21 capacity, which is 3 per seat for most of the seats, a few in the back only have two seatbelts. As far as adult capacity, it's more like 14 comfortably.

Anyways, the drive was nice, was able to maintain 75-80mph with plenty of reserve power, but that was with only two people and some gear. I'm going to install a different temp gauge and also probably a tachometer. Me and my buddy are researching inverters right now so we can get a tv/stereo system set up.
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