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Old 06-22-2015, 12:01 PM   #1
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Design/Layout

So this is all brand new to me but i'm excited to get going on this project and I know my first step needs to be searching for a bus that will fit my needs. I know I do not want a full size bus because I want to tow a small boat (1200 lbs max) and be able to maneuver into smaller camp sites and locations.

Anyways, I want to figure out the length of bus I need and to figure that out I need to know the typical interior width of a mini bus? I'm assuming most busses are the same width because they typically fit 4 kids in a row with an aisle.

Also, any pictures for inspiration would be appreciated. I plan to custom build all furniture, beds, tables, closets, kitchen space....etcetera.
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Old 06-22-2015, 05:39 PM   #2
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Location: Western North Carolina
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Year: 1993
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Chassis: TC2000
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Hi, welcome. First thing I personally recommend is research your state's licensing requirements and stay under them (this mean GVWR, including combined weight for your towed boat)...it shouldn't be hard to achieve but its best to know these things ahead of time for driving license, insurance, etc.

Second, you'll likely be directed to explore this site for short bus conversions and think about how much space you have now to travel in and what you'll want to do....
fishing trip with friends? how many? where to cook? bath facilities?
live in? what climate? need running water? electricity?
gonna boondock? how long? water?
got a family? how many kids? bunks?

If you want to look at specific topics I suggest entering the following in your google homepage:
"skoolie.net (space here) (your specific topic here...say, inverters)" and hit enter. You will get, IMO, much more specific results than if you enter the same term in the 'search' bar at the top of this page.

Now is a great time to become a lurker.

enjoy!
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:15 PM   #3
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I have nothing now so have no clue how much space I would need. I do not plan on running water or bath facilities (possible toilet with a tank but no shower). This is for weekend trips not extended time. Cold weather climate as I plan to use it in the fall and winter. I want to put a small wood stove in and I have plans for a table/booth/bunk beds that should allow me to sleep four but without knowing the width of a typically mini bus I'm absolutely clueless if the design would actually work in the actual space. I have started to draft the booth/bed configuration but don't know how wide I can go.

I want to be able to cook inside with a small kitchen. I plan on a few solar panels for electricity.

I want to figure out length and how it will all lay out before I figure out the exact solar panel system, electrical system, ect that I will need to buy.
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:51 PM   #4
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Year: 1946
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Lots of different lengths, but as I understand it, nearly all buses (long & short) work out to about 7'-6" on the inside. May vary and inch or so, but it will be close as they are just about all 8' on the outside. Variable is wall thickness.

Example:L My '46 is exactly 8' (96") on the outside and works out to 92" on the interior since my walls are right at 2 inches thick. Newer units often have thicker walls with more insulation.

Anybody else have any input on this?
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:10 PM   #5
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Location: Tomball, TX
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Year: 1988
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Chassis: TC/2000
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When I was looking for a bus I wanted a shorter one too. When I was searching here I learned that the windows are between 2ft and 2.5ft wide. Count the windows on the busses you're looking at to get an idea of how much livable space there is on the bus. Mine is 9 windows long with about 22ft of livable space (2.444 ft/window). My bus is also a transit style with a short wheel base. It's 26' overall length with a 12' wheelbase (shorter than some large pickup trucks). It's really easy to maneuver.

I was looking for a bus in the 6-10 window range on a full size bus chassis. 6 window busses are frequently below the 26,001 lb GVWR limit for a class C license. Here in Texas I'm technically supposed to have a class B license to drive my bus with a 26,500 GVWR.

Try doing some sketches of what you'd like to do in your bus. I decided I wanted a full bathroom, and that it'd be way too cramped in a 6 window bus, so that drove me to get a longer bus.

Don't forget the wheel wells when you're doing those sketches. My wheel wells are roughly 2' x 4'

I'd say to subtract a few inches from the 7.5' width. You're probably gonna have a few inches of walls and stuff.

So, rough dimensions for you to play with:

6 window: 7.5' x 14'
8 window: 7.5' x 18'
10 window: 7.5' x 23'



Sketch some stuff up. See what size space you're gonna need. Then start shopping for busses. I'm a month into my project and I'm having a blast. Can't wait to get it livable.

Good luck!
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:30 PM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 100
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9; MT643
Rated Cap: (was) 44; (now) 2
yep. Mine is 32' long but is still 7'6" wide inside. I've been playing with lucidchart.com to map out...it has stove, counter tops, bed, bath tub, potty etc. icons that can be resized.

www.lucidchart.com
one week of free full usage but after that the free version is still very useful.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:51 PM   #7
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Thank you for all the responses. All have come in handy and I can start working on the layout of my rig. First hand sketches and then a final drafted version.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:12 PM   #8
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Check out the free version of Google SketchUp...very cool...very handy.
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Old 06-25-2015, 02:31 PM   #9
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4x4

Also if anyone has any leads on a 4x4 bus thate would be a massive amount of help. As of now I'm looking at 4 window minimum-6 window maximum mini bus. 5 window preferred. As far as I can tell my best bet will be a van based mini bus.

Thanks.
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Old 07-13-2015, 09:00 PM   #10
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Thanks! This was incredibly handy for the purchase planning!
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