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Old 02-01-2015, 01:33 PM   #1
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Red face My future skoolie - Design and planning!

So afeter a lot of reading on the forum, i drew what will propably my future skoolie.

Basically, i choose a Ford 450 type bus ( there are plenty of them in my area) for the interior size, windows placement, height of the bus, etc!

So first of all, here the interior with the wood framing and the insulating panel.




I would use 2x3 wood stud for the framing with a 1'' rigid polystyrene panel + spray foam in the ''critical'' area.


For the ceiling, i would put 2 x 1/2'' plywood strip ( easier to curve and adapt to the ceiling)

Not sure yet what to put in the wheel area but i'll figure something

To fix the wood framing to the bus what kind of screw/rivet did you use?





Then, i would put a 1/4'' plywood all over the place ( easy to fit for the curve part and I like the look!). Between the end of the wall and the ceilling, a LED strip would be install on both side of the bus ( probably the only light in the bus)





This is what the final result would look like if everything goes well

I would reuse two of the seat because its easier at the final inspection ( that what i understood!)

I would use old RV part for the kitchen such as the fridge, the sink and probably also the cabinet. I would add a pantry between the fridge and the bathroom wall.

I decide ( and my girlfriend ) to put a double bed at the back with a drawer under, a MDF wardrobe between the seat and the bed plus a shelf between the bed and the bathroom

So this is the floor plan:




I want to know if everything make sens... And also you'r feedback and experience with short bus floor plan!!

Thanks and sorry for my english
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:24 PM   #2
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welcome and rethink the bed idea, crawling over someone to enter/exit bed is major PITA, think about peeing when the other person gets woke up from being crawled on at 2 am
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:32 PM   #3
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I would also add a word of caution to anyone shopping for that kind of bus to be careful to avoid the DREADED 6.0 powerstroke engine. I've been expressly warned by several mechanics to avoid these like the plague.
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:05 PM   #4
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Also, door positioning in the loo/bathroom is bad. It's going to be a pain to close the door when you have to use the toilet really badly. I'd suggest a sliding door with a lock or latch. Might want to also get a bigger fridge, if you're planning on long trips.
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:44 PM   #5
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Accordian door takes up little space (3" thickness when folded up). Agree with the bed shoved into a corner. Be aware that RV appliances suck at energy efficency. My 30" home sized range (formerly my home range) uses about 1/3 of the LP that the Class C's 22" RV range uses and cooks far better. I suggest you get an Apt sized range or cooktop. Residential has to comply with energystar. Recreational does not. But I'm assuming this is a weekender setup not for fulltiming in. For fulltime with two people, I suggest a longer bus.
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Old 02-02-2015, 03:10 PM   #6
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Is there a particular reason why you want a Type 'A' bus?

Regardless of whether or not it is a Ford or GM chassis you are severely limited in GVWR. Most of those buses have less than 3,000 lbs. of carrying capacity.

Sure you can take a few pounds out when you take out the seats but you will be putting in more pounds in the form of walls, appliances, fixtures, etc.

For the same $$$ you can usually find a decent Type 'C' or 'D' bus that not only has much more interior volume with which you can work but a Type 'C' or 'D' bus will have so much more carrying capacity you will almost never have to worry about overloading the truck underneath.
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:10 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone! That was exactly the reason of the thread, to get those kind of reviews from people with skoolie experience!

For the bed, it was the only ''good'' place that appear to me. I try to move it to many places, try to put it in the center to be able to get in from both sides but I found that it was a waste of space (especially in a short bus). I think we will be able to deal with the incoveniance of jumping over to go to the toilet but i will still try other layout.


For the mechanic, what kind of engine are the best in that kind of bus? I will probably go for a diesel but have no clue which engine i should go with?


The bathroom (especially the door) really buged me !! I didn't think of a sliding or folding door... will take a look at this, probably the best option



And finally, I choose this type of bus because they is plenty of them ( at good price ) in my area.

What are the difference between Class A, B, C...? Didn't know they were classes !

And what are the buses in each classes?
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:14 PM   #8
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A big reason so many are CHEAP is that bastard of an engine that no one wants... the 6.0 powerstroke diesel.
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bancdeneige View Post
Thanks everyone! That was exactly the reason of the thread, to get those kind of reviews from people with skoolie experience!

For the bed, it was the only ''good'' place that appear to me. I try to move it to many places, try to put it in the center to be able to get in from both sides but I found that it was a waste of space (especially in a short bus). I think we will be able to deal with the incoveniance of jumping over to go to the toilet but i will still try other layout.


For the mechanic, what kind of engine are the best in that kind of bus? I will probably go for a diesel but have no clue which engine i should go with?


The bathroom (especially the door) really buged me !! I didn't think of a sliding or folding door... will take a look at this, probably the best option



And finally, I choose this type of bus because they is plenty of them ( at good price ) in my area.

What are the difference between Class A, B, C...? Didn't know they were classes !

And what are the buses in each classes?
Engines are a matter of opinion and needs, i.e. whether you need more power or speed. Whether you plan to go to an area with a lot of hills or just cruise down the highway.

I've seen shower curtians in place of bathroom doors, so it's all up to what you like. A lot of skoolies love to scavange parts from RVs, so folding doors are common.

The funny thing about buses as far as classes go is they are the opposite of RVs: a class A bus is the smallest, B is midsize and C is a large. Where as a class A RV is big, B is midsize and C is small. There is a class D bus and it is massive.

Good luck in your hunt
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
A big reason so many are CHEAP is that bastard of an engine that no one wants... the 6.0 powerstroke diesel.

So which one should i go with no that i know which one to avoid? ;)

And the price that i saw weere auction buses so maybe not the reason of the low prices!


@Vegan So Class A will probably be too small, but on the other hand i don't want something to big and plan to go On the pacific coast (Canada And US) then back in the land throung different NP ( lot of hiking and stuff like that).

So i don't care for the speed ( need at leat 60-65 MPH!), I care most about the reliability of the bus and the MPG.
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:26 PM   #11
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Most of the 6.0's I've seen sold lately come with the fine print warning of something like "don't buy this bus unless you are totally familiar with the inner workings of the 6.0 powerstroke".
So any engine besides that one would be my vote. Even a 6.8 v10 gas.
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:36 PM   #12
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Stay away from the Type 'B' bus if you can. They were mostly built on the GM/Workhorse P-30 chassis. Most had a lot more bus on top than there was truck underneath to carry it.

Type 'A' buses were almost 100% Ford and diesel until 2006 or so. Starting about 2006 more and more had GM chassis and almost none have diesel to this day. The $14,000 premium to gain 1 MPG is just not worth it to most operators.

Type 'C' buses (also known as conventional or "dog" nose) are the most common type of bus built. For every Type 'D' (transit/FE/RE) bus built they build about 100 Type 'C' buses.

Type 'C' buses come in lengths from as few as five rows of seats up to thirteen rows of seats with the most common being 11-, 12-, or 13-rows.

For your purposes an 8-row bus would most likely be ideal for you. Enough room inside to be able to configure the floor plan to meet your needs but still small enough to get to just about anywhere in the country.

One like this one: http://showroom.auction123.com/thebu...2PH535080.html

Or this one: http://showroom.auction123.com/thebu...1TVA21928.html

Unless of course you want to get really serious about getting off of the beaten track we have this 4x4 bus available: http://showroom.auction123.com/thebu...6VH454131.html
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:36 PM   #13
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To make it slightly easier: most class A buses are under 20ft or so, B between 20 and 35(ish), C are the typical 40ft you see everywhere, think "first student" buses. Whatever you get, make sure it'll be legal to go across the Canadian boarder. The D are up to 45ft. Fair warning, most states impose a length limit for registering a bus as an RV or RVs in general. The 45ft mark is usually the limit in most states.

Can't say much about the engine other than what I've read and been told: straight sixes give you more power and reliability than a V8. Cowlitz will probably chime in about engines, so will EastCoastCB.
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Old 02-02-2015, 05:17 PM   #14
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The 7.3L Ford diesels are a desirable engine (up to mid year 2003) but the 6.0L had problems with head studs stretching which caused head gasket leaks (hence the nickname "six leaker"). Apparently, the last years of 6.0L production had the issues fixed. The Chevy Duramax diesels have a good reputation except the first year which also had head stud issues. There was a recall which should have repaired those engines. Wikipedia has a good summary of the engines and the problems (if any) of each year.

Our floor plan is almost identical to yours. I'd use a curtain instead of a door on the bathroom. That space is way more cramped than it looks on paper. Consider using 3/4" plywood partitions instead of stud walls to save several inches of space. A stud wall is nice for running plumbing and electrical but is overkill otherwise. I built closets similar to kitchen cabinets (open at the back) and attached them with "L" brackets. Two years later they're still solid.

We do have to climb over each other to get up at night to pee though it's not as bad as you'd think. To avoid having to shoe horn in a black tank I just installed a porta-potti instead of a toilet.

Have fun and enjoy the adventure!
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Old 02-03-2015, 08:49 AM   #15
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@Eastcoast - So no 6.0 powertstoke for sure !!

@ Cowlitz - Thoses buses are way to big for me. I'm really looking for a short bus (shuttle bus type) 20' long.

The licence for shuttle bus type a pretty easier to get and much less expensive than the one for bigger bus like the one you put. That's the main reason for Type A or B bus!

@ Vegan - I'll register the bus as an RV ( in Quebec) so after that, crossing the border is as simple as crossing it with a ''normal'' RV. They are more restrictions for a bus to be registred as an RV here than in most of Us states so i don't think the border will be an issue!

@Roach - It's exactly the kind of bus you have that i'm looking for ( probably saw your thread while doing research ). I'm looking for a 2000-ish bus so the 7.3 diesel will really be considered.

For the plywood partition, how do they stand ?? And i will probably put a sliding door or a curtain, i'm actually rearranging the bathroom and will post a picture soon.



On another subject, is putting the fresh water tanks, the pump and the water heater under the bed a good idea?

And Roach, are your grey and black tank under the bus(exterior)?


EDIT: Did a quick modification in the bathroom area, what you guys think?

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Old 02-03-2015, 11:26 AM   #16
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We used hollow core interior doors as "walls". They are attached using small "L" brackets OR screwed to a 2X2 furring strip that was screwed to the side wall BEFORE insulating and wall covering (laminate click-lock flooring) was installed. I have added two door/walls (closets) since the walls were finished. Used small "L" brackets and screwed them into where there were furring strips behind the wall covering. Also screwed the "L" brackets into the ceiling on the "inside" where they will not be seen as much. For our use, hollow core doors created a nice "thick" wall (1-3/8"), are sturdy, cheap (less than $1 per inch for a wall that is finished on both sides) and easily cut to fit. Hollow core doors have a 1" deep frame all the way around with a cardboard honey comb inside. If you are carefull and have some of the long electrican drill bits, you can drill into the door, thru the honey comb and fish electrical wire thru them. We simply chose not to do that. I do have an oil painting hung on one of the door/walls. I used a french cleat. The wall side is screwed thru the thin luan (I used every screw hole). I drilled a tiny pilot hole then screwed the screws in by hand so that they didn't strip. I also have a smoke detector on that wall.

The 1" thick frame allows me to attach things like doors and accordian doors to the edges. I buy my hollow core and accordian doors from Home Depot. You can cut accordian doors down in height with a circular saw.

Once you get a bus, strip out the seats. Then lay out your floor plan with tape. Walk your floor plan several times before you commit to it. And if you think crawling over each other is okay, start doing it now in your current bed. EVERY TIME.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bancdeneige View Post
@Roach - It's exactly the kind of bus you have that i'm looking for ( probably saw your thread while doing research ). I'm looking for a 2000-ish bus so the 7.3 diesel will really be considered.

For the plywood partition, how do they stand ??
My one plywood partition has an edge stiffener to keep the plywood sheet from bending. My cabinets are basically a three-sided box with a built-in shelf or two to hold the box square. They're attached to the bus body with "L" brackets and are quite solid.

Here's the shower stall partition with an oak edge stiffener. You can also see the water tank and pump. The propane cylinders live in the box in the right corner. It's sealed with a large vent out the bottom of the box through the floor. The bed frame lifts up for access and there is a small door for access if someone doesn't want to get the hell out of the bed so you can get at your stuff.


Our oak plywood cabinets



Quote:
On another subject, is putting the fresh water tanks, the pump and the water heater under the bed a good idea?

And Roach, are your grey and black tank under the bus(exterior)?
The water pump makes a little noise when it operates so that might be an issue if someone is sleeping while the other takes a shower but that's the only issue I can think of. Having the fresh water tank inside makes it more freeze proof when winter camping.


The short buses don't have a lot of space underneath so I have a 15 gallon grey tank mounted aft of the gas tank. There's room for a bigger tank but 15 gals. is plenty for our weekend trips. Running a drain to the tank was an issue with the frame rail between the shower drain and the tank. I was just able to run a drain pipe from the shower back to the bumper then on to the tank.


If you choose to go with an RV toilet you could mount your black tank directly below the toilet and mount the gray tank between the frame rails. With that setup your plumbing will be pretty crowded but it's probably doable. A porta-potti simplifies your plumbing adventure considerably and allows you to dump your sewage at any toilet. Otherwise you need to hook up at an RV dump station.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bancdeneige View Post
EDIT: Did a quick modification in the bathroom area, what you guys think?

Get rid of the little jog you've got at the edge of the shower wall. Make a straight line from the edge of the shower to the stub wall next to the toilet (curtain or accordian door). It will give you a tad more room and save you money. What is the tiny wall between the bed and the shower? Plumbing? If that tight on space, put your plumbing inside your shower stall. You can box it if you like. Better there than outside in the bedroom. Make a little nightstand next to the bed for alarm clock, cellphone parking.
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Old 02-03-2015, 01:29 PM   #19
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@lornaschinske The tape for planning the space and to see if everything make sens was already in my mind, one of the frist thing i wiil do!

And for the bed, my girlfriedn and I benn on a roadtrip last summer across the Us with a (too) small tent that with a matress that can barely fits in so we had to crawl on top of the other to get out and we can easily get use to this.

The small jug was to gain space when yo get up of the bed. At first, the bathroom was a simple rectangle but i found that it was a loost of space in the toilet area. And for the nightstand, there ares shelves on the left of the pillows. The small wall between the shower and the bed is only the end of the shelves, the thickness is not good ( too thick... will prbably be a 1/2 plywod or something like this).

@Roach - Thanks for the pictures, look like to be a nice skoolie!

I wiil take a look to the wall thickness, probably able to gain some space!

Propane under the bed Not the place i thought for mine especially with firework in the shower ( more in front at the back of the driver seat)

I prefer a Rv toilet over a portipotta with a small black tanks mout just under ( 15 gal max but probably less). I will try to fit the grey tank near the shower emplacement but i doubt there is enough space.

How did you fix your grey tank under the bus?

And did you cut your shower pannel? or you just fit it in and build the wall around?
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Old 02-03-2015, 03:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bancdeneige View Post
How did you fix your grey tank under the bus?

And did you cut your shower pannel? or you just fit it in and build the wall around?
We hardly ever set off fireworks in the shower ;)

The shower stall is 3/4" plywood with FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) panels glued to it. I tried to use a pre-formed shower stall but would have had to butcher it to get it to fit. The FRP was about $100 cheaper but took awhile to fit & glue up.

I built a box that would support the top of the 15 gallon barrel that became the grey tank then held them both in place with aluminum straps and threaded rods that went up through the floor.

Box with support inserts


The assembly before mounting under the bus. I coated the plywood with undercoat spray.


Here it is in place. I used pal nuts on both ends of the threaded rods to keep them from coming loose.


The plastic tubing is a vent
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