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Old 07-19-2004, 02:59 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
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My short bus

Even though my friends thought I should be riding the short bus sometimes, I haven't had to until now. Ok, kidding. There's a guy at work who wants more than life to buy an old coach bus and convert it and he talks about it endlessly. I never saw the thrill in in until I was talking to a guy at one of our local private bus companies and he recognized my name as a race car driver at our local track. He told me that they sponsor another racer and gave him a great deal on a half-bus as part of a sponsorship. Then he showed me one that they had for sale and the next thing I know I have a new sponsor and car pulling vehicle.

The odd thing is that the more I thought about what I could do to it inside the more excited I got about getting this thing. I started visiting the forums and it really got me thinking and gave me great ideas. Now I wish it was a bigger bus to convert, but I will just have fun with this for now. My plan is to make it into a camper for my family and for the race track, but just the basics. Like a hard tent, so to speak. I am going to put in 4 bunks and a booth for a place to sleep and hang out while camping. I have limited room to work with so this is all I can fit for now. The nice part (from what I read here) is that there are only four seats and two deviders in it since it's half open for wheelchairs so I won't go through the pain of removing 30+ seats like you guys have.

I will attach a couple of floor-plan layouts I've thought about and a pic or two of the bus for now. I pick the bus up tomorrow and the bus company put on newer tires for me and they're throwing in a couple sets of high-back coach seats, cover for the stop arm hole, extra clearance lights and different colored lenses to replace the red ones in front. He's even throwing in some really nice mirrors to replace the ones on it. You guys need to buddy up to your local bus company because they have a tons of tires in their warehouses with about 70-80% tread on them since they change tires every year (whether they need it or not) because the state inspects their buses. If they have coach buses like this company, they have extra seats stored away and they're very handy for booths and seating.

Anyway. I am very wordy, but thanks for this forum and all your good advice. I'll be asking questions and showing my work as I go along in this project.

P.S. Did people kind of joke about you buying a school bus too? Like, "you could paint peace signs on it" and stuff. I thought so. lol

For those of you into the specs on these, here's the scoop:
1991 GMC (1 ton dually) Vandura/Ward
About 225,000 miles, but doesn't even puff smoke when starting.
350ci w/ throttle body injection.
Turbo 400 tranny.
About a foot high of maintenance paperwork for everything done to it since they bought it new.
It did 70+ in a flash so highway driving is no problem.




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Old 07-19-2004, 10:11 AM   #2
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I think you will be happier with the second floor plan. It seems whenever I take my bus someplace I am always looking for more things for people to sit on, especially around the table for playing cards and such.
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Old 07-24-2004, 08:58 PM   #3
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I appreciate the advice on seating. I have decided to do just that and I placed the seats in every possible position to get an idea of space for now. I have the bus home now and I was driving it to work all week. I have a few things to take care of before I get to converting it, but I wanted to post a few pics of the inside.

The coach seats were free and the company is going to get the stainless steel pedestals for me this week. The seats look a little flat because they were stacked in storage, but they're fluffing back up just fine. They need to be put back together and have the arms reassembled, but otherwise they're fantastic. I think I'll beg another set so I have extra parts and pieces (and maybe one to replace the ugly driver's seat). They gave me a fire extinguisher, extra mirrors and emergency triangles along with everything else. So far, so good.







I know you've seen a million buses like this, but I couldn't help posting more pictures. I like looking at the pics of your buses and seeing the progress you make so I thought I'd do the same. Does anyone want the lift from this thing? You probably all have one or have gotten rid of one, but it never hurts to ask...
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Old 09-10-2004, 05:44 PM   #4
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How did you make out with the floor plan? I'm really interested in how your conversion is going, it looks as though a minibus is in my future, only I've got to figure how to put a bathroom and shower in there! The trailer idea that I received on another thread looks like it might work for me too. I'm already hunting down small travel trailers and the time is right to buy one, late in the season and all. The coach seats you're using look great as well. Cheers.
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Old 09-10-2004, 11:13 PM   #5
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I too like the travel trailer part and I am considering that as well since they have the kitchen stuff to make camping easier. I haven't been able to do anything as of yet due to racing and working on my sister's new house, but now she owes me some labor and racing season just ended. I have arranged for a place to store it for the winter, next to my friend's barn, so I can run an extension cord to it and run a heater inside while I work! I plan to jack it up and level it out on blocks for the winter so I can get the inside done before spring. Then I can paint when it warms up next spring and get the trailer hitch on it for hauling the stock car trailer.

I have decided to use the booth on the driver's side plan and add another seat facing the center on the passenger side so I have seating for 6 and a table for eating or just hanging out and playing games with the kids. I have two kids, my wife and myself to sleep in it so I have to make four bunks in back. I can't think of any other setup unless I run two larger bunks (double size) across the back and that would give me a little more room for the booth and seats, but the back door would have limited use. I may opt for this since the bunks are so long it limits the space for the booth and table if I run them length-wise. I have a definate advantage with not having to have a bathroom or kitchen in it since we plan to use it at campgrounds only.

Thanks for checking on me and I hope to get pictures in a gallery here soon.
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Old 09-11-2004, 11:33 AM   #6
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I think a trailer/small bus combo is a great idea….
You have the ability to tow all sorts of stuff …cars, boats, welding trailers, Snack shop or Hamburger/hotdog stands, RV type trailers etc. etc. etc..
With that great added benefit of not being excessively lengthy like you would with a full-sized bus and tow combo.
It makes it much easier to get around cities, small towns and narrow curvy approach roads.

It’s a Cool & sensible setup,
You can leave the trailer in a campground or such fully hooked-up and go shopping …go to work or whatever…come home and you’re all setup to watch a movie…eat, sleep etc.

If Millie & I didn’t need a pretty big Full-timing setup (and were young again ) ….I’d definitely go for a small Schoolie and travel trailer setup.
Plus, Little setups like that Look good to campground owners, there’s none of that anti-Schoolie stigma attached to them.

Firearm…I love that wheel-chair access door on your bus.
Here’s a thought, you could always pull those doors off and add a Slide-out room extension to give yourself a bit more ‘Room’…
Since were building a big 5th wheel travel trailer and are going to install a couple of slide-outs …I’ve been doing a bit of web research on how they work and who sells the units.
Here’s some links I’ve found that might give folks here a few ideas .

http://www.barkermfg.com/product_pages/ ... stems.html

http://www.kwikee.com/Aslides.html

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:huYK ... n&ie=UTF-8

This Website has a cool AVI Video clip of how their Slides work…
Just Click-on the "Slides - Room Extensions" animation
(1MB AVI File) link near the bottom of the page to see it.

http://www.validmanufacturing.com/coach/slides.html

Michael & Millie
http://www.mobilehomestead.com
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Old 10-06-2004, 11:42 PM   #7
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My bus went out to pasture for the winter. I drove it out with my kids aboard and they had a great time. When we got there my kids and my friend's kids played school bus for a while My friend let me park it behind his barn so it'll be somewhat protected from the elements and I can run a power cord to it for a heater. Now I can work in it during the cold months so it should be ready by spring. I'll post the pics of it's winter home this week.
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Old 12-01-2004, 11:56 PM   #8
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I've got one too!

I just got a 92 gmc, check it out at http://www.theplayhouse.homestead.com

Me and some buddies went in on it and are going to redo the inside as a type of party vehicle..... But I like your bunk ideas. How long will the bunks be?

Dom
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Old 12-02-2004, 08:42 AM   #9
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Short Bus

Hey There , I can understand the excitement of getting a bus and being able to enjoy the thrill of planning and working on it. I have a great time in planning and working on my Crown "Farther". (You just have to give it a name) Just remember, There is no wrong way to do your project. Dream Big and if it doesnt work out just do it another way until it satisfies you. Remember it's your bus. Congats.

Later, J.B.
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Old 12-02-2004, 07:13 PM   #10
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Re: I've got one too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by finfan3dp
I just got a 92 gmc, check it out at http://www.theplayhouse.homestead.com

Me and some buddies went in on it and are going to redo the inside as a type of party vehicle..... But I like your bunk ideas. How long will the bunks be?

Dom
Looks like you are just getting started, I can't wait to see what you end up doing with it.
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