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Old 03-26-2009, 02:42 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 68
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
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Re: Shorty fantasies

I haven't actually been inside one of the Microbirds or the equivalant from other manufacturers, but from what I've heard, the ceiling heights in them aren't as tall as a full size. If you want to go short you might be limited to the P30 Minibirds like I have, if you can't find a suitable full-sized shorty. Ceiling height is about 6'4" or so with the stock plywood and rubber covered floor. My bus has a gas Chevy 350 in it, but Ray_WA has a bus with the diesel. His is about a foot and a half shorter than mine. Here's a pic of my P30.



Although these P30s don't have the really heavy-duty chassis like the big buses, the cool thing about them is that they use the same bodies, just shorter in length. If you are looking for a short bus, these are the best of both worlds.

But then you have to put up with the fact that you are driving a "bread van" according to the full size skoolie owners.

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Old 03-26-2009, 05:50 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New England
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Year: 1993
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Chassis: International
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Re: Shorty fantasies

You also lose one big reason some people (me included) converted a bus: WEIGHT. These are on the same chassis as the stick-and-staple class A motorhomes, with the same limitations: overweight bodies on underbuilt running gear. Actually, it's even worse, since some class A's have lo-pro 22.5" wheels & tires and a GVWR of over 20,000lbs. The mini-buses with their 19.5" wheels are limited to about 19,000.

The GM diesels (6.2 and 6.5 Detroit) are horrid, managing to combine the power of a gas V6 running on 5 with the durability of a Yugo in a demolition derby. You're way, way better off with any gas engine, including the 6-cylinder.

Also, the automatic transmissions (TH400 on 1990-older and 4L80E on anything newer) are running pretty much at their limit in a 9-ton bus. They're both very strong, but not indestructible.

Last, SOME 2000-ish Workhorse chassis had brake problems leading to multi-thousand dollar repair bills.
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Old 04-16-2009, 07:47 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New England
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: Ward Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/MT643
Rated Cap: 77
Re: Shorty fantasies

They're lighter, but have much less weight capacity. I have 25,000lbs to play with--a P30 will top out around 19K, and some are even less (I've seen them as low as 15,000). I don't think I could cram in enough stuff to overload my chassis...but it's VERY easy to have a P30, especially a larger one, right at its limit. I can carry 200 gallons of potable water, 30 gallons of propane, 45 gallons of diesel fuel, 60 gallons of gas, a 200lb spare tire, 200lbs of tools, a month worth of groceries, and KNOW i'm still nowhere near my maximum weight. A P30? Err, not so much.

Heck, some motorhomes on this chassis were overweight EMPTY. With JUST the driver and a full gas tank, they were overweight.
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