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Old 03-29-2016, 12:22 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: chicago, il
Posts: 181
Year: 2003
Chassis: IC CE
Engine: T444
Post Gathering intel

Hi all,

I am Azule, I am 1000% new to the conversion community. I am looking to purchase my first school bus within the next month and convert it to a full time live in. I am eyeing the bluebird 72 passenger buses with diesel engine. I have done a bit of research on conversion from youtube videos to reading/viewing layout plans. I came to this forum as i have seen a few videos with the skoolie tag on them.

I thought i would give a basic concept plan here as well to see what you all think as money will be a consideration for me.

I of course would want to start with the removal of all exterior school bus specific items to be legal, lights, extension of stop arms, flashing lights, paint and anything else to allow me to register the bus (Illinois).

In my mind is to remove the seats and floor to bare metal to check for rust or holes that may exist in the flooring. After which apply hole fills and the rust stopper. Any suggestions on those products would be appreciated.

The next step i think would be to remove the sidewall interior panels and checking and pulling the insulation out.

after the sealing agent has dried, the next step would be to frame the floor. I have seen some people secure the floor to the bus chassis and some not (floating floor). I am not sure if a floating floor would be better or a secure floor as it would be the base in which i would connect all framing. the framing would be all 2x2.

Which would allow for the possibility of a good R value. Which brings me to another question what R value would you shoot for on a conversion? i believe brick and mortar homes are from 21 in floors and up to 43 in attics. I thought that about 20 in the conversion on the floors and sides would be adequate, but the ceiling has me concerned.

The next step i am debating is whether or not to place a moisture barrier to the sidewalls and floor or not. I plan on using the single-sided reflective insulation. I worry about moisture build up and mold developing if there is not enough breathing room.

After the insulation is placed, i wanted a 3/4 in sub-floor. once that is clean and clear. I of course plan to mask out my framing and structure.

At this point is where i am very concerned. I know next to nothing about electrical wiring in homes. I am able to follow directions in a step by step manor. However, i plan to have solar, A back-up generator and shore power. I want solar and the Generator to be my main 2 power sources or preferred use at least. I believe normally at the framing stage is when electrical and plumbing is done.

I will not have black water as i intend to have a natures head composting toilet. So i will only need 3 connections for plumbing the shower, kitchen sink and bathroom sink. I plan to use Pex plumbing and from what i seen in research. it is cheap relatively(cost wise), easy to install, and the tools for installation are not to wildly priced. Any tips or comments on this would be helpful as well.

With the framing, electrical and pluming in. I was thinking this would be the point in which i would attach lighting, switches, and boxes loosely with to run tests and confirm its all finished properly. I also do not know if i am required to have my conversion inspected at this point or not.

and then close all the walls in and get to painting, staining and such.

This is my basic idea, does this sound feasible for a single person to accomplish in 2-3 months time? Would you break down the projects in a different manor. What heating and cooling accessories would you recommend? it would be three main sections overall, would you have more or open floor plans to help heat travel? and well anything that i am sure im missing lol

TL;DR do basically the same steps on most youtube videos lol
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Old 03-29-2016, 04:43 AM   #2
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Scooternj's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: EHT New Jersey
Posts: 976
Year: 2003
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International 3000RE
Engine: T444E/AT545
Rated Cap: 75
Expand your search out of the rust belt. Kentucky, Tennessee, NC, Colorado, and a large chunk of the West would be good places to search as well.

The thing about plastic sheet moisture barrier is that our vehicles aren't the most watertight, unless you remove and reskin all the windows. So that barrier will trap dirt and allow mold and mildew to grow. DIY and commercial spray foam insulation act as their own moisture barrier, w/o the mold growth potential.

Another thing to think about are thermal breaks. 1x4s or plywood ripped down to 8'x4" strips (and double stacked) can be used to create those, and add additional insulation space, without losing too much headroom.

If you have all the tools and and workspace already, and are willing to work 7 days a week on it, it's possible do do it in your time frame. The hard part is gutting it and renovating it
Hey! That's not an RV, that's a school bus.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:08 AM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: chicago, il
Posts: 181
Year: 2003
Chassis: IC CE
Engine: T444
"The hard part is gutting it and renovating it", i believe you lol.

But i am looking forward to the challenge. I see myself ending up living on and working on the bus at the same time.

As for the rust belt, I agree but then i see the prices triple. I luckily have buddies whom are skilled welders.

so place 1x4's on the ceiling of the bus as my roof insulation? seems reasonable enough to me.

Thank you for the info
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:27 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 5,891
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Prices are high here in FL for buses. And they rust real bad here a lot of times.
Buses sure go cheap in rural Kentucky and Tennessee.

A good bus is worth a good drive.
Whatever you buy, try to avoid obvious rust belt areas like Michigan, Ohio, etc.
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:13 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: chicago, il
Posts: 181
Year: 2003
Chassis: IC CE
Engine: T444
the epicenter of where i live basically.
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