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Old 05-16-2016, 12:04 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Hello! New here and I have so many questions!

My name is Jason, we are a family of 5, plus our dog. I learned about skoolies by happenstance. The tiny house movement has interested me for a little while and I came across a bus that had been renovated. Upon further research I landed here reading a couple of different build threads. In order to learn more, I decided to sign up. Im still not sure if the tiny house or bus conversion is right for us but I thought even if its not, a converted bus would still make for one awesome rv. I like the idea of the conversion more so than a typical rv in the fact that they are built so much more sturdy, rv's typically have rather thin walls and are not designed to be used so often. Besides, I love building things, and at this point in my life I realize I get to build very seldom. I have a construction background and like working with my hands in general. I don't have a lot of mechanical experience but I know I can learn it and I'm old enough and wise enough to know when to let someone else do it.

So my first question is: what type of bus is generally considered a good all around bus? I prefer the flat fronted buses (not sure of the technical term for them), and in one of the build threads I was reading the gentleman cut his roof and raised it (which I would also like to do) and if I remember corectly he had a cummins engine and an allison transmission. He also had a green and white color combination.
2nd, electrical. Some of the conversions I've seen have solar panels and even if I decided not to go with panels most if not all have appliances that run on electricity or propane. For the ones that run on electricity, what happens when you're driving? How does the refrigerator stay cold? I've read that some automatically switch over when you are connected to "shore power"? How does it know to switch and what type of electrical system is that?
3rd, insulation. The couple of threads that I have read, insulation was always a big topic of discussion. When I built houses and offices a thermal break was not something we were too concerned with. Is the concern greater because you're working with steel?

I know its a lot of questions and I appreciate the the time you could spend even to answer just one, so thank you in advance. I look forward to learning a lot from this site.
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:40 AM   #2
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welcome

FE = front engine

RE = rear engine

Flat nose = flat front of bus

Dog nose = conventional hood

Dog House = engine cover on FE

Lot's of engine and tranny combo's

Spend a week or so reading in the electrical/tutorial and conversion sub forums this will answer most of your questions and teach you at same time

Again, welcome aboard
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:24 PM   #3
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awesome, thanks! Is there an electrical "sticky"? Some forums for other sites call them stickies where they post general knowledge that spans across multiple platforms. For example, I really like my first gen dodge diesel and the forum I am on has a sticky that lists general knowledge about the trucks and its various systems. but for this site i would envision a sticky that posts general knowledge about things like insulation options, painting (what products work for different applications, etc.), a/c, heat options and other such things. Is there a set of posts or a sticky on this forum? They're generally written by someone who has done a build or a couple or who have some deep knowledge about a particular subject or product from previous or current job experience.
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
FE = front engine

RE = rear engine

Flat nose = flat front of bus Transit Style

Dog nose = conventional hood Conventional Style

Dog House = engine cover on FE or RE
Front engined buses can be either transit or conventional style. Rear engined buses are ALWAYS transit style.
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:52 PM   #5
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Well, I just found the sticky. Guess I should have looked harder.
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:07 PM   #6
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Pro tip: the search engine on this forum is not as robust as Google's, so to search here you can go to Google, put in your search term(s), and specify this site. For example, "Spray insulation site:www.skoolie.net".

Welcome aboard!
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:16 PM   #7
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I found great profit from reading this sticky: http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f9/so-...rst-11647.html
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Old 05-17-2016, 01:36 AM   #8
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Welcome. I just bought my International this past Thursday. I have only gotten as far as removing a couple seat bolts. So I don't have much in the advice department but wanted to welcome a fellow newbie.
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:41 AM   #9
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In the school bus world there are four major types of buses:
  • Type A I/Type A II: These buses are built on a cut-away chassis and have a driver's door. One is single rear wheel and the other is dual rear wheel
  • Type B: These buses are built on a cowl back/rail chassis with an engine hood outside, the driver sitting in front of the service door, and the service door is behind the front axle.
  • Type C: These buses are built on what used to known as a conventional medium duty truck chassis. They are all now built on purpose built bus chassis but retain the engine under a hood in front of the windshield with the service door behind the front axle.
  • Type D: These buses are known as transit type buses. The engine is either in the front, in the middle, or in the rear. The service door is in front of the front axle. The Type D HD is what the Crown, Gillig, and Thomas Westcoaster buses were. The HD comes from the fact they utilized heavier duty components than the standard Type D bus used--Class 7/8 truck parts instead of Class 5/6 truck parts.
There is no one perfect bus out there. Every bus is by nature going to be a compromise in one respect or another. Unless the bus was designed and built to be specifically a trip bus the vast majority of school buses are designed and built to travel surface streets stopping multiple times with speeds not in excess of 45 MPH. As a consequence the vast majority of school buses do not have the HP or gearing to go 70 MPH down the highway and climb hills without slowing down.

The few trip only buses that do get built tend to have much better resale value when declared surplus than a standard school bus would have. I have seen more than a few trip buses that had engines that were rated at over 300 HP. I have seen one Crown that had a Cummins Big Cam 400 with a 10-speed Road Ranger overdrive transmission. That bus could really move and didn't slow down on any hill.
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:13 AM   #10
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Well, heres a question you probably don't get everyday: has anyone seen or know of anyone who lifted a bus? Nothing crazy, maybe 2-4 inches. Not for rock crawling but to have more space underneath for extra storage. At the very least, a little more space to not have to worry about ground clearance if you added storage underneath where there wasn't any to begin with. I would imagine, I'm not an engineer, that by default it also raises the center of gravity. I would think it would have to be custom made.
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