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Old 06-21-2019, 12:58 PM   #1
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Long Story ... short introduction

Hello,

I am a new member here to skoolie.net I will be mostly lurking and soaking in information. I am an active member of the sportsmobileforum and have a decently built out adventure rig we purchased 3 months ago. After a nice long trip from Colorado to PA and back my wife and I are acknowledging some shortcomings in the platform and are considering a move to a bus.

Our son is handicapped and we want a 19' - 21' bus with a lift (but are open to something a bit longer if its the right setup/deal). The main one we have been looking at is the Turtle Top Vanterra shuttle bus (I know not a skoolie, but I will get there). As we have looked at the resale on those, especially finding one with a lift, we are open to other options and short school busses with lifts are on our radar. Our main reason for avoiding busses has been the lack of a in-line co-pilot seat and overly difficult maneuvering (this will be a family driver for us, not just a weekend adventuring rig -- so it will see trips to the grocery store, dr appointments, brunch outings). The Vanterra stood out as they keep the full cab of the chassis, so two front seats, and they have 6'3" interior head room which is the min for me as I am 6'3". They are a bit wider than stock vans, wide enough for a side to side bed setup, without being a full 8ft width that can be harder to maneuver. We are still leaning that way and figuring out the financing as we go but I wanted to get established here glean some info and knowledge in case we find something we didnt know before to influence our decision.

All that to say I am here to lurk and learn and make a more informed decision. I know this will go against the sensibilities of many on the forum from reading a few posts so far, but we prefer the smaller van based platforms for drivability (she is not as comfortable with a big setup). Our plan is to go all out with a 4x4 conversion and a minimalist build on the inside (tie downs for a wheelchair, 1 or 2 other passenger seats and then beds, solar, and storage).

Anyway Hi and happy building
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:12 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by renegadeoverland View Post
Hello,

I am a new member here to skoolie.net I will be mostly lurking and soaking in information. I am an active member of the sportsmobileforum and have a decently built out adventure rig we purchased 3 months ago. After a nice long trip from Colorado to PA and back my wife and I are acknowledging some shortcomings in the platform and are considering a move to a bus.

Our son is handicapped and we want a 19' - 21' bus with a lift (but are open to something a bit longer if its the right setup/deal). The main one we have been looking at is the Turtle Top Vanterra shuttle bus (I know not a skoolie, but I will get there). As we have looked at the resale on those, especially finding one with a lift, we are open to other options and short school busses with lifts are on our radar. Our main reason for avoiding busses has been the lack of a in-line co-pilot seat and overly difficult maneuvering (this will be a family driver for us, not just a weekend adventuring rig -- so it will see trips to the grocery store, dr appointments, brunch outings). The Vanterra stood out as they keep the full cab of the chassis, so two front seats, and they have 6'3" interior head room which is the min for me as I am 6'3". They are a bit wider than stock vans, wide enough for a side to side bed setup, without being a full 8ft width that can be harder to maneuver. We are still leaning that way and figuring out the financing as we go but I wanted to get established here glean some info and knowledge in case we find something we didnt know before to influence our decision.

All that to say I am here to lurk and learn and make a more informed decision. I know this will go against the sensibilities of many on the forum from reading a few posts so far, but we prefer the smaller van based platforms for drivability (she is not as comfortable with a big setup). Our plan is to go all out with a 4x4 conversion and a minimalist build on the inside (tie downs for a wheelchair, 1 or 2 other passenger seats and then beds, solar, and storage).

Anyway Hi and happy building
welcome to the forum - lot's of expertise here to advise on options and conversions - even advice on what to look for and what to avoid when it comes to power trains
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:01 PM   #3
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I'm sorry, didn't someone say something about a short introduction..?
Welcome, and hopefully you'll be able to glean the necessary knowledge needed.
I'd think a shorty, 5-6 windows-length, shouldn't oughta be too intimidating for the wife at first. Not particularly rare to find one with a wheelchair lift already installed.
The lack of a co-pilot seat shouldn't be a deal breaker. Plenty of forum members have gone that route, so no lack of info as to how-to.
Good luck!
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:04 PM   #4
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I'm sorry, didn't someone say something about a short introduction..?
cold :-p

but yes anyone that knows me understands .... that was short
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Old 06-21-2019, 02:39 PM   #5
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Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
All in fun, chum!
Now, if that was all that I had to say, then, yup. Kinda chilly...
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:59 PM   #6
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IF 4x4 is on your must have list, get one that is already converted. Unless you are a mechanic with lots of build, and fabrication experience, tools, and $$!
Diesel powered school busses and shuttle busses made prior to 2004 are easier to diagnose and work on if that matters. Lots of coverage on that if you search the site.

Good luck, and hope you find what you're looking for...
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Old 06-21-2019, 05:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by peteg59 View Post
IF 4x4 is on your must have list, get one that is already converted. Unless you are a mechanic with lots of build, and fabrication experience, tools, and $$!
Diesel powered school busses and shuttle busses made prior to 2004 are easier to diagnose and work on if that matters. Lots of coverage on that if you search the site.

Good luck, and hope you find what you're looking for...
If I found one that fit teh criteria already converted that would be a bonus and a big selling point, though if not I have a solid fab shop that has done a lot of work for me that I used for things like this. I am aware of the cost and that is being worked into our budget for the project.

On that topic when it comes to this evaluation process a 4x4 bus that was handicap accessible (e.g. has the door but the lift removed) would also be an option and I would add the lift back in

thankfully neither are 100% immediate needs but will become more desirable in the future so I need to have the platform right knowing upcoming planned modifications ... the closer to that ideal in an initial purchase the better
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Old 06-21-2019, 05:53 PM   #8
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With a good fab shop available, relocating the front door to a mid door is an idea. Some have done this, and mine is that way. This allows two front seats. I have the passenger side front seat on a swivel so it can be used in the living area, as well as forward for my wife and navigator.

With the front door removed then the area where the steps were can now be used for a battery box with slide out trays. Mine is set up for 4 batteries.

In case you are not already aware school buses come generally in two differant roof heights, one about 6ft and the other about 6 1/2 ft, so you can look for a higher roof model.
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