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Old 05-10-2015, 08:24 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Looking at the van busses

Hi there almighty bus gods! I am amazed at the mount of info and helpful spirit here. Currently looking for a small bus which I will make into a teeny tiny home to travel the country in. I definitely do not want a big ol bus since it will be just me and my small pooch. But I see many folks re recommending first the van busses. What about the ones that weigh 1 ton and have dual wheel backs?

I was planning on just removing the sets and getting it mechanically checked out, putting in a futon and some camping gear to start with, and using it this summer. I have not bought it yet, but one of the lock school districts has a depot very near where I live, so I plan on checking it out this week.

What about the difference between the small handicap busses and regular ones? Looks like the handicap ones have a lot fewer seats to remove, but then the lift is extra.

Any and all help much appreciated. I am also concerned about registering in NYS. I hear leaving it yellow might be an issue for example.

With gratitude,
Mel
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:08 AM   #2
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IMO

I would not make the mistake of buying a one ton van bus.

Hard to work on, crappy engines, wiring is a nightmare, always overloaded, poor brakes, tires wear out fast, ect.

Short full size chassis buses are far superior in every way. They come as short as the van buses.


Nat
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoMel View Post
Hi there almighty bus gods! I am amazed at the mount of info and helpful spirit here. Currently looking for a small bus which I will make into a teeny tiny home to travel the country in. I definitely do not want a big ol bus since it will be just me and my small pooch. But I see many folks re recommending first the van busses. What about the ones that weigh 1 ton and have dual wheel backs?

I was planning on just removing the sets and getting it mechanically checked out, putting in a futon and some camping gear to start with, and using it this summer. I have not bought it yet, but one of the lock school districts has a depot very near where I live, so I plan on checking it out this week.

What about the difference between the small handicap busses and regular ones? Looks like the handicap ones have a lot fewer seats to remove, but then the lift is extra.

Any and all help much appreciated. I am also concerned about registering in NYS. I hear leaving it yellow might be an issue for example.

With gratitude,
Mel
Handicap buses not only have the lift in the back, but they also have tie down points on the floor, because the wheelchair needs to become a rigid part of the vehicle before going on the road. That tie down rail is a capture point for corrosion, especially if you do live in Upstate NY, where snow melt and rain can get under the rails.

Another suggestion some with make, and I agree with, is move up to a short bus on a truck chassis. It'll be easier to crawl around under, work on, and build in general. Plus the electrical system won't be that much of a nightmare, and you and your pooch will have more space.
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:41 AM   #4
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Ya...this discussion has taken place here before and the universal conclusion was the same...don't waste your money on a "van conversion"...get a real bus. The vans are a nightmare to work on, no two alike, horrible electrical, flimsy construction, poor quality throughout.

A shorty on a truck chassis from a major maker will be SO much easier to work on and give back a lot more for many years to come.

Anyone else care to add more?
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Old 05-10-2015, 03:25 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Wow bummer. I was mostly hoping for a van conversion because it's easy to park on streets with regular parking spots. Hmmm.. Are there any that are easier than others? I'm definitely no mechanic, and will probably leave the electrical and mechanical stuff to my mechanic friend. But that brake and electronic stuff sounds prohibitive. Thank you guys for trying to save me some headaches. Can anyone else be a bit more specific about the ford vs Chevy maybe? I was hoping to run it on bio diesel because a friend makes and sells it.
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Old 05-10-2015, 06:16 PM   #6
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I'd not hesitate to buy a Ford 7.3 van chassis mini.
I want something easy to park that the ole lady can drive without so much drama as the full size school bus.
As to vans being so awful- I know lots LOTS of folks running Ford vans with tons of miles on them. My buddy has almost 200k on a 2006 and another has well over 300k on his 2003. These are both gas engines. I'd imagine the diesels would be even tougher.
For full time living, the van is totally doable as long as its just you. Maybe.
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Old 05-10-2015, 06:53 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Oh thank you for that. I was beginning to wilt. Going to look at them tomorrow. Was so psyched until I read all those replies. At least now I will be looking with a sober eye though.
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Old 05-10-2015, 10:09 PM   #8
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if you are planning on running biodiesel, you need to check if the engine and fuel system are rated for it and at what percentage, the engine and injectors will be fine, the fuel lines and such might react with it, many people who started running 100% bio in TDI VW's had to replace every rubber and plastic fuel line as they melted in a chemical reaction with the biodiesel
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:57 PM   #9
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Modern Survivalists : Converting a 7.3L Diesel Engine to Vegetable Oil

The 7.3 Ford Powerstroke, “Made” for WVO. | WVO Designs
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:01 AM   #10
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Shuttle buses may not be built like tanks like a school bus-but it may suit your needs.( No matter how many miles you plan on doing a year, it will be way less that whatever the rig had when it was in service.) It drives just like a van and has headroom. Just really really check for rust-lower body panels + wheel arches. Another vote for a Ford with a 7.3 diesel-but alot boils down to what you find-in your time + price range.
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