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Old 07-18-2018, 11:09 PM   #1
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Making a change?

Hey everyone,



My wife and I have been full time rvers for a year now and looking to make a switch to a skoolie. Being that we have no "real" home, we are on the fence. The appeal is obvious and our current RV being an entry level Class A Diesel is still a POS in my opinion. We have had problem after problem and the quality is garbage (I knew that going into it). I should of started with a skoolie but I'm not very patient at times (working on that).



My basic idea is a 40ft bus, converting the back to a garage and building out from there. We like the rustic cabin look with some modern touches, i.e. washer/dryer, 1 retracting TV, house fridge, solar power, plenty of battery capacity, composting toilet, 100 gallon water tank and a deck to start. Theres a little more too.


I look forward to all the advice and help on here. Attached is a photo of our current set-up. Its going to be interesting if we can overcome the challenges but your guidance is appreciated.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:15 AM   #2
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Howdy and welcome Ralph?? Not sure what to call you...

I started full-timing in a Newmar Dutch Star (DS) and now have an MCI coach that I have/am converting (details here). So, I kinda get your thinking. I loved pretty much everything about the DS except for the fact that it was "done" and significant change (larger water tank, for example) was basically impossible. This is good for most but left me with too much time on my hands. I decided to build something that matched what I really wanted. From your photo, I'm guessing that one of your biggest issues is weight - or the lack of CCC.

I would imagine the requirements for "comfort" varies for everyone. That said, I was able to the essential systems in my coach fairly quickly and then began living in it. That took about four months during which I was staying with some family. Having a single utility sink for everything (dishes, bath, shower, etc.), bed on the floor, everything in storage bins on the floor, etc. were all huge nuisances that served to 'encourage' me to keep working. At about the seven or eight month mark, living became pretty comfortable and the conversion work slowed dramatically - I needed a break.

Having lived in a motorhome, you have the huge advantage of knowing what is needed AND what you want.

My suggestion is to find a place (family/friends property, storage yard, etc. - out in the country or in a sorta "industrial" area would be best) that will let you park your motorhome AND bus project for six months or so. Then live in motorhome and work like crazy on the project.

If you haven't driven a bus yet, I'd suggest you give a few a try. You may find them to be far from the ease and comfort of your MH (at least in terms of driving, ride quality, and such).
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:24 AM   #3
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Welcome to the site and good luck!
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Old 07-19-2018, 09:35 AM   #4
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Welcome folks. I only can say go for it. Live in your rv while building the bus out. I did mine rustic as boondocking is my thing but wanted a hwy cruiser at the same time as well as normal 2 lane off the beaten track ventures.

Build it for 4 seasons and you'll never regret your decision.

Lots of ideas and knowledge here so keep on reading.

Hope you find a great bus,



John
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Old 07-19-2018, 10:35 AM   #5
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+1 on go drive some school busses first.. and maybe even a coach if the budget is there)..



having driven Motorhomes / School busses / and coach busses on substantial trips (ie 1000+ mile road trips at 500+ per day)... i can tell you that school busses dont have near the ride quality that a coach does... the biggest issue with the Class A motorhome driveability (im not talking build quality just drive).. was the small wheels compared to the vehicle size and weight.. sure the class A was quiet with a cushy seat and dashboard Air-conditioning but in the mountainess areas with wind.. not a fun drive..



I drove a convereted coach for years basically ferrying it for friends who snowbirded in florida each year.. and occasionally on a couple other trips.. that was one of the 3/4 million dollar coaches.. so it drove, rode, and was built fantastic.. with a huge price tag.. $$$ driveability was great with air-ride all the way around .. large enough tires and engine to handle any hill.. and much more resilient to wind..


a regular unconverted fully-seated coach had much the same driveability.. much less price tag to buy and convert obviously than a Glamper conversion..



school busses - the big draw to school busses is most generally they can be had CHEAP in comparison to Class A's and unconverted coaches.. they are SOLID platforms on which to build, driveability? well they tend to be a bit rough riding, noisy (unless you get rear engine).. and missing some of the take-for-granteds like dashboard A/C, rear cameras, and cushy seats.. all things that can be added / modified.. but something to think about..


ceiling height - the tallest interior heioght ive seen on a factory school bus is 6'6", so once you insulate ceiling and floor ..add A/C units, etc that may be less total.. raising the roof is definitely not out of the question, many do it succesfully, but definitely adds to the effort of the project..



for the money school busses are a great value.. and you end up with the configuration you want with a solid vehicle. because there are so many school busses built, mechanical parts generally arent a problem to obtain.. school busses are built on medium duty truck chassis.. CE style (has a hood) were often produced on Box-Truclk chassis



for a toy-hauler with a garage a school bus is the way to go.. a front engine..


-Christopher
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Old 07-19-2018, 11:03 AM   #6
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Haha, I knew I'd forget something! We are Josh & Edina. Thanks for all the input. Funny thing, if we were going to stay in the RV world, we want a Newmar.



I'll be looking over everything you have on Missy. I thought about a used coach but don't want to be 45' long. Slightly smaller is our goal. When we are all connected, we are 65' long. Also, we boondock a lot but we enjoy cities too. Seems RV parks don't like skoolies. Everything has to come with a price damn it. lol



Do you know where we can test drive a bus? Thanks again JD!


Josh
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Old 07-19-2018, 11:16 AM   #7
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Thanks for the input Chris! You touch on a few things we've been looking at. I haven't looked at a RE Bus but does the engine completely rule out a garage? Seems to be the case since I haven't seen anyone do it.
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Old 07-19-2018, 11:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FullTime_ADV View Post
Thanks for the input Chris! You touch on a few things we've been looking at. I haven't looked at a RE Bus but does the engine completely rule out a garage? Seems to be the case since I haven't seen anyone do it.
There's a 2' hump concealing the engine in the back and a big filter housing, with no rear door. Makes for a poor choice if you want a garage.
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Old 07-19-2018, 12:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
There's a 2' hump concealing the engine in the back and a big filter housing, with no rear door. Makes for a poor choice if you want a garage.

**THIS**



in a school bus the engine compartment protudes above the floor level. so any kind of Ramp , tall rolling door, etc is tough.. plus its not just height, you loose floor space too.. many people with RE busses end up putting their bed above that space..



the disadvantage ive found to FE busses is Noise and heat.. and to some extent space.. theres a large doghouse in a flat-nose FE bus. I have 2 conventionals. and even with those engine heat in summer and diesel noise are very present.. for me i dont mind as I personally like the 'Big-Riggin' sound and feel.. the heat i can do without.. ive installed custom A/C to handle it.. (very few school busses have dashboard mounted A/C..) if the bus is A/C'd its usually units hanging down or ducted above the windows which many people find to be obstacles in their conversions..


for a garage on an RE you would almost have to cut a large side door if you are simply looking at it for tools, bikes, gear.. but that wont work if its for say a classic car...



-Christopher
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Old 07-19-2018, 12:03 PM   #10
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Josh!! Howdy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FullTime_ADV View Post
Slightly smaller is our goal. When we are all connected, we are 65' long. Also, we boondock a lot but we enjoy cities too.
Understand. Long does cause some issues. Sometimes difficult to find just the right compromises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FullTime_ADV View Post
Do you know where we can test drive a bus?
I'm guessing... the folks right here might be the best option. I wonder if a church bus might be an option?? Maybe try asking a driver at a school bus yard? I can imagine an actual school bus ride is impossible with all the crazy rules and fears. I know a lot of rafting companies haul people in old school buses, maybe some camp type outfits too?? If nothing else, maybe find some that are for sale and take a test drive - even if not really interested in purchasing.
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