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Old 03-12-2016, 04:32 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Cypress, Texas
Posts: 51
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International Thomas
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71
New Member in Houston, Bus to VetMobile Project

I am very new to the Skoolie group. I am looking to purchase what I hope to be a small fleet of buses to convert to mobile veterinary clinics. I have my eyes on some Thomas International 4400 retiring school buses. The first bus will be the trial run to show everyone that I'm not crazy. I want to be take all of the seats out, install one or two top mounted RV AC units run off of a Honda EU quiet generator.
I have a 29 foot RV, and I often don't think that our RV AC unit has enough power to cool our RV adequately. It makes me wonder if I will need two units for the bus? Anyone have any input on one versus two RV AC units for am approximately 40 seater bus?
Also, I would love to potentially meet any Houstonian (area) Skoolies. I live in Cypress.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:39 AM   #2
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 757
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87

Welcome to the mayhem we call Skoolies! I'm in Katy, not too far away. If you want to look at a skoolie in the gutted out stage you're welcome to come and see my bus "Heavy Fuel". She's a 1989 Thomas Saf-T-Liner four year project. I also have an '88 Ford B600 I've sold to a good family friend in exchange for metal work on Heavy, we just haven't gone through with the deal because we're so busy with stuff. Heavy is a 40' 84 passenger school bus my wife and I are looking to full-time in once our son is through high school and well on his way to a good career. We're already engineering the A/C to be central air, not a roof mounted unit. We have many bits and pieces together for the build, but we're lacking the needed finances to get going at this point. So If you want a good idea of the effort it takes to have a well insulated and leak-proof bus drop me a line.

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. — George Washington
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:13 AM   #3
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Houston, Tx.
Posts: 300
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Chassis: AmTran
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 84
Hi Virginia,

Welcome to the Skoolie site. You've come to the right place to get your questions answered. Lots of varying opinions and different ways to do things. That's what's going to make your skoolie unique.

I haven't taken possession of mine yet but will around the end of May. The wife and I live up on the NW side of town near Willowbrook Mall. Once I start the conversion on mine you're always welcome to come and take a look.

If you're going to keep your business in the Houston area you're going to want to insulate your bus well and like you say you'll probably need 2 A/C units due to our hot summers. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

1999 International AmTran, DT466E, MD3060
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:25 AM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,345
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Howdy from yet another Houston Skoolie --- I'll just ditto much of what has been said. Texas heat will dictate outstanding insulation (can't beat sprayed in foam) and A/C that can keep up (RV units are an expensive joke). For simplicity and economy, a high efficiency window unit ducted basement system is hard to beat. Sooner or later, roof mounts will leak just like escape hatches and anything else that makes a hole in the roof.

Plenty of good skoolies are available in this area so try and find units that are really sound and have been well maintained as the base for your builds.

The mobile Vet lab sounds like a great idea. Best of luck in your endeavor and keep us posted.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:14 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Johnstown, PA
Posts: 236
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 2000
Engine: 5.9
Rated Cap: 83
Welcome aboard Virginia. You can do it and we can help. Just realize that it is not going to be cheap, fast or easy. I have to say that it is a lot of fun though. What you are planning will not be as tough as building one to full time in though. If you insulate well you will be better off. Don't hesitate to ask questions. Nice having you here.
Hopeless Busaholic!
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Old 03-12-2016, 01:12 PM   #6
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Chicago
Posts: 259
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: Cat 3126e
Rated Cap: 28
Such an awesome idea!!!!
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Old 03-12-2016, 01:28 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 1,858
Chassis: '97 BB TC1000, 5.9l
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Hello Virginia.

Just a thought based on your plans. A bookmobile would be an easy conversion for you and the shelving might be practical in your situation.
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Old 03-12-2016, 02:27 PM   #8
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: East central Oklahoma
Posts: 127
Year: 1995
Coachwork: International Genesis
Chassis: TS 3900
Engine: DT 408 190HP Turbo
Rated Cap: 2+1
Welcome, you have found a place with great people with a great amount of knowledge
When it comes to skoolies (others areas to I'm sure) that are willing to pass along that knowledge
All you have to do is ask. We all wish you luck with your build cause what you do will reflect on us all and help us be more accepted by the non believers, the throw away part of society.
We take plain old yellow school buses and turn them into Homes on wheels each in our own way.
Hope to see you on here offen with lots of pictures.
Good luck
Don and Ellen
Plus one fuzzy faced kid (Poopcee)
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:15 AM   #9
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Cypress, Texas
Posts: 51
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International Thomas
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71
Thanks to everyone who replied. I would love to take on the offers to see the work in progress Houston skoolies. I will contact you guys for more info.
Thanks for all of the other encouraging words. Definitely feeling excited and a little crazy about this project.
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:06 AM   #10
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Arizona via Baton Rouge
Posts: 640
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freight-shaker (Freightliner)
Engine: Cat 3126b 250 HP
Rated Cap: Only 1 seat
Welcome to the gang! Glad to see yet 1 more taking the plunge. A fleet of mobile vet clinics sounds awesome, especially if you tend to live stock in remote places. Makes it easier on the rancher/farmer.

My build thread - viewtopic.php?f=9&t=467197
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