Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-09-2018, 08:13 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
BartStephens's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 37
Year: TBD?
Coachwork: Looking...
Chassis: TBD
Engine: Seeking Rear Engine...
Rated Cap: Looking for <40'
Newbie, Airstream Refugee,...Hello!?

Greetings,
I am new to the forum. Beginning down the skoolie path.

Background:
Some friends and I bought an old “Taladega NASCAR” Bus in college and had great fun with it for a few years. That was long ago.

My wife and I have rented RVs and Airstreams for family vacations. We have three kids now. We love the road lifestyle.

Looking into doing a conversion.

Question #1:
What type of bus?

I know this has been asked 1,000,000 times. Are there starter guides or resources out there?

I need to learn basics. Differences between school vs. “highway” buses? FE vs. RE? Length options? Etc?

Any help appreciated.

Thanks,
Bart
BartStephens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2018, 08:23 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
o1marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 7,126
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
I would suggest you go through the different forums here and you will find all your questions answered in ongoing threads here currently.
FE refers to flat face front engine, RE is flat face rear engine, CE is conventional or dognose front engine. Decide what you want in your bus and how much room that will take up and that will get you close to how big of a bus you will need.

First go in to your User CP and fill out your profile so we know where you are and can better answer questions that are area related.
o1marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2018, 12:30 AM   #3
Traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Welcome !

You THINK you have questions now...just wait.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f6/cou...tml#post251436
Rusty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2018, 03:38 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Robin97396's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
Welcome Bart

You've been doing some studying already apparently. It's a lot of information to take in all at once if
you're not used to it.

Do you imagine yourself driving a 40' bus? We kind of like to see you back into a bus project by knowing what you want to do with it. Are you looking at cross country trips or are you looking at a weekend camper? Are you planning to tow a vehicle with you? Lots to look at and you're about to get inundated with opinions. Ready?
__________________
Robin
Nobody's Business
Robin97396 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2018, 05:13 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,127
You have learned the number one thing to do when it comes to converting a bus and that is to ask questions about something you don't know much about.

In the bus world there are four basic types of buses.

First are commercial buses. They are for the most part built on van-cutaway chassis, rail chassis, purpose built medium duty chassis. Almost all of them use some sort of plastic/fiberglass/composite construction for ease of assembly and the low cost. These buses are commonly seen around airports, old folks homes, etc. They do not make very good candidates for conversion due to the fact most are overweight (too much bus for the truck underneath) and the bus bodies are usually coming apart after ten years. Bus bodies come in lot of different lengths, configurations, and come in either 96" wide or 102" wide bodies. You will find exceptions but they generally do not lend themselves well to bus conversions.

Second are school buses. They come in four sizes. The Type 'AI" and Type 'AII' are small buses and generally built on van cut-away chassis and generally have a maximum GVWR of 14,000 lbs. The service door is behind the front axle and across from the driver with the engine part outside under a hood and part inside under a doghouse. Most of the newer ones are built with full height entrance doors and 74" headroom. Most have a driver's door. The next is Type 'B' and is sometimes referred to as bread boxes as they are generally built on the same chassis as bread trucks. The service door is behind the driver and the engine is part under a hood outside and under a doghouse inside. Most have a max GVWR of 18,000 lbs. The next is Type 'C' and it is the most commonly found bus. It is known as a conventional as it has the engine under a hood outside with the service door behind the front axle and across from the driver. GVWR can range from as low as 16,000 lbs. to over 30,000 lbs. The last is the Type 'D' bus. The engine can be found up front (FE), in back (RE), and occasionally in the middle (as most Crowns and some Gillig were). The service door is in front of the front axle and across from the driver. All school buses are a maximum 96" wide. Some school buses have ceiling heights as low as 72" and some are as high as 79".

Third are transit buses. Transit buses come in a lot of different configurations but all are built with the purpose of moving the maximum number of people relatively short distances. They come in standard floor height and low floor height. All come with the highest headroom of any bus. The trade off, especially with low floor buses, is there is no space under the floor for any systems you don't want inside your bus. In the past the biggest issue for using a transit bus was the lack of choices for engines, transmissions, and rear gearing. Most in the past were not geared for highway speeds. Newer buses have more engine choices and OD transmissions that allow for highway speeds. Almost all transit buses in the last 50-years have had air suspensions.

The fourth are highway coaches. Almost all of the 40' coaches are three axles (either a bogey or tag axle) and all 45' coaches are three axles. Some have steerable tag axles which makes going around corners much easier. Before 1995 almost 100% of all coaches had Detroit Diesel 2-cycle engines. Since then other engines have become available with the Detroit Diesel Series 60 the most common. Very few coaches have flat floors. All have huge luggage bays under the floor. All are have highway gears. Almost all coaches before 1995 were 96" wide. Since then almost all have been 102" wide. All have at least 78" of headroom.

One of the benefits of the school bus is there isn't a street, road, or highway in the country that a school bus doesn't travel at least twice every day.

One of the problems with a coach is their excess height, excess length, and excess weight can be a real problem when going off the interstate highways. There are a lot of bridges with weight restrictions and low overhead clearances that a coach cannot clear.

At the end of the day only you can decide which will be the best bus for you.

Good luck and happy trails.
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2018, 02:11 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: SW New Hampshire
Posts: 1,269
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
You have learned the number one thing to do when it comes to converting a bus and that is to ask questions about something you don't know much about.
This post should be a "sticky" somewhere. Thank you as always.
dan-fox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2018, 02:47 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
BartStephens's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 37
Year: TBD?
Coachwork: Looking...
Chassis: TBD
Engine: Seeking Rear Engine...
Rated Cap: Looking for <40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Do you imagine yourself driving a 40' bus? We kind of like to see you back into a bus project by knowing what you want to do with it. Are you looking at cross country trips or are you looking at a weekend camper? Are you planning to tow a vehicle with you? Lots to look at and you're about to get inundated with opinions. Ready?

This will be a long weekend camper, occasionally a 7-10 day summer trip. Of course, we can use as much space as a we can get and love being hooked up, BUT we are an adventure family. We want to be in National Parks, backroads, some dry camping and boondocking, etc.

Based on what Ive read, I dont want to go over 36’ or our park campground spots get very limited.

Trying to figure out the bus type/model now: RE vs. CE, year, make, etc.
BartStephens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2018, 03:03 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
BartStephens's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 37
Year: TBD?
Coachwork: Looking...
Chassis: TBD
Engine: Seeking Rear Engine...
Rated Cap: Looking for <40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
...The next is Type 'C' and it is the most commonly found bus. It is known as a conventional as it has the engine under a hood outside with the service door behind the front axle and across from the driver. GVWR can range from as low as 16,000 lbs. to over 30,000 lbs. The last is the Type 'D' bus. The engine can be found up front (FE), in back (RE), and occasionally in the middle (as most Crowns and some Gillig were). The service door is in front of the front axle and across from the driver. All school buses are a maximum 96" wide. Some school buses have ceiling heights as low as 72" and some are as high as 79”.

Thank you for the excellent reply. Very helpful. So, here is what I now know:
1. Looking for a type C or D school bus.
2. No longer than 36’

Looks like my next step is to narrow down within these parameters. Any additional thoughts, questions, guidance, or leads are most appreciated.

Thanks,
Bart
BartStephens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2018, 03:05 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Thomas1985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Here is some interesting information about vehicle length at national Parks:

Ideal RV Length for Fitting into National Park Campsites - Camper Report
__________________
- Thomas

The Daily Driver Bus Build
Thomas1985 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2018, 03:43 PM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
It's worth bearing in mind that many of those length limits are for RV spots, with hook-ups etc.

It is likely that most of the parks with length limits will fit you in if you don't need those facilities.

It's always worth calling ahead and asking.
__________________
Steve Bracken

Build Thread
Twigg is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:01 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.