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Old 01-14-2018, 08:01 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 58
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 (3904 RE)
Engine: Cummins 8.3TA
Rated Cap: 84
Newbie Lurker Surfacing

Greetings all,

I've been lurking around the forums for quite a while (First via the web, more recently via Tap-a-talk) and have been doing as much research around skoolies as I've been able to read for (literally) years now. While it's immensely gratifying to be able to read what others post, I've been itching to participate more. So I'm here to introduce myself.

My name is Ben and I live in the smog of the Salt Lake valley. Currently I'm working on raising a brood of children and trying to make them productive members of society (Slow going). I work on computers all day but earlier in life I was a Boy Scout and wood worker. I've never shied away from working on my own equipment, though I'm not trained in any kind of engine work, I've tried to do as much as I could to further my own knowledge and experience. I've wanted to build a skoolie since about forever. Currently I've just about got the wife on-board with the idea of making our own tiny home-on-wheels.

As for my ideas, I'm thinking of a 35-40 foot RE with basement storage and as much head room as I can manage (I'm a little leery of doing a roof raise myself, since I don't know how to weld (Yet) and I've heard a few horror stories about trying to get insurance) with the intention of full-timing all around the US (Including Alaska) and Canada.

I plan on gutting to the studs; insulating as much as I can possibly manage (Most likely expanding spray foam but possibly Mylar-backed foam board); re-doing the floor, walls, and ceiling; removing some/all of the windows (Replacing with RV-style windows if I remove all); large fresh and gray tanks (Approx. 150-gal each) with UV LEDs to make sure nothing nasty grows in them; an incoming water filter; composting toilet; triple-redundant heating (Furnace, propane catalytic, and wood stove) and dual-cooling (Mini-splits and several fans); 12v and 110v electrical systems; electric fridge; propane stove, convection oven, and outdoor bbq; several 20-pound propane tanks (I'm thinking 3) running through a manifold (Seems safer to me that way); tankless water heater; 20/30/50-amp shore-power hookups; 750-1000Ah lithium battery bank with 1200-1500W solar array on the roof; 360-degree video camera system; external antenna array for wifi, 4G, CB, and 2-meter; a home-brewed automation system to run all of it and log data (for my own amusement and edification mostly); and a 4-flat toad.

I've been following several groups of people who nomad around the country on YouTube or via their own websites, and generally trying to get as much information and ideas as I can. I'm looking forward to sharing with you all and learning as much as I can while working on this bucket-list item.

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Old 01-14-2018, 08:57 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
Welcome Ben

You''ve got a lot of plans already. When are you going to bloody your knuckles and put a bunch of pics on here?

It sounds like a nice bus plan.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:00 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 7,126
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Welcome to the addiction. Sounds like a pricey build. Keep us posted.
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Old 01-14-2018, 10:47 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 58
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 (3904 RE)
Engine: Cummins 8.3TA
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Welcome Ben

You''ve got a lot of plans already. When are you going to bloody your knuckles and put a bunch of pics on here?

It sounds like a nice bus plan.
When I can find the bus that fits the bill, preferably from an arid state. I've been thinking about a Safe-t-liner, 12- or 13-row. The highschool football team bus seems ideal.

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Old 01-14-2018, 10:52 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 58
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 (3904 RE)
Engine: Cummins 8.3TA
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Welcome to the addiction. Sounds like a pricey build. Keep us posted.
Oh don't I know it. I've worked up a spreadsheet to keep track of costs, and thus far I'm nosing into $20k from a bus running $4-5k. Been wrestling with ideas to make a few things cheaper (like an AC fridge, would save over $1k, or smaller battery bank) but have to figure out if the tradeoff in power would be worth it.

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Old 01-14-2018, 11:08 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 7,126
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by synestine View Post
Oh don't I know it. I've worked up a spreadsheet to keep track of costs, and thus far I'm nosing into $20k from a bus running $4-5k. Been wrestling with ideas to make a few things cheaper (like an AC fridge, would save over $1k, or smaller battery bank) but have to figure out if the tradeoff in power would be worth it.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
I'd be surprised if most of the members here have over $20k in their Skoolie. That's right at the budget I'm planning for mine, Will try and get that done with the cost of the bus in that $20k, but won't mind exceeding the budget by just the cost of the bus.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:19 AM   #7
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EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,228
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by synestine View Post
Greetings all,

I've been lurking around the forums for quite a while (First via the web, more recently via Tap-a-talk) and have been doing as much research around skoolies as I've been able to read for (literally) years now. While it's immensely gratifying to be able to read what others post, I've been itching to participate more. So I'm here to introduce myself.

My name is Ben and I live in the smog of the Salt Lake valley. Currently I'm working on raising a brood of children and trying to make them productive members of society (Slow going). I work on computers all day but earlier in life I was a Boy Scout and wood worker. I've never shied away from working on my own equipment, though I'm not trained in any kind of engine work, I've tried to do as much as I could to further my own knowledge and experience. I've wanted to build a skoolie since about forever. Currently I've just about got the wife on-board with the idea of making our own tiny home-on-wheels.

As for my ideas, I'm thinking of a 35-40 foot RE with basement storage and as much head room as I can manage (I'm a little leery of doing a roof raise myself, since I don't know how to weld (Yet) and I've heard a few horror stories about trying to get insurance) with the intention of full-timing all around the US (Including Alaska) and Canada.

I plan on gutting to the studs; insulating as much as I can possibly manage (Most likely expanding spray foam but possibly Mylar-backed foam board); re-doing the floor, walls, and ceiling; removing some/all of the windows (Replacing with RV-style windows if I remove all); large fresh and gray tanks (Approx. 150-gal each) with UV LEDs to make sure nothing nasty grows in them; an incoming water filter; composting toilet; triple-redundant heating (Furnace, propane catalytic, and wood stove) and dual-cooling (Mini-splits and several fans); 12v and 110v electrical systems; electric fridge; propane stove, convection oven, and outdoor bbq; several 20-pound propane tanks (I'm thinking 3) running through a manifold (Seems safer to me that way); tankless water heater; 20/30/50-amp shore-power hookups; 750-1000Ah lithium battery bank with 1200-1500W solar array on the roof; 360-degree video camera system; external antenna array for wifi, 4G, CB, and 2-meter; a home-brewed automation system to run all of it and log data (for my own amusement and edification mostly); and a 4-flat toad.

I've been following several groups of people who nomad around the country on YouTube or via their own websites, and generally trying to get as much information and ideas as I can. I'm looking forward to sharing with you all and learning as much as I can while working on this bucket-list item.

I'd take YouTube for what it is- entertainment.
Most of the bus vids on there are just for the cringe. The ones asking for money are the worst.
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:44 AM   #8
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
If you want a Youtube series with real info, start here:



There are currently 36 videos in this series, and every one is a gem.

Spencer's conversion of a prison bus is also a very good series.
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:34 PM   #9
Site Team
 
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 1,126
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
Welcome aboard! Lots of information here on the site.
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Old 01-15-2018, 01:43 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 58
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 (3904 RE)
Engine: Cummins 8.3TA
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I'd take YouTube for what it is- entertainment.
Most of the bus vids on there are just for the cringe. The ones asking for money are the worst.
True. Most videos are too short to be of much use technically. And it does get old quick when they spend several minutes begging for likes and subscribes and "trying to make more connections with the audience" on the various social media platforms that end up just irritating me.

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