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Old 09-11-2018, 04:35 PM   #1
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Smile School District Director looking for expert advice!

Hi all -

I am the Director of a small school district. We have a 96 Transit style 53 seater school bus with a newer engine which became out of compliance with California's new emission requirements. (Yes, they mandated it and did not fund it). It is now unable to be driven by us without an emission swap out.

We opted for two new buses. This leaves us with this older bus (we affectionately call her 501). Putting her to scrap would bring us about 250.00. Putting her to auction about the same.

We have a construction class here that has built numerous houses through the community. They are interested in taking the bus for either a tiny house or a conversion.

Any of you experts have thoughts, ideas, suggestions or "watch-out's"? Of course I'm worried about the DMV, etc. The thought is that after the class works with it for a few years we might be able to sell it as a fundraiser. I have absolute confidence in our instructor and the abilities of his students.

Thought One: Tiny house or conversion?
Thought Two: Am I foolish for even considering this? (Just thinking about the CA DMV right now gives me anxiety)

Any input is very welcome. ab
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:09 PM   #2
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Welcome Bean,

That sounds like a great project for an Ag or construction trades class.

In my view, a "tiny home" built in a bus and a "conversion" are pretty much the same thing as long as the "tiny home" moves down the road under its own power.

I have seen a few poor/non runners turned into stationary tiny homes but if it runs, IMHO, it is a conversion.

I am hoping some of the CA contingent chimes in with details regarding RV titling and emissions in CA. I looked into it for another project and found CA to be very obtuse and confusing regarding older, diesel RV's.

Good luck on your project.
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:14 PM   #3
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found CA to be very obtuse and confusing

"found CA to be very obtuse and confusing"

Sigh... you have no idea...
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:18 PM   #4
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"found CA to be very obtuse and confusing"

Sigh... you have no idea...
Lived in OC for a number of years before I escaped. Wouldn't move back with a gun to my head. Some folks love it there. It was not a good fit for me.

Now I live in a town of just over 2000 in a county of 6000 that boasts one single stop light in the whole county.

More my speed. Sloooow....
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:20 PM   #5
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I think with a little diging you will find the DMV will give verry appliable requirments for a cconvershion. The dmv will issue you a new title reading rv when the convershion is compleat and inspected. The class probly wont take very long converting it not years at least. One maybe. But i vote convershion.... It allready has wheels....
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
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"found CA to be very obtuse and confusing"

Sigh... you have no idea...
I was once kicked off our own property in ca for having an rv in a plot that didnt have hook ups... loopholes...
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:25 PM   #7
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I think with a little diging you will find the DMV will give verry appliable requirments for a cconvershion.
Perhaps I am not the sharpest tool in the shed... I did a lot of digging and found contradictory info on different pages of CA DMV's website and even more confusion when I managed to get a live person on the phone.

I am, in my own defence, smart enough to figure out the process in WA, OR and AZ.

Perhaps you have some details that will point OP in the right direction?
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Old 09-11-2018, 05:28 PM   #8
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I can certianly do some digging im on a bunch of skoolie cites and know for a fact there are people in LA that i talk to with a familey living in a skoolie. They can help let me ask
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Old 09-11-2018, 06:37 PM   #9
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Whomever told it was only worth $250 at auction doesn't know what they are talking about. Buses that don't even run are going for $1500+. Scrap right now is way down at $4/100lbs. My bus weighs 19400, figure 15000 of it is salvageable, that $600. Wheels and tires in good condition $1500. Air brake compressor $300, etc.
The class project is a very good one and I wouldn't be worried about Calif. at all. When it's done list it nationally or internationally and someone will buy it who doesn't have to deal with the lame state of Calif.
To me, Tiny Homes don't move, Skoolies do, build a Skoolie.
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Old 09-11-2018, 06:38 PM   #10
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I can certianly do some digging im on a bunch of skoolie cites and know for a fact there are people in LA that i talk to with a familey living in a skoolie. They can help let me ask
What other Skoolie sites?
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:07 PM   #11
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What other Skoolie sites?
Facebook pages: Skoolie Nation, skooligans, skoolie planet, school bus conversion, skoolie lovers, school bus rv convershion... those are some
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:17 PM   #12
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a 1996 might even be of interest to a school bus enthusiast similar to myself depending on what it is.. I vote for a class project to convert it... albeit the legalities i have no idea how you could actually use it and take trips in it.. as im sure most all school owned and operated vehicles are going to be subject to the same emissions laws as the school bus would... is it possible for a school to own an RV? possibly but im sure explaining that on the requisition forms might be interesting.. esp when it comes to actually using it after you guys all build it..



love the idea but take your time and do your homework before you start the project..



ive seen school shop classes that work on peiople;s cars as practice.. ie body shop does for sure here in ohio. at the vocational schools.. and students can use their own vehicles as guinea pigs for learning, however no school sponsored activites are operated out of the vehicles.. I know for sure one one kid here in ohio with a 1986 Bluebird Skoolie that his auto mechanics class has done mechanical work on it.. however its his own bus.. he drives it to school, they work on it he drives it home.. or as of right now I know its been at the school for the summer.. no school sponsored trips in it..

-Christopher
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:48 PM   #13
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Christopher,

I think the OP's plan was to use it as a class project for the conversion process then sell it as a fundraiser.

As far as district ownership goes, here in WA it is not a problem. Things do vary by state. I have seen CA cities, counties and fire departments that own RV's.

I am interested to see how this works out. If you choose to do the build, could you task some students with keeping us updated with your progress here?

Good luck with your project.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:54 PM   #14
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No idea what bureaucratic forces will come into play, but I think the idea is brilliant. Too many schools have totally lost sight of the advantages provided by hands-on learning of multiple disciplines. Not to mention the "homework", teamwork and planning involved.


Best of luck. Hope to hear more about this project.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:58 PM   #15
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No idea what bureaucratic forces will come into play, but I think the idea is brilliant. Too many schools have totally lost sight of the advantages provided by hands-on learning of multiple disciplines. Not to mention the "homework", teamwork and planning involved.


Best of luck. Hope to hear more about this project.
I was tickled when I moved back to Dayton and found that they still have Ag class and it is still popular.

We still need welders, carpenters and farmers in this country.
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:59 PM   #16
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I've seen enough people out there try to sell a built schoolie for what they had in it in parts and fail to be skeptical of the "fundraiser" portion of the idea. Unless you are good at scrounging, Craigslist, and hondling up in-kind donations from local merchants, I'd do a lot of homework first.
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:19 PM   #17
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I've seen enough people out there try to sell a built schoolie for what they had in it in parts and fail to be skeptical of the "fundraiser" portion of the idea. Unless you are good at scrounging, Craigslist, and hondling up in-kind donations from local merchants, I'd do a lot of homework first.
They could defiantly make money since the
Bus cost price will be ZERO. + materials + free labor = fund raising.

To the OP Iíll add more later tonight.
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:49 PM   #18
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It might be interesting to know what kind of bus we are talking about. Depending upon the make and model will determine how easy to difficult a conversion would be.

IC and BB have straight walls. Thomas and Crown have walls that are not straight up and down.

High ceiling is preferred.

Low ceiling will most probably need a roof raise.

After the bus is taken out of school bus service and it is converted it will need to be re-classified as to use. The clean air rules and regs for RV's are very different from those rules and regs as they apply to school buses. As a consequence, what wouldn't pass muster as a school bus should be able to pass muster as an RV.

Good luck!
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Old 09-19-2018, 05:12 PM   #19
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Go for the conversion! I love the idea of kids getting some practical experience working on things. Homework should begin right on this site looking at ideas and warnings (like one poster said, you can spend a lot on a conversion that you may or may not get back out).

Think of what an awesome portfolio/resume piece that could give students! "We took this bus from this ____ to THIS ____" and photos to show for it.

Best of luck!
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Old 09-19-2018, 06:18 PM   #20
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Using this for class project is a great idea. Auto Body, Mechanics, Building Trades, etc. but keep in mind more money is spent than ever recovered at the end. The experience for all involved should be worth it
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