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Old 01-23-2017, 11:20 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Washington State
Posts: 14
Question What type of school bus for me?

Sorry if this thread or one like it has been done before. I have not yet purchased my school bus. I would appreciate any and all advice on this topic. Here is what I plan for my skoolie. Total solar for my power(shore power for those grey skys in the winter of Washington state). Wood stove for heat in winter. Composting toilet(no black water tank). Electric on demand tankless hot water heater. Washer dryer combo(for clothes of course). Multi voltage fridge/freezer. One computer. Several flat screens. Shower. Gas stove(three burner). Plus I will need to haul a 2016 Jeep Patriot.

Now for my question: What type of school bus would be best for a project like mine? Rear engine or front? Flat face or full face bus?

Please help....
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:26 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,546
You still have too many variables to make a reasonable opinion on what might be best for you.

Just as there is no one bus that is the best bus, there is no one bus that will make the best conversion bus.

Size matters. The larger the bus is the more important the power package is appropriate for a bus that large. The vast majority of school buses spend 95% of their service life at 35 MPH or less. The need to climb hills quickly or travel down the highway at highway speeds is an expensive option that is usually not taken when the buses are built. A but that has 190-210 HP might be a great bus for a daily route but a terrible bus for taking a trip. And the larger the bus is, the more important the power package becomes. A 5-row bus with a 190 HP engine is going to move along fairly quickly. The same engine in a bus with 14-rows is going to be a slug. Swapping stuff around after the fact can cost well in excess of 3x of what you paid for the bus originally.

If you intend to urban camp, or camp off pavement, or spend a lot of time cruising across the country the choice of bus will be vastly different.

A bus that is appropriate for one person and one significant other is not going to be appropriate if there are going to be four other people and a couple of dogs.

Once you determine where you intend to take your bus, how long you plan to be out on the road, and how many will be going along with you will all have an impact on what sort of bus would be best for you.

You have given a few clues but just not enough to make an informed opinion.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:41 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Washington State
Posts: 14
I plan on living and traveling the whole west coast year round.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:05 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: FL
Posts: 34
Rear engine Cummins 8.3...35ft-40ft for National forest. you have more room underneath to install tanks water ect..in the west big hills: engine brake be my #1 ,you can do it without but is nice.
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Old 01-24-2017, 01:28 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
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If your intention is to travel the west coast having a big HP power package is going to be helpful.

Where you intend to travel will dictate which type of bus would be the best choice for you.

If you intend to spend a lot of time off pavement and spending time in National Forests or BLM land a Type 'C' conventional might be a better choice. The Type 'C' bus tends to not weigh as much as a Type 'D' and they tend to have higher ground clearance. A 215 HP engine is going to move a bus like this to cruising speeds of around 60 MPH without any problems.

If you are serious about going off grid and getting into the back country this bus is about as good as it gets: International 1997 AMTRAN

If you intend to spend a lot of time on pavement traveling lots of highways then a Type 'D' RE bus might be a better choice. The RE buses have the noise and heat of the engine a long way away from the driver's compartment which can reduce fatigue on a long run. RE trip buses tend to come from the factory with the largest HP options with the heaviest transmission. With the big HP option comes the largest cooling system. They also typically have the highest head room and pass through luggage compartments under the floor. The long wheelbase and under floor storage compartments translates to very low ground clearance. RE location requires extra caution when climbing curbs or entering/exiting curb cuts--you really do not want to scrape the oil pan on anything. Service door in front of the front axle allows for low entrance height but also shallow entry angles.

If you want a good RE bus that isn't like every other bus out there here is a bus you may want to consider: GILLIG 1968 C190-12
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:40 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Washington State
Posts: 14
Good looking out

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
If your intention is to travel the west coast having a big HP power package is going to be helpful.

Where you intend to travel will dictate which type of bus would be the best choice for you.

If you intend to spend a lot of time off pavement and spending time in National Forests or BLM land a Type 'C' conventional might be a better choice. The Type 'C' bus tends to not weigh as much as a Type 'D' and they tend to have higher ground clearance. A 215 HP engine is going to move a bus like this to cruising speeds of around 60 MPH without any problems.

If you are serious about going off grid and getting into the back country this bus is about as good as it gets: International 1997 AMTRAN

If you intend to spend a lot of time on pavement traveling lots of highways then a Type 'D' RE bus might be a better choice. The RE buses have the noise and heat of the engine a long way away from the driver's compartment which can reduce fatigue on a long run. RE trip buses tend to come from the factory with the largest HP options with the heaviest transmission. With the big HP option comes the largest cooling system. They also typically have the highest head room and pass through luggage compartments under the floor. The long wheelbase and under floor storage compartments translates to very low ground clearance. RE location requires extra caution when climbing curbs or entering/exiting curb cuts--you really do not want to scrape the oil pan on anything. Service door in front of the front axle allows for low entrance height but also shallow entry angles.

If you want a good RE bus that isn't like every other bus out there here is a bus you may want to consider: GILLIG 1968 C190-12


I like the fact that the International has 4WD its perfect. The other bus just dose not have the power that I am looking for. Huge thanks and good looking out for a newbie like me. I see you are from Winlock. That is where I will be building my bus. My uncle owns a chunk of land just off Ferrier RD. Maybe I will run into you around town. I will be moving up that way from Longview this upcoming November to help him with his farm and build my new to me skoolie off grid self sustainable home.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:42 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Washington State
Posts: 14
It will just be me my dog and cat maybe my son if he comes to live with me(not sure if he will)
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Old 01-25-2017, 05:58 AM   #8
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 377
Year: 92
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 5.9L
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that bus has 4WD!? man that'd be sweet. wish mine did.
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Old 01-25-2017, 11:26 AM   #9
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Year: 1991
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Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the pics were so small I couldnt get a good look... I didnt realize they made conventionals in 4WD... how cool is that.

hopefully they dont just mean a POSI rear and so the 4 rear wheels drive!
-Christopher
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Old 01-26-2017, 08:52 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Washington State
Posts: 14
Smile Made my bus choice.

My choice of bus is as follows:

Bluebird TC2000 FE 5.9L Cummins 72 passenger.

Reason for my choice:

(1) I am on walkabout(Will be until I die)
(2) I am going to live off-grid.
(3) The size is what I need.
(4) I can put 2.5 ton military 6x6 or 5 ton 6x6 assembly on the bus.
(5) I want to travel and go places in my bus that no one has taken a bus before.
(6) Most important my son wants nothing to do with me so it will be just one dog just one cat and just one man.
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