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Old 09-01-2004, 07:57 AM   #11
Bus Geek
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Before you get your bus, you had better figure out if you would be allowed to park it in your yard. Seems some neighbourhoods dislike RV's (and buses in particular) being parked for long periods (and short ones too). If your neighbourhood is organized in some way you need to find out. Just because Jim-down-the-street and Jack-on-the-next-block have boats/RV's parked in their yard doesn't mean it's allowed, just that someone hasn't complained. And bus conversion seems to cause folks to complain...even when they are hidden completely from sight in an enclosed building. If your neighbourhood is a structured "development" then there may be some restrictions. It should all be on file with the city (if inside city limits) or county planning commission. If you live inside city limits then you have to also adhear to their zoning rules. Even though you are working on the bus, it can be considered "abandoned" by some ordinances. It would have to have current tags/insurance to prevent it from being "abandoned". But you would need to check with local authorities on this. And they can and will remove a vehicle from your property......

In 1980, we used to live (rent) in a zoned-to-death neighbourhood in Port St Lucie FL. There was a guy at the end of our block with an old car (1920's) sigh , up on 4 jacks with no tires, being restored, inside a LOCKED garage. He was turned in for having a junker and the city pulled up to his garage while he was at work (a neighbour called him). They broke into his garage (I saw the tore up door) and, when I was walking by, had his antique car drug out on the road (remember... no tires/rims) and he was screaming at them, the cops were pulling up and his wife was calling their lawyer. He found out that he could not keep his car there even in a locked garage. Last I knew he was sueing the city.

I'm always reading about folks who have bought a house only to find out that they can't park their RV or Bus in the yard. Or that the folks in their neighbourhood think travel trailers and Class A motorcoaches are okay but don't bring an old bus conversion into their neighborhood... not even to load (I remember the guy who lived in a park model trailer in a trailer park full of single wides. They pitched a fit because he pulled his nice bus conversion in front of his house to load it. It was in the rules!)
This post is my opinion. It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
Fulltime since 2006
The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. Zeno (335BC-264BC)
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Old 09-01-2004, 08:15 AM   #12
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If the setup’s only going to be for occasional campouts….
You might just think about getting a small Bus and tow a small travel trailer behind it.
That system would give you a place for your kids to hangout …plus you’d have a small rig that’s a lot easier to drive around narrow streets than a big Schoolie is.
You could set the small bus up with a simple kitchen & bathroom …and the trailer could contain the sleeping arrangements.

Say you get a bus like Firearm has…
He has a little over 10-1/2 feet of useable building space inside…then you buy a used 16-18 foot trailer (which will have around 12-1/2 –15-1/2 feet of interior space).
Now you’ve got approx. 23-26 feet of building/living space.
That’s a good bit of space for camping out…(My ‘big’ 66 passenger bus has only 27 feet of useable interior)
If you bought a used trailer (lots of little trailers for sale for very little out there)…you’d have all the RV stuff you could pull out and install in the bus …then you could set the trailer up with bunk beds or whatever.

If you like building stuff …and would rather make your own trailer instead of buying one , here’s a good forum to check out. They mostly build the little Teardrop trailers …but there are a few folks over there that build larger setups.

Michael & Millie
Sitka Alaska
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Old 09-11-2004, 11:19 AM   #13
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I was out this morning sizing up a couple of minibuses, '88 and '89 Fords with Thomas bodies, 7.3's. The ones I looked at today however were a little longer, I think around 13' of usable space inside. These seem to be long enough to do the conversion I want with a small bathroom and all. The guy there had a couple of fiberglass mini-coaches that he had condemned, also Fords, but aside from the obvious body rot, they had the floor support cross members rusted out as well. That seems to a common problem on buses in these parts, especially on Bluebird bodies. Too bad because they had the tag axle setup, very cool conversion platform I would imagine, sort of like a mini-MCI type of thing. While I was chatting about conversions to the guy he said that he found on minibus conversions that the best set-up for bunk arrangement was fore and aft, I'm not sure of his reasoning because I figured across the back would be optimum. Any thoughts? What about a double bed at the rear offset to one side with a single or fold away double bunk over it. Possibly the lower bunk could be a fold down table arrangement. Lots of seating space then. But where to put the bathroom? HMMMMMM.....
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Old 09-11-2004, 09:39 PM   #14
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Another plus you'll find with these small buses is that the nose is a van so you can insure them as a van. My agent just ran mine as a GMC Vandura 1 ton and I got an excellent rate. I have it on comp for the winter so it was only $30 for three months and it saved me $50 on my car insurance for having a second vehicle so I'm $20 ahead!
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Old 09-21-2004, 09:52 AM   #15
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Here are some shorties I ran into this weekend, not much of a conversion inside of them, I assume because there is not much room.

View my 1972 Ward: Topic from the Build : The Picture Gallery
View my 1986 Blue Bird: Topic from the Build : The Picture Gallery
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Old 09-21-2004, 02:27 PM   #16
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Thanks for taking these pics. I appreciate seeing some of the mini conversions. We need more mini buses out there!
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Old 10-27-2004, 10:09 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Firearm
Stay far, far away from the "fiberglass" sided buses. They are actually gel-coated plywood and we worked on one a couple years ago that was rotted up to the windows. Water gets under the gel-coat and soaks into the plywood like a sponge. It swells up and the coating starts to crack or fall off. when you start chipping away at a small blemish it turns into the entire side falling off in a heartbeat. Stay with a metal sided bus of some kind.
Not always. I drive fibreglass-body buses for a living. We have several that are 10+ years old & in good condition. Champions (General Coach) & Goshens (Supreme Truck Bodies) seem to hold up best.

Do not buy a Starcraft under any circumstances--we have 4 (2 2000's, 2 2001's), & all are 100% complete junk.
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