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Old 08-30-2004, 04:15 PM   #1
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Full-size schoolie vs. minibus

I still don't have a bus, YET, but I do have a big decision to make. Big vs. small bus! It suddenly occurred to me while shopping around (actually, more like tormenting bus line owners and mechanics) for a bus that my yard is probably too small for a full size bus to fit into comfortably while the conversion goes ahead, and storage lots/yards will add to the overall cost of the project (not good!), so I've been looking at the smaller wheelchair type buses, 7.3 L Fords, auto., dual wheels. Does anyone have any pics or links to share to give me some idea what a conversion on one of these would look like? I'm planning on doing mostly weekend camping trips with the wife and two young children so I don't know if the small bus will be too small? Any thoughts?
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Old 08-30-2004, 04:24 PM   #2
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Is this the size of bus you are thinking about, it is pretty small inside, really. I will be seeing a of buses from the Iowa Bus Gallery on Saturday if you let me know which is close to what you are looking at I can take some extra shots of the inside.

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Old 08-30-2004, 05:36 PM   #3
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I had a 35' foot bus but decided it was too large for my needs...I like to drive my rig every day and that's a lot easier with a mini bus...I still haven't redone the inside but here is what mine looks like...works good for the wife and I and pulls a trailer like it's not even there...

http://www.classicguzzi.com/bus/newbusleftfrt.jpg

http://www.classicguzzi.com/bus/newbusleftrear.jpg

http://www.classicguzzi.com/bus/newbusrightrear.jpg
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Old 08-30-2004, 06:36 PM   #4
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That's exactly the type of buses I've been considering. I'd really appreciate a few interior photos (and exterior ones too!). The thing is is that I'd rather have a full size bus so I'd have lots of space and a washroom etc., so I'm trying to get a feel for how much I can realistically "pack" in to a minibus. I've been looking at floor plans for small motorhomes to get some ideas but I'd really like to see some actual conversions. I've even considered a cube van conversion or an ex-U haul conversion, but these rigs hold a fair bit of value, especially the diesel ones, since they aren't forced into "retirement" like schoolbuses.
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Old 08-30-2004, 07:44 PM   #5
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I think you will find the cube vans to be much noisier and probably not in as good of shape especially if you get one from a rental company. The good thing about school buses is they are built very stong, safe, and are maintaned to government regulations.
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Old 08-30-2004, 08:10 PM   #6
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There are interior photos of my bus on one of the threads. It's identical to that one, less the nice paint. It's 10'8" x 7'7" inside the bus (excluding the driver's area and stairs). I bought mine to haul a stock car trailer and to double as a camper for the family. It's the perfect size for a "hard tent", so to speak. A place to sleep (four bunks) and a booth inside is all that will fit.
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Old 08-30-2004, 08:51 PM   #7
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I forgot about the service records. I've noticed that every bus I've looked at, the owner/seller offers to show me the complete service history of the thing. No doubt about it, the buses are well maintained.

The small minibus may be too small if I can't figure a way to include a toilet/shower arrangement. I've found floorplans which would suit me perfectly but are a little too long. Maybe if I could find a longer minibus, sort of like those airport shuttles, or like one I saw the other day at a senior citizens home (with a cool and no doubt EXPENSIVE fibreglass body). They're probably pretty scarce I'd imagine, like short wheelbase full size buses, at least they are in these parts.

One floorplan I ran across had a toilet and shower stall situated along the end of the bus, er, motorhome, the toilet in one corner facing toward the "aisle" and the shower in the opposite corner. It seemed like a good plan to me (in gif format!). I'd like to see a real one though. I'll soon start having to "cruise" the local RV dealers as well as the bus garages!
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Old 08-31-2004, 03:06 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 08-31-2004, 08:59 AM   #9
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Here are a couple of links to help you figure out a floor plan. They are set up for vans but with a little adjusting should work with a mini skoolie.

http://www.glen-l.com/campers/van-long.html and http://www.glen-l.com/campers/van-short.html

You can also just buy the plans from this outfit http://www.glen-l.com/campers/van-conversion.html as they say they are adapable for "bus-type conversion". You might want to look at the floor plans for their other campers to get some ideas.
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Old 09-01-2004, 08:20 AM   #10
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Thanks for the links. I've been sizing up some floor plans with bathrooms and I think you guys are right, they are pretty small. The kids won't have any room on the rainy days. The jury is still out on this one! I've got a long wheelbase minibus to look at later this week so I'll be better able to decide. Where to park a full size bus next to my house is the big problem. Along one side up on the lawn looks good to me, but my more rational thinking better half is not like minded. Oh the trials and tribulations of bus ownership! And I don't even have one yet!!
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