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Old 03-24-2019, 01:56 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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Question Makes, models & years to get as close as I can to my ideal skoolie.

Since I've seen people spend years looking for "the perfect rig", and have read people basically saying

"I'm looking for a [exact year, make, model with X options in Y color] priced to sell. I won't consider anything close to it. If it's one model year off (even if nothing changed in that model year), missing one thing, or it's a dollar more than the price I have in my head I will wait for the next one because I want to get the absolute best deal possible so I can buzz and brag to my friends & campmates about the steal of a deal I got on my perfect rig! It has to come with X options and Y color as it costs money to have things added, removed or changed after I buy it!".

And heard of those that use similar logic as a crutch to not fulltime, part-time or even buy an RV at all.


Also, those that hyperplan the fine details to perfection before they have spent one day or one night in a rig. Some make the USSRs 5-year plans look like impulses.


As well as those who spend a decade building their rig to perfection,
as life passes them by - I decided that I am going to get as close to my ideal school bus as I can in the purchase, modify it to get closer and leave it at that. I recommend you to do the same.


My ideal bus is a 45' extra-height-ceiling dog nose, with my dream drivetrain already there (see criteria section of this post for the details) It would have at least 7 1/2’ floor to ceiling aisle height, without raising the roof. It would have dashboard heat & A/C and possibly rear heat exchanger & A/C evaporator.

Criteria In order of most to least importance:

1. Dog noses Only. No flat nose or pusher buses.
2. Bulletproof Engine & Transmission. That can be rebuilt in-frame, has wet sleeves & other design considerations for cuss-free maintenance & rebuilding on the side of the road. That can take neglect easily & keep on running. Will stockpile parts when means allow so parts commonality isn't primary concern. Simple diesel, I want to go no further advanced than throttle body injection. I despise modern emission systems and they're not allowed on the bus. Highway gearing & the capability to be able to haul ass @ 80 MPH when I legally can without abusing the engine, even if that means adding extra gears behind the transmission including overdrive gearing. Manual trans is not a deal breaker, actually I slightly prefer it as I want to learn to properly drive stick. Want the fuel system to be biofuel ready, ready to pump rancid butter, cooking oil (Incase I drive after the apocalypse. The free grease party is long over.) with particulates if the situation calls for it. Anything a Diesel engine can burn with ideally no modification. Does your bus have a make & model of engine / trans like this?

2. Extra height ceiling, if I can find it. I can live with 7' if that is found on extra height buses. I know high ceilings are rare, so would be a nice bonus.
3. At least 37 feet long bumper to bumper. ideally 45’ as it will allow me at least 32' of living space behind the drivers seat. I read here 45’ dog noses are rare but 40' dog noses are common, how common are 41, 42', 43', 44' dog noses? If I can I'll take the extra feet, but I am thinking of it as a possible bonus. I am planning on a five+ foot back deck that can carry a moped / motorcycle. Wealth is being able to park the toad in or on the rig so you don't need to trailer.
-Side exit doors, I prefer to keep the amount of orifices I make down for stregnth. I know the number of emergency exit doors depends which state & school district the bus comes from, prefer more doors and not a deal breaker if the bus doesn't have any side emergency exit doors.
-Older dog nose in this style [http://www.skoolie.net/forums/attach...hmentid=31078] (imagine this bus with a all purple paint job, skylights in rear, back deck, antenna array (wifi, cell, CB, VHF, UHF, etc.) to get an idea of how I want my bus to look. I really like the look of the Ford hood in this photo [http://www.skoolie.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=31075]. The GMC hood is OK [ http://www.skoolie.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=31076 ], and I simply do not like the modern low profile duck nose hoods of today [see attachment of modern bus: http://www.skoolie.net/forums/attach...hmentid=31077]. I can change / swap out the hood after the fact as it's mostly cosmetic but I prefer not to. I am saying this because I am afraid I missed the wave of 80s buses retired from school districts.



The bus will become home & a fallback throughout life, & be traveled extensively, from the Drive-In to the Dalton. I’m thinking for the decades ahead. Regardless of which bus I end up with, I am going to build it out with comfortable full-time living as the main design consideration. I'm not going to skimp on the parts of the build that are difficult, time consuming or hard to get to post-conversion like insulation, plumbing, wiring or a floating floor. I'll save the skimping where it's easy to undo & upgrade.




I live in San Jose, CA a holder of a CA CDL. I have a dormant SD Mailbox Address with Americas Mailbox. I can register the bus in CA or SD.



(If you see that I've overlooked anything please say something)


What makes / models / varients / versions make up my dream drivetrain (or as close to it as possible?)

What makes / models / years are close / very close to my ideal bus?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Redacted from Post
...


...over 7 1/2 feet centerline interior height...

...to a back deck to carry a full size, high top van conversion (will create a thread about the latter).
...

5. Rear heat exchanger & A/C system so I can keep the home climate controlled when rolling, failing this I would like dash heat & A/C. This is not a deal breaker as I know most buses I come across won't come with rear A/C or possibly even A/C at all. It's nice to run just one engine while driving.
...
For example: Insulation. I'm not going to spend hundreds of hours drilling out rivets to remove interior panels, insert foam block, then screw the panels back on when I can drill 1 or 2 inch holes, and spend several hundred dollars to have the walls filled with quality polyurethane by professionals. I want the max insulation r-value possible in the walls and ceiling, and open to exterior insulation to make it so.
...


Attached Images
File Type: jpg Ford_B-700_Thomas_Conventional_School_Bus_1984_600_lq_0001.jpg (30.7 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg fed6ac174732dc1a22e5c9f65624eec7.jpg (127.7 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg images.jpg (10.6 KB, 116 views)
File Type: jpg maxresdefault.jpg (169.9 KB, 9 views)
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Old 03-24-2019, 02:31 PM   #2
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Sounds like a plan that will never come to fruition, you don't want much, do you? You can't spray foam in a few holes in the ceiling, it will waffle the panels and cause considerable time replacing that mistake. The foam does not expand at a uniform rate. Personally I would never park a car on a deck attached to the back of a long bus.There are no buses of the type you want that will have a 7'6" ceiling height. You will have less buildable room in a dog nose than with a Flat nose. I don't think there is a bus out there that meets all your criteria. Good Luck, let us know when you find it.
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Old 03-24-2019, 03:24 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
... You can't spray foam in a few holes in the ceiling, it will waffle the panels and cause considerable time replacing that mistake. The foam does not expand at a uniform rate. ...

Thanks for pointing that out, Ill have to find the thread on best practices.



Quote:
...
There are no buses of the type you want that will have a 7'6" ceiling height.

...


Isn't there a standard height and an extra height option the school district can order if they so choose. I know extra height buses are gonna be rare, would be nice to know how many extra inches compared to standard height.






Quote:
...
You will have less buildable room in a dog nose than with a Flat nose. I don't think there is a bus out there that meets all your criteria. Good Luck, let us know when you find it.


Edited the legnth criteria for clarity.
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Old 03-24-2019, 03:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debit.servus View Post
Thanks for pointing that out, Ill have to find the thread on best practices.







Isn't there a standard height and an extra height option the school district can order if they so choose. I know extra height buses are gonna be rare, would be nice to know how many extra inches compared to standard height.










Edited the legnth criteria for clarity.
Standard buses are either variations of 6'3" or 6'6" in the high roof models depending on what they did for flooring.
There are no standard school buses I know of that are over 40' long. Coaches and transit buses can be had in 45' lengths, but they are not your typical school bus. Just noticed you're planning Biofuel application, I'm done here.
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Old 03-24-2019, 03:33 PM   #5
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Seems a bit critical of the skoolie community.

You're not going to find a 45 foot "dog nose" school bus. 40' bumper to bumper will be all you'll find.
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:33 PM   #6
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I have an '87 IH bus, Carpenter body that comes somewhat close. Front/rear dual A/C (both work, may need charged). Painted white/purple, have photos. Most exterior lights swapped to LED's. SC bus, practically no rust (that I've seen). SC did not spec plywood underfloor for this bus, so it's rubber over steel. Ceiling panels screwed in, not riveted.


Diesel engine, auto trans (presumed AT545) but was originally a 5-speed. IM if more details are wanted. I'm near Atlanta.
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Old 03-26-2019, 04:31 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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So I am reading this thread and I am overwhelmed: http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/wh...ombo-2243.html


Since I want to get as close to my dream drivetrain as I can in a 40' dog-nose, can the experts rank the bulletproofness of skoolie engines & trans models? If there is a guide / well written post point me there.



Something like:





-Holy Grail

-Next Best Thing to Holy Grail
-Amazing

-Great

-Good


Remember to rank the trannies.






Also thanks for the info so far.
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Old 03-26-2019, 07:54 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Question Drivetrain ranking

Quote:
Originally Posted by debit.servus View Post
...


-Holy Grail
-Next Best Thing to Holy Grail

-Amazing

-Great

-Good

...

Obviously, First Choice is going to be the Holy Grail Engine & Trans combo.



Failing that, Next Best Thing to Holy Grail will make me smile with every mile.



If I can get Amazing I'll feel satified.



Great will be where I'll start feeling dissatified with the buses drivetrain, and Good will be if I can't get Great.
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Old 03-28-2019, 08:19 PM   #9
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What makes / models / variants / versions make up the rankings?
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Old 04-04-2019, 09:22 AM   #10
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After searching the forums for a while, on multiple occasions, I couldn't find any threads discussing the general ranking of engines and transmissions normally found in school buses ranked by their resilience & robustness. I found threads discussing fine details but no threads discussing big-picture school bus powertrain rankings from Good to Holy Grail.
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