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Old 03-17-2019, 12:18 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Cool School bus vs shuttle bus?

While I get that they naturally have a lower roof, I'm 6-4 and I'm trying to find a cutaway type bus that I won't have to crawl around in. Shuttle buses seem to have higher ceilings, but they also have a very negative reputation on here. Could someone tell me why that is? I've read the argument that the shuttles GVW rating is often very close to it's actual weight, limiting the mods you can make. I've seen some with a difference of as much as 3- 5K pounds, so that sounds less fatal. What other problems are there with shuttles that the school buses don't have? Thanks!
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:49 PM   #2
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My newbie $0.02 on the most important difference:
Most shuttle vehicles are some composite bodied concoction, vs metal on a school bus.
In northern climes, metal bodies hold up to snow loads way better than composites will.

No doubt there are other differences both plus and minus of shuttle vs schoolie that the veteran builder/owners can share info on...
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:11 AM   #3
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Driving a school bus may be less work, shuttle busses can be wobbly and feel less stable, I used to drive an uprated 17,500# e350 limo bus and it was absolutely exhausting
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:20 PM   #4
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I don't have a shuttle and I don't want a shuttle---but---a converted shuttle is far more likely to be accepted at the nose in the air RV parks than is a skoolie and under some conditions that might become important.
Jack
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Old 03-19-2019, 02:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
I don't have a shuttle and I don't want a shuttle---but---a converted shuttle is far more likely to be accepted at the nose in the air RV parks than is a skoolie and under some conditions that might become important.
Jack
I called around to RV parks in my area, and none of them has dealt with a skoolie before or really knew what to make of them, but they're at least willing to take a look at it. I imagine a converted shuttle bus would look a lot more like an RV. One of them also said they had a "no RVs older than 10 years" policy, but they weren't sure how that rule would apply to a newly-converted skoolie built from a 15-year-old bus.
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Old 03-19-2019, 03:20 PM   #6
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Love my shuttle bus.
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Old 03-19-2019, 03:29 PM   #7
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No offence intended. That's what makes this forum fun. We all have our favorite machines and for each of us they are the right ones
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:35 PM   #8
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Some shuttle bus bodies are better than others. The fiberglass Eldorado bodies are the only shuttles that have been successfully crash tested. Starcraft has a bad reputation. Our shuttle as converted with full tanks is 2000 lbs under GVW.

Pro:

Shuttles almost always have highway gearing.

Since they are usually built on a Ford or Chevy platform you can get service from any dealer and parts are easy to find.

Info on repairing them is very easy to find.

They use light truck tires which are cheaper to buy.


Con:

Lousy ground clearance at the step well.

Not built as tank-like.
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Old 03-20-2019, 04:11 PM   #9
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I debated the options as well. Shuttles are more practical- geared better than many skoolies. Shuttles are more stealth for blending in in cities. Skoolies are...kool.
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Old 03-22-2019, 11:27 PM   #10
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Biggest differences are crash safety and weight rating. Shuttles are fiberglass and.... (depends on manufacture) whereas a bus is metal and steel reinforcements. Just like most class C RVs are build at the tip of GVRW ratings.
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Old 03-27-2019, 04:31 PM   #11
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As someone who has been around buses for more than 40 years my take is probably a little different than most.


My biggest issue with commercial buses is almost all of them are made of some sort of plastic/composite/fiberglass construction.



The marriage between the body and the van/cut-away windshield header is never a happy marriage. After many thousands of miles of banging around on the streets and highways the marriage usually ends up in a very nasty divorce. 100% of all the plastic body buses I have had anything to do with has leaked somewhere around the header panel. I had one bus that had several tubes of gummy putty pumped into the join in a vain hope of stopping the leaks.


The banging and bouncing is also hard on the roof panels. Stress cracks that turn into real cracks that turn into holes through which water will leak is all par for the course.



For some reason the all metal school bus bodies made by Collins, Thomas, and others just don't have the problem of a nasty divorce between the body and the chassis. It might have something to do with the fact the steel school bus body is very rigid in comparison to the plastic commercial bus body and it will tend bang and bounce in concert with the chassis.
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Old 03-27-2019, 04:42 PM   #12
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I love my shuttle bus it is a very very solid aluminum sub frame with fibreglass skin. It is well insulated for the most part and appears to be built like a tank I can get on the roof and there is zero flex. I weigh 235 pounds and M64 and walk around the roof without any flex at all and inside with at least an inch clearance for my head everywhere even under the lights. For what I need is a very stable highway vehicle the trucks along and gets 15 miles per gallon with Itís 6.6 L Duramax. I have owned a lot of class a motorhomes that road like crap in comparison to this. Just my two cents
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Old 03-27-2019, 09:22 PM   #13
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Shuttle - My 2 Cents

I have a 2001 Chevy Express 3500 with ElDorado shell. I have only put about 200 miles on it because I am still converting it. I have always driven small cars. I have only driven a large truck twice in 40 years. My Shuttle drives smoothly. It is a little noisy. I am thinking about putting some insulation in the driver area to see if that helps. I can park in a regular parking space. And I can actually use the rear view mirror to see out the back window. I plan to replace mirrors with cameras in the next year. Yes, it has a fiberglass shell and wood subflooring. I have a few repairs to make. Both my sons have experience in fiberglass repairs and there are lots of videos. I am sealing wood underside and adding a 2nd plywood layer, 1 1/2 inch rigid foam insulation, more plywood, and vinyl flooring. So, base is solid and will hold up nicely. Shell has steel framing, so I don't worry about that either. The double wheels in the back seem to help the shuttle feel more stable. I will be on my own with 2 cats and one parrot. So my shuttle is the perfect size for me.
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Old 03-27-2019, 09:43 PM   #14
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I really like the eldorado bodied shuttle busses and even the corbeils.. but the starcrafts ive ridden on creak and flex from the day they are brand new.. I recently hads to ride a shuttle across a city in a pretty good windstorm.. the bus was a couple year old E-450 with a star-craft body.. the ride quality wasnt bad.. but boy ion that win d the sides of that body were just beating away... I dont remember that in the eldorado or corbeil based busses ive been on.. theres another shuttle and I cant rememember the brand that also seemed solid even on the highway... turtle-top?


while I personally love my short bus on commercial chassis.. i will say that the van-cutaway shuttles have many features similar to what you would be familiar with in your own personal car or van./


-Christopher
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:18 PM   #15
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one more item on shuttle

My shuttle only has one seat in the driver section. For just me that is ok. I plan to add a jump seat in the passenger/stairwell area. And maybe where my couch will be I will add seat belts. Some other shuttles have 2 seats in front if that is important to you.
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