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chefjuke 09-22-2009 03:00 PM

Newbie Skoolie looking for modification ideas...
Iím the proud new owner of a 1979 Ford/Carpenter shortbus and have been lurking in the forum for a little while getting my bearings.

Pics here: ... 2cf6696a76

So I think Iím ready now to dive in and ask for some sage advice on my new project.

Our Skoolie was originally moded to provide hauling for a group of Rafting enthusiasts who would use it to trek out to their rafting sites. It has a custom aluminum roof rack that accommodates a lot of stuff as well as has special rackpoints for kayaks and kayak paddles.

On the inside it has three navy cots that served as both cargo and sleeping accommodations (although a wee bit claustrophobic for some).

My cohorts and I are interested in modifying our skoolie to be a sometimes camping, sometimes people hauling and sometimes cargo hauling vehicle (well, not TOTALLY cargo). While we do want to make some modifications that allow for more comfortable camping inside, we are not looking to transform it into a full on motorhome for long-term camping (ie, not going for full bathroom, indoor kitchen, etc).

We ARE looking to create a more modular interior for the different uses we have in mind, ie, set it up inside so that it can easily be changed from 'people-hauling' to day-trip mode, to STUFF hauling mode, to...oh, say, hang out/tailgaiting mode.

In addition, as one might gather from my nickname, I do a lot of cooking for folks, especially large groups (75-150) at campsites and other gigs. So some of the ideas we are toying with include making the bus function as somewhat of a portable kitchen.

So, to that end, we have a few things in mind that would help with making the interior more modular:

First off we are investigating putting in some sort of tracks in the floor and along the walls that allow for heavy-duty, strong, anchor points that we can attach quick-release mounts for the seats to make them easily removable and interchangeable with storage racks or anything else we might want to mount.

Other ideas we are bouncing around:

Installing anchors along the exterior roof for side and rear awnings that can be easily assembled/attached once at our destination.

Creating a heavy-duty slide-out tray/platform in the large trunk area that, when extended, would be the base for a cooking area (ie, a large table surface that can accommodate my 3-burner stove, a prep area, etc). If we can manage this along with the aforementioned awnings it would make the bus into a very functional, quick to set-up portable kitchen with serving area.

Adding water storage on the top of the bus to feed to the back kitchen area and a possible shower setup.

So, now I am looking for any thoughts, suggestions from you all. It seems that Airline or L-track would be the way to go for the anchor points I mentioned. Anybody have any experience with this and/or sources for purchasing.

For the trunk slide out platform idea I am looking for some design ideas and or hardware sources for heavy-duty slides and/or removable legs.

I'm getting really excited about having this project to work on over the winter and making it a fun, functional and unique vehicle.

Any other thoughts, suggestions, resources etc. for what I've outlined above would be greatly appreciated!

TygerCub 09-22-2009 05:16 PM

Re: Newbie Skoolie looking for modification ideas...
If I were you, I... wouldn't be me...

Sorry. Lame humor. I'm in a funny mood today.

In all honesty, your best bet is to prioritize what you will use the bus for the most. From there, make a floor plan that will best suit that job - I'd recommend using something like cardboard boxes first to give you a real-life feel for how much space items will take up. It's one thing to think just 2' wide isles will be plenty of space to haul in your catering groceries... it's another to actually haul in a big container of groceries within that 24" and not get bound up on the counter/table/bench seats/etc. Cardboard boxes are easy to move around, and can be reused after the project.

If you do a lot of out door cooking or vending, I'd recommend using folding tables for both inside and outside. The tables have three advantages:
  • They are lightweight enough to carry on and off the bus, so setting them up for outside vending would be quick and easy.[/*:m:3esl9e6n]
  • They can be easily secured to the walls of your bus in multiple different configurations, depending on what you're doing.[/*:m:3esl9e6n]
  • They are easy to fold and store up top on the rack when you want the extra cargo space for your buddies and their gear inside.[/*:m:3esl9e6n]

Another thing I would recommend is investing in a regular RV canopy. When extended, the canopy can create quite a sizable "spare room" that will be most welcome on those rainy days that you really can't stand to be inside anymore. The shady area is also just a great idea in general.

Since you have multiple purposes for the bus, don't be afraid to just use camping equipment. Inflatable mattresses, lawn chairs, fold-up cots & tables, camp stoves and portable toilets are all proven technology that is easy to use and will fold up and store once it's not needed. Your wall bracket idea can always be used to secure the items while driving down the road (bungies are your friends).

You've got a world of possibilities open to you! Good luck, have fun, and stay flexible! :D

Kirbystud 09-22-2009 05:30 PM

Re: Newbie Skoolie looking for modification ideas...
I would use Power Strut channels. There is so many think you do with that stuff and you can but it any where they sell electical stuff....Kindoff is a nother kind all does the same thing and there stuff will interchange....Power strut is alot cheaper...... check it out....

chefjuke 09-25-2009 01:15 PM

Re: Newbie Skoolie looking for modification ideas...
Hey all,

Thanks for the suggestions so far. I am going to repost some of the questions (and some new ones) as individual posts to hopefully get some additional ideas.

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