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Old 08-03-2019, 03:14 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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4WD Conversion

Hello all, I have looked and looked all day and I used the search option to no avail. So can someone direct me to any and all posts regarding converting a full size (not a shortie or van converted skoolie) to 4WD? I saw something on this a few years ago, the individual used a divorced transfer case and an axel from a similar large truck (like a dump truck) by the same manufacturer. I have seen converted 4WD buses on YouTube but they are finished and no one seems to share how it was done.

Why you ask, well I was thinking of acquiring an LMTV retired military vehicle to build an overland expedition vehicle (Sean Fillner on YouTube) but I now realize the expense of just acquiring the vehicle will probably exceed $10K. I already have a 30' bumper pull trailer for family camping at a seasonal site. I'm 56YO and looking at what I want to do when I retire in about 10 years. I'd like to travel the lower 48 and venture up to Alaska for a multi year tour of the country. Some of this I would like to be remote/off grid in the lower 48, but I'd really like to be as prepared as I can be for the 6 to 9 month I'd like to spend making the trip to, around, and returning from Alaska.

I know it's just an idea right now but I believe in planning and educating myself to best accomplish or scrap my dreams.

Thanks to all who help to educate me as I begin this journey.
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:16 PM   #2
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There was another bus I recall seeing that replaced both front and rear suspensions with military Rockwell axels but I can't find this again. The rear Rockwell may have also been a steering axel.
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:20 PM   #3
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There are already 4x4 buses they're just not terribly common. Expect to pay 10-20 grand for one used.
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:21 PM   #4
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Really haven't been any build threads on the subject. A few have considered it and most think it's too much work. If I were doing one, I'd find a 4WD truck I could just mount the bus body on


http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f33/4x...ion-11851.html

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/8-...lue-24300.html

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f34/fr...ive-15666.html

There are more links if you use the search bar and search "4 wheel drive"
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:22 PM   #5
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:23 PM   #6
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I'm just guessing but if you could find a bus and a 4WD vocational truck like a dump truck of similar enough models that you could combine them but you'd still need a lot of mechanical expertise to overcome any hurdles you may encounter and that's not even considering whether mixing powertrain components will even work because electronic components tend not to want to play together without manufacturer programming tools.
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:26 PM   #7
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Hadn't ever seen an FE 4x4
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:43 PM   #8
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Look for surplus auctions from school districts that get lots of snow at high altitudes with residents living up mountain roads.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:39 PM   #9
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Thank you for all the replies. I will try "4 wheel drive" in search, I tried 4x4, 4wd, 4X4, 4WD, 4 wd, 4 WD, and all of those with conversion added. I guess I'll also try four wheel drive.
I was thinking about the buy 2 vehicles to build 1, and I will probably end up going down that path. I am at the beginning of my journey and I am looking to acquire as much information as I can. I was looking on Pirate 4x4 as it is a good source if you can find what you are looking for. I agree that they (and many other forums, like Ford diesel ones) have members who seem to enjoy jumping on the pile instead of pointing out the path to start on.
I'm not real good or patient with the internet for those reasons, also I was raised to smooth the path for others not to throw road blocks in their way just because you can. Sorry I'm running on, many "other" things called life going on too.

Again thanks to all. Any additional help, links, or direction is appreciated.
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:59 PM   #10
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I think the biggest question you need to answer, Brian, is if you feel like you need the pilot's chair in the living quarters? It seems like buying that LMTV you mentioned, and building the house on the back. And a scrap bus body could make a good donor. But if you've got the skills to do any of the above scenarios mentioned in this thread, either by yourself or others, it's really just a matter of choosing the easiest and least expensive path. I'd probably just build a custom box on the back of a reliable and off road capable truck.
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:46 PM   #11
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I was originally thinking of buying (again long term project idea) an LMTV M1079A1 Van Truck, especially after following Sean Fillner on YouTube. But the reality of initial cost (they all seem to auction off for $10k or more), tag & title costs before it is converted to MH status, retag and title to MH status, insurance restrictions etc have made me realize that unless one of these trucks in darn near perfect condition falls into my lap it's not gonna happen. Lastly wife not happy with "small camping compartment for long term camping".
So I have moved on to the Skoolie idea. I like the front engine truck looking school bus. I know there are "factory" 4X4 models but they are rare and are way more expensive than I think they should be ($10-20K) and usually 4-10 times the cost of a local 2WD bus ($2-5K). I used to work on automobiles for a living as a PA inspection mechanic and auto body tech (mostly heavy wrecks) for a small family business. Left that industry 15 years ago but still have my tools and equipment.
I've seen 2WD trucks and vans converted to 4WD, I've helped do a few SAS swaps over the years. BUT everything I worked on was of F350 / F450 type or smaller not IH, Freightliner, or F750 and bigger. So I don't know what size rear axel most buses run and what front axel would complement it. (OBS F250 Dana 60 SAS swap for the Dana 50 TTB done, and plenty of info on web for) I think a front Dana 60 would be too small for the weight capacity the 2WD suspension is supposed to handle. Am I right or wrong IDK, but I don't find the information to educate myself on what is needed or how it is done.
The 2 similar vehicle purchase is probably the route Ill take, Like an IH 2WD school bus and a similar sized IH 4WD truck possibly dump truck.
Just spitballing ideas and thoughts.
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:02 PM   #12
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U joint 4x4 conversion bolts on to e series van chassis (vanbus)
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:16 PM   #13
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Yeah thanks, don't want a mini skoolie or van converted skoolie or shortbus skoolie or whatever they call an E450 cab and chassie that was converted into a school bus that needs to be converted into a 4WD.
Looking for a full size, front engine, truck nose school bus, diesel, automatic, to convert to 4WD, for long term (retirement) cross country travel and camping and off road camping as well as to go to Alaska.
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brain's 97 Diesel View Post
Yeah thanks, don't want a mini skoolie or van converted skoolie or shortbus skoolie or whatever they call an E450 cab and chassie that was converted into a school bus that needs to be converted into a 4WD.
Looking for a full size, front engine, truck nose school bus, diesel, automatic, to convert to 4WD, for long term (retirement) cross country travel and camping and off road camping as well as to go to Alaska.
Unfortunately there's no conversion chart to tell you what fits and what doesn't.
But I'd start with a conventional "dog nose" International of late 90s to early 2000s vintage, and get wrecking yard parts from an IH 4300 or 4800 dump truck and expect them to bolt right in, but I'd also check first!

That, or start joining monster truck forums
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Old 08-04-2019, 01:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brain's 97 Diesel View Post
Thank you for all the replies. I will try "4 wheel drive" in search, I tried 4x4, 4wd, 4X4, 4WD, 4 wd, 4 WD, and all of those with conversion added. I guess I'll also try four wheel drive.
I was thinking about the buy 2 vehicles to build 1, and I will probably end up going down that path. I am at the beginning of my journey and I am looking to acquire as much information as I can. I was looking on Pirate 4x4 as it is a good source if you can find what you are looking for. I agree that they (and many other forums, like Ford diesel ones) have members who seem to enjoy jumping on the pile instead of pointing out the path to start on.
I'm not real good or patient with the internet for those reasons, also I was raised to smooth the path for others not to throw road blocks in their way just because you can. Sorry I'm running on, many "other" things called life going on too.

Again thanks to all. Any additional help, links, or direction is appreciated.
Check Ritchie Brothers Auctions. Iíve seen them on there.
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Old 08-04-2019, 05:44 AM   #16
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For donor 4x4 axles I might look for old Oshkosh trucks. They make dump trucks, snow plows, cement mixers, etc, all of which have overbuilt 4WD capabilities. That's not to say there won't be some truckenstein-style stitching together required but if you know consumer 4x4s like jeeps and such then you're familiar with the principles, just scale them up.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:30 AM   #17
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Maybe these guys can help?

http://www.monroetruck.com/Products....175&product=52
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:08 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brain's 97 Diesel View Post
Thank you for all the replies. I will try "4 wheel drive" in search, I tried 4x4, 4wd, 4X4, 4WD, 4 wd, 4 WD, and all of those with conversion added. I guess I'll also try four wheel drive.
I was thinking about the buy 2 vehicles to build 1, and I will probably end up going down that path. I am at the beginning of my journey and I am looking to acquire as much information as I can. I was looking on Pirate 4x4 as it is a good source if you can find what you are looking for. I agree that they (and many other forums, like Ford diesel ones) have members who seem to enjoy jumping on the pile instead of pointing out the path to start on.
I'm not real good or patient with the internet for those reasons, also I was raised to smooth the path for others not to throw road blocks in their way just because you can. Sorry I'm running on, many "other" things called life going on too.

Again thanks to all. Any additional help, links, or direction is appreciated.
the people who see reasons that 'it' can't be done can't do it - the ones that look for ways to do it can get 'it' done
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Old 08-04-2019, 01:43 PM   #19
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i am keeping an eye on govdeals .com for older powerline or pole truck donors for me cause they are 4 wheel drive have the extra springs to carry there weight with a boom and usually a PTO tranny to power the hydraulics for the accessories and even though have high hours because of running the PTO.
but well maintained and used but Rarely abused because those peoples lives safety wise depend on that truck not mucking up around high voltage power.
even just having to move some spring perches in or out up or down is time consuming but not that hard when you have the knowledge and skills.
just my food for thought?
good luck
have fun
i want to do a conversion on mine but things like life,teenagers leaving the nest for college and others things keep taking my bus money
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:21 PM   #20
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I understand the desire to travel off the beaten path, or to visit areas up north that get a lot of snow - but how far off the beaten path are you going with a full-size 40' bus where 4x4 is a real necessity? I mean, more traction is never a bad thing, but I'm not sure I'd want to be going anywhere I didn't really feel safe going with a good set of tire chains. (If Alaska isn't full of 4x4 buses now, then they either don't need them, or have found something else that works better.)
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