This thread will be dedicated to the further conversion of a 1995 International 3800 with a Farber bookmobile body. (I have a gallery on my web site dedicated to this conversion
. All my pictures can be found in that gallery.)
I purchased the bus in October 2011 and drove it home to Ocala, FL from Tennessee. It had about 150,000 miles on the odometer and I added another 660 miles bringing it home. EDIT to add: I averaged 10.4 MPG on the drive to Florida driving about 50-55 MPH. The front tires are badly worn and, I suspect, out of balance, so I couldn't really drive any faster.
• 1995 International 3800 chassis with a bookmobile body by Farber Specialty Vehicles
• 7.6L Navistar (IH) DT466 engine 195HP/2400RPM
• MT643 Allison 4spd automatic transmission
• Overall length, bumper-to-bumper: 37 feet
• Engine firewall to rear wall of interior: 31' 9"
• Finished Interior headroom will be 7' 2" across the entire ceiling (flat ceiling).
• Finished interior width will be 7' 3".
• GVWR 25,500 lbs
• GAWR Front 10,000 lbs
• GAWR Rear 15,500 lbs
• X175 rear axle (rated for 17,500 lbs, 4.44 gear ratio)
• Interestingly, this vehicle must have left the factory with 20-inch rims, but was upgraded later to 7.5" x 22.5" tubeless rims on the Dayton-type wheels
• Hydraulic 4-wheel-disk brakes
• 16KW Martin/Yanmar 4-cylinder diesel generator (sold on eBay for about $2500)
The previous owner had already done a modest conversion, but the interior doesn't fit my specific needs so I'm going to gut it and start from scratch. What I really wanted was the nearly perfect shell that this vehicle provides. It has 7 feet, 5 inches of interior headroom with a flat side-to-side ceiling. The exterior skin is all aluminum, except for the fiberglass roof (EDIT: the roof is aluminum, too). It also has a huge diesel generator plumbed into the main fuel tank, so I don't have to worry about the genset fuel going bad after long periods of non-use (as long as I'm driving the bus around, that is).
My plans include removing the rear wall and putting in a small ramp to drive my Jeep Cherokee inside the back half of the bus. The "house" section will be sealed from the garage and the bed will be on a shelf over the Jeep's hood. It will be tight ... uh, cozy
inside, but I'm traveling alone and I don't need or want a lot of space.
(approximate, as of July 2014)
Bus ticket to pick up vehicle: -$140
Vehicle purchase price: -$7500
Temp tag to leave Tennessee: -$10
Fuel for trip home: -$250
Vehicle registration in Florida: -$835
Sold various cabinets removed from vehicle: +$100
Sold LCD TV from vehicle: +$20
Sold RV toilet: +$25
New front tires and new spare tire w/rim: -$1198
Various bits and pieces of hardware/fittings: -$25
Sold two light fixtures that came with vehicle: +$25
Sold 16KW generator that came with vehicle (minus eBay fees): +$2475
New pantograph windshield wiper arms: -$116
New headlights: -$56
Sold refrigerator that came with vehicle: +$140
Sold washer/dryer that came with vehicle: +$100
Roof decking materials: -$250
New driver & passenger seats (as part of a set of five chairs from another vehicle): -$400
Interior wall framing materials (lumber and wood screws): approx. -$1600
Foam It Green 602 expanding foam insulation kit: approx. -$750
Miscellaneous stuff: approx. -$500
Sold two rooftop air conditioners: +$250
2x100 gallon fresh water tanks: -$650
Small window A/C with remote: -$150
Shower tray and walls: -$350
Two small chest freezers: -$75
Laminate sheet: -$58
Custom stainless steel kitchen backsplash and countertop edge protector: -$100
Costs pending: Deep-cycle batteries, solar panels, portable toilet, flooring, etc.
Sales pending: Various kitchen utensils and cookware.
"Why do you call it The Camel?"
When I bought my Jeep, I found myself wanting some kind of mascot. I didn't like the idea of longhorn steer horns across the hood, but I remembered seeing a story about a company that sells skulls to museums, schools, and the general public. I visited their web site and found the perfect thing: a domestic goat skull. (Goats are found all over the world and can go almost anywhere and climb just about anything, including trees. I figured they are a lot like a Jeep in those respects.) I'd like to have a mascot for the bus as well, and since my conversion plans include a lot of fresh water storage and the ability to survive for long periods without needing to find water, "Camel" seems like a fitting nickname. (The same web site also sells camel skulls, so you know
what's going to end up over the front window of my rig.
First photo taken on the drive from TN to FL: