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Old 12-18-2021, 05:12 PM   #1
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Bus to Trailer Conversion

Hey I'm thinking about buying a bus to use to haul cedar logs, eastern juniper is it's actual name, for a side job. I need something big to haul the logs and it seems more practical to me to buy a school bus that I can use as both a trailer and truck than a separate vehicle and a trailer. Especially since I'd like to eventually remodel a school bus into a home.



My drives would be about two hours or 120 miles one way.

Anyone have any experience with this or something similar? I mainly want to know if it's more feasible than buying a used gooseneck trailer and a used truck to pull it.

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Old 12-18-2021, 08:48 PM   #2
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Droppin' Logs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cs91 View Post
Hey I'm thinking about buying a bus to use to haul cedar logs, eastern juniper is it's actual name, for a side job. I need something big to haul the logs and it seems more practical to me to buy a school bus that I can use as both a trailer and truck than a separate vehicle and a trailer. Especially since I'd like to eventually remodel a school bus into a home.

My drives would be about two hours or 120 miles one way.

Anyone have any experience with this or something similar? I mainly want to know if it's more feasible than buying a used gooseneck trailer and a used truck to pull it.
‐----------------------




Welcome to the Insane Asylum, Cs91. You may very well be in the right place. Such a crazy idea.

Tell us more about your log hauling concept. Do you intend to convert a bus into a trailer or have a cab only front with a flatbed rear? Maybe a tandem axle Crown or Gillig, either way. Transits are wider.
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Old 12-18-2021, 08:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeMac View Post

Welcome to the Insane Asylum, Cs91. You may very well be in the right place. Such a crazy idea.

Tell us more about your log hauling concept. Do you intend to convert a bus into a trailer or have a cab only front with a flatbed rear? Maybe a tandem axle Crown or Gillig, either way. Transits are wider.
My initial plans are to get a long bus 70 passenger and make an enclosed cab of like 4 seats then the rest be a flat bed for staking them with some possible stakes in the side.
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Old 12-19-2021, 07:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cs91 View Post
Hey I'm thinking about buying a bus to use to haul cedar logs, eastern juniper is it's actual name, for a side job. I need something big to haul the logs and it seems more practical to me to buy a school bus that I can use as both a trailer and truck than a separate vehicle and a trailer. Especially since I'd like to eventually remodel a school bus into a home.



My drives would be about two hours or 120 miles one way.

Anyone have any experience with this or something similar? I mainly want to know if it's more feasible than buying a used gooseneck trailer and a used truck to pull it.
How much weight (total log weight) you planning to put on the chassis?
Your not gonna be able to put a 60-70k load on it.

I would first look at that situation then compare what max (safe) gvwr that is. Then begin to look at different style bus to see if any would fit your needs.
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Old 12-19-2021, 01:29 PM   #5
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I'm honestly not sure what the weight would be. The types of trees I'm looking at removing can vary quite a bit by weight.

I would probably say 30k would be the most I'd haul.
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Old 12-20-2021, 01:08 AM   #6
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Let's work backward.
.
A standard weight rating for most heavy-truck rear axles -- 17,000#.
I would probably verify my rear axle capacity prior to whittlin'.
.
Semi-tractor axles might go as stout as 23,000# each for 46,000# under the fifth-wheel.
Logging trucks have locking axles plus a locking diff between the axles, turning all eight tires into a single united synchronized unit to chug through times of less traction.
.
Tires:
We prefer the interesting places -- and people -- beyond the end of the pavement.
Accordingly, our rig is shod with the most aggressive 'logger-lugs' we could find.
Downside -- noisy, a hit to our mpg.
.
What is your GVWR (determined by engineers at the factory)?
After you complete your whittlin', what do you estimate will be your empty weight across the scale?
This ought to give you an idea of your cargo capacity.
.
Logging roads are partly-gravel and partly bottomless pot-holes... tough on equipment.
We can anticipate 4mph... with an instant hit on mpg.
.
Logs are wet green-wood, heavy.
Your deck will be short and sweet, so you could probably haul a couple three-foot twelve-footers... or a bunch of pecker-poles (the logging term for embarrassingly-tiny immature trees).
.
.
An aside:
* Do you have a market for your abbreviated logs?
* How are you loading/unloading and securing your shorty forest products?
* Purpose-built log trailers have 'bunks', reinforced heavy steel uprights to contain the logs during transport.... how will state troopers see your cobbled-together half-fast attempt?
.
In case you wreck your contraption, I suspect insurance would look at each point in the procedure, from you as test-pilot on to the knuckleboom operator placing your load.
I can see multiple points of liability.
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Old 12-20-2021, 01:38 AM   #7
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No I actually appreciate it. I'd rather change gears before I put the money into it.

Honestly the roads I'd be working on are gravel and the log prices differ based on the content of red in the trees and their shape. I was going to get a skid steer to load them and unload them.

The trees are eastern red cedar and I've had people willing to buy them but didn't have a way to transport them or to get the transportation for them. Now I do. But I'll likely go with something besides the bus option.

Still want to get one to make a rv though!
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Old 12-25-2021, 05:03 PM   #8
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How would you load and unload? Would you need one skid steer at each end to load and unload or would you need to transport it with you on a trailer to be able to unload? How many trips per year would you make? How profitable is this? If it is something that can make a lot of money it's worth it to get a flatbed truck instead of converting a bus. The cost of putting a flatbed on a bus chassis and fitting a back on the cab of the bus is more than a used truck. Do you have a cdl or do you need to keep under 26,000 gvw. If you have a bus over 26,000 you can drive as an RV but not commercially. If this is just an occasional thing it would make sense to get a flatbed trailer towed behind a pickup and keep the bus as an rv.
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Old 12-25-2021, 05:39 PM   #9
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I doubt that a skid steer can lift high enough to load above the first layer, plus you said that you were going to both load and unload with the same piece of equipment. So now you need to add the weight of the skid steer to the cargo, pretty sure that you would be much better off by buying a trailer for this project and safer too.
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Old 12-25-2021, 06:10 PM   #10
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Skid steer

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Originally Posted by shorthair View Post
I doubt that a skid steer can lift high enough to load above the first layer, plus you said that you were going to both load and unload with the same piece of equipment. So now you need to add the weight of the skid steer to the cargo, pretty sure that you would be much better off by buying a trailer for this project and safer too.
A skid steer with a set of forks can easily load 2000 pounds up to 10 feet high. But it would weigh 8000 pounds plus at least 4000 pounds for the trailer. It would also cost at least 15,000 for a well used one plus the cost of the truck, trailer etc there is a reason people charge what they do for jobs like this. If you can keep busy and have the market for the logs its worth it. Otherwise it's a hobby.
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Old 12-25-2021, 06:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demoman View Post
A skid steer with a set of forks can easily load 2000 pounds up to 10 feet high. But it would weigh 8000 pounds plus at least 4000 pounds for the trailer. It would also cost at least 15,000 for a well used one plus the cost of the truck, trailer etc there is a reason people charge what they do for jobs like this. If you can keep busy and have the market for the logs its worth it. Otherwise it's a hobby.
He could load with the forks but unloading might be a wee bit more of a problem.
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Old 12-25-2021, 07:18 PM   #12
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If you do a quick you tube search of logging trucks it's pretty obvious that a School Bus is meant for hauling kids, not logs.
Logging trucks are always Big Old Beasts for good reason.
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Old 12-26-2021, 01:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cs91 View Post
Hey I'm thinking about buying a bus to use to haul cedar logs, eastern juniper is it's actual name, for a side job. I need something big to haul the logs and it seems more practical to me to buy a school bus that I can use as both a trailer and truck than a separate vehicle and a trailer. Especially since I'd like to eventually remodel a school bus into a home.



My drives would be about two hours or 120 miles one way.

Anyone have any experience with this or something similar? I mainly want to know if it's more feasible than buying a used gooseneck trailer and a used truck to pull it.
You are much better off buying a truck and log trailer designed for logs than trying to haul logs on a bus chassis.

A bus is a medium duty truck. If you want to haul logs you need a very heavy duty trailer and a heavy duty tractor.
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