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Old 03-15-2023, 07:45 PM   #1
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Chopping off the back

Hello,

I have been searching for a bus to start converting for about two months now and unfortunately I think the one I want is also the most rare. (mechanical pre '98 engine, flat nose, 30ft or less).

In my search I have noticed that a considerable amount of busses with 2/3 of requirements coming up for sale that are just too long. Most of these have about 4 windows (~8ft) past the rear axle.

Has anyone just taken a torch to the frame and shortened the back by 2-3ft?

I have seen videos of people severely shortening busses almost for novelty online at the link below. So I can't really see why this would be off the table.

Am I nave for thinking the only thing this will affect is more weight on the front suspension and less on the rear?

Cheers,
Zz


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Old 03-16-2023, 01:58 PM   #2
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Most of Guatemala's 'chicken busses' get shortened for ease of driving through villages.

That being said what's the extra 3-4' hurt?
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Old 03-16-2023, 02:13 PM   #3
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OldYeller did that not too long ago. See link to his build thread below for details. He started cutting the butt off at around post #27.

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/l...oon-32061.html
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Old 03-16-2023, 03:31 PM   #4
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FWIW anytime you move a rear axle forward, you remove weight off the front axle and place it on the rear. Shortening it overall would lower the total weight on both axles. Doing both would complicate it slightly, but it's still a net loss of weight off both axles.

With new and used diesel pickups bringing obscene prices, I've long been considering chopping a bus and turning it into a pickup of sorts. 2-3 rows of seats, 8 foot of "bed" space, and a reese hitch bolted to the frame and you'll have a much heavier and robust rig, along with room for 8+ passengers if you so desire. And you'll be higher up and likely safer then you would in a pickup.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/22/busin...%20from%20Ford.

No 4x4 would be a drawback compared to a pickup, but that's nothing a pair of mrap or 5 ton axles couldn't fix.
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Old 03-16-2023, 04:52 PM   #5
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Genisis

AmTran Genisis made this FE model, mid-90s.


Finding one is another story.

Typically less overhang on REs...
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Old 03-17-2023, 07:34 AM   #6
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AmTran Genisis made this FE model, mid-90s.


Finding one is another story.

Typically less overhang on REs...
I know it wouldn't thanks to the moment arm of the rear end, but that genuinely looks like it would be prone to tipping forward if you had an overweight driver and no passengers.
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Old 03-17-2023, 08:19 AM   #7
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I know it wouldn't thanks to the moment arm of the rear end, but that genuinely looks like it would be prone to tipping forward if you had an overweight driver and no passengers.
The BB version has a shorter wheelbase. Possibly less forward overhang?


Few in circulation.
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Old 03-17-2023, 09:20 AM   #8
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tc1000

On the short wheel base models they stacked a bunch of steel plate together and installed it between the frame rails beneath the floor behind the rear axle so the thing had a chance at traction. A few members here have this bus and IIRC one actually mentioned finding the weight and took pictures. I'm not sure what the exact amount of weight was, but it was more then 1k lbs.
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Old 03-20-2023, 08:04 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies y'all.

@La Camioneta - I really just know that any extra foot that I dont truly need will keep me from finding better spots, and almost everyone I have talked to has said they wish they started smaller.

@Tejon7 - This is exactly what I am looking for thanks!

@DeMac - That is about the perfect body bus. Maybe a little longer would be nice, that looks to be 26-28ft range. I think a 30-32ft would be perfect.

The reason I am getting this idea is that, and I know everyone says this, I think finding a bus for sale that checks all my boxes will be almost impossible.

So far from my search just finding something with a fully mechanical engine is tough, and when I do find them in a short body with low miles they usually have the at545 transmission. Sacrificing performance coming down mountain passes is not an option.

So with all that said until I find a 30ft flat nose, full mechanical dt466 or 5.9, with a 643 transmission with low miles I will be thinking of workarounds, and cutting non moving steel seems more my speed than a tranny swap or an engine swap.

But, please let me know what you think.

Thanks again y'all.

Cheers,
Zz
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Old 03-20-2023, 09:51 PM   #10
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no reason you can not chop one off but unless you shorten up the wheelbase it will only have the advantage of no tail swing. however removing 1 driveshaft and some frame drilling to relocate the rear suspension it is quite feasable.
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Old 03-22-2023, 07:38 PM   #11
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This is a very modified bus that a friend of mine has done. There are lots of photos of the process: https://www.instagram.com/gordofromearth/
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Old 03-22-2023, 08:56 PM   #12
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Cadillac Kid is the expert on trans swaps but IIRC, mechanical engines and AT545s are the norm. He swapped a 6 speed and I've swapped a 5 speed and the difference is night and day. Spendy, but the best bang for your buck for drivability.
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Old 03-22-2023, 10:25 PM   #13
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Los Angeles Unified School District has been selling their mid-90's International 3800 buses for a couple of years, through GovDeals. They have mechanical DT466 engines (in the 300K miles range) but also MD3060 transmissions, air bag suspension, and air conditioning. I've bought 4 of them and they all run great...and they're quite capable trail vehicles, on our forest service roads with some pretty good hills. The big box they don't check for you is they're not flat front, they're conventional. But maybe worth a look when more come up?
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Old 03-23-2023, 07:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyah45828 View Post
FWIW anytime you move a rear axle forward, you remove weight off the front axle and place it on the rear. Shortening it overall would lower the total weight on both axles. Doing both would complicate it slightly, but it's still a net loss of weight off both axles.

With new and used diesel pickups bringing obscene prices, I've long been considering chopping a bus and turning it into a pickup of sorts. 2-3 rows of seats, 8 foot of "bed" space, and a reese hitch bolted to the frame and you'll have a much heavier and robust rig, along with room for 8+ passengers if you so desire. And you'll be higher up and likely safer then you would in a pickup.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/22/busin...%20from%20Ford.

No 4x4 would be a drawback compared to a pickup, but that's nothing a pair of mrap or 5 ton axles couldn't fix.

a little one like my redbyrd would be a perfect candidate for a pickup mod.. you might not even need ot move the axle.. it has a wheelbase short enough it turns sharper than my dodge ram extended cab...



its axles appear a bit narrower than a standard school bus width so finding a front axle conversion to 4WD is possibly easier than with a full size bus cut down... swapping in an allison 1000 means you have a myriad of available transfer cases you can mate to it.. not to mention you can have a non emissions engine like a DT466 or T444E ... ammenities such as Stereo and Air-conditioning arent too difficult to add.. heck I even added Navi and digital dash to my little bus.. all the comforts of a modern "truck".. in my case the state of ohio calls it a "passenger van" since it is seated for lless than 16 people...
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Old 03-23-2023, 12:37 PM   #15
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