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Old 11-30-2019, 03:57 PM   #61
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I worked for the usfs and we had an old bus for a crummy that went in and out of many places that would just plainly amaze you, it probably helped that we really didn't care if some damage occurred.

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Old 11-30-2019, 10:21 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by BoggerBus View Post
Mine performs great off-road but its a cutaway and I built it specifically to haul us around off-road parks lol.

Yeah I think the 1992-03 E-350/450 cutaways are hands down the best platform for building an offroad skoolie. And from the look of your bus you have an even better suited platform (short/138" wheelbase, 4-5 window).
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Old 11-30-2019, 10:24 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by shorthair View Post
I worked for the usfs and we had an old bus for a crummy that went in and out of many places that would just plainly amaze you, it probably helped that we really didn't care if some damage occurred.

Do you remember any particulars about the bus or special modifications that helped it perform offroad?
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:01 AM   #64
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For some reason, this thread makes me all warm and tingly in my private "no-no" place.
Carry on.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:24 AM   #65
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Tire chains are a must if your facing snow or dirt. Just pick up a set for cheap insurance. Auto chains are pointless in dirt and fail at the worst times.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:49 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
Do you remember any particulars about the bus or special modifications that helped it perform offroad?
iirc it was about a 30 passenger front engine International probably a 1960's vintage with a 392 and a 4 speed manual transmission. We just didn't care about it so just point it in the right direction and head up a logging road or even a cat skid. I personally would not even consider doing this with a bus that had my name on the title. I remember it was no trouble to drive across some pretty big ditches and water bars.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:26 PM   #67
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Beautiful area! I am not much for guided tours but the Pink Jeep tours are the exception. I had a blast hanging out in Sedona, Jerome and Prescott.

I did have a bit of trouble on one of the "scenic drives". I can't remember the nam . I asked the visitor center if I could take my bus ? They said " No problem".. It wasn't a problem until the road dipped into a gully and my back bumper hung up. No way I was going to make it. No problem.... Just back up untill you find a place to turn around. And that's what I did. What sucked was that the turn around was two miles behind me



So that was your intro to approach and departure angles?
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:36 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I am a little bus crazy.

I am making rather slow progress on my Bluebird and already planning my next bus.

I am thinking of a 6-7 window CE 4wd. The one that I am looking at is already raised so I would be swapping tires for something with a more aggressive tread, adding skid plates where needed. I suspect that I will find low hanging odds and ends that will need some attention.

I was poking around looking at tires. What do you think about these? https://www.ebay.com/itm/4-Tires-11R...edirect=mobile


The Thomas cutaway that I sold had all weather LT tires and went pretty well in mud and snow. On the other hand, both of my RE buses have had (11r24.5 & 11r22.5) very mild highway tread. Both did fine on rough, rutted and lumpy roads as long as you stay out of mud and snow.

I got my Eagle stuck in the mud so bad once that two 4wd pickups (in tandem) could not pull it out. All we managed to do was bury it deeper. We gave up when the pumpkin hit the mud. Finally, we borrowed a monster tractor from the John Deere dealer. Fortunately,, my grandfather was a a loyal customer of the dealer for 60+ years. A a kid I would entertain myself climbing all over the tractors in the showroom while Grandad took care of whatever business he had. I was a little surprised that when I walked in the door they recognized me. Not by name but as "Pete Gregg's grandson". I was a little surprised when I told them my troubles, they handed me the keys to a brand new $300k tractor and warned be to be careful that I didn't year the bus in half.

They were not kidding. That 8 wheeled, 450 horsepower tractor didn't seem to notice the 43,000 lbs it had in tow.



I like the tires, price seems reasonable, gotta be some singing going on at 80 mph, 7/8" tread is a lot of rubber. Please give us a review if you buy them.
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Old 12-01-2019, 01:13 PM   #69
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Good advice. We're up by Glen Canyon right now and it's pretty sandy. Not too much red dirt, it's mostly sand which I'm assuming drains pretty well. We had a bit of rain but not a lot, and it didn't wreak havoc with the BLM roads. The red clay is what I'm worried about, seems like it would slick the tires pretty good. As long as we don't need to worry about sinking in while parked, we can wait out any rain...we're not on a schedule. Any thoughts on that (the sinking in)?



I carry composition shingles to put under my tires and make a path. Seems to work as long as you don't get too ambitious. If you have a winch, you can carry some heavy sharpened steel rods (sized according to load, bigger around is better) 2-3 foot long and a sledge hammer to drive them into the ground with to fasten the cable to. There aren't many trees in the desert or they may not be where you need them. The burying a wheel & tire anchor trick works for sand but not so good if its rocky.



As far as sinking in when parked, carry some 2"x4"s, about 12"-24" long (longer for duallies), ideally - 3-4 per wheel, place them about 2" apart in front of all wheels (at least drive wheels, can use posts/sticks in an emergency), drive up on the 2x4s before parking. The wood spreads out the load to prevent sinking and the space in between the pieces of wood allows the wood to lock into the ground if they do sink which helps when you try to drive out. I you get stuck just keep moving the 2x4s in front of the wheels and drive out. Bury them if necessary. You can always use the wood for firewood.
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Old 12-01-2019, 04:51 PM   #70
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My bus has Michelin XDE M/S drive tires on it now -- but they are worn close to the legal limit -- but they also say (molded onto the sidewall) that they're regroovable -- is this a real thing? Do I wanna try that with 4 tires? It would be nice to save $1000 that's for sure!!!

I'm sure this is a good hwy tire as well as offering enough traction for not getting stuck in the grass...

As to economy -- You really have to figure how many miles you will actually be putting on your bus. If I only drive my bus 5000 miles a year and m/s tires cost me 1 or 2 mpg that's only a fuel cost increase of ~125 gal every 5000 miles. ONE tow charge will cost more than that... and how do you value the time lost...
(the above math is figuring a generous 10mpg dropping to 8mpg based on a pure hwy tire compared to a good M/S or A/T tire.)

I think tire noise is gonna be irrelevant -- I ain't gonna hear either tire over the engine & wind noise!



Re-groove? Not a good idea on old tires. Check the DOT date. Old tires are common on vehicles that are not driven much. Re-grooving a tire only to have age cracks show up next year would not be cool.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:06 PM   #71
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off road?

this has been an interesting thread! glad i found it and now im going to toss in my 2 cents.

off road? wtf?
get yourself some nice highway 11x22.5s and stay on a road.

ive taken my bus to places that i off road in an atv. stay on a road. seriously. tows get more expensive the further back you go.
if i can stay on pavement i am happy. i do not fear dirt roads, campgrounds. but common sense keeps me from running across a ditch like i may on a dirt bike.
big heavy vehicles get stuck easily. to me it happens in the wide open field when a tire sinks. always had another vehicle around to tow me out but it happens when you leave a developed road. so, stay on a road.

the farm i work at has a full size bluebird re, complete with underbelly storage. this last summer it got ran on some pretty tough terrain. we would take crews out to fields and it would go up and down irrigation canals and some places i would not dream of driving my own bus. the big RE rarely got stuck. the storage bins got banged up from the extreme drive angles, so its definitely not an off road kind of vehicle.

i want to protect the stuff that hangs from the bottom of my bus, I'm not off roading with it anytime soon. even dirt roads are avoided because a long wash board road will rattle your teeth and all your dishes. they are just no fun, especially if you are reduced to a few mph's.

get highway tires, stay on roads, paved is preferred.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:19 PM   #72
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off road? wtf?
get yourself some nice highway 11x22.5s and stay on a road.
To each, there own.
Almost every point you make is very sensible and prudent (especially if you have a flatnose like you do), but for me personally the thing that most attracts me to skoolies and vehicle dwelling in general is the freedom and being able to visit and live in some very off the beaten path locations. If I was confined to highway travel and developed campgrounds I wouldn't find this lifestyle nearly as appealing. Most of my favorite places are pretty remote.

I think the right skoolie (<22 feet, high clearance, conventional or cutaway chassis) with a few modifications (aggressive tires, a locker, possibly some underbody armor) and a sensible amount of self recovery gear and tracction aids, could do pretty decent in light to moderate pavement travel. I'm not talking jeep trails and OHV parks, but certainly fire roads, forest roads, non-sand desert travel, low stream crossings, and some dry streambeds. There are many purpose build vehicles the size and weight of a medium sized skoolie that can do all of this and much more. Or if you want to see first hand how hard stock 2wd medium duty vehicles can be pushed go almost anywhere in the developing world, you will be amazed.

Quote:
I want to protect the stuff that hangs from the bottom of my bus, I'm not off roading with it anytime soon. even dirt roads are avoided because a long wash board road will rattle your teeth and all your dishes. they are just no fun, especially if you are reduced to a few mph's.
I certainly agree with you on both counts here. Washboards are the worst in just about any vehicle, and I imagine even worse in a rigid Skoolie with limited suspension travel. And I certainly want to protect everything under the bus as well (but that's true of any vehicle--a combination of a shorter wheelbase vehicle, a properly designed underbody and smart/careful driving go a long way).

Quote:
paved is preferred.
Again to each there own I absolutely love a good long winding dirt road through somewhere gorgeous and remote and most of my favorite campsites are dispersed sites on BLM or FS land. I don't plan on seeking out mud or sand, taking unnecessary risks or "going offroading" but considering the places I enjoy most, I need a vehicle that is at least moderately capable in light to moderate offroad conditions. I anticipate 80/15/5 (pavement/graded dirt/offroad), but its prudent to prepare for that last 5% to avoid the aforementioned very expensive tow .

I can very much understand how most people would not want to take their buses offroad and its definitely the safer more prudent decision. If I owned a flatnose or even a fullsize conventional, I wouldn't dream of it. But I think a short bus could make a halfway decent backroad/forest road explorer with occasional offroad travel!


I appreciate you sharing your 2 cents, and appreciate someone pushing back against me a little, helps keep me at least halfway grounded in reality . Because lets be honest 90% of the time "Offroad, WTF" is the correct response to have when it comes to taking a Skoolie offroad...
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:35 PM   #73
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I wonder how many of y'all have been on a remote rafting trip?
We routinely stuffed about 70 people into a 55 passenger dog nose and drove it 8 miles down this road twice a day.


And When it washed out, we repaired it enough to get the buses and trucks to the put-in, and not much more.
https://kmph.com/news/local/gallery/...forest#photo-1
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File Type: jpg img_5150.jpg (447.5 KB, 20 views)
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:46 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
I absolutely love a good long winding dirt road through somewhere gorgeous and remote and most of my favorite campsites are dispersed sites on BLM or FS land. I don't plan on seeking out mud or sand, taking unnecessary risks or "going offroading" but considering the places I enjoy most, I need a vehicle that is at least moderately capable in light to moderate offroad conditions.



If I owned a flatnose or even a fullsize conventional, I wouldn't dream of it. But I think a short bus could make a halfway decent backroad/forest road explorer with occasional offroad travel!

We've stayed in a LOT of BLM and Forest Service land and for the most part we're able to get pretty remote without putting ourselves at risk of getting stuck. We've got a full size conventional bus and moderately aggressive treads on the drive tires. We're mostly within 10 miles from paved roads, usually much less, and the roads may be washboarded but are definitely doable. You'll know when you get there if it's going to be too much for the bus to handle. We'll scout out the area in our truck if in doubt. We've not had any problems getting to where we want to be, and any day away from pavement is good with us. For exploring off road, we use our truck.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:06 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
We've stayed in a LOT of BLM and Forest Service land and for the most part we're able to get pretty remote without putting ourselves at risk of getting stuck. We've got a full size conventional bus and moderately aggressive treads on the drive tires. We're mostly within 10 miles from paved roads, usually much less, and the roads may be washboarded but are definitely doable. You'll know when you get there if it's going to be too much for the bus to handle. We'll scout out the area in our truck if in doubt. We've not had any problems getting to where we want to be, and any day away from pavement is good with us. For exploring off road, we use our truck.



makes sense to me
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:16 PM   #76
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It all comes down to common sense, as most things do. There were plenty of places I wouldn't try my lifted CJ5 or K5 on. If you want to go out and aggressively 'challenge' a track, you shouldn't be using a bus to do so anyways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
You'll know when you get there if it's going to be too much for the bus to handle. and any day away from pavement is good with us.
Soooo envious of your travels. I'll be following in your tread tracks, just 5 years later......I'll knock down the saplings that have sprouted in your wake.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:45 PM   #77
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To each, there own.
Almost every point you make is very sensible and prudent (especially if you have a flatnose like you do), but for me personally the thing that most attracts me to skoolies and vehicle dwelling in general is the freedom and being able to visit and live in some very off the beaten path locations. If I was confined to highway travel and developed campgrounds I wouldn't find this lifestyle nearly as appealing. Most of my favorite places are pretty remote.

I think the right skoolie (<22 feet, high clearance, conventional or cutaway chassis) with a few modifications (aggressive tires, a locker, possibly some underbody armor) and a sensible amount of self recovery gear and tracction aids, could do pretty decent in light to moderate pavement travel. I'm not talking jeep trails and OHV parks, but certainly fire roads, forest roads, non-sand desert travel, low stream crossings, and some dry streambeds. There are many purpose build vehicles the size and weight of a medium sized skoolie that can do all of this and much more. Or if you want to see first hand how hard stock 2wd medium duty vehicles can be pushed go almost anywhere in the developing world, you will be amazed.

I certainly agree with you on both counts here. Washboards are the worst in just about any vehicle, and I imagine even worse in a rigid Skoolie with limited suspension travel. And I certainly want to protect everything under the bus as well (but that's true of any vehicle--a combination of a shorter wheelbase vehicle, a properly designed underbody and smart/careful driving go a long way).

Again to each there own I absolutely love a good long winding dirt road through somewhere gorgeous and remote and most of my favorite campsites are dispersed sites on BLM or FS land. I don't plan on seeking out mud or sand, taking unnecessary risks or "going offroading" but considering the places I enjoy most, I need a vehicle that is at least moderately capable in light to moderate offroad conditions. I anticipate 80/15/5 (pavement/graded dirt/offroad), but its prudent to prepare for that last 5% to avoid the aforementioned very expensive tow .

I can very much understand how most people would not want to take their buses offroad and its definitely the safer more prudent decision. If I owned a flatnose or even a fullsize conventional, I wouldn't dream of it. But I think a short bus could make a halfway decent backroad/forest road explorer with occasional offroad travel!


I appreciate you sharing your 2 cents, and appreciate someone pushing back against me a little, helps keep me at least halfway grounded in reality . Because lets be honest 90% of the time "Offroad, WTF" is the correct response to have when it comes to taking a Skoolie offroad...
Right on!
I would love to get my bus far enough into the bush to be a viable base camp to a week of MTB or hiking. I figure my bus should be able to go anywhere a logging truck can go -- time will tell...
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:53 PM   #78
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Just came across this thread looking at ideas for a new project...first was a 4x4 E350. I think Truckclaws, or a home-made equivalent, would have been an easy/fast/affordable/packable option for some of the stuck buses on this thread. Just my $.02.

Thanks for the resource and hello!
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:39 AM   #79
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I agree, DIY truck claws have been a lifesaver for my friend. I made them out of two-by-fours cut at an angle like a French cleat and one of them on the rear tires saved her from really sticky clay last year.
I simply strapped it around the rear driver tire and with easy throttle the engine did all the work. She now carries four of them at all times.20190115_175237.jpg20190115_181337.jpg
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Old 01-20-2020, 06:25 PM   #80
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Just came across this thread looking at ideas for a new project...first was a 4x4 E350. I think Truckclaws, or a home-made equivalent, would have been an easy/fast/affordable/packable option for some of the stuck buses on this thread. Just my $.02.

Thanks for the resource and hello!
Quote:
Originally Posted by sepudo View Post
I agree, DIY truck claws have been a lifesaver for my friend. I made them out of two-by-fours cut at an angle like a French cleat and one of them on the rear tires saved her from really sticky clay last year.
I simply strapped it around the rear driver tire and with easy throttle the engine did all the work. She now carries four of them at all times.Attachment 40791Attachment 40792

Very interesting. I had never heard of 'truckclaws' or seen the concept before. Makes a lot of sense though, and probably an easy enough DIY project
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