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Old 07-20-2018, 09:25 AM   #1
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School bus vs. Transit

Greetings....

I am beginning my journey to convert a bus into a rv/tiny home, but I have a few questions...��

What are the pros and cons of a school bus vs. transit?
I see that the transits are wider-taller and that is appealing to me. However is the ground clearance an issue? Is the transit bus tranny’s suitable for highway? Does the transit offer enough under bus storage??

I’m leaning towards an transit or bluebird Rear engine��*♂️

Also, long bus vs. medium bus for tight areas/ national parks etc.

Any input welcome and thank you,
-Shay
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Old 07-20-2018, 09:41 AM   #2
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I love transit buses. I've never converted one, but I like driving them more. The whole "geared lower for city driving" thing is brought up alot, but I don't think it holds much value. I've driven a Blue Bird school bus with an 8.3L engine that could only do 55 and I've driven a Nova transit bus that could do 70. It's more of a case to case thing than a school vs transit thing. Biggest downside, imo, is that transit agencies hold on to them until they've sucked all the life they can out of them: ~800,000 miles. If you can get away with a medium it will certainly be easier to drive and get into those tight spots, even noticeable with a difference such as 35 vs 40 foot. Those Blue Bird REs are hard to find for a reasonable price (because they're sick)
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:08 AM   #3
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first thing that comes to mind is ground clearance. they sit much lower to the ground so you have to be aware of departure and approach angles. even the wheelbase length could get you high centered coming in and out of driveways, parking lots, etc.
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Old 07-20-2018, 03:05 PM   #4
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If a transit bus, is it going to be a high-floor or a low-floor? Big difference! A LF has NO underfloor space at all, making a conversion potentially much more difficult. However, it can be done - LostRanger on the Nomadicista forum has converted (is still converting?) a Gillig LF that had been an airport shuttle bus for a car rental company, and for him a LF is ideal. You need to think where tanks, propane, batteries etc etc will go in a LF conversion.

John
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Old 07-20-2018, 04:38 PM   #5
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I have a slf and I think it becomes much less a cave conversion with the high ceiling versus low ceiling. If you have high storage requirements may be not so good. For normal dirt roads the slf is no problem as long as you are aware and adjust your air suspension ride height and go slow and do a little scouting. The length of any bus is more of a problem because it is hard to turn around on a dirt road.



Good luck J
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:47 AM   #6
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Low Floor VS High Floor Transit?

My biggest concern is my height, at 6'2" school buses are too tight!
I'm interested in the Transit for the spacious room.
I may have a decent amount of storage need but I can get very creative, possibly doing a raised floor towards the back of a Transit if available to create storage.
We may do some light off road adventures.
I have a 2019 Indian Chieftain Darkhorse, it's long and weighs 1300 lbs.

Anyone have issues with campgrounds, unusual peaks in the road causing it to be high centered, venturing down dirt roads, attaching a tow hitch, strapping down a motorcycle inside a bus?

There appears to be a good deal on OfferUp:
"2003 and 2004 NABI 45C-LFW TRANSIT BUSES. All are 45ʼ long with wheelchair lifts as well as bike racks on the front. LNG fueled transit buses are clean air vehicles. All buses seats 41 passengers and room for 2 wheel chair passengers. 2 of them run and drive good. 1 of them to be used as a parts bus but Have full motor as well as other parts. They are all freshly painted white. The 2004 has 48,477 miles. The 2003 has 53,000 miles. The parts bus miles are unknown. Maintenance was d1 by the city of Phoenix. They all have the Allison B500R5 GEN III transmissions with Detroit Diesel 50G 8.5L engines. Clean Arizona titles. clean Air Vehicles."

I've called this guy before and he hasn't responded since, he said the bus had 370,000 miles on it...

What are your opinions on these buses, engines, trans, complications for travel?
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:58 PM   #7
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Probably next to impossible to find fuel outside of metropolitan areas--that would be a deal breaker for me.
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:28 PM   #8
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I've a 2003 Thomas Saf-T-Liner transit-style bus. I have PLENTY of headroom therein (I'm 6'2") and lots of under floor storage. Brunhilde is powered by a Cat C7 engine with an MD3060 Tranny which may be upgraded to include a 6th gear. Inside, it's approx 8'wide with 30' of livable space. I've weathered 4 Montana winters.
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshmay88 View Post
I have a 2019 Indian Chieftain Darkhorse, it's long and weighs 1300 lbs.

Anyone have issues with campgrounds, unusual peaks in the road causing it to be high centered, venturing down dirt roads, attaching a tow hitch, strapping down a motorcycle inside a bus?
Your bike weighs under 900. You're quoting the gross vehicle weight including fuel and passengers.
You'd have to go legitimate off road to worry about high center. But dragging a trailer hitch is easy to do if you have a lot of rear overhang.
There are plenty of toyhauler buses. Just shop for one with a good sized rear emergency exit. I also know someone with a shorty Chevy van skoolie who uses the rear side wheelchair door to load dirt bikes. To me, a rear facing garage is better because the bumper, or end of chassis, offers a good ramp attaching point and support that can't be done easily on the side.

I agree with the fuel availability problems with the CNG or LP. Looking for fuel can be a real problem if you're serious about getting off the beaten path.
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:12 PM   #10
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CaptSquid,


Any issues or regrets with the C7 engine? I've been on the hunt for a 6ct8.3 for awhile, with no luck.


Thanks
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:13 PM   #11
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"I have a 2019 Indian Chieftain Darkhorse, it's long and weighs 1300 lbs."
That's not a bike, it's a car. That weighs the same as 4 of my H-D's
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshmay88 View Post
My biggest concern is my height, at 6'2" school buses are too tight!
I'm interested in the Transit for the spacious room.
I may have a decent amount of storage need but I can get very creative, possibly doing a raised floor towards the back of a Transit if available to create storage.
We may do some light off road adventures.
I have a 2019 Indian Chieftain Darkhorse, it's long and weighs 1300 lbs.

Anyone have issues with campgrounds, unusual peaks in the road causing it to be high centered, venturing down dirt roads, attaching a tow hitch, strapping down a motorcycle inside a bus?

There appears to be a good deal on OfferUp:
"2003 and 2004 NABI 45C-LFW TRANSIT BUSES. All are 45ʼ long with wheelchair lifts as well as bike racks on the front. LNG fueled transit buses are clean air vehicles. All buses seats 41 passengers and room for 2 wheel chair passengers. 2 of them run and drive good. 1 of them to be used as a parts bus but Have full motor as well as other parts. They are all freshly painted white. The 2004 has 48,477 miles. The 2003 has 53,000 miles. The parts bus miles are unknown. Maintenance was d1 by the city of Phoenix. They all have the Allison B500R5 GEN III transmissions with Detroit Diesel 50G 8.5L engines. Clean Arizona titles. clean Air Vehicles."

I've called this guy before and he hasn't responded since, he said the bus had 370,000 miles on it...

What are your opinions on these buses, engines, trans, complications for travel?
Check out the thread "Dory Transit cross country" Johan, took his transit bus on quite the adventure, towing his Jeep. This gives a very real idea of what you can do with a transit bus.

As for the CNG, it is just not available enough to be practical.
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