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Old 09-24-2021, 06:58 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thinking about converting a shuttle bus

I like the layout of this one, 2011 FasTrans 32-passenger, V10 gas.

(no connection to this auction other than thinking on bidding on it, is 20K an OK price?)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/29441356483...EAAOSwH3Rgz-RI

The reason for wanting to convert it myself because I have never been satisfied with interior layouts I've seen and want to design it the way I like it. For example I want a nice desk and a 8' couch. Don't need the dinette and some other stuff.
The other criterion for me, I want something that doesn't scream "full timing". I get it a shuttle bus is not the most stealthy unit but it's a lot more discreet than a "real" class C.

Exactly how much work would a conversion entail and also cost-wise.

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Old 09-24-2021, 07:13 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dictum View Post
I like the layout of this one, 2011 FasTrans 32-passenger, V10 gas.

(no connection to this auction other than thinking on bidding on it, is 20K an OK price?)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/29441356483...EAAOSwH3Rgz-RI

The reason for wanting to convert it myself because I have never been satisfied with interior layouts I've seen and want to design it the way I like it. For example I want a nice desk and a 8' couch. Don't need the dinette and some other stuff.
The other criterion for me, I want something that doesn't scream "full timing". I get it a shuttle bus is not the most stealthy unit but it's a lot more discreet than a "real" class C.

Exactly how much work would a conversion entail and also cost-wise.
I think if you're buying an 11-year-old shuttle bus, you're going to be in competition with people looking to buy it and put it to work as an actual shuttle bus, so you're going to pay a lot more than you would for a vehicle (like a used school bus) that has already reached the end of its working life. Maybe $20K+ is a fair price for this as a working vehicle, but you could find better skoolie (or shuttlie, I guess) raw material for a whole lot less than that.
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Old 09-26-2021, 05:40 PM   #3
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To be perfectly honest, I prefer a shuttle bus over a skolie. For this very reason. It looks like the unit is in service, offering a degree of stealth. While a skolie very obviously is not in use.
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Old 09-27-2021, 12:49 AM   #4
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You’ll need to be more specific about what you want to do. Are you doing it yourself or is someone else? Is it going to be tethered or do you want to operate without hookups? The sky is the limit on what you can spend. I think you could easily spend another 20k without trying too hard. Spend some time looking at this forum and get some ideas and get some specifics.
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Old 09-27-2021, 01:03 AM   #5
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If you want stealth, get a sprinter and paint it Amazon grey. And no one would look twice at a box truck that says Rescue Rooter on the side
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:03 PM   #6
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20K would be acceptable to me over the course of 6-12 months, I do not expect any less.

I would like to operate both with hookups and without.

I would be doing the work myself. I have some auto repair background but have never done a RV / skoolie / shuttle bus. Generally I work pretty slow.
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:06 PM   #7
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If you want stealth, get a sprinter and paint it Amazon grey. And no one would look twice at a box truck that says Rescue Rooter on the side

I thought about it and it does look tempting. The main reason I do not want to go this route is because it comes with an E-body front (or worse) and these are a nightmare to repair. I am a DIY auto person and everything in a van is a nightmare. If I take it to a mechanic, they generally charge more for a van.
Plus you have a doghouse inside.
I specifically want a truck front, like F450, F550 or a GM 4500/5500, something along these lines.

FasTrans shuttle buses seem really close to what I want.

A shuttle bus will not offer the same degree of stealth as a sprinter van but it will be larger and I think an all around better compromise.
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:29 PM   #8
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I was visiting a friend a few months ago and while winding my way through a neighborhood, I came across a box truck conversion. It had a full glass wall with an inset sliding glass door a couple feet inside the roll up door (room at the top for the roll up door to clear). It was like a nice hotel room inside. It really changed my mind about box truck conversions. It’s not what I want right now, but if I were an urban camper it would certainly be a contender
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Old 09-27-2021, 05:57 PM   #9
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No doubt, they are uber stealthy. One problem is, lack of windows. The shuttle bus, on the other hand, has too many. I would think it's easier to add a window than to delete one.
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dictum View Post
No doubt, they are uber stealthy. One problem is, lack of windows. The shuttle bus, on the other hand, has too many. I would think it's easier to add a window than to delete one.
I thought that a great solution for this would be a company logo sign over a window. Of course this whole scenario is busted if you’re made by a LEO (who cares for some reason) or nosy neighbor.

I’ve posted this video a few times. Probably not your style, but it shows a little of what’s possible for stealth mode “camping”. I don’t think you’re going to go stealth mode in a shuttle unless you can find a way to make those windows go completely dark at night and maybe put a “wine tours” logo or something on the side. I’ve seen a couple sprinter campers that looked like company vans in the last month.

That’s pre-pandemic hair, BTW. Imagine what that guy looks like since the last two years! (Truthfully, I’m jealous)
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Old 09-27-2021, 08:43 PM   #11
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I don’t think you’re going to go stealth mode in a shuttle unless you can find a way to make those windows go completely dark at night and maybe put a “wine tours” logo or something on the side.

Wine tours, that's priceless. Gotta remember that one.

That is a legitimate point. I would not think it would take a lot to apply some kind of mirror reflecting coating on the windows to make things completely invisible inside. Have a professional shop do it.

Not to worried about the 'law' because I have a legit reason to be in the business park area, if I work there. I am more worried about criminals peeking in at O-dark-thirty. But the biggest issue with windows might be poor insulation.

Still, I would like to have something that's compatible with stealth parking somewhere on the streets if it comes to that.

I am looking for my perfect unit at this point. I do have a few must-haves and some things are option. I looked at a B and C classes for a long time and just never found something that satisfied me. It's not even that RVs scream "someone is full-timing here" but the other issues on top of it, like don't like the floor plan. Don't like E-class front with the doghouse inside. Don't like non-gas engines.

I do want a few things not commonly found on RVs and that's what drives me to build my own. I want a nice computer desk as one example. None of the RVs I looked at that, at best they have some kind of dinette that can be improved for a computer but is far less than ideal.

At this point I have to find the unit that appeals to me, getting frustrated.
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Old 09-27-2021, 08:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
That’s pre-pandemic hair, BTW. Imagine what that guy looks like since the last two years! (Truthfully, I’m jealous)
Nice. The woodstove is a nice touch. I want one. I totally get it it decreases the stealth factor. Maybe there is a way to make the pipe discreet and not so visible.

all in all this is very high on the stealth scale. I think 98% of people who see this see a truck and nothing more.
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Old 09-28-2021, 09:29 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Someone bought the shuttle bus I mentioned above for 20K. Well, it wasn't particularly close to me anyway.
Maybe one closer will come up.
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Old 10-06-2021, 11:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dictum View Post
...Exactly how much work would a conversion entail and also cost-wise.
.
A contrarian view:
.
We are in tight with the 'cheap quick go' crowd.
.
How does this look?
Toss in some car-camping gear, go have fun.
* Figure a couple hundred clams for a camp-stove and propane bottles.
* Figure about nothing for salvaged laundry-detergent jugs for gray-water (after a holiday weekend, check the trash at a laundromat).
* Figure about twenty smackaroos for a sleeping-bag and lawn-chair cushion at Saint Vincent de Paul.
.
What is that, less than three hundred?
Or less from a yard-sale.
.
Then...
After you discover your needs based on your use during your traveling, you can modify this set-up... or leave it as-is.
The investment is minimal compared to building an entire conversion, then realizing some little irritant is infuriating! and has! to! go!
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Old 10-07-2021, 06:25 AM   #15
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I ran into someome stealth box-trucking when i was out on a short bus adventure..



his method for windows was.


he converted the back garage door of his truck to barn doors like a semi uses.. behind those doors was a full wall of windows that could be opened and closed..


several skylights in the roof


on the sides he had windows behind utility doors that looked a lot like Reefer doors on the sides of Refrigerated trucks.



the truck is a smaller 14 foot box, his A/C and heat is handled by a semi-truck APU so it draws no attention as those are common-place anywhere and everywhere.





I suppose a truck like that would draw attention in near-border areas of the south / southwest.. some glampgrounds wouldnt allow him .. similar to skoolies that get refused .. but no isses in BOM.. and never been run out of a parking lot either..
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