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Old 08-11-2018, 03:35 PM   #21
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 548
I'm like most on this forum, I want a solid foundation to build an rv on. School buses are all metal. RV's are wood/fiberglass and not designed to last. Simple as that. I don't want slideouts or any other fancy gadgets that have a chance of breaking. A well built skoolie using the KISS principle ensures reliability and durability.

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Old 08-11-2018, 03:57 PM   #22
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,028
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
No brainer for me... i dont Camp.. im a Total School-Bus-Geek, love working on and building things mechanical... so my "conversions" are more restorations or resto-mods to the original bus.. Never had an interest in owning a Motorhome or Camper trailer.. when I need to sleep and shower there;'s hotels for that..



Besides cruising school busses all across the country is just plain fun!! you know i get lots more thumbs up and "cool ride" from people along my travels than I ever did in my fully restored 1976 eldorado convertible bicentennial...



Bus rallies and skoolie get togethers are just plain fun... the people are more layed back, super cool, and fun to be around...



-Christopher
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:10 PM   #23
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 127
Most Bluebird "Wanderlodges" are cheap these days and are built originally as an RV by a school bus company.

Why not find a Bluebird Wanderlodge as most are much lower mileage than an Skoolie. Most Wanderlodges are cheap to buy. Avoid all the registration hassles of is it an RV or Bus. Avoid all the build out hassles and save 1-2 years of your life completing this HUGE conversion project. Keep peace in the family by not having this huge project taking all you time sitting in the yard. Enjoy the travel and exploring opportunities NOW. Go ahead and accept some of the compromises that come with buying a Bluebird bus (Wanderlodge) that's already converted into an RV.

Sounds like a plan for instant "Skoolie"!
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:28 PM   #24
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
Most Bluebird "Wanderlodges" are cheap these days and are built originally as an RV by a school bus company.

Why not find a Bluebird Wanderlodge as most are much lower mileage than an Skoolie. Most Wanderlodges are cheap to buy. Avoid all the registration hassles of is it an RV or Bus. Avoid all the build out hassles and save 1-2 years of your life completing this HUGE conversion project. Keep peace in the family by not having this huge project taking all you time sitting in the yard. Enjoy the travel and exploring opportunities NOW. Go ahead and accept some of the compromises that come with buying a Bluebird bus (Wanderlodge) that's already converted into an RV.

Sounds like a plan for instant "Skoolie"!
I've researched Wanderlodges and they range from well taken care of to ones needing full renovation. They are not low mileage because the people who bought them used them, allot. The Wanderlodge was the high end rv in it's time, comparable to what a Prevost style rv would be today. But even if you have to renovate one you'll be getting a bus chassis built rv with all the systems in the right place, and it was designed from the factory as an rv.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:35 PM   #25
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Pettytown, Texas, US of A
Posts: 115
Year: 1976
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International
Engine: 345 IH gas
Rated Cap: 66 passenger
I rode to school in a school bus for most of the 12 years I went to public school.
They are designed to go an basically anywhere within reason in any weather, day in and day out and safely deliver the kids to from school.



Saw quite a few fender benders that totaled the cars that scratched the paint on the bus.
A school bus is designed to PROTECT kids being hauled in it.
It's basically a roll cage with skin and impact strips.


The biggest take away from all those statements is SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY.
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:42 PM   #26
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: NC, TN, and CA
Posts: 154
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Eldorado (REV)
Chassis: Chevy Express Cutaway g3500
Engine: Turbo diesel 6.5L
Rated Cap: 14
I just purchased my shutte bus. It had already been converted to RV, but was neglected. I gutted it (with the help of my son). I have drawn up the design, read everything that I can find, watched every video, and read all these forums. Now I am starting to buy stuff. It needs a lot of fixing of little things. This brings me to a combination of answers you have already seen. I can work on it as time and money allows and know the quality of construction involved. I don't have to to settle for one of the 4 designs most RVs use. I will be 67 in 2 weeks and plan to be out exploring the USA on my own in a vehicle that I can drive with ease before I am 68.. It is small enough to fit in any campground, rest area, parking lot. And it will feel like home.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:25 PM   #27
Almost There
 
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Location: Port Townsend, WA
Posts: 89
Year: 1969
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford B-750
Engine: 390 BB
Rated Cap: 2 humans, 1 cat
Like most replies:

#1 was safety. The Rvs in our price range were scary.
#2 was budget, which is how #1 came about.
#3 was design flexibility. Hubby built the counters to his working height and cooking is no longer a hunched-over task for him (he enjoys it and is better at it; I do laundry and cat box, it works).
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:07 PM   #28
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebapuck View Post
Don't laugh. Back in the 70's, before all you guys were born, I saw "The Muppet Movie".

It just struck a cord with me. Although I don't have a school bus now, I did get as far as buying one. Unfortunately I never had a good place to park it so I could work on it.

Currently have a 1966 VW camper. That's my bus.
Wanna trade for a full size bus??
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:13 PM   #29
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: south missouri
Posts: 41
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Gillig bros. of hayward ca.
Engine: C180 supercharged cummins
bus vs. motorhome

i have owned several motor-homes since 1969.. by the time i built my custom 46 white school bus, i was well aware of what i wanted.. for more room i added a 12x4 slideout into the design.. installed a 1959 C-180 supercharged cummins, road ranger 10sp. 4:11 rear ratio and air brakes...before raising the roof 14" i replaced a lot of the extremely heavy metal with lighter weight steel and aluminum sheets.. i think it could still take a impact and protect the passengers.. plus like a few other have stated i 'own' my bus.. i have put around 14,000.00 in it up to this time.. will probably need around 3500.00 to get the seats, upholstery and a few other items done..

i still have my last motor home a 1982 itasca sitting in the yard, i used the drivers door and several other parts from it.. it will be heading to the scrap yard soon..

not to mention the cool factor is off the scale..draws a crowd anywhere i go

.........what a long strange trip its been
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:27 PM   #30
Skoolie
 
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Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 233
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: Genesis
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 84lug
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebapuck View Post
Don't laugh. Back in the 70's, before all you guys were born, I saw "The Muppet Movie".

It just struck a cord with me. Although I don't have a school bus now, I did get as far as buying one. Unfortunately I never had a good place to park it so I could work on it.

Currently have a 1966 VW camper. That's my bus.
VW is a good place to start! lol'ed at Muppets Movie
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:14 PM   #31
Bus Crazy
 
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Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,447
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
This is why I have mine...
all students walked with minor injuries ad medical treatment
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:40 AM   #32
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Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
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"Back in the 70's, before all you guys were born"



Not all.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:06 AM   #33
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
He was referring to the 1870's.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:27 AM   #34
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: south missouri
Posts: 41
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Gillig bros. of hayward ca.
Engine: C180 supercharged cummins
is that when having spoke wheels meant a whole different thing.. ha ha ha ha
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:00 AM   #35
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,028
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
ha! I was alive and well in the 70s and a Bus-Geek then too... always sittin behind the driver in that first seat no other kid wanted till it was 10 below..
-Christopher
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:48 PM   #36
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Greater Boston
Posts: 503
The short answer is that I can build (or learn to build) a skoolie that I would never be able to afford to buy off the lot (even used.) For what I want right now, I haven't even really seen it factory-built at any price.

I also think that I'll end up with a better product. "Better" meaning :

-Custom. I can get what I want, with the layout I want, and the features I want.
-Safer. The pictures are out there - a lot of motorhomes aren't very strong structurally, and pancake in an accident.
-More fixable. I'd like to say "better built" - but. . .Well, if I do it wrong the first time, I'll know what NOT to do the second time. I'm not trying to re-engineer something someone else built.
-Longevity. I'd rather build on a chassis with an engine and transmission designed for heavy use, rather then a box on a stretched van chassis with an engine burried somewhere under the floor. There's nothing wrong with a van chassis, but I feel like a lot of them are overloaded for motorhome duty.


-Renting an apartment around here would be about $1,000/month. $12,000 will easily get me into a livable skoolie. Double that to get it to where I'd really want it. I'd call that pretty good - after 2 years, rather then renting, I've got something that I actually own.



I have considered a Wanderlodge - they're one of the few built RVs that I'd consider - but one in half decent shape will still run about $15-20,000 to buy - and that's knowing that it will need other mechanical things, paint, etc. down the road. Not a bad deal, but again - if I'm going to take on a project like that, I'd rather start with my own blank canvas.
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Old 08-12-2018, 03:18 PM   #37
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: KANSAS CITY
Posts: 751
Cheap to buy, safety in a crash, Rough country roads are no problem.
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Former owner of a 1969 F600 Skoolie.

1998 Ford B700 Thomas body 65 passenger. 5.9 Cummins 12 valve with MT643 Transmission 123,000 miles.
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Old 08-14-2018, 07:00 AM   #38
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 60
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Frieghtliner - 40ft overall
Engine: 210hp Mercedes Benz Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 person (originally)
agree with so much in these posts; expensive RVs look more like a Vegas crapshoot inside than something I could get comfortable in, skoolies when done right snap necks, way safer in collisions, far more resiliant to age issues, freedom to customize to exactly what you want/need, stout chassis and sits nice and high, more power under the hood, unique rig and just plain fun.
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:24 AM   #39
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: KANSAS CITY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 05FrieghtlinerThomas View Post
agree with so much in these posts; expensive RVs look more like a Vegas crapshoot inside than something I could get comfortable in, skoolies when done right snap necks, way safer in collisions, far more resiliant to age issues, freedom to customize to exactly what you want/need, stout chassis and sits nice and high, more power under the hood, unique rig and just plain fun.
What he said.
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1998 Ford B700 Thomas body 65 passenger. 5.9 Cummins 12 valve with MT643 Transmission 123,000 miles.
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Old 08-16-2018, 01:56 AM   #40
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: CT. near New Haven.
Posts: 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebapuck View Post
Don't laugh. Back in the 70's, before all you guys were born, I saw "The Muppet Movie".

It just struck a cord with me. Although I don't have a school bus now, I did get as far as buying one. Unfortunately I never had a good place to park it so I could work on it.

Currently have a 1966 VW camper. That's my bus.
I am so old i watched the muppets before they made a movie.
I remember Kermit when he didnt have legs.
I even remember when Michael Jackson was black.
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