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Old 08-06-2018, 10:03 AM   #1
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Why a Skoolie over an RV?

So I have my reason for why I want to buy a school bus and make it into a Skoolie, but I'm wondering what your reasons are. The first thing people say when I tell them I want to make a Skoolie is why not just buy an RV. List your reasons please.

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Old 08-06-2018, 10:21 AM   #2
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In my case it is a mental defect.......

I wanted an RV and ran into a guy named Dave Galey. He was in the process of converting his second bus. I got the bug. So I jumped in and my first RV was a converted Eagle 10.

Lived in that bus for 7years. I loved it. I eventually quit traveling and the bus suffered from sitting in the AZ desert. I sold it with the intention of building another one day.

Then I went through a succession of three sticks and staples RV's. Disliked the materials and build quality.

Finally I have the space and time to tackle my second bus.

I enjoy building things. I like choosing my own layout and equipment. Having control over build quality rocks as well.

To be honest..... I like being a little different from the crowd...
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:15 AM   #3
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Because this is what they look like in an accident. The sticks and staples quality of these are just not structurally as sound as a bus.
Google RV accident pics for more.
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:26 AM   #4
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Well, part of it is having a champagne taste on a beer budget . The build quality difference can be summed up with "commercial vs. consumer", frp stick & staple vs. steel & rivet/weld.

Just as big or bigger a consideration is building it the way I want. Even if I had the bucks for a high end RV, I haven't seen one outfitted to my taste. It seems the more you spend, the more " bling" you get on top of the same stick & staple construction.

Finally, I'm also afflicted with the mental defect that under estimates the effort of a diy project by a factor of ten or so

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Old 08-06-2018, 11:28 AM   #5
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There are a number of reasons.

1. It's totally paid for. I can buy and use materials as I have the time and money.
2. The layout fits MY needs.
3. Putting to good use all of the stuff I've learned how to do in the first 60 years.
4. Have you ever seen a wrecked sticks and staples RV?
5. I can design and have higher end systems than I could ever afford.
6. If I didn't have a bus I would spend my money on dogs, cattle, horses, camera equipment etc.
7. Self satisfaction.
8. I NEVER do things like everyone else.

There are probably more but, lunch is ready.
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:51 AM   #6
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A picture is worth...ÖÖ...
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Camping in bear country.. Take the bus..jpg   RV fail.jpg   Why I turned a school bus into an RV.jpg  
Don, Mary and Spooky the cat.
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Old 08-06-2018, 03:14 PM   #7
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Firewood wrapped in tin.
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Old 08-06-2018, 03:40 PM   #8
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For me it was more that I wanted something very specific. I used to live in a bus so it was not to far out for me. I do not think I would build again on a skoolie or bus platform. It takes enormous amounts of time to design and gather materials not to mention recover from your mistakes.
If you are not a real avid DIY person, and this is your hobby, have loads of free time and good amount of spare money laying around then go for it.

Now i would rather buy an older RV with some technical problems and fix that. There is a lot of experience and conveniences in RV's that will be very hard to realize with a DIY conversion.

Rv's are designed from the ground up as an RV and that makes it very efficient.

Later J
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by tororider View Post
So I have my reason for why I want to buy a school bus and make it into a Skoolie, but I'm wondering what your reasons are. The first thing people say when I tell them I want to make a Skoolie is why not just buy an RV. List your reasons please.
Seeing this up close and personal works for me but have never liked RV's anyhow.
A few years ago my sister's trailer ended up in the condition of some these pictures posted so it was a no brainer for myself.
Big rig went around them, cut them off and then lost a recap into their windshield.
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:08 PM   #10
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Wind damage in that picture. That's a huge hell no for me.

Honestly, in November I was saying no, I'll never do a skoolie. I was planning on tiny house on a trailer, and said never to a skoolie. Then I went with a friend in new Mexico to a lot full of busses where he bought a gutted bus shell (pulled drivetrain, left the wheels on) for $600 to bring out to his property. That's the first time I've gotten to go inside a whole bunch of busses as an adult, and that's when I completely changed my mind about a skoolie. Got a second job a little over a month later, and 4 months later bought my bus.

An rv was never considered because of the cost, and never liked most travel trailers I had seen. They all looked cheap or set up in a way I didnt like
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:46 PM   #11
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Because its way cool to drive around in a bus, and it won't look like this in a few years-
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:26 AM   #12
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Buying a bus that hauls bikes and has a place to live is next to none so I built mine the way I wanted and never looked back, go for it, Sportyrick
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:29 PM   #13
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Okay here is my list.

#1. Safety. See the posts and photos above, or go with your own. The Balsa wood and staples building approach of the overwhelming majority of RVs is just not worth even a small fraction of what they cost us, and they are DANGEROUS!
#2. Flexibility in layout. I can build EXACTLY what I want / need for myself and my family, not get stuck with and make do with what someone else thinks is a good idea.
#3. Financial flexibility. I can piece a Skoolie together on my timeline, within my budget restrictions.
#4. Envrionmental impact. I'm no tree hugger by any means, but I despise how wasteful of resources factory built RVs are. They end up in a land fill rather rapidly, and are a poor use of resources. For what it's worth though. An older rot case RV might just be a great way to source up the expensive major appliances for a Skoolie build if they are still in good shape!
#5. I am an avid DIYer. And I don't trust profit seeking corporations to build with the sort of effort and quality I would put into my own stuff. It just wouldn't be cost effective. For example, doors and drawer fronts in my cabinet builds have been solid wood raised panels with mortise and tenon joinery. Drawer boxes are half blind dovetails etc... I can guarantee unless you are paying in the going on a million USD, you aren't going to find that in a factory built RV...
#6. I can use what I have if need be. Instead of dedicating a new stove / oven to a build, I can use an old propane camp stove. I don't HAVE to build in a black water tank / toilet, I can use a Port o Potty that has the ability to mount down to use as a cassette toilet etc...
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tororider View Post
So I have my reason for why I want to buy a school bus and make it into a Skoolie, but I'm wondering what your reasons are. The first thing people say when I tell them I want to make a Skoolie is why not just buy an RV. List your reasons please.
My top 5:
1. Much safer WAY OVER BUILT
2. It'll last longer over the long miles.. due to commercial grade engine and build quality. RV's body and engines don't take the road abuse nearly as well.
3. initially much less expensive.. as the build goes along you can end up the other way around. You can buy a good running bus for $500
4.The attention! Depending on your plans for social media drawing peoples attention may be a huge plus. A converted school bus wins big over the RV here.
5. Blank slate.. Build anything you want with less restrictions on layout and size.

Just my thoughts
Note: I am no longer selling skoolie insurance. I sold my agency and am traveling N. America full time with my family. Wish us luck!
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:56 PM   #15
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I wrote an article about this very topic....
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:08 PM   #16
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When my father passed away, I took my share and purchased Brunhilde. My youngest brother was very upset; he wanted to get me to buy a used mobile home for $20K. After 3 years, Brunhilde is worth more and the used mobile home is worth far less than $20K.
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Old 08-07-2018, 10:44 PM   #17
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This is why I built a Skoolie:

-The FLEXIBILITY to build it the way I want that meet my needs. Donít have to settle for one of the floor plans that RV companies offer. I settled on the plan that I developed for myself.

-The SAFETY factor of being in a metal framed bus that was built to keep children safe while they traverse these dangerous roads. They are safety inspected and tested whereas RVs arenít. The only RVs that Iíve seen safety tested are Prevost and guess what, thatís a bus too.

-The FINANCIAL freedom of a Skoolie. My Skoolie is paid for and everything inside of it, no payments. While Prevost buses/RVs are nice and you can somewhat design it the way you want, but that $1.9 mil price tag kept me moving on.

-The UNIQUENESS will forever be there. While there may be quite a few Skoolies out there, Iíve never seen 2 identical Skoolies.

Those are a few reasons why Iím a Skoolie owner
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:55 AM   #18
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My bus is essentially a steel tent. I had numerous factors for why I went with it over a camper. Here they are in no particular order

1. Open floor plan - I set it up how I wanted it.
2. Cool factor - Not very common camping
3. Self propelled - Less complicated to go someplace/no need for a truck
4. Most campers/rv's I looked at in the 1-4k dollar range have mold/water damage. My bus doesn't.
5. Safety - you've seen the pictures

I have absolutely no regrets about my choice. One of my buddies bought a bus after he saw mine. They went on a 2 week tour of the US last year in it. Most who have busses will agree that it is the way to go for them.

If you're against building it yourself, or lack the skills/time/desire to do so, then I could understand against it.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:07 AM   #19
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In my case

The bus has a cool factor that I cant get in a van or Rv, Need seating for at least 7 probably up to 10, toilet, and refrigerator. I think my primary reason was the cool factor. Finding a small one was more difficult. Price did not matter at all to me. I am refurbishing the drive line/chassis to as close to new as practical. The safety factor comes in a little later in the thought process.

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Old 08-11-2018, 03:23 PM   #20
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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.
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