Hello Skoolies! I've been reading these forums for a little while now, just got around to making an account. So I figured I'd post an intro, along with my soon to be build.
So I've been knocking around the custom toyhauler idea in my head for some time now. I've gone through about everything you could imagine as far as options, from 5th wheels to horse trailers, school buses to motorhomes. They all have their pros and cons, but I'm narrowing in on a ford shuttle bus. Keep in mind I'm not a huge ford fan or anything, however I do love the 7.3l diesels (perhaps because ford didn't make them.)
Here are the main reasons I'm leaning towards this choice:
-Parts are easily available, theres millions of these motors in use all over the world in everything from pickups to farm equipment.
-I already own a f250 7.3l 6 speed diesel truck (which I may be gifting to my mom soon, but I'd still have use of it of course.)
-Before this truck, I had a f350 7.3l 6 speed which was rear ended while parked. I still have this wreck which means I have an known working motor, transfer case, zf6 tranny, front end, etc.
-The deck inside is rather low in comparison to other options, meaning no crazy angles for loading snowmobiles, dirtbikes, cars, etc.
-Overall they're rather roomy inside for their overall footprint. I don't want something which is hard to park or maneuver, this thing will see some light off-roading.
-The 4x4 conversion is very doable, and has been done. I'm currently awaiting a quote on the conversion, which generally is under 10k. Considering I have a lot of the parts already I'm pretty set on doing this. Not having to worry about driving in the snow safely, let alone chaining up would be very nice.
Features I'd like to see in the final build (in no particular order):
-mild lift (I'm thinking 3" or so just to get a little more tire and therefor clearance)
-pv solar and solar hot water systems
-roof rack which can both carry the panels, as well as a small amount of bulky gear if needed
-basic but collapsible kitchen
-shower, may be a collapsible version that folds out of the wheelchair doors
-toilet of some sort perhaps, possibly not
-rear door that opens upward on gas struts, floor that folds out underneath, can function as a ramp for loading/unloading or be propped on jackstands and closed in with snap-in bug netting for a screened in porch.
-lots of wall-mounted fold away workspaces/bunks
-heavy duty winch for when this pig inevitably gets stuck (and for loading dead cars/sleds) This will be designed to be portabe for front/rear or inside use
-Internal rollcage so sleds can be hoisted up, this should at least double the capacity as well as provide additional support for the roof rack
Overall I want to keep the build away from any one purpose and create a nice portable space that suits whatever I happen to be doing at the time. One day this might be a snowboard trip vehicle, the next day I could be using it on a jobsite. Tools come out and in go the sleds. Friend needs a hand moving, no problem, I've got a uhaul. *oops, did I just admit that?*
The reality of fitting a full size car in here is pretty slim, but a small racecar, smartcar or drift project would be doable. I'd also like to spend a good amount of time traveling around and volunteering on permaculture farms and ecovillages, and documenting my journey with video. I might be living in this thing for months on end. So I'll set my sights on flexibility and function over absolute comfort, while trying to maintain a nice clean appearance for both my own selfish pride and as a demonstration to others that conversion buses aren't always filled with dirty hippies. I also see being in a shuttle bus as a nice way to avoid a lot of unneeded police (and otherwise) attention that those flower covered school buses inevitably attract. I'll be carrying a good portion of my life around in this thing at times, so security is also an issue.
And because no build thread is complete without at least 1 picture, here is one of a potential candidate I'll be going to see within the next week.
Cheers, thank you all for reading and I appreciate your feedback.