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Old 10-20-2015, 07:55 AM   #1
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"Bobbed" buses?

I really like Trask's bus but he's got his hands full and I didn't want to jack his thread with my somewhat unrelated questions:

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Originally Posted by Trask97140 View Post
I really like these old "bobbed" buses-I just made that up, but is there a specific term for them that would help me find more through a Google search? Did only certain body manufacturers make them? Is it a regional thing (I'm on the East Coast)? They seem to be a regular sized school bus, just cut off 2 or 3 feet behind the rear axle. I'm just getting into this game and familiarizing myself but these things seem like they are the king of the short buses! I've seen a few E450 based Collins built shorties that would fit the bill, but they tend to be pricey. NJ's law for school buses is that they can be no older than 15 years before the school district has to sell them off, and all the ones I've seen are no older than 2009 or so, so they're still holding value. Full sizes on the other hand are plentiful and cheap. For this reason I've thought about buying a full size bus and bobbing it. It would be a lot of work though, so I'd rather find one of these.

Of course, the other caveat is that I need 4WD-the whole point of the shorter bus and better departure angle is off road ability. I'm guessing the only way to do it with a bus like this would be with a Rockwell front axle off of a 2.5 ton military truck. With the front fenders clearanced, the rear wheel wells tubbed, and some 40" military tires it would not only be nearly unstoppable it would also look seriously bada-- as well Anyway, the more information I can find on these the better as I'd really love to look into them more as far as what engines and transmissions were used, etc... Trask, if you're reading this and could fill me in on the following regarding your bus I'd be grateful:

GVWR
Engine (Model/Diesel/Gas/Size, etc...)
Transmission (Manual/Auto/Number of gears?)
Length of passenger compartment from rear of driver's seat to rear door.
Interior width
Interior height
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:59 AM   #2
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4wd on one of those could get REALLY expensive, but the components are out there.

There are shorties like this all over, you just have to start looking for them. There are some 6 window shorties in GA on public surplus right now, cheap too. Cummins 5.9's and dt360's.
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:05 AM   #3
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I've delivered new ones to Colorado. They were new buses that got sent somewhere to get converted to 4wd. Sticker shock on delivered price.
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:30 AM   #4
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enjoy

Tulsa Truck Manufacturing - All Wheel Drive Conversions

you would have to lift it 2 feet to get a top loader to fit under the engine/frame

so a rockwell toploader 2-1/2 and 5 ton are realistically out of equation, the rockwell tcase would work tho'
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:30 AM   #5
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so a rockwell toploader 2-1/2 and 5 ton are realistically out of equation, the rockwell tcase would work tho'
Thanks for posting I guess I'll have to familiarize myself with the options between a regular 1 ton front axle (which I'd have to believe would be way undersized) and a 2.5 ton Rockwell. I'm guessing there is some kind of 1.5-2 ton sideloader option that is used in the kinds of medium duty trucks that utility and timber companies often use.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:05 AM   #6
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Hey bud. Glad you like the bus, and yes I do have a lot of work to do! I also like the look, its proportions front to back, side to side are spot on. "Bobbed" works, though it sounds like something the ol lady would do to her hair... haha

GVWR - Not sure, but google says 24,500
Engine - International SV345 5.7L V8 Gasoline
Transmission - Allison AT545 4 Speed Auto
Front(back of drivers seat) to back measurement - 144"
Side to side - 88"
Height interior - 74"

Hope that helps! Also, the tree farm I bought it from had two of these... Sounds like your on the east coast, im in Oregon. But it may still be available. Just sayin!
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:34 AM   #7
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Unless you have the skills to do the work yourself, you better have a ton of cash. This will be an expensive conversion if you have to pay a shop to finish it.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:06 AM   #8
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I'd hit up Cowlitzcoach and see if he has any or any leads. Buying one outright would be tons cheaper.
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Old 10-20-2015, 12:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trask97140 View Post
Hey bud. Glad you like the bus, and yes I do have a lot of work to do! I also like the look, its proportions front to back, side to side are spot on. "Bobbed" works, though it sounds like something the ol lady would do to her hair... haha
Just to show that you can use the term "Bobbed" and still keep your man-card, here's a picture of a what is officially known as a "Bobbed Deuce," which is essentially a shortened 2.5 ton truck with one rear axle removed, making it a giant 4x4 pickup:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Trask97140 View Post
GVWR - Not sure, but google says 24,500
Engine - International SV345 5.7L V8 Gasoline
Transmission - Allison AT545 4 Speed Auto
Front(back of drivers seat) to back measurement - 144"
Side to side - 88"
Height interior - 74"

Hope that helps!
It definitely does-thanks! What is really interesting is the size-not at all what I was expecting. The Ford E450 based Collins Grand Bantam has a 186" passenger compartment. I am assuming that they are only measuring the bus body, not the van portion which includes the driver's cockpit, but maybe not since there is no diagram to confirm. However, if that is indeed just the passenger compartment that's nearly four feet of additional room. Internally, the Grand Bantam is 91" wide so no major gain there. Aisle height is 76.5" and of course every little bit helps there.

Where the International really has the Ford based bus beat is GVWR-nearly double the capacity of the Ford (14,000), but it's obviously much heavier to start, so it may be a wash, I don't honestly know. Either way, for my purposes, the gain of 27SF combined with a much easier (and cheaper) 4WD conversion wins the day, so I may just have to wait them out. Lord knows I don't have the time to put into it now with two little ones running around. I do really like the look of the nose of the International and the way it flows with the body though. The E450 based buses kind of look like ticks about to pop
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Old 10-20-2015, 12:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
It definitely does-thanks! What is really interesting is the size-not at all what I was expecting. The Ford E450 based Collins Grand Bantam has a 186" passenger compartment. I am assuming that they are only measuring the bus body, not the van portion which includes the driver's cockpit, but maybe not since there is no diagram to confirm. However, if that is indeed just the passenger compartment that's nearly four feet of additional room. Internally, the Grand Bantam is 91" wide so no major gain there. Aisle height is 76.5" and of course every little bit helps there.

Where the International really has the Ford based bus beat is GVWR-nearly double the capacity of the Ford (14,000), but it's obviously much heavier to start, so it may be a wash, I don't honestly know. Either way, for my purposes, the gain of 27SF combined with a much easier (and cheaper) 4WD conversion wins the day, so I may just have to wait them out. Lord knows I don't have the time to put into it now with two little ones running around. I do really like the look of the nose of the International and the way it flows with the body though. The E450 based buses kind of look like ticks about to pop

Exactly what is it that you want. An E450 is basically a one ton truck with an extended frame and some beefed up components. An International is a Medium duty truck.
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Old 10-20-2015, 01:30 PM   #11
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Unless you have the skills to do the work yourself, you better have a ton of cash.
That is a good rule of thumb on all projects that border on the bizarre, unique, uncommon and rare sides of life.

At one point I was looking into these
http://www.govplanet.com/Trucks+-+5+Ton+Cargo

The m934 has "slide outs" in a matter of speaking
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Old 10-20-2015, 03:20 PM   #12
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That is a beastly "bobbed" pickup for certain. Would like to see picks/process if you do find yourself an ol 82 style shortie.
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:07 PM   #13
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Exactly what is it that you want. An E450 is basically a one ton truck with an extended frame and some beefed up components. An International is a Medium duty truck.
Basically what I'm looking to do is put together a bare bones 4WD RV that is roomy enough to sleep four but compact enough for easy navigation of the beach, state and national forest roads, etc... Before my wife and I had kids we explored and camped all over out of a Ford F-350 single cab longbed with a camper cap. Now that we have two little ones I'm looking for a way to do the same thing but accommodate all of us. I looked into truck campers for a while, but since I would need to first find a dual cab 4x4 pickup, it would be a pretty expensive option, as would an actual RV, especially considering I'd still have to convert it to 4WD.

Conventional RVs also have lots of stuff we don't need. When we camp or surf fish, the vehicle is simply a base of operations to store stuff, sleep, and use the facilities in. All of our cooking, eating, hanging out, etc...is done outside, especially since a bus would be very conducive to mounting large retractable awning. All I need is space for four bunks, a shower, a toilet, and a large bench seat (like from a Ford Club Wagon) mounted behind the driver's seat. That still takes up a decent amount of room though and I don't think I could squeeze it into 12' unless there are some more innovate layouts I'm not thinking of. I'm working on a potential floorplan based on the size of the Collins bus-I'll post it once I get it to a decent place.
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:23 PM   #14
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Flat nose buses take a top loading Rockwell 2.5 ton axle with no lift.

This is due to the front axle being behind the engine and trans. It is just passed the drive shaft yoke.

So on a flat nose I would need a divorced transfer case to shoot the drive shaft over the front axle to the transfer case, then the front drive shaft would come back forward to the front axle.

With a front nose setup, all of the drive shafts would be tucked up between the frame rails.

Many other buses like my Ford B700 dog nose bus could have taken a front top loader by simply lifting the engine up into the hood.
Stock location of the engine is as low as they could build it with the stock front drop axle. By using a front drop axle, they were able to tuck the engine down between the frame rails for best center of gravity.

Nat
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post
Basically what I'm looking to do is put together a bare bones 4WD RV that is roomy enough to sleep four but compact enough for easy navigation of the beach, state and national forest roads, etc... Before my wife and I had kids we explored and camped all over out of a Ford F-350 single cab longbed with a camper cap. Now that we have two little ones I'm looking for a way to do the same thing but accommodate all of us. I looked into truck campers for a while, but since I would need to first find a dual cab 4x4 pickup, it would be a pretty expensive option, as would an actual RV, especially considering I'd still have to convert it to 4WD.

Conventional RVs also have lots of stuff we don't need. When we camp or surf fish, the vehicle is simply a base of operations to store stuff, sleep, and use the facilities in. All of our cooking, eating, hanging out, etc...is done outside, especially since a bus would be very conducive to mounting large retractable awning. All I need is space for four bunks, a shower, a toilet, and a large bench seat (like from a Ford Club Wagon) mounted behind the driver's seat. That still takes up a decent amount of room though and I don't think I could squeeze it into 12' unless there are some more innovate layouts I'm not thinking of. I'm working on a potential floorplan based on the size of the Collins bus-I'll post it once I get it to a decent place.

You are going to have a problem fitting all that inside if you plan on chopping off the back end. If you plan on scaling walls with this, you might want to consider another vehicle like a Unimog. If you just want 4WD, that's another story and I think can be accomplished fairly easily.
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Old 10-21-2015, 04:33 AM   #16
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You are going to have a problem fitting all that inside if you plan on chopping off the back end.
I'll post some floorplan ideas once they're ready-I can tell you that it will not look like a conventional RV-it would more like the kinds of support trailers utility companies often bring in when they send their workers a couple of states away to help with storm cleanup. It's a place to sleep and wash up and not much else.

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Originally Posted by crazycal View Post
If you plan on scaling walls with this, you might want to consider another vehicle like a Unimog. If you just want 4WD, that's another story and I think can be accomplished fairly easily.
No wall scaling ability needed The biggest reason for wanting 4WD is beach access (2WD vehicles not permitted) for surf fishing. Obviously it would open up other possibilities inland as well. We go to Maine a lot, for example. Many of the roads in remote areas that are passable with 2WD in the middle of a dry summer are a totally different story during mud season or mid to late fall.
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:12 AM   #17
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Flat nose buses take a top loading Rockwell 2.5 ton axle with no lift.

This is due to the front axle being behind the engine and trans. It is just passed the drive shaft yoke.

So on a flat nose I would need a divorced transfer case to shoot the drive shaft over the front axle to the transfer case, then the front drive shaft would come back forward to the front axle.

With a front nose setup, all of the drive shafts would be tucked up between the frame rails.

Many other buses like my Ford B700 dog nose bus could have taken a front top loader by simply lifting the engine up into the hood.
Stock location of the engine is as low as they could build it with the stock front drop axle. By using a front drop axle, they were able to tuck the engine down between the frame rails for best center of gravity.

Nat
are you sure about that?
I will double check, thought about this a few years ago, clearance for that axle will take a min. of 12 inches of lift (I think it was closer to 18 inches), at least on my bus, since I have a typical dropped axle beam
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:19 AM   #18
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Quote:
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are you sure about that?
I will double check, thought about this a few years ago, clearance for that axle will take a min. of 12 inches of lift (I think it was closer to 18 inches), at least on my bus, since I have a typical dropped axle beam
There should be pics showing the location and spacing of the front axle on my flat nose bus.

Like I mentioned in a previous post. Most dog nose buses need the engine lifted up into the engine bay to make space to accommodate the front drive axle. This prevents lifting the entire bus, causing a unstable, dangerous unit with a high center of gravity.

Also the rockwell 2.5 ton can be rotated to put the center chunk in a different spacing to clear engine and transmission.

If that is not enough, the axle tubes can be cut and spliced to off set the center chunk. Better axle shafts can be had in any grade, length, and spec.

Nat
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