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Old 10-27-2014, 05:55 PM   #1
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Bought a School Bus - now feeling overwhelmed...

Hi all,

We've been wanting to do this project for a while and finally pulled the plug and bought a bus. And yes, while we've been reading all the blogs about registration, insurance, builds, etc, it doesn't really strike you until you take ownership of the bus and reality sinks in. It's (very) exciting, but also daunting...

Here's the bus we bought - 1998 Ford B600 Shorty(25ft). 100k miles; Gas; 4-speed Automatic. Just came of school service and in excellent mechanical condition - got it checked out by a mechanic and also passed smog with flying colors. So, that part is very relieving. Now working through options to register and insure in CA (not easy for the conversion portion).

We want to use this bus as a way to our young family (3 boys - 5 year old and twin one-year olds) outdoors more often - want to make it weekend camper for the family.

We have lots of ideas on the build, but wanted to speak to some who have gone through this journey prior to understand the choices they made and answer some (likely) basic questions around air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, layout, etc.

Would anyone in this group be willing to have a 15 min call with us? if nothing it will reduce the anxiety to talk to folks who have more experience at this than we do. And we would love to talk to as many people as we can. We are on West Coast time and can be very flexible on when we could speak.

Thank you!!

Duleesha & Suellen

duleesha@gmail.com
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Old 10-27-2014, 11:52 PM   #2
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Re: Bought a School Bus - now feeling overwhelmed...

Welcome!!! --- Don't hesitate to post any questions on the forum. That way, even the "experts" here have a chance to learn something new.
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Old 12-24-2014, 12:20 AM   #3
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Hi, i have been working on my bus conversion on and off
For a couple of years now. Did you ever get the phone call
You had hoped for?

Bill
Michigan
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Old 12-24-2014, 01:12 AM   #4
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As a fresh owner (November '14) and current do'er, take heart! I was feeling overwhelmed, but as you go you'll start to break down the things you have to do, what order, what things you can put off, etc. I know nothing about electrical...chances are you might know someone! Just today u finished tearing out the ceiling... I thought it would take until 2019!

You guys will do great! This forum is a wealth of information & encouragement.

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Old 12-24-2014, 04:33 AM   #5
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I'm a journeyman electrician and I'm in california, northern specificly. I've got limited experience with low-volt systems, but I've been studying it quite a bit lately since I'll be doing my own system soon. Most of the techniques and principles apply. I could definitely help with questions, and maybe installation for cheap or barter if you were near me.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:42 PM   #6
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You can call me anytime. Being over whelmed at the beginning is normal. You're looking at the whole and it appears enormous. You just have to break it up into smaller task and do one or two at a time. Before you know it, it's all coming together.

By the way, all the men in my family are IBEW except me. But, they taught me everything they know, lol. And, it's really come in handy over the years!

Just send me a private message and I'll give you my phone number.
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Old 01-04-2015, 06:55 PM   #7
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Any have info on what needs to be removed from a retired handicap (Ricon lift) 16 ft long school bus to fit the RV class. Its a Ford E450 7.l diesel 54K miles bluebird. Payed $15K. Still has all functioning swing out stop sign and overhead front and rear hazard lites. I need to know what needs to be added to fit the "RV" definition? Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:53 AM   #8
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Usually a kitchenette, bedroom, and restroom are sufficient. And of course, the removal of all the school bus only stuff.

I wonder if the OP still has the bus.
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:41 PM   #9
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Your post was reported. I thought no big deal until I read all your posts, All the same thing about selling your bus. Bye.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jcjoiner View Post
the only way is to get a wrecked motorhome and put it in. Lots of time and money. if you gonna use it you need 2 a/c. $2k, gotta have a 5k generator. $5K. etc. I did my 73 blue bird all American that way. My family had a bus business and I rebuilt it front to rear,new radials, put a 34ft allegro in it. gonna sale 11,750. Can't think of building one for that cost. got less than 15k on rebuild. regeared and it is fast and quiet jc 256 627 3951
Dude, the ac units are like a thousand for a pair. Generators can be had for 500-1500 all day long.
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcjoiner View Post
the only way is to get a wrecked motorhome and put it in. Lots of time and money. if you gonna use it you need 2 a/c. $2k, gotta have a 5k generator. $5K. etc. I did my 73 blue bird all American that way. My family had a bus business and I rebuilt it front to rear,new radials, put a 34ft allegro in it. gonna sale 11,750. Can't think of building one for that cost. got less than 15k on rebuild. regeared and it is fast and quiet jc 256 627 3951
JC,

You must be related to Ezra and Violet. What a great couple they were. I remember sitting in the kitchen with my mom and Violet one warm summer day while they chatted away. I was probably only 14 or 15 at the time. Violet was quite unusual for the time, as there were no women driving buses anywhere in our neck of the woods during those days! I remember the first time I saw her driving. Our Jr. high football team was going on an away game. Around the corner came two buses and a woman was driving one. I'm sure my mouth was wide open in disbelief. Anyway I found out a couple days later my grandfather once worked for them painting buses. This was back when my mom was a girl. Sometimes the world isn't as big as we think.
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:31 PM   #12
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Dude, the ac units are like a thousand for a pair. Generators can be had for 500-1500 all day long.
About the cheapest new A/C I found this past summer was $625 each. If you've got to pay shipping, it will run up a bit higher. If you pay someone to put it in (cut holes in roof, run wiring, etc.) I could see it hitting a grand. Generators are all over the board. Contractor generators will be inexpensive, usually in the $500 - $750 range for new. The higher end Onans for RV's tend to run a bit higher. Your best bet on those is to pick up a used unit. There are a lot of RV's that have been parted out and can become an inexpensive donor. However, a new Onan Quiet diesel for RV use will run you over $5,000. Used ones that I've found are $2,500 - $3,000.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:07 AM   #13
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About the cheapest new A/C I found this past summer was $625 each. If you've got to pay shipping, it will run up a bit higher. If you pay someone to put it in (cut holes in roof, run wiring, etc.) I could see it hitting a grand. Generators are all over the board. Contractor generators will be inexpensive, usually in the $500 - $750 range for new. The higher end Onans for RV's tend to run a bit higher. Your best bet on those is to pick up a used unit. There are a lot of RV's that have been parted out and can become an inexpensive donor. However, a new Onan Quiet diesel for RV use will run you over $5,000. Used ones that I've found are $2,500 - $3,000.
I'm in FL, there are TONS of Rv parts, dealers, boneyards, and cl ads. And I've already got the steel cut for where the ac will go.
My parents may even GIVE me a pair of 15k's this coming summer.
The RV parts guy I know can get me 13.5 units for 550 apiece and thats brand new with the lowers.
Cowlitzcoach had some links up for gensets all day long on cl for 500-1000. and no of course that isn't NEW. But neither is my bus.

I'm poor.I'd not even entertained any notion of paying 5000 for ANY part of my bus.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:40 AM   #14
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I am in Central FL. If you are near Melbourne, contact Geoff Bodine (yes the driver) at his Honda dealership. He had some great deals on quiet generators. My plan is to get two and devide the power to the two sides. Later, I can add the kit to combine the two for more power if needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I'm in FL...

Cowlitzcoach had some links up for gensets all day long on cl for 500-1000. and no of course that isn't NEW. But neither is my bus.

I'm poor.I'd not even entertained any notion of paying 5000 for ANY part of my bus.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:52 AM   #15
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I am in Central FL. If you are near Melbourne, contact Geoff Bodine (yes the driver) at his Honda dealership. He had some great deals on quiet generators. My plan is to get two and devide the power to the two sides. Later, I can add the kit to combine the two for more power if needed.
Cool. Thanks!
Melbourne is a bit of a haul, but I travel around the state a good bit.
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:08 PM   #16
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im in polk co. im picking my bus up thursday 2001 international 3800 168000 7.3 auto. bumber to bumber 27ft from a church traded my 2000 24ft enclosed trailer for it.any trade secrects to converting to motorhome at the dmv and insurance.
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Old 01-13-2015, 08:29 PM   #17
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im in polk co. im picking my bus up thursday 2001 international 3800 168000 7.3 auto. bumber to bumber 27ft from a church traded my 2000 24ft enclosed trailer for it.any trade secrects to converting to motorhome at the dmv and insurance.
Yes, sorta.
what's your email address? I can help you out with a bit that.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:52 PM   #18
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ffnels@aol.com thanks
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