Hey there. I've stalked these pages for sometime and figured it's about time to share what I'm working with! I picked up a 1984 Chevy Vanguard bus back in Dec for $2000, it's a 350 gas with dual tires in the rear and sat around 225 000km. I was looking for a camper van for sometime but when I saw this I couldn't resist. Little did I know I was about to enter a society full of people who are converting school buses!
It was used as a bus until 2004 on Vancouver Island so it's nearly completely free of rust and in good shape. I did have to spent $280 to replace a front tire due to them plugging the side of the wheel (not only illegal but very dangerous), the transmission leak turned out to be a loose clamp and it does seem to burn/leak a bit of oil but not enough to worry me too much... it is something that needs to be repaired though. (All things I discovered after purchase). The previous owner had the intentions of converting it to a camper but only got as far as installing a stereo, a countertop and tossing a propane burner on it. I was pretty much starting from scratch, although I ended up using the counter in my conversion because it fit so perfectly and had a great rustic look to it.
I have zero house-building/carpentry experience so this is all a learning experience for me. That's why I'm taking it in a rustic/minimalist/off-the-grid direction. Less is more! I've been living and travelling in it for the past 4 months and couldn't be happier with it. I will be settling down a bit come Sept and have some more work to complete.
1984 Chevy Vanguard 4 window
Group 27 deep cycle battery
1500w power inverter
Wedgewood 4 burner stove/oven
Co-pilot chair with belt
twin size bed
love seat sofa
The circumstances regarding me moving into the bus seem pretty funny now. I broke up with my girlfriend and also quit my job so moving into a bus seemed like the best idea! this left me just a few weeks to make it a somewhat comfortable home.
I ripped out the rubber floor down to subfloor (wood seemed in good shape, a bit of rot in 1 corner). I put some primer on it then laid down a thin layer of foil/vapour barrier insulation then the cheapest laminate flooring I could buy. In the front I cut some carpet into shape and stuffed the edge under the lip of the laminate flooring. I also bolted in a seat from my friends Ford Econoline camper for co-pilot chair (swivels 360 degrees). Picked up a mint condition Wedgewood stove for cheap on a classified site and next to it is a 120v mini fridge. The captains bed frame was found on the side of the road, about to be thrown out, I keep all my clothing in the doors and behind the drawers is extra storage. My friend and I built the table and bench over the rear wheel well. I've also placed a love seat (not pictured) at the back of the bus.
wood stove installation. I already own a stove, a small homemade stove fashioned out of a propane tank, it will sit in the rear passenger side of the bus
running water. simple foot pump, compact sink with 50 gallon fresh and grey tanks
toilet/shower. The plan is to build a composting toilet using a seat and a bucket. Space is pretty limited inside so I was thinking I could have a permanent loo on the outside of the bus. The past few days I've been thinking how great it would be to create a bench that I could attach to the rear bumper with privacy shade/curtain and it would be my mobile outhouse! As for shower, it'll just be a basic gravity feed camp shower that I can fill with hot water when I need a shower.
Outdoor storage. A cage on the rear bumper to secure and safely use my 20lbs tank (only used on stove). And way down the line, a roof rack for bikes, skis, surfboard etc.
Door conversion. I removed the door actuator due to it being massive and in the way and have just been using a simple gate dead bolt to keep the door shut/locked. Eventually I'd like to convert this into a single hinge door with key lock.
Paint. Last but not least, something that makes it not look like a school bus.