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Old 01-13-2016, 09:11 PM   #1
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Short Bus Conversion Questions

Greetings y'all....I'm considering buying this bus for a conversion project. As I cruise forums and various skoolie social media pages, I find myself second guessing whether or not it's the correct bus for me (compounded by the fact that I am not handy, so I am placing the conversion in the hands of another person).

Would this bus be appropriate for the following conversion:

Outfitted with basic things: twin-sized bed that would sit on top of storage, couch that would sit on top of storage (likely a custom couch, basic kitchen area with small fridge and microwave/cooking appliance and storage, AC unit, alternate power source, and that's about it. Basically, would the combined weight of these retrofits and living necessities be a burden on the vehicle engine (or, is this even discernable from the information provided in the link, and if not should I be asking the seller additional questions?)

Could the roof support a roof rack if done right? Some sort of metal box frame with 2x4s as the flooring of the roof rack. Would like to be able to get some people up there, maybe 4 people or so?

I just obviously don't want to purchase a vehicle and find it's not fit for what I have in mind.

Thanks in advance for you help!

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Old 01-14-2016, 12:17 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NUNYA
Posts: 4,236
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: 3800
Engine: DT408, AT545
Rated Cap: 23 500 gvw
Watch out for rust.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:08 AM   #3
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Thanks foe getting back to me.

Would the right paint job prevent that?

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Old 01-14-2016, 10:11 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
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Since the bus is in NY the odds are that the bus body and frame has had exposure to salt. Long term exposure causes cancerous rust. Surface rust can be sanded off and repainted. Cancerous rust requires surgery which can get expensive and extensive very quickly.

Your plan sounds very doable within the design envelope for that bus. After taking out all of the seats and school bus equipment you should have a tare weight of at least 2,500 lbs. That should be more than adequate for your design.

Your plan for a roof rack is sound. The roof of a school bus is pretty stout. Instead of 2x4 for flooring think in terms of something like rolled or expanded screen. It will weight a lot less, it will drain water very well, it will tend to be non-skid, and it will be very sturdy.

Good luck.
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:28 AM   #5
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Thank you for the input, it's greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-15-2016, 08:49 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Champaign, IL
Posts: 26
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 7.3L Diesel
Rated Cap: 16
Here is a link to a bus similar to your 4 window short bus that I finished a couple years back. The only important thing it didn't have was a toilet. I did install a small porta-potty but never used it. For camping you are nearly always near a bathroom of some sort even if its just a trowel. For actual living in one you would need a cassette toilet or something equivalent.

I've been looking at a lot of buses lately and the one you listed shouldn't sell for more than $2500. Some go for much less. I paid $1500 for mine in 2009. I invested around $5000 in the conversion. Be forewarned that you will never get your investment back in $. I had a great time doing the conversion but when I decided to sell the best I could get was $3000.
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