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Old 03-14-2015, 09:12 AM   #1
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Talking 4x4 School Bus

Hi Everyone! 5 years ago I saw a converted school bus (34' maybe a little more) on Sandy Neck Beach in MA. It was leaving the beach the day we arrived so I didn't get to talk to them---standard luck for me, LoL!! It was white with Rockwell military axles rolling on the 43" or so military super singles. Nice looking rig overall. My question is has anyone on here done that and if so can you share some info?? My thinking is get an air brake GMC (like the one I saw) or some other truck style front end bus, 5.9 Cummins, DT466, etc, and go from there. I think using the military transfer case (air engaged) and driveshafts with the Rockwells (tire inflation/pressure system) will be the simplest route also, but this is why I want input/experience from the group. We currently camp with a 29' class c, but it's falling apart and I want to build something that will last a long time. Any and all replies are appreciated!!
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:22 AM   #2
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This is completely doable.

I would love to watch the build.

But, do you have the $5,000 to $10,000 to build just the suspension., and make it street legal?

The cost fully depends on what you can fab yourself.

You need to go do some reading on pirate 4x4.

Nat
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Old 03-14-2015, 11:52 AM   #3
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Hey Nat, thanks for the reply. I know this build will be pricey, but in the end I think it will be worth it. I have the green and the good news is we are not in a hurry. I told my wife 3 years max from purchase of the bus should be enough time, LoL! I am negotiating a 5 ton truck right now but I have yet to find a bus I am happy with. My inner redneck says to keep looking for a better condition bus than what I have seen so far. You have to be patient with the main purchase I figure.
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Old 03-14-2015, 01:29 PM   #4
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Why bother converting if you can purchase a bus that is already 4x4?

We have this one in inventory and it is a really nice bus without a lot of miles on it.

The asking price is just that. It has been in our inventory for some time so I think just about any reasonable offer would be accepted.

http://showroom.auction123.com/thebu...N6VH454131.htm

The pictures may come up really pixalated. If you need better pictures I can get some for you.

The vast majority of all medium and heavy duty trucks and buses that have a driven front axle were converted by Tulsa Truck Manufacturing. Tulsa Truck Manufacturing - All Wheel Drive Conversions
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:54 PM   #5
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link does not work
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Old 03-14-2015, 08:24 PM   #6
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Hey cowlitzcoach, thanks for the reply. I went to your website and saw it. My initial concern with buying one is the condition of the body since they don't usually come from snow free FL or GA. I do like the idea of a finished one though... What is the overall length??
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:04 PM   #7
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The buses and vehicles here in Fl rust just as easily as any other state.
Just saying.
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:15 AM   #8
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Just a side note, last year while looking for wild ponies north of Corrola, NC we saw David Anderson, bungalo beach house

There was a bright green 4x4 bus sitting on 66in tires outside, it was pimp as hell

He gives rides and such to locals and friends
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:51 PM   #9
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I was desperately looking for a 4x4 bus before I got mine. They do exist... If this wasn't already sold I would have paid top dollar:
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:17 PM   #10
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Talking Creative/calculated purchases will be my plan!

Bearbus, that bus is SWEET! And of course sold, but my guess is way out of my price range anyway. I'm not sure I mentioned this to the group before, but I cant throw $30 grand at this project tomorrow. I can probably swing $10 or so a year, which is why I was thinking build one myself not buy one. That you tube video helps to see how they made brackets for the carrier bearings, etc. Definitely a nice resource. A buddy of mine bought a used F700 last summer with the Harmon 4x4 setup underneath. He didn't tell me what he paid for it, but he said it was triple a 2 wheel drive dump would have cost him. Its only money and you cant take it with you, right?? LOL!!
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:28 PM   #11
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Hey all when I said FL or GA its because a friend of mine said he would road trip down south with me to find one and drive it home a couple weeks ago---hoping to hit Daytona for the race!! LOL!! I just think automobiles/trucks from down south seem almost preserved compared to the rust buckets I find up here for sale. Maybe it has more to do with the care people put into them. I don't know, but its just my opinion.
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:48 PM   #12
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Boy I would love to drive one of those 4X4 buses on the dirt roads that you normally only see Jeeps on, just for the sheer shock on peoples' faces. Plus it would make travelling a lot easier, especially in certain rocky areas(parts of Canada).
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearbus View Post
I was desperately looking for a 4x4 bus before I got mine. They do exist... If this wasn't already sold I would have paid top dollar:
That bus is sweet! Whats the average cost of a bus like this?
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Old 03-16-2015, 04:05 AM   #14
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Interesting, no airbrakes? And front lift blocks are a no,no in my book

Still cool and I would drive it....vroom....vrooom
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
Interesting, no airbrakes? And front lift blocks are a no,no in my book

Still cool and I would drive it....vroom....vrooom

Lol

lift blocks = shortcuts when building a 4x4.

Sad because there is so much room under there for a good three link, or one link set up.

No good in my books either.

I too would drive it till it broke.

Nat
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:06 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Interesting, no airbrakes? And front lift blocks are a no,no in my book

Still cool and I would drive it....vroom....vrooom
Yeah nothing says "cheap lift for looks" like lift blocks.
When we needed another 3" of suspension lift on our Scout, we had new springs made.
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Old 03-16-2015, 12:34 PM   #17
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Tulsa Truck told me the 4x4 conversion adds $32,000.00 to the cost of the vehicle. It doesn't matter to them if it is brand new or used. For a medium duty like a school bus the cost is what it is.

The 4x4 bus that we have in inventory was sold originally to a school in the Denver area that had weekly runs up into the mountains. In other words, it needed the front axle driven and the four wheel drive was used on a regular basis every winter.

It has since been based at our Libby, MT facility so it has seen almost zero road salt and no salty sea air. In other words there is no rust in the body or chassis. Or I should say, any rust is just superficial and is the result of not being used.

Overall length is 33'-35'. I haven't measured the bus so I don't know the exact length.

Unlike most school buses this particular bus has every conceivable skirt mounted luggage compartment a front engine bus can have. It also has an across the back above the floor behind the rear seat luggage compartment in addition to overhead parcel racks.

It also has the RV style fold out step you can see in the picture of the FL/Thomas bus. If it didn't most people would have a really hard time getting into the bus. I think the bottom of the service door is almost 30" off the ground.
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:33 PM   #18
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cowlitz,
can I test drive her?

I will be as gentle as can be with 16k and stiff suspension...it would rock at the beach with flotation tires on it
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:15 PM   #19
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Hey from Chuck & Anndru

Hey-hi,

Chuck read your post's and liked the idea of a 4x4. You all lost me!

I am wondering why the comment that 4x4's are hard to come by. In our area, the 'winter' should be renamed: "Extended Autumn with some pretty chilly day's"!

Do you think that could be some of the reason, lack of snow and an increase of paved rural roads?

Newbies,

Anndru & Chuch
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Old 03-17-2015, 01:21 PM   #20
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Anyone can ask to test drive any of the buses in our inventory. The problem is that without a CDL and passenger endorsement we can't let you actually drive any of the buses that require a CDL to drive.

If you make arrangements with a salesman they can take you for a drive.

But I can tell you that no test drive of the 4x4 bus will entail deep mud, sand dunes, or snow drifts.
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