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Old 09-16-2022, 02:59 PM   #1
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Location: Central BC, Canada
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Year: 1976
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Smile A bus, a book and a body of water

Hey there,

I'm a 61 year old man in central BC, Canada and I'm in the early stages of planning a Skoolie build for myself. I want to have the three B's listed in the title, it seems like a great way to live.

I have spent a few summers living out of cars as a musician traveling around performing and volunteering at music festivals and a Skoolie seems like the perfect progression from that. The saving has begun and I hope to buy the bus sometime in the spring of 2023 with a launch date planned for the spring of 2024.

Wholly smokes there's a pile of good information here. Thanks for building this, it's a precious resource.

The maximum bus size I have settled on is a five window. I want to stay in the realm of the normal parking spot size for those times I need to be in a city. The first thing I'll be looking for is where to buy a good used bus in western Canada.

Thank you

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Old 09-16-2022, 03:13 PM   #2
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Location: Western MT
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Welcome! Good to see you have your priorities straight. I'd throw in another B for beer, but that's just me

I have heard that it's somewhat harder to find good buses in Canada, but that may be more of an eastern rust-bucket issue than anything (?). It is possible to import from the US and get one of those rust-free Arizona buses, but it is probably more work than it's worth. See here for more details if you can't find anything local:
https://beadventurepartners.com/step...or-vice-versa/
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Old 09-16-2022, 03:39 PM   #3
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Welcome!


FWIW, Our 6-window, full-size chassis (24' end-to-end) can fit pretty much anywhere a car can. Unless it's a really tight parking lot, we can fit in one space most places with little effort. Plus the turning radius is a dream.
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Old 09-16-2022, 05:31 PM   #4
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the turning radius is good on a cutaway but i have a collins body that is corrugated tin for the floor and it wouldnt take long for the salt to get through that.
road salt is what i bring up.
and even living where it was when i found it?
the windows still caused leaks.
if i would have known about the corrugated tin on the floor i might have not bought it?
to thin for me and i couldnt match any piece of tin up to match it? ridge to ridge.
cutaway 5 window is different from finding a factory shortie.
of course thats an opinion.
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Old 09-16-2022, 06:25 PM   #5
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Welcome! Good to see you have your priorities straight. I'd throw in another B for beer, but that's just me
And yet another - B for Barbeques !
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Old 09-17-2022, 06:51 AM   #6
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And yet another - B for Barbeques !
And B for Bicycles!
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Old 09-17-2022, 05:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
the turning radius is good on a cutaway but i have a collins body that is corrugated tin for the floor and it wouldnt take long for the salt to get through that.
road salt is what i bring up.
and even living where it was when i found it?
the windows still caused leaks.
if i would have known about the corrugated tin on the floor i might have not bought it?
to thin for me and i couldnt match any piece of tin up to match it? ridge to ridge.
cutaway 5 window is different from finding a factory shortie.
of course thats an opinion.
Galvanized Corrugated sheet metal has better rust resistance than flat sheet metal. Corbi, a 99 Michael Corbeil build served the hudson valley and had a single area of rust through behind the rear passenger side wheel after 20 years of service.
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Old 09-17-2022, 06:33 PM   #8
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i work for a company that does hvac work and would not classify what i have in galvanized as anything less than 26-28 guage at best.
my big bus was at least 16-15 guage flat.
i do structural and pipe for a living and work for a heating and air company with plenty of access to different thicknesses of sheetmetal whether galvanized or not?
even have my own guage for thickness check.
kinda have an idea of what i have?
you do you and my opinion is mine.
galvanic corrosion does happen.
thats an opinion of mine?
wish you luck with good decisions.
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Old 09-17-2022, 06:34 PM   #9
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Galvanized Corrugated sheet metal has better rust resistance than flat sheet metal. Corbi, a 99 Michael Corbeil build served the hudson valley and had a single area of rust through behind the rear passenger side wheel after 20 years of service.
Galvanized of course has better rust resistance than un-galvanized steel (although flat-floor buses are generally also made from galvanized steel), but why would the corrugated aspect lead to better rust resistance? The only reason I can think that would help is that the plywood on top of it (is there plywood on top of it in these buses?) isn't in direct contact with much of the corrugated metal, so any water that gets in there can drain out or evaporate out before corrosion can happen.
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Old 09-17-2022, 07:00 PM   #10
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my little bus the corrugated runs the length of the bus pushing everything water up front?
empty weight the bus sits higher in the rear.
and lower in the front so all the condensation or window leaks or whoever using a pressure washer
this is a chevy 3500 on dual axle .
the rear is higher than the front.
lots of things to consider?
if you have the same bus and want ideas then PM me almost finished with my wifes chevy 04 collins body bus.
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Old 09-21-2022, 05:05 PM   #11
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Hello and welcome! As another BC resident and having bought and built a bus here I wanted to say hello and throw in my story.

I got a bus with RichieBro's at the Chilliwack location in lower mainland at an auction, I got a great deal $1600 and it has been wonderful for me. It has 466,000KM but the engine and tranni combo were just what I wanted and rust was not a big issue. that was mostly luck, I bought it sight unseen, I would not recommend doing that haha.

When I was searching I looked on RichieBros, local craigslist, facebook and the suplus BC auction site bcauction.ca all are good spots to find them, richie bro's has some of the best for the price but you need to beware as there are no guarantees, you should try to inspect it in person and look for rust throughout as well as know how to diagnose diesel engine health with some simple spot checks. I found the rust was bad anywhere children walked and sat, it needs to be fully gutted and grinded, rust proofed and prepped. I found rust and mould in different spots because its so wet here in BC.

Rust under the vehicle also needs to be dealt with fast and maintained don't leave it it grows fast!

But all in all, if you take your time and know what you want here you can find a bus, no its harder there are not many but it's possible and with care rust is not a big deal.

I would walk away from any bus with major rust you can see right away, if you can see it you don't want to know what is under it.

Getting a bus from the states would be a great way to do it too, Arizona or Nevada but import might be a challenge, import might be so bad its not worth it, I cant speak to that.

Anyway good luck! check out my build or ask me any questions if you ever interested or have questions about ICBC title change etc

I can tell you when you have all your B's it'll be worth it!
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Old 09-21-2022, 06:40 PM   #12
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Welcome! I’ve got two buses, much longer than you want that I’m turning into one skoolie. The 2nd bus is for parts. I’m in the US and am making a skoolie to travel and camp. Good luck, it sounds like you have a great plan so far. Avoid rust!
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Old 12-07-2022, 03:29 PM   #13
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As if by magic . . .

Hello friends,

Thank you for all your words of encouragement and advice. I appreciate you taking the time to give a damn.

Part of the story I didn't share before is about my health situation. I was diagnosed in 2017 with stage 4 metastatic thyroid cancer. The main tumour started on my rib a dozen or more years before that and because I didn't have any relationship with the healthcare system it as left to grow to the point where it surrounded my spine and eventually collapsed my T4 vertebrae. In late January of 2018 what was left of the vertebrae gave out and I found myself unable to walk. What followed was five hours of emergency spinal surgery, the installation of some shiny new titanium bars and almost three months in a wheelchair in physical rehab where I learned to walk again.

There's a lot of numbness and tingling in my legs now but I can walk and work and even run a little. Spending any time on my knees is hard but I'm working out now to help make that better.

The main reasons I'm building a skoolie are because I have wanted to for a long time and now, in my physical state, getting back on the road going to small grass-roots music festivals is more complicated due to the changed basic needs for my physical comfort. A skoolie will make that life possible.

On November 10th I had a call with my oncologist where she told me of two new spots where tumour had showed up and advised that we would have to change the treatment plan to address it. Thankfully this type of cancer grows and dies very slowly so it's not as urgent as some other types of cancer but still concerning.

I decided that day that I wanted to accelerate the build process. I was previously working on a two year timeline but decided that was too long so I resolved to move forward on the search for a bus (I was saving money before looking), with hopes to get a heater into it and start doing the conversion in spite of the winter cold. Three days later I got a text from an old friend who's husband had a bus but she thought when we talked about it some weeks before, that it was an eight or nine window, (which is much too big for me). She texted me that she had looked in the back at the bus and that it is a five window.

I arranged to look at it that week and decided the same day to buy it.

It's a 1976 Chevrolet/Thomas body with a 350 gas engine. The GVW is 8,025 and the seats are already out.

The conversion was started by a legendary (now retired) local mechanic who is known for his integrity and honesty. There is no doubt that the running gear will be in good shape even though it's been mostly sitting for ten years. The guy I bought it from started and ran it regularly and kept up on any issues. There is no body or frame rust. It needs a muffler but other than that it's mechanically solid.

So now I work, save money, research and plan for starting the conversion in the spring. You can count on it that I'll be chomping at the bit by March wanting to get started. I'm hoping to have it built to the point I can move in by the autumn of next year. Fingers crossed . . . . One "B" down. Here we go.
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Old 12-07-2022, 03:34 PM   #14
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Great, glad you are going to pursue this...bus looks good.
Maybe you should close that window to keep snow out??
Anyway, wishing you well and hoping you will post plenty of pics so we can follow your progress.
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Old 12-08-2022, 10:56 AM   #15
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Hi Doug!


I really admire your determined attitude!



Going with the B trend... Hope you have some Building Buddies to help get your skoolie road ready. I've got some help from talented friends it's made a big difference. Wish I lived close so I could help with some of it. Will be watching your thread for updates.



John
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Old 12-08-2022, 12:14 PM   #16
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Building Buddies

Thanks John,

I definitely do have some building buddies to help. I also have realistic (albeit quite optimistic), expectations of how this is going to go. We'll see how it unfolds . . . Hopefully it's fine.
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Old 12-08-2022, 05:15 PM   #17
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Posts: 23
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: 50's series Detroit
Congrats! I love that era for bus design, they are eye catching. That's great you have friends to help. I've been dealing with severe chronic illness during my build and wanted to let you know its totally possible. I'm also a single mother and sole breadwinner with no one helping me, haha. For me, living semi-nomadically is therapeutic (tent, minivan and 1979 motorhome previously) so settling down to do the build was the hardest part. What made it easier was thinking of it as my art project instead of a build. Since you are a musician that may resonate with you. I tailored my project to my needs and didn't necessarily build everything either- probably 50% of mine is Ikea. I'm bedridden a lot so I just worked when I could and those days I wasn't well I watched build or tour videos on Youtube. It's taken me quite a bit longer than I planned (I bought the bus in late 2019, got Covid March 2020, nevered recovered and currently have severe Long Covid). There were also the supply chain/shipping delays. Crazy things can happen like pandemics, war, inflation, health issues, etc. but just know you aren't alone, this lifestyle can actually be a wonderful answer to life's obstacles, it has been for me and a huge number of other people. There's going to be days it feels like it will never get done, but on those days just tell yourself to do *one* thing, even just something small, and that feeling of accomplishment will carry you forward. It's also ok to build as you go financially. I managed to get almost all of my building materials for free by posting about it on my local Facebook classified pages and people were excited to donate their leftover wood and even tools and appliances from their home improvement projects. Habitat for Humanity Restore is also my first stop for supplies instead a hardware store. I only buy new when I can't find it upcycled. Anyway, sorry for the ramble, just wanted to let you know I think its awesome you're overcoming so much and still following your dreams. You're going to inspire a lot of people in many ways!
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Old 12-08-2022, 09:51 PM   #18
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Engine: 6.5 Diesel
Good for you to be resilient in face of large obstacles!
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Old Yesterday, 08:44 PM   #19
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Thank you for your kind words, advice and for sharing your story. I need to hear these thing right now. My mind is going back and forth between elation and panic at the moment. Elation at the prospect of being in the bus and panic as I plan, research and come to terms with the amount of work ahead. Most days I'm excited and looking forward to it.

You inspire me to work it out and get it done, thank you.
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