Hi all, been lurking for a few weeks, absorbing as much as possible. I so love builder/maker communities!
I am in the market for a shorty, ideally something close to 20í. I plan to live in it half time, the job I am after is in Durango CO and has a schedule of 8 days on and 6 off, with several longer breaks a year. The on days are in the backcountry, so Iíll want the bus to be as homey as possible, but drivability is paramount, as I want to spend my days off climbing, mountain biking and skiing. Iím considering a roof raise and bumping out the overcab space for a loft. I would do this with a timber framed interior structure of 4x4 hardwood with curved, glue lam ceiling joists, probably every 3 ft? Iíll look at boat plans, as I imagine a sailboat in rough seas has much greater forces on it than my bus ever should. I went to wood boat building school a while back and I want my interior to look like a yacht anyways
I think that I want a dog-nose, but they seem rare in such a short length, and perhaps a cutaway is cheaper to have worked on, as itís more similar to a truck/van? Tires especially? I am mechanical enough to watch YouTube and fix a lot of things, but my time, patience and tool budgets are limited. I definitely want diesel, and would love to have the ability for bio. In the size Iím after I only know the Cummins and PS 7.3 are great and the PS 6.0 and 6.4 are to be avoided. I know I should be after a manual, but I kinda want to be lazy, cruise control would be amazing! Any suggestions on what transmission to look for in a bus this size, would be much appreciated! I seem to mostly see transmission discussions for full sized busses.
I will be parking at climbing areas and dispersed sites mostly, so Iím on the fence about a toilet. I donít really want to give up the space, and I obviously donít mind digging cat holes... related to this, trailheads and crag parking lots are notorious targets of theft. Iím curious what steps others who live on their busses full time have taken towards securing their valuables and toys (bikes, skis, racks) Iím debating a security door between cab and living area, and artful, metal grates over the windows that I keep that can latch from the inside. Iíll also likely have a hidden safe for smaller things.
Power wise, for house power, Iíll have solar, probably detached on mobile stands. And will hook the alternator to house batteries, as I will likely put some decent miles on between sits, but in CO, Iím not worried about sun watttage. This will be my biggest challenge of the build, as I know very little about electronics, Luckily, I am a carpenter at a tiny home manufacturer, and have access to a wealth of off grid system design/install knowledge and help.
For heat, Iíll spray foam after removing panels, cover with wood, beadboard or t&g, and install a wood stove, suggestions here are appreciated as well. Iím debating auxiliary heat, maybe even just some electric, under-rug floor heaters. Dry heat is a must with ski gear, and Iím after that homey feel, so I wonít be talked out of the wood stove, but am open to suggestions for auxiliary options, since no bus-sized stove I know has an 8 hour burn time. Cold mornings arenít very homey
So, yup thatís most of whatís on my mind right now. Other than, has anyone seen anything about creatively repurposing the hydrolics on a wheelchair lift? Iím envisioning, a powered deck/awning lift, or maybe a gimbled (sp?) kitchen cabinet for indoor and outdoor cooking.