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Old 02-22-2015, 11:08 PM   #21
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You mentioned that you don't like linear or hallway kitchen layouts. Maybe you're wanting a U or L shape..? Both could go in the back of a front-engine bus, but probably wouldn't work so well in the back of a rear-engine.

I had a front engine bus for 700 miles. I sold it because I found the engine noise and heat to be objectionable for my purpose (family vacations). It sounds like your bus would be mostly used stationary and you'd usually travel alone though, so you might easily handle noise and heat with ear plugs, cool weather, and an open window.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:31 PM   #22
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What I have planned is very similar to what you can see here. With my sink where they have the stove, and my stove top where the smaller part of the L shape is - so that it faces my living room area. Then an eye level oven and the fridge on opposite sides facing each at the other end...like behind you if you were taking the photo there. This layout could also work at the front of the bus facing the back...depending on where the wheels are in respect to plumbing needs.

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Old 02-23-2015, 12:04 AM   #23
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There also may be some youtube videos that may show something helpful.
I took that advice. Previously I had only looked at conversion videos. I looked at some bus for sale ones this time. And also looking closer at that photo that "family wagon" posted... I actually hadn't realized before how much the engine compartment protrudes into the interior space. Looks to me like you loose about three feet of your interior space, with a rear engine.
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Old 02-23-2015, 12:07 AM   #24
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Oh, could someone tell me the door frame height of the rear emergency door? You know, head clearance there...on a front engine bus with the emergency door in the center of the back.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:43 AM   #25
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I'm nearly six feet tall and the door is about a foot shorter than me.
I think the front engine layout is best but that's what I own. So of course its the best!
I like having the side and rear doors. And I don't notice loud noises. The engine cover can be insulated and covered. Everything has its solution!
I started out wanting a rear engine bus, but found much better deals on front engines. I'm all about the bottom line, like yourself.
Another advantage of the front engine is that the wheelbase is tighter giving a better turning radius. That is a big deal for getting around in parking lots and camp grounds.
Personally I think the "noise and heat" aren't too bad. Mine is even missing the seal. But I've been working in loud shops and driving heavy equipment for most of my adult life.
You sound like you're really determined and independent. You're gonna love the skoolie life! Whatever you do, make sure you're really happy.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:16 PM   #26
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I'm nearly six feet tall and the door is about a foot shorter than me.
Cool, I'm only 5'3" so that might be tall enough. A little duck wouldn't bother me much, and I gave up dating tall men when my neck problem started. LOL

I'm contemplating turning my whole floor layout around. My plan was to have the living room area in the very front, kitchen open to that and just behind it, bathroom behind the kitchen and then the bedroom in the very back. With a front engine, I was thinking maybe flip that and use that back door for the front door...have a deck off it. I'm picturing taking off that emergency door and making something reminiscent of a hobbit door.

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The engine cover can be insulated and covered. Everything has its solution!
Yeah, I restored a 64 Beetle once and dealt with that.

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I started out wanting a rear engine bus, but found much better deals on front engines. I'm all about the bottom line, like yourself.
Right now that's all I'm finding - front engine flat nose and dog nose.

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Another advantage of the front engine is that the wheelbase is tighter giving a better turning radius. That is a big deal for getting around in parking lots and camp grounds.
Personally I think the "noise and heat" aren't too bad. Mine is even missing the seal. But I've been working in loud shops and driving heavy equipment for most of my adult life.
I was a heavy equipment operator for a few years; the sound isn't something that's likely to bother me. The tighter wheel base concerns me just a little, because of the swing radius then of that behind the rear wheels. But I had proper training when I got my CDL and am a careful operator.

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You sound like you're really determined and independent. You're gonna love the skoolie life! Whatever you do, make sure you're really happy.
That's what they tell me - determined and independent...and always up to something. LOL
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:34 PM   #27
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I had a mid-80's Thomas conventional in my younger years, briefly. It was ok, but it just didn't maneuver like this Ward I have now.
Since you're not planning on driving a ton of miles that may not be a big concern.

I still have my first car. A 66 beetle.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:41 PM   #28
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Say, I was watching this YouTube video of a guy showing a bus he just bought, and he was saying that one reason he chose the Thomas over a Bluebird at the same auction was because the Thomas has 3/4" marine grade plywood on the floor (on top of the metal). Is that really a Thomas versus Bluebird thing? Or was it maybe just a difference of years of buses he was looking at?
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Old 02-24-2015, 05:47 AM   #29
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no it isn't.. honestly he was probably just a bit ignorant.
Its not really a big deal. I definitely wouldn't buy a bus simply based on the presence of factory flooring. A good number of us rip that out anyway.
Are you talking about "no pain dave" on Youtube?
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:56 AM   #30
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Quote:
Thomas versus Bluebird thing
I think it's probably more likely a "what the original purchaser" ordered it with thing.
My Bluebird has marine plywood over the metal.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:32 AM   #31
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Hi Misi-
I used to dwell in Lawrence, KS, and when there, they had a fairly nice bus dealer- Midwest Bus, if I remember correctly. They might still be around...
I ended up winning a bus off of EBAY, and picked it up in N. Dakota. It was sold to the person I bought it from by Harlow's Bus Sales- a wonderful operation, imo.
Anyhow, I thought I'd throw that out there.
Also, there are a few different packages offered in the bus world- climate being a big factor. One great thing I like about school buses from the cold Northern climes, is that they all have a Winter package- more insulation- in the walls & floors, block heaters, and sometimes even a cold start ether injection system (be careful with ether, though, you can really screw up your engine if you don't know what you're doing).
Best of luck to you in finding the right bus. The whole process is one great time, that I wish was shared by more!
Cheers!
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Old 02-24-2015, 07:13 PM   #32
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That looks like a nice layout for full-time living. For your use, and especially considering the availability of front-engine buses, FE seems like a great choice!

Depending on how you feel about stairs eating up your interior space the entry through the rear wall might be a really nice design. You could build stairs that mount on the outside of the bus and remove, flip up, etc for travel. I think rear entry sounds like a great idea, especially if you want to have some "living room" sitting area for guests just inside the door. That layout could make the whole thing novel, yet familiar to new guests.

Double-check that rear emergency door height. Maybe it varies among brands and years. The emergency door on my former 1991 Blue Bird front engine flat nose was the same height as the side windows. The opening must have been around 48-54 inches. I'm about six feet tall, had to bend over a fair amount to walk through, and at least once scraped my back on the top of that doorway. Ouch!
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:09 PM   #33
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no it isn't.. honestly he was probably just a bit ignorant.
Its not really a big deal. I definitely wouldn't buy a bus simply based on the presence of factory flooring. A good number of us rip that out anyway.
Are you talking about "no pain dave" on Youtube?
It was "no stress Mike" ...probably the same person. He did not strike me as very knowledgeable. I kind of look at it as, if it's in good shape then I would (presumably) already have a surface suitable for flooring without spending on plywood, BUT if it has had any moisture to it then there is probably surface rust on the metal beneath it. So it could be good or bad. Why do some rip it out? Damage?
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:18 PM   #34
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Hi Misi-
I used to dwell in Lawrence, KS, and when there, they had a fairly nice bus dealer- Midwest Bus, if I remember correctly.
Also, there are a few different packages offered in the bus world- climate being a big factor. One great thing I like about school buses from the cold Northern climes, is that they all have a Winter package- more insulation- in the walls & floors
As I've mentioned, I'm avoiding dealers so that I can buy as cheaply as possible. I pretty much have to buy at no more that $3,500.

I did not know that about winter packages though, thanks.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:24 PM   #35
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I think rear entry sounds like a great idea
Excuse me while I roll around laughing for the next several moments. I had envisioned the necessity to put some sort of sign on the front door to direct people who came knocking...now the whole thing is made HILARIOUS! Oh the signs I'm seeing in my head! LMAO
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:34 PM   #36
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Depending on how you feel about stairs eating up your interior space the entry through the rear wall might be a really nice design. You could build stairs that mount on the outside of the bus and remove, flip up, etc for travel. I think rear entry sounds like a great idea, especially if you want to have some "living room" sitting area for guests just inside the door.
I'm not understanding how stairs in the rear would eat up interior space but...
What I have in mind is a couple of different options. One, if I could get away with it as far as maximum length of vehicle allowed on the road, would be to have additional steel frame welded onto the rear making a porch...stairs that would flip up onto that for travel. Another would be essentially the same thing but really just a frame, that either flips up or is removable, with removable decking boards. My floor plans allows for about 8 feet of living room space.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:35 PM   #37
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Yeah, I kept seeing notes about automatic tire chains. I have no idea what that is but I picture tire chains hanging in the fenders waiting to be deployed at the touch of a button. Yikes.
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Old 02-24-2015, 09:37 PM   #38
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That's pretty much exactly what automatic tire chains are.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:23 PM   #39
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Well, prices are different everywhere, but I just bought a '93 FE Amtran Genisis for $2500- marked down from $3200. It was from a dealer- Harlow's. They were eager to clear out some of their older stock, and I got a sweet deal, imo. It needs nothing (yet), and I don't really foresee it needing anything in the immediate. It starts great, runs great, stops great.
Anyhow, just thought I'd suggest it again, because not all dealers are crooks.
And if you're able, try and look up Midwest Bus. I was seriously considering a bus from them. They had many to choose from, and were willing to make a deal- I just happened upon a better deal. If you sweet talk the mechanic that services the buses, you could likely get him to point you out to a choicer bus!
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:00 AM   #40
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It was "no stress Mike" ...probably the same person. He did not strike me as very knowledgeable. I kind of look at it as, if it's in good shape then I would (presumably) already have a surface suitable for flooring without spending on plywood, BUT if it has had any moisture to it then there is probably surface rust on the metal beneath it. So it could be good or bad. Why do some rip it out? Damage?
Some of us rip out everything to rust proof and/or insulate.
The "northern insulation" is probably just fiberglass batting. Not really worth much.
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