I just joined because this seems like a good connection to a lot of experience and information. I recently bought a minimally converted step van with a 4 cylinder Cummins diesel in it. It isn't a school bus, but all the conversion details will be the same except for not having to deal with a curved ceiling. I won't even be getting the van home until the snow melts in the spring.
I have some useful exprience having lived on a 35' boat for a couple years, lived in a converted (Boyertown) post office van for a while many years ago, and used school buses as moving vans a couple of times. I discovered that I could drive a school bus more hours in a day before getting tired than I could in a car. My guess is that it has to do with posture and better visibility.
I have also converted an off the lot, 12' X 32' storage building into comfortable living space with shower, composting toilet, wiring, and kitchen.
The step van was a bit of an impulse buy and I don't have any exerience with diesel engines. I guess the first steps will involve cleaning it out, servicing the vehicle, and doing enough driving to be convinced that the van is good enough to warrant the time and money to do a serious conversion. I think it is an 18' van and I have decided that I really don't want to drive a bigger rig.
Looking forward to the benefit of all the insights and experience I'm finding here.
Welcome for sure!
Nice van for you considering your lifestyle now and in the past in smaller spaces.
Get the mechanical headaches out of the way first so you know it has good front end, brakes, tires, exhaust etc.
You will know if it's going to be good when you drive it and get more used to it.
Great possibilities,....lucky you,
It is aluminum, this is why I thought it was worth a gamble. No sign of current or prior leaks. It was a Frito-Lay van in a former life. More recently it has taken people across Maine to go fishing. Thus the canoe racks on top. I will do some touch up painting pretty early in the process. Rear bumper not as classy as the front.
Nice snag! And that little all mechanical 4BT came in a very WIDE range of HP/Torque ratings. Check yours out on Cummins QuickServe website for all the original build data. Another nice thing about B series Cummins is that they are cheap & easy to turn the power up on. About 220hp with no parts needed and an easy 250 with a 3000 rpm governor spring. You can take it much higher but that will call for a few parts (still dirt cheap compared to any other engine).
A little tired around the edges, but looks like good bones. My Dad had an old step van we used to use for camping. Came from a fish market, so we called it the "fish truck" and it did have large fish painted on the side. Lucky for us it did not smell of fish.