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Old 12-29-2017, 04:31 PM   #1
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Hello from Charleston, WV

Hi. I know very little about such matters so please forgive any stupid questions.

I don't have a bus--yet--and am only toying with the idea. If I were to get one, it wouldn't be for full-time living (where would I put the piano?), but rather for travel. I've looked at RV's and most have lots of "bells & whistles" I neither want nor need, and many lack features I do need, or at least want. Hence, the idea of converting a vehicle, either a school bus or perhaps something like a U-Haul or Ryder box truck. (Would the latter fall within the purview of this board, or would I have to look elsewhere? And, if so, where?)

The thing is, I am the world's greatest numpty when it comes to tools. If I tried to convert one myself, I'd probably end up cutting one or both of my thumbs off. Are there companies one could do the conversion for me?

Thank you.
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:37 PM   #2
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You can do it. No one can do it better than you.
There are companies but their prices are silly.
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:42 PM   #3
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I appreciate your confidence, but really, I know my own abilities.
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:45 PM   #4
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perhaps something like a U-Haul or Ryder box truck. (Would the latter fall within the purview of this board, or would I have to look elsewhere? And, if so, where?)
That would be a Truckie.

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Originally Posted by Roberta's Man View Post
perhaps something like a U-Haul or Ryder box truck. (Would the latter fall within the purview of this board, or would I have to look elsewhere? And, if so, where?)

The thing is, I am the world's greatest numpty when it comes to tools. If I tried to convert one myself, I'd probably end up cutting one or both of my thumbs off. Are there companies one could do the conversion for me?

Thank you.
This is why you were born with TWO thumbs.

Tell us what State you would keep this, how many people, how tall, pets, budget, timeframe and favorite colors.

We will help point you in the direction to finding a bus that suits you. It sounds like you should get completed or partially completed bus to skip steps.
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:46 PM   #5
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I appreciate your confidence, but really, I know my own abilities.
Honestly I'd just jump in and do it. You should see what some folks have done completely alone and with zero experience. Both men and women.

A company will charge you something like 40 grand for something you'll still end up having to work on.
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:07 PM   #6
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This is an experience that you can do yourself. Few here have had a lifetime around buses. It's a learning experience, and in that you'll be able to fix just about any aspect of your bus.

Put it this way, if you're good at taking photos of the problem in question and putting them on this site, someone will try to help you solve the problem. It's more fun than you'd think.
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:16 PM   #7
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This is an experience that you can do yourself. Few here have had a lifetime around buses. It's a learning experience, and in that you'll be able to fix just about any aspect of your bus.

Put it this way, if you're good at taking photos of the problem in question and putting them on this site, someone will try to help you solve the problem. It's more fun than you'd think.
I know my limitations. If I should try a conversion on my own, I'd be a danger to myself & others. I've tried DIY projects before and more often than not have ended up paying someone who knew what he was doing more to re-do it right than it would have cost to have him do it from the beginning.

If doing it myself isn't an option, and hiring it done would be cost prohibative
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:35 PM   #8
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A lot of people have someone do key elements of their builds. As you know, most of the work is manual labor anyway. It's easy to hire someone to make sure specific points are right and still not blow the budget. Others have done it, or are doing it. You could learn to do all that here, in little baby steps. That's what it feels like. Lots of baby steps. Pretty soon you're over your head in bus with the end in sight. It always seems to cost a little more than we're expecting, but that's all a matter of choices.

Basically we're betting we can get you through a bus build if you want to do that. One little step at a time. You can do everything yourself, and it is always hardest the first time. I think most of us have put a little blood into our buses during the sheetmetal removal process. Or was it just me?

If you've got the time and the will you can build your bus with the help of people here. Then you can fix anything on your bus. It's good to know how to fix it.
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:46 PM   #9
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Honestly I'd just jump in and do it. You should see what some folks have done completely alone and with zero experience. Both men and women.

A company will charge you something like 40 grand for something you'll still end up having to work on.
Hmmmm. . . .$40K+the cost of the bus. That would still come out less than a manufactured Class A or Class C motorhome.

Honestly, people, I appreciate the encouragement, but I know my limitations. I flunked shop in HS, for crying out loud!

Or, perhaps, I could look into buying something someone else has converted? I see that there is a 'for sale' section on the forum.
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Old 12-29-2017, 11:19 PM   #10
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That's certainly an option. There are some really nicely done conversions available.

Still, at some point you are going to need repairs. Say you're out camping somewhere and something breaks. It's good to know how to fix things, even if it's just temporary fixes. It can make the difference between a weekend without a toilet or a weekend with a private throne.

You hang around here and you'll start learning things. Pretty soon you're going to get a few tools. Before you know it you're fully addicted to buses and planning what you'll do differently on your second bus. We've seen it happen before.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:07 AM   #11
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Hmmmm. . . .$40K+the cost of the bus. That would still come out less than a manufactured Class A or Class C motorhome.

Honestly, people, I appreciate the encouragement, but I know my limitations. I flunked shop in HS, for crying out loud!

Or, perhaps, I could look into buying something someone else has converted? I see that there is a 'for sale' section on the forum.
Get a truck and a travel trailer. You'll come out way ahead.
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Old 12-30-2017, 02:28 PM   #12
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Having to had fix other people's mistakes on semi trucks , I agree with eastcoastcb look at other options , there is nothing wrong with knowing your limitations.
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Old 12-30-2017, 02:49 PM   #13
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Realistically, no matter what you decide to purchase,new, used, someone elses conversion, you still need a lot of basic knowledge to maintain your investment. Your life depends on not getting stuck miles from BF Idaho without a clue what to do next.
I think use of tools is a priority but so is the knowledge of what and how to tackle problems.
You seem brutally honest about your abilities but are you opposed to learning for your own survival? Deep pockets only gets you close, sometimes it's not about the money.
I see far too many on here that probably shouldn't do this bus thingy but I don't think they see the bigger picture. Just lots of dreams of getting away from it all or no, lower rent. Can't imagine any more than 2 comfortably in a big size bus comfortably. I am alone and wit 30 ft behind the driver's seat, it is tight for even considering fulltime. There is just so much you can and can't do without so think this over really good.


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Old 12-30-2017, 03:56 PM   #14
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OK, here's the situation. It would be just me, or perhaps one other person. I wouldn't be full-timing, just using it for vacation trips, and seldom into the back of beyond. I think a converted short bus, the kind school systems use to transport the 'special' kids would be big enough?

I'd need a bed--either a double or a long twin, as I am 6'1"--toilet/shower (a composting toilet is a little to 'granola' for me--either a pump-out or a Theford cassette)--and a very basic kitchen (sink, small refrigerator, and counterspace. A stove/oven is optional, as I could use a hotplate, kettle, and toaster oven to do most of the cooking. Some sort of table to sit and work my computer. Shore power option. City water option not so important--I can always just keep my tank full--but would be nice. Solar--either panels on the roof or a place to plug them in--would be nice, but not essential; if not, I'd need a generator, and perhaps even with, depending. Fuel could be either gasoline or diesel. An automatic transmission is a must; I don't know how to drive a stick. AC/heating. Bicycle rack on the back for local transport. Anything else I'm missing?

If I were to go the 'used' route, how much would be reasonable to expect to pay for what I'm describing?

I should mention that whatever I do, I'm in no position to do it now as I am 'between opportunities' right now. Several of the jobs I'm looking at require some travel, and my main reason for wanting to get something is so that I wouldn't have to stay in motels, which I don't like. Currently I don't own a car; I get around on bicycles or when that's impossible on my motor scooter; hence my reluctance to get both a trailer AND a truck.
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Old 12-30-2017, 03:58 PM   #15
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Get a truck and a travel trailer. You'll come out way ahead.
I don't like the idea of having two vehicles to fool with.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:16 PM   #16
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Just a note to say that, properly built, the "granola" toilets are less smelly, cheaper, easier to empty and more environmentally friendly than any black tank or Thetford Cassette.

Just sayin'

Oh, and they have zero splashback, the girls love them.
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Old 12-30-2017, 06:44 PM   #17
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Just a note to say that, properly built, the "granola" toilets are less smelly, cheaper, easier to empty and more environmentally friendly than any black tank or Thetford Cassette.

Just sayin'

Oh, and they have zero splashback, the girls love them.
The latter consideration is of small concern to me, being a confirmed bachelor with no sisters.

I will say that a composting toilet wouldn't be a dealbreaker if I liked the vehical as a whole.
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:48 PM   #18
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I don't like the idea of having two vehicles to fool with.
Only one vehicle, and one trailer. Much easier to maintain, as you can just take that truck or van or whatever you tow with to your mechanic of choice. Get tires and oil at walmart, even.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:11 PM   #19
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Only one vehicle, and one trailer. Much easier to maintain, as you can just take that truck or van or whatever you tow with to your mechanic of choice. Get tires and oil at walmart, even.

The truck is one vehicle, and the trailer is another---separate licensure, separate insurance. Also, having an articulated rig like that is a nightmare for navigation, particularly if you are off the highways. And what would I do with a truck when I'm not pulling the trailer? I don't need it to go to work, shopping, church, etc.--all of that is quite in range of my bicycle and in a pinch my scooter. The few times I need a big load for my garden or house, I can rent or borrow a van or pickup---I don't do that often enough to make one necessary.

What I really would like is a Class B motorhome, but none of the dealers around here carries Class B's. That's why I'm thinking of a bus or truck or ambulance conversion.

But I get what you guys are telling me. It is economically unfeasable to hire the conversion done, and I'm not mechanically inclined enough to do the conversion myself. So I should forget the whole idea.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:23 PM   #20
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I think he was attempting to point out a simpler way to achieve your goals. You don't seem to want to work on a bus, and it would be somewhat expensive to have the work done for you. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

I'm curious to know if you've looked at any of the recent listings of already converted buses that have been listed here lately?
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