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Old 09-25-2020, 10:46 PM   #1
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Hello from Northern California

Hello everyone,
I stumbled across this forum while doing research on converting a used shuttle bus to a camper. Iím not sure weíre going to do it as right now it seems like a daunting proposition, but I sure am intrigued by the idea and love all the conversions Iíve seen so far. I began by reading and watching videos about van life and was totally sold on that idea, but I think the size of a small shuttle bus would suit us better especially if we make an extended trip.

I look forward to spending some time here and hope to learn a lot.
Cheers!
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:26 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum! If you click on User CP in the upper left, you can fill out your profile details and then everyone will know where you're from and what kind of bus you have (once you get one).

Shuttle buses have their advantages and disadvantages compared to school buses. I can't honestly think of any advantages right now (they're generally shorter than full-size school buses, but there are school buses shorter than shuttle buses, and they have different windows which may or may not be a good thing) but others here will be able to. One disadvantage is that the bodies are generally made from fiberglass instead of the steel ribs and sheeting of a conventional school bus; this means they are not anywhere near as safe as school buses, and the fiberglass construction presents difficulties during a conversion.
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:40 AM   #3
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a couple things ive noted about shuttle busses of v arious manufacturers having ridden and driven them.


1. the van chassis gives you a driver door and a lower step-in. so for someone who may have a tough time climbing in and out of stairs constantly a shutt;e can ffer an easier experience when travelling for getting ion and out of the driver seat


2. shuttle busses ride and drive quieter than most school busses, less road noise and engine heat. the only thing close is an RE school bus


3. shuttle busses typically use smaller tires.. therefore generally less expensive tires.. many use 16 inch with the exception being some of the larger ones using 19.5" tires.



4. Air conditioning - pretty much all shuttle busses ocme with road A/C.. with some work even if you want to remove the rear ceiling unit you can make the standard car-like dashboard A/C work on its own for use while driving.



5. tall ceiling - most shuttle busses seem to hgave close to a 7 foot ceiling or higher depending on the model..



6. nicer windows - most shuttle busses have nioce tinted windows that in my experience leak less and seal tighter (and are larger) than school bus windows..





some other notes - to me a shuttle bus is a good choice for someone who is doing a somewhat minimal conversion and doesnt plan to alter the general structure of the bus.. many shuttles are built such that removing the inside fiberglass panels to add insulation will greatly compromise the structure of the bus.. taking out and skinning over windows on a fiberglass bus is going to take a bit more work than the nice easy square metal windows of a school bus..



I more see shuttles as a good choice for a weekend warrior or someone who will be on Hookups more than boondocked.. and isnt doing anything like roof decks or roof raise or attaching external structure (awnings etc)..



no doubt that a big metal school bus in my mind is much more accepting of heabvy modifications without compromising the structure.. so mounting overhead cabinets, awnings, roof decks, roof raise, changing the sidewall layout (skinning windows and cutting in new ones), etc.. a school bus to me is the way to go.. there is lots of metal to bolt and weld to that will actually hold things..
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:46 AM   #4
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That's a lot more advantages than I thought we were going to get.
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Old 09-26-2020, 10:03 AM   #5
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He's a positive minded kind of guy. We need more of that in this world ;)
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Old 09-26-2020, 01:14 PM   #6
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The question is really what is the advantage of a school bus?
They are cheaper, but not so much right now.
Able to get a 40ft one, which is an advantage only if you don't plan to really drive it much.
Able to put a roof deck on it, which btw, is just a bad idea in general.

There is no problem putting insulation on the walls in a shuttle bus, there is no reason to remove the very thin inner fiberglass layer.

It is cool to watch conversion that are done in minutes in a video, but that is not reality.
If you enjoy doing construction work, electric work, plumbing work, cabinet work, engine work, and making everything custom to your liking brand new, a great project you can be proud of. If wanting a camper, they sell them already made, and some are cheap you can simply fix and update, I always recommend a trailer in fact, rather than a bus or motorhome, tons of advantages to them, few downsides.

Where in NorCal?
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Old 09-26-2020, 04:06 PM   #7
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He's a positive minded kind of guy. We need more of that in this world ;)
I tried being positive once, but just like I expected it didn't work.
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Old 09-26-2020, 07:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Welcome to the forum! If you click on User CP in the upper left, you can fill out your profile details and then everyone will know where you're from and what kind of bus you have (once you get one).

Shuttle buses have their advantages and disadvantages compared to school buses. I can't honestly think of any advantages right now (they're generally shorter than full-size school buses, but there are school buses shorter than shuttle buses, and they have different windows which may or may not be a good thing) but others here will be able to. One disadvantage is that the bodies are generally made from fiberglass instead of the steel ribs and sheeting of a conventional school bus; this means they are not anywhere near as safe as school buses, and the fiberglass construction presents difficulties during a conversion.
Thanks for the welcome and tips.

So, I came to the shuttle bus idea from watching a couple conversions using shuttle buses. I really liked how large and boxy the interior space starts out being, and also the headroom. Again, I came from considering a van, so the shuttle seemed like a super sized van.

I did wonder about the structural support and went to two manufacturer websites about specific shuttles I had found to read more about their construction as that was a concern for me too. Like this one below, it specifically says ĎBody: Primed box steel frameí. I found the same thing for another shuttle called the Krystal Koach. I would think that a vehicle that is intended to be used specifically for numerous passenger transport as a shuttle bus would be outfitted with some rigorous body safety, even more so than a conventional C class RV. If I have misunderstood something about how they are describing this, please let me know.

https://www.tescobus.com/bus-for-sal.../#&gid=1&pid=3
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Old 09-26-2020, 07:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
a couple things ive noted about shuttle busses of v arious manufacturers having ridden and driven them.....
Thanks for your list. Those are all things Iíve noticed and that I like. The idea of doing a conversion is a bit formidable to me, but Iím encouraged by how many people start out saying the same thing and then do a beautiful conversion. I have also found a couple of nice looking shuttle buses where it seems the interior could be largely left alone if we just wanted to do a quick and dirty weekend warrior getaway van.

Another advantage is an actual sealing passenger door like in this Krystal Koach.

https://nationsbus.com/bus_inventory...-8l-v10/68545/

Some of the doors I see on the smaller older buses have a half inch gap running the full vertical length of the door which looks difficult to weatherize in any permanent way.

If a shuttle bus has a metal frame, though, couldnít you mount solar panels on it?
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Old 09-26-2020, 07:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
The question is really what is the advantage of a school bus?
They are cheaper, but not so much right now.
Able to get a 40ft one, which is an advantage only if you don't plan to really drive it much.
Able to put a roof deck on it, which btw, is just a bad idea in general.

There is no problem putting insulation on the walls in a shuttle bus, there is no reason to remove the very thin inner fiberglass layer.

It is cool to watch conversion that are done in minutes in a video, but that is not reality.
If you enjoy doing construction work, electric work, plumbing work, cabinet work, engine work, and making everything custom to your liking brand new, a great project you can be proud of. If wanting a camper, they sell them already made, and some are cheap you can simply fix and update, I always recommend a trailer in fact, rather than a bus or motorhome, tons of advantages to them, few downsides.

Where in NorCal?
Thanks for the bus advantages. Unfortunately, I am not interested in a bona fide bus for several reasons, mostly around size and storage thereof. I am hoping to get a vehicle that is small enough to fit in my driveway and not much larger than a Pleasureway for ease of maneuverability and potential boondocking (~23-25 foot length).

In a few years, we plan to retire and hit the road for some extended trips for a few years. I read a comment on another thread where someone offered the sage advice to just buy a Motorhome for those years of travel and to resell afterwards, and that is an idea (A good one, btw) that is still on the table.

However, the attraction and advantages to going custom is several, including that we can do a custom layout incorporating things like a garage that would cleverly store two electric bikes, and a dog friendly layout. Also, we donít need or want a black tank. So going custom would allow us to outfit it a little more intentionally.

Sure, there are some great trailers and even Motorhomes that have garages that could allow protected bike storage, but if weíre talking trailer, then weíre again looking at a vehicle combination way longer than weíre comfortable driving with, and the Motorhomes that have it donít really have a full door access the way a shuttle does either with the handicap access doors or with a full size rear luggage door. So thatís kind of how I arrived at the shuttle, but small school bus could also work.

Iím in the greater Sacramento area.
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Old 09-26-2020, 07:45 PM   #11
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Btw, I posted two other replies that arenít showing up yet (moderator approval), so hopefully nothing will seem out of context.
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Old 09-26-2020, 08:09 PM   #12
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You might see if user "Rucker" on here will let you look at his shuttle bus, he is in Sac area.
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