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Old 11-02-2020, 01:47 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: PNW
Posts: 2
Hello from the west coast :)

Hi there! I'm looking to help my partner build a bus for us to live on - right now we're in the "research research research" phase of things, and I've been checking out this forum a lot. Y'all are a very active community! With so much useful information floating around, I'm sure I'm going to want to ask questions sooner or later - so I thought I'd introduce myself now, and maybe get to know people a bit before I go begging them for advice.

About me - I live in the PNW area, I work in bookstores, and I'm (I think) a bit on the younger side for people on this forum. Normally I spend most of my spare time chatting with friends or tussling with people in the gym; this year I've been, uh, hiking. A lot. Retail is also starting to lose interest for me, so I've been thinking about heading back to school and studying something medical - if there's any skoolie nurses or people, well, schooling from a skoolie, please drop me a line! I'm very curious as to how folk manage to work with organizations while living a more nomadic sort of life. (I'm also a pretty private person, so that's all you get about my hobbies. )

Bookstore work also doesn't pay too well, so we're looking at a reallllly DIY sort of bus design - we have maybe a scant $15k saved up between the both of us, and we'd like to have any sort of savings at all left over after all this. Scavenging from our more construction-minded friends is going to be one of our staples, I think, and I'm always thrilled to hear about people who got windfalls of some material or another during their build. We're hoping to try and buy a bus before the next year! If there's any how-to guides or really useful threads for getting oriented that people would vouch for, I'm all ears - I have a little bit of carpentry experience, and my partner used to haul around semis for a living, but that's about all we've got going for us. There's a lot of information here, so I'd appreciate any and all pointers as to where I should get started.

Thanks for being such an active community - and to those who've successfully been living on a skoolie for years now, thanks so much for sticking around to show the rest of us how it's done! This is the first forum I've joined in nearly a decade, lol. I'm so glad to see that places like this are still around <3

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Old 11-02-2020, 02:06 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 2,449
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Where do you intend on living in it, as in how “self contained” do you need to be? Do you plan on moving around a lot? I see the nomadic nurse thing, which is totally a thing. You don’t even need to be a nurse. You can become an assistant with very little training g up front.

Where you are going to park will play into how much you need to spend. For instance, if it’s not much more than a single-wide with a motor that you’re going to park somewhere that you can hook up, then you can almost build like it’s a house, using materials from building reuse places and craigslist. And you might be able to pull off a livable space for $15K.

The more untethered you want to be, the more expensive it gets.

Good luck!
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Old 11-07-2020, 05:29 AM   #3
New Member
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: PNW
Posts: 2
We're thinking it'll mostly be in one spot - doesn't need to be very mobile, we're not travelers - but we still want it to be as "off-grid" capable as it can be, since we're cheapskates for paying rent + it's nice to have our independence. But I'm glad to hear that you've seen other nomadic nurses! Yeah, I'm thinking about the CNA license - near where I live, you can get one in just one quarter at a community college. Definitely an option on my mind

Thanks for the reply!
Joan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2020, 10:52 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,340
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30~Chevy cutaway
Engine: 5.7/350 Chevy Vortec
Rated Cap: Just me and my "stuff"?
Welcome to the site Joan & partner.

The first and foremost issue in starting a skoolie project is finding the "right" bus to convert.

That being said, one that is rust free or as rust free as possible is where you want to be. Many busses in the "PNW" area fit that bill.

Additionally you'll want one that has been properly maintained, mechanically. That is more difficult than the rust free thing to find, as some busses are sold with their corresponding lifelong maint. records, and some are not.

Many times the drivetrain "health" must be figured out on the fly. Test driving one is probably the best way to determine it's mechanical health. Some sellers might not allow that though, for one reason or another.

There is a literal wealth of information on the site to peruse before jumping in.
As long as you do your due diligence in pre buy inspections, you'll likely be okay.

Good luck, and post pics of what you find. Many good experienced folks here will likely help you in deciding if something is good, or something to pass on if you ask.
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