Hello! New Skoolies from St. Louis!
Hello! I'm Ken. I'm from Southern Illinois, just outside of St. Louis. For as long as I can remember my youngest daughter has wanted to convert a short bus into her own little RV. With all the lockdowns, we had to forego our summer vacation plans. Here's our plan to make the best of it!
After following auctions all across the country for months, I ended up finding the perfect conversion candidate last week by accident at a small-town bus yard just 20 minutes from my house! Within 24 hours, our new Thomas 4-window handicap short bus was in the driveway and the conversion was underway. This beauty is on a 2003 Ford E350 van platform with a well-running 7.3L Powerstroke (139,000 miles) and surprisingly little rust.
The goal is to have it gutted and built out in time for my daughter to drive it off to college (Southwest US) in August. She'll be staying in the dorms at school, but she wants the option to do some off-grid camping on weekends (and also have a private place to retreat to when she's stressed out). We'll do a couple local shake-downs, and she'll be "living" in it on the back 40 this summer.
So far we've got the seats out and cabin cleaned it up a bit. We still need to rip out the rear A/C, diesel-fired bus-heater, and the wheel chair lift. I'm curious, is any of this worth trying to sell, or is it all just bound for the scrap yard? Also, I'm very much on the fence on pulling the floors. I keep reading how much surprise rust is found under the plywood, but the underside of this thing is in amazing shape. I almost don't want to tear up the plywood just to put new stuff down. I'm sure I'll have a million more questions over the coming weeks. For now, I'm just diving down one rabbit-hole Skoolie thread after another here and loving every minute of it!
Ken (a.k.a. Fat Boy)