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Old 03-18-2019, 01:29 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 36
Howdy from Portland, OR!

Hey, all!

I've been lurking on this forum for a long time now, finding inspiration from all of your excellent build threads and pictures. I've had aspirations to go the tiny home route since the first Tumbleweed was profiled in (I think?) Modern Home in like 2001? Over the years my tastes have expanded and I started eyeing housebusses and housetrucks. The thought of living with a minimum of monthly expenses, in a small home by myself, picking up and moving around whenever I want, visiting and making friends around the country, is all very appealing to me.

I've gone through multiple floorplans and aesthetic styles in my search, started a couple pinterest boards, and been thinking a lot about the process. I know when it comes to it I'm going to have to at least do a roof-raise, but after reading Rolling Homes (1979 classic about housetrucks), I had the idea that I could just strip the bus down to the chassis and build up from scratch. I'm not as sold on that idea as I used to be, mostly for safety reasons, and extra materials. But I still don't want to be limited to the size and shape of the original bus. Right now I'm leaning toward this hybrid I just rediscovered in the same Rolling Homes book (with some modifications to the floorplan) - it's a bus up to the top of the windows, but looks stick-built the rest of the way up, and incorporates the original bus roof as well.

Anyway, I know I still have a lot to learn about the less-glamorous parts (plumbing and electrical), but there's a good chance that my bus will be the home I eventually retire in, so I want to make it count. I even already have a name for my future bus...

-indy
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Old 03-22-2019, 03:07 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 18


I'm in Portland as well. I'm also just looking at ideas and inspiration here and on Pinterest.

Happy Busing!
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:09 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
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Hey! Yeah, this board is a great place for inspiration. I've spent too many nights going down the rabbit hole of 100+ page build threads. But it'll be totally worth it when I actually do purchase a bus!

-indy
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:20 PM   #4
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Location: Portland, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Hey! Yeah, this board is a great place for inspiration. I've spent too many nights going down the rabbit hole of 100+ page build threads. But it'll be totally worth it when I actually do purchase a bus!



-indy
I'm sure I will do the same thing. There's another forum i used to frequent and I used to spend hours on there when my husband was deployed.
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:27 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Hey, all!

I've been lurking on this forum for a long time now, finding inspiration from all of your excellent build threads and pictures. I've had aspirations to go the tiny home route since the first Tumbleweed was profiled in (I think?) Modern Home in like 2001? Over the years my tastes have expanded and I started eyeing housebusses and housetrucks. The thought of living with a minimum of monthly expenses, in a small home by myself, picking up and moving around whenever I want, visiting and making friends around the country, is all very appealing to me.

I've gone through multiple floorplans and aesthetic styles in my search, started a couple pinterest boards, and been thinking a lot about the process. I know when it comes to it I'm going to have to at least do a roof-raise, but after reading Rolling Homes (1979 classic about housetrucks), I had the idea that I could just strip the bus down to the chassis and build up from scratch. I'm not as sold on that idea as I used to be, mostly for safety reasons, and extra materials. But I still don't want to be limited to the size and shape of the original bus. Right now I'm leaning toward this hybrid I just rediscovered in the same Rolling Homes book (with some modifications to the floorplan) - it's a bus up to the top of the windows, but looks stick-built the rest of the way up, and incorporates the original bus roof as well.

Anyway, I know I still have a lot to learn about the less-glamorous parts (plumbing and electrical), but there's a good chance that my bus will be the home I eventually retire in, so I want to make it count. I even already have a name for my future bus...

-indy

If you decide to built your bus conversion in this way make sure you keep within the front and rear GAWR and the vehicle GVWR. The addition of wood siding and framing can actually cause your bus to weigh more than if you were to use steel panels for siding and steel for framing.



You also need to keep the top below 13'6" to remain legal.


Good luck!
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:45 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Thanks, CowlitzCoach! I'll keep that in mind. I did know about the height restriction, and I think I can get what I want and still squeak in under 13.5'. Weight is definitely a concern, though, and I'm also trying to avoid getting top-heavy with the design.

To maximize the floorplan, I probably should go with steel beam supports for everything in the upper level (the walls, for sure), but is that any lighter than using 2x4s? I wouldn't think it would be, but I don't have any numbers for it. I do love the warmth and look of using wood, so I know at least I'll be using that for all the trim.

Ohregano: Do you remember the other forum you used to frequent? This is the only one I've found.
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Old 03-23-2019, 11:35 AM   #7
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Ohregano: Do you remember the other forum you used to frequent? This is the only one I've found.
The other forum was totally unrelated to Skoolies. It was for Cloth Diapers and similar topics.
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Old 03-24-2019, 02:19 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Ohregano: Haha! I remember checking out those kinds of forums when I was a new parent. Lots of anti-capitalism/off-grid ambition there too!

Do you have an idea yet for what kind of bus you want for you and your family?
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Old 03-24-2019, 04:11 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Ohregano: Haha! I remember checking out those kinds of forums when I was a new parent. Lots of anti-capitalism/off-grid ambition there too!



Do you have an idea yet for what kind of bus you want for you and your family?
Ideally we would like a 40ft, front engine, flat-nose. I've driven a few different styles of buses from 20 year old busses with hand door openers to brand new buses. Really any style would be fine as long as it's those first few requirements.
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:09 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
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Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Thanks, CowlitzCoach! I'll keep that in mind. I did know about the height restriction, and I think I can get what I want and still squeak in under 13.5'. Weight is definitely a concern, though, and I'm also trying to avoid getting top-heavy with the design.

To maximize the floorplan, I probably should go with steel beam supports for everything in the upper level (the walls, for sure), but is that any lighter than using 2x4s? I wouldn't think it would be, but I don't have any numbers for it. I do love the warmth and look of using wood, so I know at least I'll be using that for all the trim.

Ohregano: Do you remember the other forum you used to frequent? This is the only one I've found.

Steel weighs more per square inch but you will need considerably more wood to achieve the same strength as steel.



Have you seen the new metal studs that are being used in new construction? They look pretty spindly next to a wood 2x4 or 2x6. But structurally they are just as strong. They just weigh a fraction of a the wood.
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:17 PM   #11
Almost There
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 73
Year: 2007
Coachwork: N/A
Engine: N/A
Rated Cap: 21,000lbs
Hi There!

Also here in Portland (though my bus is currently on a farm outside Salem). I'm at the trying-to-get-the-demo-done-dammit stage of this adventure and really looking forward to getting to the build stage.

Welcome! This site is so helpful - tons of accumulated knowledge and helpful folk here
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:38 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 36
Ohregano: You're at least a couple up on me there, I've never driven a bus before. My GF was a metro bus driver for a while, so she's prepared, but I'm a bit nervous, especially with PDX's tight roads and numerous intersections. I'm planning on a 40-ft bus myself, is there a benefit to a flat nose front engine over an extended front engine? More floor space for the length, maybe?

CowlitzCoach: I have seen the metal studs, but yeah, they always looked really spindly. I'll have to look into them more, though - if they'll work for the load-bearing walls, pocket doors, and other bits I'm thinking of, it would be a good option to have!
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:41 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Hey, Ladybird_Bus!

Sounds like it's slow-going so far, but I'm interested to see what you're aiming for with the bus. It's a shame your bus is way down in Salem, that must make it hard to get out to it and make progress. Were you not able to find space closer than that, or is there another reason it's so far away?
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:56 PM   #14
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,364
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Ohregano: You're at least a couple up on me there, I've never driven a bus before. My GF was a metro bus driver for a while, so she's prepared, but I'm a bit nervous, especially with PDX's tight roads and numerous intersections. I'm planning on a 40-ft bus myself, is there a benefit to a flat nose front engine over an extended front engine? More floor space for the length, maybe?

CowlitzCoach: I have seen the metal studs, but yeah, they always looked really spindly. I'll have to look into them more, though - if they'll work for the load-bearing walls, pocket doors, and other bits I'm thinking of, it would be a good option to have!
You'll have around 5' more build space in an FE Flat front over a dognose of equal length. You just need to get used to the steer wheels behind you instead of 4' in front of you, easy after a few miles. Metal studs are fine.
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Old 03-25-2019, 01:12 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
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Thanks for the quick tips, o1marc! 5 extra feet would be pretty nice for my main floor!
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Old 03-25-2019, 01:19 PM   #16
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,364
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
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Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Thanks for the quick tips, o1marc! 5 extra feet would be pretty nice for my main floor!
37.5sf is huge in a bus design.
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Old 03-25-2019, 01:23 PM   #17
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Posts: 694
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladybird_bus View Post
Hi There!

Also here in Portland (though my bus is currently on a farm outside Salem). I'm at the trying-to-get-the-demo-done-dammit stage of this adventure and really looking forward to getting to the build stage.

Welcome! This site is so helpful - tons of accumulated knowledge and helpful folk here
Not to be nosey.... Does/would that farm rent space to another quiet skoolie? Is it a chill culture there (full of boring people), or a bunch of nutcakes (the fun ones)?
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Old 03-25-2019, 03:31 PM   #18
Almost There
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 73
Year: 2007
Coachwork: N/A
Engine: N/A
Rated Cap: 21,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Hey, Ladybird_Bus!

Sounds like it's slow-going so far, but I'm interested to see what you're aiming for with the bus. It's a shame your bus is way down in Salem, that must make it hard to get out to it and make progress. Were you not able to find space closer than that, or is there another reason it's so far away?
Hey!

Yep, painfully slow for this impatient girl ;)
Finding somewhere to work on it was maybe the biggest challenge so far. It's not legal to park it on the street in Portland (though some do get away with it in certain areas) and it didn't fit in the driveway it was intended for (said driveway had been 'measured' by someone else, who forgot to look up and take the eaves into consideration).
A kind friend with a farm offered me space and since her husband is VERY excited about this project, has a full shop of tools and seems super willing to lend a hand I couldn't pass it up. It is a long haul, but it's beautiful there and hopefully I'll be able to start staying in the bus in a couple months.
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Old 03-25-2019, 03:34 PM   #19
Almost There
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 73
Year: 2007
Coachwork: N/A
Engine: N/A
Rated Cap: 21,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
Not to be nosey.... Does/would that farm rent space to another quiet skoolie? Is it a chill culture there (full of boring people), or a bunch of nutcakes (the fun ones)?
I'm afraid not. It's just that they're friends and were really interested in my project. Sorry! I know how hard it is to find somewhere. If you're working on a bus in Portland you can look into Green Anchors in St Johns (often posting on craigslist). They rent spaces to tiny house and skoolie builders. No living on site tho.

If I had any land, I think it's pretty clear that you could make some decent income by providing space for skoolie owners.. the quiet, boring and reliable kind, that is ;)
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:05 PM   #20
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Posts: 694
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
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Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladybird_bus View Post
I'm afraid not. It's just that they're friends and were really interested in my project. Sorry! I know how hard it is to find somewhere. If you're working on a bus in Portland you can look into Green Anchors in St Johns (often posting on craigslist). They rent spaces to tiny house and skoolie builders. No living on site tho.

If I had any land, I think it's pretty clear that you could make some decent income by providing space for skoolie owners.. the quiet, boring and reliable kind, that is ;)
I'm looking for a community - hopefully "eco-friendly" - to live in. Bus will be done.

Buying that land is my next goal in life. My friend lived in a little town in the Wyoming mountains for 20 years. 20 years ago, people would say "you live THERE? WHY". After the economy collapse and housing crisis thing 10 years ago, the unaffected rich started quietly buying up all these places, and now the lots there are over $1,000,000, up from $10,000. The small airport nearby makes it possible for them to fly in and out....
Its getting like that everywhere. Get land while you can, it is going fast....
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