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Old 08-06-2022, 11:10 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 1
Just poking around, dreaming of the life…

Hello from Charlotte, NC!

I’m just getting started researching skoolies and other conversions to see if it is doable for me. I’m so intrigued by the nomadic life, and my cat doesn’t care where he is as long as he has food and a lap to sleep on. No worries there…

One HUGE problem is that I am a paraplegic and in a wheelchair. Not only am I unable to do the work myself, but I also need extra consideration in the design with more “bells and whistles” than the average user.

I am certainly aware the process will take a LONG time, and I think I have enough patience. It’s the matter of cost. It may end up that I am better off buying a used RV already adapted. We’ll see.

All that said, I’m happy to have found a forum where I can search for answers to my many question, and rely on the advice of those who have already “gone rogue”.

Thanks, Chiki Toka

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Old 08-06-2022, 12:55 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 802
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Rated Cap: just the 2 of us
welcome to this forum...a community of creative, helpful people who just happen to have missed the last bus to the loony bin.
I think there is at least 1 person on this forum who is also wheel chair bound...so hopefully he will chime in.
And perhaps while converting a bus, you will discover that you can do things that you previously assumed you could not.
Best of luck and now get busy and figure out what type of bus will best fit your needs.
Then be patient as you shop so you don't end up with a rusted heap.
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Old 08-06-2022, 02:03 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiki Toka View Post
Hello from Charlotte, NC!

I’m just getting started researching skoolies and other conversions to see if it is doable for me. I’m so intrigued by the nomadic life, and my cat doesn’t care where he is as long as he has food and a lap to sleep on. No worries there…

One HUGE problem is that I am a paraplegic and in a wheelchair. Not only am I unable to do the work myself, but I also need extra consideration in the design with more “bells and whistles” than the average user.

I am certainly aware the process will take a LONG time, and I think I have enough patience. It’s the matter of cost. It may end up that I am better off buying a used RV already adapted. We’ll see.

All that said, I’m happy to have found a forum where I can search for answers to my many question, and rely on the advice of those who have already “gone rogue”.

Thanks, Chiki Toka
Welcome to the forum and a fascinating project. I am just as interested in living off the grid as I am in being mobile. I feel strongly that (if done correctly) the DIY schoolie path is the better path. RVs simply are not built to last for full-time living like most schoolies are.

RV's are barely built to last occasional recreational use, and much of the damage is not in using it, it's simply in transporting it from one place to the next.

Without any hesitation or doubt, I would do a proper bus conversion with wheelchair access over an RV every time. I am also money-strapped, but this is a time for life-preserving priorities, not penny-pinching.

~~~

Sometimes RVs are cheap but they also don't last very long, so if you happen to get a good enough deal on an RV, I'd still be planning on it eventually failing and looking to do a custom schoolie as soon as you can afford it and sell the RV.

I suggest expanding your perspective, try to not let the fear of not having enough finances get in the way of important decisions. Time and positive spirits have a way of changing things for the better.

But if you go with an RV deal, it could cost twice as much within the first two years because of likely repairs and possible breakdowns.

~~~

This is your "house and home" and it protects the most important thing around,,, "you're life". Maybe consider spending a little more on your rig than you are presently thinking to reap the benefits of years and years of reliable service, instead of repair after repair and frustration after frustration.

Remember, when you are living mobile and you happen to break down in the middle of nowhere, suddenly having a more reliable vehicle becomes a must-have priority.

It's not just for the rich, you "need" something reliable. Let's just hope it's also affordable, or you will be taking on some debt. Local Churches like to help those in desperate need, and your need would qualify and "might" generate funds you are not expecting.

~~~

Don't forget the long term because if you don't, the short term probably will punish your long term. ;) It pays to plan the future out well. Bravo on taking on such a project. Wishing you the best!!!
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:12 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2022
Location: Dade City, FL
Posts: 77
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 32' Two peeps and a Dog!
T3 Para here

Hello Chiki,
My names Thomas, I'm a t3 Para. Currently in demo of my bus. We had an rv for a while. A toy hauler that we removed bathroom walls so I could transfer to the toilet and shower. Like the above posts explain rvs are garbage on wheels. Been there done that sold the camper and bought the bus.

I did a lot of reading and youtube prior to getting the bus. First off you'll need to decide how you use your bus. What are your goals? Grab a notebook and start writing. Do your research before you buy a bus. Know what your looking for, length, where you want your lift, engine and tyranny combo, stuff not easily changed. There's all sorts of options, shuttle bus, reg school bus, maybe you can find an mci with a lift. That's my next bus maybe lol

If you're looking for a school bus I'd suggest looking in GA. Georgia buses are typically pretty solid, mine is. I know it can be a crap shoot. But I looked and found a bus with all the maintenance records. While that alone isn't preventing my bus from taking a dump in 500 miles it does give me some piece of mind knowing it's full past and the all scheduled mainx was cw. If you poke around here for a bit there's months of reading that can help steer you to your dream bus.

As far as getting it done, I plan on doing as much as I can with the conversion. I was an aircraft mechanic before my injury and a construction laborer before that, architecture school after my injury. Now I'm getting a degree in sustainable food and farming. I can visualize stuff really well and I'm pretty handy. I've been around the disabled community for 15 years now, playing basketball, bowling, lacrosse, hsndcycling, wakeboarding. I have horses with my wife that I ride. I know every person's injury is different. I have no sensation no function below t3. If you " cant" then you are on the hunt for a builder. There are a few out there that could potentially do your build. Just as with anything else there are sketchy folks out there. So just be careful. But if you can, I'd try to do as much as you can it's really rewarding to rip all that crap out roll back and just look at the progress. It'll be even better once I'm past demo.

I'm building my bus because when it breaks I need to know exactly how to fix it and I can customize on the fly. I'm excited about the challenge. I plan on traveling solo with my dog on more than half my trips so I totally get figuring out all the little things that ABs don't have to worry about as well as how I'm going to move around the bus in the chair. Also I plan on pulling a toad. So if the bus breaks down or if I'm parked somewhere I can go to the store or a motel if the bus is in the shop.

I'm really excited to see you here! Hit me up in private message and we can really talk more in depth and I can answer any questions you might have and if I don't know I can send you in the right direction.

Some insta accounts of wheelies getting after it

Thefartherbus
Keepingitwheel306
And mine where you can see what I've done so far.
Tmartineau85
There's a few more I can't remember off the top of my head.
If you buy the bus on your own and not from a dealer you will save some cash. There are folks willing to look at buses for you if they live near them. I called a diesel mechanic in the same town the bus was in, payed him to do an inspection and oil analysis. Went with my wife to pick it up and drive it home.

Do not try and drive the bus with a set of universal hand controls. That **** is sketchy. Take the bus to whoever you get your vehicles done and have them put in a real set. Ask me how I know... lol

Hope to hear from you good luck on the new adventure!
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