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Old 05-28-2018, 07:08 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 15
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Chevy G30
Engine: 5.7L
Mom & Son short bus project

Hello! My 16 year old son Julian has dreamed about converting a school bus for years. When I was his age my dad and I restored a 1966 Mustang that we bought for $600, and I'm excited to do a similar deep-dive into this project with him. He originally wanted a full-size bus, but I've really encouraged him to consider a short bus for these reasons- easier for a new driver to drive, smaller project to complete, better gas milage (?), and plenty of room for one or two people. Please let me know if any of my arguments for a short bus are false-after looking at all the cool builds here, the 3/4 buses are looking awfully appealing too!

I have found a couple short busses to bid on in our home state of Kentucky- would love any input y'all have on them.
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...76&acctid=3933
https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2101408

I've been reading so much already on the forums and I have to say I think I may be bitten by the bus bug- has anyone built out two busses at once? (One for him and his young-adult travels, and one for the rest of us in the family?!)

We own a bagel and coffee shop in central Kentucky, any folks heading through on I-75, look us up for free breakfast in exchange for a bus tour!

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Old 05-30-2018, 01:06 PM   #2
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short bus or two

I am building a short bus. Mine is a 1954 ford. However I intend to use it as people hauler.

I think many people here have had more than one bus. Some of us more than one bus at a time... I would go as far as to say there are one or two people with than five each...... It can become an affliction.

william
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:16 PM   #3
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I'm a BIG fan of shorties.
I've had two. The one I've got now is pretty sweet. I do need to repair a few things but that's another story.

For a weekend camper, cruiser, daily driver, or whatever you can dream up a short FULL sized chassis school bus is hard to beat.
The ones based on van chassis are ok, but nowhere near as stout as a full size chassis.

Here's my lil bus-


With a 1/2 bus you get a whole lot more parking options than with a 40' behemoth. That's one BIG reason for me. I live in town and like to drive my bus to Lowes, Starbucks, or wherever.
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:39 PM   #4
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Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by BagelBus View Post
Hello! My 16 year old son Julian has dreamed about converting a school bus for years. When I was his age my dad and I restored a 1966 Mustang that we bought for $600, and I'm excited to do a similar deep-dive into this project with him. He originally wanted a full-size bus, but I've really encouraged him to consider a short bus for these reasons- easier for a new driver to drive, smaller project to complete, better gas milage (?), and plenty of room for one or two people. Please let me know if any of my arguments for a short bus are false-after looking at all the cool builds here, the 3/4 buses are looking awfully appealing too!

I have found a couple short busses to bid on in our home state of Kentucky- would love any input y'all have on them.
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...76&acctid=3933
https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2101408

I've been reading so much already on the forums and I have to say I think I may be bitten by the bus bug- has anyone built out two busses at once? (One for him and his young-adult travels, and one for the rest of us in the family?!)

We own a bagel and coffee shop in central Kentucky, any folks heading through on I-75, look us up for free breakfast in exchange for a bus tour!
Your first listed says unknown engine condition and electrical issues. I would pass on that. The second one looks like it's in better shape but mentions rust. I'd look closely at that. If you're completely stripping it down it can most likely be repaired.
The second one is diesel which most people prefer.
This one is also worth checking out:

https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...62&acctid=3597

It says Activity Bus so that most likely means it's geared for highway driving.
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BagelBus View Post
Hello! My 16 year old son Julian has dreamed about converting a school bus for years. When I was his age my dad and I restored a 1966 Mustang that we bought for $600, and I'm excited to do a similar deep-dive into this project with him. He originally wanted a full-size bus, but I've really encouraged him to consider a short bus for these reasons- easier for a new driver to drive, smaller project to complete, better gas milage (?), and plenty of room for one or two people. Please let me know if any of my arguments for a short bus are false-after looking at all the cool builds here, the 3/4 buses are looking awfully appealing too!

I have found a couple short busses to bid on in our home state of Kentucky- would love any input y'all have on them.
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...76&acctid=3933
https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2101408

I've been reading so much already on the forums and I have to say I think I may be bitten by the bus bug- has anyone built out two busses at once? (One for him and his young-adult travels, and one for the rest of us in the family?!)

We own a bagel and coffee shop in central Kentucky, any folks heading through on I-75, look us up for free breakfast in exchange for a bus tour!

welcome!!! and im a computer Geek / Coffee shop Enthusiast!! (I drink espresso and write code in coffee shops daily) i also happen to run through I-75 LOTS!! my busses arent converted as im more a "bus-geek" than the camping type. but would Love to stop, have a bagel and a cup of coffee.. both of my busses are shorties and when i show up you are more than welcome to take a spin to see what driving a bus is all about.. im also a former Hot-rodder. . never built a stang. but spent many hours on rainy nights turnin wrenches in the garage!!

-Christopher
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Old 05-30-2018, 09:18 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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We are new bus owners!

Thanks everyone for the welcome and replies! So fun to see the projects that y'all have going on!

I really appreciate all the thoughtful input. The bus is gonna be something that a new driver is going to be driving, so while I'd really like a "bigger" shortie for myself, I think the tiny one will be decent for him for now. I really am viewing this as our "starter" project.

I don't know how to reply to individuals on one post (need to review the FAQ's but wanted to reply before I head to bed), but I called and talked to the folks selling it and it turns out it's the headlights that don't work and the AC works intermittently that's the electrical issue. My dad is my "technical advisor" (he knows how to work on cars...) and gave us the go ahead.

So- we bought a bus! Won the auction tonight- gotta figure out how to post photos. My goal was to spend less than $1000, and we bid $1111 as our final bid, so while it probably wasn't a steal, I think it's a decent start. Looking forward to learning and sharing here!
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Old 05-30-2018, 09:25 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
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I think I figured it out...

It's an awfully "before" before photo!

Also BTW cadillackid our shop is Native Bagel Company in Berea, KY please do stop by anytime!

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Old 05-30-2018, 10:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BagelBus View Post

The bus is gonna be something that a new driver is going to be driving, so while I'd really like a "bigger" shortie for myself, I think the tiny one will be decent for him for now.
I think that's a pretty smart move on your part. As a brand-new driver with a learning curve, he's better off in a small van-type than a full-sized chassis shorty.
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:52 AM   #9
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Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
thats a GREAT bus!!! the drivetrain in it is just like a normal ole chevy van..probably a 350 V8. which parts are all over for, turbo 400 or 4L60 transmission.. easy stuff..

A/C is easy on those to work on too.. just like a regular Car A/C. great choice for a bus for someone who spent time working on cars, even though its GMC (I know you are a ford girl),.. just go buy some metric wrenches.. (darn GM)..



then go get some dual exhausts, a Big Cam, and wide wheels under the rear wells
-Christopher
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:23 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I have the same bus!! It's been highly reliable and incredibly easy to find parts for and work on. The downside is the fuel economy, but that's not the end of the world with cheaper gas prices we've had lately. Mine has 268,000 miles and is still every bit as trustworthy as when I bought it. Have fun with your build!!
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:37 PM   #11
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Yeah I purchased pretty much the same bus last year it's just a 91 GMC. The reliability, cheap parts, and any mechanic anywhere being able to work on it were my deciding factors. There's a small number of us that prefer gas. Welcome you guys.
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:21 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Cool, thanks for the kind words all! I think we will go pick it up early next week. Right now I'm diving into the small bus build threads- inspiring stuff!
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:26 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Talking Bus is here!

My husband, brother-in-law, and son drove 2 1/2 hours south and picked up the bus yesterday! It started right up and they drove it home. Runs great, needed brake fluid and air in tires, that's it. Delighted to see that interior panels are screwed in place- can't wait to get to work on it. Will post photos after we close the bagel shop today. We are so excited to embark on this project!
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:50 AM   #14
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You should look carefully at the brake system, it's a closed loop so if it was low on fluid it came out from somewhere!

Looking forward to photos and details!
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:00 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
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Engine: 5.7L
Yes, thanks brokedown, thats' definitely on the list. After spending some time under the bus today it also looks like a new muffler and tail pipe is in order! I'm posting a photo here of the bus before we did any work, figured I'd start a build thread for all our work photos.

*I'm having a heck of a time uploading photos, am usually pretty savvy online- followed the Photobucket instructions in the how-to thread, only to see that they are no longer allowed. When I uploaded to the site, creating a new photo album, they are all turned sideways and I can't figure out how to fix that- I've looked around for a current tutorial for how to do this but can't fine one- any links or tips?*
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BagelBus View Post
Yes, thanks brokedown, thats' definitely on the list. After spending some time under the bus today it also looks like a new muffler and tail pipe is in order! I'm posting a photo here of the bus before we did any work, figured I'd start a build thread for all our work photos.

*I'm having a heck of a time uploading photos, am usually pretty savvy online- followed the Photobucket instructions in the how-to thread, only to see that they are no longer allowed. When I uploaded to the site, creating a new photo album, they are all turned sideways and I can't figure out how to fix that- I've looked around for a current tutorial for how to do this but can't fine one- any links or tips?*
It's not you, the site is posting a lot of pics sideways.
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:05 PM   #17
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Looks like a cool little project. There are sizes for everyone. I think the small ones are great you can build a great one without breaking the bank. Like 01marc said alot of pics are loading sideways and I dont think the site will load photobucket pics. I couldn't get it to a while back. Keep us posted with a build thread.
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:25 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
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Alright, thanks guys that makes me feel better at least about my abilities on the computer!



Here is the work crew today, showing our progress- all seats out, side panels on their way out, and floor coming up- a good amount of work for our first afternoon!
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:28 PM   #19
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If you use the Tapatalk app on your phone, it makes it easy to add photos.

20180606_210723.jpeg
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:38 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
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Ok cool, I will download that app, I really prefer my laptop for this kind of forum so I can see all the photos and type faster, but I appreciate the tip, thank you!
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