I'm new to the forum, but hope to be reading from you guys on the regular! I'm really stoked to see so many people so into these same ideas! I'll start by sharing a bit about myself and how I wound up here..
So not too long ago I decided to purchased a 1997 Dodge Ram B2500 Mark III conversion van. She's actually my first ever vehicle, found her about 100km away from our city and fell in love with the old, sweet girl. My girlfriend and I named her Bessy, fitting & accordingly.
The reason I went for the conversion van type vehicle was basically based on a few simple points that could have been made by any idiot, as I'm not particularly handy under the hood or know much about different makes and models (though I'm slowly learning). One of the biggest reasons we got the van being my girlfriend and I are both musicians, and in our eyes a big cargo-esque, carpeted van was perfect for us. It can store our equipment & instruments easily, accommodate seating for a 7-piece band, towing, and just all that stuff that makes touring so much more manageable. A couple other reasons being that we love to camp
and go on road trips (comes hand-and-hand with being a musician!) aswell as I'm a roofer and occasionally use her for work (storage, picking up the fellas in the AM, etc).
Now, initially the conversion van was great, and was a super fair negotiation between travel and comfort.
HOWEVER here I am today on a bus forum.. Well, I've been thinking a lot lately about modding out the van with more storage, solar panels, etc. Every time I try to convince myself to start the van dwelling I stop myself, and start this whole argument with myself
that I should just buy a better, "all-purpose" vehicle for my acquired tastes!
So that's sort of my introduction, but now onto the skoolie stuff!!
For my next vehicle I'm really interested in either a transit shuttle bus (maybe GM Express/Savannah or Ford E-350/450) or an old school short bus (like the GMC Vandura 3500 / Chevy G30 Bus or other Ford models). I was hoping to gain some more insight from you folks regarding pros & cons with shuttle vs school bus, and other general questions for starting my first build.
How do you find floor plans, prints, or any general mapping for your make and model bus? It would be super helpful for my planning.
Is it worth checking out brands of 'bigger' busses? Thomas? International? Freightliner? Or am I best off sticking with large cut-away van styles of short bus?
I'm a big fan of utilizing the roof space, whether it be storage for misc., kayaks, or throwing a couple sleeping bags up there to star gaze. Any advice on structual integrity or how to frame it up strong?
I'm sure I have 1001 other questions, but perhaps for another day or thread. Any and all info would be super helpful for a newbie skoolie-dweller.. Sorry for the novel and Thanks in advance, and hope to see you around the forum!
** I am from the east coast of Canada, if that makes much difference.