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Old 04-07-2016, 04:12 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Scared and excited!

I'm a single mom from Ohio. I have been considering getting a bus for about 6 months. I really love the idea of taking on this project with my soon to be 13 year old son. Then i start to feel over whelmed. I believe traveling in a skoolie would be a life changing experience for both of us but is it really possible for someone with limited building skills and zero electrical or plumbing skills? Encouragement or reality checks welcome☺
Oh, I am a home health aid and would be bringing my client with us. She is really more family than client but i thought it is worth mentioning i have the blessing of being able to bring my job with me.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:28 PM   #2
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That's an interesting new angle on home health care. Sure you can do it. Just look at it in small steps, talk to people and keep your steps in the right order. Your son should be pretty helpful in this endeavor.
Welcome. There's a lot of information here.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:57 PM   #3
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Thanks robin97396

I started with my client/friend 22 years ago. I was 18 and she was 9. We've lived together before and have basically been together everyday for the last 22 years lol. Most home health aids are probably not in a position to hit the road with a client. We have vacationed together for years too. I really want to do this. I would love to be able to help other people who are handicapped or have a handicapped family member get out and go. Thank you for your encouragement.
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:13 PM   #4
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Considering the age of some of us here, we've got the bus already and probably should be looking for a nurse. Same idea but different driver.
This is actually a pretty neat way to live if you enjoy traveling that much of the time. I'm still looking forward to seeing how that goes as my build is just starting after wintering in this big metal box. A wood stove is the absolute best idea to keep things dry during the winters, if you can spare that much room.
Do you know what kind of bus you're looking for? You're about to be avalanched by suggestions by others. What are you comfortable driving?
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:16 PM   #5
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You CAN do it, you just have to really want it.
Just don't create any certain time you think you have to be done by, and go at it. Everything will take longer than expected and cost more than planned, but it can totally be done. The more hands on and eager to learn one is the better off, IMO.
Whats you location?
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:52 PM   #6
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Hi EastCoastCB. Wanting it is the easy part. I dream of doing it and spend hours watching YouTube on Pex plumbing and water tanks lol. My goal is to purchase a bus in the next few months. I'm not sure which type of bus would work best for my needs. I live in central Ohio, just north of Columbus. I would be thrilled if i got the bus this summer and was ready by next summer to head West.
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Old 04-07-2016, 05:59 PM   #7
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Robin97396 for now the bus would be for recreation and not long term housing. My son is in a really good school district and bus life wouldn't be possible in our current community. However, when he goes off to college i may transition to a full timer. Too soon to know if a woodstove Would fit among the other necessities. I was thinking of a propane heater but will need to research more.
I'm not sure what bus would be the best fit for me. I need space as most of the time there will be 4 or 5 of us traveling. My mom (71 years young) my client, my son, myself and sometimes my sons brother or his friend. Also I'll need a big bathroom for handicap access. Ir many people have a master bedroom in the back then a bunk room. I would sacrifice the bedroom for a large bathroom and have 4 bunks and a sleep worthy built n couch.
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Old 04-07-2016, 06:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mschleppi View Post
Hi EastCoastCB. Wanting it is the easy part. I dream of doing it and spend hours watching YouTube on Pex plumbing and water tanks lol. My goal is to purchase a bus in the next few months. I'm not sure which type of bus would work best for my needs. I live in central Ohio, just north of Columbus. I would be thrilled if i got the bus this summer and was ready by next summer to head West.
If WEST is you goal, get you bus out there. They have the good ones. I'd stay away from Michigan/Ohio area due to corrosion.
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Old 04-07-2016, 07:00 PM   #9
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So are you looking for a forward control (flatnose) or conventional? Rear engine (RE) or front engine (FE)? Some people like to go pretty fast on the freeways, others don't mind traveling a little slower. Some people find the forward control buses to strange feeling to drive, but they do offer the most floor space than a conventional bus.
Just interested in seeing where you mind is on bus type.
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Old 04-07-2016, 07:24 PM   #10
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Where I'm most concerned is air brakes. They freak me out a little, OK a lot lol. I am open to different bus types because i figure which ever bus type I end up with will be a learning curve. I have no bus driving experience currently. I like the idea of more floor space. Going fast is nice and all but not really the goal so if i sacrafice speed to get space it's okay with me.
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Old 04-07-2016, 07:32 PM   #11
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Dont let air brakes scare you.
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Old 04-07-2016, 07:47 PM   #12
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I sorry about needing an air brake license and where to get certified if i need to be certified. I've read some people saying they are really different than hyd brakes. I have also heard they need to be tested each time you drive. It all sounds so over whelming. Does your bus have air brakes? If so did you need an air brake endorsement on your license? Which state are you in?
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Old 04-07-2016, 07:55 PM   #13
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Scared and excited!

There are a bunch of introductory videos on YouTube. They will help to demystify the whole air brake system, and hopefully remove the fear.

Here is one:
http://youtu.be/PGFwVLEmhfI

Here is an US Army training video from 1967. It really lays it out plainly.

http://youtu.be/qJa5-_ExsBE
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:10 PM   #14
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Awesome. Thank you so much. This forum feels like a room full of friends! I feel so fortunate to have total strangers giving of their time to help.
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Old 04-07-2016, 08:19 PM   #15
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I was scared of air brakes too.. my last bus had hydraulic brakes... I JUST bought another Bus since mine was destroyed. . I spent alot of time reading about air brakes, how they work, and how to test them, etc.. and I even took the mock CDL tests for air brakes just to learn how they work...

I live in Ohio (columbus)... here in ohio if you have your bus Titled as an RV then you do not need to have a CDL to drive it.. even with air brakes.. ohio is one of the easiest states to title and register as an RV.

my bus is a short bus.. and I should have it in my posession in a couple weeks.. I am having it painted before I get it.. once I have it I'd be happy to meet up with you , and you can look at it, try out the Air-brakes if you like. even though my bus isnt the same type as you are likely looking for.. you can get the idea of what running a bus feels like...
-Christopher
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:25 AM   #16
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Keep in mind that there are many buses on the used market that have lift gates installed, should that be a concern for your client/friend.

One of the first things I did was to set up accounts on GovDeals.com and PublicSurplus.com and set up searches that emailed me whenever any new listing contained the magic words "school bus". Easy to do and it was where I got my first training in bus manufacturers' names, engine and transmission manufacturers and model names, what the various buses look like, etc. Depending on how new you are to this world, you might be a little overwhelmed by the vocubalary for a while.

Also, read a hundred or so bus conversion stories ("threads") on this site. The more total postings, the better the thread IMHO. You will end up knowing how and why you should remove all the old insulation, how to remove and replace windows, where to pound on your brakes with a hammer , and a myriad of other necessary life skills.

Good luck and welcome!
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:23 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I have been watching public surplus but was not aware od govdeals. I've read many of these post and some make me feel up to the challenge and others not so much. When my friend was in school her wheelchair lift was always going down on the bus and a substitute bus was called in. I prefer not to have another mechanical responsibility. I want to get a telescoping ramp for out the back of the bus. Thank you for taking the time to share some info with me. The kindness of strangers is so awesome. The idea of travel and don't a big project with my son if what drew me to doing a skoolie but finding this wonderful community may be the biggest draw yet!
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:47 PM   #18
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I understand your feeling as well, I have been reading a ton about buses, and looking at all the skill sets involved. I got a little note book to starting writing down key words to looking to. Helpful hints, tool lists really anything i found useful or wanted to research more into. I am still at the point of just research but this website has been great. I have yet to really post a lot. I hope to narrow down some fields of building and questions 1st. After 3 months I finally found a an example of a floor plan that i had imagined for awhile. It felt silly but i was super excited to see a live version of what i had tried to plan on paper. I have a lot of misc. building experience but never did something as large as a bus project. I plan to build my bus with an Boat style fiberglass and wood since i am most comfortable with it. But again only have done small projects. This summer I may tackle a stitch and glue kayak. Its something I have thought about a lot, and it would be great experience in learning to build something larger then car panels.

I guess my advice is don't rush your planning and learning. If you can find anyway to sample build a project that you can gain knowledge from go for it while you continue your learning and planning. Youtube and web learning does help a ton and lets you ask the right questions. But nothing compares to hands on testing of ideas. Plus you can make cheaper mistakes in small projects and have more confidence on your bus when you are ready.

just my two cents
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:59 PM   #19
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sample building is a great way to learn.. years ago I wanted to learn engine mechanics.. so I bought cheap old cars that needed engine work.. and moreso that had engines which were cheap to buy parts for... once i got a couple rebuilds under my belt.. and resold the cars so i could break even on parts or make a little, it paved the way for me to rebuild engines in cars i wanted to keep or be show cars.. or modify.. doing fix-up projects around your house or practicing woodwork and various adhesives,fasteners.. cutting, and fitting. with scrap woods, fabrics, plastics is a great way to learn on something before you build your actual bus that you will want to be done nicely..
-Christopher
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:14 PM   #20
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Great idea to start small. I get overwhelmed with the mechanics of it more than the building parts. Taking down the ceiling and putting up a new one with insulation may be a daunting task labor wise but the concepts i understand and feel confident about. Removing the bus heaters and refiguring the coolant lines I'm much less confident.
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