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Old 04-30-2019, 08:11 PM   #1
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To Skoolie or not to Skoolie....

Hello,
I am teetering between building a step van for a small regional tour rig for my band (carry three members, three crew, space for gear and 6 bunks...) Or build a Skoolie for that same purpose.
After the band days are done, if the rig isn't spent, I can renovate it to a modified rv for me and the wife.
I am hesitant on the Skoolie bc of the high floor height. But I think I wouod do much better on the highway.

Any suggestions would he welcome!
Thanks!
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:55 PM   #2
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Step vans are typically much louder inside. Drafty and cold too.
If you live in the sunbelt?, you could rule out being cold.
The bus will likely take longer to convert, due to seats and flooring, etc., that might need to come out. But that all comes down to how far you decide to take it...
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:02 PM   #3
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Skoolie devotee that I am, you might slip through all the insurance hoopla more easily with a stealthily converted box truck than with a skoolie-- though a skoolie would be way cooler.
Jack
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:16 PM   #4
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Step vans are typically much louder inside. Drafty and cold too.
If you live in the sunbelt?, you could rule out being cold.
The bus will likely take longer to convert, due to seats and flooring, etc., that might need to come out. But that all comes down to how far you decide to take it...
I should have said that I am aware of the loudness factor (will be heavily insulated) and the boxy nature of the step van aside, I am more concerned about driving something all day at freeway speeds. I have heard that busses are geared better for that. And I know that comfort is a point to, so I'd be doing away with the stock driver seat asap too.
But most school busses aren't for freeway use - at least the ones I've seen. They are for sub-50 mph, driving around to pick up kids.

So really, which is better suited for hauling @$$ down a freeway for 8-10 hours at a time?
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:17 PM   #5
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Skoolie devotee that I am, you might slip through all the insurance hoopla more easily with a stealthily converted box truck than with a skoolie-- though a skoolie would be way cooler.
Jack
Yes, stealth would be key... Point to the step van side
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:21 PM   #6
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seems a skoolie would have a lot more room, plus if you get one with a wheelchair lift, the floor height may not be as much of an issue, just some thoughts.

Oh another thought, you can even paint it like the Partridge Family.... since it is a band bus
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:29 PM   #7
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My personal taste says a box van is only big enough for 2 people max. No matter what you get you will be driving a big truck, there's not much difference between them once you get used to it. My theory is you never have enough room, or enough now, but won't be long before you want more. So get one size bigger than you think.
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:48 PM   #8
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And I know that comfort is a point to, so I'd be doing away with the stock driver seat asap too.

You may want to delay that decision until you have the vehicle. Many, if not most, are equipped with air-ride seats. The air-ride seats are comfortable.
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:55 PM   #9
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Strong vote towards a skoolie for you.

You need to carry six people, and I don't think you're going to fit six bunks, six seats, and a bandload of instruments into a step van very comfortably. I could see a nice bus with a garage section at the back for the instruments/equipment, a bunk section, then a nice seating area with a couch or some captains chairs up front.

10 feet of cargo, 8 feet of bunks, and 10 feet of seating space comes in right around 30 feet, which is right in the average full-size skoolie range. (I might try and do 1 set of double bunks on each side, and 1 set of lofted beds with the gear underneath. Stacking 3 bunks could be a bit too cozy.) A little patience, and a 40-foot rear engine would give you another 10 whole feet to play with.

The bus might only do 65, but the whole band will get there comfortably, and well-rested.
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:04 AM   #10
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The bus might only do 65, but the whole band will get there comfortably, and well-rested.
Thanks,
I am also concerned a bit about maneuverability. If I was to go with a bus, I think an FE that is about 8 rows and a very short wheel base would do it. As long as it had either a wheelchair lift or at least an emergency exit at the rear, and maybe a ramp, I could see things working out.
I planned on going three bunks high in the step van. Standard band tour buses will have three high - but the floor one normally is used for storage.
And I was only planning on using 5 feet for storage. My drumset is the biggest thing going in there. We fit it all in about 120 cu ft now. Thats only about 5' in the back of a step van. (and a very low floor to boot..)
ugh, decisions!!
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Old 05-01-2019, 01:43 AM   #11
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Thanks,
As long as it had either a wheelchair lift or at least an emergency exit at the rear, and maybe a ramp, I could see things working out.

An emergency door in back is (mostly) standard on front engine busses. They are (usually) 54 inches high. So you would have to stoop to wheel a dolly or even carry a box through the door. A wheelchair lift is different in that you would set the pieces on the lift, then raise the load and move it into the bus. Well, for that matter the back emergency door could also be used as a place to set the load, piece-by-piece, then move the load around from inside the bus.


I raised the emergency door to a full 74 inches because I moved our household goods from one storage unit to another with the bus and was VERY tired of stooping and placing the boxes, then rearranging them. Plus, I hit my head a number of times.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:46 AM   #12
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TC1000. Wheelchair lift at the rear, short wheelbase, might have a flat floor (no wheel wells), but big enough to fit the whole band. (I'm not 100% on the transmission options in these, but for the size, it's totally doable.)
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:24 AM   #13
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I will answer with one word - WINDOWS

If you locked me in a box for 8 hours you better hope I do not have access to a knife of gun when I emerge.

I could drive all day(and have) in a bus, bouncing down the road with friends.
Good times or mass shootings - you decide!

x2 on the wheelchair lift - on my second now.
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:44 AM   #14
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TC1000. Wheelchair lift at the rear, short wheelbase, might have a flat floor (no wheel wells), but big enough to fit the whole band. (I'm not 100% on the transmission options in these, but for the size, it's totally doable.)
If I was to do a bus - THAT is EXACTLY what I would go for. Any ideas on where to find one in the Pacific NW? Auction houses? Where do school districts sell their retired (hopefully not fully 'tired') buses?
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:45 AM   #15
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I will answer with one word - WINDOWS

If you locked me in a box for 8 hours you better hope I do not have access to a knife of gun when I emerge.

I could drive all day(and have) in a bus, bouncing down the road with friends.
Good times or mass shootings - you decide!

x2 on the wheelchair lift - on my second now.
No worries - I would cut openings and have some RV windows put in for a second row of seating.
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:50 AM   #16
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So when do we leave - where is our first gig?
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:54 AM   #17
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The TC1000 (and pre-1997 just short length TC2000) are super cute and as close as a bus can get to being a chick magnet.

With regards to insurance, Kelly Newsome @ AllState's info has been posted over and over and as of yet no reports of her not being able to insure anyone. We switched to her and saved a bundle over our previous commercial policy.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:26 AM   #18
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The TC1000 (and pre-1997 just short length TC2000) are super cute and as close as a bus can get to being a chick magnet.

With regards to insurance, Kelly Newsome @ AllState's info has been posted over and over and as of yet no reports of her not being able to insure anyone. We switched to her and saved a bundle over our previous commercial policy.
Super Cute!!!
What kind of 'Mileage' would you see in something of that size? Thanks!
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:35 AM   #19
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One other consideration is safety. The main reason why I decided to pursue a skoolie is the way that the 'coach' is constructed on a bus which has to pass much stricter safety standards than a traditional motorhome and especially compared to a box truck. Flip a Winnebago and anyone over 3 feet tall might get crumpled. Flip a Skoolie and the coach area should remain mostly intact. I don't feel safe with my family in a traditional factory motorhome for these reasons. As long as everything (walls, appliances, furniture, etc...) is bolted into the frame of the coach, any passengers will be a lot safer in a modified school bus. Another consideration is 6x heavy truck 22.5" tires/wheels compared to medium duty 16.5" tires/wheels. Less likely to have blowouts with the big rig tires.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:45 AM   #20
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So when do we leave - where is our first gig?
Plenty of gigs already under the belt - but we are starting to book regionally.
Just backed Mark Slaugther, playing a bunch of the 'classic' Slaughter tunes. Just opened up for Anvil for the second time. And our new music video will debut today at 10am Pacific. If you care to check it out - you can see it here - https://www.facebook.com/madwagonpdx/
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