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Old 11-26-2023, 03:40 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 24
Year: 2013
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy Vortec
Welcome The Buyzen Bus!

Hellooo everyone! I feel like it's long overdue that I've finally made my presence known here after many forum searches, watching Chuck Cassidy & Issac Turner bus videos on Youtube, etc.

I have been researching for over a year and in the summer of 2022 I test drove a 2012 Chevy Shuttle bus but it was too expensive so instead I jumped the gun by accidentally buying a cheap 2004 5 window 6.5L diesel Thomas skoolie (but with lots of rust) from a farmer.. only to realize I couldn't comfortably stand inside it (aside from the middle isle), a roof raise was out of the question for my budget/skills and the bus needed more work than I intended.

So I ended up selling it for a slight profit and reconfigured my life to buy the bus I knew I really wanted that I test drove but would require me to sell my fifth wheel RV I was living in on Vancouver Island, Canada along with my car and a few other things.

Fast forward to today and back in my hometown.. Regina, Saskatchewan with my 2013 Chevrolet 6.0L Vortec shuttle bus and plan to build the majority of it here. This bus was a transit bus for the city of Vancouver (every 10 years the city updates it's fleet) so it has been very well maintained with a solid frame, engine and foundation for me to build upon. It was important to me to buy something a bit newer that was mechanically solid, minimal rust, etc.

Since April, 2023 when I bought my shuttle bus, inside I have removed all the seats, wheelchair lift, floor heater, all seat belts, plexi-glass supports and just have a clean slate for my build.

On the outside I have installed a heavy duty front bush bar, mounted a spare tire underneath the rear wheelchair lift area and installed a tow hitch for my 1988 Honda NX 250 dualsport motorcycle so it comes with the bus wherever I go.

I already know my rough plans for the inside and I plan to re-insulate the bus but what has been stopping me from progressing on my build has been what I can't ignore and that is the stability of driving this bus on the highway. I have driven it from the west coast of Canada to the prairies where I currently live and what is clear is that as a single rear axle bus it is a bit tippy and easily sways from winds, passing trucks and dips in the road/pavement. Many times I had to constantly correct my steering and didn't feel super safe driving past 90-100 kms/hr though the Vortec engine has lots of power to drive much faster than this.

I've done a bit of research on this matter and it seems a dually setup would help with stability but I''m unsure of the cost and don't have the biggest budget but could make it work eventually. Any advice on this matter would be sooo appreciated. I will make a post about it in the proper area.

But anyways, thanks for reading this long introduction and I'm looking forward to engaging and learning from this community!

Buyzen
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Old 11-27-2023, 07:38 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 795
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
Before you do all that. You may want to replace the rear shocks first. A city driving bus is gonna abuse those heavily. Even if those shocks are fine you may need a tighter shock setup for a stiffer suspension to help prevent sway. I'd start there first. Before trying to upgrade an axle that was designed for that bus
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Old 11-27-2023, 07:58 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 24
Year: 2013
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy Vortec
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikitis View Post
Before you do all that. You may want to replace the rear shocks first. A city driving bus is gonna abuse those heavily. Even if those shocks are fine you may need a tighter shock setup for a stiffer suspension to help prevent sway. I'd start there first. Before trying to upgrade an axle that was designed for that bus
Appreciate the advice! I will look into all that. Thank you!
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Old 11-28-2023, 04:36 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
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Year: 86
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Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
i would check the shocks and springs the problem is that bus was made to have some weight in it maybe being a shuttle its to light in the rear.
i have seen buses with weighted plates behind the rear axle but i dont remember if any were shuttle but removing that rear lift did change the suspension height.
my 2004 with a wheel chair lift on the side passenger rear was already removed when i got the bus but going through my suspension i noticed that spring pack had an extra in it because of the lift.
maybe you have extra springs on both sides that do not have enough weight on them so you are topsy turvey.
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Old 11-28-2023, 08:15 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 24
Year: 2013
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy Vortec
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
i would check the shocks and springs the problem is that bus was made to have some weight in it maybe being a shuttle its to light in the rear.
i have seen buses with weighted plates behind the rear axle but i dont remember if any were shuttle but removing that rear lift did change the suspension height.
my 2004 with a wheel chair lift on the side passenger rear was already removed when i got the bus but going through my suspension i noticed that spring pack had an extra in it because of the lift.
maybe you have extra springs on both sides that do not have enough weight on them so you are topsy turvey.
This is a really great point Jolly! Many people in the thread I created in the drivetrain forum mentioned to look at the suspension as well but no one mentioned it might be too light and sitting too high! The bus is empty inside completely but when I drove it... it was fairly packed but with some light boxes and tools.. not enough to probably weight it down like a wheelchair lift. The motorcycle on the rear helps but is only 260lbs. That lift was very very heavy. Great points... appreciate it!
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Old 12-02-2023, 08:48 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Posts: 26
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Navistar 3800
Engine: DT 466
Rated Cap: 72/44 Adults
That 3500 wouldn't happen to have airbag rear suspension, would it? If not, I'd just talk to a spring shop and get them to spec you out a proper set of leafs that'll handle the load you're expecting to carry. Should be a few around Regina.
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Old 12-02-2023, 09:56 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 24
Year: 2013
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy Vortec
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRS_Mark View Post
That 3500 wouldn't happen to have airbag rear suspension, would it? If not, I'd just talk to a spring shop and get them to spec you out a proper set of leafs that'll handle the load you're expecting to carry. Should be a few around Regina.
No airbag suspension but I will look into the leaf springs. Come to think of it the bus does not absorb bumps well at all and that is VERY noticeable with Regina roads hahaha
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Old 12-02-2023, 10:06 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Posts: 26
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Navistar 3800
Engine: DT 466
Rated Cap: 72/44 Adults
Yeah, I'm well-familiar with the roads out in Saskatchewan. Lot of good times out there, however!

On the bright side, I wouldn't worry about running a SRW setup on a 1 ton chassis. If you're going to drive that in the winter or on those slimy rural roads, duallies can be a real hazard. Have the spring shop set you up with a firm, yet pliant suspension (they should know how many leafs you'll need based on what the estimated weight of your ride is) and you'll be golden.
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Old 12-03-2023, 12:06 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Posts: 24
Year: 2013
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy Vortec
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRS_Mark View Post
Yeah, I'm well-familiar with the roads out in Saskatchewan. Lot of good times out there, however!

On the bright side, I wouldn't worry about running a SRW setup on a 1 ton chassis. If you're going to drive that in the winter or on those slimy rural roads, duallies can be a real hazard. Have the spring shop set you up with a firm, yet pliant suspension (they should know how many leafs you'll need based on what the estimated weight of your ride is) and you'll be golden.
Yea I was spoiled with the nice roads out in BC the last 3 years! I've never taken the bus in to inspect the suspension, shocks, alignment, etc which many have to suggested to start there first to resolve my tippy/sway issue at highway speeds.

Somehow I got it in my head that maybe this bus was designed for city driving use only and not highway and that a dually setup would solve my highway driving issues since most buses and heavy duty vehicles are dually... but not all. I've seen some skoolies SRW like mine.

The bus is mostly parked for the winter. More of a 3 season bus. Hoping looking at all the above everyone has mentioned will solve most my issues and I'll enjoy highway driving again. Thanks for you replies!
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Old 12-07-2023, 10:15 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2023
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 54
Year: '05
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: RE300
Engine: DT466 HT
Rated Cap: 69
Good looking bus! "Chuck" is a great resource to borrow inspiration from and an even better dude to know in real life.

I've been toying with converting a shorty at some point, but somehow keep finding myself in 40 footers.
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