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Old 02-25-2020, 05:25 PM   #1
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What bus models have the best headroom?

Hello we are going to be moving from Indiana to California and I had the bright idea of buying a shuttle bus to use as a moving van and then turn that into a camper van after we get there.

So we are in the market for a larger-sized diesel (ideally 2011+Duramax) shuttle bus but no more than 30 feet long overall.

Also, as the title implies, we need a tall-inside bus, as tall as possible ideally. Does anyone know who made the tallest-inside shuttle-type bus around the 2011-14 area with a Duramax engine, or just in general? (Newer is OK too but we are in the 10-20k budget range and newer ones tend to be more $$ obvs).

The rationale behind the shuttle bus is that I figure it would be easier to start with an an already-"finished" adult interior (aka insulated and nicer materials than a school bus) and build our camper van from there (after using it as a moving van).

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Old 02-25-2020, 05:41 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Rental_Car View Post
Hello we are going to be moving from Indiana to California and I had the bright idea of buying a shuttle bus to use as a moving van and then turn that into a camper van after we get there.

So we are in the market for a larger-sized diesel (ideally 2011+Duramax) shuttle bus but no more than 30 feet long overall.

Also, as the title implies, we need a tall-inside bus, as tall as possible ideally. Does anyone know who made the tallest-inside shuttle-type bus around the 2011-14 area with a Duramax engine, or just in general? (Newer is OK too but we are in the 10-20k budget range and newer ones tend to be more $$ obvs).

The rationale behind the shuttle bus is that I figure it would be easier to start with an an already-"finished" adult interior (aka insulated and nicer materials than a school bus) and build our camper van from there (after using it as a moving van).

In the school bus world a duramax isn't a big, powerful engine. Its a barely adequate van engine in this world. You can get a full size chassis bus and still come in way under 30 feet. My 5 window Thomas is only like 22 feet or so.

Its got 6'7" headroom.
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:02 PM   #3
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can't help you with the engine but...
Depending on what you like to load/unload. The wheelchair option like ECCB's would be very handy for loading rolling tool chests or whatever fits on a dolly.
I wish my bus had that...

And if you're bidding on a bus -- I think most people don't want that -- they just see the wheelchair lift as a difficult thing to demo for their build and may pass on an otherwise great bus...
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:16 PM   #4
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My real priority is the headroom...

...but the Duramax seems to be the most efficient engine for a shuttle bus-sized vehicle. And they are plenty powerful. The weakest one they put in vans and cutaways has 250hp and 520lb ft of torque. Those are de-tuned for longetivity from the pickup version which has 395hp and 765lb ft from the exact same core engine (they changed the tune and used slightly different emissions gear).

As for a wheelchair lift, yeah we are using it as a moving van first, so a lift would be a bonus.

Again, however, our priority is headroom. The Duramax (and lift) would be nice (fuel mileage good) but not necessary.
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Old 02-25-2020, 09:16 PM   #5
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I think pretty much any shuttle bus will have more headroom than a school bus as it's designed for adults not children. I second the w/c lift bonus. Maybe step up a class and look for a shuttle built on a Freightliner or IC/Navistar chassis to get better engine options and stronger parts for longevity.
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Old 02-26-2020, 12:33 PM   #6
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Smile I am more interested in fuel mileage efficiency

The 2011+ Duramax van chassis seems to be the most efficient one for our needs and in our budget range. I wouldn't turn down a heavier truck if it had other things going for it (using that beef for results and not just hauling around extra weight for no reason). But I want this to be as light as possible again for fuel efficiency reasons. From what I have read, the Duramax will go 500k+ miles with no issues if properly maintained and a smaller/lighter van chassis (aka shuttle bus) will always be more fuel efficient than a heavier bus chassis. We are going to do lots of miles with this thing so that is our priority.
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