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Old 04-26-2021, 11:36 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: DMV Area
Posts: 119
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Cheverolet
Chassis: 3500 Express
Engine: 6.0L V8 Gas
Best Options for Family of 4? What vehicle would you recommend?

I've always had my heart set on a Short School Bus, but I'm looking now at some mid size busses as well. Those of you with experience what vehicle would you recommend for a family of 4 with young children? I'd like to mostly use if for traveling, but eventually spend a year living on the bus. We don't want anything too big and are willing to sacrifice space for a smaller vehicle if it can fit our needs.

Are there other vehicles that can travel all over and fit a family of 4 that you'd recommend? My biggest things I want are a bathroom, kitchen, couches that also can be beds, and a serving window somewhere on the bus. We cook a lot of meals and when we travel places with beautiful outdoor views I'd like a serving window (similar to a food truck) to be able to give people food for meals when possible.

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Old 04-26-2021, 02:27 PM   #2
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Engine: DT466/3060
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Too small happens more often that too large.
Start drawing up everything you think you would need in it.
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Old 04-26-2021, 02:31 PM   #3
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Family of 4, traveling and living full time is our bus. 40ft pusher, just the right size for us.
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Old 04-26-2021, 05:10 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Freedom Field, New Mexico
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Year: 1998
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Ruth and I have been living in box trucks and busses for the last several years. Its just two of us and a pit bull. The motivation to go from the 16 foot box truck to 29' bus was space. The motivation to go to 40' pusher was space. The motivation to start thinking about some tip outs or slides......space. Imagine that.

You might be thinking, "Oh man, 40' is huge. How will I drive that without running over pedestrians?" It's really not hard with a little practice to maneuver even in crowded parking lots at Walmart. Out here in the West you see little old retired ladies driving the 40 footers hauling school children.

Think about ample storage space for your family and the stuff you will need and want on the road. Then there are sleeping arrangements, cooking and dinning area... you get the drift. If you go too small it will really put a cramp on your leisure.
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Old 04-27-2021, 08:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock-N-Ruth View Post
Ruth and I have been living in box trucks and busses for the last several years. Its just two of us and a pit bull. The motivation to go from the 16 foot box truck to 29' bus was space. The motivation to go to 40' pusher was space. The motivation to start thinking about some tip outs or slides......space. Imagine that.

You might be thinking, "Oh man, 40' is huge. How will I drive that without running over pedestrians?" It's really not hard with a little practice to maneuver even in crowded parking lots at Walmart. Out here in the West you see little old retired ladies driving the 40 footers hauling school children.

Think about ample storage space for your family and the stuff you will need and want on the road. Then there are sleeping arrangements, cooking and dinning area... you get the drift. If you go too small it will really put a cramp on your leisure.
Thank you that's helpful to know. Currently, I don't have my own land to park a bus so size matters for that also. We were considering renting space at a storage place to park and build out our bus. Also, we didn't want to overwhelm ourselves all at once. I may start considering the mid-sized buses now more though. 24'-28'.
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Old 04-27-2021, 09:57 AM   #6
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Chassis: All American RE 40 FEET
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Here is my rule of thumb: 1 person 10 foot. 2 people 20 foot. 3 people 30 foot. 4 people 40 foot. 5 people somebody gets left behind.
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Old 04-27-2021, 10:36 AM   #7
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LOL! Even if they're little people?
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Old 04-27-2021, 10:42 AM   #8
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Especially!
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Old 04-27-2021, 10:50 AM   #9
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And if you don’t build in some privacy you may not get to 5.
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Old 04-27-2021, 12:26 PM   #10
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Freedom Field, New Mexico
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Year: 1998
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Engine: 444E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buslivesmatter View Post
Thank you that's helpful to know. Currently, I don't have my own land to park a bus so size matters for that also. We were considering renting space at a storage place to park and build out our bus. Also, we didn't want to overwhelm ourselves all at once. I may start considering the mid-sized buses now more though. 24'-28'.
I don't know where you are located but I recently started a boondocking and building program on my 40 acres in southwest New Mexico. Our first builder was a noobie and stayed three months raising his roof. We really enjoyed the experiance an have opened our place to any who want a place to build and skoolie community. I have a post about it here:https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/b...ico-34881.html
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Old 04-27-2021, 12:29 PM   #11
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Location: Freedom Field, New Mexico
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Rated Cap: 84 pas
You could go short and then tow a small travel trailer for extra private living space when things get too crowded.
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Old 04-27-2021, 01:18 PM   #12
Skoolie
 
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Engine: 6.0L V8 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock-N-Ruth View Post
I don't know where you are located but I recently started a boondocking and building program on my 40 acres in southwest New Mexico. Our first builder was a noobie and stayed three months raising his roof. We really enjoyed the experiance an have opened our place to any who want a place to build and skoolie community. I have a post about it here:https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/b...ico-34881.html
This is awesome. Unfortunately, I'm all the way on the east coast and I dont even think we have places like this. Everyone I've seen has been in the southwestern states and texas.
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Old 04-27-2021, 01:23 PM   #13
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DMV is that DC-Maryland-Virginia?
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Old 04-27-2021, 01:34 PM   #14
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Rated Cap: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by buslivesmatter View Post
Thank you that's helpful to know. Currently, I don't have my own land to park a bus so size matters for that also. We were considering renting space at a storage place to park and build out our bus. Also, we didn't want to overwhelm ourselves all at once. I may start considering the mid-sized buses now more though. 24'-28'.
If you plan to live in it fulltime, you'll have to really think about a floorplan fitting your needs. We are all different, but I don't think it would be fun for the 4 of us to live in a smaller space. Our 40 ft is just the right size. We don't have to switch the configuration for day use / night use, allowing some of us to sleep sooner or later. We are working remotely, so a proper desk is mandatory, and other 3 people still have room to live. 24-28' seems small. But once again, your needs could be different than ours! My advice is not necessarily to go with a bigger bus, but be sure the smaller size will be livable and enjoyable. Once you'll have bought the bus and started the building process, adding floor area would be difficult ...
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:21 PM   #15
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In the short term, you can make anything work. Our family of 7 spent most summers in a suburban towing a 16ft trailer around the country. Once teenagers, it was not good.
My advice, is forget about a 40ft bus, you will regret it. Get a van or truck and tow a trailer. If you move often, get a big truck and a fifth wheel trailer. Your kids will be safe in the truck with airbags and seat belts, and you can explore without bring the trailer everywhere you go.

Here in sac, there is a big fifth wheel trailer for $1000 that needs lots of work, but even that will be less work than building a 40ft bus into a motorhome.
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
In the short term, you can make anything work. Our family of 7 spent most summers in a suburban towing a 16ft trailer around the country. Once teenagers, it was not good.
My advice, is forget about a 40ft bus, you will regret it. Get a van or truck and tow a trailer. If you move often, get a big truck and a fifth wheel trailer. Your kids will be safe in the truck with airbags and seat belts, and you can explore without bring the trailer everywhere you go.

Here in sac, there is a big fifth wheel trailer for $1000 that needs lots of work, but even that will be less work than building a 40ft bus into a motorhome.
Not the same thing. At all. Being on the road into a car towing a trailer is totally different than traveling in a bus, for the driver as well as for the passenger.
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:47 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
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Originally Posted by s2mikon View Post
DMV is that DC-Maryland-Virginia?
Yes it is!
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:49 PM   #18
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Not the same thing. At all. Being on the road into a car towing a trailer is totally different than traveling in a bus, for the driver as well as for the passenger.
How difficult was it for you/spouse to learn driving a 40' bus? I have driven some 15ish passenger busses for church a few times, but a 40' bus is very intimidating to me. I don't doubt I can learn, but with CDL/school bus classes being several thousand dollars, I am not sure how I can get some practice
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:52 PM   #19
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: DMV Area
Posts: 119
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Cheverolet
Chassis: 3500 Express
Engine: 6.0L V8 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by ABBus View Post
If you plan to live in it fulltime, you'll have to really think about a floorplan fitting your needs. We are all different, but I don't think it would be fun for the 4 of us to live in a smaller space. Our 40 ft is just the right size. We don't have to switch the configuration for day use / night use, allowing some of us to sleep sooner or later. We are working remotely, so a proper desk is mandatory, and other 3 people still have room to live. 24-28' seems small. But once again, your needs could be different than ours! My advice is not necessarily to go with a bigger bus, but be sure the smaller size will be livable and enjoyable. Once you'll have bought the bus and started the building process, adding floor area would be difficult ...
Thank you. I will consider that. I think we will go with midsized for now and expand if necessary as the kids grow.
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Old 04-27-2021, 03:57 PM   #20
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: DMV Area
Posts: 119
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Cheverolet
Chassis: 3500 Express
Engine: 6.0L V8 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
In the short term, you can make anything work. Our family of 7 spent most summers in a suburban towing a 16ft trailer around the country. Once teenagers, it was not good.
My advice, is forget about a 40ft bus, you will regret it. Get a van or truck and tow a trailer. If you move often, get a big truck and a fifth wheel trailer. Your kids will be safe in the truck with airbags and seat belts, and you can explore without bring the trailer everywhere you go.

Here in sac, there is a big fifth wheel trailer for $1000 that needs lots of work, but even that will be less work than building a 40ft bus into a motorhome.
We are considering a trailer but that's more for business purposes. At the moment it costs less up front for us to buy a bus and renovate us because we don't have a vehicle with the towing capacity to pull the 8.5 x16 ft trailer that we like.

We have a minivan and a 2006 Honda CRV. We'd like to get a pickup truck, but we don't know which ones are good and they seem very high priced even for older ones.
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