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Old 08-28-2019, 04:40 PM   #1
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box truck or skoolie?

The more i think about it, the more i think i would be better off converting a box truck than a skoolie.
Anybody thought about a box truck but rejected it and went with the skoolie?
Just wondering if there is any area where you are better off with a skoolie.
I realize a lot of it is personal preference but if someone where to give you a perfect box truck, would you convert it or sell it and use the money for a skoolie?
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Old 08-28-2019, 05:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by yfrank14 View Post
The more i think about it, the more i think i would be better off converting a box truck than a skoolie.
Anybody thought about a box truck but rejected it and went with the skoolie?
Just wondering if there is any area where you are better off with a skoolie.
I realize a lot of it is personal preference but if someone where to give you a perfect box truck, would you convert it or sell it and use the money for a skoolie?
If it were an Isuzu NPR I'd remove the box and make it a pickup truck.
There are folks doing box truck conversions.

I don't know much about those. The roofs all seem pretty chintzy on em to me though.
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by yfrank14 View Post
The more i think about it, the more i think i would be better off converting a box truck than a skoolie.
Anybody thought about a box truck but rejected it and went with the skoolie?
Just wondering if there is any area where you are better off with a skoolie.
I realize a lot of it is personal preference but if someone where to give you a perfect box truck, would you convert it or sell it and use the money for a skoolie?
Seems like economics kind of work against box trucks. A lot of old buses go on the market because schools legally are not allowed to use them to transport children any more, and there's limited demand for them so skooliers can buy them for a few thousand. I think a 15-year old box truck with a DT466 or a Cummins and a good Allison transmission that isn't rusted all to hell would go for a lot more than that since it still has a great deal of commercial value (in states other than CA, that is).
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:41 PM   #4
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For an urban “camper” I think box trucks and step vans are the way to go. They can be made to look like work vehicles and be fully functional homes inside. I envisioned a box truck made to look like a rooter. Nobody would look twice.

Look for step van conversions on YouTube
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:45 PM   #5
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Box trucks are cool, but unless you're spending big money you're getting a light duty truck or van chassis with a plywood box on the back. I'd build a box truck before buying a class A, though.

There are some better ones out there though. My friend just picked one up with a 27' steel box, 7.8L Ford diesel engine, mt643, 4x4, air brakes, uprated springs and height, under carriage storage cabinets..... But it's a unicorn.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:13 PM   #6
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I've gone back and forth but in the end the skoolie desire is more a labor of passion than mere economics. There will be pros and cons to both. One of the most important ones to many is the safety factor - school buses are overbuilt for survivability whereas most box trucks will disintegrate in a rollover. I think that for a single person or a couple so long as no one ever rides in the box this may be a calculated risk because no one PLANS to wreck their rig and even a skoolie is likely still a total loss after a rollover even if everyone does walk away.

If you decide to go the box truck route, I have long figured a refrigerated box would be the ideal... Its already insulated and more likely to have a stronger engine to cope with the weight as well as run the reefer unit.

A box truck may be a little more maneuverable but likely also to be taller so vertical clearances pose an obstacle. Also, a box truck turned RV may be more discreet but in many communities any commercial class vehicle is going to be an unwelcome eyesore and possibly a code violation if parked in a residential area. I know my house in a suburb city has rules about this and I bobtailed my semi tractor home for a couple hours to clean it out when I changed companies. It didn't take long for some bitchy neighbor to call the cops. Ironically, I could park it on the curb outside my house in midtown metro and no one cared. I even had to trim the low limbs down the block and they were grateful. Go figure.

In the end, many of us have a passion/mental illness that only a school bus will assuage. Whichever way you choose to go though we look forward to watching your build. The fundamentals will be much the same.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:43 PM   #7
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I just wrote a response, computer ate it when the site forced me to re log in.
I have to go back to work, i will respond later.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:57 PM   #8
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This time i wrote it to notepad offline.
Hopefully i can jump in, copy and paste, and jump out before they system gets a chance to make me log in again.
Many box trucks have a very light duty box. The box would not survive a rollover.
But i figure an alluminum box or a reffer would be as strong as a bus.
Condition of the vehicle before you start the build is of course, a consideration.
School busses can not be held together with duct tape, box trucks can be.
I figure if i avoid the Ryders and the Uhauls and stick with a company that made local deliveries, i should get a good truck.
I live in a rust state. Whatever i buy will be rust free and from a rust free state.
Price is also a consideration.
But i think the cost of a box truck would be offset by not having to do the demolition work a bus needs.
The box truck comes ready for the build.
Restrictions on parking a commercial vehicle i would think would be the same as a skoolie.
Plus, if i can register it as an RV, i should be safe.
Again, not trying to argue with anyone or prove i have a better idea, just bouncing my idea off if people who have experience with converting things into RV's.
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:00 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sehnsucht View Post
I've gone back and forth but in the end the skoolie desire is more a labor of passion than mere economics. There will be pros and cons to both. One of the most important ones to many is the safety factor - school buses are overbuilt for survivability whereas most box trucks will disintegrate in a rollover. I think that for a single person or a couple so long as no one ever rides in the box this may be a calculated risk because no one PLANS to wreck their rig and even a skoolie is likely still a total loss after a rollover even if everyone does walk away.

If you decide to go the box truck route, I have long figured a refrigerated box would be the ideal... Its already insulated and more likely to have a stronger engine to cope with the weight as well as run the reefer unit.

A box truck may be a little more maneuverable but likely also to be taller so vertical clearances pose an obstacle. Also, a box truck turned RV may be more discreet but in many communities any commercial class vehicle is going to be an unwelcome eyesore and possibly a code violation if parked in a residential area. I know my house in a suburb city has rules about this and I bobtailed my semi tractor home for a couple hours to clean it out when I changed companies. It didn't take long for some bitchy neighbor to call the cops. Ironically, I could park it on the curb outside my house in midtown metro and no one cared. I even had to trim the low limbs down the block and they were grateful. Go figure.

In the end, many of us have a passion/mental illness that only a school bus will assuage. Whichever way you choose to go though we look forward to watching your build. The fundamentals will be much the same.

What is the height of a bus?
I thought they were about the same as a box truck.
I think average for a box is 13 '.
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:03 AM   #10
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What is the height of a bus?
I thought they were about the same as a box truck.
I think average for a box is 13 '.
My International (common bus) is 10' tall.
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Old 08-29-2019, 01:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yfrank14 View Post
What is the height of a bus?
I thought they were about the same as a box truck.
I think average for a box is 13 '.
School buses average 10 foot tall, maybe 10 foot 6. Box trucks can be up to 13 foot 6 tall.

Width can also be considered as box trucks can measure up to 102 inches body width but school buses are only 96 inch bodies. The usable interior width in both will be less based on construction and insulation.

On the other hand, school buses can be up to 40 feet long and most of that usable square footage whereas the largest box truck body is only going to be about 26 feet long, less the cab of course.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:21 AM   #12
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What is the height of a bus?
I thought they were about the same as a box truck.
I think average for a box is 13 '.
Around 10'. Mine has a lift kit and is 10'6".
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Old 08-29-2019, 11:45 AM   #13
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My biggest challenge with converting a box truck is that the unconverted vehicle is so useful.

I bought a Ford E350 cutaway with 14' box specifically to convert it into an RV.
The advantages over a small bus were for me the 7' ceiling, flat walls that are easy to insulate, no excess windows that need to be covered up, and the stealth factor of the finished RV.

Now, one year and 6000 miles later I have moved several tons of building materials and two households with it. Also did quite a few glamping trips with an air mattress, a folding chair, and a water jug in the box. In the meantime the RV parts that I scrounged together are piling up at home.

Maybe this week, after a final 'box-mission' to clean a storage unit out, I'll start with the RV build-out. Oh wait, I still need to drop a crated engine off at Fastenal...
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:06 PM   #14
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It just sounds like you need two box trucks LOL
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:07 PM   #15
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My biggest challenge with converting a box truck is that the unconverted vehicle is so useful.

I bought a Ford E350 cutaway with 14' box specifically to convert it into an RV.
The advantages over a small bus were for me the 7' ceiling, flat walls that are easy to insulate, no excess windows that need to be covered up, and the stealth factor of the finished RV.

Now, one year and 6000 miles later I have moved several tons of building materials and two households with it. Also did quite a few glamping trips with an air mattress, a folding chair, and a water jug in the box. In the meantime the RV parts that I scrounged together are piling up at home.

Maybe this week, after a final 'box-mission' to clean a storage unit out, I'll start with the RV build-out. Oh wait, I still need to drop a crated engine off at Fastenal...

I have to laugh.... When I moved across the state I used a Thomas 6 window and a full size Bluebird as moving trucks
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yfrank14 View Post
This time i wrote it to notepad offline.
Hopefully i can jump in, copy and paste, and jump out before they system gets a chance to make me log in again.
Many box trucks have a very light duty box. The box would not survive a rollover.
But i figure an alluminum box or a reffer would be as strong as a bus.
Condition of the vehicle before you start the build is of course, a consideration.
School busses can not be held together with duct tape, box trucks can be.
I figure if i avoid the Ryders and the Uhauls and stick with a company that made local deliveries, i should get a good truck.
I live in a rust state. Whatever i buy will be rust free and from a rust free state.
Price is also a consideration.
But i think the cost of a box truck would be offset by not having to do the demolition work a bus needs.
The box truck comes ready for the build.
Restrictions on parking a commercial vehicle i would think would be the same as a skoolie.
Plus, if i can register it as an RV, i should be safe.
Again, not trying to argue with anyone or prove i have a better idea, just bouncing my idea off if people who have experience with converting things into RV's.
one of the conditions of MH conversion where I live is that you must be able to walk upright from the living area to the driving area - that sounds like a converted box truck wouldn't qualify for MH license or insurance
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Old 08-29-2019, 12:31 PM   #17
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one of the conditions of MH conversion where I live is that you must be able to walk upright from the living area to the driving area - that sounds like a converted box truck wouldn't qualify for MH license or insurance
I am not aware of any regulations similar to that in the US. I have driven a handful of factory RV's that would not meet that requirement.
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Old 08-29-2019, 03:50 PM   #18
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I have to laugh.... When I moved across the state I used a Thomas 6 window and a full size Bluebird as moving trucks
I keep offering my bus to help people I know move and nobody wants to use it. Lots of whingeing about how hard it is to load and unload etc.

Once it's converted instead of empty, then people will ask me to help them move.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:17 PM   #19
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It just sounds like you need two box trucks LOL
Like, tie them together?
Screenshot_2019-08-29 jurrasic park 2 vehicle at DuckDuckGo.png
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Old 08-29-2019, 07:42 PM   #20
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Like, tie them together?
Attachment 36940
Not what I meant but that might work also. I just meant one for converting and one for hauling stuff. Now that you mention it though, I do have this crazy idea. What if I convert a conventional or front engine flat nose bus into a skoolie, then when the engine is worn out I get a second bus, convert it (or swap it all over) and then adapt the front of the original bus to tow behind the newer bus? It'd probably end up looking a lot like that photo, especially if the trailer-bus is a flat nose and snugs up behind the tow-bus. Maybe fab an accordion skirt to bridge between them like articulated buses. Then have the best of both worlds - a self-contained skoolie and a garage/shop/box truck tow-behind. Ehh, passing fancy.
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