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Old 06-24-2020, 08:32 AM   #21
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 192
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomA View Post
Yes, but this body also weighs a lot more than a van would, so it is much closer to a low GVWR just as it sits empty. Since it isn't meant to tow or haul tools and cargo, that's fine for the bus mfr, not so good for the skoolie converter...

Gotcha, thanks!

But doesnít the ice cream business require a lot of heavy equipment?...
Maybe that is the market this person is trying to sell to. I hear step vans have gone up in price because of the food truck business.

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Old 06-25-2020, 03:04 AM   #22
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by awilder View Post
Gotcha, thanks!
But doesnít the ice cream business require a lot of heavy equipment?..
Sometimes, but an ice cream wagon can be as simple as a cooler on wheels that a guy pushes along the sidewalk. Its just refrigeration and maybe a soft serve or small appliance-type machines to prepare higher end product. They tend to be pretty simple, and a very old idea.


Most food trucks are different. You need refrigeration for raw, sometimes very perishable, sensitive stuff (meats,) maybe frozen stuff, too. Then you need cooking, maybe baking as well, exhaust, a sink to clean up, water and waste tanks, storage for all that inventory and equipment, etc. etc. Much more involved, generally. Coffee and ice cream are relatively trivial. Bagels and hot pretzels even easier than that. I used to buy a cheap bagel and cream cheese every day in downtown Manhattan from a guy who mounted an old phone booth to a small utility trailer. His wife would drive buy every hour or so to resupply the inventory, and by 10am they were hooking it back to the car and gone. Ingenious...

Quote:
Originally Posted by awilder View Post
I hear step vans have gone up in price because of the food truck business.
I kinda doubt it. The food truck business is a tiny fraction of the step van market. The foodies put so much money into them that they don't buy clapped out 15 year old vans to start with anyway, and they are competing with FedEx partners and local delivery companies for nicer, newer ones. Those guys make more money with those vans than any food truck, and have no problem paying top dollar for them.

I have been looking for at 18-20' step vans for a while to convert into a solo stealth machine for myself when I don't have my girls with me. These trucks retain their value because they are super versatile and serve many money-making activities for lots of purposes. Even 25 year old ones are $10k if they are nice and road ready. There's also a substantial industry reconditioning step vans on spec and selling them refurbished, too. Good ones will always be worth real money to those who can make money with them, so step vans don't fall off the table in value the way less versatile vehicles like buses do- and they never have. The food truck guys are one small part of that, for sure, but those in delivery, maintenance, and many, many trades vastly outnumber them. That's why a good used step van is worth double or triple the equivalent size bus.

I would take a 12-14' step van over a 5-6 window short bus every day of the year- its wider, taller inside, easier to build out, carries and tows more, mounts more solar, and on and on. Versatility. Mostly, though, for me it would be the stealth factor above and beyond the vehicular advantages. I would want it to travel around urban and suburban areas mostly east of the Mississippi.

A refrigerator white short step van disappears into that kind of street environment better that any other vehicle, IMHO, especially if you really try to keep it low profile, which is also easier with a step van than anything else. Even the longer one I want for myself, my toys and tools (18" is the sweet spot there) would go largely to completely unnoticed where I would use it. Such stealth is hugely valuable to me, and worth the difference in step van cost over a bus on that basis alone...
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Old 06-25-2020, 10:00 AM   #23
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia
Posts: 1,047
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: C7 Cat
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomA View Post
Sometimes, but an ice cream wagon can be as simple as a cooler on wheels that a guy pushes along the sidewalk. Its just refrigeration and maybe a soft serve or small appliance-type machines to prepare higher end product. They tend to be pretty simple, and a very old idea.


Most food trucks are different. You need refrigeration for raw, sometimes very perishable, sensitive stuff (meats,) maybe frozen stuff, too. Then you need cooking, maybe baking as well, exhaust, a sink to clean up, water and waste tanks, storage for all that inventory and equipment, etc. etc. Much more involved, generally. Coffee and ice cream are relatively trivial. Bagels and hot pretzels even easier than that. I used to buy a cheap bagel and cream cheese every day in downtown Manhattan from a guy who mounted an old phone booth to a small utility trailer. His wife would drive buy every hour or so to resupply the inventory, and by 10am they were hooking it back to the car and gone. Ingenious...


I kinda doubt it. The food truck business is a tiny fraction of the step van market. The foodies put so much money into them that they don't buy clapped out 15 year old vans to start with anyway, and they are competing with FedEx partners and local delivery companies for nicer, newer ones. Those guys make more money with those vans than any food truck, and have no problem paying top dollar for them.

I have been looking for at 18-20' step vans for a while to convert into a solo stealth machine for myself when I don't have my girls with me. These trucks retain their value because they are super versatile and serve many money-making activities for lots of purposes. Even 25 year old ones are $10k if they are nice and road ready. There's also a substantial industry reconditioning step vans on spec and selling them refurbished, too. Good ones will always be worth real money to those who can make money with them, so step vans don't fall off the table in value the way less versatile vehicles like buses do- and they never have. The food truck guys are one small part of that, for sure, but those in delivery, maintenance, and many, many trades vastly outnumber them. That's why a good used step van is worth double or triple the equivalent size bus.

I would take a 12-14' step van over a 5-6 window short bus every day of the year- its wider, taller inside, easier to build out, carries and tows more, mounts more solar, and on and on. Versatility. Mostly, though, for me it would be the stealth factor above and beyond the vehicular advantages. I would want it to travel around urban and suburban areas mostly east of the Mississippi.

A refrigerator white short step van disappears into that kind of street environment better that any other vehicle, IMHO, especially if you really try to keep it low profile, which is also easier with a step van than anything else. Even the longer one I want for myself, my toys and tools (18" is the sweet spot there) would go largely to completely unnoticed where I would use it. Such stealth is hugely valuable to me, and worth the difference in step van cost over a bus on that basis alone...
Really have to agree with you on that one Tom. The stealth step van idea is awesome, it seems like more and more restrictions are being placed on where people can park. Add to that the negative stereotype associated with skoolie's, some valid some not so much and it's a big concern to even consider building out a bus. In the past I worked several years part time assisting a friend that owns an Rv shop repairing smashed class A's. I have never been impressed with the build quality of factory coaches and don't consider them crash safe hence the desire to build an Rv bus. We really hope to not have too many problems with being chased off but keep hearing more and more stories of it. Another thing might be the security, the stealth box truck being less a shiny target than an out of state Rv that might contain a bunch of cash and valuables.
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Old 06-28-2020, 10:59 PM   #24
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 192
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
I have also thought about step vans for the stealth (I'll need to park part time in a city) and height. I'd like to get behind one as my worry is they are terribly uncomfortable and noisy to drive, and I want to be able to travel cross country and back. Have you any thoughts on comfort driving and noise?
Also I worry about those big windows being smashed in a city.
Been looking online at small box trucks too.
Not to take away from schoolies...
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:10 PM   #25
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 271
Those chassis were just a out maxed out with passengers. Iíd pass and get a heavy chassis truck and play with that. These buses go for $2000-$3000 at the high end at auctions.
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Old 07-01-2020, 06:21 PM   #26
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Mt Vernon, WA
Posts: 523
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Bluebird, Collins
Chassis: G30 Bluebird Microbird, E350 Shuttle Bus
Engine: 1995 Chevrolet 350, 1992 Ford 460
Iíve been converting a 1996 four window G30 skoolie bus. I really like it better than my 2002 Express cargo van I had because itís wider and taller. I bought this skoolie cheap and am fixing it up. I like how cheap and available the parts are.
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