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Old 10-23-2020, 12:58 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Frame up build from cab chassis or flatbed

Most of these conversions are starting with a bus, tearing it all down to the framing and sheet metal, and building it up from there.
Has anyone come across a conversion that has taken it one step further? Like start with a cab chassis or a truck and remove the bed. Then cut out the back window and roof and build up from there?

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Old 10-23-2020, 01:00 AM   #2
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Like starting here, cutting out the rear window, rear wall & roof and then building up.

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Old 10-23-2020, 01:02 AM   #3
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Not a skoolie then, topic of the site.

And structural integrity. . .
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:13 AM   #4
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Maybe not a skoolie ... but it would be fun to watch it be built!
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Old 10-23-2020, 08:32 AM   #5
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would be cool to see a build.. starting out with a box truck a fairly common build.. you have a shell that often has a nice high headroom right away to go...



I know there are often cab N chassis sold pretty cheap but srtill more expensive than the average school bus goes at auction..



I see cab N chassis for sale in the 4-6k range all the time with GVWR's in the 20k-25k lbs range.. for 4-6k $$ you can pick up a pretty nice school bus where you have a shell ready to go vs the truck where you just have frame rails and a cab..



if you have access to cheap metal and a shop it would be a good way to do your build ground-up .. having full access to mount tanks, plumbing. wiring, etc on the frame before you buiid a floor..

-Christopher
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
if you have access to cheap metal and a shop it would be a good way to do your build ground-up .. having full access to mount tanks, plumbing. wiring, etc on the frame before you buiid a floor..

-Christopher
That's what I was thinking, you could build up the underside very precisely and go up from there.
That's why I'm wondering if anyone has seen one done yet!
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:28 AM   #7
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Sure, you can buy a stripped motorhome for $1,000. It is not uncommon to build a from-scratch camper trailer. You can buy an older motorhome that still has its walls (not torn down like the one shown) but water damaged, and just rebuild it. I see "Free RV" in this condition all the time. I suggest that often here, as you are right, in my view, the worst starting point to build a motorhome would be from a worn-out school bus, but obviously on this forum that doesn't win you a popularity contest. ;)
The Fiberglass Shuttle Buses are a MUCH better starting point.
And frankly, anything longer than 22ft you are better off with a trailer.



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Old 10-23-2020, 10:50 AM   #8
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Someone here took an older bus, removed the body, and transplanted it on a modern truck chassis. I believe the truck was a wrecked rollback tow truck. They lengthened the frame on it, attached the body, and now have an old bus with a modern driveline.

On conventional school buses, there isn't much of a difference between the bus chassis and a similar cab/chassis or flatbed. There's a few differences like gaining a drivers and passenger swing out door, vs a folding bus door. You'd also have a different hvac system, for better or worse. But the frame, axles, engine, etc is all the same.

My ultimate goal is to take a conventional bus, cut off the frontage(firewall and forward) and install a cabover semi in it's place. I was hoping to sell my bus as is, find a high headroom rust free conventional bus with a vt365 or some other trash engine for cheap, and then do just that. But with covid causing bus prices to be at an all time high, I might just have to settle with doing a roof raise on my current bus. I have to find the right cabover though first, and like bus prices, those seem to have inflated in value too.
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Old 07-06-2021, 03:22 PM   #9
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Skoolie

Hey Charles,

Not exactly posting in answer to your question, rather, I was sent here by another member mentioning you as the person to contact in a forum about looking for a place to park and work on a skoolie when I. The Denver area.

I live full time in my skoolie. And I am working on a friend's up here in brighton. Do you have a location where I can park both the buses while I finish his?

Two weeks tops and we will be completed.

Nate Cools
208-713-0687
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Old 07-06-2021, 04:53 PM   #10
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I was so concerned about how I was going to do the underfloor work. In the end, the best route for me was to cut off the skirting and bam! I had full access to everything. Building from a cab chassis might cost more in the fabrication and time department. A built bus is already inherently strong as the bus body is a welded tube.
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Old 07-06-2021, 05:56 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=Green Crown;444916]Hey Charles,

Not exactly posting in answer to your question, rather, I was sent here by another member mentioning you as the person to contact in a forum about looking for a place to park and work on a skoolie when I. The Denver area.

I live full time in my skoolie. And I am working on a friend's up here in brighton. Do you have a location where I can park both the buses while I finish his?

Two weeks tops and we will be completed.

Nate Cools
208-713-0687[/QUOTE

Pretty sure you have the wrong person. I don't have any land around Denver. I built my bus in Minneapolis and Northern Michigan, and I'm currently wandering around Central America.
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Old 07-06-2021, 06:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus'n it View Post
I was so concerned about how I was going to do the underfloor work. In the end, the best route for me was to cut off the skirting and bam! I had full access to everything. Building from a cab chassis might cost more in the fabrication and time department. A built bus is already inherently strong as the bus body is a welded tube.
I'm planning on cutting off my skirts and then reattaching them with piano hinges. I've spent enough time under my bus that I would really recommend doing this or cutting them off entirely like you did, on Day 1.
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Old 07-06-2021, 11:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
I'm planning on cutting off my skirts and then reattaching them with piano hinges. I've spent enough time under my bus that I would really recommend doing this or cutting them off entirely like you did, on Day 1.
Yup. What he said ^. If you are planning on eventually cutting the skirting do it before you do anything else under the bus. It is so much nicer to work on.

To answer the question of this thread. Several overlander builds have started with bare frames and either, steel, aluminium or composite boxes have been built on them.

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Old 07-07-2021, 09:17 AM   #14
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You can certainly start with a cab/chassis and build from scratch... or even a box truck, etc.



I would suggest that you start with a medium duty platform though and not just a pickup truck or van chassis.
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Old 07-08-2021, 02:33 AM   #15
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Check under your bus.
Verify it has a C-channel steel frame similar to a Class 7 or Class 8 semi-tractor, dump-truck, or tanker.
These frames are intended as a standardized foundation.
For example, a retired semi-tractor is often re-purposed as a dump-truck.
After its road-worthiness is kaput, the dump-bed can be transferred to a newer vehicle... and the all-tuckered-out re-retired semi can carry a water-tank for construction sites.
The frame is stoutly engineered from the get-go to be the structure supporting any mounted body... or no body.
.
I mention this because we delivered RecreationVehicles including BillionBuxBus conversions.
We occasionally killed time at a manufacturer -- while awaiting paperwork or somesuch -- by wandering the production floor.
Frames on many top-dollar RecreationVehicles are the consistency of damp noodles.
We watched fork-lifts pick up rolling frames with front and rear suspension -- no house structure, no cab, no utilities -- and the forks were above our heads while the tires dragged the floor.
A 'droop' on a thirty-foot frame of nearly seven feet.
.
On that style RecreationVehicle, the mounted body -- floor, walls, roof -- provides the vast majority of the vehicle rigidity.
.
Without the recognizable RecreationVehicle 'house', the vehicle -- and I use the term loosely -- flops around any-witch-way.
.
My suggestion:
* Verify your frame is engineered to provide the vehicle rigidity prior to whacking-off the above-frame structure.
Unless you like driving a rope.
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