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Old 10-23-2020, 12:58 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: The Americas
Posts: 14
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3 IDI
Rated Cap: ?? Shortie
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
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
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Year: 1994
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3 IDI
Rated Cap: ?? Shortie
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
Bus Crazy
 
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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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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
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
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: The Americas
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Year: 1994
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3 IDI
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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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Year: 1999
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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