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Old 12-09-2018, 06:19 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Palmer Alaska
Posts: 1
Year: 1969
Coachwork: GMC
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 6v71 Detroit
Total body removal. skoolie to tinyhome

So, i have 2002 Thomas flat front 38ft skoolie. It's stripped out and gutted and prepped for my roof raise but, i've been thinking lots about just removing the whole body from behind the driver area all the way back and building like a hybrid skoolie/housetruck thing. A few reasons this SEEMS like a good idea to me is I live in Alaksa and will be traveling to my other home in mexico and i could much easier frame and insulate a home from scratch that would super efficient. it would give me much more flexibility for interior design. Also i'm not a welder so i will be able to do more of the work on my own.
However, i haven't been able to find like ANY info of people doing this with a skoolie. Is there something i'm missing here??
Has any one done this?? Please send any and all thoughts and comments please.
I will be living in the rig fulltime with my wife and pups and traveling all over this wonderful continent.
thanks for reading and i hope to hear from y'all!!!
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:21 PM   #2
RHOMBUS's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 217
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner HDX
Engine: CAT 3126B250
Rated Cap: 84
The chassis manufacturer, Freightliner in your case I believe, strongly recommends NOT welding to or drilling through the frame members. You'll need to figure out how to attach the house portion to the frame using existing holes, or clamps.

I know next to nothing about construction of a house, but I'm pretty sure you'll need to really toughen up all of your joints and attachment locations since your "house" will be subject to changes in gravity from accelerating, braking and turning, unlike something sitting on a fixed foundation.

Your maximum legal exterior width is still going to be limited to 8'-6" unless they have changed that again for RVs.

I'd recommend against exposed wood for the "foundation" due to water being blasted at it from underneath the bus.

It'll be awesome to see what you come up with!
My project: The Cruel Bus
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Old 12-09-2018, 09:44 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 188
Year: 2003
Engine: DT530
Rated Cap: 84
As a residential/ commercial contractor for 26+ years I can tell you that there are no building method in the industry that would even come close to the structural integrity of a school bus. Picture a building going through hundreds or even thousands of hours in a hurricane and earthquake at the same time. Stick with the bus. Hire someone to weld if needed. For efficiency use 2 inches of a closed cell spray foam. Those 2 inches will exceed residential building codes for most of the country.
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Old 12-09-2018, 11:39 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,330
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84

An idea:
You can buy an old refrigerated semi-trailer with amazing insulation for a grand or two without the refrigeration unit.
Cut to length; clamp to bus frame with same hardware since many such trailers have cross-members under the floor similar to the bus body.
Make sure the trailer you buy has suitable cross-members, and also make sure it is not too tall.
THE HEIGHT IS THE BIG QUESTION. And some of these trailers are tapered, to maximize interior volume.
Modern trailers are 102" wide. "Way back in time" they were 96", just like the bus.
Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:22 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Posts: 1,693
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
Originally Posted by JoshwarrR View Post
Is there something i'm missing here??

Insurance. You'll have a hell of a time getting insured, which will relegate the bus to cruising around the back 40.

Also, as was mentioned, conventional wood framing is not a great building method for a moving, flexing, rocking structure. RVs almost get away with it, but those vehicles are prone to leaks over the long-term.
My build page: Armageddon - The Smell of Airborne Rust
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body removal, housetruck, tiny home

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