School Bus Conversion Resources

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mari3col3 01-18-2017 12:03 AM

Anybody live full time and stationary in a bus conversion?
 
My fiance and I have recently decided to convert an old school bus into our full time tiny home! We're pretty excited to start this whole process. We would like to be stationary as he has a full time job (i'm self employed). Ideally our goal is to be off grid with solar, grey water, composting toilet, grow a little vegetable garden, have a large porch right next to the bus and basically live our days in it! Has anyone here or know anyone who lives full time and stationary in a bus conversion?

slaughridge85 01-20-2017 10:40 AM

I've been mostly stationary since last July. My bus is parked next to the building I work in so I have a brisk 28 second commute to work in the mornings. We also have a composting toilet and will be installing a solar setup ASAP.

If you know you're not going to move for a long period of time it may be beneficial to block the axles and remove the tires, you could skirt around the bottom of the bus so there is less heat transfer from wind whipping underneath and such.

The most important thing you need to worry about is having a good place to park it where the local/county/state/federal "Officials" won't or can't tell you to move it. Can't even tell you how many people here have bought a bus then had to sell it or store it hours away from home because some code enforcer or neighbor makes their life a living hell.

DoubleO7 01-20-2017 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slaughridge85 (Post 180585)
because some code enforcer or neighbor makes their life a living hell.

If they are, maybe because the law is on their side?

slaughridge85 01-20-2017 12:25 PM

Just because its law doesn't make it right...

Thomas1985 01-20-2017 04:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slaughridge85 (Post 180587)
Just because its law doesn't make it right...

damn right.

DoubleO7 01-20-2017 08:08 PM

right or wrong, if the law is the law, it is what we have to live with.
You have the choice of living within the law or taking your chances on how long you can avoid the law being applied to you.

DoubleO7 01-20-2017 08:13 PM

To mari,
welcome to the forum.
Before you spend your hard earned money and physical efforts on this endeavor, you should really investigate and see if you will be able to do what you desire where you desire.
You can always go rouge and take your chances and risk loosing what you have invested yourself in.

Carytowncat 01-20-2017 08:45 PM

I have found peace in trusting that i do not want to be anywhere that i am not wanted.

TAOLIK 01-20-2017 10:31 PM

Hoping to go fulltime in July(date after delay). Just got lots of work to get done before then. Every day I'm hustling!

The most important thing you should consider though: Are you ready to put tens of thousands of hours & dollars into your bus? In the beginning it will test you with rusty metal, rotting wood, leaking seams, highway breakdowns, aching joints, neglected friends and family, empty bank account.

Mentally it will make you unstable. You'll have countless days where things don't go as you plan, you'll have deep frustrations that only other skoolies will understand, you may get angry when people tell you "it'll be fine", you'll have days/weeks/months undoing work you do because you cheaped out/did sloppy work, you'll have days where you regret not buying a nice premade RV.

But you will be rewarded with the knowledge necessary to build a city in a post-apocalyptic world. And you will be rewarded with an awesome tiny home which will give back all that love, tears and sweat you poured into it.

If so, buy a bus(or coach bus or a box truck) and join the club. Good luck to you either way.

Vireo 01-21-2017 09:16 PM

We have been living on our bus since mid-October, travel in for a couple months before settling in an RV park. We've been very fortunate and we're asked to host at the park. We work a couple of weeks a month in exchange for our rent.
Get the best bus you can manage. We ended up spending a few thousand at the mechanic before heading out. Worth every penny but we probably would have spent less overall if we spent more initially.
Keep it simple; you can always tweak things as you go along. We love our bus and the freedom and independence it represents.
Welcome and best of luck to you!

mari3col3 01-21-2017 09:19 PM

Can I ask what is the average height inside the buses? Height is my only concern as my fiance is 6ft 4in and don't want him to have to duck his head constantly. I'm only 5ft 4in so I'm basically good with anything, ha! I know some people actually raise their bus roof, but I'm worried that would be rather costly and difficult to do?

Thanks everybody for their response so far!

Azuleslight 01-21-2017 11:14 PM

i am currently stationary have been since december (plan to move eventually). i have access to about 1500 watts of onshore power. but as that is spotty, i mostly live off grid with no power or running water. i shower via gym membership, i heat via wood stove and i light with either a camping led lamp or if I have power, rope lights. i do not have refridgeration in the normal sense. its so cold here i can literally just put my stuff outside with a bag of ice and im good. but i plan to upgrade to solar/wind and a domestic fridge. im making it all work while i still am working on the skoolie. its tough at times but it's also freeing knowing i cam leave tomorrow.

Kubla 01-29-2017 01:56 AM

Average inside height of a school bus is 6 foot 3 inches, if you can find a place to be truly stationary, you could buy an old city transit bus, higher inside and usually have a square roof line

Blue 02-01-2017 01:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carytowncat (Post 180630)
I have found peace in trusting that i do not want to be anywhere that i am not wanted.

Me too! :smile:

Brewerbob 02-23-2017 02:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kubla (Post 182108)
Average inside height of a school bus is 6 foot 3 inches, if you can find a place to be truly stationary, you could buy an old city transit bus, higher inside and usually have a square roof line

OP,
Buses (non-shorties) come in 72" and 78" headroom. I am 6'1" ish, the low ceiling buses are definitely NOT 6'3" as my head touches if I stand up straight. I haven't lived on a bus but don't have any problem with the 78" buses. That said, I plan on raising the roof regardless of which bus I buy. Mostly just for more cabinet space. 35'x7 1/2'x6' is not a lot of room for all of your worldly possessions even when pared down to Tiny Homing.

PNW_Steve 02-23-2017 06:10 PM

I currently reside on a beautiful piece of ground out in the woods with a large creek running through the back yard. Unfortunately I cannot build on this lot without spending $50k+ on water hookup and fancy septic system. I don't have a spare $50k in my pocket.....

Solution: We parked a 36' 5th wheel (allowed), built a cover over it (tolerated) and moved in. We collect rainwater for domestic water and have a composting toilet.

Then we bought another 5th wheel and "remodeled" it. The remodel included removing everything from the frame except the axles & suspension. Then we built a 10'x20' structure with a loft on the lower portion of the frame and a 10'x10' section where the bedroom had been. Net result: about 400sq ft of usable space. Then we put the tail lights & license plate back on.....

I did also live in my last bus for 7 years but most of that was mobile.

Not exactly living in a bus stationary but between the two I think I have a pretty good handle on the lifestyle.

I would look around your county for any indication of tolerance for people residing in RV's. Where I live, you have to get out in the country a bit to find places where it is tolerated. At that if you get the county's attention they will tell you that you can only spend 6 months of the year "living" in your RV on your lot. Solution: I have another rig on the other side of the state and "officially" I move back & forth. The reality of it is there are probably 30+ full time occupied RV's within a mile of where I live.

IMHO: your choice of a composting toilet is right on the money. Dealing with our black tank was one of the biggest challenges before we went to a composting toilet.

I don't know if rainwater collection is a good option in your area. Google may be your friend there.

I don't know where you are, so off grid power options are difficult to pin down. If you are in a place where it plays well then you are in good shape. The cost of solar panels and gear has dropped significantly in the last few years. I am planning on 1000-1200 watts on my bus. Solar panels can be had for as low as $0.27 per watt if you really shop. More common pricing can be $0.50-$0.75 per watt.

I will quit rambling now..... :smile:

Best of luck!!

S.


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