F550 Super Duty Shuttle Bus

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etcetera

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Joined
Nov 2, 2021
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3
Location
Richmond, VA
2012 F550 Super Duty V10 gas 6.8L engine, 53,000 miles, 32-passenger. Planning to convert.

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IBTripping

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Sep 19, 2018
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1,496
Location
Virginia
Welcome to the Forum. You've got a nice project ahead of you. I live in Richmond, VA during the winter. Please keep us updated on your progress.
 

TheBar

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Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Posts
1,183
Location
MS
40 years ago I converted a step van (like a UPS delivery truck) into an RV. It was a really fun project. It had been a milk truck with excellent insulation so it was a true 4 season RV. With all those big windows you'll have a better view than any RV could ever have. Might be a problem keeping it cool in the summer though :)
 

etcetera

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Joined
Nov 2, 2021
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Location
Richmond, VA
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Still working out the design. I probably will not accomplish much this winter other than installing a bed and some kind of temporary heater in it. I have 21' of internal space to play with.

I have a queen bed, want a full size couch in it, a computer desk, a stove. Do not need a dinette. Maybe a closet to nang shirts in if I have room left over. A shower obviously. I need to find an online program that will let me design things. Move them around, like CAD. At least in 2D.

I am 6'3" and barely fit into it so I am keeping the floor the way it is, I have about 2" of clearance. Pergo type floor would be nicer but the floor is nice as it is, it's spartan, just wash it with water. I like that. I hate carpets most RVs come with.

I basically don't even know where to start. I am very new at this. youtube is my friend and I am trying to process the very basics. I see some very nice builds, this is way out of my league at this point. I am basically at the point where I don't know how you keep all the stuff bolted down to prevent it from moving around while driving. Do I bolt things to the floor? Or do I need to install some wooden frame and then bolt things to it?

I am going to remove all the seats this weekend.

The things I do want to accomplish this winter are:

* Install a secondary gas tank, around 50 gallons. The default one is 40 gallon as far as I know and at 6-8MPG you get with V10.. doesn't last very long.
I would love some kind of aftermarket gas gauge, nice and big and a switch to switch from one tank to another.

Put curtains up, maybe something held by magnets.
 

donn

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Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Posts
4,930
Just remember, what ever you think this conversion is going to cost, triple it. I have seen some ytube videos where people have spent a hundred thousand on smaller projects.
If this truly is the way you want to go, before you do anything, sit down and make a plan starting with all those windows. Do you want them all? If so they are going to interfere with hanging cabinets and partition walls. Next make a detailed drawing of what you envision the interior looking like when finished. Gather material now! Water lines, electrical wire, fixtures, and lumber all are getting in short supply, so starting now will allow you to have a head start.
Remember RVs are built inside out, since you have the outside already done your going to have wiring and plumbing done almost first.
 

Alontheway

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Sep 12, 2021
Posts
149
Location
Alageorgia
I would sell it and just buy an RV that is already an RV. You will spend huge time and huge huge money on this. It is all window. Are you going to leave all windows or re-do the walls? windows = heat loss.
I have converteed a moving van. Never again. Though I did get exactly what I wanted it was not worth it and cost huge compared to just buying an RV
 

Kirk

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Oct 30, 2005
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Full-time , Escapee
I basically don't even know where to start.
Well, fancy meeting you here! :)
The first thing that you need to consider is where you will place your potable water, gray water, and black water tanks. Once you know where you have room to mount those you will also be able to figure out how large the tanks can be. I would start by spending time under the bus looking at the frame rails and such to figure out if there is a way that the tanks could be mounted there. Since water is about 8# per gallon, large tanks can be very heavy when full so they need solid support and mounting them low will help with handling by lowering the center of gravity. Once you find a place to locate the tanks you need to figure out where the plumbing for the drains into and from the tanks can go. All of that is very important to do before you start putting things into the interior. As you start to design the interior you need to keep in mind where the water lines will go. It is very common to put the fresh water tank under the bed as that keeps it inside out of the cold and the pump can be mounted next to it with easy access. At some point you need to add in the water heater to the mix, the sinks, and the shower. The toilet is usually mounted directly above the black tank so that waste can drop directly into it and eliminate the plumbing between. It will need a fresh water supply. When I helped a friend convert an old school bus years ago, those were the things we addressed first. Not far behind should be a location for an ASME propane tank which you could get from Amazon. If you keep the water heater, furnace, and stove in close proximity it will make the propane lines much shorter and more easily hidden.
 

TheBar

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Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Posts
1,183
Location
MS
My conversion was more like a hard sided weekender popup camper than an RV. It consisted of beds, a bathroom with a porta-potty, and appliances I found at a swap meet. That was relatively easy with no plumbing, wiring, and only a few holes in the floor where racks had been mounted. Being a stupid kid I mounted a propane tank on the extended back bumper turning it into a bomb if anyone rear-ended me. It already had a roof 12/120volt A/C but I used the unvented oven on the stove for heat which was a carbon monoxide factory. I hope you do better than I did.

You do realize when you remove the seats you'll have hundred of holes in the floor? It looks like a fiberglass shell so you can't modify it or attach much to it. It sits pretty low to the ground so you can't have tanks hanging down in harm's way. If you need plumbing you may not be realistic about how much work and money is involved. If it is even possible
 

Great Horned Owl

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Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Posts
1,729
Location
Lake County, Illinois
nanoCAD is a completely free, (almost) clone of AutoCAD. If you are an AutoCAD user, you will be able to start in using it almost immediately. There are a few actions with different syntax, or that get done is a slightly different way, but no significant differences in use.

There is a 3D version, that is not free.

I don't know if the file structures are compatible. Some day, I should get around to checking that out.

Joel
 

etcetera

New member
Joined
Nov 2, 2021
Posts
3
Location
Richmond, VA
Well, fancy meeting you here! :)
The first thing that you need to consider is where you will place your potable water, gray water, and black water tanks. Once you know where you have room to mount those you will also be able to figure out how large the tanks can be. I would start by spending time under the bus looking at the frame rails and such to figure out if there is a way that the tanks could be mounted there. Since water is about 8# per gallon, large tanks can be very heavy when full so they need solid support and mounting them low will help with handling by lowering the center of gravity. Once you find a place to locate the tanks you need to figure out where the plumbing for the drains into and from the tanks can go. All of that is very important to do before you start putting things into the interior. As you start to design the interior you need to keep in mind where the water lines will go. It is very common to put the fresh water tank under the bed as that keeps it inside out of the cold and the pump can be mounted next to it with easy access. At some point you need to add in the water heater to the mix, the sinks, and the shower. The toilet is usually mounted directly above the black tank so that waste can drop directly into it and eliminate the plumbing between. It will need a fresh water supply. When I helped a friend convert an old school bus years ago, those were the things we addressed first. Not far behind should be a location for an ASME propane tank which you could get from Amazon. If you keep the water heater, furnace, and stove in close proximity it will make the propane lines much shorter and more easily hidden.


This is very helpful.
 

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