What About a Old School Bus Conversion?

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X-Roughneck Strike 3

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I was researching the cost of School Buses once used in the duty of hauling kids to school and these things are Cheap.

I was looking at a 31 Passenger Bus, with a Wheel Chair Lift to be exact awhile back for $16K, Diesel. I why thinking to myself why not buy a couple- proprietary RV Tanks, and weld a Frame to transport them behind the Rear wheel of one of these buses, Put you a make shift throne back in the corner of the RV, a Simple sink and you could really get into the Self Contained, Motorized RV game for dirt cheap. Your RV with your Motor Cycle Lift, Hum? The Possibilities are unlimited for the lift, to include getting rid of it for more cargo carrying capacity.

I have seen couple great bus DIY conversion videos on YouTube.

Sharing my thoughts for the Adventurous ones out there with DIY skills out there in internet land thinking, about that first purchase without killing your Finances.

The Carrying capacity on School Buses has to be up there, I would guess?

With what they are asking for Sticker Price on a Motor Homes for sale then look at the prices of these buses, a call to your closest Oil Field Welder buddy Laid Off, and Few trips to Home Depot or Lowes and PRESTO, a Affordable, DIY RV


Has anybody ever else thought School Bus Conversion?

I would guess that these cities serviced their Fleet of Vehicles regularly and maintained upkeep?

My guess also is they are built like a tank on the inside?

Would these buses need some type of modification as the accelerator is Governed, Throttled back when they are MFG for service?

Cut off Wheel, Welder and some square tubing.

I know nothing about motors other than I love to hear the scream of them, straight Pipes off the Turbos, Oil Field style.

Just throwing this thread out there to see if anybody chimes in on it.

JD
 

X-Roughneck Strike 3

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Tom,

I never knew that would be a rule in place. I have heard mention of the 10 year rule, Still for the DIYr, I guess those want to be Boon Dockers out there this is still something if I was a bit younger I would be entertaining the thought personally.

I wonder what it would cost to shrink wrap one of those things? Paint that top white with some Gelcoat on a roller, drop a AC, and most have them, I saw some Air Force, old Blue Buses that they probably ran people out to the ranges for STX training. Put on Some Great tires and wheels for a few thousand.. Seems like the engines and transmissions have to make those things somewhat valuable.

JD
 

X-Roughneck Strike 3

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Gator,

As crazy at it may seem, I just see more Pluses than minuses with a bus conversion, but only to a few select Group of persons for sure. Young and adventurous, renegade types comes to my mind, :).

As Tom mentioned previously, being shunned by potentially alot of private parks is reality.

I still feel like this a is a path worth considering to some out there. If you look at the pricing of some of these things. I still want to throw the dice and DIY one of these things then market it for sale.

JD
 

Roy M

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School buses are set up for low speed stop and go driving, not cruising the interstate at 75. It could be regeared but still not a comfortable relaxing drive. And it will still look like a converted school bus. By the time you are finished you could probably get into a decent preowned class A for not much more.
 

Utclmjmpr

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I saw two this year at Quartzsite,, one was a mess, (typical ) and the other was a very good job. In the past I have been involved with the conversions of three over the road busses, ( one I had and used for fourteen years ) ( GMC PD4106 ) the other two are still on the road.. "Schoolies" as we called them are are not in the same class as a commercial over the road bus.. The ride is much stiffer,, no or little room under-body for attaching storage compartments,, a TON of windows to deal with,,over the road gearing problems,, and a ton more work than you would expect..and very difficult to insure. The two I saw were rear engine diesels. The only way to go.>>>Dan
 
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Ex-Calif

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Schoolies have a whole genre and following for many of the reasons you cite. Ex service busses probably have been pretty well clapped out so you also have to consider the mechanical cost of the rolling frame.

People have been living in Schoolies since the "Love Buses" of the 60's - LOL...

I personally love to see any "well done" vehicle. I love the creativity and especially if the mechanical skills are up to snuff.

OTOH not may appreciate a clapped out looking pile of junk. I have passed schoolies on the road on every one of my long trips. They are definitely out there.
 

X-Roughneck Strike 3

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I figured (wild Guessed) that the gearing had to be different, as you never hear of the 85 MPH run away school bus stories in the news.

My "Great Idea" seems to have a few holes in it, unless you like to passing world by at 40 MPH.

Still a viable option for a very limited crowd though.

I've decided I'll stick with the Aspect 30J / V10.

JD
 

Isaac-1

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This thread is giving me flashbacks to our Grand Canyon trip from October of 2019, we were behind a converted school bus (well it was painted dark blue, so I am guessing converted air force bus), on the climb up Hwy 64 all the way from Cameron, AZ to the Desert View Watchtower parking lot. (about 35 miles), I don't think they managed to get over 45 mph at any point, and were down to about 25 in several places climbing the hills.

As to the idea of the project, I kind of like the idea, though I feel one needs the right candidate bus, probably not the typical generic school bus. Perhaps one of those special purpose school buses, like the ones sports teams use with cargo compartments, and heavy duty air conditioning, or one of the diesel pusher varieties.

Perhaps something like this side radiator diesel pusher with cargo bays 2010 Blue Bird All American RE for Sale - National Bus Sales
 
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Ex-Calif

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I figured (wild Guessed) that the gearing had to be different, as you never hear of the 85 MPH run away school bus stories in the news.

JD

My chassis (W30) was common to several trucks and buses. When buying parts I have to be careful. I think there are at least 3 rear axles and two front suspensions (Independent with bags for rv and straight beam axle for buses and trucks) - Also differences in cooling and air conditioning systems.
 

TheBar

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Way back when I converted a step-van (like a UPS van) into a camper. It had been a milk truck so it had great insulation. It would do 75 mph all day long. Regular school and church busses are used to transport kids and football teams long distances and they are built to run 70 mph. Only high end campgrounds would turn you away unless it really looked trashy.
 

Lou Schneider

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School buses tend to have a short wheelbase to length ratio for better maneuverability around town. This means they have a long rear overhang which can cause less than stable handling at highway speeds, especially if you add sloshing water tanks behind the rear axle. A highway bus like the one Isaac-1 mentioned above is an exception, but they're rare and more expensive. When I was a kid I'd like to sit in the rear row of the school bus - when the bus went around a corner that long overhang made it feel like you were on a Snap The Whip carnival ride.

The other thing that's kept me from converting a schoolie is most of them only have 6' of headroom in the center of the curved roof. That's my height so if I try to stand up straight my head hits the ceiling and I'd have to duck under anything like a roof mounted air conditioner, lights, etc..
 

TheBar

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Don't know about you but at my age I'm getting shorter every year :)
 

ChasA

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I once saw a very nice converted Greyhound bus. The owner had done and outstanding job building cabinets and walls inside. It had tons of underfloor storage.
There is a place in southern Virginia that has many used buses for sale if you're interested in doing one yourself.
 

X-Roughneck Strike 3

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The string of replies prolly speaks to as why you don't see alot of them on the road.

I was thinking about partnering with a guy doing a conversion, but he has some reservations about it. I do too the more I look at it.

I Never thought of the Insurance, or the lack of being able to secure it. That could definitely be a show stopper.

I still think to the DIY guys and gals out there in internet land who have carpentry Skills, and Tie Die T-Shirts in their Closets this Bus conversion idea is not totally Crazy.

JD
 

Isaac-1

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My big thought here is if you are going to do this, be selective on your starting point, don't just pick any old junker 30 year old school that has spent a million miles going down country dirt roads. Be willing to think outside the daily haul the kids to school, school bus box, consider team buses, and other special use buses (church buses, etc.) many of which get sold due to age or fleet replacement after much less abuse than the ones that spent 2-4 hours per day doing stop and go driving for the last 20+ years.

Let me give you an example a year or so ago the local community youth center sold their old school bus (the local free RV dump station in the city park is located behind their building). It was a 1994 standard bluebird school bus that I suspect was driven under 50 miles per week, perhaps under 10, though it was routinely used, as it was often parked in slightly different places, sometimes blocking access to the RV dump when i woud go there. They had an asking price of $2,500 on it, and it took months to sell. In a sane world such low mileage buses would not exist, but in cases like the youth center bus mentioned above, it was owned by the recreation department, and not by the school system, and was the only bus in their fleet. Again think outside the box, a candidate bus does not have to be painted yellow and black and say school on the side of it, there are also police command center buses, book mobiles, life share blood bank buses, etc. Many of which are well maintained by our tax dollars and sold off for no real reason.
 
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