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Old 01-04-2010, 01:29 PM   #1
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Bus conversions?

I don't know how far away (in time and dollars) we are from our replacement rig, but it's becoming more and more clear that it will not be a towable.

Buying a used MH seems awfully daunting, as there is SO much that could be wrong, and not readily identifiable before the purchase.

Driving home from work today, I got to thinking about what it would be like to convert a school bus, probably one of the smallish ones. Seems to me there is sufficient ground clearance to add outside storage under the frame, plenty of weight capacity, and that the box itself ought to be very sturdy, compared against even the most well-built travel trailer.

I think I'd have a custom shop do the plumbing, and get a decent paint job. Can't imagine replacing all the windows with metal panels, so I imagine we'd just insulate and panel inside.

I'd appreciate any thoughts, pro or con on the subject. Too much work? Too expensive? Too difficult to insure?
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:59 PM   #2
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Motorhomes

I would not totally rule out a used motorhome. Motorhomes like trailers use all the same components so virtually any piece is readily available. The vulnerable part is the engine. We bought one that was four years old with 20,000 miles on it. It was like new and 9 years later the engine still runs great and to this point we have not replaced anything except the front TV.

If I were doing it over I would buy a used GMC Motorhome, one of those original all fiberglass units. I think they're beautiful though smaller than our Bounder. The outsides of the units seem to last foreever and there is a real solid supporting club.

Over the years we've looked at all kinds of Motorhomes, particularly some of the classics. I'm glad I'm not rich or my little 60x100 yard in NH would be filled with Rigs.

It certainly would be fun to do a conversion, but I think that the cost would be probably as much as buying a used motorhome. Most motorhome owners put very few miles on them and particularly now it's possible to find a good deal.

http://www.busconversions.com/

http://www.gypsyjournal.net/

The editor of the Gypsy Journal has a multi part article on a conversion he does. Both of these sites deal with convential buses but I bet there are sites on school buses as well.

http://www.rv-busconversions.com/

This one contains some school bus info.

http://images.google.com/images?sour...ed=0CB8QsAQwAw

This one contains lots of images of converted school buses.

Good luck in your hunt.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:53 PM   #3
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Norm, I've followed the Gypsy Journal conversion story for a couple of years now. Peggy is not sanguine about the idea, and I agree that you make some good points, especially as regards those vintage GM motor homes.

Out west last year, we saw a school bus conversion that was just about the most whimsical thing I've ever seen on wheels. The owners had grafted a VW bus body on to the roof of the school bus, as a sort of cupola. I have a photo of it somewhere and will post it.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:56 PM   #4
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At home I have a book on homebuilt RVs. People have been very creative building some unusual and beautiful rigs. I may have to go home early this winter (family issue) and if we do I'll send you the book.
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Old 01-04-2010, 05:16 PM   #5
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Thanks Norm.

We may have made the decision before you get home, but I appreciate the offer. If you get home and remember you'll have to ask for my mailing address anyway, and we'll decide at that point whether I want the book or whether you should save it for someone else who will make better use of it.

Peggy thinks I am too old and couch-bound to take on a project of that scope, and she is probably right. My reach has always exceeded my grasp with large projects, and I haven't done a motor vehicle project since about 1983. I should probably be selling off my tools instead of entertaining pipe dreams.

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