07-01-2012, 02:10 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
School Bus Only Thread
Hauls 9 large dirt/dualsport bikes. Still a work in progress. No frills. No A/C. It's a dry place when it rains....
I drove it to Clayton Lake State Park for the annual fall dualsport meet last year(2011). That was it's maiden voyage. It did well. 10/12 miles a gallon. I don't have to worry about any speeding tickets on the highway, it only goes 60. 5 bikes plus 3 of mine, all the gear for 6 guys, 2 passengers, all the tools a person would want, space for the BEER, with room to spare. I can tell you a good school bus late '80's early '90's should only cost about $1500 to 2 grand. In Oklahoma a schools bus must be retired at 10 years or 80 to 90 thousand miles, that's what the guy I bought it from told me. Getting insurance can be a problem, mines insured as a motorhome. I gave $1500 for the bus with 86,000 miles. 6 tires at $350 each, $1000 in brake parts, $200 in hoses, $250 in fluids and filters. 4 wheel seals at $50. I have all the equipment and tools to do the work and a neighbor (big rig mechanic) I can ask questions. Fuel mileage comes into play. It gets about 10/12 miles a gallon of diesel. I don't think that's good but in my 1/2 ton truck with a 16 ft. trailer loaded with bikes and quads I get about 14/16 miles a gallon of gas. With the bus I get to take any thing I want and still have lots of room. And a comfortable, dry place to sleep. The guys that rode with me said they didn't feel tired after riding 4 hours because they could get up and move around. They liked the fact that they could walk over to the ice chest and get a "Mountain Dew". Never mind the team of Clydesdale horse's on the side of the can. If anyone is thinking about getting a bus feel free to P.M. if you have any questions. I've learned allot in the last year.
My boss where I work would get a new Suburban every 3 years and each time she traded in the old for the new she would forget to put the removable seat in the back.
I built a frame so I can remove the seats if needed.
L.E.D. back up lights. As money and time allows I will convert all the brake, turn and running lights to L.E.D.
My ramp is made from one part of an extension ladder from a fire truck with 3/8in. aluminum diamond floor plate screwed to each rung. Loading the bikes is a danger as far as dropping a bike or falling with a bike. I load all and any bikes. I put the ladder to the left and run the bike tires to the right side edge, giving me room for my feet and body. ALWAYS STRAP THE RAMP IN PLACE. I've knocked it off unloading a bike, I got lucky no damage or injuries. It's hard to push a bike up the ramp but it can be done. I have the bikes running or someone pushing. Handle bars do NOT just fit thru the door. It's not to hard, takes practice. At some point I want some kind of garage door. A roll up like they have at self storage buildings. I want it above the top of the bus and build a cowling to cover it. My CRV Honda will fit if I have a big enough door. For now I need to develop a method to mount the ladders on the drivers side, out side of the bus. It will have some kind of locking system because it's all aluminum. I am building everything for a one man operation.
Next project will be the back deck. A friend was given a mobilhome that he will use for storage. He set it on the ground and gave me the stairs and front porch. It will work great for what I want. Room for my quad and 6500 watt generator. I will mount the deck with 2 receiver hitches on each side of the bus frame so it can be removed. I will also make it hinged so I can fold it up. I will design some kind of pin that will stick thru a hole in the back of the bus when it's folded. The hole will have some kind of seal to keep water out when it's in the down position. I will have a locking mechanism from the inside. Security is a big issue because I will be traveling by myself at some point.
I use magnets to hold the curtains up, very fast and easy to remove for driving. I bought vertical light canceling curtains and hung them horizontally. All windows are covered when I'm in camp. That ladder has to go. Mount it on the drivers side because the left, door side will have an awning the length of the bus.
I still need to mount the Snap On boxes to the floor and side of the bus. The diamond plate truck bed tool box works great for storage and seats 3 .
One suggestion I would make to anyone doing a conversion. Get the seats out and use it without anything permanently mounted. I didn't mount anything and found what looked good on paper did not work well in the field. Don't get in a hurry and start drilling holes and bolting stuff. You will change your mind a few times.
Go faster than everyone.
Only worry about what's in front of you.