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Old 07-01-2012, 02:10 PM   #1
Danger4u2 OP
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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.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
WVhillbilly
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Looks like a great project, I see those buses going for dirt cheap at home.
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:08 PM   #3
Capt_Gruuvy
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I thought about a bus with a wheelchair lift on the side in hopes that it could lift a motorcycle up to bus height. That might require a light bike.

Anyway, a thought.
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt_Gruuvy View Post
I thought about a bus with a wheelchair lift on the side in hopes that it could lift a motorcycle up to bus height. That might require a light bike.

Anyway, a thought.
The one I looked at with Handi-capped access the deck wasn't long enough for a bike.
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:10 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Capt_Gruuvy View Post
I thought about a bus with a wheelchair lift on the side in hopes that it could lift a motorcycle up to bus height. That might require a light bike.

Anyway, a thought.
Any lift equiped bus I've ever dealt with ,the lift has a capacity of 800 lbs.
Some wheelchairs are very heavy.

Here's mine.

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Old 09-08-2012, 05:17 AM   #6
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Hey Danger, how about some powertrain details.

What's she packin?
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by natedog39 View Post
Hey Danger, how about some powertrain details.

What's she packin?
DTA 360 in line 6/turbo Navistar diesel , Alison 3 speed automatic transmission, electric over hydraulic 4 wheel disc brakes, power steering. I've never driven anything as big as this bus other than farm tractors. I was surprised at how easy they are to drive. If you tend to have road rage issues do not get a school bus, you will want to ram people.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:21 PM   #8
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Rather than having an assistant push your bikes up the ramp, how about fitting a pulley to the ceiling in line with the ramp? That would allow your assistant to pull on a rope - no risk of the assistant tripping and pulling you all off the ramp, and the pull will always be exactly in line with the ramp.

Even better, fit a small electric winch with foot operated on switch at the bottom of the ramp and another on the floor of the truck where you can stop it when the bike is fully inside.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:43 PM   #9
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If you are looking for ideas on how to improve the ramp, this is how the horse van industry does it. The ramp stores under the floor, and is pulled out on rollers. While it can be disconnected from the van for refurb purposes, it generally stays attached to the van.

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Old 12-26-2012, 08:57 AM   #10
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This is my '57 GMC 66 passenger bus. I bought it for $500 in '76. I lived in it for a while , then used it to haul 3 bikes to Bowling Green , Ky. for the Big Boogie in '78.
I made a wooden ramp that hooked to the bumper to load bikes. I was envious of the aluminum ramps they had on U-Haul trucks but, could never find one.Loading 500 + lb. bikes was always tense.
In '79 my friends and I loaded 3 900 and 1000 Kawasaki's and 2 750 Hondas in it and drove it to Daytona for bike week and the trip extended to a ride to Key West.
I had a bed that folded up to the wall in the back , everyone else had to share the floor.
The trip was repeated for '80 and '81.
The bus came with a miltary remanufactured 302 inline 6 , four speeds and a 6.11 rear end. It would roll along at about 50 mph uphill or down. I would always be driveing when we came down Jelico Mt. on I-75. I'd pop it into nuetral and coast down. I don't know how fast it got going , but , the whole bus would shake like a dog coming out of the water.
And hey, we lived to tell the tale.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natedog39 View Post
Any lift equiped bus I've ever dealt with ,the lift has a capacity of 800 lbs.
Some wheelchairs are very heavy.
+1

A power weelchair can weigh 500lbs + with a "passenger"
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:31 PM   #12
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I'm inspired. For me, I would look for any early 90s Bluebird with a 360 Intl 6. Best would be the 6 spd manual to go with it. I drove that config bus for 2 years in rural MN and it was an amazing sled, even with a bunch of noisy kids! Especially fun when the little ones in the back row hit their heads on the roof from a big bump.

But seriously, Bluebird chassis and bodies are unbeatable - none better. The 360 inline 6 is an amazingly simple and reliable engine and has all the power a body needs for decent cruising. I could routinely get the but up to 65 without any trouble. Best reason for the 360 is that it doesn't have the PS/444 with ECU and all of the attendant potential for electronic mayhem our shop manager was always crying into his beer about.

Good on ya, mate. Only change I would wonder about would be changing the rear door into a double (side by side) for easier loading.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:25 PM   #13
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Good on ya, mate. Only change I would wonder about would be changing the rear door into a double (side by side) for easier loading.
When time allows, I want the back end to open this big. Draw bridge like this I found on the net or a roll up like storage buildings have. I would make it roll above the top of the bus and build a cowling for it.


I have a CRV Honda that will fit with this set up. Look how they dove tailed the floor.




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Old 09-09-2012, 02:59 PM   #14
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Have you considered a cage behind the passenger area?
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:23 AM   #15
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Have you considered a cage behind the passenger area?
I've thought about it, I should say I've worried about not having it. With the tool boxes and the configuration of the seats it would be complicated to build a cage/partition. Best bet is not have any crashes. Or bring along many friends to sit behind me, in the event of a crash everything will hit them and their bodys will cushion the blow to me. The 5 bikes on the sides of the isle sit in Condor wheel chocks bolted to the floor. I haven't done it yet but I think I can fit 4 bikes in the isle. I have 1 free standing Condor wheel chock and I'm watching Craigslist for 3 more. All bikes get a 4 point tie down. Tool boxes are bolted to the wall and floor. Gear, tents, boots....................are stashed between the wall and the bikes, near the back of the bus. If I do have a crash I'm hoping the bikes will contain most of the items from flying/sliding forward.
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