School Bus Only Thread

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Danger4u2, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

    Joined:
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    Hauls 9 large dirt/dualsport bikes. Still a work in progress. No frills. No A/C. It's a dry place when it rains....

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    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.


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    I built a frame so I can remove the seats if needed.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 .

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    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.
    #1
  2. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    Looks like a great project, I see those buses going for dirt cheap at home.
    #2
  3. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

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    The one I looked at with Handi-capped access the deck wasn't long enough for a bike.
    #3
  4. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    I thought the same thing about the wheelchair lift.
    Sometimes they remove them and put them on the new bus tho. I've seen a few for sale with the lift missing.
    #4
  5. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

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    Made a little headway on the rear bus deck.

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    #5
  6. beemerkid

    beemerkid Do you ADV

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    That looks like a sweet adventure rig!
    #6
  7. banshee8989

    banshee8989 AKA: Fartman

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    I like. :D

    I am seriously thinking of getting an old E350 extended air port shuttle van. A little smaller but same concept.

    It just makes sense. My truck is getting old, I need somthing that can pull a boat with a lot of gear, haul 3 kids and a cranky wife, and is cost effective. I just cant see dropping 60,000 on a large SUV when a large used van will do the trick.
    #7
  8. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

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    Well thank you.
    I gave up on making the deck hinged and mounting it with 2 receiver hitches. I'm using 2, 4" heavy c- channels that I will bolt inside the c- channel of the bus. I will box the c- channel for 2 ft. each side of the end of the bus channel. I think it will hold the weight of the deck and a quad like it is but boxing it will give that added security against any failures. I'll manufacture U- bolts to hold the deck to the c- channel, mounted in a 4 point configuration. I will drill the hand rails where they telescope mount on the deck, using spring retained pins that are used on Atwood style trailer hitches. My design will allow for somewhat easy removal of the whole setup if needed. Removed, you will only see the 2 holes in the bumper.
    #8
  9. AkBrian

    AkBrian Long timer

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    You'll probably need to install a second set of tail lights on the rear of the platform.
    #9
  10. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

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    I will install a trailer socket in the bumper and run a set of magnetic car lights that wrecker drivers use. Easy on off. With deck only, no quad or cargo, the lights can be seen easily on the back of the bus. In OK they (OHP) are kind of lax about things like that. Yes, to keep out of trouble it would be a good idea to run lights. Side marker lights also.
    For that matter I could install permanent lights and have a trailer pig tail for if and when I want to remove it.
    #10
  11. AkBrian

    AkBrian Long timer

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    I believe the issue is the distance from the lights to the back of the vehicle, not so much the visibility.
    #11
  12. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

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    Your correct but all I need while in OK is a red flag tied to the end as long as the lights can be seen. I will add lights, don't like giving them a reason to jack with me, plus the safety factor. LED tail and marker lights will look good.
    #12
  13. Venteuri

    Venteuri I don't give a shit

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    That looks dangerous!! :huh

    imagine some drivers rear ending you?
    #13
  14. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

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    All I have left is to sharpen the c- channels, in the event of a car rear ending me, it will be less blunt. They will stab into the car instead of bending metal. I did it that way to stop people from rear ending me. I like the Mad Max look. In reality we are in the process of fitment. The rails are only c- clamped, deck is sitting on them so I can get a visual idea of what it will look like and measurement for cutting to size. Thanks for your concern for other people. I'm all about safety also. 10 years working in the oil field, 6 years as a driller (foreman) and only 1 lost time accident. When I finish, the rails will be capped, everything bolted, pinned or welded. I will add strips of that red-white-red-white..........reflective tape on the backside of the hand rails and along the bottom edge of the deck. The kind you see on 18 wheeler trailers. I will have recessed, turn, brake and marker lights. The whole reason for the deck is safety. It will give me a wide platform for getting the bikes thru the door. Before I was doing the balancing act while standing on the 24 inch wide ramp.

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    #14
  15. natedog39

    natedog39 Borderline Beefcake

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    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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    #15
  16. natedog39

    natedog39 Borderline Beefcake

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    Hey Danger, how about some powertrain details.

    What's she packin?:D
    #16
  17. SgtDuster

    SgtDuster Long timer

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    +1

    A power weelchair can weigh 500lbs + with a "passenger"
    #17
  18. Tmaximusv

    Tmaximusv Long timer

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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! :rofl 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. :freaky

    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.
    #18
  19. Danger4u2

    Danger4u2 KX500 is Danger4u2

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    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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    #19
  20. triplenickel

    triplenickel Long timer

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    Have you considered a cage behind the passenger area?
    #20