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Old 09-12-2022, 11:54 PM   #15
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If I had the time, energy, money and space, I would love to put a 5.9 ISB driveline under one of these (Flexble) and restore it. Just the like one in Robin Williams movie RV. It would be a really cool RV with a modern drivetrain and interior.

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Old 09-13-2022, 12:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
If I had the time, energy, money and space, I would love to put a 5.9 ISB driveline under one of these (Flexble) and restore it. Just the like one in Robin Williams movie RV. It would be a really cool RV with a modern drivetrain and interior.



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I get it. I have a 2022 Super C that cost me over $235k. It has all I need.

But I'd have happily converted a schoolie for way less than half that, knowing I'd put exactly what I wanted to in it, in the size/capacities/locations I wanted them to be.

I'm handy with my tools. I've built several overland vehicles and a schoolie is totally within my capabilities. But time stopped me from doing it. I'm retiring soon and hitting the road full-time is way more important than a couple years building out my perfect solution.

I still question if I did the right thing.
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Old 09-13-2022, 08:46 AM   #17
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I’m in a few schoolie groups online, as I once considered a basic conversion just for hunting trips. Most schoolie folks are chasing a fantasy/dream lifestyle. They want to live small, travel the country, live off grid, live free on blm land, etc. They’ll tell you that a converted bus is safer in a crash, and that motorhomes and RVs are cheaply built from sticks and staples, and can’t go anywhere off of a paved road…. They all follow nearly the same “recipe” when it comes to building their buses. If they don’t, they’re chastised by other schoolies for not doing it right. Few ever complete their build, and fewer ever “live the life” they pursued. You can buy an older Prevost for what a lot of them end up spending……..
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Old 09-13-2022, 03:59 PM   #18
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Carpenter in the shop where I worked did one. Bid on a surplus short bus, converted it and his wife gave it a paint job with a brush. I doubt he had more than 6-8K into the project including the cost of the bus. The up side was the bus had a rebuilt motor and transmission not long before it was surplused. The down side was this type of bus was and "in town" bus and as such, was geared for city streets and hills so the engine was wound up pretty high on the freeway even at 65mph. He and his wife enjoyed it and the conversion was as a hobby project. He enjoyed building the interior, and his wife enjoyed doing the curtains, upholstery and paint job.

Being a "short-bus" he could fit into most campgrounds.
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Old 09-13-2022, 04:12 PM   #19
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Plus they still ride like a school buss. I remember riding them as a kid and they have a pretty stiff ride. Wouldn’t want to drive 5 hours in one.
Add 1,000's of pounds of floors, walls, cabinets, tanks, etc and the ride has to get better. Maybe not much, but has to be better. Right?
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Old 09-13-2022, 05:38 PM   #20
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I like Keep Your Day Dream's bus conversion.
It’s at the RV/Motorhome Hall of Fame
Looky
https://youtu.be/PxIM9MH89xE
That's not a bus conversion, it's a Wanderlodge.
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Old 09-13-2022, 05:41 PM   #21
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Add 1,000's of pounds of floors, walls, cabinets, tanks, etc and the ride has to get better. Maybe not much, but has to be better. Right?
Consider that they still ride like, um, school buses when carrying 70 or more high school students at an average weight of, say, 140 lbs each, not counting book bags or sports equipment. Call it 10K lbs or more payload fully occupied.

When designing the suspension for a MH, a much narrower range of payload makes it easier to design spring (really, wheel) rates and damping rates that will provide a much more comfortable ride than a school bus. That could be done for a conversion as well, but I'm not sure how many people would (a) think about it and then (b) do that.
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Old 09-13-2022, 06:10 PM   #22
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Oh, yeah, the ride. I forgot about that part. My co-worker's schoolie rode like a Flinstone mobile. It was a four wheeled paint shaker.

Reminds me of the school bus riding days when the bus driver would hit a bump and almost launch us near the back of the bus out of the seats.
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Old 09-13-2022, 06:49 PM   #23
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If I had an indoor place where I could take my time I would so customize a school bus or gut an old RV and rebuild it.

I wouldn't care about resale or how much I put into it as long as I was having fun.

I do a lot of stuff myself that costs more money than buying, all of the fun for me is doing it or learning to do it. A lot of projects get boring to me once I complete it or learn the skill.

In other words getting there is more fun to me than using whatever it is I'm making.
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Old 09-13-2022, 07:14 PM   #24
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...

Resale value 10% of amount spent.
...

Not everything in life if about money or making a profit. As with any "hobby" (even RVing), it's never about the cost, it's always about the satisfaction one get in "doing it." (whatever "it" is).

The same could be said for a sporting event. Take your favorite professional foot ball team and you decided to spend a couple thousand dollars on season tickets. It makes absolutely .... absolutely .... no sense to me why anyone spends their money on something that will completely disappear once it's over. And then.... there is always another game. That makes no sense at all.

Same could be said for someone who is into gardening, bowling, or even video games. Why does anyone spend their time and money on these things when there is no monetary return on one's investment of time and money? The answer is very simple! It's because it's not about making a profit (or loss), it's about the enjoyment one gets out of simply doing it... Or the satisfaction of doing something yourself.
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Old 09-14-2022, 11:36 AM   #25
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I totally get the hobby aspect. I've spent my entire life "fixing up" anything and everything and never with an interest in monetary value when it was done.
But these are semi-clapped out school buses to start with. And even the nicest and best ones I've ever seen still look like scrapyard refugees when "done".

There's people making "stealth campers" out of various kinds of delivery trucks, Those I find a tad silly but when they tire of it and move on the vehicle can be sold to a plumber, mobile handyman, or someone who might put it back to work instead of camp in it. Once a school bus is retired from active duty, yeah, well...

Years ago my father and I got into a hobby and money discussion about my small collection of "junk" cars (1960's Mustangs). He eventually admitted I was money ahead of him and his golf hobby. I at least had some tangible assets in tools, parts, cars, etc that had some potential resale value.
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Old 09-14-2022, 01:47 PM   #26
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I respect the people that take on a skoolie or old transit bus and convert it to an RV customized to their use. Some people like to build things and take pride in their work while others prefer to write a check to get something that may or may not fit their use.

We have seen some really nice bus conversions and then some that were not so nice but suited the user.

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Old 10-01-2022, 01:19 PM   #27
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As someone that's in the process of making a skoolie I thought I'd chime in.
I'd like to say that I did my best to not make this seem like a rant but as a genuine response to questions asked and comments that are on this thread. Because I did consider an RV first, but eventually settled on a skoolie instead and thought I may be able to settle your curiosity. But again, I'd like to say that I Settled on a skoolie instead an RV.

bpu699 - I've seen skoolies anywhere from $10k to $120k and it really comes down to ability, savviness, and lifestyle. Can you do a full conversion for $5k? Yes, if all you want is a "legal" RV that has a bed, fridge, and a way to use the restroom. There is the $20k range which normally comes down to using recycled materials and sacrificing things like air conditioning. Then there are others in the $60k range who fully insulate, install solar, air conditioning, showers, king size bed, sunroofs, and more. Above the $60k mark I only really ever see "expert" built skoolies. As in you pay for someone else to build it and the cost of labor gets added to the materials. As a skoolie is a handcrafted drivable living space and not created on an assembly line it takes a lot of time, and therefore lots of labor hours. Which hike the price up into the $130k range mentioned before.

As far as budget vs actual spending. That comes down to the persons ability to create an accurate budget, and actually stick to it. I spent six months creating an as detailed budget and build plan as I could before starting my build. I also know from previous projects, both on 70's trucks, and 70's home remodels that when you start a large project you need to have twice your budget for anything that you may have overlooked. As of right now I am $2k under what I had budgeted for this stage, I over budgeted for taxes/shipping, but am 2 weeks behind schedule, due to a knee injury that limited movement, but lucky that has healed and I can get back on schedule.

The resale value being so low is the nature of a custom or conversion project. Buy a bicycle, buy a bicycle motor kit, install said kit on said bicycle, then try to sell it as one unit. You won't be able to sell it for more than you purchased the individual parts and you definitely won't get paid for the time it took you to install it. And even though it has the same power as a moped, it can go the same speed as a moped, it can't be sold for nearly as much as a moped. A moped simply was made in a factory, the most efficient way possible, has a company that can stand behind and warranty to it, and has brand trust. It's the same for a skoolie and an RV. Luckily for me I have no intention to sell mine in the foreseeable future.

House Husband - YES, there is definitely something about living in and driving something that you yourself created. It is a feeling that only those who have crafted things with there own hands would be able to understand. Can I buy a bookshelf off of amazon for $15? Yes. Did the book shelf I make cost $40 in materials and took me 4hrs? Yes. But I built that, that's mine.

GypsyR - I'm assuming you are referring to the kind that people build on utility trailers rather than the kind that are stationary. I personally would not own one on a trailer, if I wanted a small moveable living space I'd rather convert a van. But again, I understanding the feeling of building something with your own hands. Now a stationary "tiny house"? I'd like that. For simplicities sake, but I know it's not possible for me as I'd also need a 4 car garage to work on projects.

I also don't get why people pay for pants that are already ripped up.

Jthigh - You are correct that some RV parks will not take skoolies. Some RV parks won't take RVs over 10 years old. Some RV parks won't take an RV unless it has a flat front. Some RV parks won't take RVs over 30ft. Some RV parks have an image to obtain. In the same way that I wouldn't take my motorized bicycle to Sturgis, I wouldn't take my skoolie to an upscale RV park. Although most of the time skoolies are denied from fear of poor build quality leading to an accident, which I understand. I personally wouldn't buy a skoolie someone else made, because for all I know they used bubble gum to seal the water and gas lines.

You are correct that they can ride rough, especially when empty. But after conversion with the added weight, and if you're lucky air ride suspension, the ride is pretty good. Definitely better than say an old pickup.

Bobby F - Price fits purpose. Exactly. For our bus we budgeted in the $50k range but we need if for a specific purpose. We need room for a family of four with two growing boys, and when we stop traveling and settle down we plan on purchasing land and parking the skoolie on it while we build a house. Using the skoolie as a "base of operations" type deal. So the water system and solar/electrical system is a little overboard for just an RV, as we expect to be more than just an RV.

Cuda67bnl - There is a big pull in the skoolie community for that fantasy/dream lifestyle. And while I would love that and hope to spend some time on BLM land offgrid, I fully expect to spend months at a time in town. I just have the advantage of being able to move my house to a different town if I want to. I also don't see how that's different from someone traveling in an RV? I personally think it's a generational thing.

Now admittedly it was just a quick google search. But I couldn't find a single Prevost that was at or below my budget that wasn't older than I am. Most of which were either older than me and 2x my budget, or older than the bus I'm converting and 10x my budget. Either way, it's expensive, it'll still need some refurbishing, and isn't unique to me and my family.



And again, I'm not trying to do this as a rant but as I post to answer questions for anyone thinking about making a skoolie and stumbling upon the thread.
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Old 10-01-2022, 05:37 PM   #28
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As someone that's in the process of making a skoolie I thought I'd chime in.
Thanks for all the info!

Curious: Was (is) there any one or two sources of technical/mechanical information that have been most valuable as you've planned and performed your build? (I know a couple of schoolie builders who winged it in some areas where someone else's plans and recommendations might still be helpful.)
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