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Old 03-22-2016, 10:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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It's not clear how mobile it has to be. If it's mostly going to be standing in one place, I think starting with a bus is a huge compromise.

Far better off building a trailer-able house, that way if you're going out for the day you don't have to take the whole house with you. Leaving 5+ tonnes behind is the best ecomod you can make.

You'll likely find a trailer house (or a caravan) far more comfortable to live in. Perhaps not as cool though.

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Old 03-22-2016, 10:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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One advantage of "schoolies" is that they're often retired early, due to regular replacement by the school systems that can be time-based rather than miles- or running condition-based. It's sometimes possible to pick up a mechanically sound retired school bus for as little as $3-5000.

I certainly wouldn't want to drive one around town to do my shopping, but so long as OP doesn't expect to stay at 72F year round in extreme climates, the low entry cost and ability to (relatively) cheaply move the "house" from place to place might work out favorably.
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
If you want to use battery power, then 12 batteries in series is not the way to go. Most solar power battery systems use 12, 24 or 48 volts.
There are few things that can be powered off 120 volts DC, also 120 volts DC presents an extreme arcing hazard.
Yep, 12-48v of many amp hours of batteries with the appropriate inverter is what you would want. You'll be looking at 10-20kwh worth if you want to run an AC for a decent amount of time. Depending on how hot it gets where you are, even a 15k BTU rooftop RV AC will have a hard time cooling a whole bus in direct sun. Look into mini split heatpumps; they're generally more efficient at cooling and they can also be used for heating.

In my mind, mileage is one of the easier issues. It sounds like your lifestyle will be similar to a fulltime RVer. That means you'll have to deal with issues like where to park it, where to fill/empty the tanks if you don't have full hookups, internet, mail/address, and more. You also have to think of how you'll pay for the conversion and how long it'll take to do. If you have plenty of cash, skills, and time, go for it. If you're looking to finance the whole project, a premade RV would be easier to finance (not sure how easy it would be for an already converted bus).

I live full time in a fifth wheel at an RV park, pretty much just stationary.

Last edited by vskid3; 03-23-2016 at 03:31 PM..
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Old 03-24-2016, 06:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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do you have the school bus now? a rear engine city bus with a low floor and standing head room might have a better frontal area and be a better platform overall.
also if you are thinking of a wood stove i would stick with a diesel engine. sounds like a fun project i look forward to progress updates
Gotta have to second on that. With a low-floor urban transit bus, if you raise some section of the floor you'll retain some clearance to fit the water tanks. I've already considered to do a similar project. Eventually, you could also carry a small scooter for those city errands and store it inside the bus at night

Anyway, look at this old Ford F-350 motorhome from Argentina

Sure its aerodynamics are not the best, but might be similar to what you were considering to do.
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Old 03-24-2016, 02:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I drove school buses for 5.5 years, have driven buses for the National Guard for three more, and am 6'2". I could not stand up straight on some buses, but I am usually fine.

A few seemed designed for pygmies.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:35 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Whatever you do, don't cut up an old VW bus to graft onto the roof. Sailboats have an upper deck that has been evolved for 100s of years to be useful. Stove in the bottom and they get pretty cheap (one would think )



I wound up in a 35ft R-license park model trailer. There's a lot to be said for hiring the tow vehicle.

That said though, here's my scenario. 60-pass bus with the top half cut off the back emergency door and a wall with full door 4-5 feet ahead. Left rear corner is a (55-gallon drum batch process) composting toilet. Right rear corner is a 7ft tall wood alcohol still.

The front bumper is moved forward 2ft and there is a wood chipper clutched off the front of the engine (and an electric winch). There is a 4" round duct from the chipper to a bin on the rear roof to feed the still.
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Old 06-09-2016, 10:15 AM   #17 (permalink)
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As a bus driver, I get tired of going up and down those stairs. Is there anything you can do with the space below the floor? I have seen a few small-ish storage boxes.

It just seems like a waste, but I imagine having a curb-level floor (with three-foot wheel wells) is part of the expense of city buses.

Hmm... this is currently being auctioned for $1,000, but I am not sure it is optimal...



[Edit] This one runs! I have always loved Blue Birds! http://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/auc...ew?auc=1610001
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 06-09-2016, 01:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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That's not a good example, but a short bus with a wheelchair lift comes with a powered pop-out. Just have an easy chair podule that double-folds with built-in lights and stereo and you'd do most of your living in the pop-out.
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Old 06-09-2016, 02:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I've researched down this path although never followed it, nor do I have ANY rep around ecomodder. I'm aspiring to live on a sailboat and cruise.
What I think is important is how much you plan to drive it. Are you going to be commuting IN IT, or TO IT? communiting in it will probably make a LESHARO a nice choice, either with a dodge 3.3 fwd caravan power train for reliability, or a Renault diesel if you want an anemic engine to become your hobby.

I want to recommend the biggest vehicle possible, like say a 35+ft rv, but honestly at that length, you will need LOTS of ground clearance if you ever want to go down dirt/gravel roads at state parks etc. Some of the most awesome places to boondock need a noble vehicle to get to. So if you go big, you're not gonna be able to hug the road, although a boat tail might work, but damn. I would not want to daily drive that sucker.

I'd get a short bus, with underfloor storage in the front, which tapers to the back to give ground clearance.
Or just buy say an Econoline rv with a 300-I6, or a 460. Although they are big motors, they run efficiently under heavy loads if tuned right. If you research them, ignore the fuel injection's mpg numbers. They are big motors when running stoic afr's, but with either egr or lean burn or both, they can sip fuel at lean ratios without burning up or misfiring. And they are dead reliable and cheap. They also hugely favor torque over power, and are just awesome at low rpm. That, and they never need touched if you change the oil. I doubt you will find a 300-i6 in an rv, but man that would be the best gasoline engine I could think of if you were running 10k pounds or more. Yet were concerned about fuel economy, and daily driving. And were willing to run an megasquirt or something, although they'd probably beat other similar rigs in the gas mileage department, even with EPA legal electronics.

I'm not much of a hyper miler, but I LOVE lean burn ford engines.

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