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I bought a school bus!

Trevor Shipman

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So for some odd reason I’ve been so intrigued by people who have gutted and converted their bus to an RV. Most live in them year round, sell all their belongings and travel the US. Me? I just want something that’s in the back pocket to say, “Screw it, let’s take the bus...” and make a long drive semi comfortable/fun.

But the main reason is our favorite lake is about 3 hours away. I usually go with my brother so he tows the camper and I’ll tow the boat. That’s great except for when he cannot make the trip, that leave us (my girlfriend) deciding between the boat and camper. She’s not big on towing and her company car, well it’s a car, so no towing there. So I bought a bus to camp and tow the boat!

I’m not very good at taking pics along the way, and this won’t be a quick project but I’ll try to post and document as I go. I know there’s a great deal of combined knowledge on this site too, so hopefully I can get some great input too!

Below is the actual bus. Got it for $3,200 and some pictures of the “style” I want to make
it. 103550

10355110355325BB2F87-1D98-4ACB-9442-F5C33F727DE0.jpegEBC5AFB5-A836-4846-A113-5E516E26ABBB.jpeg
 

Scottintexas

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WOW!!!
how many miles on it? what engine does it have ?
 

mrmeaniemeateaterman

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Awesome. Good luck with it.
After owning a diesel pusher motorhome I have one piece of advise. Drive it often. Diesels don't like to sit. Needs to be driven once a month for an hour at a minimum. If you can drive it once a week even better. And keep a biocide in the fuel, something like Biobor JF, it's cheap insurance. Algae in the fuel tank will wreak havoc on everything.
 

Trevor Shipman

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Awesome. Good luck with it.
After owning a diesel pusher motorhome I have one piece of advise. Drive it often. Diesels don't like to sit. Needs to be driven once a month for an hour at a minimum. If you can drive it once a week even better. And keep a biocide in the fuel, something like Biobor JF, it's cheap insurance. Algae in the fuel tank will wreak havoc on everything.
Great tip! Just ordered on Amazon, thanks!
 

Julian

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It has 158k on it.
Really cool...cant wait to see this progress. Is the writing in the window now the miles? 185k How long do these engines last?
 

Trevor Shipman

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Really cool...cant wait to see this progress. Is the writing in the window now the miles? 185k How long do these engines last?
Hah! Love the attention to detail! So I actually bought it on eBay in DC. Flew up there Monday morning and drove her back. When I got there I complained about a mark that was not pictured on it so he put me in another bus of my choice that had lower miles and no body issues. As I was posting this I realized I haven’t taken any pictures of my new project so I posted the eBay pic! Hah! But it’s the exact same bus.

As far as how long it last I hear those engines are good for a min of 500k. I’ll never come near that.

It’s gonna be a lot of work but hopefully a fun (most of the time) project.
 

Gym

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Great looking bus. Shocked at how cheep it was. What year is it? At least you won't be getting fiberglass splinters.
 

Trevor Shipman

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Yeah I think that’s why there is starting to be a cult following on these things is you can get them so cheap and they are built like tanks! It’s a 2009.
 

galonuscct

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That's really cool! Some friends and I always thought of doing that to take to football games in the fall. No one wanted to be the DD so we never pulled the trigger! :D
 

galonuscct

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Down the rabbit hole you go!
 

B0at1n

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Just spend at hour looking into this, that’s only the beginning. I like this idea for the exact same reason you mentioned, how do I get a camper and a boat with one vehicle to the lake!
 

Trevor Shipman

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Just spend at hour looking into this, that’s only the beginning. I like this idea for the exact same reason you mentioned, how do I get a camper and a boat with one vehicle to the lake!
Hahah! I’d like to go ahead and apologize for the non prod hours your going to spend thinking and searching on this! Good to know I’m not alone!
 

B0at1n

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Hahah! I’d like to go ahead and apologize for the non prod hours your going to spend thinking and searching on this! Good to know I’m not alone!
What’s your budget in this build?
 

bronze_10

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That dt466 engine is an international build engine. It has been around for years and years and years... it originally started out with much less horse power and torque... couldn't hardly get out of it's own way many years back. The newer ones like you have are much more powerful engine although not one u would use to pull 80,000 pounds over a steep mountain pass. Almost every electric company truck, international school bus, uhaul truck, and general commercial box truck had a dt466 in it for the last 10 years. Typically the engines are hyper reliable and are relatively cheap to work on. As far as life time. Some where around the half million mile mark you will want a mechanic to roll in new rod and main bearings, then they will typically go 750 to a million miles. But that's a lot of camping and boat hailing away before you will need to worry about that!. Congrats on the buy and I look forward to watching your project come together!
 

Trevor Shipman

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What’s your budget in this build?
That’s a great question... I’m hoping around 7k but I’m kinda pulling that number out of my a$$, which means probably more like 10k.

There is quite a bit of work to do but at a high level:

- Remove seats
- Remove all interior paneling so I can spray foam insulate
- Paint the exterior
- Add rooftop AC
- All kitchen appliances (Refrig, stove/oven, sink)
- Add black, grey, and fresh water tanks underneath
- Toilet/tile shower
- Cabinets
- Sound proofing
- Plumbing
- Laminate floors

Offfffff a lot of work! But if I can get a reliable towing/fun RV out of this for under 15k all said and done, I’ll be a real happy man!
 

Trevor Shipman

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Mod #1...is it the boat hitch? I don't think I've ever seen a yellow bus with a boat behind it. I'd love to see that at the launch.
Hahah, me too!! I’m almost nervous that everyone will laugh at me. Lol. But I plan on making this thing look cool so hopefully lll turn some heads and I’ll be the one laughing! (Hopefully) hah
 
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