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Thread: From school bus to cabin style RV in progress conversion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    196

    Default From school bus to cabin style RV in progress conversion

    So a couple weeks ago I picked up a school bus that I won at an auction
    When I bought it I did not intend on keeping it, (I only paid $1100 dollars for it) and intended to part it out and then scrap it and make a few hundred dollars of it.
    However the more I read about school bus conversions the more I came to realize that I had just bought the almost perfect bus to do an RV conversion with.
    I have always wanted to do a project like this too, so I thought why not keep it, right? You sure can’t beat the price I paid for it.

    It’s a 1995 GMC / Blue Bird CV200, it is build very stout and has great ground clearance.
    It was recently retired from service as a school bus and has been well maintained.
    Everything works great and I even got a full tank of gas with it to make the drive home.
    The length of the bus is medium size with is perfect for what I have planned for it.
    The only thing I would have liked better is if it had a diesel engine and manual transmission.

    Here are some pictures I took after I drove the bus home











    My plans are to turn it in to a “cabin style” RV with a wood stove and built it to be self sufficient for 2 people to survive for about a month without needing any additional supplies.
    When completed it will have sleeping quarters, living room, kitchen, bathroom and room for storage.

    Power: it will have a plug in to 110v and for off the grid camping I am thinking solar panels and large auxiliary batteries

    Heat: Primary heat source will be a wood stove, secondary will be a propane heather.

    Cooking: I want to find a wood stove that I can use for cooking also but will install a propane stove too.

    Food storage: currently looking in to different options for a fridge that will be able to run on just solar power when camping off the grid.

    Bathroom: still looking at options for a shower and toilet.


    The challenge will be to build all this with a very limited budget. I have seen some very nice looking RV conversions, but most of them are either way above my skill level or would be much too expensive.

    References: skoolie.net has been a great inspiration for me to start the project and I will most likely start a blog there too when I get further along with the project.  
    Last edited by Little Red; 10-06-2011 at 12:16 AM.
    Follow me on my latest adventure -- My Photography Website

    1989 Suburban "Little Red" > FOR SALE <
    1993 Bluebird bus "Almanzo"
    DREAM ~ DISCOVER ~ SHARE ~ INSPIRE

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    196

    Default Finance tab

    Here I will post the itemized cost of the project so that others will have an idea of what to expect and it will hopefully prove at the end that even with a low budget you can still build a nice RV.
    This post will be updated as I get along with the project.

    Purchase price for bus $1100
    Auction fee $66
    Cost to transfer title $103

    Total cost so far: $1269
    Last edited by Little Red; 10-06-2011 at 12:19 AM.
    Follow me on my latest adventure -- My Photography Website

    1989 Suburban "Little Red" > FOR SALE <
    1993 Bluebird bus "Almanzo"
    DREAM ~ DISCOVER ~ SHARE ~ INSPIRE

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    196
    I updated the tread with pictures
    Last edited by Little Red; 10-03-2011 at 05:47 PM.
    Follow me on my latest adventure -- My Photography Website

    1989 Suburban "Little Red" > FOR SALE <
    1993 Bluebird bus "Almanzo"
    DREAM ~ DISCOVER ~ SHARE ~ INSPIRE

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    196

    Default Update

    I have started to remove the seats and pressure washed the outside.


    the first seats are out


    When I pressure washed the bus it took the black lettering right off, including where the school dist had painted over it to cover up their dist name and #
    I am going to just paint this whole section black to cover up everything, until I will eventually repaint the whole bus.


    took out some more seats.
    Last edited by Little Red; 10-06-2011 at 12:40 AM. Reason: added pic's
    Follow me on my latest adventure -- My Photography Website

    1989 Suburban "Little Red" > FOR SALE <
    1993 Bluebird bus "Almanzo"
    DREAM ~ DISCOVER ~ SHARE ~ INSPIRE

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Clarksville, Tennessee, United States
    Posts
    462
    Can't wait to see this one. I love Skoolies and find my way back to Skoolies.net about once a year. I have always wanted to build a cabin style one also. MY wife..... not so much.

    The prices on used ones right now are crazy cheap too! What were you planning on using the parts for prior to deciding to keep it?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Scottsboro, Alabama
    Posts
    136
    Subscribed and can't wait to see more! I've been interested in Skoolies for as long as I can remember but have never had the chance to build one or the place to put it. Several years ago I used to travel the US competing in ATV races and wanted to build one into a camper/hauler but the payouts went down and the gas prices went up so I had to quit.

    Can't wait to see more of your build!
    "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

    '03 GMC Sierra Overlander Build In Progress

    '98 K2500 Suburban Build Sold...*sniffle*

    Born to Venture Blog | My Flickr Photos

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    152

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Elgin, IL (Chicago burb)
    Posts
    887
    I've been thinking of a Skoolie for quite some time. I'd start with a International DT466 base though, tough engines and pretty much anyplace that repairs semis/dump trucks can fix it, if you can't fix it yourself.

    Subscribed
    Aaron

    1999 Blazer - 135k+, 31s
    1999 Astro (Green - Daily) - 225k+, 2WD, Alaska 2013
    1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally) - 335k+ orig engine, AWD, 2", 31s, rear LSD, $30 eBay fuel pump
    2002 Liberty (Eugene - Her Jeep) - 220k+ , 4", 32s, 4.10, back seat delete
    1980 KE100 (Bessie) - 100cc of fury
    Prev Astros: 86, 94, 87, 00, 97

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    196
    I updated my previous post with some more pictures, I have removed all but 4 off the seats. Waiting for it to stop raining now so I can take out the last seats and start stripping down the floor.


    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowkayak View Post
    You must have missed the part where I said that this will be a budget build, I hope to finish the whole project for the price of that fridge. Thanks for the suggestion though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Red View Post
    The challenge will be to build all this with a very limited budget. I have seen some very nice looking RV conversions, but most of them are either way above my skill level or would be much too expensive.
    Follow me on my latest adventure -- My Photography Website

    1989 Suburban "Little Red" > FOR SALE <
    1993 Bluebird bus "Almanzo"
    DREAM ~ DISCOVER ~ SHARE ~ INSPIRE

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    196
    Anyone on here have an account on skoolie.net?
    I tried to sign up but got the following error message:

    The e-mail address you entered is not allowed to be used.
    Please note that you will need to enter a valid e-mail address before your account is activated. You will receive an e-mail at the address you provide that contains an account activation link.
    I tried several times and with 2 different email addresses that I use but I kept getting this error message. And there is no way to contact an administrator on the site unless you already have an account.
    Follow me on my latest adventure -- My Photography Website

    1989 Suburban "Little Red" > FOR SALE <
    1993 Bluebird bus "Almanzo"
    DREAM ~ DISCOVER ~ SHARE ~ INSPIRE

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