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Old 02-08-2004, 09:52 PM   #1
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1983 31' Excella
Waterloo , Iowa
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Question What will he do next?

Well, after all the discussion on balancing the running gear et al, my s/o (I really want to add a third letter, a 'b' at this point!) has had some second thoughts about his frame extension and generator. Goos, thought I. But his solution is even dingier. Now he has purchased an 18 passenger bus to use as a tow vehicle! AND to replace our ford xl 350 van! To be used for everyday driving as well! Can you hear the echoes of my screams? I mean, before, we were fifty three feet when coupled up, gawd only knows what we will stretch out to now!
But says he, the bus will be so much more versatile for us. The dogs (?!!) will be so much more relaxed. We can use the wheelchair lift like a tommy lift for electronic shows.
Now he wants me to make a floor plan for this 'wonder bus' and tell him what I want in creature comforts. This will make it so much easier for you, you can move around without being all hunched over, get a drink of water, or make us a sandwich underway, says he. And we can put the generator on the bus. Why, now we'll even have a guest room!
Any ideas where to start looking for advice on this kind of conversion?
Well, at least he has his diesel now. And I've been assured it is stout enough to be a tow vehicle without furthor, heavy investment in changing drive components, oil coolers and the like.

Elizabeth in Iowa

Retired men? Put them to work and out of the house!

The carpeting is gone! The carpeting is gone! Long live the cork floor!
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Old 02-08-2004, 11:33 PM   #2
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Old 02-09-2004, 03:34 AM   #3
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Elizabeth in Iowa,(How's the weather )

Now he has opened another can of worms....having too stout a tow vehicle causes problems too...May I suggest an Air Ryde Hitch? ?

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Old 02-09-2004, 04:55 AM   #4
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what kind of bus?
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Old 02-09-2004, 05:46 AM   #5
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What will he do next?

Greetings Elizabeth!

Your post reminded me of a similar project publicized in Trailer Life magazine back in the 1970s. I don't remember the precise year(s) of the project, but it was undertaken to provide a unique tow vehicle for Art Rouse's Airstream travel trailer. While it wasn't a bus conversion, it was a raised roof Ford Van conversion - - it included a generator capable of operating the trailer's air conditioner as well as living features. The articles on the conversion were run sometime in the mid-to-late 1970s if my memory is correct. If you are near a University, they might have bound back issues of Trailer Life that you might be able to use for research. I know that I always enjoyed reading the back issues of Trailer Life while I was a student at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale back in the late 1970s. The article series focused on the tow vehicle called the Sam Van .

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 02-09-2004, 06:14 AM   #6
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An 18 passenger bus doesn't sound too extreme. An extended E-350 Ford van is already classified as a 12 passenger so what's a few more bodies? What was it, a wheelchair van or something? If that is the case, an 18 place wheelchair van might be pretty big but I doubt there is such a thing. If it has a diesel that is all that matters, I'm a big fan of compression ignition engines.

For some reason I was picturing a 45 passenger school bus. You know, the ones that old hippies used to run, a wood stove chimney hanging out of the side and all, still yellow with black paint obscuring the windows and side lettering. I still see a few occasionally at state parks and the like.

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Old 02-09-2004, 08:29 AM   #7
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Talking Be Happy (& nice) to Pappy

Hey Cedars don't let the naysayers get you down.
If he's happy and you're not embarrassed and he can drive it and you can drive it and it is safe for yall and us (on the road) and yall can afford it...well enjoy the darn thing! That's what it is all about isn't it?? Just be Happy & Ride with Pappy.

Although some seem to think this is all a substitute for the Junior League or the Augusta Natl Country Club (and that's alright too I guess). It's sure as close as I'll ever get. I refrain from snubbing anyone at a park or campground. Seems it's the unique ones that are the most accessable, helpful and talented sometimes. But 98% of 'Canners' (any alummie) that I have met (in person) were most friendly.
Now I have met some "loonie alumies" on line.

Now what are you guys gonna do about the frame extension that has already been added?
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Old 02-09-2004, 08:58 AM   #8
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What will he do next?

The obvious next step is to cut off the bus body and mount the Airstream on the bus frame. Buy a cheap utility trailer for the generator.
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Old 02-09-2004, 05:04 PM   #9
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there are a number of bus conversions on this page.

might give you some ideas.

you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.
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Old 02-09-2004, 08:15 PM   #10
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Be glad your not married to me and made the mistake of telling me yes to a question I had got use to no. The question was "Can I have a Unimog?" and she finnaly said yes after me asking for 3 years.

Bus barn is great site. Spent many hours looking at it. Need to see how the tuck house came out.

Making mogs into campers is pretty common.

THis is the best of the best.
Go through some of those links. There are MANY sites with camper conversions and some very inovative ways of doing things.

One thing I have been looking at is a Espar heating system for the mog. THese are neat. They are available for LP, Deisel, and gas. They heat a antifreeze solution. That is then pumped through the systems and can be used on a forced air heater, they have a water to water heat exchanger they can can make hot water. When used on a motor home or bus in your case it can also preheat the engine.

At full tilt it's uses about a pint a hour. Now the slick part is when the engine is running it is not needed but you still get your hot water and forced air heater. VERY slick.
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1988 R20 454 Suburban.
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Old 02-09-2004, 08:19 PM   #11
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Site would nopt let me link.

This is my idea of our next pull rig.
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1959 22' Caravanner
1988 R20 454 Suburban.
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Old 02-09-2004, 08:36 PM   #12
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To Each His Own.
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Old 02-09-2004, 11:18 PM   #13
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1983 31' Excella
Waterloo , Iowa
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This whole thing would be so much simpler if the wheelchair lift was already in the right location, and if the passenger door was better located, and we could actually have a passenger seat even with the driver, like in a car.
But no-oo. The damn thing is 25 or 26 foot long, with a regular bifold bus door even with the driver, and the lift is way up front!
So the lift needs to move to the far back curb side, the bifold door needs to move to where the lift was.
I'm really not interested in installing black water, gray water, and fresh water tanks. I see no reason we would ever use it as a self contained camper.
I want the back six feet or so to be a storage area (think along the lines of luggage compartment) with access to the middle. Then, I want basically a lounge area.. futon that makes into bed, folding table, our coleman dc cooler, some water storage, and maybe, a porta potty of some kind. David could use that for a guest room. He frequently shows dogs with us, and bunks in with us. But since one of his females cannot get along with my female, and since one of his dogs peed in the middle of my bed, those two have been banned from my space. So a guest room for him.... AND his dogs....
I would like enough floor space available that grooming tables could be set up and used at shows. Would like to be able to maintain heat or a/c to be used 24-7 if needed. Would like to figure out a way to carry the generator on the bus, but take it off once on site.
This just gets better and better.... or worse and worse depending on viewpoint.
Thanks for the sites to look at, at least it's a starting point.

Elizabeth in Iowa
The carpeting is gone! The carpeting is gone! Long live the cork floor!
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Old 02-10-2004, 12:26 AM   #14
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I hate to say it Cedars, but that bus may a little too small for your needs.


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