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Posted - 11/04/2012 :  12:26:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit Skoolie123's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm considering a type of cheater RV conversion on a school bus. Considering I could build a 40' diesel RV for under $15k, seems like a pretty good deal. I hope to use a 90's Transit F/E 40 ft, highish miles under $10k.

The idea is to remove the back section of a bus, and mate a reversed toy hauler to the now open area of the bus cab. My research shows most haulers and buses are 8' wide. I'm not especially good at fine fabrication so doing all the wood, plumbing and wiring just seems like too much effort vs. cost of a used RV.

So some questions-
How much weight do you think removing the rear body/seats will reduce vs. adding the RV? (In general, obvious sizing matters) Most of the RV's I'm looking at are 4k-5k lbs.

Gearing/unlocking 6th gear-
How difficult is it to get 6th gear unlocked in Allison trans'? What gear ratio's should I stick with? Is it difficult to get turbo's bumped up/ecm reprogrammed?

Any particular engine/trans/body combo to stay away from?

While I come from a car background, I've been working on Army Armored trucks that use the DT530's and Allison 3000/4000 trans for the past 5 years.

Thanks in advance,

Senior Member

72 Posts

Posted - 11/05/2012 :  5:41:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Personally, I would be looking for an 8.3 Cummins with a 5 or 6 speed Allison. If looking older, a 3208 Cat with a 5 or 6 speed Allison wouldn't be too bad of a choice. I would also be looking for a rear end differential ratio under 5. I have seen some pretty cool things done in mind of turning school buses into toyhaulers. I have been considering one myself. Some have raised the rear portion of the roof and some have lowered and dovetailed the floor behind the rear axle. Others have taken the rear of the body off and left an open flatbed carhauler style. You might consider searching a craigslist search engine for some toyhaulers that have already been fabricated out of school buses.
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Posted - 11/06/2012 :  05:41:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Personally I would stay away from the 3208s. My cousin, who works for Cat, has nothing good to say about them. In fact, his favorite term for them is Scattercat.

As for the weight. I would say (just a guess here, based on picking one up before) that a seat would weight around the 60 lb mark. As for the body itself, it would be a pure guess for me, maybe 250 lbs per foot? That would be w/o the seats. Might not be that much, That would mean a 59 passenger body would weigh, what, 5k? Sounds a little heavy to me, but I'm just trying to talk it out here.


Edited by - bwest on 11/06/2012 05:47:35 AM
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