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Why a school bus? Tom 10-12-04  
I am doing research for a project that I plan to start in 2-3 years. I want to make a motorhome out of a bus to allow me to take my family traveling throughout the summer. I saw that there are two forums, one for converting skoolies and one for converting tour busses. I know that skoolies are much cheaper to buy and, it seems, more readily available. Can anyone tell me some other differences between converting the two kinds of busses? It seems to me that after the cost of purchasing the vehicle, many of the other costs would be similar. Are tour busses more durable? Safer for long distance traveling? I would like to end up with a vehicle that will hold enough water for at least a week for 6 people.
Re: Why a school bus? Phil Feinstein 10-12-04  
The biggest difference I can see between a coach bus and a school bus is the interior height. A coach has a 7' ceiling and a school bus has a 6' ceiling. As per Uniform Building Code, a house must have a ceiling height of 7.5' minimum; That means a coach bus feels more like a house on wheels than a school bus does. Of course, a little welding and some steel and you can raise the roofline of a school bus (which I have seen done successfully with wood and steel).

A bus meet federal safety standards for side impact and rollover. These standards are stricter for school busses because of the fact that the vehicle is designed to carry kids. School busses also use medium to heavy duty truck parts, so in most cases if you've worked on a heavy duty pick-up or straight truck, you've worked on exactly the same driveline. You can also pick up a used bus for under $3000 if you are willing to travel.

If you want a super high-end motor home and are familiar with diesel engine maintenance, tag axle maintenance and air brake repair and maintenance, then a coach bus is the best choice. If you have fabrication skills and don't want to spend the money, a school bus is your best option. Each has their own pros and cons (Ever try to do 70MPH in a school bus? It's a smooth as silk in a coach bus). Figure out what you want, figure out what your level of skill is and set a budget. From what I've seen online, a typical budget for a livable conversion is between $15,000 and $30,000 (including the bus). For a really detailed buildup and budget, take a look at "BruinGilda" at For lots of tips, tricks, advice and sources, check out "Latcho Drom" at or just go to the homepage at

I'm a little biased towards Skoolies, and I'm sure there a folks who feel just as passionate as I do about Coach busses. It's really all about how much work you want to do and how much space/money/time you have.
Re: Why a school bus? Robert G. 11-4-04  
I looked at both before buying. I searched all over for a nice coach to convert. I found that they are very expensive in both cost and up keep. Also I found out that if you like to go camping the schoolie has much more ground clearence, and will go just about anywhere with the worry about having to be towed out of a sticky situation. I have bought a 92 blue bird schoolie with a 5.9 cumins diesel with less than 70k miles on it, and only paid $3,000 for it, which means I have a little more to spend on the conversion. I have 2 forty gallon fresh water tanks on it so the water is not a problem.. Hope this helped..
Re: Why a school bus? JAMES PETERSON 12-28-04  
Re: Why a school bus? Rusty Hughes 1-9-05  
I bought a 1957 20-passenger Chevy school bus 3 years ago.(short-bed, called "diaper bus??) It was still painted as a school bus and equipped as such with a 6 cylinder engine that didn't work and a 3 speed transmission. It is now painted smokey-grey and has a re-built 1979 chevy 454 engine and a turbo-400 transmission, I had to change the rear end also. But now she keeps up with the SUV's and the converted coach busess on the mountain grades. As far as the interior goes, I only pulled out two seats in the back and two behind the drivers seat for storage space. I am getting ready to rip out the insides and redo the interior with insulation, carpeting, and wood panaling, and a good stereo system of course.
I guess I got a little long-winded on this subject. I considered an old greyhound or some type, but knowing a few musicians who own and live in them, they do take a lot of maintenance and you need to know about desiels, hydraulics, electrical and plumbing way beyond the care of a school bus, because they can get very expensive to have others work on them, thats why I went with a school bus....
I also plan on finding a 1957 trailer to pull after the bus is done. Just haven't decided on what kind.
I need to find someone who knows about installing wood covering for the interior walls and ceiling...
you can email me at

thank you.Rusty
1957 gmc passnger bus jean 5-15-05  
I would like to make this 35 feet bus a motor mome.can u help?
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