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Bus Conversion Tips Matthew 12-20-04  
Ok. im new to the whole bus conversion thing, but have wanted to convert my own for quite sometime. but will probably have to wait atleast 10 years or so considering im only 17 right now. lol

one thing im curious about is if anyone can help me track down a certain bus. i dont know the model offhand. all i know is that its an Amtran bus, flatnosed, standard 22 seats (no w/c), International body irrc, and automatic (dont know the speeds offhand). weve got a few that are being used here in the Warren City School District in Warren, Ohio and one of them i come home on every school day. anyways, after being at this school for 4 years and riding the same bus for these 4 years ive kinda dubbed it the "perfect" rv. but i digress, if anyone can help me narrow down the model and/or year(s) of this bus, id be greatful.

also, a couple things ive been curious about as far as school bus conversions are concerned:

-cruise control: how hard is it to install CC onto a school bus or is it possible at all?

-suspension: is this something to worry about? because i know around town here the bus bounces WAY too much. but RV's are meant for highway travel so i dont know how a school bus would fare there.

-inside clearance: the ceiling inside the bus i ride at school is pretty low. im just 6' and the center of the celing brushes my hair. is there any recommended way of increasing this clearance? is lowering the floor possible or is raising the roof the only way?

other than those questions, any tips you can provide for a bus conversion newbie would be great. thx :)
Re: Bus Conversion Tips Phil Feinstein 12-20-04  
The type of bus you are describing is either a "Pusher" or a "Puller". How you tell them apart is that a "Pusher" has the engine at the back of the bus and a "Puller" has the engine at the front (Like a van, doghouse and all). These are known as "Transit style" school busses.

Cruise control is relatively easy to do. A basic cruise set-up has a control box, some sort of motor to move the throttle plate(or fuel control in the case of a diesel) and a speed sensor (Which can be something as primative as a belt of magnets wrapped around the drive shaft to as sophisticated as an electronic sensor mounted in line with the speedometer cable). There are quite a few aftermarket makers for cruise control and a trip to the "Used car parts Boutique" could also net you a sweet set up after doing a little research.

I have never seen a bus conversion the included "Lowering the floor", but I have seen a number of conversions that included raising the roofline. Raising the roof is much easier from a logistics point of view, but you need to make sure you maintain the strength of the body. Standard height of a school bus interior is 6'.

Suspension depends on how the bus is used. If it is highway only, you can soften the springs for a smoother ride. A school bus was designed to go down dirt roads and is sprung accordingly. A lot of what is on the market for RVs could be adapted for a bus.

For a really complete look at a build up, go to http://www.pettypb.com/bus/
for a lot of good info (tips and tricks) and sources, take a look at http://www.mobilehomestead.com/
To see a lot of used busses for sale, go to http://www.used-bus.com/
Great pictures of a roof raising at http://www.mrsharkey.com/ (The pictures are of a Crown Coach School bus that he is converting)

Since you can own a vehicle at 18, I would suggest starting with a *VERY* cheap van ($800 or less) and working with that first. A bus is a huge project and you can learn a lot about what you like and what works for you on a smaller (read CHEAPER) scale and then go for a bus once you have your likes and dislikes worked out. You'll also learn about repair and maintenance with the van (which has smaller parts and a similar drivetrain) rather than being overwhelmed with a bus.

Read, research and learn. Think and ask questions. Buy good tools. Always. Don't work on anything mechanical or electrical when you're tired. Make freinds with your auto parts guy.

Good luck!
Re: Bus Conversion Tips Phil Feinstein 12-20-04  
These are the busses you're talking about, right?

http://www.busexplorer.com/PHP/FeaturePage.php?id=99
Re: Bus Conversion Tips Steve 3-16-05  
Can someone send me tips on how to go about carpeting the ceiling of our bus?
Re: Bus Conversion Tips Scott 12-30-04  
Matthew,

One of the questions that you have yet to ask, but probably will soon, is rear end gearing. School buses are geared to have a top speed of about 50MPH. My bus (an 83 GMC/Bluebird full size bus) tops out at 52. I can push it, but the Chevy big block runs at way too high RPMs if I do. I have mine set up as a rolling bar for the Browns' games, so travelling the 25 or so miles down to the stadium is no big deal. If you want to go on long cruises, look into a different rear end gear.

Also, ask Warren schools when they are retiring busses. Getting in good with the transportation manager is your best bet, as schools have to retire busses and sometimes will just sell them to you. If you have to go to a yard that specializes in school bus sales, you'll pay a lot more.
Re: Bus Conversion Tips ernie 2-25-05  
I want to rais the roof on my bus so in order to do it right I also need tofind a set of blue prints in order to get it right please help
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