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short bus as overnighter bike hauler?

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So I am looking into getting a vehicle and turning it into an overnighter bike hauler.

It seems to me those 12 - 16 passenger short busses, or airport busses are an ideal starting place. They are cheap, and look to be well built. also most were maintained pretty well. I figure you could haul 3 bikes and have a small workshop, and convertable beds that drop down, put in a generator for power - you already have a great heating system and AC system (as long as the vehicle is running). You can get diesel power, all sorts of different door and lift arrangements.

anyway, i haven't seen this setup - so now I am wondering - what am I missing? is there a fatal flaw in these busses?

Anyone tried this, or know someone who did? how did it come out? Any information on the vehicles (right now I am looking at a ford 7.2 diesel with automatic trans)

Carl Johansson

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If you can handle the razzing that you will get for riding in a short bus, then go for it. There is a major school bus sales and repair company 5 miles from me. They always have used short buses sitting around. Most are yellow, but occasionally they have a black one. Prices are fixed no matter the mileage or condition, $1500. I have seriously thought about getting a black one and set it up as a bike hauler. But I always jack around too long, and by the time I decide to buy, the black ones are gone. Rarely, they get in a used “airport bus” and those things don’t look anything like a school bus. Something like that would be nice. Prices on those are much higher then the $1500 short bus.

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Why not just get a Box Van , they are cheap , and usually have a built in ramp (U-Haul) , and the front overhead is great for a bed and a RV wrecking yard can get some cheap appliances to "convert " it into a Toy Hauler of sorts with a side entrance door and all is good , that is how it has been done since the 70's

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Hi Carl, how's my old nemesis:smirk:...just kidding!!! no hard feelings I hope!?!

Just thought I'd chime in on this.

One of my riding buddys has one(short bus)that we use on overnight riding trips, works out pretty sweet! So far we've hauled 4 bikes, & all the camping/riding gear To accommodate 4 people, the guy that owns it uses it as his camper as well.

There are alot of cool ways to set them up!

The only main down fall I can think of right off the top of my head is fuel prices, but worth it to us for a weekend of fun!

kxmike77 posted pics of it in one of the threads about rigs that haul bikes, or something like that. Shouldn't be too hard to find, if u want to take the time to search for it.

I'll try to find it later, when I get off work & have more time:smirk:

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Ya know - you should have not put that "old nemesis" crap in there, drove me crazy trying to figure out when I got crosswise with you! Talk about mountains out of molehills! No problems my friend - just a friendly discussion in a cyberpub!!

I have been looking at cube vam]ns also, and gthey would be easier to convert, but the ones I am finding are more beat for the price.

My concerns with the bus is rear end gearing - will it run at 65 - 70 mph on the freeway for 6 hours without a problem, and without burning through tons of fuel?

i wonder if it is possible to look at the manufactures plate and discern the rear end ratio?

also need to be carefull about how long of overhang out the rear - as it needs to be setup to haul an enclosed trailer for more bikes if neccisary, or also to haul an open trailer with my junker 24 hours of lemons racecar on it, so it has to do double duty!

So far I am liking the idea, and I'm finding alot more busses, in better shape, for cheaper prices than used cube vans!

The yellow does not bother me - brings back good memories of my childhood - all I need now is a hockey helmet!

I'll reverse auction off rides on the bus when I get it done (you first thats my bike, how much will it cost me to publically humiliate you?)

Hi Carl, how's my old nemesis:smirk:...just kidding!!! no hard feelings I hope!?!

Just thought I'd chime in on this.

One of my riding buddys has one(short bus)that we use on overnight riding trips, works out pretty sweet! So far we've hauled 4 bikes, & all the camping/riding gear To accommodate 4 people, the guy that owns it uses it as his camper as well.

There are alot of cool ways to set them up!

The only main down fall I can think of right off the top of my head is fuel prices, but worth it to us for a weekend of fun!

kxmike77 posted pics of it in one of the threads about rigs that haul bikes, or something like that. Shouldn't be too hard to find, if u want to take the time to search for it.

I'll try to find it later, when I get off work & have more time:smirk:

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A guy on Supermotojunkie just picked up one that was already converted....worked nice.

From what I have seen all the extra safety equipment in these keep prices up. Rear end gearing wont be the best for OTR hauling......engine will be screaming!

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That's an interesting idea, what about bread vans? Many of those are on the chevy P30 chassis (like many motorhomes were), and many have Cummins BT4 engines that have decent power and economy.

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GREAT IDEA! ive seen buses converted into things like this and you can tow a trailer behind with other stuff behind you.

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I've seen it more than once. I always thought it would be cool to have a yellow short bus as a RV.

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For a ton of information look on skoolies.net. They make several kinds of busses. The ones that work best for conversions are the ones made for field trips or high school sports teams as they have different gear ratios to accomodate highway speed. I have seen some really sweet ones and some really bad hack jobs. Great platform for cheap if your willing to put in a little work.

Pierre

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Buddy did that for his snowmobile.

Started off with a 15-passenger van...

DSCN0430.jpg

yes, you can fit a mountain sled in a van, so bikes shouldn't be an issue

292954223_photobucket_25563_.jpg

top from the junkyard

IMG_1001.jpg

little bit of work to the van....

IMG_1045.jpg

insulated material with windows, added some lights

IMG_1089-1.jpg

and you've got a decent snowmobile-camper. :busted:

292954223_photobucket_41844_.jpg

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Ya know - you should have not put that "old nemesis" crap in there, drove me crazy trying to figure out when I got crosswise with you! Talk about mountains out of molehills! No problems my friend - just a friendly discussion in a cyberpub!!

I have been looking at cube vam]ns also, and gthey would be easier to convert, but the ones I am finding are more beat for the price.

My concerns with the bus is rear end gearing - will it run at 65 - 70 mph on the freeway for 6 hours without a problem, and without burning through tons of fuel?

i wonder if it is possible to look at the manufactures plate and discern the rear end ratio?

also need to be carefull about how long of overhang out the rear - as it needs to be setup to haul an enclosed trailer for more bikes if neccisary, or also to haul an open trailer with my junker 24 hours of lemons racecar on it, so it has to do double duty!

So far I am liking the idea, and I'm finding alot more busses, in better shape, for cheaper prices than used cube vans!

The yellow does not bother me - brings back good memories of my childhood - all I need now is a hockey helmet!

I'll reverse auction off rides on the bus when I get it done (you first thats my bike, how much will it cost me to publically humiliate you?)

there's a couple of pics of the bus on page 86 in the "lets see the trucks that pull these bikes" thread, camped out at Chadwick, Mo.

as far as gas mileage goes i couldn't say, but she hums along at 65 & 70m.p.h. with no problem:thumbsup:

also, no clue about the rear end ratio

oh yeah, save ur money on the humiliation...i usually do a good job of that w/out any help:bonk:

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Hey Carl, you should check out that lot on Hwy 99 outside of Madera with all of the tractors and stuff. I've seen buses and stuff like that in their yard. Should go see what they got

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Hey Carl, you should check out that lot on Hwy 99 outside of Madera with all of the tractors and stuff. I've seen buses and stuff like that in their yard. Should go see what they got

Good idea, I'll go by and give it a look. In the meantime there is an airport bus that may or may not be for sale going up 168, just before prather, but right now the most likely is the 14 passenger short bus with the ford 7.2 diesel and autotrans for sale out in madera. Came out of San Jose school system. 230K miles, looks to be in good shape, with a fairly short rear porch. I need to figure out how to check transmissions to see if they have overdrive on em. I'm hoping the manufacturers plate will have something in the code to define the ratios!

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I did a little conversion to a short bus in the early 90's. It would haul 4 bikes with no problem with plenty of room for gear and tools. Had decent gas mileage. I left two seats in it, (towards the front) but turned them backwards so there was leg room to get changed. Good times!

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I think it is a good idea, you're right about box trucks. They cost waaay too much where I live, the diesels are rediculous.

Shuttle buses seem to always be miled out by they time they get sold.

A 7.3 short bus would be ideal, but I wouldn't turn away a 6.5. Not ideal, but those aren't bad motors for transportation. I wouldn't settle on one if I was towing.

Lots of short buses come with AC.

Craigslist is full of them that have already been painted and had the seats taken out for tailgating vehicles.

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Good idea, I'll go by and give it a look. In the meantime there is an airport bus that may or may not be for sale going up 168, just before prather, but right now the most likely is the 14 passenger short bus with the ford 7.2 diesel and autotrans for sale out in madera. Came out of San Jose school system. 230K miles, looks to be in good shape, with a fairly short rear porch. I need to figure out how to check transmissions to see if they have overdrive on em. I'm hoping the manufacturers plate will have something in the code to define the ratios!

There should be a tag on one of the bolts holding the differential cover. If you can't find one, jack up the rear end and spin a rear wheel one revolution. Count the number of times the drive shaft spins. For example, if the drive shaft spins 3 roughly 3 and 1/2 times you would probably have a 3.55 gear ratio.

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Good idea, I'll go by and give it a look. In the meantime there is an airport bus that may or may not be for sale going up 168, just before prather, but right now the most likely is the 14 passenger short bus with the ford 7.2 diesel and autotrans for sale out in madera. Came out of San Jose school system. 230K miles, looks to be in good shape, with a fairly short rear porch. I need to figure out how to check transmissions to see if they have overdrive on em. I'm hoping the manufacturers plate will have something in the code to define the ratios!

Ford's axle tag's generally don't tell you squat...it gives you the secret code, but without the secret decoder ring, you're SOL.

As for AT's...most will have an OD, look on the gear selector lever for the "TOW" mode button...if it has one, then it's got OD.

Look at the build tag inside the door frame, should list axle ratio there.

http://www.drivetrain.com/parts_catalog/ring_and_pinions/what_rear_end_ratio_do_i_have_in_my_ford__is_it_posi.html

Might want to print that monster off and take it with you for a reference.

I have 4.11's in my dually, and at 65 it does OK with the E4OD trans in front of it. It'll run 70-75 just fine, but the mileage drops off...the engine isn't howling, but it is guzzling (460).

The airport buses are a little nicer inside, better insulated and quieter. And the seats are up against the walls instead of in rows. Also, they're full height, most school buses aren't tall enough for someone 6' tall to get around inside without a skull fracture or two.

Another neat thing about some of the shuttle buses I see around my area is, they have a full height door on the rear that looks wide enough to get a bike through....just need a pull out ramp.

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I've been thinking about this for awhile. I think the shuttle bus would be cool, you might even be able to roll the bike onto the wheel chair lift and lift it up level. I was going to check out my BIL's vw camper van to get ideas on the camping front section.

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