bus conversion to RV

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by monty, Aug 6, 2004.

  1. monty

    monty New Member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Well, it's been one year, but it's been worth the fun and sometimes very hard work.
    Last year I found a bus for free. No engine, and full of seats. I paid $100 to have it towed home 10 miles. Took all the seats out, and tried to figure out what I wanted in my "rv" and where I wanted it. Decided not to make a plan as they always change.
    My RV now has all the comforts of home. Right now I'm sitting at my desk (free) using my fluorescent desk light (2.00), and typing on this computer (300.00). I found another old desk, metal, to use for my double sink. I cut out the drawers, and put my removeable 10 gal. water storage tank under it, along with other storage items. It needed 3 rear tires when I got it (200.00).
    I put a new 4 drawer file cabinet next to my desk, and a dresser next to that, then the single bed. The shower was free (not enough room to sling a cat in), and so was the toilet. I have 6 bolt bins that are hidden and with easy access, and two stack type toolboxes, and the 26,000 btu space heater. The engine came from a junkyard for $100, and another $100 for the gasket kit. I put metal window screen over the windows for $50.00. Blocked the lower portion of all the windows on the inside with free 7/16" osb pieces. Don't recall what I gave for the 240 volt breaker box (although everything runs on 110). Wanted to breaker box so I could branch off with different breakers. All electrical is in conduit (cheap stuff), and I used conduit for the long runs for the curtains too.
    The curtains caused me to run low on assorted bed sheets because I have no real curtains. Besides, what do you think a single man would use?
    Had the wringer washer in here for a while, but got tired of that, so I took it out. Just had to see how well it would work out in the rv. The woodburner will go back in come this winter. Made a template that goes to one of the rear windows for the flue pipe. The thing puts out so much heat that I have to have both doors open and all the windows to breath, but the wood is free, and that makes the heat free. A suppliment to the space heater. Used a free 30 gallon plastic drum for the gray water waste tank. Braced it in with metal on each end, and used 1/4" cable (doubled up) with turn-buckles, to hold the drum in place. (Water weighs about 8.3 lbs. per gallon, so it should hold okay). Have used some old bed frames (angle iron) to make the propane holding tank framework.
    Maybe I should rethink the 1/4" cable thing. It could rust after being under there for years. Most everything has been bolted under the rv, with double-nuts to keep it all from vibrating apart.
    Propane lines have rubber hose at all wear points.
    I put in 4 used car batteries under the desk, and added 2 small power invertors.
    Haven't had any problem with battery venting (a concern), and there's no heat source near them.
    Installed a microwave, and cheap home stereo. Anchored the stereo speakers to a shelf with silicone. Added a dvd player to suppliment the 12 vdc VCR, and 12 volt t.v. I charge the 4 batteries about once a week, and that seems to be fine. I put the charger on a timer to run 1 hour a day during the winter. The battery charger has a special plug on the "clamp" end and plugs into a 12 vdc outlet. It guarentees that that charger will always go to the rv, and also removes any chance of sparks around the batteries.
    Have put in a lot of shelves that are made out of 1" x 6" wood. Where can one find custom plastic shelves--Nowhere. And metal would be too heavy.
    Three types of water hook-up. A pump faucet, a 12 VDC faucet, and a water hook-up for a garden hose that gives pressurized water.
    I've discovered just how much space I have and just how much it's at a premium in the rv.
    I'll block off the front of the bus just behind the drivers seat this winter. Too much cold air around the folding door, the firewall, and all those vents that go to two front heaters. I used 1/2" celotex last year.

    If anyone else has revamped a bus, let me know how you've done, and feel free to give me ideas.
  2. desdawg

    desdawg Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    All right! Sounds like you have made the most of it. I am an old scavenger myself and it sounds like you have done a mighty fine job. If you add a solar panel to those batteries they will be charging when the sun is shining.

  3. deviator12000

    deviator12000 Member

    Aug 8, 2004

    One new solar panel will cost between $350 and $700 dollars. I'd have to get a bank loan to get 2 or more of them! They aren't cheap at all. But I would like to have them.
  4. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2002
    South West MI
    I think there'a a yahoo groupe Schoolies or something like that.

  5. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    THere is a magazine out specific to bus to camper conversions. Dont know the name off the top of my head but next time I am in town at the magazine rack Ill check for it.
  6. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2002
  7. Not sure of the power out put but they make solar panels to charge electric fences for cattle.Actually i think they charge a battery (even better!) so that the fence runs at night.I dont think these are very expensive at all.You might stop in your local feed store/TSC/Co-Op and have a look at them.

    Also they make small 2gallon hot water heaters for campers.Id guess these to be AC only but they might make life easier.If memory serves there 100 or less at Lowe's.Might find one used at a camper store.Along with other parts/ideas.Like the locking latches for cabinet and or dresser doors. I always wondered why they didnt make the shower a little bigger in campers.Then just put the commode in the shower.LOL you could even get two things done at once if you where in a hurry.

    Not sure how much it would help if the roof is already white.But the cool seal paint they make for trailer roofs might keep you cooler in the summer.And humm would one of those little 5000btu air conditioners fit in the rear door window?

    Humm lots of over head room for fishing rod holders in there i bet!

    My wife says she doesnt want an old school bus parked in our yard.But i have sure been toying with the idea of making a camper/ atv hauler out of one myself.