One of my OTHER hobbies!


TPF Noob!
Dec 9, 2007
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Anchorage, AK
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I have quite a few hobbies other than photography, but here's the one that seems to generate the most interest. It's my school bus / RV project. A few years back, my wife and I bought a brand spanking new travel trailer and an almost new diesel F-250 crew cab Lariat to pull it with. The truck was awesome, but the trailer felt like it was kind of slapped together. I kept thinking that I could build something better myself. I'm an excellent mechanic and builder. I saw a guy with a converted airport shuttle bus and I was sold on the idea. I had almost $800 a month in payments on the trailer and truck. I sold the both of them and started looking for a bus! I found my bus up for auction from the Norman, Oklahoma school district! I got it for $2,000 almost a year ago. It has a 7.3L diesel engine and it runs and drives absolutely perfect. It was pretty filthy on the inside when I got it though.

This was the day I drove her home. I was a proud bus dad that day. Did I mention that you don't need any special license to drive a bus as long as you're the owner? Insurance runs me $150 a YEAR.



I started gutting it right after I got it. Getting the seats out was a real PITA, but I got it done. I also painted it black on the outside. Then I had to go TDY for about 5 months. I got back in August and started working on it again. So far, I have painted the inside white, laid some insulated flooring down, tinted and painted the windows, removed all of the unnecessary wiring, painted flames on it, painted the wheels, etc. This thing is a blast to work on. I'm planning to build it like a nice modern RV on the inside, only built better with better quality parts. I'm going to have a king size bed in the back, two bunks for the kids, a bathroom with shower and toilet, 95 gallon water tanks, a couch, entertainment center, a kitchen with a sink, fridge and microwave, and lots of cabinets and storage. Also, a flat screen TV, nice loud stereo, off road lights, flame thrower, roof deck, heated floors, propane furnace, roof A/C and 30 amp electrical service. I'm hoping to have it mostly complete by this spring. Here she is a couple months ago after I painted the flames on. I've done everything myself and plan to keep it that way.




Most of the camping I do is going to dirt bike races or going to paraglider and ultralight aircraft fly-in's. I own and fly a powered paraglider. I run everything with a couple of Honda EU2000i generators. I rarely camp at a campground. This bus is perfect for driving down dirt roads. It has quite a bit of clearance unlike the old travel trailer. I about ripped the bottom off that thing several times at some dirt bike races.

The transformation is phenomenal! You're rightly proud of the results of all your hard work.
really nice project you're working on, of course you must post some pics of it when its finished... personally, I don't like the teeth in the grill, think you should keep it yellow on the grill but that's ok... and sure it's big if u want to stuff all that furniture in there... good luck!!!
dang! thats awesome dude.

Is that a pair of testicles hanging off the back of the bus?
Cool! Teeth are a bit linear, I'd put them on an arch - meaner and more character. That thing is bigger than my entire living space! But were to park...

BTW - I was a bag pilot at Torrey Pines for a few months.

-Shea :mrgreen:
HAhaha! Nice... bus nuts...:confused:

You order them on the internet from They're usually called Truck Nuts. I call em bus nuts! :mrgreen: You can get them in various colors and sizes. You can get some key chain size nuts, 4" nuts, or the big nuts like my bus has. I has some of the 4" gold plated nuts on my dirt bike. They take quite a bit of abuse on a dirt bike though. Mine fell off and I don't know what happened to them. :er:
Cool! Teeth are a bit linear, I'd put them on an arch - meaner and more character. That thing is bigger than my entire living space! But were to park...

BTW - I was a bag pilot at Torrey Pines for a few months.

-Shea :mrgreen:

I tried that at first and didn't like the way it looked. I left the grill black so that it looked kind of like a mouth. I'm going to put some red LED lights behind the grill eventually so the mouth glows red at night! There's a forum like this one for school bus conversions. It's There's tons of pictures and some amazing conversions there. One guy has a built three buses with jacuzzi's in them and is working on his fourth.

If parking is limited, you can always get a short bus! One of the ones built on a van chassis. They usually cost about twice as much as the full size buses for some reason though. :er:
Here's the insulated floor going in. It's done now. I've painted the inside white too. Those mattresses are now gone. I'm not going to use that ugly couch by the way. It's just in there for when people want rides.

I also took the crappy bus seat out and replaced it with a seat from a Pontiac Bonneville. Very comfy!


Here's another bus with a propane flame thrower. This is in the works for my bus as well, only my tanks will be hidden and the flames will shoot out of the nose of the bus! :mrgreen:

Here's my cramped work area. That's Air Force housing for ya! I can pull the nose of the bus under the carport and then back end just barely sticks out in the street. Fortunately, I have cool neighbors! This was taken right before I painted the flames on.

I figured my neighbors wouldn't be so cool if I oversprayed all their cars. So, I took it out to my dad's house out in the country and sprayed there. I have a good friend that I race dirt bikes with that works for DuPont. He is a sales rep. He donated all of the DuPont Imron paint for my project! Imron paint is VERY nice paint! $700 a gallon for yellow.

You can see the yellow fog in the air. My neighbors would have been pissed off about their yellow paint jobs I'm sure!
Can't say I care for the flames but I love the idea! I've been on the look out for a crapped out van (hopefully a classic) with similar ideas. Camping at shows can be annoying.
Dude... I love it. I think it's cool not being a one hobby guy (like myself). I have been wanting to build a teardrop trailer for a number of years now but this one takes it... I might look for a bus! I would love to see some interior shots. I think it's a neat idea.

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