DIY RV conversion -- perspective
Over 3 or 4 decades, I had sometimes toyed with the idea of converting a bus, to have a big project, and a personalized RV. I eventually realized it was not practical for me, for most of the same reasons Class A motor homes are not practical -- with fuel use, and coach storage chief among them.
So, it was nice to settle upon a more modest van project, which is a practical daily driver.
Camping in Florida this weekend, I met a guy that had converted a 199x Greyhound bus. He wanted to talk, and I wanted to listen.
His coach now has over 2.2 million miles on it! The engine -- a 6 cylinder, 2-stroke diesel of almost 600 cubic inches -- was rebuilt by Greyhound at 1 million miles, and at some point, the bus was sold to a regional carrier in Vermont. The Vermont carrier rebuilt the engine again, when the coach had 1,850,000 miles on it. They sold the bus at 2 million miles.
This guy had bought the bus on an Ebay sale, for $5,500. The engine was "fresh," with only 150,000 miles on it. The bus had sat for a year or two, and the 8 tires were not roadworthy, so, they got replaced before the multi-state drive home. There was no rust. Much of the undercarriage is aluminum. The interior had been gutted. The drive home, with the light-weight interior netted him 9 MPG.
Apparently, a lot of bus conversions raise the roof by a foot or so, largely to hide AC units on the roof. This bus was not raised. This guy has 2 AC units, but, says he could use a third.
The bed sat over the engine. I asked if the bed was hiding a protrusion of the engine compartment. No, he said, and then explained that Greyhounds were built with an inclined floor, to gradually make height to accommodate the engine... he showed me how there was less headroom at the rear, than there was at the front. This also gives a "theater seating" effect to passengers on a Greyhound.
Conversion cost was an additional $55,000. The exterior looked very nice, like a respectable charter coach, plus RV awnings and such. Most of the interior was well done. It had a galley kitchen and open floor plan, except for the bedroom, bathroom, and utility/laundry. The floor was marble tile. He said that was to get back some stability that was lost due to weight of the passenger seats being gone. I brought up the freshwater tanks and whatnot, but, he said those were too changeable to provide the stability he had sought.
He gets 7 miles per gallon, whether towing a car, or not.
Transit 250 Cargo MR LWB 3.5L w/3.31
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