Four friends and I converted a retired school bus into a custom RV for a 10,000 mile highschool graduation roadtrip

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34 comments

    1. In between homework, studying, and working, it took us about a year and a half. Could’ve been done quicker, but we didn’t have all the funds required at the start.

        1. Sure, but we’re selling it soon, so I’ll be a bit vague.

          Upgrades/refurbishment: $2500

          Engine/body repairs: $800

          Gasoline: $3500

          We did all the work on it ourselves, so there were no labor costs. It had a cracked exhaust manifold when we bought it, and needed a good tune-up before it was running right. The EGR valve was faulty, and the carbeurator to fuel injection conversion that was done before could be a bit screwy. For reference, it’s a Chevy 366, and got about 6mpg.

  1. What was it like driving the bus? Was it still capped at 55mph? Also, looks like you had a chase vehicle too?

    1. No chase vehicle, but we were confident in the bus’s reliability. It took a little while to get used to, but I actually enjoyed driving it. It could reach 70, but that hits the Rev limiter in the top gear, so 55 was a healthy cruising speed.

      1. Cool. I asked about the chase vehicle because it looks like one of the photos was shot from behind while driving, but now I see that’s a pull off. Great pics and what an adventure!

    1. We stopped at a weigh station and we clocked in at 12,500 lbs, around 1,500 lbs lighter than it was with the seats in.

  2. Awesome!

    This isn’t just a great trip and life experience but you’ll find yourselves talking about this for years in school and professional situations.

    If you plan on going to college then this is a great project to talk about for internships and job interviews.

    1. > If you plan on going to college then this is a great project to talk about for internships and job interviews.

      For sure! This looks a hell of a lot more interesting than a two-week paid “volunteer” experience in a developing country.

  3. When I was in high school I was definitely not with it enough to commit to a goal like this. Are you all like future engineers or something?

  4. I’m actually most interested in the sewage system, oddly. Everything else in the rehab looks pretty straightforward, but how hard was it to get a toilet, plumbing system, tank, and drain system worked in to the body?

  5. This is seriously amazing. You guys did such an incredible job. I can’t imagine having the talent to put something like this together, especially at such a young age. You should think about submitting this to r/DIY.

  6. This is amazing.

    Did anyone ever freak out when they saw a school bus being driven by students instead of a driver?

    How was everyone so knowledgeable about building?

    How did your parents sign off on this?

    Were there any mishaps or breakdowns?

    Thanks!

    1. Yes, we suprised so many people around the country, and had some great laughs. We had a semi-truck airhorn on it as well, which was fun when used in moderation.

      One of the group members’ dad is a housing contractor, and had worked on many projects with him, so that helped a lot.

      I personally planned a lot, and impressed the parents with that and the maturity involved, so we were able to convince them to let us do this.

      The transmission was low on fluid about halfway through and shifting became extremely rough, but topping it off helped a lot, and we had some vacuum lines replaced once we got back.

      Thanks for your interest, it was an amazing experience for all of us.

  7. I know we don’t know each other and this coming from a random person on the internet probably won’t mean a hell of a lot, but I just had to say this is really awesome, was done really well, and I’m hella proud of you all!

    I’m 31 and although I traveled and moved around a lot after high school, I don’t think I could have tackled something like this until much later in life. But this is exactly what I’d recommend to anyone after graduating — real experiences and real character building. Hope you all took lots of pics and videos.

    Kudos to you all. Cheers mate!

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