hi, I’m Lisa. In 1975 I spent a year living in a 1957 bus… Fast forward 42 years… We went out to breakfast and these old guys (our age) rolled out of this turquoise mini school bus. Something woke up inside of me… I took pictures of the bus and owner, talked to him and decided I needed another bus. I asked a friend that manages a senior medical transportation project to let me know if any of the vans came up for sale and she had one. A 2008 Ford F-350 with 140,000 miles. I put in an offer and got it! Here is the challenge: it has a fiberglass body. Anything that gets put into the bus has to be secured to a channel that runs around the inner part of the bus, where the seats are attached. It also has a wheelchair lift that sounds like 100 pots and pans rattling around when driving. Found a home for the lift. Anyone out there converted a fiberglass bus?
I haven’t converted a fiberglass bus. Could you put down a floating plywood floor and attach furniture to the floor? Otherwise it sounds like you might have to make up some type of frame to attach things to? Sorry I can’t be of more help. Awesome work buying a new project. Would love it if you had a pic of your old van.
Thanks for your comments:-) See the black rail? There are also anchors in the floor.
Looks great. If you plan your furniture well you should be able to anchor to where the seats are fixed also? Looks like a fun project.
Wheel chair lifts are pretty heavy so you might need a hand with removing those. Although, I hear that some organizations that work with the disabled will remove it for free if you donate it to them (not 100% sure though).
I’m trading the lift for a paint job! I tried to donate it to the local van converter who does a lot of handicap conversions. He looked up the model number and new parts are no longer available for the lift which is important for safety. My brother is a body man and he has a use for it in his garage. I told him he could have it and he said he would paint the bus while it was there. Yeah! Going to clean out his leftover paint by going with a tie dyed paint scheme. My kids will disown me… I can’t stop laughing:-)
Taht sounds like a pretty solid deal
I wish you keep posting the process of building your bus here! I always wanted to follow one from the very beginning to the end. Seems your case can be the one (I liked it! It has enough space inside!)
Hope you will keep posting, I am really curious about how you will do the work and about the final setup!
Nothing better than a solid trade to help out both parties. Love it
You just gave us an idea. Maybe we should setup something where we contact people that are in early stages and have them document as much as they can right here on our website. I’m thinking of making a seperate page for it? any ideas?
I’m sure your not the only one whos wanted this. Awesome idea!
Very cool. Good luck with the build
Thats so cool. Go with what you want. Definitely want to see a picture when its painted.
Plenty of places to anchor furniture in there.
We are trying to figure out what is essential… toilet? Water system? And really how we will use it until I retire. Will post as things happen:-)
I think it can be done through wiki pages, it has to be structured … I may can come up with one, still haven’t looked at the wiki but I do it soon and share my ideas with you. Thanks for the motivation!
and apologies for making posts unrelated to your topic
It was the right moment… no problem:-)
Totally jealous of that bus, been wanting one of them for years… alas, a van it is for now. Good luck with the build!
“anything has to be secured to…”
No, it doesn’t, actually. I am not sure who told you that, but they are horribly misinformed. Yes, the center “frame” is the “most secure point to mount things”, but it is hardly a requirement. Those busses can handle many 350 lb passengers sitting outside, leaning on the edges, without any issue at all.
I think they may have been trying to say that your under-carriage items should be secured along the center-framing. (Water tanks, electrical wiring, plumbing, batteries, propane.) Or they were assuming that you intended to carry passengers in some new modified configuration of seating. Your concern is not for toting people around, as if it were a bus… Then, yes, all seats DOT approved, must be secured to the center structure for safety liability.
Mounting “fit” structures to the walls, once built-up with insulation and an inner wall/skin. Which would also include some framing-work, will be sufficient to build off of. Though, I would not expect “wall mounted hanging cabinets” to be stable without actual wall reinforcement. The roofs tend to be thin in those.
oh wow i just saw the wheelchair lift, it seems like taking up a chunk of space.
is it a lot more convenient than a long wheelchair ramp? thinking of getting those aluminum ramp instead.
Congrats on the find… how exciting!!!
I think you might find a LOT of value by also joining a sailboat forum like CruisersForum. Many people are working on remodeling fiberglass boats and while you might get layout ideas from Van forums, you’re likely to get more concrete How-To construction info from those tackling the job of adding things to fiberglass hulled boats (or at the very least the best products, etc).
Good luck with the build!!