Kalispell, Montana 59901, United States of America
Cat 3126 Diesel with 160,000 miles
Runs and drives perfectly
Phoenix bus that came with undercoat from the factory and is 99% rust free.
My name is Lucas. I grew up in a family of builders and have been professionally building all manner of things since I was a wee lad of 13. I have a love of the outdoors, making stuff, minimalism, and education. Some of my trade interests include; timber frame, furniture building, leatherwork, blacksmithing/metal fabrication, and now, bus conversions! Thanks for looking!
This bus is truly a one of a kind, artisan quality skoolie conversion. Almost everything in this bus is hand made specifically for this conversion. I used the highest quality materials, and every effort was made to use reclaimed materials, when appropriate, and the final product uses roughly 50% reclaimed materials, which brings a unique character and personality to the finished product. No cheap press board or MDF. All materials are either solid wood or plywood; plywood that is used is high quality plywood and provides exceptional stability as a substrate for all built in cabinets and furniture. Special attention was paid to try and eliminate generic store hardware and accessories, giving a handcrafted “cabin” vibe to the interior.
- Ceiling -
Tongue and groove cedar over EPS insulated roof. 2 led “can” lights provide main light volume and quality “daytime” temperature. LED strip behind valence provides warm indirect light that is dimmable, which provides the perfect ambiance for winding down in the evening and for reading. Two additional “task lights” are installed under the wrap around storage to provide spot light on the prep surface in the kitchen and in bed for reading where a brighter, whiter light is required. Wrap around storage is made from reclaimed cedar that has been left raw so that the owner may wipe cedar oil into the wood periodically to reinvigorate both the finish and the aroma inherent to cedar. Wrap around storage is very easy to access, secure, and provides a large volume of storage at eye level. This bus lives very comfortably. Everything is intuitively arranged and has a wonderful flow - not typical for your average RV.
- Windows -
Windows are all tinted (Phoenix bus) and operable. They have douglas fir mullion caps between each window to connect the wood roof to the wood walls and floor. All windows are treated with custom, hand-made linen blinds, stainless steel grommets, and stainless steel tension wire.
- Walls -
Part of the walls are a tongue and groove douglas fir product called Fine Line. This is solid wood, stained, and sealed with polyurethane to improve the interface with the wall itself. It helps to stop slivers, makes it easy to clean, protects the wood, and overall just makes it a bit more habitable. This same material is continuous through the cabinetry as well. The rest of the walls around the bed and behind the fridge, fireplace, and breakfast nook are all made from salvaged barnwood that was very lightly sanded and finished with polyurethane for the same reason as the Fine Line.
- Floor -
The floor is very old reclaimed ¾” white oak flooring that was carefully inspected, then glued and nailed down to the subfloor which also has an inch of eps foam below it. It is finished with polyurethane and was not sanded, providing a slightly uneven, textured floor that feels fabulous underfoot and has a rustic feel and aesthetic that is impossible to achieve with new floors. These floors will wear like iron, develop their own beautiful worn in patina, and put up with the rigors of van life that floors of a lesser caliber would not.
The bed is a long full size (a touch smaller than queen) bed that has two massive storage compartments underneath. One is accessible from the inside of the bus, while the other is accessible from both the inside (if necessary) but primarily accessed from the outside via a sliding door found behind the handicapped door. The freshwater (46gal.) and greywater (23gal.) are both housed under the head of the bed, along with a 200Ahr flooded, sealed AGM battery. Everything located under the bed is removable and accessible via plywood panels that form the top platform of the bed. These panels are covered in 100% wool carpet padding to provide a soft and warm surface on which to put bedding.
The fridge sits atop a small cubby that is intended to be used as storage (shoes, yoga equipment, etc.) and is a highly efficient 65Qt Wynter Fridge/Freezer that is both 12vdc and 120vac compatible. Additionally, it is removable if the owner wishes to store the fridge inside, use it as a cooler, or wash out. There are two load strap points that can be used to strap the fridge down during transport (although roads would have to be excessively rough to necessitate such a measure).
-Fire place -
The wood stove is a Newport by Dickinson Solid Fuel Heater. These are designed for sailboats and constructed entirely out of stainless steel. It works fantastic and pumps out plenty of heat. The blinds may be separated and a nomex/silver screen can be hung behind the stovepipe to ensure all fire hazards are removed from the area during use. Wood storage for pre-cut 7” wood is built in. Supplemental storage in the back of the bus, or under the bed, or on the deck may be used to haul additional firewood if you are planning trips that will take you far away from the world for extended periods. I lived on the bus through the coldest months in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (one of the consistently coldest places in the lower 48) and was completely comfortable all winter (two months straight with night temperatures near 0). I used a small electric heater via shore power through the night to maintain warmth, and I supplemented it with wood fire occasionally to bring the inside heat up quickly at the end of a day. In warm climates or during spring/summer/fall keeping warm won’t be an issue at all.
-Breakfast nook -
The seats of the breakfast nook are designed after a 100 year old oak theater bench. They were adapted to have 4 cubic feet of storage per seat and for the storage to be very accessible with no hardware pieces to fail or detract from the overall aesthetic. Cedar was used for the seats and backs to tie the ceiling in with the floor. Boxes were crafted from high quality birch plywood (for stability throughout temperature range) and wrapped in douglas fir Fine Line. The table is made from a reclaimed piece of maple top that was found withering away behind an old barn. Even though the top looks new, it’s been sitting outside for a long time and the glue between the boards is bad. Side rails were installed to trap the maple in place and allow the joints to move as they wish. The intention for the tabletop was to provide a multi-use work surface that would sustain much damage over time and only improve in the texture/aesthetic/character of the wood. The maple trellis leg was built with hand cut joinery, walnut splines, and walnut pegs. It is anchored to the floor with stainless steel screws and a solid and permanent fixture.
The armoire is divided into two halves, top and bottom. The top half is open to facilitate easy access and if the window is opened, it can serve as a drying rack or simply a place to air out your clothing. The bottom half is a self closing, laundry bin style storage that is perfect for throwing loose items, backpacks, gear, laundry, or whatever you want.
The stove is a 2 burner propane stove that is connected to a 12.5gal DOT approved propane tank that is bolted to the frame under the bus. There are 2 shutoffs, one inside, one outside, and a fill kit that is conveniently mounted on the side of the bus to facilitate extremely easy fill-ups. The stove counter is made from reclaimed barn roofing that is galvanized steel. The countertop is 3 inches lower so that when cooking, the top of the pot is at a convenient working height.
-Kitchen Counter/Cabinet -
The top is made from a reclaimed chemistry tabletop from a school. The sink is the perfect size for this bus (larger than most RV sinks) and fed by a hyper efficient 12v solar pump that is switched so that energy may be saved when living “off grid” from the batteries. The “Utility Room” is located under the sink and houses all plumbing and electrical on the bus, giving extremely easy access to all the systems that run inside the bus, plus a little bit of additional storage. The drawers are large, very well built, and feature soft close glides. All doors and drawers that could open while driving come with a steel retention pin that will guarantee security of everything stored inside the bus during travel.
Aside from the ample storage that is inside the main living compartment, this bus conversion features a rear storage hatch that is separate from the main compartment and can be customized to fit the needs of the new owner.
Much thought and care was invested in the decision to NOT include a bathroom in this conversion. Most issues in RV’s happen somewhere inside the black water plumbing system. The easiest and most effective way to avoid this is simply to remove the system. Additionally, bathrooms inside very small living areas are rarely a treat for the sense of smell. Cars do not have bathrooms, and so given that this bus will be operating on roadways that have ample access to bathrooms, this was excluded from the design. When road tripping truck stops will all have bathrooms and showers available. When parked in designated camping areas inside national parks and campgrounds, pit toilets will be available, and when parked on public lands in the middle of nowhere, the opportunity for bathroom spots abound! Please familiarize yourself with all LNT principles and dispose of waste properly in the ground!
Electrical System -
- Battery - Renogy 200Ahr flooded sealed AGM battery
- AC Inverter - 1000w pure sine wave inverter that will also charge battery when plugged into shore power
- MPPT DC controller - This is to be used in conjunction with solar panels to charge/maintain the battery when away from shore power. V
- Bluetooth Module to monitor battery usage and charging
- 2 fast charge compatible USB ports with volt meter that are switched so that they may be turned off when not needed to eliminate parasitic drain when not in use.
- 4 120vAC power outlets. Two are counter height and accessible from the main living area. Two are located inside the “utility closet” behind the door below the sink.
- Solar panels are not included, but easily acquired. Shore power plug in side of bus can be used to charge DC. Solar panels were not fixed permanently to the bus because depending on how the bus is parked, sun angle, season, etc, fixed panels provide very little power over the course of a day. The best solution is to have a mobile panel on a stand that you point directly at the sun and adjust a couple times a day to make best use of available sunlight. If interested, permanent panels can be easily mounted to the roof.
100sqft of deck made from salvaged douglas fir decking. Ladder is still not mounted, this will need to be done at buyers expense at a local RV shop. Price for this has already been deducted from the total. Additionally, there is a triangular sun shade which can be installed from either side of the deck as an awning and tied off to a tree or ground anchor creating a nice shady spot to relax.
Brand new. The rears are siped and open shoulder to allow better traction in gravel, snow, and water. The fronts or “steer” tires are siped for extra traction in slippery conditions as well.
This bus was built for the kind of people who love quality, craftsmanship, longevity, adventure, and most importantly, the outdoors. With all the windows open and the handicapped door open as well, it feels as if you’re camping outside. You’re able to hear, see, smell, and feel what is going on around you. This bus is not for people who want a giant RV with every amenity of home. The point is to still feel like you’re camping, yet have a safe, warm, beautiful place to retreat to after a long day, or several, of adventure outside. Because this bus was maintained to federal standards by a professional fleet management company for a school district, you can expect this bus to have tons of life left in it. The engine is the bulletproof Caterpillar 3126 and has only around 160,000 miles on it, which for these engines is just getting warmed up! She gets about 11mpg, although with a reprogramming of the ECU (current programming meets federal standards for school busses) I bet you could get it up to 13mpg, if not a hair more. I have lived on the bus for 5 months to “test” out all of the systems. Wheel base is short enough that the bus turns on a dime. It’s 27’ length means that it can get into even Glacier National Park, which I believe has the most strict length requirements of any national park. In terms of footprint it doesn't take up much more space than a sprinter van, yet feels large and roomy compared to a cramped sprinter. Finally, I did much research as to what platform I wanted to use for this build. School busses are built to incredible strength standards because they haul such precious cargo. In short, they are tanks. They are every bit a heavy duty commercial vehicle that will last far longer and function much better than consumer grade vehicles. The air suspension means that it rides much smoother than a non-air ride commercial vehicle. I selected this bus because it was a handicapped bus, which gave two distinct advantages. One is that it has more headroom and you can comfortably live in this thing. I am 5’11” and I’d say around 6’-6’1” would be about max while still being comfortable. The second advantage is the flat deck and no wheel wells inside, giving more flexibility on floor plan and storage. This bus has a hitch, and a wiring harness, so it can pull a trailer or vehicle behind it. I guess that’s all I can think of for now… If you have more questions please ask! I also have more photos available for serious inquiries.
VEHICLE AS-IS. ALL SALES ARE FINAL