School Bus RV Conversion

I purchased this 1982 Chevrolet, 66 passenger school bus on craigslist for $1,000. It ran well enough to get me home. The gas engine and manual transmission was appealing to me since there is very little to go wrong with it mechanically now that everything is fixed.

It was really ugly and everybody thought I was crazy for buying it. The previous owner used it as a hunting lodge and I had to pretty much gut it and start over. I didn’t include any “Before” photos but I can send some of those if you wish.

The total budget for the project was about $6K. That includes mechanical work that I didn’t do myself.

I was going for a rustic cabin vibe incorporating many of the features we had in our family cabin when I was a child. Since I can’t afford a parcel of land for a weekend getaway, this was a way to work around that financial limitation.

Much of the materials used in the project were re-purposed. The rusty barn tin, coach seats, wood stove and storage chests were all craigslist finds. I made the kitchen cabinet doors from scratch. It features a functioning potbelly stove, a home made composting toilet, bucket sink with hand water pump and custom quilts and upholstery.

There are also two rustic ice chests that I made from old Igloo coolers. I just built cabinet enclosures with 1.5″ of insulation board around them. As a result, they are about as efficient as those expensive Yeti coolers and keep the ice solid for almost a week.

The floor was made with OSB chipboard and finished with a honey stain and five coats of lacquer. Knotty pine was used throughout the open floor plan.

Our family and friends have really been enjoying our vacations with it.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Take care,

Michael Donahue
Saint Paul, Minnesota


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beth miner - August 15, 2017 Reply

Love it! That sink is brilliant what an amazing job!

Tanto - August 16, 2017 Reply

I love the way that you added bunk beds to reduce taking up valuable space!

David Van Cleve - August 17, 2017 Reply

Great! A weekend retreat on wheels. : )

James - August 20, 2017 Reply

I love that you have the room for a full size gas cooking range

scott h. - August 21, 2017 Reply

outstanding! well crafted….enjoy the outdoors with your family…

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