School Bus RV Conversion

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures
School Bus Conversion Camper RVbus conversion interior


(VolSlatt) – In 1982 I was a sophomore at a small college in the Midwest. It was the beginning of second term and I was again standing in line at the on-campus book store waiting to pay for a too-heavy stack of text books. The line was not moving at all so I put my books down on the floor and started flipping through the coffee table books on display. The book I chose to pick up first was titled Rolling Homes – Handmade House on Wheels by Jane Lidz. Thus the seed was planted.

Sometime in late August, 2004 this seed suddenly germinated and I started researching and preparing for this project. I located several good on-line sources of information, ordered a copy of Ben Rosander’s Select and Convert Your Bus Into a Motorhome on a Shoestring, made some sketches of floor plans, started collecting materials and fittings, and researched the cost of insurance and registration. My project is a 1989 Thomas Saf-T-Liner MVP with a rear mounted CAT 3208 engine.

It was originally built for 75 Passengers with a GVWR 30,000 lbs. It’s got about between 80 and 100K miles on it and originally came from Montrose, NY. The interior dimensions are 35′ x 7.5′ x 6.5′. I bought it on eBay for $2031.00.

Now the project has begun! Herein you will find the details of each step of the process of my school bus conversion into a family camper. This is a low-budget project, wherever possible materials will be re-used and recycled.


Tools you’ll need:

angle grindercordless drill


Some of the tools that are particularly useful for bus conversion.









Step one, have a party and remove the seats!













Floor Plans

Floor Plans







Preliminary floor plan.


Adding Insulation

Adding InsulationMore Insulation

 Insulation and framing.


Building the Bed Building the Bed
Building More Beds

Building More Beds

Building bunks and a double bed in the master bedroom.




Cabinetry fore and aft.


Bathroom Base
Bathroom Base
Bathroom Finished Bathroom Finished

 Installing the shower and fitting out the bathroom.

Tanks and Plumbing:

blackwater and drinking water tanksboth tanks in

Hanging the tanks and general plumbing.


Bottles in bayattaching the stove

Cooking with gas!


single Edison bulb adaptersat night

Lighting, 12 volt conversion bulbs and kerosene.


steel base of school bus seatmirror over dinette

Dinette and convertible spare bed.



Electric supply and wiring.


ATX PSUATX PSU 12 Volt Converter

Converting an ATX power supply to be a 12 volt bench supply.


Building the kitchen.


Painted Front 

Painting the bus with True Value XO-Rust.

Body & Chassis:

Holes left by flashing lightsScreens on the bus

Body work, screen, seat mounting.

Engineer’s Log:

unbolting the fan bladeRadiator back from the shop

Radiator replacement.


backup camera monitorwheel chocks for bus

Wheel chocks, backup monitor, fire extinguishers, CO & smoke detectors.

Interior Paint & Decor:

interior latex paint in front of the busmystic seaport bus bunk back wall 

Interior painting and finish


See more of this author’s projects and articles over – here – at

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