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Old 02-07-2014, 02:25 PM   #1
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What about this van?

Hi all. I'm just beginning my sportsmobile journey and I'm curious as to opinions on starting a build with a vehicle like this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VERY-NICE-LO...06794&pt=Buses

or this

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ford-e-350-s...09195&pt=Buses


Something like this seems like it would have great standup room but I wonder about maneuverability. I don't think I need 4x4 but I do need to get pretty close to the water at times. My van is going to be used for some RV touring but mainly for kayak and scuba diving trips where I'll need haul/store my gear and a place to sleep overnight.
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Old 02-07-2014, 03:08 PM   #2
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Re: What about this van?

All depends on where you're going to take it. There's no reason you couldn't turn the inside into an SMB-like rig like numerous people have starting with retired ambulances. You biggest limitations will be the size and weight. Tight trails and/or soft soil could be a challenge.


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Old 02-07-2014, 05:06 PM   #3
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Re: What about this van?

That style of side door may also be a problem when it comes to locking it.
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:24 PM   #4
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Re: What about this van?

A cutaway bus chassis is a great starting point! The bodies are built for durability.

I keep browsing them because I may do a shuttle-bus conversion some day. The main reason I have not is because finding one with a passenger seat and low miles (under 250,000) is really hard to come by. That and my current van keeps on truckin so its hard to justify a replacement at this point.
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:56 PM   #5
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Re: What about this van?

Whenever I ride in one of these airport shuttles, I fantasize about how it could be built out as a camper - there's so much room. But, as carringb says, where does the passenger seat go? If they still had the passenger-side cab door, and the big entry door was farther back, they would be ideal, IMO.

Of course, weight, maneuverability, and clearance would be another thing to consider, depending on your use.

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Old 02-08-2014, 04:38 AM   #6
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Re: What about this van?

My interest in one of these would have to do more with a work/cargo vehicle, something larger than a traditional E250. I've run a few scenarios through my mind and like others wonder about the lack of passenger seat.

The first link shows a few photos that strongly suggest a right side door could be re-fitted, passenger seat installed while retaining the wide open back area.

I wonder if the converter couldn't be called and asked whether that's a possibility? Since the VIN is available they would know.

For me the DRW is a deal breaker due its licensing requirements not to mention increased maintenance costs.

Nice looking vehicles though---both of them.
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Old 02-08-2014, 09:11 AM   #7
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Re: What about this van?

vgreeny: Like BroncoHauler said it depends on how and where you want to use it. Like JWA said, a DRW is a deal breaker for me too. In California, chain controls requirements are different for busses/recreational vehicles with DRW and, I believe, even if converted to 4WD, chains will be required:

http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist3/departments ... nChart.pdf

carringb is much more knowledgeable (about just about everything about these vans than me) and has a DRW I believe. If he doesn't chime in here soon, you may want to pm him.

Also, as JWA touched upon, just a stupid question: If the vehicle was registered as Commercial prior to your purchase, do you have to obtain a Class C Driver's License to operate it? Or will DMV downgrade the registration for your personal use? Or is there some other license variant which would be required?

Welcome to the forum BTW!
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:54 PM   #8
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Re: What about this van?

Wow! I'm definitely not looking for anything that requires a special license! I have seen some of these where the description specifically states that a regular driver's license is all that's required but I never even considered it. Same on the width of the vehicle and locking that door. Much to think over.

The vehicle will need to navigate the roads that my Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 now travels to get to the entrance of rivers, lakes, etc. Maybe I'm back to looking at a regular van? My issue is that I want to store my gear inside the van so I'm looking for the best interior room option. Climbing on top of vans to secure a kayak gets old quickly no matter what gear you use to help!

Thanks everyone and thanks for the welcome. I'm so ready to jump into "sportsmobile ownership" but struggling with how. Should be a wonderful journey
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:30 PM   #9
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Re: What about this van?

In CA Commercial only means DMV wants more money for registration. All pickups are Commercial vehicles. A van can be either Commercial or Passenger Car or RV. No big deal.

Mike
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:55 AM   #10
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Re: What about this van?

I love have a dually, which is part of the reason why I've started thinking about some sort of cutaway body.

Chain requirement go by weight, so it doesn't matter its SRW or DRW. Technically snow tires don't cut it on buses when chains are required, however ODOT at least seems to give them a pass. But since it is a required, if I bought one, I would either add On-spot automatic chains (or find a bus that has them already) or carry some tire socks because they go on and off super easy, and off course carry some real chains for severe conditions.

Bus registration is not expensive in Oregon. If sleeping, toilet and cooking facilities are added then it can be re-titled as an RV. The big cost difference is insurance.

A CDL is only required if there are more than 15 seats. If the bus has more than that, I would ask the dealer to remove some, or build plywood covers to get the bus home (or otherwise make them unusable).
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