This bus has taken us all over the western U.S. and down to the tip of Baja Mexico. Built for travel and being off-grid, but of course wired up to accept 30 amp service as well (more on this below).
Our family had some unforgettable adventures and lessons living and traveling in this beautiful bus. We’ve since made our way back to Austin and plan to stay because our kids want to go to school and we found an awesome one here. (They were basically unschooled for the time we traveled.) Now that we plan to have some roots for a minute this “built for travel beast” is ready to take on new adventures with a fresh set of humans.
Okay now that I’ve told a heart warming story and we’ve connected on a personal level I’ll list out all the details the other side of your brain wants to know about! 😂
The Nitty Gritty
The bus runs great and has taken us far and wide. Starts up easy and runs smooth. You’ll love that deep diesel rumble. Rear engine too so it’s pretty quiet in the cab during travel and you can actually hear people talking! One thing to keep in mind is it does slow down up big hills. If you push it too hard it will get hot and need a break.
- 1995 Thomas Built Saf-t-liner
- 8.3 Cummins Engine (C8.2-250)
- Allison Transmission MD 3060
- 4 new rear tires (<2000 miles)
- 2 front tires still have good tread
- 36′ long
- 6’3″ interior height
- Titled as Motorhome in Washington State (bus is in Austin, TX though)
Cooking And Stuff
- 4 burner propane range connected to standard 20lb tanks down in cargo
- 110V toaster oven (NOT for off-grid use, haha)
- Loads of counter space for prep
- Residential Apartment fridge/freezer combo with fridge on top (runs great off grid using solar only)
- 16″ black granite sink (9″ deep)
Sleeping Arrangements (5 adults very comfortably)
- Private bedroom with locking door 😉
- Can fit a queen size mattress (not actually in there right now. We can replace or you can buy yourself, let’s talk)
- 2 good size bunk beds (75″ x 30″ mattresses) Great for young kids, teenagers, or occasional guests
- Very long sofa (~80″) – great for sitting and comfy to sleep on too
- 30 amp service – wired into Square D residential load center (this could be rewired to 50 amp painlessly if you need/want extra shore power)
- 50’+ shore power hook-up (8awg)
- 110v residential plugs pretty much everywhere
- 600 W Solar on the roof (Renogy panels)
- 40A Renogy MPPT solar charge controller (could add additional 200W of solar using this controller)
- 4 VMAX 6v 225AH batteries wired in 24V series
- AIMS Power 2000W 24V Pure Sine Inverter
- Residential 100V fridge – runs great off solar alone as long as you have sunshine
- Pyle 24v to 12v Step down converter
- All lighting is DC LED connected to 12v system
- All internal electrical systems are completely isolated from the chassis batteries used to start the bus. (The systems are relatively close though if you’re interested in going with an alternator charging setup.)
- 45 Gallon Fresh water tank – installed in cargo area
- 45 Gallon Grey water tank – also in cargo
- No black tank, because compost! (Nature’s Head)
- City Water connection
- Seaflo 42-series water pump 12v / 3.0 GPM/ 55 PSI
- all water lines are 1/2″ PEX
- Eccotemp I-12 LP on demand hot water heater
- Black Granite Sink
- Under sink 3 stage filtration
- Standard RV waste connection for grey tank
Misc Build Info
- The DOOR! It’s so amazing. We rocked the standard bus doors forever, but recently converted it to hinge on only one side. Seals MUCH better and so much easier to get in and out. Used the original doors to make it so it still has that rad skoolie vibe aesthetic.
- fully insulated! We removed ALL previous wall and ceiling panels and the old crappy installation.
- 2″ pink rigid foam panels in the ceiling
- 1.5″ pink rigid foam in walls
- All metal connected to outside had vapor seal installed between that and inner construction to prevent condensation.
- Most of the lumber cabinets and walls are 3/4″ plywood, very sturdy throughout
- TONS of storage throughout
I’m sure I’ve left out something that you’re dying to know. That’s okay, just ask! Chances are very high I have an answer for you. We built this thing ourselves from the ground up. I can be a bit of a perfectionist so it is built well. Fortunately, my wife is a realist and we were able to balance things out and actually complete the project!