Author Topic: Replace passenger compartment of school bus with 20' shipping container?  (Read 22762 times)

Offline stevepcarbone

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Use a 20' box from a delivery truck. Same dimensions, MUCH lighter and easier to work with and can be removable.  Easy to find used and price is about the same or less. I have mounted a few on the back of class 8 trucks to convert them to RV style race car pullers. My 2 centavos.....
Tangled up like a pile of coat hangers.......

Offline opus

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 761
I am sure you have Googled and found stuff like this: http://www.shippingcontainerhousedesign.com/
1995 BB All-American - A Transformation.

Offline Kevin Warnock

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 237
I found a source for the shipping container twist locks:

http://www.tandemloc.com/0_securing/s_N2501BA.asp

Kevin Warnock
http://KevinWarnock.com - my blog

Offline chev49

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 763
I have a 8' and a 20' aluminum delivery truck boxes for some storage... much much lighter than my neighbors 40' steel containers, and at least i can move mine with the forklift, not the cat...
If you want someone to hold your hand, join a union.
Union with Christ is the best one...

Offline Chaz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
  • 4108, 8V71 w/auto .
    • Aesthetic Metal Studio
Good luck Kevin!!!!!! I dig your thinking!!! ;D  I was really liking your idea of using a bus (cause I love them and think they are an under utilized resource). I have also been intrigued with building with containers for several years. It helps that I have a welding and fab shop that would make that venture much easier.  ;D
The ideas and designs are only limited by one's mind. They are a kin to Lego's!!  ;D ;D ;D The other folks that keep recommending other containers must not have looked up all the great and cool ideas and designs you can do with containers. (Condo's, dorms, apartments, etc.) They really are diamonds in the rough. I've did some designing in my head at one time and it so cool what a person can do with them. Especially when you get a little further into it using hydraulics, etc. for some fun stuff! To have a bus and travel part of the year and a cool container house to come home to would be very cool!!  ;)
PLEEEEESE, please please keep us posted!! I can't wait to see how it turns out. Wish I would have gotten on this thread a little earlier but it looks like you have most everything covered by now. Oh...a plasma cutter will become your best friend!! I have used both Oxy/acet and plasma for many years and it will be the hot ticket - no pun intended!! ::)
I'm so inspired again I may have to do some surfing and see if there is anything new out there in container building.  ;D ::)
  Keep creating!
  Chaz
Pix of my bus here: http://s58.photobucket.com/albums/g279/Skulptor/Motor%20Coach/
What I create here:   www.amstudio.us
 
"Imagination is more important than knowledge". Albert Einstein

Offline HB of CJ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1770
I Love Thinking "Outside The Box" :)
« Reply #65 on: April 30, 2011, 01:08:15 PM »
May repeat good stuff already answered as I haven't read all the posts on this excellent thread.   Nearly sold my '74 Crown Supercoach 40-foot 10-wheeler to a water well drilling company as they needed a well column tender immediately.

They would have just installed a small "headache" rack next the front dashboard and cut a big round hole in the rear bulkhead connecting the interior to the rear trunk and several ''bungs" mounted thru the floor to the main frame in the middle floor.  Seat mostly removed.

Then they could have easily hauled over 12 tons of 33 foot well casings in the Coach!  24000 empty; 47000 gvw.  Sounds like you want to make a "roll off" container hauler out of a school bus.  Sounds cool to me.  How about adding rollers and tail gate ramps also?  HB of CJ (old coot)

Offline Kevin Warnock

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 237
Wow! 24000 empty; 47000 gvw! 23,000 pounds of capacity!!! That's a lot.

I've decided to go with a truck, not a school bus. The reason is that Progressive will not insure school buses at all. But they will insure truck conversions - and the whole thing... not just the chassis. If I insure a school bus with GMAC, they will only cover liability, and the price for that is higher than Progressive wants to insure a truck conversion with liability and comprehensive. So this all argues strongly for using a truck.

One other big advantage to using a flatbed truck is that they can come with a tailgate lift, which would be very helpful to have to load appliances into the container. Also, if I ever had a wheelchair bound visitor, they could be strapped to the lift to be brought onboard. Does anyone know if letting a person use a truck tailgate lift is a violation of some rule or law?

Thanks,

Kevin Warnock
http://KevinWarnock.com - my blog

Offline trucktramp

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 275
Here's a couple things to consider.  If you want to stack the containers the corner locks are different than the ones used on the chassis.  I found them on the link you posted under "tiedowns".  They look like a two sided twist lock.

If you are going to use a 20 foot box, there are two different roof heights.  The "standard" container is only 8 ft 6 in tall.  The "high cube"  is 9 ft 6 in tall.  If you check the outside of most containers you will see either 8.6 (standard) or 9.6 Hi cube.  The larger boxes (40-53 ft) are all high cube.  The standard will get you under low overpasses easier but you do lose some head room.  The high cube will be about 13 feet tall on a standard chassis. 

You might want to think about finding a used or wrecked chassis to canibalize parts from or just attach to the frame of the truck.  This will make your engineering job a little easier.  The chassis are pretty simple in design so you shouldn't have any trouble making it work on a straight truck.

Finally, these boxes can be very top heavy and are prone to flipping (especially when overloaded with freight all the way to the ceiling) so remember to be careful when turning corners or you will need the services of a wrecker to set you back on your wheels.

Also, most of the boxes are treated with an insecticide.  You may want to make sure that what ever is used is not harmful to humans.  I think they used to use chlordane...which kills everything that moves and has been banned by the US EPA.  Just a thought.

Sorry about the length of the post.  If you have any questions about containers just give me a shout.  I have hauled thousands of them in and out of the "Windy City" rail heads for many years.
Dennis Watson
KB8KNP
Scotts, Michigan
1966 MCI MC5A
8V71
Spicer 4 Speed Manual

Offline Kevin Warnock

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 237
Uh oh... please tell me more about the containers being treated with insecticide. Do I need to remove the wood floor to start 'fresh?' I would hate to slowly poison myself.

Kevin Warnock
http://KevinWarnock.com - my blog

Offline trucktramp

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 275
I don't remember exactly what the tag on the back of the boxes said but I do clearly remember on the back doors was a tag that said the box had been sprayed/fumigated with insecticide.  I seem to remember chlordane but that may have changed.  I don't know how often they get fumigated but they all had that same "smell" that I always figured was the bug dope.  You could probably pressure wash the can and be ok but I would talk to someone with more knowledge than I have.  Swing through a truck stop and you will see containers and they all have the sign...on the right door I think. 

I have to wonder if it is a problem since all sorts of freight, including food stuffs are shipped in those containers but the people that load/unload are only in the boxes briefly.
Dennis Watson
KB8KNP
Scotts, Michigan
1966 MCI MC5A
8V71
Spicer 4 Speed Manual

Offline TedsBUSted

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 237
Wow! 24000 empty. . .

If 24,000 means lbs empty weight, that's either a mistake or a custom very heavy container.

An opinion:

There was a point in time when containers were dirt cheap.
Port cities were plugged with ‘em, scrap prices were down, and the container reutilization market had not yet grown. However, today, almost all that was going for reutilizing containers then, is against ‘em now.

My opinion is that if a person is somehow involved in the container business, and has access to containers at minimal purchase and transportation cost, then they could be reutilized for some basic industrial applications. But otherwise, unless being mobile, modular, and stackable are a very high priority that's worth a premium to the end use, heavily reworked containers are not a particular value.

Just to support my statements, I'll mention that I once ventured into the container reutilization game. Although I had storage property, containers, and the equipment and manpower to move and modify them, unfortunately, I found that except for needs that closely matched the container's original application of basic secure mobile and modular storage, other uses were just not practical. We even tried airplane hangers! LOL Basically we found that unless the containers were somehow very inexpensive (in total cost) it almost always seemed that some better less expensive alternatives were available; at least here in the "land of plenty" US. Granted, things could be different elsewhere.

While at first glance it may seem practically  idyllic to reutilize an "old" container, believe it, there are a lot of devils in the details, as Kevin Warnock is finding.

Ted
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 06:45:53 AM by TedsBUSted »
Bus polygamist. Always room for another, especially ‘04 or ‘06 are welcome. NE from Chicago, across the pond.

Offline babell2

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 199
  • Brice
    • My bus Blog
I don't know how the project got on but a friend of mine was contracted to turn a container in to a portable bar.  The concept was to just drop it, plug it in, and start serving at a venue of any type. (that allowed booze)

Brice
1980 MCI-9 "The Last Resort" Located just south of Atlanta GA.
Just starting conversion. A long way to go!
The other Brice

Offline Kevin Warnock

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 237
I do want to eventually stack the container homes 5 high, like they do successfully in Amsterdam. I don't know of any other relatively cheap way to allow for that.

I also want to be able to move them with a crane, since when I'm done traveling with it, I want to put it in my backyard. I live right in the center of San Francisco, so the only way to accomplish that is by crane over the top of my two story house. There is not enough room between the houses here to take one in the side way. I suppose a really heavy duty helicopter could also work, but I'm pretty sure a crane is cheaper and safer. The quote I got from Sheedy Crane Company was $4,500 including all city permits and crane company workers to direct traffic during the lift.

Finally, I love the fact that containers can be quite resistant to earthquakes, and, I'm guessing, tornados, provided they're anchored properly. Does anyone know for sure about tornado resistance? With all the tornados in the news recently, I'm particularly curious.

I learned today that containers still can cost $1,000 each, but you have to buy from the shipping line directly, not a middleman. I don't yet know if that means I have to buy in large quantity. For my first test, I will probably just pay the $2,500 retail here in San Francisco, California.

Thanks again for all the great comments. I really have learned quite a bit here.

Kevin Warnock
http://kevinwarnock.com - my blog

Offline happycamperbrat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
Kevin, here a 20' is 2100.00 and a 40' is 2900.00 but that's thru a middle man. Im in the market for one for my backyard for storage. I think the place to get them direct is in Long Beach, if you order direct down there and have them sent to San Fran let me know....... I will order one as well to be dropped off in route to San Fran This "could" help both of us.....
The Little GTO is a 102" wide and 40' long 1983 GMC RTS II and my name is Teresa in case I forgot to sign my post

Offline bevans6

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6042
  • 1980 MCI MC-5C
Up here 20' ones are more expensive than 40' ones!   :D  lot's of people have room for a little storage container, no one has room for a forty footer...

Brian
1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
Allison MT-647
Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia