Proud Owner of a 1996 International 3600 Diesel Short Bus.

This page documents the conversion of a 1996 International 3600 Thomas Short School Bus to a Motorhome that was purchased in Washington in 2018 and converted by the Owner in California.

The "Shorty" includes a Diesel-powered engine, a Wheelchair lift, a rear Emergency exit, a stock 12V rear-heater attached to the engine coolant lines, and 106 square feet of flat floor space that can be converted into living space.

The Owner of the Bus works as an Energy and Green Building Consultant, and designed the Bus Conversion to follow Best Practices in Green Building and Indoor Air Quality for a Mobile Shelter on a budget.

Conversion Project Resources:

Housing in Arcata, CA[edit | edit source]

As a young Professional living in a small coastal town in Northern California, it's apparent that the price of property and housing is financially unattainable. Additionally, as a Minimalist and Sustainability Expert in Residential Construction for Multifamily Affordable Housing, it's difficult to imagine living in a Standard Home, which are much larger than necessary, with the Sustainable Materials and careful construction techniques that make ideal living spaces. As a single woman with a love of the outdoors and the desire to travel, it's easy to see that there is a need for more information on Mobile Shelters and the trend will continue to grow over time if the Housing Market continues as-is.

Project goals[edit | edit source]

The goals of this Shorty Conversion are to build a sustainable, healthy home on wheels that will serve as a part-time dwelling unit that includes a mobile office.

The following components were used in this Shorty Conversion, and follow Best Practices, based on Green Building knowledge, Mobile Shelter research and "Lessons Learned" from veteran builders:

  1. Engine: Diesel-powered engine to decrease Carbon-Dioxide emissions and outlast gas-powered engines
  2. Flooring: Hardwood Bamboo flooring for indoor air quality- purchased second-hand remnants from a previous project to decrease the amount of raw-materials used
  3. Flooring: Cork underlayment- adds sound and thermal insulation and is a natural raw material
  4. Flooring: Radiant barrier- adds thermal insulation
  5. Thermal Insulation: Floors= Rigid foam board, R-7, Walls and Ceiling= Rockwool, R-6
  6. Utilities: Off-grid PV array with deep-cycle Lithium-Ion batteries
  7. Heating: (1) Cubic Mini Wood Stove [When stationary], (1) 12V rear-mounted stock heater connected to engine coolant [When in motion]
  8. Cooling: (1) 12V stock AC for Drivers Cab [When in motion]
  9. Ventilation: Reversible flow 12V ceiling vent
  10. Sound Insulation: Dynomat-lined Drivers Cab
  11. See Help:Contents for more formatting code.

New Bus and Demolition Photos[edit | edit source]

Newly purchased Short Bus[edit | edit source]

Demolition[edit | edit source]

Lesson learned: School busses are not meant to be taken apart. Nearly everything screwed down is overlapped by some other screw or fastening component.

Time for the Interior Build[edit | edit source]

Short Bus to Motorhome Conversion, Step-By-Step Photo documentation below shows every step of the conversion process.

Flooring[edit | edit source]

Walls[edit | edit source]

Ceiling[edit | edit source]

Contact details[edit | edit source]

Jenna Bader

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