You shopped for the best bus for you. You went to see it, and fell in love with it! The money just jumped off out of excitement from your pocket, and into the seller’s hand… And now you are realizing that, for good or for bad, you just bough a school bus, and its too late to back down!
In plain English, if you wish to title, insure and register a school bus into a “recreational vehicle (RV), your bus must meet at least four out of the following five requirements (all in working order) before even thinking of visiting a NJMVC branch:
#5 – separate 110-125 volt electrical power supply or a liquid petroleum gas supply.
(*1) The self-contained portable toilet should not be DIY (in this particular situation), because if it were to be submitted to State or RV inspection, it has to meet the American National Standards Institute A:119.2 standards, something very difficult to achieve in a DIY setup, and further more, prove it to a State or RV Inspector.
(*2) Heating and/or air conditioning must be separate from the bus’ cooling and/or heating system
(*3) The water fresh water tank, grey water tank, as well as the self contained toilet may be portable, but must be installed in some sort of enclosure, making them secure for transit.
The following 3 configuration options are examples you can follow depending on your needs, likes, and resources. Remember that all you are looking for is to meet NJMVC’s requirements. Build everything having in mind that you may reconfigure, upgrade, and/or expand your systems.
1) Install a 30 Amp electric (“shore power” or solar) system that would handle the following appliances:
2) an electric stove (or a microwave)
3) an electric fridge (Instead of a fridge, you can also opt for an ice box)
4) and an electric heater, and/or A/C.
1) Install an LP gas system (a 20 lbs. LP propane tank underneath, or on the rear of the bus will be enough). To this system you can connect:
2) a propane stove,
3) a propane fridge (Instead of a fridge, you can also opt for an ice box)
4) a propane heater
Unfortunately, there is no option that allows you to loop around not needing to install either an electric or an LP gas system. If you choose not to include an electric or gas system, you would be eliminating three of the options all together: 1) electric/gas system 2) electric/gas stove 3) electric/gas heater, and/or electric A/C Your bus will automatically stop qualifying for a Motor Home title.
1) an LP gas system.
2) a propane stove
3) a propane wall mount heater
4) a water supply system
I would highly recommend going with the gas system. You can find a propane tank on Craigslist, or local Facebook “online yard sales” groups for cheap. You can also find a propane stove, and the parts to build a very easy, and inexpensive water supply system: two 5 gal. buckets (one for fresh water, and the other for grey water), a stainless steel mixing bowl as the sink, a bathroom faucet, and a maritime fuel hand pump as a foot pump for hands-free running water. Again, all very easy to acquire on Craigslist, Facebook, eBay and/or Restore Habitat For Humanity stores!
Note: The “Motor home” definition mentions “independent life support systems” meeting ANSI A:119.2, but it never specifies about a bed, like other States do. However, it would be advisable to build a permanent bed platform for a mattress, or add a sofa bed that you can secure for transit. Another thing that it does not specify is the amount, or percentage of seats you have to remove.
After these modifications… “technically”, bus indoor requirements have been met.
Part II will talk about exterior requirements.
We invite you to follow not only our progress while converting our bus into our home,
but our progress and life experiences while downsizing and simplifying our life together.
Feel free to Contact Us with all your comments, questions, and future posts suggestions!
Thank you for reading, and sharing!
Mike & Lala @ La Casita… Bus!