Jespersen's Skoolie Conversion

Converting a 1986 International Ward school bus into a camper/RV


About Us

My name is Paul Jespersen. My wife, Sharon, and I live in Burleson, Texas just south of Fort Worth. Sharon recently got the idea of buying and converting an old school bus into a camper. We're both in our fifties, and the idea of camping still appeals to us, especially with the grandkids. But we wanted to be up and off of the ground and guaranteed to be dry no matter what the conditions. Conventional campers, pop-up trailers, and motor coaches were either too expensive, or didn't match our requirements. Hence, the school bus. This page will provide photos and a history of our conversion efforts to our friends, family, and anyone curious about what we are doing and why. Additional information about skoolie conversions can be found at and Yahoo group sKOOLieConversions.

The Saga Begins

We bought our bus for $1525 through eBay from a couple in Louisiana. They had both been drivers there for many years. Recently the local school board had forced them to abandon the use of their personally owned busses in favor of board owned busses. Of the two busses they sold, we got the 1986 International-Navistar with a Ward body. It's a 65 passenger bus with a 9.0 liter International Diesel engine. The best thing about this bus is that it gets from 10-12 MPG. Sure enough, on the trip back to Fort Worth, we averaged 10 MPG, and that was cruising (pedal-to-the-metal) at a top speed of 65-70 MPH. Outside of the need for a front-end alignment and wheel balancing, the bus appeared to function perfectly.

Index to the Gallery

August 05     September 05     October 05     November 05     December 05

January 06     February 06     March 06     April 06     May 06     June 06
July 06     August 06     September 06     October 06     November 06

January 07     April 07     June 07     July 07     September 07     October 07
November 07     December 07

January 08     February 08     May 08     July 08

March 09     April 10     August 10     October 10     November 10

April 11

It Is Finished

March 2008 - After 2 1/2 years, our Skoolie conversion is complete. From this point forward only minor tweaks and the usual repair work will be done. It's been a fun adventure, a learning experience and a source of pride in our accomplishments. I recommend it to anyone instead of buying a factory made RV or camper.

If you have any questions about what we did, you can contact us at

Links to Suppliers, etc

Super Scout Specialists - IH Scout and IH truck parts
Fluorescent Lights - JC Whitney
Window Tinting - Concord Automotive Films
Ceramic Paint Additive - Hy-Tech Sales
Dinette Table Supports & Brackets - RV Lifestyles
Porta Potti, 12v Outlets, Cup Holders - RV Surplus
Replacement lights - School Bus Parts Co.
Rear View Mirrors - TAC
Vinyl Lettering -
POR-15 Rust Preventative -
Solar charging systems - RV Solar Electric
Battery Isolators - RV
Black Tire Paint - Miller Tire
Chimney Pipe & Supplies - Dynamite Buys
Exhaust Turndown - JEGS Performance Auto Parts

Last Updated: Saturday, April 09, 2011