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Bus Converted To 3-Ton "Pickup"
For about $900, Fred Callens, Minneota, Minn., built what he calls a "3-ton pickup".
    Callens modified a 1990 IH 77-passenger bus so it now looks like a giant yellow pickup. "The main advantage of the bus," explains Callens, "is the cost. It does the work of 1-ton dualls that costs $40,000 or more."
    His converted "bus pickup" has a big cab with two rows of seats behind the driver. It has a 10-ft. bed with 1 1/2-ft. sides and a tailgate on back, as well as a fifth wheel hitch and a drawbar hitch for hauling gravity wagons.
    To convert the bus, he cut 13 ft. out of the middle of the body, moving the back section of the body up to create an 8-ft. cab area behind the driver's seat. He also cut off about 4 1/2 ft. of the frame between the rear axle and cab, and 9 ft. behind the axle. To make the bed's sides he cut off a 10-ft. long, 1 1/2-ft. high section of the body that had originally been over the rear axle and bolted it back onto the frame.
     "I use it all year long to haul round bales or lumber on a gooseneck trailer," says Callens. "I can haul up to 17 round bales on the trailer. I use the drawbar hitch to pull gravity wagons. We also use it as a recreational vehicle to transport our family band when we travel to different concerts.
    "The bus frame is built strong and has no trouble handling heavy loads. The bus is equipped with mini I-beams every 6 in. across the frame, and the bumpers are made of 1/4-in. thick steel. The pickup bed is reinforced on its upper edge with steel pipe between the outer and inner walls to form the outside edge of the box. Loops welded to it can be used with straps to secure large loads."
    Callens paid $400 for the bus, which he bought at a school bus transportation center. "The bus's in-line 6 diesel engine and Allison automatic transmission were in good shape, and the bus had good tires and brakes. Fuel efficiency isn't too bad, either. It gets 10 mpg pulling a load and 11 mpg empty, which is as good as you can expect with any 1-ton pickup."
    Callens says he spent about $500 on cutting tools and welding rods.
    He also bought two other buses and converted one into a camper and the other into a chicken house.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Fred Callens, 2149 320th St., Minneota, Minn. 56264 (ph 507 828-4057; calico10@frontiernet.net).


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2010 - Volume #34, Issue #3