What types of vehicles would most easily convert to a food truck?

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VenusPaw
Junior Burger
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2011/03/12 16:46:53 (permalink)

What types of vehicles would most easily convert to a food truck?

   This thread is intended mainly for anyone who has done a build, or for those with good mechanical aptitude.
   I've been focusing solely on step vans but recently bumped into a British double-decker bus and it got me wondering what other options would easily convert (I'm starting another thread about the double-decker possibility with specific questions pertaining to it, so be looking for that thread, please). Back to the point, would a short school bus or airport shuttle-style vehicles be a good choice? Do they have any particular issues that make them difficult to work with? They are generally much less expensive, and plentiful, than a step van and some come with roof A/C units which I was going to install anyway, so that would save me a bundle. Are there any concerns that I should be aware of regarding ALL vehicles, and are there any vehicles that present specific problems that I should stay away from entirely? As far as equipment is concerned, I'll likely be installing a char-broiler, freezer/fridge, flat-top, and maybe a couple of burners. Any advice appreciated.
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    Barbeque barn
    Cheeseburger
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    Re:What types of vehicles would most easily convert to a food truck? 2011/03/12 17:11:17 (permalink)
    Parking is one down side to a bus or airport van,the width of each, but to have that extra inside space would be nice and where are you setting up at? Just make sure that you have inside height to clear your head with. Also think of how your serving window is to the customer and how hard it's going to be installing one in a vehicle. Not so hard in the bus but the airport van might be a little hard to install window. Just think of how tall you are. Mike
    #2
    VenusPaw
    Junior Burger
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    Re:What types of vehicles would most easily convert to a food truck? 2011/03/12 17:47:38 (permalink)
    Thanks, Mike. Good observation about the width and height. The double-decker bus I mentioned would require a bit of adjusting as the ceiling height is about 1 inch shorter than me.
    #3
    BackAlleyBurger
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:What types of vehicles would most easily convert to a food truck? 2011/03/12 22:02:57 (permalink)
    do you actually have a double decker ??
    lol, if not they are far and few between here in the states
     
    but with that said, the kitchen downstairs, and a sitting/eating area upstairs...
    call it a busteraunt.....
    i think there is one out in Cali operating
    #4
    PointGeorge
    Junior Burger
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    Re:What types of vehicles would most easily convert to a food truck? 2011/03/13 10:51:05 (permalink)
    One concern might be the DOT and GVW.  If you have to go on a highway or somewhere where you could be pulled over, and your GVW is above what the vehicle is certified for you could have some major headaches with the authorities.  Around here a $1000 fine for first offense and possibly loosing the vehicle for the second.
     
    Not sure how big a deal this is in other parts of the country.
     
     
    post edited by PointGeorge - 2011/03/13 10:52:17
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    Blissful Bite
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    Re:What types of vehicles would most easily convert to a food truck? 2011/03/14 00:35:06 (permalink)
    I used to have an airport shuttle type van that got around nicely.  It was 7ft wide, 20ft long and fit snugly into the width of most parking spots.  It had a short wheel base (the rear of the van was almost 7ft behind the rear wheels) so it turned tightly.  The back end swung out when turning tightly though.
     
    They are relatively cheap, easy to find, and usually well maintained.  I personally chose not to go with a van like this for the food truck I'm building because, 1) their typical floor height tends to lead to a tall serving window, 2) floor to ceiling height around 6ft is a little cramped especially if you need a hood, and 3) some body work would be necessary to cover windows for a nicer exterior.
     
    I think my van had a GVWR of 12,500 and was somewhere around 6000 empty.  If you could weigh in fully loaded at under 10,000, you'd be under the DOT radar.
     
    All that being said, there are a lot of them out there in a lot of different configurations.  The perfect one might just pop up. 
     
    The double decker is a tempting rabbit hole.  I'd probably jump in head first.
     
     
    #6
    farmboy236
    Cheeseburger
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    Re:What types of vehicles would most easily convert to a food truck? 2011/03/14 06:49:10 (permalink)
      Wow, think of the possibilites with that bus!  Dining Al'Fresco under the stars!  A Dinner Cruise on dry land.  Louisville would be a great venue for that especially during Derby week.  Have you thought about an RV conversion?  It would come with a generator, holding tanks, fresh tank and AC already there.
      Blissful, what did you go with for your build?
    #7
    Blissful Bite
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    Re:What types of vehicles would most easily convert to a food truck? 2011/03/14 13:10:31 (permalink)
    I went with a BIG (8ft wide by 30ft long) former uhaul box truck.  I wanted to build a kitchen with the capacity to cook a lot of food almost anywhere.  The uhaul was the choice for me because it has a low deck height, high ceilings, and I didn't have to upgrade my pickup to move it around.  The price was nice too, around $4k with some minor repairs.
     
     
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