Why Not to Trust a Bubble Level in a School Bus Conversion

Do you know the one tool that most carpenters depend on when building a house? Why yes! It is the Spirit Level or bubble level as I know it. This tool has proven itself trustworthy in build after build. By grabbing a bubble level and placing in on a board, in a second the carpenter can clearly see if the board is level. When each board is level, it results in a plumb level house with level cabinets, level doors, and level walls. In many ways converting a bus into a tiny home is just like building house. But if you grab a bubble level and set about converting a bus, your bus will end up crooked. You might think it is straight until you stand back and get a good look. Then you will realize that you just converted a bus for Dr. Suess!

So why can the bubble level not be trusted in a bus conversion?

There are several reasons why Jeff will not use a bubble level as designed when converting a bus.

#1 Tire Pressure

The tire pressure in each tire has to be exactly the same and stay the same throughout the entire build. Not sure about you, but Jeff does not want to spend time each day checking the tire pressure and adjusting the levels. Do you?

#2 The Ground is Uneven

Where the bus is parked is going to determine if the bus is level. Even if it is parked on the street, it doesn’t mean the street is completely level. Most of the time when someone is converting a bus, it is NOT parked on the street. It is in a driveway or yard. Thus, the ground would not be completely level.

#3 Weight Distribution

In the middle of a conversion, one side of the bus may have more weight than the other. This uneven weight distribution will make the bus lean to one side.

#4 The Bus Itself

What!?! Yes, the bus contracts and expands during different temperatures.  When something looks straight today it might not be tomorrow.

Pro Tip: Leave a little bit of room for things to contract and expand.

Getting things straight in a crooked environment

So how does Jeff get things straight in a crooked environment? Glad you asked. It is a tape measure.

Measure everything.

Have you ever heard the saying, “measure twice cut once?”

Pro Tip: The tape measure is your best friend in a bus conversion.Click To Tweet

Can the bubble level be used in a bus conversion?

YES! Yes, it can.

Jeff uses a bubble level to:

Draw a straight line.

Remember this:

If you try to convert a bus using a bubble level you will end up with a crooked bus. - JeffClick To Tweet

Are you curious about what tools make the “must have tool list” in a school bus conversion? If so check out this post: Top 10 Tools Needed When Converting a School Bus





  1. Heidi Sullivan May 1, 2017 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    Great information, thank you!!

    • discoveringus May 1, 2017 at 11:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Heidi, You are most welcome! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Charles/Diane Clary May 1, 2017 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    This is our first bus conversion and the thought of even using a level hasn’t ever came up . Thanks for the info. anyways..

    • discoveringus May 1, 2017 at 11:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Charles/Diane, during our first conversion we didn’t think about it either. Heck, I am known for not seeing things straight. If you walk into my bus you are liable to see a picture hanging crooked and I wouldn’t notice. I am so thankful that Jeff sees straight and can use a tape measure so I don’t feel like I am in a fun house. Where are you in your conversion process? We have an FB Group, Discovering Us Bus where we enjoy connecting with others. You are welcome to show off your conversion and get to know others who are fulfilling their bus dreams. Thanks for taking the time to stop by the blog and comment.

  3. Katrina Cebaños-Galvan May 3, 2017 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Great tip thx

    • discoveringus May 3, 2017 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      Katrina, You are welcome! Thanks for stopping by the blog.

Leave A Comment

CommentLuv badge