OK, so I convinced the wife that an RV would be more enjoyable for our camping trips than the current trailer/toy hauler conversion that we use. Don't get me wrong, it's real comfy, but it takes more time to get our campsite set up than just pulling up in an RV would. We looked around for a month or so for some used Class A's under $3500 but couldn't find one that a) slept more than three people comfortably; b) didn't currently or previously have some type of roof leak; and c) didn't need some significant mechanical work. We had thought about a skoolie a few years ago when we were in Florida and even won an eBay auction for an old church bus at one point. That deal went south when the rep for the church told me they could get it to start but not drive when they went to pick it up from storage. I decided it wasn't worth getting into a tizzy over and let the auction go.
We do a lot of ATV riding and where we camp at is about two miles of the paved path up and down a winding rough road. We decided a skoolie would be more durable for the trip and we could layout a floorplan that slept six to eight comfortably. I found MARV on Craigslist in Branson, MO listed for $1200. After a good test drive and a couple of phone calls to my father (who knows diesel engines better than I) we settled on $900 with the owner. The 125-mile drive back home was smooth sailing, except for some of the Ozark uphills on I-44 which slowed me to a steady crawl. I've since found out that it is governed at 60mph as well. This works for me since it should reduce the wear and tear on the engine and help control my lead foot on the highway. Half of any vacation is supposed to be in getting there, right?
MARV is a 1988 International Carpenter 66-pax with a DT-360 Diesel engine and Allison AT545 auto tranny. It wasn't used by a school district. The remnants of the lettering on the side show it to have belonged to a transportation company. Overall, it's in really good shape. There was some rust at the rear door that I had to contend with and the lower step needs some attention in the back corner. Both of the emergency hatches are leaking when it rains so I bought a gallon of elastomeric roof patch. Once the rain lets up I can get up there and give the topsides a good coating. Hopefully that will cure that problem. We're planning to paint the whole roof with elastomeric paint later on so this seemed like the best fix for the leaks.
Everything else seems to be in good shape. All of the seats had already been removed by the PO. One problem I am having is the consant buzzer that goes off when I start it up. I'm thinking when he removed the two emergency door sensors he didn't kill the alarm buzzer which means the alarm thinks the doors have been opened. Anybody have any thoughts on that one? I have a day off next week and think I may take the big boy over to the bus barn and see if they might take a look at it for me.
We bought the bus back before Thanksgiving but the weather has finally gotten decent enough for me to get out there and get some work done. We bought an 18' travel trailer for donor parts for $850 and a second 15K roof a/c with heat strip for $200. Once we get the travle trailer gutted, I plan to flat deck it and use it to haul our ATVs. I spent a little longer and a little extra $$$ to get a trailer that would suit both needs. I'll post our progress as we go (as I remember to anyway). You can see pictures of MARV at: http://picasaweb.google.com/ozarkfre...83526484781010
Thanks for looking,