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Old 05-25-2009, 10:30 PM   #11
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Re: TygerCub's Project

I'm also finding that plans are changing as soon as I find a new website with more information and supplies for building stuff. For example, I found a link to an RV surplus site that offers these cool flip-up couches and beds. They store up close to the wall for travel and flip down for sleeping/living. I have no idea how comfortable they are (guess it's time to see some in a toyhauler at our local RV dealership). But I've slept on a swivel down couch before and, while it was a little short (even for my 5'4"), it was very comfortable!

Ah well. This is all just creative frustration cutting loose after not buying a bus this weekend. I'm SO CLOSE! How did you guys stand the hunt for that "perfect" bus?
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:05 PM   #12
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Went out to look at another bus tonight. It was a 1998 GMC that was already converted into a "toy hauler". It had 11 windows and absolutely no back wall. The guys who used it said they carried both a car and a truck inside! But there were two half-inch metal plates welded onto the rear that allowed them to carry the truck because it was just a little too long to fit completely inside.

The body was rusty, but not overly so. A good sanding and coat of rust prevention would fix that. Most of the windows were busted out, but I wasn't going to reuse those windows anyway. It had two and a half feet more "living area" than the first bus. But...

Tommy said it needed a lot more work than the first bus. So... Once more, I came home empty handed.

I saw the "perfect" bus on the way out, but it was obviously still in service haulin' kids home. Bummer! I just have to keep patient and wait it out! But waaa! I'm such a winer sometimes
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:25 PM   #13
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Hang in there, you'll find the right bus for you. At least there are a lot of choices within easy driving distance for you to check out.

I actually drove over 500 miles to get my bus. First time I laid eyes on it I thought "holy @#%$ that thing is huge!" followed by "she sure is ugly!".

The seller was very communicative and supportive through the whole experience. The only thing that didn't match up in the ad was that he said he thought it was a turbo engine, and it wasn't. Still, I'm very happy with my bus. I'll be even happier when I get that roof raised...

Keep on looking, you'll find your conversion bus.

jim
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Old 05-28-2009, 08:16 PM   #14
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Found my IDEAL bus! The PERFECT holy grail of buses!
http://www.floridachurchbus.com/91y1103tchc8/two.html

This is the bus I see driving around town all the time that I absolutely LOVE!!! I figure, buy one of these, then haul a little enclosed cargo trailer behind, and I'd have the best of both worlds!

Now if only this wasn't about twice what I can afford to pay!!!

And if I can't have the "short bus", then I can make do with it's big brother
http://www.floridachurchbus.com/97m5666tphc/two.html
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:37 PM   #15
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Re: TygerCub's Project

After looking online at dozens of websites, I keep coming back to the first bus I saw and posted images of at the beginning of this blog. It's not "exactly" what I want, but it may be "just what I need". Namely, a dependable vehicle in excellent shape that gives me room to work and live inside full time.

This is "exactly" what I want: a relatively medium size bus that I would feel comfortable driving and hauling a cargo trailer behind.

The disadvantage to this bus is what makes it so appealing to me: it's short! Limited living space means feeling clausterphobic after a while? I donno. But it makes me smile every time I see one like it.

This bus, however, is probably "just what I need": dependable, large, inexpensive.

The disadvantage to this is merely cosmetics and inexperience. I prefer the flat faced buses over the dog nosed. Donno why. Even after talking aerodynamics, I prefer the brick shaped bus Crazy! And driving something this size really intimidates me. I've always driven tiny vehicles - from 3 cylinder Geometros to motorcycles. If it's small, I absolutely love it!

Either way I go, I need to make a decision soon before the Universe decides for me!
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:23 PM   #16
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Re: TygerCub's Project

I know my 66 passenger drives like a dream, I've driven all size vehicles and prefer larger vehicles, but all that aside...
The mirrors make the rigs very easy to drive, I never realized how important those "bug eyes" in front were until I got to use them. Despite being significantly larger than others, my bus isn't hard at all to drive, you really get a feel quickly for them. A smaller one may be a bit more manageable, but in planning out my bus (without a workspace onboard), I can tell you that you can't put a price on space.

Nonetheless, I wish you the best of luck in your search and I'm sure you'll find the right fit for you. I'll keep a watch on your progress and thank you for following mine.

Also, although mine is dog-nose, I must say there is something more graceful about a flat front bus, however, it also looks a bit more commercialized to me. The dog-nose evokes a spirit of adventure and freedom to me, where a flat nose looks that much more like a stereotypical rv. Ok...down off my soap box.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:50 AM   #17
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Have you looked at the busses and trucks based on the P30 style chassis? Think fedex or ups or bread truck.

I always thought it would be cool to tow one of those as the "toad" behind a skoolie. Once could even convert it for basic getaway camping while having the bigger bus for full time living.

I also thought one of those shorter bluebirds would be cool in the same capacity, and look more like a bus train going down the road. Plus, if the primary vehicle broke down the secondary one could tow it a short distance.

Finding the right bus is a very personal experience. Hang in there.

jim
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:58 PM   #18
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Those types of box buses were what I started looking at when this crazy idea first reared it's ugly head. Then I stumbled upon THIS site... and all thoughts of other vehicles promptly flew from my mind.
So I blame YOU GUYZ for the mess I'm in now!
(thanks guyz!!!!)

Got a call from a local dealer who said he had the exact bus I want for the price I'm willing to pay. SWEET! Problem is, his business hours are the same as mine, so I'm going to have trouble getting out there to look at it. Especially since he doesn't work weekends. THEN he emails me and says, Oh, by the way, there's another fella coming by to look at the same bus Friday. I'll let you know if he buys it or not.

Now, I'll admit I'm a paranoid cuss. But that's one of the oldest tricks in the book to get someone to jump on a bum sale. The fact it's on a bus I really want just makes it all the more irritating.
I could play devil's advocate and give the benefit of the doubt and say he was really being nice to let me know I have competition and might want to arrange to get there before Friday. But still...

I was outbid on ebay, so I guess I'll see if I can take off work to go see this one and just hope my inexperienced self can spot anything major that may be wrong. I've quibbled enough. It's time to plunk down the chunk-o-change and be happy damnit!
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:58 PM   #19
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Re: TygerCub Bought A Bus.... Meet "BOB"

So... Friday, I was all psyched to drive out to Evington, VA and buy my "Perfect" bus. Right size, right mileage, right distance, right price.

Luckily, I called before making the 2 hour trip, 'cause it sold earlier that day.
!@$@!!! Grrrr!! PHOOEY!

I was majorly bummed. It was too good to be true.

So... I started looking on Craig's list again. This time, expanding my search. Finally, I spotted a couple buses in the northern VA section that looked promising. A 1990 International and a 1995 Bluebird. Both at a price I could afford. I shot off a query. Within minutes, I get a reply on both. Apparently, they were owned by the same guy. Okay, I had nothing better to do on Saturday... Let's take a Road Trip!

4 and a half hours later, I'm tired, cranky, wishing I'd taken a chance and ridden the bike instead of being fumed out by the car (which desperately needs a new seal on the back window to keep the fumes from coming inside), but finally up in Front Royal looking at a bus. Not just any old bus. A Big Old Bus. BOB. He said so himself. Whispered it to me as I stood there wondering what the hell I was about to get into. Either that or the fumes were worse than I thought.

"Buy Me"

There it was again. That voice. It had to be the bus because the guy showing it to me was talking about glow plugs and leaky windows and getting zapped by the quick-fix he had to bypass the switch. Um... okaaay. I tried to ignore the voice as I crawled over and under and around the bus, looking for things I could definitely say would be a deal breaker.

A lot of rust, but nothing a needlegun and Rust-o-leum wouldn't fix.


The driver's area could use a little work, but I planned on customizing the control panels anyway.


It was already gutted, painted and had duelie A/C units in the rear, a current inspection and tires with great tread.


Not much bad I could say about it. With 11 windows, I'd have about 25 feet of living space behind the driver's side. The walls were straight, and because the interior paneling ran lengthwise instead of horizontally, there weren't a gazillion rivets to deal with! WooHoo!

"Drive Me"

Okay, BOB now you're just being pushy. But... I really did need to see if I would be comfortable driving something this big. Oddly enough, it wasn't as intimidating as I'd expected. The captain's chair didn't exactly fit me, but except for a little wobble in the steering at high speeds -- like at 65mph! Yeah Ba-bee! -- it drove like a dream. Slow to start, sure, but it's a freakin' big old bus, so what could I expect?!?! We went a couple miles out, made a few tight turns, went slow, fast, uphill and down. Only major drawback was the fumes coming in from the rear through the A/C units, but hey... I was already fumigated by my own car, so I didn't notice a thing.

I don't know if it was the fumes, or BOB's natural charms, but I put a deposit down on the bus to hold it for a couple of weeks until I can get back out there to pick it up. In the mean time, I've got a lot of arranging to do, tools to buy, and spaces to rent.

OMG, I'm a freakin' skoolie owner! WooHoo!!!
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:15 PM   #20
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Re: TygerCub's Project

Congratulations TygerCub!

I'm glad your trip was worth it...4 1/2 hours is a bit much. If your seat is anything like mine, you'll want to bring some extra cushions with you for the drive home. Good luck!
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