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Old 07-14-2008, 01:00 PM   #1
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Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!

I am looking to do a cross country trip next summer with 8 people. I have been doing alot of research about doing a conversion. I know i want air brakes, and a bus big enough for everyone. I was wondering how, if you think it would be possible, to buy a bus convert it so that it has water and runs on WVO, all for 6-8K. Is this possible? If not forget the WVO. what is the best bus to buy for cheap? i would like to not have a flat front if possible. it needs to be able to do 12000 miles is 45 days. thanks for any help that can be offered.
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Old 07-14-2008, 03:47 PM   #2
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Re: Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!

Cheap buses can be had but you have to search for them. Try Craigslist both in your hometown and nearby big cities. Also call some new bus/truck dealers and ask if they have any trade in's, if they don't ask them where you might find some.

Converting a bus to run on WVO isn't all that hard, there's a lot of threads on here on that subject.

Running water isn't that hard either, I have a 55 gallon drum mounted under my bus with a sink that just drains out to the ground - no hot water. I probably have one of the more basic/cheap setups. I probably have about $120 into my water setup.

A basic conversion for 8 wouldn't be too hard... have 4 sets of bunks (2 on each side) a few couches, and some rugs - counter top sink, and a table.

I think you could build a very basic bus for less than $3,000 including the price of the bus, maybe another $300?? or so in WVO conversion stuff.
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Old 07-14-2008, 10:43 PM   #3
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Re: Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!

thanks i was also wondering about towing a trailer, just for motorcycles most likely, but just to get around how do the school busses handle that? im also worried about losing breaks going down the mountains multiple people have mentioned this to me and i was wondering if they are trying to turn me off to the idea of a bus or looking out for me... btw will only get a bus with air brakes
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Old 07-15-2008, 12:15 AM   #4
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Re: Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!

buses with hydraulic brakes aren't bad. a bus with poorly adjusted air brakes can be far more dangerous than a bus with hydro.....that being said, i like air brakes too...just remember, when you see a sign that reads "truckers check brakes" they mean stop the bus, get out your 9/16 wrench, and check that your brakes are adjusted properly. i've driven across the rocky mountains in a bus 8 times traveling from michigan to nevada and back. 6 times across I 80, and twice across I 70 through colorado.

I 80 only has one bad downhill curvy section...that's near slc. I 70 in colorado is non-stop hills, curves, 7 to 8% grades...ugg! i'd avoid i70 in a bus if i were you. not so much for the downhill part, but due to the uphill part of the journey.

chances are pretty slim that you'll die going down the mountains in a bus with properly adjusted brakes. You do need to realize that there is a lot of weight and treat the vehicle and the mountain with respect. Don't be in a hurry. What i like to do when going downhill is follow a big truck from a safe distance. I always figure that he probably weighs a lot more than i do, and we both have the same brakes! if he goes around the curve at 50 mph, i can do the same....if he slows down to 35mph, i should likewise follow suite.

don't ride yoru brakes. the proper method for mountain braking is to choose a safe speed....say 50 mph. Downshift to allow your engine to help slow the vehicle. when the vehicle exceeds your safe speed by 10 mph apply steady brake pressure to slow the vehicle down to 10 mph below your choosen speed. Let off the brakes and allow the process to repeat itself. This gives your brakes time to cool off between applications.

On I 80, I think that the decent down into slc is the only place i really have to do any downhill braking from chicago to reno. My buses tend to hold about a 5% grade under 65 mph without any brakes being applied.
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Old 07-15-2008, 02:01 PM   #5
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Re: Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!

thanx that really helps alot does neone else have ne imput on anything i should be doing or looking for along the way to building my bus?
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:56 PM   #6
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Re: Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!

*** TIME *** Keep in mind that it takes a bit of time to convert a bus. Unless you've got the resources for the parts and tools, and lots of spare time on your hands. Good planning is the key to a good conversion. Not sure of your reason for NOT wanting a flat front bus, but you get a little extra interior space on the same size chassis with a transit style bus, and generally more acceptable at campgrounds if it doesn't actually look like a bus!

These things don't get very far on a gallon of fuel, and carrying enough fuel to cover 6-8k miles is not realistic, so you may as well stick with the diesel, finding sources of WVO while on the road is not going to be easy.

Another place you can look for a bus is at Publicsurplus.com and bid on one, that is where I got mine from. However as with any auction you are buying blind. Ebay has a lot of them too, some of them already converted, and some partially started.

Good luck!!
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:10 AM   #7
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Re: Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!

Quote:
I 70 in colorado is non-stop hills, curves, 7 to 8% grades...ugg! i'd avoid i70 in a bus if i were you. not so much for the downhill part, but due to the uphill part of the journey.
he's right, I-70 through Colorado is tough in a bus. There are many other ways through CO that are good bus roads and scenic as sh*t. If you chose to go through let me know and you can stop by Breckenridge.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:59 PM   #8
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Re: Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!


Regarding westbound I-80 into Salt Lake City, I suggest NOT following I-80 all the way. Instead, turn right on I-84 towards Ogden, then go south on I-15 to SLC and rejoin I-80 there. Slight detour -- much gentler slope.

To minimize the detour, as you approach Ogden, turn south on US 89. And once on s/b I-15, take the I-215 belt route to w/b I-80.

Standard trucking procedure.
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:50 AM   #9
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Re: Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!

this is all really helpful thanks... what do u guys think about a small trailer? i am going with 8 people and we are definately going to need to go into the cities for food and stuff so i was thinking about taking to small motor cycles or my friend has a motorcycle with a side car... would it be hard to attach a trailer or just make a small deck off the back that i could park a motorcycle on without attaching a trailer.
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Old 07-31-2008, 02:04 AM   #10
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Re: Cross Country Trip Need HELP!!!


You say you want a bus with the engine in front.... Such a bus already has a very long rear overhang, which scrapes on the ground.
So have a shop install a trailer hitch -- up high by the bumper so IT doesn't scrape. And configure the trailer so it rides level when hooked to that hitch. Just my 2 c.
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