Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-06-2017, 10:03 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 29
Year: 1970
Engine: Chevy 350
Deciding on a bus

Hi all,

So it was about this time last year that my girlfriend and I decided to get into the skoolie scene and we found ourselves a 1970 Chevy bus. She's got a four speed manual, 350 motor. Runs very well actually, but certainly will take some practice driving! Will definitely need some work before it's full-time road worthy. Sadly when November came around we made the decision to sell the bus after completely gutting it, we took out all of the garbage half-baked work that the previous owner had done and we took her down to bare metal on the floors, took out all of the tin walls, ceiling, all of the flooring, the plywood subfloor, all of it. She's an empty shell. We found some rust holes, of course primarily around the wheel wells and a few other spots if I recall correctly.

Well, recently, on Craigslist while browsing for a potential camper to convert, I found the new owners had listed the bus for sale, in literally the exact condition that we sold it in one year ago, down to the same insulation and pieces laying around inside. Seeing this coupled with the fact that we still talk about the bus occasionally has rekindled the skoolie blaze in my soul, and now that we're overpaying for rent and are nailed down in a location neither of us want to live aside from proximity to family, I think we both want this now more than we did when we first bought the thing.

I can't help but wonder what you guys think. We really don't have the cash to pay for any of this out of pocket besides actually obtaining the bus again, which might be okay, because I think we'd have a place we can park it for the harsh, long Minnesota winter. I'm thinking if we were to do this, we would have to see what we can get for a loan -- I figure even if we take out $10k-$12k, we would own our home. Thing is, I have enough loans and debt -- I've got a loan for my Jetta, I've got a loan for my Ninja, I've got debt from school and a credit card that could use some paying off. If we bought it and it sat all winter, I'm sure by spring one or two things would be paid off.

I'm not sure, however, if this bus is the best choice for people in our positions. I'm 22 and my girlfriend is 20 and in college, and I'm not sure I'm done with school. This bus would need some patchwork done (we know a guy who works for a bus maintenance facility, and a welder), it would need to have some wiring figured out (the tail lights and blinkers don't work too well), aside from completely constructing new wiring and plumbing setups, and I'm unsure of exactly how we would get through a Minnesota winter in a skoolie setup, with our plumbing situation. Wouldn't the tanks freeze? How do you avoid that? We were also warned by a shop I used to work at that our bus has "suicide rims", and they would need to be swapped out sooner rather than later as I believe he said they're not even legal to use anymore. So we'd be looking at a new set of rims. I don't know how the 350 would perform in varying elevations of a road trip, especially under full load of a house, and potentially pulling a car. My coworker said he would think with the buses mileage and age it wouldn't hurt to rebuild the motor before getting too crazy, which would set us back another $1,500-$2,000. And what about the rear end? Would a 1970 school bus have a good enough rear end for extensive trips? The bus didn't like to go more than 45-50mph before, can this be refreshed or swapped our for different gearing so it doesn't hate the highway? How much does this sort of thing cost? I've looked online at bus auctions and I've seen a few deals -- the risks involved are sure, we might find a deal for $1500 but we're buying a bus halfway across the country sight unseen.

On the other hand, we know exactly what we're getting into, we've done all the dirty work ourselves so far. We know the exact shape and construction and condition of the bus. We would have all new insulation (spray foam most likely), new wiring. It's a weird train of thought but it would literally be like restoring an old school bus, and living in it. I'm not sure it makes economical sense.

Anyway, word wall. I appreciate if you read all that. What are your guys' thoughts?
TheKoolBus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2017, 10:37 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Njsurf73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,497
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 24v
Rated Cap: 72 pax
I don't know what you are going to pay for it, but maybe a different bus is for you.
Most of us are on a shoestring budget, I buy the stuff I will need as I can afford it and when I see it cheap.
Insulate and get a sleeping bag for 2! And those winter's will seem a heck of a lot warmer.
If it's your dream, you can make it happen.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
Njsurf73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2017, 10:42 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
M1031A1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Oberlin, Kansas
Posts: 1,328
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
I would suggest looking at my bus for sale. It's a 30 foot B600 with lots more rust-free room. She's a San Antonio, TX bus. I'll be willing to work a deal with you if you're interested. You can read her thread in the short bus conversions area under Big Mac for $500. She already has almost all the living essentials ready to go. I understand if you decline due to distance, but it's worth a look.

M
__________________
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. — George Washington
M1031A1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2017, 10:44 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 29
Year: 1970
Engine: Chevy 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Njsurf73 View Post
I don't know what you are going to pay for it, but maybe a different bus is for you.
Most of us are on a shoestring budget, I buy the stuff I will need as I can afford it and when I see it cheap.
Insulate and get a sleeping bag for 2! And those winter's will seem a heck of a lot warmer.
If it's your dream, you can make it happen.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
Is it more ideal to finish it while living somewhere else, or finish it while living on it? Both make sense from different angles.

We originally bought it for $1000, sold it for $1200 and now the new guy is asking $2000... for some reason. I'd probably try to talk him down. I already texted him about it and he said he thinks we could work something out. What that means yet, I'm not sure, but for $2000 I'd buy something different.
TheKoolBus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2017, 11:00 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 2,286
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I see a lot of people get a bus and have their idea planned from purchase to completion, and while I can see the attraction to doing so, I think for most people its just unrealistic. Reality has a habit of changing your plans, and perfection is the enemy of good.

In my case, we did a rough build out with the basics. We put in enough stuff to start sleeping in it and have slept in it every night since. We put in enough for me to work, and now that's where I work. We put in enough to travel, and we've been travelling ever since.

Bus life isn't a destination, it's a journey.
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2017, 11:31 AM   #6
Traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKoolBus View Post

We originally bought it for $1000, sold it for $1200 and now the new guy is asking $2000... for some reason.
I know the reason....$

I'd offer $500 to take it off his hands. He would have done something with it by now.

I'd get a nice diesel shortie that is newer. You can piecemeal the parts, as others have said.

Good luck, it sounds as if you are attached to the old bus, plenty of buses in the sea.
Rusty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2017, 11:35 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 29
Year: 1970
Engine: Chevy 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Good luck, it sounds as if you are attached to the old bus, plenty of buses in the sea.
I suppose we are. My girlfriend and I were going through some hardships at the time we bought the bus, that thing was a beacon of light in a long, dark tunnel. Probably why doing the rational thing isn't the easiest thing here, lol.

Appreciate the input everyone.
TheKoolBus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2017, 11:39 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Njsurf73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,497
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 24v
Rated Cap: 72 pax
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKoolBus View Post
I suppose we are. My girlfriend and I were going through some hardships at the time we bought the bus, that thing was a beacon of light in a long, dark tunnel. Probably why doing the rational thing isn't the easiest thing here, lol.

Appreciate the input everyone.
Look at m1031a1 "big Mac" that is a good start. Be living in it in weeks... Save your cash and buy back the old one and work on it. That's outside the box!
I agree that you could get it back for less than you sold the old one for as well... It probably isn't going anywhere.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
Njsurf73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2017, 12:14 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 29
Year: 1970
Engine: Chevy 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Njsurf73 View Post
Look at m1031a1 "big Mac" that is a good start. Be living in it in weeks... Save your cash and buy back the old one and work on it. That's outside the box!
I agree that you could get it back for less than you sold the old one for as well... It probably isn't going anywhere.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
Lol, hardly have room for one, let alone two. It pays to have connections...

https://marshall.craigslist.org/cto/d/bus/6290700503.html

Judging by how it looks in the pictures I'd guess you're right.
TheKoolBus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2017, 06:44 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
M1031A1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Oberlin, Kansas
Posts: 1,328
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Njsurf73 View Post
Look at m1031a1 "big Mac" that is a good start. Be living in it in weeks... Save your cash and buy back the old one and work on it. That's outside the box!
I agree that you could get it back for less than you sold the old one for as well... It probably isn't going anywhere.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
I'll give you a screaming deal you couldn't pass up......

Just PM me.....

M
__________________
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. — George Washington
M1031A1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:31 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.