Hey everyone, first post!
I've been doing some research, reading threads, etc, and I think I've come up with a list of criteria that I'm looking for in a bus. The problem is that I'm not sure this combination exists anywhere.
I think the bus I'm looking for is:
1. Rear-engine. This is both for driver comfort, and from what I've seen, the rear engine buses are easier to work on.
2. Cummins or Navistar engine. If a good Cat or MB engine came up with good records and a recent rebuild, I could be swayed, but I think I want to start with Inline-6 from Cummins or Navistar. Bigger engine is better, as I plan to climb mountains, but I don't think my build-out will be especially heavy, nor do I need to be in a huge hurry, so I can probably make out okay with one of the smaller ones.
3. Prefer Allison 6-speed with lock-up. The A545 could work, as long as the brakes were good and the gearing was otherwise okay. (Then again, a small-engine bus with a 5-speed transmission is probably going to have trouble both climbing mountains AND cruising at 65 mph on the flat.)
4. On the shorter/lighter side. Two reasons: (a) it'll be mostly just me in this bus so even 25-30 feet will be plenty of room, and (b) the place where I intend to work on the conversion has some access issues. Even getting a thirty foot bus in place is going to be challenging.
What does everyone think? Am I in fantasy land on this one? If so, which items on this list should I compromise on?