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Old 01-24-2016, 10:10 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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here goes nothing

I and wife are still very new to this bus conversion concept but we reallly want to procceed....we plan on living in bus -both retired...anyway.......Cowlitzcoach says there are "no dumb questions....so I have a few to help direct us!!!
I know all of you will have a opinion and your thoughts.... so Thanks alot in advance....

Bus Make-Thomas/Wayne/Bluebell?

maxium miles and approx years of age...electronic???

size engine-diesel or gas

Transmission-make-auto or standard??

Stove make-gas or electric?

Refrig-make-gas or electric

generator- make-size-

Insulation of bus--- ceiling-floor-walls which??

Tank size for ...Grey-fresh-black

Furnance/heater--btu size

I told you I had some dumb ones...BUT....if u can think of anything else..that u think is important......just let us know

Thanks for your help!!!!

Jim/Marsha
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Old 01-24-2016, 10:53 AM   #2
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Jim/Marsha,

Ok, before anyone else decides to explode this new thread with the same-old "read previous posts" retort, be prepared for a bunch of other people to say just that.

I have found finding a bus that is most comfortable for you is the most important item on your list (the question you forgot to ask).

You need to ask yourself some important questions and ponder how you honestly answer them.

1. Do you want a large bus or a smaller one?

2. Do you want a front engine or rear engine bus?

3. Do you want hydraulic or air brakes?

Answering those three important questions will better direct the rest of your questioning.

Here are the reasons to be honest with yourself before looking further:

A longer bus (say 40 feet) will limit your ability to turn in smaller spaces. Three point turning becomes standard (this means becoming proficient in precision or spotter assisted backing - i.e. do you trust your spouse's ability to effectively communicate or develop an effective system to do so?). In addition, changing lanes becomes more of a timing issue than for a passenger car or a pick-up truck - even with a trailer on the back.

A smaller bus (30 feet or less) means concise use of a small space. Every square inch becomes highly valuable. So developing more space in a confined area becomes paramount. Does the bus have cargo bays to expand the capability to store water, a generator, essential equipment? Can you build custom cargo bays to meet those needs? The benefits are you can drive in more tight spots, but now you see there are trade-offs.

Front or rear engine?

Front engine buses mean if it's a conventional you've already lost about ten feet of build space before conversion begins. However, there is more room to work on the engine as the hood opens to the front and gives you more elbow room to use. The bus even looks more like a heavy truck than a bus. Cab-over front engine buses have a cowling protruding into the front of the bus and limit certain build options, but with a creative flair can be overcome. I've seen some creativity with those buses. The awkward thing is climbing into the driver's seat (literally).

Rear engine (like what I have) eliminates a rear emergency door and moves it to the driver's side. It also gives you more build space because now you can put a bed over the engine. It's also quieter than a front engine bus. Main drawback is access to the engine is now tighter and more limited due to the firewall being on top of the engine.

Hydraulic or air brakes?

Hydraulic brakes are more expensive and less common than air. However, they are more durable (in my experiences with both types) and do not require any license modifications (unless the bus is rated for more than 26K pounds). Air brakes require at LEAST a chauffer's endorsement in most states (however there are exceptions - check with you local authorities).

Once you have those questions answered, then the other questions you have become more relevant.

Hope this helps.

M1031
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Old 01-24-2016, 11:10 AM   #3
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don't forget budget, also how hard it would be to get insurance , being able to stay in certain rv parks.
Plan your holding tanks for boon docking , I have 40blk 40grey, and 40 fresh water, going to upgrade fresh to 60-80 depends what fits. Diesel, I wouldn't get anything new then say 2000, less electronics , furnace get as big of rv as you can find, more heat the better, you can always turn it down. most of the stuff is your preference, you can always upgrade or change things at a later date.
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my bus build viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5931
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Old 01-24-2016, 11:21 AM   #4
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If you're planning on full-timing, GUT it. Pull the interior panels and replace the crappy fiberglass insulation with either rigid or spray foam. Your lungs will appreciate it, as well your thermostat.
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Old 01-24-2016, 11:57 AM   #5
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All of your answers will help and I Thank all of you for taking the time........very very good....jim/Marsha
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Old 01-24-2016, 03:43 PM   #6
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To start I'm going to copy and paste my post from another thread.
Welcome to the site. I went for a long flat nose front engine bus. The reason is that I wanted as much room as possible. I am making a garage area in the rear for compressor, generator etc. The main reason for the garage is to haul my motorcycle. Thus the front engine. Also, it will take up about 8 feet of space.
From the back door to just behind the driver seat is about 35 feet. Take away 8 feet for the garage and I'm down to 27 feet. That's why I wanted a longer bus.
Rear engines are more quiet up front and there is no exhaust or drive shaft running the length of the bus underneath. It would be easier to have under bus or basement storage compartments.
You need to think about what you want to do with the bus before you can determine what to buy. You should also do some engine/transmission research as well as what gear ratio you would like in the rear end. Do you want air brakes or hydraulic? Do you need a bus with a higher roof? The list goes on and on.
The best thing in my opinion is to read as much as you can here and ask lots of questions. Determine what you want and then start looking for it. If you buy the wrong bus and put lots of time and money in it you still won't be happy with it. Hope this helps.
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Now as far as make/model some people have their preferences but I think that all of the manufacturers make a decent bus.
As for miles/age My bus has nearly 200k on it. I have a 5.9 cummins that they call the million mile engine so 200k is not much in that respect. I would try to stay away from the electronic engines. They are great when they work and expensive when they don't.
As for the stove my opinion would be for propane. It depends what you are going to do with your bus. Are you going to be plugged in to electric at a campground all the time. I would plan everything for boondocking then you are covered either way.
Fridge? I never had a propane or 12v fridge but I hear they are a pain. In the past I have used a small electric that I would run when I had the generator on. I would throw a block of ice in it and even without running it the ice was good for2-3 days.
For the generator I think bigger is better. Better too much capacity than not enough.
Insulation. Here again it depends on what you plan to do. I stripped my interior completely and am installing rigid insulation. I think the more insulation you have the better off you will be both in hot and cold weather.
Tank size. Again, what are you going to be doing? If you will be hooked up to a sewer system in a campground you won't need a huge tank. If boondocking for long periods you will.
For a furnace I'm going with a small wood burner. I will be very well insulated and won't need that much heat. You can also gather free fuel just about anywhere. I like free. For my needs I won't need big logs, just smaller wood so there won't be any need for cutting/splitting.
There is my opinion I hope it helps.
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Old 01-24-2016, 06:20 PM   #7
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Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
My only caveat is about the stove - alcohol burning opposed to propane. Alcohol is a low pressure cooking appliance, propane is high pressure. The possibility of an unanticipated explosion is possible, just ask one of our builders that is still undergoing operations on his body from third degree burns. I look at my bus as a land-borne boat in many ways. With a boat the high quality ones use alcohol stoves due to the potential of explosions from the propane stoves. NOTHING is worse than a fire on a ship out at sea.

Just sayin'

M1031
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Old 01-24-2016, 08:22 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks bus nut. Great info..Jim/marsha
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Old 01-24-2016, 08:23 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks alot roadrunner. Will put this to use... great!!!!
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