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Old 01-14-2014, 02:24 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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How did you choose your bus?

Hello all,

I'm starting the process of searching for a bus and I'm just wondering what kind of factors you considered before purchasing your bus and if you would do anything differently the next time around?

There are quite a few conversions on here but School buses seem to be the most popular by far. Why? I don't see many coach (greyhound/peter pan etc) conversions or city transit conversions...is there a reason why?

I see some people on here have chosen to get some shorter length buses. I've always thought that getting the longest bus possible would be best since the worst that could happen is you would have some extra space. For those who went shorter, why did you choose to do that and do you wish you hadn't?

Where did you find it? eBay? Craigslist? Did you make calls to school districts or bus companies?

What were some of the more important features you looked for? Pusher/puller, automatic/standard, diesel/gas, engine location, etc...

Thanks very much
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:57 PM   #2
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Re: How did you choose your bus?

Quote:
There are quite a few conversions on here but School buses seem to be the most popular by far. Why?
This is a skoolie site, not limited to, but mostly. The coach people have their own sites. Some really good info there too.

Quote:
I see some people on here have chosen to get some shorter length buses.
For the same reason people buy small motor homes. Easier to get around in, cheaper to buy fuel for, some people just aren't into driving the whole house around.

I had a list of things that were must have and like to have. In my case the must haves were 40ft diesel pusher, air brakes, automatic transmission, tall roof. Like to have but not deal breakers included things like air suspension and cruise control. I searched E-bay, didn't look at Craigs list because i wanted something from far enough south that it wasn't running in salt all winter. I wasn't in a particular hurry, I was still working and didn't have time to work on it anyway. That reads as NEVER home. There are a number of bus dealers that have websites listing their used buses, some with prices and specs and some don't. I drove cross country truck so distance was not a problem. I talked to a couple of dealers, one that had two locations one in TN and the other in KY and was in the process of finding a load in that general direction to look. I don't remember the name of the place. As luck would have it, I was in NM and went through a town instead of around it and there were some buses sitting on a dealers lot. There was only one full size bus but, it turned out to be pretty much made to order. Just out of service for a school corp, relatively low miles, and all of my must haves. Bonuses were it was an "activity" bus which means it didn't pick up kids every day and it came from just about as far south as you can get. It had factory air but, as it turns out I'm taking it out anyway. The price was a bit more than I was planning on, but I thought it was a pretty good deal with all that it had. I took a Greyhound back to NM and drove it home. The only rust I have found anywhere was under the entrance door rubber mat.

Dick
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:23 PM   #3
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Re: How did you choose your bus?

I posted this on another site:

Quote:
Joe
Welcome and you are excited it appears, and that's good you'll need the extra energy to pull this off Grin

Biggest thing you need to decide on is a budget!

There is a Big difference between an older 2 stroked bundle of joy, compared to a 4 stroke 45 ft 3 slide rockstar mobile, and then there is the lonely Skoolie

The budget for an entire Skoolie build wouldn't cover the engine rebuild on some buses, tires and other drivetrain parts are comparably to a degree, and the brake parts are basically the same

So...have fun on this journey and take pictures
OTR older 2 stroke Detroit diesel buses are just plain cool...too many 0's in price and upkeep for me tho'

OTR newer buses with big 4 stroke diesels and all the fancy things are very nice and cool.......too many 0's in price and upkeep for me tho'


and skool bus's are cool and cheaper all around, just some fuel for the old fire to think about

and this is a Skoolie site that doesn't discriminate......

check out busconversions.com for a look see
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:32 PM   #4
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Re: How did you choose your bus?

Howdy Maine.... we lived in Maine for a number of years and will return in a few years....

We looked at a bunch of things before settling on our bus... the reason for Skoolie was simple, highway coaches are made for highways, Skoolies go everywhere. We will return to Me as I said and I don't think a highway coach is going to go everywhere in Me we want to be able to get to, same here in Tx. We picked a shorter bus because we were concerned about driving a 30+ foot tube around in DFW traffic and roads, so we got a dog nosed 28 footer, and we are happy with the length for now. We do not use it for full time living though and would really rather have the extra space if that were the case. We do day trips and such, and it is really more of a steel tent right now anyhow, and soon to be moving van . I also wanted a "rough draft" to see what we would need, we got this 1 fairly cheap right from the school district (the day after it's last run with kids) and so it fit the bill nicely.
Would I like a larger bus? To be honest, I am not sure. I think I would like to see and drive 1 of those 30' flat nosed BB tc1000... those look to be just right for us. We are hitting 40 and our daughter will be graduating High School in 2 years so we really only need enough for the 2 of us and the dogs.

I am from Fl originally and having lived in Me and now Tx, if I were you looking for a bus I would look SOUTHWEST. I have not a single spot of even surface rust on my bus, no holes at all. We had rust issues in Fl due to the salt air and humidity, as well as limestone in the roads. Of course in the north you have salt and snow.....none of that here in Tx. It's brown and dusty, but it's dry! Plan a road trip for your trip back and enjoy the scenery!!
Welcome and good luck to you!!
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:09 PM   #5
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Re: How did you choose your bus?

X2 on where they can go, no hi way bus will make it up my driveway and on the ferry I scraped front and rear...not sure what would of been the scenario with me being first off with a low slung hi way coach...lots of pissed off folks for sure

I have seen coaches stuck (high centered) on road divide access roads, train track crossings and driveways of hotels.....skoolie is def. The way to go if you have ever looked at a friend and said "here hold my beer"
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Old 01-14-2014, 07:19 PM   #6
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Re: How did you choose your bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
if you have ever looked at a friend and said "here hold my beer"
Have you never been to the great North Woods of Maine, or taken in the rays of the sun as they touch US soil for the first time on the rocky coast. "hold my bee-ah, I wanna try sumpin" is the most popular phrase, second only to "Yah cain't git they-ah from hee-ah" You know it is a truly blessed place when lobster is comparable in price to beef!!
Head north good sir when you have a few weeks to really relax!
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:47 PM   #7
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Re: How did you choose your bus?

We went the short bus route for several reasons:

1) Our bus would essentially be an RV for the wife and I and we didn't need a huge amount of space.

2) Ours is on a Ford chassis so parts are easily found.

3) We do a fair bit of boondocking so a huge bus would be a problem on the two-track trails we frequent.

4) The lighter weight and highway gearing gives us decent fuel mileage.

5) A school bus parked in our back yard would not be smiled upon by our neighbors. The shuttle bus at least looks a bit like an RV.

Form follows function. What you want to do with it will determine what bus to choose. The weekend RV bus is way different than the full-timer's bus.
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:11 PM   #8
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Re: How did you choose your bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Guy in Maine
I see some people on here have chosen to get some shorter length buses.
I knew I was going to get a short-bus long before I ever purchased one.

I drove for a tree planting company for 4 years out west. During my first 2 years driving they had Ford E350s and 4x4 Ford Excursions that they rented from Visa Rentals. Nice cushy rides, but those vans were always getting stuck. That crossed most any cheaper Class C motorhome off my list of future RVs. For my last 2 years the company decided to buy 2 short buses instead of renting more luxurious vehicles (also read as, "company going bankrupt". pinching pennies). I have to tell ya, though, those things were loads of fun to drive down the logging roads and I was pleasantly surprised by their capabilities. Sure, they occasionally got stuck in the 2 foot deep mud holes, but the clearance made up for that under many circumstances. They drove happily over the cross-wise trenches that were dug to "de-activate" certain logging roads.

Anyway, for the kinds of roads I like driving and the places I like to camp it made good sense to get a short-bus on a proper truck frame (International in my case). My bus turns on a dime and with the short wheel base I can usually turn back around - even on a single lane road - when I decide things are getting a touch to hairy.

EDIT: I should also add that the buses were far more bumpy, of course Wash board roads while riding in the back of a bus is no fun, but up front isn't bad at all.
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:54 PM   #9
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Re: How did you choose your bus?

We were planning on getting a rear engine tall body bus, hopefully around 40'. We looked all over but nothing really fit right or was priced too high. We stumbled on an amazing deal on eBay and lucked out big time. Ended up with a 35' long mid engine crown with just enough head room for both of us.
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