Question 01: WHAT do you want to do? Go places and STAY for extended time periods (4-5 days minimum) or TRAVEL (lot's of driving and staying in location for a 1-2 days max....?
- I'm planning to mostly stay for extended time periods. I don't plan on doing a whole lot of traveling but a cross-country road trip isn't out of the question.
# Alright - then your drivetrain doesn't matter that much - as long as it is reliable
and gets you there. So, more emphasis can be devoted to optimize for "in place comodity" - you don't have to worry too much about quick "clear up and lock down for travel" - if it takes a while, so what, you are not going to do it every day.....
Question 02: You want to MOVE into the bus or use it for a few weeks a year??
- I'm planning to move into the bus full-time.
# That is another HUGE decision and you will want to get the bus ready for it: SOLID installations, insulation, water (fresh, grey, black), heating, power (solar, generator, etc...) - you want to do it only once and make it so, that your are COMFORTABLE and SAVE no matter the weather.....
[How tall are you? A roof raise might be a worthwile investment and not to expensive,even if you are on a budget, IF you can get your hands on the right tools and some "metal" - Although it would be a major consideration for space-comforT, I guess slide-outs are NOT "on a budget"-items]
Question 03: How many are you???
- It's just going to be me living there but I'm sure I'll have guests sometimes.
# Okay, need to dig deeper - you are sure you will be ALONE with an occasional visit or MIGHT there be a 2nd half at some time?
The difference in building your ship will depend a lot on to make it COMFORTABLE for your partner too....
[In case you are
the Lone Ranger, check through this build: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4885
- though it seems like Smitty removed all his posts - Smitty built his bus for 1 person only: Smitty and now he is lost somewher in the Wild West!]
STILL buy the biggest bus you can get - especially if you plan on staying for long periods, you will run out of space soon enough!
Question 04: How handy are you???? What is your skill level and at what?
- I'm not extremely handy but what I don't know how to do I can learn. I have access to many tools.
# That will save you a TON of money - however, see question 02 - if there is tasks coming up you are not comfortable with yet - practise first or get a friend with the skills involved ......
Question 05: What's your budget?????
- I'm hoping to not spend more than $3,000 on the bus. The improvements I'm not that worried about. I can tackle them one at a time.
- I want something that's going to be reliable that's easy to maintain and repair that will last a long time.
# Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but unless you already have the bus, you CERTAINLY will be short even just get the VERY basics to the SOLID level:
- Absolute minimum: Check the wheels, brakes - tires, brakes, airlines, etc... - there is no way around this one
- About as important: Check all fluid and gas lines, hoses: Brakes, fuel, hydraulics, air intake, turbo, etc...
- Check on the engine and trans before you buy - Try to get at least a lock-up trans, especially if it is a small engine (alltohugh that might be a very rare combination).....
Basics: The absolute really basic is to make the bus a very well insulated box with all the conduits you want in there for EVERY possible item you might want some day.... !! ALL the rest you can do as you go - water, gas, electrics, etc....
If you are totally out of money by now - go camping! You just finished your mother of a tent!!
Advanced Basics: Try to think of anything you want to put in later, but possibly need to prep the bus already - ....anything on the frame/body (storage tank supports, luggage compartments, battery logistics box for solar)? Whatever you envision and can't do right away, but would need major mods later - do the mods now as far as needed!
Okay - keep on narrowing down what you want! Make a lot of plans and alternatives - sleep over them and come back - ....and little by little you will sort away what is not essential to you and you end up with YOUR BUS PLAN!!