Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-25-2016, 02:44 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 3
Last minute - should I buy this bus?

Hi all, thank you for the invaluable advice, reading tons of threads here in the past month.

I'm looking to pull the trigger on this super short bus in the next 24 hours... is that a terrible idea?

Chevy C3500 Cab w Thomas School Bus Body 20 Seats - $4000



It'll be myself and my lady, using it for road trips and 5-day boondocking stints. Simple setup, composting toilet, propane stove

Thanks to Sojakai's suggestion to use floorplanner, I have this here


*Mop = Marine solid fuel stove

All initial "You're insane!" advice welcome!

jschulz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2016, 03:48 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
I'd want specifics on the tranny and rear gearing along with what speed at what rpm on the highway. Probably OK for highway use but you occasionally find units that top out at 45-50 and need new gears. Oh yeah...how are the tires (all 6 of them)?

Not a big fan of v-8 diesels but that is a personal thing. Anyone here familiar with this particular DD?
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2016, 04:18 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Darrington, Wa.
Posts: 304
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Genesis/Am-Tran Tall Roof
Chassis: International, 643 transmission
Engine: DT 466ci 250hp, International
Rated Cap: 86 screaming Monsters
In know this is the skoolie forum but couldn't you just buy a RV that size for that much money and be off? It looks very clean. I think of having a skoolie as in the big busses even if its just a short one. The idea for me is that you get all that heavy duty rear ends big dulleys and tires suspension. You get non of that with this and I would say you actually end up with a big heavier rig if its steel and not fiberglass.

You can get that many windows with a full size and I cant imagine how it could ever were it out.
Geo Jeff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2016, 05:05 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
sdwarf36's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 1,062
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
The price is a bit high-but the fact that there is a maintanence paper trail is a big plus. And that oil analyst is very promising.
The size makes driving easy-if you can fit everything you need inside.
__________________
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

my bus build http://www.skoolie.net/gallery/Skoolies/Sped
sdwarf36 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2016, 06:23 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Elliot Naess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,272
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
The body structure is much stronger than an RV, and less prone to water leaks (which rots most RVs in short order).
These short buses often command higher prices than "real" buses, since the demand is higher -- more people have space to park them. In that light, the price may be fair. And again, higher popularity means easier resale.
Otherwise... what the others said.
__________________
Elliot
Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...gate-1564.html
Elliot Naess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2016, 06:46 PM   #6
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 3
Thanks for the quick replies all!

Tango - The tires are about 70% tread, 1-2 years old I believe. I don't know about the transmission and I'm not sure that the seller does either. If anyone has knowledge on this I'd be grateful, my searching didn't turn up anything beyond "GM"

sdwarf36, I also liked the paper trail. The story on this is it was decommissioned a bit early due to changing requirements on passenger seat height. And it will come down to $3500 at least, but yes still expensive for this mileage of a bus.

Geo Jeff, I understand and have questioned the logic here too. It definitely isn't all practical, sometimes you just want to build it yourself. I appreciate the perspective, though.

I believe I've accounted for all the 'stuff' we'll need, propane tank, fresh and gray water, composting toilet, portable shower, two burner stove, efficient fridge, solar in the future. Just barely fits our requirements, but the other requirement is getting the project started and to have the maneuverability of a smaller rig.
jschulz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2016, 07:00 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 876
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: TE 444
Rated Cap: 12
Pretty sure the transmission is a 4L80e GM and the top speed unless governed will be over 70 mph. 4th gear is .75 overdrive and it most likely has a 4.10 rear
Kubla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2016, 07:01 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
AlleyCat67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 737
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Detroit MBE906
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by jschulz View Post
...and to have the maneuverability of a smaller rig.
I dunno, my rear engine 35 foot Thomas transit-style bus is pretty manueverable... won't quite turn on a dime but pretty darn close to it.
__________________
My bus - Jasmine - External Build Website - YouTube Channel - TN/KY Meetup Group
As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he accompanied the level 60 dwarves on the Smaug the Dragon raid. Those powerlevelers probably invited him solely so he could trigger fellowship attacks for them.
AlleyCat67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2016, 07:46 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Dapplecreek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: near Christiansburg VA
Posts: 692
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 44 or 66? 11 rows
Quote:
Originally Posted by jschulz View Post
... all the 'stuff' we'll need, propane tank...
Propane tanks ought not to be inside the bus (think "fuel-air bomb") and ought not to be behind the bus (for rear-end accident excitement). Might want to go with the tiny bottles. More expensive but safer.
Dapplecreek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2016, 12:15 AM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Personally...I like DOT approved propane tanks (like Manchester) tucked inside the frame rails.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2016, 12:33 AM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,135
The 6.5L in a G-series chassis is an orphan that has virtually zero parts support. There were not enough of them out in the consumer market for the after market companies like Summit and Banks to have anything 6.5L/G-series specific. There is some 6.5L aftermarket for C/K-series. But for the cramped quarters of a van, not so much.

The Thomas body and G-series chassis is not a bad combination. Much better than the Collins and Blue Bird IMHO.

But for me, the 6.5L is a real deal breaker for me.
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2016, 06:31 AM   #12
Bus Crazy
 
M1031A1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Oberlin, Kansas
Posts: 1,398
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
I agree. The 6.5L is a run-away, not a walk-away. If it had the older, but much more common and more reliable 6.2L, then I'd be all over it.
__________________
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American peopleís liberty teeth and keystone under independence. ó George Washington
M1031A1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2016, 08:18 AM   #13
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,325
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
There certainly seem to be plenty of 6.5's out there.

Other than the ecu mounting location, I've not heard any horror stories. But Cowlitzcoach would know better than me.

For the prices I've seen a few of them go for on GovDeals, I'll snatch one up some day in my area when the deal is right. Certainly HAS to be easier to keep one of these going than a 6.0 ford. The 6.0 would be the "run away".
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2016, 08:48 AM   #14
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,222
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
I'd want specifics on the tranny and rear gearing along with what speed at what rpm on the highway. Probably OK for highway use but you occasionally find units that top out at 45-50 and need new gears. Oh yeah...how are the tires (all 6 of them)?

Not a big fan of v-8 diesels but that is a personal thing. Anyone here familiar with this particular DD?
I never was a fan of V-8 diesels till I got one... that little T-444E in my shortie runs like a champ and gets me right up to 65 without even trying... and thats BEFORE doing any work to it... I havent yet tuned it or swapped injectors or done anything more to it than fresh fluids... now im learning why the ford guys still like the 7.3 better than any of the the rest..

-Christopher
cadillackid is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2016, 08:50 AM   #15
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,222
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
There certainly seem to be plenty of 6.5's out there.

Other than the ecu mounting location, I've not heard any horror stories. But Cowlitzcoach would know better than me.

For the prices I've seen a few of them go for on GovDeals, I'll snatch one up some day in my area when the deal is right. Certainly HAS to be easier to keep one of these going than a 6.0 ford. The 6.0 would be the "run away".

I think the 6.5 is a pretty decent engine.. some say its a bit underpowered when its in the bread-truck style busses like the mini-bird but in a cutaway like that I think it would be fine.. and yeah gotta keep that computer cool...

the ford 6.0 is a great engine if you have the mechanical ability to fix it before it breaks.. but if you have to send it to a shop for upgrades then its a no-brainer to run from a 6.0 ford... ironically im learning that other than destruction-by-over-heating the IHC VT-365 doesnt suffer alot of the fates of the ford 6.0..

-Christopher
cadillackid is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2016, 08:53 AM   #16
Bus Crazy
 
sdwarf36's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 1,062
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
Not a big fan of the 6.5 either--but then again considering how little actual use a bus gets once it falls into "our"hands - it should be a walk in the park.
__________________
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

my bus build http://www.skoolie.net/gallery/Skoolies/Sped
sdwarf36 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2016, 09:04 AM   #17
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,222
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwarf36 View Post
Not a big fan of the 6.5 either--but then again considering how little actual use a bus gets once it falls into "our"hands - it should be a walk in the park.
LOL unless they are driving like me... ive put 11.5k on one bus and 2.5k on the other since early spring.....

-Christopher
cadillackid is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2016, 11:44 PM   #18
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 3
I did read a bit about the history of the 6.5, and I understand this was a hack job to meet the ECU requirements. We have some timing constraints to finish this build in two months, so I may have to go with an imperfect start and hope I don't regret it too much! Live and learn.

Thanks, Dapplecreek, for the admonishment on propane, I will definitely find a spot and research the DOT approved bottles as Tango mentioned. I appreciate these sanity checks, it means a lot!
jschulz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
advice, floorplan, newbie

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 01:53 PM.


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