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Old 04-24-2016, 03:42 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Azuleslight View Post
If you are going to go though all the trouble of converting the skoolie, why not consider staying in it permanently? you can park in an RV/motor home park, rent is far cheaper than in a traditional house mortgage, And if you ever decide to move or leave again, you can literally turn the engine over and be on your way, no muss, no fuss and easy.

The other thing is people generally want to convert their own skoolies. So the resell-ability of your bus is probably going to be low. You might also have to take a hit on the amount you get back if you do sell the skoolie. If you don't sell it immediately, you will likely have to pay the storage fee anyway.
I have several competing priorities here. On one had, I like DIY stuff, flexibility, and saving money. On the other hand, I love my wife and don't want to saddle her with social baggage or a difficult living situation. (By social baggage I'm talking about fitting in, not being oddballs, having a place to entertain, and the like.)

The value could go down, to be sure. But prices in the Pacific Northwest appear to be higher than they are here, and the seats would be removed already and it would be painted and titled as a motor home. We would be leaving it as a blank slate inside for the next guy. I'm *guessing* I will be able to recoup the bus price, and will have to eat the fixups.

We'll see how things progress: it could be that we love the bus and will live in it full time. At the right time, I'll pitch your ideas to my dear wife; at this point the fact that she's on board with it for a moving van astonishes me.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:00 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
I have several competing priorities here. On one had, I like DIY stuff, flexibility, and saving money. On the other hand, I love my wife and don't want to saddle her with social baggage or a difficult living situation. (By social baggage I'm talking about fitting in, not being oddballs, having a place to entertain, and the like.)

The value could go down, to be sure. But prices in the Pacific Northwest appear to be higher than they are here, and the seats would be removed already and it would be painted and titled as a motor home. We would be leaving it as a blank slate inside for the next guy. I'm *guessing* I will be able to recoup the bus price, and will have to eat the fixups.

We'll see how things progress: it could be that we love the bus and will live in it full time. At the right time, I'll pitch your ideas to my dear wife; at this point the fact that she's on board with it for a moving van astonishes me.
In the end you always have to do what is right for you and your family. People are judgmental, so i understand that concern. Most people will just judge you for something else about your life, society sometimes, right? you have some fair points on it being titled as an rv and being gutted already. You may get lucky and come out ahead too. As you know there are tons of pro's and con's. Also, you could ask your wife if she would feel like that about the social stigma stuff. she has already surprised you once, you never know if she has another one waiting for you lol.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:41 PM   #23
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You're obviously talking about getting a bus from a dealer that does the seat removal, painting and re-titling as an RV which is most commonly about $8k. Craigslist has lot of buses listed around $5k and lower. Most of us buy buses between $2,500 and $3,500 from the auctions, sometimes more for higher end buses in better condition. Occasionally on CraigsList there is an empty bus where apparently someone did the same thing you're thinking of doing, then reselling.

I'm sure you've been looking on CraigsList and probably the online auctions too. I'm not trying to be mean, but I think it's highly unlikely to recoup the cost of a dealership or bus re-seller. I don't know about you but I'm lousy at selling stuff. There is a certain amount of risk in auctions because the bus barns are not always forthcoming about what is wrong with a particular bus.
It sounds like you'd be most comfortable with a dog nose medium size bus, just my guess. Drives pretty nice and it's not 40' long. 40' long is pretty much a spectacle to have in your yard regardless of color. You're right about storage for the bus. A 26' bus can be tucked into a driveway and isn't that noticeable, or covered it looks like a common RV.

Buses are pretty easy to buy and a bit more difficult to get rid of. Also, before it becomes an issue for you check out insurance on your proposed beast. Many of us are having trouble with insurance companies dropping bus policies.
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:55 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
You're obviously talking about getting a bus from a dealer that does the seat removal, painting and re-titling as an RV which is most commonly about $8k. Craigslist has lot of buses listed around $5k and lower. Most of us buy buses between $2,500 and $3,500 from the auctions, sometimes more for higher end buses in better condition. Occasionally on CraigsList there is an empty bus where apparently someone did the same thing you're thinking of doing, then reselling.

I'm sure you've been looking on CraigsList and probably the online auctions too. I'm not trying to be mean, but I think it's highly unlikely to recoup the cost of a dealership or bus re-seller. I don't know about you but I'm lousy at selling stuff. There is a certain amount of risk in auctions because the bus barns are not always forthcoming about what is wrong with a particular bus.
It sounds like you'd be most comfortable with a dog nose medium size bus, just my guess. Drives pretty nice and it's not 40' long. 40' long is pretty much a spectacle to have in your yard regardless of color. You're right about storage for the bus. A 26' bus can be tucked into a driveway and isn't that noticeable, or covered it looks like a common RV.

Buses are pretty easy to buy and a bit more difficult to get rid of. Also, before it becomes an issue for you check out insurance on your proposed beast. Many of us are having trouble with insurance companies dropping bus policies.
I agree with this!
Easy to buy hard to sell. And I too suck at selling stuff.
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:03 PM   #25
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I guess I got lucky with my Thomas. Bought low, sold high.

I ended up getting a commercial vehicle for non-commercial use (some wording like that) policy through State Farm. Their only requirement was a photo after the seats were removed, showing it couldn't be used to haul >15 people.

My policy costs a bit more than rv insurance, but nothing is falsified, they can't drop me if there's a fender bender.

And there's an auction in Denver tomorrow, if anyone's interested. 1 BB 5.9 24v FE and 5 BB RE's with 8.3's and hydraulic retarders...
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Old 04-24-2016, 09:50 PM   #26
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You're obviously talking about getting a bus from a dealer that does the seat removal, painting and re-titling as an RV...
Nope: the plan was to buy from our local school district via Public Surplus (that's how they sell all their stuff). Then I would take off the stop sign and spray over "School" to get it home, then TSP/Scotchbrite it and foam-roll on rustoleum cut with acetone, with hardener added. I'll pull the seats using a goodly dose of PB Blaster and an air impact wrench, with wife inside and me under the rig (or the other way around). I'll keep a couple of seats, or probably their frames, to tie cargo to (such as our piano). I'll plumb it for propane and water, and add bedframes, a kitchen counter, a propane refrigerator (got one already), and a propane heater, documenting the whole process. Then send copies to the VA DMV Vehicle Branding folks with $140, and they'll send out an inspector to verify the VIN and retitle it as a reconstructed Motor Home. I've already lined up insurance through one source.

The reason I want to buy locally is that I spend an hour with the shop foreman for the bus barn at our local school district. He was one of the nicest and most helpful folks I've ever met. He says some skirting has some rust but there is no structural rust on any of his buses. They all have DT466 engines, Allison 2500 transmissions, and air brakes. The most recent batch were 2001 or so vintage, and went for about $3500 (range was $2800 to $5000). Some were recently rebuilt; all recently came off daily duty, had good tires and come with full records back to day 1. He even offered to spend some time with me next batch looking them over, so I'll know what to look for when I'm ready to buy. Seems wise to deal with a known item for a bit more rather than sight unseen three states away.

Craigslist buses in the Idaho/Washington area seem to be in the $4-5K range. Craigslist <> Auctions, and only the Lord knows what the future might hold. But I would might get my $3500 back.
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Old 04-24-2016, 11:06 PM   #27
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That's doable. The dealer price is what you won't ever fully get back.
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Old 04-24-2016, 11:20 PM   #28
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im told busses are bought and sold all the time as moving vans.. if you dont do an RV conversion but you take out all the seats and do a "legalizing" paint job, get it titled as RV... then when you sell it a good portion of work has been started so someone might be willing to pay a little more for it..

getting all of your bus cost back isnt how you should look at it,,

get a cost estimate on what renting a U-haul style truck would cost to move..

then if you are just planning to buy a bus, gut out the seats and load it.. you take the cost of the bus plus tax , insurance, registration..

Fuel usage is not a variable you use as comparison as the fuel for the largest u-haul and a school bus will be similar..

thats a BASE number to use..

now if you want to make a partial conversion you take that cost into consideration.. but then you compare that to any cost of hotel rooms, meals out vs your grocery bill for cooking in the RV.. and thats yet another place to see what you end up with...


when you sell.. you {MAY} get some consideration on price for the fact you installed water tanks, a toilet, a shower, and such.. unless you convert exactly like someone wantsand fully, I dont think you gain (if not lose) on interior finishes during conversion like cabinest, blinds, floors, etc.. as everyone wants their own..

so the number to reach when you sell the bus would have to match the comparison's made as far as total investment - cost savings = sale revenue required..


then of course you can better the case if you stay n the bus for awhile instead of hotels or renting a place till you find a permanent home.. but you will likely have to stay in a campground or rent a property parcel.. you cant just park in the local strip mall for days or weeks at a time..

-Christopher
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Old 04-24-2016, 11:47 PM   #29
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...
And there's an auction in Denver tomorrow, if anyone's interested. 1 BB 5.9 24v FE and 5 BB RE's with 8.3's and hydraulic retarders...
How do we see that it has a retarder? Is it the separate control panel on the left -- with a red button and a black joystick?
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:31 AM   #30
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How do we see that it has a retarder? Is it the separate control panel on the left -- with a red button and a black joystick?
Yeah, the joystick to the right of the electrical panel is the retarder control. There's a red light, a rocker on/off switch, and the joystick. All the way forward is off, with successive clicks back 1-6.
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