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Old 12-02-2008, 09:31 AM   #1
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New and clueless

I don't want to buy a class a. I am just clueless about buses. I have a family of 8 but none of my children are teenagers yet. Should I go with gas or diesel. I will be going intop evangelism full time so the bus will be our main living center and driving vehicle. Also do I need to change the rear end gearing for highway use? Should I also just use regular furniture or rv style furniture? I figure the lighter the better, but I plan on putting about 15k into the rehab over a year or two. is the best place to get ahold of me or 712 352 1414
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:53 PM   #2
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Re: New and clueless

Hello and welcome. I have owned my bus so long it is the only one I know. You have certainly come to the right place, these people are very knowledgeable and helpful. Good Luck.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:42 PM   #3
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Re: New and clueless

Well brother steve, you have some decisions to make. Firstly understand that a bus can come in all shapes and sizes and the conversions people do are wide ranging from throwing a futon in to all out including awnings, slide outs, and all the rest. What you have to decide is to what extent you want to convert. You could have a decent conversion for $10,000 but understand that the price can explode if you aren't careful, (take it from me, original estimate was $8,000, now expecting $40,000 - $50,000).

You want lots of sleeping quarters for the large family by the sounds of it so get a big bus, 72 or 78 passenger would be best, if your buying a school bus I mean. A school bus is probably the most cost effective way to go but also not the best riding machine, (although suspension can be rebuilt). A city bus is one to beware of. The motors are not meant to run high rpm for a prolonged amount of time and tend to burn out the heads pre-maturely. This could also be changed I am sure but how I am not the one to ask. A coach is a nice way to go but get ready to open your wallet. Not to say there is no such thing as a deal but you will be hard pressed to find anything decent for under $10,000.

If you buy a school bus then all you have to do is outfit it to the extent you feel you need and be on your way. This also depends on where you plan to travel if you are in the southern states then you don't need to worry so much but if you are planning on venturing up north get ready to build a different kind of machine.

As for your gears, like i said about the city buses they are the only ones you may have to do heavy re-working to get hi-way ready. The school buses are generally ready to hit the road save the odd pesky governor. You furniture can be regular sized stuff but it tends to take up a lot of room. Some people on the sight have bought old rvs and harvested all the stuff they wanted from them before junking the rest of it, this may be an option.

In any case welcome aboard and keep us up dated!
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:50 PM   #4
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Re: New and clueless

since you have a bit of money to spend, and you're gonna be living it the bus traveling all over i think the best bus for you is a bluebird flat front end front engine tc2000 with a cummings 5.9 diesel and mt643 trans. If it costs $1K to swap out the rear end for something good like a 4:10 or 4:33 it should way more than pay for itself in fuel savings. 10-14 mpg would certainly be possible with this combination. For reliability and fuel economy i know of no better engine/trans combination. (except for a manual trans with overdrive, but they are pretty non-existent for this application) A similiar bus with similiar size international diesel engine can consume twice as much fuel. A gasser can get as bad as 4 - 6 mpg. A light older bus with a gasser and the right gears can get 10mpg +, but i think those are few and far between. The flat front end bus has more interior room than a standard dog nosed bus. If you could find a bus with underbelly storage this would be a huge bonus as there is never enough room to store things in a conversion!

with children, seat belts or the lack thereof could be a concern. Perhaps installing automotive style seats for the kids would be a good idea. Some states require children to be belted wherever they sit in a vehicle, no sure if this applies to an RV or not. You could take the seating arrangement out of a mini-van and re-install that in a bus with plenty of room to walk around the seats. Then your kids could be buckled up while driving.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:34 PM   #5
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Re: New and clueless

You might take a look at "Bessie our magic school bus" on the web. Only bus I've heard of that was in eyeshot of a pyramid.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:57 PM   #6
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Re: New and clueless

One thing to consider here, with a family that size and full timing in it, you will need a lot of storage space, something that is very much lacking in school buses. I have seen a few out there with a storage compartment underneath it, but even those are not all that spacious.

You'll need plenty of seating for travel, as well as room for the entire family when parked, think about where everyone will need to be or what they will be doing on a rainy day. Sleeping quarters (and I'm assuming we're talking about lots of bunk beds here) also takes up space.

Front engine or rear engine? Different folk's have different idea's on that. Rear engine buses have certain advantages... first is the noise issue, with the engine all the way in the back, you don't have thing roaring right beside you as you're tooling down the hiway. Rear engine buses generally speaking have easier access to the motor compartment too. When it comes time to service/fix the motor the grease and oders will be out back, not in your living room.

Gas or Diesel? Again, different choices for different people. You'll get far more service life out of a Diesel than you will a Gasser, generally more power too. However, right now gasoline is cheaper than Diesel, but it hasn't always been that way either.

Furniture? I have used a mix of RV specific furniture and regular house hold furniture. You need to use what fits.

Space? I'd definately look into building slide-outs, they will increase the interior living space but quite a bit. Just having enough floor space so that 2 people can walk by in different dirctions at the same time will be important, especially with a crowd like that over a long period of time.

For what you are doing, I don't think I'd even consider a School bus unless it already had the raised roof and the lower compartement storage. I think you'd be better off with a hiway bus like an MCI or something like that. They are rear engine, have 3 or 4 HUGE storage bays underneath, taller interior ceilings, hiway gearing already in place too. Ebay seems to have plenty of them though prices vary wildly... some already converted too!

Nice MCI Listed here

You just might be a Redneck if...
...your motor home used to be a school bus!
...Your living room has a steering wheel!
...Your home has brake lights

1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
1989 Thomas Diesel Pusher (Cat 3208/Freightliner)
Chesapeake, Virginia
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
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Re: New and clueless

A good way to find a decent bus is to find a so called "activity bus." These are the buses that would haul the football team, marching band, softball team, whatever, to their away games. They generally are geared better for the highway, are more likely than route buses to have air suspension, they will have powerful engines, will be large both length and height-wise, and will likely have an MT643 or even an MD3060 transmission. The one we had in high school for our away football games was the only bus in the whole fleet worth a darn. I can't remember the make, but it was a high ceiling 84 passenger model with air ride, air brakes, an 8CTA Cummins (8.3 liter) and an MT643. It was a NICE ride.
Skooling state at a time...
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:22 PM   #8
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Re: New and clueless

. Here's a nice looking MCI..... ... 240%3A1318
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