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Old 09-05-2006, 05:24 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lakeport NY (bonus points if you can find it)
Posts: 9
newbie question: Setting up the Initial Budget

OK gang.
I'm pretty well set on buying a skoolie in about 6 months. That's approximately how long I expect it will take me to rope together enough cash to start my bus/shop project. HOWEVER, that is the real key isn't it?

What would a reasonable low ball starting point be for a rolling and relatively safe bus be? I'm not looking for the bus-mahal, just a starting point. I've got my CDL, so air brakes aren't a problem, nor is going to get it within a reasonable distance from upstate NY (two day's drive with a one way flight, so say half of the country is accessible at that point)

I've checked out eba Y, and haven't seen anything 'reasonable' yet, mostly 'new' chassis with lots of life left in them, and pricing to match. I'd like to keep the initial bus less than say oh say: $2500 if at all possible. Is that a realistic budget? are there any gems in the rough available? I'm no mechanic, but I'm not afraid of basic repairs either. (I've learned from y'all that this is a good thing to expect on the maiden voyage home).
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Old 09-06-2006, 06:30 AM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Plymouth MA
Posts: 186
First I'd like to say welcome, then check out the other skoolie groups around....they have a LOT of archival questions-and-answers for you to read. SERIOUS reading ahead of you.......and that includes HERE at Skooliedotnet, so start reading. Lots of the questions you're going to ask have already been answered, HERE.

Apart from here, the first and best is Schoolbusconversionnuts at yahoo dot com (beware, the moderator is crusty but a good-hearted type), skoolieconversions at yahoo dot com is another. Huge archives/links/etc.

Consider local school auctions for the best prices/choices. You can sometimes get a local skoolie for a grand or two, with FULL documentation, maintenance records, etc, some with recent engine/tranny rebuilds and new or recent tires. Some will even have hte manuals/notes/scribblings from the school kids in them...

Beware that most skoolies have a 6'1" ceiling.
High schools will tend to have rigs with higher ceilings, saving a roof raising. They will tend to have the desired transit styles as well, which makes for more usable interior space for it's length, and they oft-times have underbody storage as well.

Local bus auctions by dealers may also be a good source.

Caveat Emptor! And keep posting here so we know what's going on with your setup.
The tool storage is nice, but where do I put the bed?
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Old 09-06-2006, 07:37 AM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hartland, WI
Posts: 92

I picked up my bus at chicago transit in Kankakee, IL.
They had about 200 buses when I went there to get mine.
I paid $800 for mine
In search of Bus #2
(Sold)1989 Chevy Thomas 8.2 Detroit Allison AT545 Custom 3rd door added in back.
GM Service Tech
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Old 09-06-2006, 05:53 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lakeport NY (bonus points if you can find it)
Posts: 9
Thanks guys,
I'm still working out the budget at this point. My 'goal' is to bob the rear section of a bus and tack on a 12' or so cargo box from a y'all haul or ryder rental truck, basically to have a woodshop on wheels, plus a camper combined. Sort of a home-brew garage camper.
I'm encouraged by the news that auctions sometimes let units go for so little. I realize that some more repairs are expected on older units, but that's part of the trade-off like any used vehicle. Noone sells anything because they work too well. In the case of school districts etc... they may be mandated to have units of a certain age or younger only, which is all to the good.
my 'wish list' right now is for 'inexpensive running unit', diesel if I can find one and either manual or a slush box, either are fine by me. The LOML will likely boycott driving the beast either way (she doesn't back large vehicles up well despite her vol. fire co trying to teach her for 8 years now).
I expect I'll be learning to weld (will look for a welding class this winter at the local BOCES (NY term for county level board of educ.) The auction angle might work if I can finagle a deal through the fire company too. I heard they occasionally can get used transit style busses for their use for the traditional 'dollar'. Every now and again they 'upgrade' and get a younger bus, and sell their old one. Have to see if anyone is doing that any time soon.

That's about it in a nutshell right now.
THanks again!

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