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Old 01-25-2017, 05:02 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Possible place to park! Buses Nearby!

We are getting rather excited over here, as we may have a place to park at a friends place in exchange for putting in a garden. They have fairly extensive mechanical knowledge and plenty of space, so it could work out nicely! They will give us a solid answer here in the next few days, and we will be on the way!

In the mean time, of course I have been looking at every available bus on the entire internet, driving myself entirely insane with not having a place to park one. Though, to be honest I have been doing that to myself for a few years now, so it isn't anything new!

Though, now that there is a very possible location in our grasp I am starting to take the available buses more seriously. We are lucky enough to have a budget of right around $5k to get our big yellow monster and I have found a few that I think fit our needs.

I have done a fair amount of research involving the mechanical wants and dont wants, but I also get that there has to be a certain amount of compromise between what is available and what is perfect. This is most true in our case, as we have a shorter time than most to find and convert.

That said, what do you all think about these few?

This one is just down the street from where I will work on it, which makes it a very tempting buy in itself! I am not sure what engine a "24 valve" is, and I haven't read anything about the Allison 5000 trans. Thoughts?

Public Surplus: Auction #1760472

This one is just up in Washington, and my wife Heidi loves it. It is right at the top of the price bracket and getting it shipped would probably push us over a fair chunk... but it is an awesome bus! My thoughts on buying such a large vehicle of that age is that it could be a mechanical nightmare and is likely to break the bank in that area. It has a 3208 CAT and a 643 Allison, which seems like a pretty decent setup, though I can't guess the rear end ratio.

GILLIG 1968 C190-12

This is one of 4-5 being sold out of Phoenix. It is the only one of the bunch that appears likely to stay under our budget and leave us room to get it shipped. Being an Arizona bus, I assume little rust and the mileage isn't, but once again I am not sure about the engine/trans. The rear end appears like it would be good for highway cruising...

Public Surplus: Auction #1773080

Here is the other in the Phoenix group that we might be able to afford.

Public Surplus: Auction #1773068

Any help on deciding which one of these might be the most sound investment (using that term lightly here) mechanically, considering we do intend to drive it as often as every 2 months for 1000+ for the next at least 2-3 years before we park it somewhere a bit more long term.

Advice on shipping, or hiring a driver would be awesome, too! (or direct me to a good thread?)

Thank you all for any advice and for all the great information and ideas that are already on here. I am excited to hopefully be able to add to it in the coming months and beyond!
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:04 AM   #2
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Good job on finding a place to park your future acquisition. That seems to stymie a lot of people. We are moving to the Baltimore area soon, and I am currently trying to balance my need for housing against my desire for bus workspace. That whole area seems to think that off-street parking for two cars equates to having a massive driveway.

As to shipping... I haven't heard of many people paying to ship a bus or having it driven to them. Most folks who purchase buses long distance seem to pick them up in person, either driving out with a buddy or getting some other form of transport to the pickup site. The shakedown cruise is often considered to be beneficial. If you're going to find something horribly wrong with the bus you buy, it's better to find it before you invest hundreds of hours and/or thousands of dollars into doing a conversion.
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:55 AM   #3
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Thanks, Lucas! We have been very lucky so far. We have 2-3 possible places to park now. I posted a few ads on Craigslist in the barter section and got a reply, as well as offers from 2 of our good friends. I was more worried about finding a place than I am about finding a bus. I imagine parking for a project near any of the big cities on the east coast being a rare thing, but I would recommend the Craigslist thing. It might mean having to commute to the worksite, but you might also get lucky and find a place to live and park. Never hurts to ask!

I have been kind of stuck on the "shipping" part for a while. I would be more than happy to drive one home myself and get a feel for it, however there appear to be licensing issues with driving a bus. I don't have a CDL and most of the buses I have my eye on are not in Oregon, so I would have to illegally drive from say Colorado. Is that how most people get their buses home, or am I missing something? It seems just as big a gamble to drive illegally as it would be to have the bus loaded on a truck and dropped off, as I feel like an interaction with a cop while driving a bus without a CDL may not be so cheap, either.

Hiring someone to drive it seems like my best option (unless someone can point out a better way) as it will actually be driven a distance and I could get an educated opinion of what condition the bus is in."

There was a bus that was 20 miles from one of the worksites, but the auction was closed a day+ early. I sent the contact an email asking if it was going to be re-posted. It seemed a great bus, too. Oh well. It wasn't meant to be.
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:37 AM   #4
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Very smart. Too many folks jump in, buy a gigantic bus then go..."oh my...where can put this thing?"
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by RollinThruRotations View Post
I have been kind of stuck on the "shipping" part for a while. I would be more than happy to drive one home myself and get a feel for it, however there appear to be licensing issues with driving a bus. I don't have a CDL and most of the buses I have my eye on are not in Oregon, so I would have to illegally drive from say Colorado. Is that how most people get their buses home, or am I missing something? It seems just as big a gamble to drive illegally as it would be to have the bus loaded on a truck and dropped off, as I feel like an interaction with a cop while driving a bus without a CDL may not be so cheap, either.

Actually you'd probably be surprised how that would work out. As long as you were doing nothing else wrong, and could make a convincing argument that you had never and would never use it for transporting people, and were under the impression that you did not need a CDL because the title was eventually going to be changed to that of an RV, you would most likely just be told to leave it parked where it sits until someone with a CDL gets there to move it for you. At that point, you could locate a driver, or call a lowboy to come pick it up and trailer it the rest of the way home.

Or you could go ahead and title/register it as an RV before picking it up by following the steps outlined here. If it was already plated as an RV, no worries because it no longer requires a CDL to drive it. The only catch with that is you'd need to already have the bus paid for, bill of sale/title in hand from the seller, and a couple weeks to take care of mailing stuff back and forth to get the plate in hand, before you went to pick up the bus. Might require two trips to the bus (one for an inspection and purchase, second trip to pick it up. Depending on how far away it is, that could be problematic.) Regardless, that would probably be more cost effective than moving it with a truck or hiring someone to drive it for you.
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:38 PM   #6
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Or you could go ahead and title/register it as an RV before picking it up by following the steps outlined here. If it was already plated as an RV, no worries because it no longer requires a CDL to drive it.
Good point! Some places require you to move your purchase within a few days of closing on it, especially auctions, but that could be circumvented by getting a storage spot in the immediate vicinity of the auction yard. I bet it would be a lot simpler and cheaper to find a guy who could drive or tow a bus across town than it would be to get someone able to drive it across the country. That would give time to get registration and insurance fixed to make sure there would be no legal hassles when driving it home.
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:38 PM   #7
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Good point! Some places require you to move your purchase within a few days of closing on it, especially auctions, but that could be circumvented by getting a storage spot in the immediate vicinity of the auction yard. I bet it would be a lot simpler and cheaper to find a guy who could drive or tow a bus across town than it would be to get someone able to drive it across the country. That would give time to get registration and insurance fixed to make sure there would be no legal hassles when driving it home.
And depending on where it is, you might even be able to find somebody here on the forum that would be willing to drive it from the auction location to your storage location for you.
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:40 PM   #8
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And depending on where it is, you might even be able to find somebody here on the forum that would be willing to drive it from the auction location to your storage location for you.
Lots of helpful folks on here!
I'd love to see folks help each other out.
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Old 01-31-2017, 06:49 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Most cops probably don't look twice at a school bus. Having a title that is dated recently helps. I would consider it very low risk and paying someone to drive it thru a service is quite pricey
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Old 01-31-2017, 11:46 PM   #10
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Personally, I'd go for the Gillig, but that's mostly style. I could argue classics hold their value better, or that things "were built better back in the day" or whatever... but truthfully, I just like their lines.

Not something that I have experience with, but a Blue Bird pusher with a cummins from Arizona (a low rust state) seems a solid choice. You can usually tell if they were the "activities" bus and therefore set up for highway runs by looking for big underbelly compartments (imagine packing up the marching band), cruise control, and/or air suspension and air driver's seat.
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