Below is a post I posted for a similar question- I think it may help
HI Un- Lurking- IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE PLEASE READ MY ITEM 1 BELOW!!!!!!!
I have been where you are , except we have had 1 stick staple pusher- fell apart, 1 rts ( former Police Swat bus, a truckcamper a 91 bb tc front engine and now the best of the best a tc 2000 with mechanical 8.3 with a world tranny. I don't know where you live but you need to look NW or South( I live in MI) When you look at a bus you have to do the following ( I was not mechanically inclined either) Please learn from my experiences
1. IF YOU READ NOTHING MORE OF MY POST READ THIS IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BEFORE YOU BUY A BUS!!!!!- get old overalls and tarp- take them with you (- YOU HAVE TO GET UNDER THE BUS AND LOOK AT THE FRAME AND crossmembers for bad rust
. take a small hammer if you ding it and rust falls- leavenow!! you cannot trust anyone on this our 1st rV we paid and inspection service 600 miles away- paid of r RV got there and realized the guy had painted rust proofing over flake rus- hit with hammer chunks fell off. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT- you can pay to fix engine or tranny- you cant fix cancer. We lost our shirts on our 1st RV due to Rust we did not investigate ourselves!!!
2. Unless you are gong to be a customizer and make a toy hauler out the back door then go with a Rear engine. We went from front engine to rear and the noise and heat difference is incredible. Yes you will pay more but if you look diligently you can find them.
3. I prefer cummins- we almost bought an Amtram ( with IH motor)( I loved the RE with air suspension) but almost everyone I talked to got 7-8 mpg and that was it. I honestly got 13.9 mpg on a 40 foot with 8.3 at 55mph on flat and 11in the mountains when I was babying it. But with the world tranny MD6030 it will fly. We were on a trip and one of my kids got really sick and I was airborn headed down the interstate to the ER and no one was passing me- luckly no troopers but my mpg dropped to 7, but it was acting like a mustang or a Camaro!!! I have hear many issues with CAT engines be careful. But cummins are known to be better on fuel and reliable and cold weather starting. I have a older john deere tractor that wont start without starting fluid below 40. But my combine and bus ( both 8.3) will start at 0 without struggling. lots of Cummins dealers
4 . Transmission
I don't care what you hear DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT BUY ANYTHING WITH A 545 TRANNY. It does not have downshift braking ( like your car). I literally almost killed my Wife and 3 kids on I 17 south out of Flagstaff to Phoenix) I had checked brakes thought ok no problem downshifted- NO RESISTANCE!!!!! IT WAS THE MOST SCARY DRIVE OF MY LIFE and I have driven ambulance for 40 years and also on a SWAT team and been involved in 3 active shootouts. That night was the most scary event in my life!!! Get either a 643, or the best is a md6030 world tranny. Make sure you check the rear end on the 643 if geared low you can clmb but 60-65is top. Don't worry about rear end on world so much ( I have a low rear end- mountains but the tranny has overdrive and it will FLY if you have an Emergency
5. in regards to conversion the only thing I can offer is that we used 4 sets of Greyhound seats in the front- Very comfortable and put seatbelts on them.
6, If you get a rear engine your engine components are exposed more ( we went thru Deep Snow, salty roads etc with our Front engine no problem. Well this winter we went through a lot with our rear engine- I should have powered sprayed when we got back but got busy- now am dealing with some issues. So make sure to keep it washed off inside after winter operations.
7.If you live in North automatic chains are cool. Our bus came from Dalles are in Oregon- they get snow but no RUST (NONE). But it had automatic chains- well there was deep snow and Ice areas that this baby just walked through with them deployed top speed 15mph ( see www.onspot.com
8.I see many people take their heaters out- if you are going to be in cold that is a lot of heat to make up. I kept our bus heaters in and I can make it VERY TOASTY going down the road without using propane. We put reflectix over all of the windows and ceiling in winter operations
Finally I didn't know squat when I started - had never painted anything. After watching a 100 youtubevids-, I went to harbor freight and bought the 2 sprayer kit. I got the Rustoleum MARINE PAINT. you may see how some people used rollers and regular rustoleum. I started ( the back engine door in black) it did not look great. I switched to the Marine Rustoleum and sprayed it on and it looks like a shop did it. My wife 2 daughters and 1 8 year old son helped me. I never painted anything in my life except a bird house in shop class in high school which I flunked 9 (LOL)
Hope this helps- you can message me for more-but you name he mistake and I have done it - so I can help you not make the same ones!!!!! LOL
Bus dad of 3 and husband of 1 ( wife that is )