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Old 10-24-2009, 09:10 PM   #1
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What type of bus to choose

Hello all,
I've watched this site for quite some time now and have gotten some good info and ideas for my project. (which at the time is non existent but I do have about 20 or so different floor plans I have made over the last year or two lol.)
My plan is to purchase a bus in the next two years. (getting married and moving in the next year so money will be tight not to mention I am going to school full time and will be transferring) so most likely it will be 2 -3 years unless a great deal comes around. The soon to be wife already knows that I plan on getting a bus (she doesn't understand why I would want a bus.. which I responded its a guy thing lol) The bus's main purpose would be for NASCAR races at MIS. One of my biggest questions would be what type of bus to choose. I am looking for something around 35' but don't know the benefits of FE, RE, or flat nose FE. I hear stories from people at the race that a Flat-nose FE is hard to make repairs on the engine if something were to go wrong. Is this true? I feel myself leaning more toward a RE because of more interior room however I like the idea of a back door but can live without it. if I go with a FE with the nose then I loose interior space but I hear that they are easier and cheaper to fix if they break down. Is a RE easy to work on? I see from pictures that there are more access doors to the engine (sides and back) as compared to a flat nose FE.
Could you guys please help me choose. I know the decision is ultimately up to me, but some helpful insight to all the pros and cons of the different types would greatly help.
Thanks
Chris
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:17 PM   #2
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Re: What type of bus to choose

Thanks for your input. This being my first bus and probably only bus I plan on buying I want to make a good choice. I know all the different types have there + and -'s. I wish I could find a place nearby that would let me test drive the different types but as far as I know there aren't. And like I said before I am leaning more toward the RE (quieter up front when driving, more storage under the bus and more interior space.) but how are they to work on? I hope and pray that I can find a bus for a good price that runs great and will never have problems with, but the chances of that are probably slim lol. However there are those regular maintenance issues, for example belt replacement, oil changes, and filter replacements, which I plan on doing myself.
On the minus side of a RE for me would be the loss of the back door. I would have liked to build a deck on back that would lead to a roof platform. However I have thought about doing this; building an access hatch in the roof with a ladder so that I could still use a platform. It would be a little more tricky and I would loose space on the inside but I kinda like the idea. Also it keeps all the other drunk passerby's from welcoming themselves up and falling off (there will be railings just so that you know). There is usually a few people every year that fall off. I just don't want to be held liable for there drunken actions lol.
Also if I don't put a deck on the back I can opt for a longer bus leaving more interior space. The camp sites at MIS say that they are 15x40 but can vary. So I figure if I stick with a bus that is around 35' I should be good. By the way does anyone know how many windows that would be for a RE bus? I have read that you can estimate 30" for each window counted but what about the front area between bumper and rear of door what should I average for that area?

Thanks
Chris
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:59 PM   #3
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Re: What type of bus to choose

You will know it when you come across the bus you want. I originally wanted a conventional but ended up coming across the Thomas we now own. It is a RE & I wouldn't have it any other way. It really does make a difference in noise & heat when driving & the turning radius on a flat nose is incredibly tight for such a big vehicle. The downside is it is a bit harder to work on than a dognose but I agree with pjespers that the FE's are the toughest to do anything mechanical on. As far as a roof hatch, most any bus you buy will have a roof hatch for both ventilation & emergency exit. They do open up completely (at least ours does) & you could just add one of those house fire excape ladders to get on the roof & they roll up small...
Reguardless. take your time seaching...It will pay off in time!

Jonathan
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Old 10-25-2009, 03:43 PM   #4
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Re: What type of bus to choose

Thanks Jonathan. I'm feeling more and more confident in a RE now.

My Hatch idea wouldn't work with an existing hatch. I need something off to the side and probably around 3' square for comfort going in and out. also some of my buddies that would be using it are a bit bigger than I am and I wouldn't want them to get stuck trying to squeeze through something small.

here is a rough idea of what I am going for
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:20 PM   #5
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Re: What type of bus to choose

Ah Smitty, I like ALL buses, no matter the style!

I think i would just mount the ladder on the rear of the bus with a flip down section that reaches the ground for the tipsy drunkards & anyone of any size can fit on it! This was it is out of the way & you are not taking up valuable space on the inside of the bus along with the foot traffic everytime someone has to take a leak... OR just pee offa the roof!
Plus putting a hatch on the curved section of the roof is not going to be an easy task...& then there is possible leakage to also consider.
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:54 PM   #6
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Re: What type of bus to choose

I guess an outside ladder would work too and be the easiest, but it all depends how motivated I am when the time comes. lol. I do like a good challenge. I guess I just like to design interesting things, trying to build it is a different story. lol I'm getting better with the welder and fabrication though. (I'm restoring a 1970 VW Beetle that I brought with me from Germany and all that is left now is paint and installing the interior)
As far as bus length goes finding a place to store it is no problem my parents live out in the country on a farm and there is plenty of room there. Also I plan on moving to the country near where my parents live this coming July. as far as at the races the hardest part would be getting it parked in the site. but if I get there early then there is more room to maneuver. I will be getting my own permanent site this year at MIS so I will know the actual size of the lot and will go from there with the bus size. there will be about four or five of us that will be staying in it at the races so I rather have more room than not enough.
I guess this thread is turning more into my future conversion thread. lol
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:03 PM   #7
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Re: What type of bus to choose

Quote:
Originally Posted by emberglow

For what its worth, I'm 5'10" and can easily get under our bus and sit up straight without hitting my head (not directly under the axles/engine/transmission, but on either side.) The only place that is both difficult to get to and likely to need servicing is the top-front of the engine (exhaust, turbo, etc.) and there is a hatch in the rear seat that allows access to that area. If you are reasonably mobile and don't mind getting dirty it should be no problem to get to any part of the drivetrain you need to. Fluid and filter changes are easier on the bus than our '82 F-250, though a bit more expensive

We'll be fulltiming and intend to travel whenever we feel like it, so the difference in noise and heat more than justified a RE for us. YMMV of course..
Thanks for that info. I think I am sold on what type to get. I'm 5' 10" also and knowing that I would be able to squeeze in and work on things helps. and if I can't reach it then I'll send in the 6yr old with a wrench. lol
thanks again
Chris
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