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Old 08-24-2010, 03:04 PM   #1
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What's a good price for a 'Shortie?'

I've been lurking here because I'm entertaining the idea of fashioning my own RV from a bus, which is completely against my wife's blessing. But this is America, so a man will eventually do what he's gotta do. Anyway, I've googled the subject of busses for sale and they seem to be all over the country. I see a lot of shorties advertised around 10K, give or take a few K's. Some of them seem more expensive than the longer standard sized buses. Yet on the forum and in some of the photo albums, some claim to have bought their buses rather cheap.

So basically, I'm wondering if they're asking way too much for a Shortie. I'm assuming that many of these older buses might need a new engine or tranny (if not both). I can't find any used bus sites though, mainly just brokers or dealerships.

And second, Is it truly cheaper to convert your own bus (short bus) than to go to an RV lot and buy an RV?
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:35 PM   #2
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Re: What's a good price for a 'Shortie?'

Craigslist will be your best friend to learn prices. To broaden your search area try
http://www.searchtempest.com/
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:00 AM   #3
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Re: What's a good price for a 'Shortie?'

Craigslist like mentioned before...

I paid $1000 for mine, '93 Genesis with 97,000 miles... Pretty good shape...

As far as cost on an RV compared to a bus, there's no way I could find an RV with a turbo diesel and Allison tranny that could tow like mine for an affordable price... I guess it's all in what your looking for...

I looked at a few and waited until I found what I was looking for...

And with an RV, you can't build it for your specific needs... Unless you've got the coin to pay a place to build you a coach...
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:40 AM   #4
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Re: What's a good price for a 'Shortie?'

Quote:
Originally Posted by edspace
I've been lurking here because I'm entertaining the idea of fashioning my own RV from a bus, which is completely against my wife's blessing...
You need to sit down and talk to her about WHY you really want to do this. Get her input. you may find she simply doesn't want a trashy, half-converted bus to go camping in. Or she wants it completed sometime this century.

Quote:
...And second, Is it truly cheaper to convert your own bus (short bus) than to go to an RV lot and buy an RV?
You need to FIRST (before you talk to your wife) decide WHY you want to convert a bus rather than buy an RV. You will most likely spend more $$ on it. It will take longer before you can use it. You will NEVER recoup your money back. Sit down and put it on paper... pros and cons. Then talk to your wife and add her reasons to your list (both pros and cons). Don't accept a flat out not. Get her to talk about why not and what she would like. Go look at RV's on lots. Take a note pad and write down what you liked (both of you) and what you didn't like. Do some things like... "if we had a converted bus, we could go to...".

If your wife like hotels (because she doesn't have to cook)... with your own RV (sticks-n-staples or skoolie) you don't have to unpack, you now who slept in your bed last, no worries about bed bugs (on the increase in many eastern hotels), you know when your sheets were last washed. You can have your own pillows (a biggie with me). Towels!! I like bath sheets, not tiny hotel towels. When you are ready to go home, you don't have to pack up all those suitcases and load them up. when you get tired while driving, you can pull off and sleep (even in a parking lot). You always have a clean bathroom to use (she will understand what I mean about that). Include a microwave in your RV for quickie snacks & meals.

Skoolies are much better built than a manufactured RV. They last longer and they are safer. Converting a skoolie is for people who want to have very personalized living spaces. Have "special " needs or requirements or simply wouldn't be happy in the lower quality of workmanship in manufactured RVs.

You may end up buying an already converted skoolie (don't count that option out) and tweak it just a little to suit your tastes. You may end up with a larger skoolie because she wants more room. You will go a long way if you will consider her needs and wishes and include her in this endeavor.

The first skoolie David & I looked at was advertised as a BlueBird. We assumed it was an older Wanderlodge (they used to look much different than they do now). We drove up and looked at it, walked inside and still thought it was a Wanderlodge. Turned out it was a skoolie. The guy who converted it got a wrecked RV from an insurance auction and used the RV interior stuff. He did a fantastic job. Added some of the chrome that you would see on the older Wanderlodges and never had a problem getting into any campground because every thought they were looking at an older Wanderlodge. Looking back, we really regret not buying that bus and staying in the campgrounds. But we bought a house instead because one of my daughters was tired of living in a pop-up in the TN campgrounds. Now we're living in a stick-n-staples vintage Class C and have been since 2006. I wish we were in the BlueBird (we bought one to convert).
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:32 PM   #5
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Re: What's a good price for a 'Shortie?'

Lorna-your post deserves a sticky. Covers things really well. Its amazing how cheaply rvs are actually made (as we all know tearing them apart) and when i was doubting myself about taking on the project, i was sitting around the campground talking to my buddies with motorhomes-as they were talking how many more years they had on the MORTGAGES on them.
I paid $1800 for mine-figure i have under $6k into it. (that includes putting bigger injectors in it+ replacing some mechanical parts "just cuz".) For 6K you CAN find a motorhome-one that started out at 50k--think WHY did it devaulated that much?

And BTW--i love the term "sticks + staples"
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:49 PM   #6
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Re: What's a good price for a 'Shortie?'

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwarf36
...And BTW--i love the term "sticks + staples"
That's from too many years spent on the bus conversions forums (highway coach type... MCI, GMC, Prevost & Eagle). Those guys may tend to look down on skoolies and transits but it's nothing to how they reguard commercially manufactured RVs. And they are right. Most of the $$ spent on "quality" means they spent it on stuff like corian, granite, fancy lights, etc. Not on a better built frame that will survive a wreck. I spent over two years just researching different types of buses. I liked the vintage Wanderlodges/Bluebirds and David fell in love with Eagles. He won... sort of. And now we have the BlueBird. So I won and he has converted to the BlueBird.

BTW, The folks over on IRV2.com and Escapees forums don't care for it when I refer to their overpriced RVs as "sticks-n-staples". Oh darn... But they are! Even my 1970's era Class C is held together with staples (I know we replaced some of those staples with screws).
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:25 PM   #7
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Re: What's a good price for a 'Shortie?'

If Escapees (close family included) can unanimously call my current situation "Sticks=n-Bricks," I can refer to some of their homes as "Sticks-n-Staples." It's only fair.

I'd like to see some of them with deep "basements" try to follow Smitty across the gnarlier dry washes near "Q."
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:42 PM   #8
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Re: What's a good price for a 'Shortie?'

Quote:
Originally Posted by edspace
I see a lot of shorties advertised around 10K, give or take a few K's. Some of them seem more expensive than the longer standard sized buses. Yet on the forum and in some of the photo albums, some claim to have bought their buses rather cheap.
It's all about supply and demand. There are fewer short buses available, so they generally cost more than the more plentiful full size buses. Look for auction companies in your area that specialize in school buses, or call the transportation depts of your local school districts to find out how they sell their old buses. And then there is craigslist and ebay. Dealers will always be the highest priced option.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:48 AM   #9
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Re: What's a good price for a 'Shortie?'

After searching all spring and summer for a mid-size to shortie (something under 30'bumper to bumper, longer than 20') I can say

OMG THEY'RE IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND

Okay, they're not impossible but the problem I find with ebay, craiglist, newspapers is that the ones offered are often trashed pretty bad and want almost as much as dealers want for ones in good shape. Dealers and state auctions rarely have that size, but if you go shuttle bus they always have them but at much much higher prices.

Keep searching, set yourself a budget and stick with it.
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