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Old 08-13-2019, 11:53 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 38
When a class A makes sense no more.

We bought it with 11,000 miles on it, though it was 30+ years old.
One or two trips per year from Boston to Vermont in all that time.
32 feet of 454 powered goodness that ticked all our boxes, but cost SO little.
(We paid $4,000 for it 7 years ago.)
The main drawbacks for our class A were, 55MPH=7MPG 70=3.5MPG (If you ran the genset driving down the road with the A/C roof units running.)

When we took off with it in 2013, we spent 20 months living in it and using it.
Now, we are ready to go again (permanently this time) and I am shocked how the numbers come out.

Repairing the leak in the windshield area is going to take me a week of work.
The tires are more than I can buy 22.5's for, because they are odd sized, no longer used.
Rear springs are wasted and one is cracked.
Brakes need doing again. One rear caliper is locked up.
Power steer pump is now leaking.
The vehicle still SCREAMS and makes me cringe any time I highway-drive it.
(4:56 gears and a t-400. Does the term, "WAAAAAAAAAAA" mean anything to you?)
All the belts on the engine (4 of those) need doing again. (Those are a pain in the butt!)
There is a manifold leak or cracked header that now needs remedy.
One tie rod is a bit loose.
All four shocks are wasted.
By the time you add all this up, you could pay for a damned good chunk of a low mile skoolie.

We can utilize:
Shelves/stove/cabinets/sink/water-grey tanks/hot water heater/pump/furnaces/LP tank/solar setup/roof vents/windows/lights and more from the Class A.
When you figure this into the equation, the costs drop even more for the skoolie.

Anyone here currently working on a donor RV-skoolie project?
Anyone else taken a candid and honest look at their RV and thrown in the towel for similar reasons?

NC/KY/VA area active skoolie folk??
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:04 PM   #2
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Location: Huntington beach
Posts: 584
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseythenose View Post
We bought it with 11,000 miles on it, though it was 30+ years old.
One or two trips per year from Boston to Vermont in all that time.
32 feet of 454 powered goodness that ticked all our boxes, but cost SO little.
(We paid $4,000 for it 7 years ago.)
The main drawbacks for our class A were, 55MPH=7MPG 70=3.5MPG (If you ran the genset driving down the road with the A/C roof units running.)

When we took off with it in 2013, we spent 20 months living in it and using it.
Now, we are ready to go again (permanently this time) and I am shocked how the numbers come out.

Repairing the leak in the windshield area is going to take me a week of work.
The tires are more than I can buy 22.5's for, because they are odd sized, no longer used.
Rear springs are wasted and one is cracked.
Brakes need doing again. One rear caliper is locked up.
Power steer pump is now leaking.
The vehicle still SCREAMS and makes me cringe any time I highway-drive it.
(4:56 gears and a t-400. Does the term, "WAAAAAAAAAAA" mean anything to you?)
All the belts on the engine (4 of those) need doing again. (Those are a pain in the butt!)
There is a manifold leak or cracked header that now needs remedy.
One tie rod is a bit loose.
All four shocks are wasted.
By the time you add all this up, you could pay for a damned good chunk of a low mile skoolie.

We can utilize:
Shelves/stove/cabinets/sink/water-grey tanks/hot water heater/pump/furnaces/LP tank/solar setup/roof vents/windows/lights and more from the Class A.
When you figure this into the equation, the costs drop even more for the skoolie.

Anyone here currently working on a donor RV-skoolie project?
Anyone else taken a candid and honest look at their RV and thrown in the towel for similar reasons?

NC/KY/VA area active skoolie folk??
Joe here, sounds like a great idea. People here have done before and IMHO its a money saving step . Strip that bad boy, throw what you cannot use on Craigslist and then enter the hulk in the RV destruction derby at your local County fair.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:56 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 227
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
That list is honestly not totally out of line for a 30 year old rig, as long as there is no major water damage on the body, I would pick up some tools and change that all yourself. If that list is enough to make you get rid of it or scrap it then you are in for a big huge surprise when you start taking care of a diesel bus ($$$) and building it yourself ($$$$).
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:11 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North Pole, AK
Posts: 211
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Amtrak RE
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444e
I'm a few hundred hours of labor into my skoolie. I bought it with the seats removed, but then had to:

remove, fix, and reseal all the windows,
Recaulk all the roof seams,
Replace the driver's seat,
strip all the outside decals,
strip, grind, rust convert and paint the floor
Repair the wiring to the lights
Fix the windshield wiper motors
Diagnose and replace blown fuses (cruise control, etc.)
Remove several thousand screws to take out the ceiling panels and remove insulation
Cut panels off walls and remove insulation
Fix dents in the rear
Replace about a dozen light bulbs
Replace all fluids and filters and add grease to all grease points
Disable the interlock system
Replace the emergency hatches
Repair the exhaust system

And what did all that get me? Just a water-tight (mostly) bus that I could start building with. I've since installed propane, generators, fridge, bathroom, bunks, storage boxes, pullout steps, electrical system, a new door, etc. but the prep work getting there was a lot of labor, and I still have a ton left to do.

If you want to build a skoolie, it should be because you enjoy having a project. If you want to save time and money, get your old RV fixed.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivetboy View Post
Joe here, sounds like a great idea.


Rivetboy, I only have one thing to say to you:




As for the rest, thanks for your concern.
Retired from diesel service, trucks and heavy equipment. No mysteries under bus hoods to me.
(and I know 99 out of 100 "bargain" $4,000 buses represent anything BUT a bargain.)
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:56 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North Pole, AK
Posts: 211
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Amtrak RE
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444e
In that case, have fun - this can be a blast, and it's pretty awesome to take a trip in a skoolie that you custom designed and built yourself.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:30 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,228
Year: 1999
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
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Originally Posted by caseythenose View Post


Rivetboy, I only have one thing to say to you:




As for the rest, thanks for your concern.
Retired from diesel service, trucks and heavy equipment. No mysteries under bus hoods to me.
(and I know 99 out of 100 "bargain" $4,000 buses represent anything BUT a bargain.)
Actually the cheaper buses are almost always a bargain. That is if you're auction shopping.
Also- there are a TON of high priced used school buses with nothing more than a paint job and a lowes cabinet interior for sale all over and they usually aren't any better mechanically than any other school bus.
My $1600 bus is the nicest bus I've had in 5.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:33 PM   #8
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Whoa. That was my first show!
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:36 PM   #9
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Whoa. That was my first show!
Really? Its my favorite Dead recording!
THAT was a great show. They actually released it on DVD. Its amazing and Brent really tore it up! If you want a copy its called Downhill From Here.

While I love the original Dead, I don't partake in the "Co".

So Drew- you were at the show of my dreams, and now you drive the bus of my dreams! Congrats, man!
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:56 PM   #10
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While I love the original Dead, I don't partake in the "Co".
Same. Last show I saw was 7/9/95 at Soldier Field. I gotta say, I've never had a bad time at a Dead show and I don't wanna risk it on some half-assed Jerry wannabe.....it was bad enough they replaced Brent with an 80's synth rocker with no soul.


So as not to derail the thread further: OP, if you're planning on full-timing then a purpose-built skoolie is the ticket. Ours is laid out exactly the way we like it, we know every square inch of the build (the bus, itself, is a different story!) and anything that we've done can be repaired or upgraded quite easily. So much higher quality and better designed than any motorhomes we've been in.
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