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Old 06-19-2017, 05:09 PM   #1
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Looking for a bus, help me find it!

For the past year we've driven from California to Bolivia in our heavily modified Land Cruiser mini-RV and upon coming back to the US we decided we want to upgrade to a bigger home. For the past few weeks we've been trying to plan it all out and I started looking into what bus to buy. But frankly this is a bit of an overwhelming topic for me, the different bodies, engines, transmissions etc. A completely different world from my straight 6 land cruiser that I know inside out ;)

I think I've been able to nail down a few details:
* Location: needs to be somewhat close to California. Driving it coast to coast will be too costly.
* Length: as long as possible, 40ft.
* Trans: auto or manual doesn't matter
* Diesel Engine!
* I might want to register it in CA, so CARB compliance is an issue

We're a bit pressed on time as we are hoping to buy the bus sometime in August right before we're headed to burning man (I know, what a cliché). Who has a bus sitting in their backyard and wants to get rid of one?

There are probably hundreds of people on this forum more capable of picking the right bus than I am. So apart from anyone who might have the right bus for sale, message me if you want to help me find it for a fair finders fee!
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:38 PM   #2
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 4,410
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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* Location: needs to be somewhat close to California. Driving it coast to coast will be too costly.
--- Driving a bus across the country usually runs about $600 to $800 in fuel.

* Length: as long as possible, 40ft.
--- Easily possible. You might want to consider air ride suspension.

* Trans: auto or manual doesn't matter
--- It's getting kind of hard to find a manual bus anymore.

* Diesel Engine!
--- Only way to go. Especially since you know how inexpensive diesel fuel is in south america.

* I might want to register it in CA, so CARB compliance is an issue.
--- My understanding is motor homes are exempt in CA.

You'll find other people here that share you enthusiasm for Burning Man.

There are a lot of different choices to make in selecting a bus. Considering the location of your trip I'd suggest buying a mechanical bus rather than computer controlled.
You'll figure out what type of bus parts you need soon enough.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:57 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vacaville, Ca
Posts: 1,512
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Crown / Pusher
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
What's your price range?
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Old 06-19-2017, 06:42 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 888
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
I need a shorter bus, as mine won't fit in my driveway!

'87 IH/Carpenter
9.0L IH all-mechanical engine
4-speed auto trans (believed to be an Allison AT545; was originally a 5-speed manual but the previous owner [some church] had it professionally converted)
Front and rear A/C (both work and use the common and widely available R134 refrigerant)
Hydraulic brakes (brand new pads all the way around).
All new LED exterior clearance/marker lights. New LED 7" Stop/Tail/Turn lights (all red, the turn signals wired to light up with the tail lights).
White/Green/Purple paint job (no yellow to cover up!). Lettering removed, some adhesive residue remains.
Seats still in (one has been removed but can be reinstalled. Can remove all if desired. No plywood on floor).
New Oil Pressure Sending Unit.
Tires in fair shape with about 1/2 tread (or better) remaining.
New batteries will be installed for buyer.

PM if anyone is interested. Asking $3500 (I have that in it).
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:03 PM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Oregon/Philippines
Posts: 1,660
i would get amtrans re or thomas re safety liner if school bus, with auto trans as my thomas got 10+ mpg. a transit with the right engine n trans is aelso to consider, n air ride is nice. first diesel i had was 6v71 transit, followed by flxible 8v71 transit which was great but only 8 mpg...the older mrci, prevost, et all, need careful suspension check as the coach bus travels in harsh winter conditions. of these coach, i prefer the setra, but parts r not cheap. i have found cheaper amtrans n thomas in washington, n also in the smaller places in northern cal.
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:23 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the input so far. My budget is 4000-5000$. Might go a bit higher if I find my dream bus.

Just to clarify, I'll use the bus in the US, I'm in south america with my land cruiser at the moment but the roads here are way too narrow and bad to take a school bus here in my opinion.

@chev49, where would you look? publicsurplus.com or govdeals? any other sites that are more popular on the west coast?
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