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Old 12-29-2004, 02:39 AM   #1
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Searching for the right short bus

I am a single homeschooling mom who loves to camp and have been tent camping since my youth.....my daughter prefers the more modern conveniences that a camper or motorhome would provide....I am just beginning my search for a short skoolie that I can convert for camping trips, travel, and possibly even some full time living while homeschooling on the road.
I am fairly handy (my father raised four girls and being the oldest I usually got the job of assisting in home repairs, car repairs, etc) and what I don't know how to do I can usually learn via manuals and instruction.
I do not have a great deal of money to start with, and want to find an inexpensive bus that I can work on in progressive steps.
I live in Indiana and would prefer to find something close. Any suggestions of where to begin my search?
I have lurked for a while and several posts indicate that people have purchased buses for between $700 and $1500, is this realistic or just luck? I have so many questions, but really want to seriously begin my search, especially with tax return time upon us (I intend to use my refund for this purchase) I still have a great deal of exploration of this site so I am sure I can find many of my questions answered but any initial advice would be appreciated.
Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2004, 11:50 AM   #2
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Welcome

Welcome to the wonderful world of looking at camper buses.

If you've been lurking, you have probably figured this out, but bus people are generally just plain nice - and they love talking about buses.

Good luck in your searching, and I'm sure you'll find something great.

Paul
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Old 12-30-2004, 09:05 AM   #3
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I purchased my bus for $775 and i wasn't even looking for a bus. Now that i'm looking for a "new" one, i'm not having much luck. I've been wating for my local bus garage to auction off their buses for several months now. They have almost a dozen 1991/1992's they're getting rid of. My guess is that they'll go cheap, most have the dreaded carpenter bodies. All have been taken apart and rewelded by the school district, but the state does not consider this to be an acutal "fix"

They're 72 passenger, DT360 (or 366?) international turbo diesels with about 250K miles....allison auto trans at545. My guess is that they'll go for 500 bucks or less each.

If i were into doing a lot of traveling and sleeping in my vehicle.......I think i'd buy a van instead of a bus. Remember, buses are slow, get extremely poor fuel economy and can be difficult to park. Not to mention trying to find parts while on the road. I don't want to discourage you from buying a bus, just want to make you aware of some of the downsides.
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Old 12-30-2004, 08:36 PM   #4
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But if there is something that you absolutely MUST HAVE (like, f'rinstance, a hot tub) a skoolie can be just the thing.
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Old 12-30-2004, 09:57 PM   #5
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i've driven my bus over 20 thousand miles, and only left my home state of michigan twice.

The bus is a great vehcile for short trips, or for cruising around the state, but It's very labor intensive to take it across the county. It's good to camp with....but not so good for getting from point A to point B

However: I plan to take her to burningman again next year though!
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Old 12-31-2004, 01:56 AM   #6
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I agree about short trip usage, its great, but on a long distance trip with limited time you would be far further ahead to take an economy car and sleep in hotels. I have used my bus for towing a truck on a trailer to off road events, and every Saturday in the summer takes the smaller kids we have out playground hopping. We take picnic supplies and play hard all morning, have our kitchen and washroom handy and are set for all minor playground emergencys. Camping trips to nearby locations are a lot of fun . On long trips you will need a lot of patience..... everything on the road will be passing you on level ground, and guys on bikes will be passing you on hills . I like to tell people that it isn't all that fast for a highway vehicle, but it goes pretty good for a livingroom.
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Old 12-31-2004, 03:29 PM   #7
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Jen, I had the same idea as you and bought my bus to be a "hard tent" for weekend camping. It has a van front and a chev 350 fuel injected engine and goes as fast as you want down the highway (unlike a big bus). I would have no problem recommending one like it to you. It's 7'7" wide by almost 11' inside and the asking price was $1500 at the bus company. I worked out a sponsorship deal with my stock car, but I could have talked them down to probably $1200 if I had to buy it cash. It has about 150,000 miles on it but runs great and doesn't smoke, even on cold startups. I live in northern Minnesota and I can check with my friend at the bus company to see if he can help you if you want me too. They also own a bus company in Minneapolis area so they would have buses a little closer to you than I am. Let me know if I can help you more.

A fellow homeschool parent,
Jon
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Old 01-08-2005, 09:17 AM   #8
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Jon:
That would be great!
I won't have enough money to purchase a bus until after tax check time.....this is what I have earmarked my refund for this year.
Any help I can get on knowing that the bus I am buying is at least not one with a bunch of problems would be great!
I am sure that I can get a friend to travel with me if I had to drive to pick up a bus purchased out of state!
Thanks Jon!
Jen
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Old 07-15-2005, 04:03 PM   #9
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Jen, did you find a bus?

I am just curious if you were able to find a bus for your skoolie.
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Old 07-15-2005, 05:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
I like to tell people that it isn't all that fast for a highway vehicle, but it goes pretty good for a livingroom.
ROFLMAO! That's good! I'll have to remember that one. It would look good on a bumper sticker!
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