Originally Posted by loose change
My wife and I are thinking about buying a bus and converting it into a camper.In New York state what do I need to do to get it insured and registered.Is $ 3000.00 a good price for a 1991 international 66 passenger bus, with a front engine?Thank you and hoping to learn alot from you guys.
Do a search here on the site for New York requirements; I'm sure they're in here somewhere or maybe one of the NY folks will chime in.
An awfully lot of folks (including me) have insurance on their buses though GMAC (they'll insure the bus even if you don't have other insurance with them). You can also join the Good Sam Club and get insurance through them; they use GMAC insurance but then you get the Club benefits (if that means anything to you).
Also, it seems from several posts here that if you have State Farm already and work with your agent you may be able to insure your bus.
There's also some indication that if you go to your local Progressive agent they can get you insured. It seems that Progressive Direct (either by phone or on the Internet) does not do buses.
The short answer is yes, a 1991 International is probably worth $3000 and the chances are that if it's currently in service that it's in good shape. With your wife in School District Admin you can probably talk directly to the maintenance folks to get the real skinny.
The rest is up to you; I can pretty well guarantee that almost any combination of motor and transmission is out there and running somewhere and someone's happy with it. What you've done here is landed in a group of enthusiasts! And as such we're a little more fanatical about the details and making our buses the "best". Use the search engine here to drill down for some info on engines, trannies, rear-ends and such; then start reading!
A lot of what you end up with depends on what you want out of the bus. Is it just a weekender, a fulltimer, or something in between? Is it only used in the summer or are year-round trips a possibility? Are trips generally short or long? Where do you like to go; will the bus fit there? Is a lot of your driving in city and urban areas or more rural? And more and more...
I wouldn't have a bus with a manual tranmission if it were free (other than to resell it). I drove enough miles in a semi with a 13-speed and spent enough time stuck in stop-n-go traffic that if I never have to push a clutch and move a shift lever again it will be all too soon. Other folks love standards and they can get better mileage. Some automatics like the Allison AT545 have torque converter slip all the time (not because they're broken) and that equates to lower fuel economy. I decided to stay away from that one but it works for an awfully lot of schools and fellow skoolies.
I live out west where there are lots of open roads and major mountains so I wanted power. I specifically looked for a bus with a DT466 (I'm told it's the largest engine that's typically installed in school buses). I also was told that the torque of a DT466 could (or would) tear up an AT545 and to make sure the bus I wanted had an MT643. I'm happy to say I found it but not with the rear-end I wanted. That will be changed sometime in the future. So my engine choice was driven (no pun intended) by my desire to have a long-distance, full-timer with plenty of power for my area of operation. Your choice could be quite different and equally valid because of where you live and how you'll use your bus.
And that brings up my next point. How long are you willing to search and how far are you willing to go to get your bus? You may luck out and find exactly what you're looking for in your own backyard. On the other hand you could search for months and never find your dream bus. If you like everything about the buses your school district is selling and information from the mechanics indicates they're in great shape then buy one unless you want to get much more in depth and find out if there's something specific you want. There's a lot to be said for getting a bus locally and knowing where it came from. In my case Washington State buses (as far as I was able to discern) rarely, if ever, spec'd out DT466 engines; I had to go out of state to find one but I would have much prefered to just get a bus locally.
My bus in a 1979 Internatinal S1800 chassis with a Bluebird body. It has the aforementioned DT466 and the Allison MT643 transmission. The rear end is a too low (for me) 6. something or other; I cruise at 55 to 58 which is fine but I want to drop the rpm at which that happens. Most of my trips are over 1000 miles (round trip) and I average just over 9 mpg. I will change the rear-end ratio once I have the bus conversion totally finished (I opted to install a "quicky" interior to start with, then based on our experience with that do a "real" conversion with all the goodies). I knew when I bought the bus that I would swap out the rear-end and it wasn't a major consideration.
Well, that's way too much typing and I hope I didn't confuse rather than help!
Best wishes and good luck...