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Old 09-03-2014, 09:53 AM   #1
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Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

So, the fiance and I are in the market for basically a non converted moving truck. We have our eye especially on a 1997 Ford E350 11 ft box truck with 158,000 miles for $5,500. The idea is to buy something like this and convert it into our little travel home. Anyways, as soon as we begun to tell our friends and family about it all we got was skepticism, literally not one good comment.
Even my father said it was a completely bad idea because when a diesel needs fixing it can get extremely costly, like $10,000 for all new fuel injectors; I guess it's true since he has had diesels for many years. And god knows we won't have that much money for a bit after we finish our project, not that we would even want to spend that much if it broke down!
Our goal is to somewhat settle down in South Carolina because my fiance can move anywhere for work (we're from Michigan) when the process is finished and be full timers, or at least halfway livable finished, so the overall plan was to not put too many miles on it.
My fiances brother tried his hardest to talk Mike (my guy) out of it, I wasn't sure what was said, but alas, still negative comments about the idea.
I guess what i'm asking of you folks with experience is for some negative AND positive feedback about the overall idea.
Is it worth it? I can get a decent loan and we have about 8K saved up.
Any and all information to help us move towards some sort of decision would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks again!
Luna Ulta
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:13 PM   #2
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Once you got a "mobile" home...you can just hit the road and leave mean people behind

158k on a diesel is nothing, biggest Issue I see is that it is a 1ton chassis

will you have enough wt left to build a mini house?

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Old 09-03-2014, 12:15 PM   #3
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luna_Ulta

Thanks to the great American home depression hitting most the country, we're losing our home, our actual home and need to be out in a month (actually i'd say we're just giving it back, we gave up on the horrendous payments they were all of a sudden expecting and said shove it lol), so this was a best quick plan that we've been dreaming about for some years. We're taking this push as a way to take a dream down from the catcher and actually pursue it. But without viable info about how to get started, it may not happen, and the internet really isn't that great of a tool when i'm just reading Google articles that all say the same thing, so I'm really hoping you great people can help us!
Don't help us prove our friends and family wrong, help us prove them that there is a way to do it and live life better =)

Thanks again!
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:23 PM   #4
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

$ 5500 is way too much money. You can find a full sized bus for less than that. And injectors for a powerstroke ford are only $100 a piece. ( I got a set of hopped up ones for that much.) Does the truck have a walk thru door from the cab to box?
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:33 PM   #5
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Yeah? Well it's off a dealer lot so i'm sure they def jacked it some. And it does have a walk through cab.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:27 PM   #6
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

I have about $7500 in my bus as of today, this includes:

buying bus
all wood, screws bolts and such
both mattresses
2 TV's (22" on sale $50 ea)
full size fridge
all 12v and 120v wiring and misc electrical
solar setup
3 window ac's weird deal I ordered 1 5500btu from Wal-Mart for $99 and was shipped 2 @ 49.50 ea )
third one was brand new on ebay, listing was spelled wrong, found it less than an hr left bid on it and won (6500btu to my door like $60)
microwave on sale before school started like $25/$35
rotisserie
water heater
sink
faucet
plumbing crap, lots of it
tub (not installed)

bus $3500
electric $1000
plumbing $1000
appliances $1000
ac,heat lights and lamps and solar and batteries $1000

I have done all the work myself, so labor would probably be about $5k more (pure guess)

this has been spread out over a couple years

So being more frugal you can spend a lot less than me or more and even a lot more isn't that much

think of a $2500 dog nose diesel bus, and go from there (flat noses seem to be about $1500/$2000 more around here)
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Old 09-03-2014, 05:40 PM   #7
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Sorry to say but you need new friends and relatives.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:17 PM   #8
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Both sides of our families have always laughed at us. You know how every family has those "crazy" relatives that are fodder for the conversation at every family get-together? That's me & David. We are the odd ones. During our homeschooling years I learned a wonderful phrase. "That's your opinion and your opinion doesn't count with me". I have used it with family (really pissed them off) and with total strangers (really pisses them off too). I still use it. Basically, if they are not supporting you, then they have no real say-so in how you live your life. So shut up and do what you need to do for your own mental, physical and financial health. We started telling folks (family & friends) that we were leaving NC. We got hung up in NC and were unable to leave in January which was our planned date. We had decided to change our destination from LA (Lower Alabama) to NM in order to bring one of our daughters out to NM to be with her sister (they're twins so they get clingy for each other every so often.... then it passes and they have a hard time being in the same town... until they get clingy again). No one believed we were leaving. My cousins drove up as we were getting ready to back out of the driveway and STILL didn't believe we were leaving. And they were still laughing at us. And my mother doesn't speak to me because I am "the bad one" because I hauled Das Mel 1700+ miles away from her influence. There are perks to being the bad one!



We bought a 1986 Blue Bird All American FE (40 ft) for $1400 in Spring 2009 (we were also looking at box vans but the $$$ were too high). So far we have $5,515.08 (no taxes counted) into our fulltime residential vehicle conversion so far. We used a lot of residential stuff that we already had plus we bought some used stuff. I will tell you the same thing I have told my daughter. Keep an open mind and have the money ready to buy. The right bus will turn up at the right time. That may be an already fully or partially converted bus that can be remodeled or it may be a stripped out shell. And try for a diesel engine. A bus that has been converted and already titled as an RV would be a big help and saving of time and stress. It is very difficult to convert in a campground. We know as we are converting in a campground.

BTW, you might want to use www.searchtempest.com so that you can search craigslist within a radius of where you live. Use "RV" and "bus" when you search.
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:26 PM   #9
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Okay, so as far as money goes, we should be good on having what we need for a full decent conversion (including already owned appliances) if we can find a bus under 3K, so that's excellent news with the buses we've been running over. We're not so into the uhaul idea since joining these forums =p Also, diesel I guess is still in the game plan, i've been hearing/reading more positives that out weigh the negatives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
Both sides of our families have always laughed at us. You know how every family has those "crazy" relatives that are fodder for the conversation at every family get-together? That's me & David. We are the odd ones.
That's basically us already and we haven't even started much of the process yet, lol. But from all the research we've put into it, it just seems like the best idea for where we're at in our lives. The key is simplicity ;)
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:47 PM   #10
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

it will lots of hard work and don't forget wheelin' and dealing
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:57 PM   #11
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luna_Ulta
... Even my father said it was a completely bad idea because when a diesel needs fixing it can get extremely costly, like $10,000 for all new fuel injectors; I guess it's true since he has had diesels for many years...
I think your dad is full of it. You can buy a whole engine for his $10K. What ever you end up with, spend the extra $$ to get manuals on how to fix and even rebuild the engine. It may save your tuches one day in the middle of nowhere. Or it could help you to determine if a mechanic is telling you the truth.


Try here http://www.searchtempest.com/search?sta ... axAsk=5000
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:31 PM   #12
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

David (former MI native & resident) says that perhaps you should not buy a bus from MI. So here's a thought, use search tempest to search SC and GA for a bus that has already been converted to livable. Find an RV park (with a bathhouse) to live in. Meanwhile sell off all your stuff so that you can leave as soon as you find a bus. And then move. Kinda like jumping out of an airplane. I'm told the first step is a doozy. But once you get past that first step, it's as easy as falling down.


Check daily (you will need to click on "open Results Windows" otherwise, you will be looking at ebay listings):
SC

GA
Here's a GA bus - 1976 International - with all amenities just waiting for a remodel $3950

Upstate SC does get cold. The dog's water bowl had ice skimming it one April morning in Table Rock SP. But what that means is many of the public parks clear out during the week and on many weekends (I know as we used to live/camp in the Clemson-Seneca SC area). Other than painting or heavy work, you can do a lot in a campground. In the public ones, you can really do a lot if they are deserted.

The buses are out there. You just have to have the cash ready and be willing to jump. If you are heading South anyway, you can save lots of $$ by driving a smaller vehicle and move into the bus once you get to where you are going. It's only an 8 to 10 hour trip (or thereabouts) by car. That can be driven non-stop.

Seriously, what do you have to lose?

BTW, about 90% of Public and Private campgrounds in the South are open year-round. Very few actually close down. When it comes time for Das Mel (our daughter) to get her bus, we will simply take our bus to where ever her bus is (including if we have to go to Wade's Garage in Alto for a shell), buy the bus and roll into a public campground (or a Passport America discount campground if available -- cheaper than many public parks and get full hookups) before heading home with the new bus. A public campground will accept ANY vehicle.
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:51 PM   #13
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
it will lots of hard work and don't forget wheelin' and dealing
Oh yeah I'm sure it's lots of work. Not really something we're scared of

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
I think your dad is full of it. You can buy a whole engine for his $10K. What ever you end up with, spend the extra $$ to get manuals on how to fix and even rebuild the engine. It may save your tuches one day in the middle of nowhere. Or it could help you to determine if a mechanic is telling you the truth.
And yeah, my dad's usually full of it, he is a salesman after all; and with that in my blood, that might help with my dickering through the buying processes though ;) Good advice! As soon as we finally decide what to finally purchase, i'll look into manuals. Being a younger woman, I've caught mechanics lying to me a few times about what needs this and that. I let Ulta give 'em a call and their all tongue tied, lol.

We just contacted a guy about a 1990 Blue Bird school bus originally out of Florida AND it's been somewhat converted. (Pics shown below). He says it has 340,000 miles on it, but it's a diesel. And the only prob is a switch cable (?). Worth it?
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:02 PM   #14
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Another option we've been looking at is this guy;
1999 International partially converted 117,000 miles on it with a 466 diesel engine
Has 3 deep cycle batteries, air brakes and "great tires"
Has dual air conditioning, simulated wood floor, premium Kenwood sound system, color changing led lights (kinda cool )
Also originally from Florida, don't know how long its been in MI tho.
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:11 PM   #15
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
Meanwhile sell off all your stuff so that you can leave as soon as you find a bus. And then move. Kinda like jumping out of an airplane. I'm told the first step is a doozy. But once you get past that first step, it's as easy as falling down. ...

Upstate SC does get cold. The dog's water bowl had ice skimming it one April morning in Table Rock SP. But what that means is many of the public parks clear out during the week and on many weekends (I know as we used to live/camp in the Clemson-Seneca SC area). Other than painting or heavy work, you can do a lot in a campground. In the public ones, you can really do a lot if they are deserted...

Seriously, what do you have to lose?

BTW, about 90% of Public and Private campgrounds in the South are open year-round. Very few actually close down... A public campground will accept ANY vehicle.
We're already in the process of basically trying to sell everything we own that we can't or have no need to take with us. So we're there at least. Just need to find our bus
And we're from northern MI, some cold weather really can't throw us back when we're used to 10 foot drifts We jokingly thought about that when we chose SC; everyone will be off the roads leaving it free for us in a mild storm lol.
Other than leaving family and very few friends behind that we maybe see once to less then that a month, we really don't have much to lose, that's why there isn't anything that can really detour us from our plans.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:25 PM   #16
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

dunno, first one has an awful lot of miles for a school bus (normally you have high hours and low mileage), and its still yellow?

and the décor, to me it may have some nice cabinets....but would you have to tear it all out to get what you want?
I would

and the second one....has really nothing to offer

the floor is trashed.....once you take out the party seats, you will have holes everywhere, and again

how much do you need to remove to start YOUR home?

for me all of it

and check amazon and ebay...the little things "EYE CANDY" like lights that change colors etc...are really cheap, $50 bucks and we can DISCO dooowwwnnnn


so don't let the glitter and pretty sway you away...most of that stuff is cheap....remember focus on what you think you want...


and partially converted to me would me just that, grey/black tanks in with toilet....no clean water and sink plumbing

remember what stuff costs and you all will be great

I would start fresh...spend a weekend ripping out seats and then you have a metal tent....and you haven't spent extra yet

buy something that doesn't even fit an idea...pay more for the other persons upgrades you cant use....rip them out and you lose money

ooops gotta go wine and fix dinner....holla later...remember grass hopper....wax on....wax off
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:54 PM   #17
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luna_Ulta
Another option we've been looking at is this guy;
1999 International partially converted 117,000 miles on it with a 466 diesel engine
Has 3 deep cycle batteries, air brakes and "great tires"
Has dual air conditioning, simulated wood floor, premium Kenwood sound system, color changing led lights (kinda cool )
Also originally from Florida, don't know how long its been in MI tho.

I like this one...more details??
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:12 AM   #18
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luna_Ulta
Another option we've been looking at is this guy;
1999 International partially converted 117,000 miles on it with a 466 diesel engine
Has 3 deep cycle batteries, air brakes and "great tires"
Has dual air conditioning, simulated wood floor, premium Kenwood sound system, color changing led lights (kinda cool )
Also originally from Florida, don't know how long its been in MI tho.

I like this one...more details??
Oh yeah, maybe adding the price of 'em might help too. The asking price of the black 1999 International is $4500 and the 1990 Blue Bird 5.9 cummins with the tiles is $3750
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:25 AM   #19
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

Is the black one auto or a stick?
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:45 PM   #20
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Re: Everyone is telling us it's a bad idea...ADVICE?

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Is the black one auto or a stick?
Auto
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