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Old 02-01-2019, 05:17 PM   #1
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Question 3/4 size recommendations

I'm at the point that I have enough information to be dangerous, but not enough to make an informed decision. I need a bit more room than a short skoolie provides, and a full size bus is larger than I need/want, so I've been looking for ones that are more mid-size, 3/4 length.

I'd be living in it full time (2 adults + 2 dogs) as I travel around the country, but there are some things I don't want to be without:
*Q bed
*Kitchen w/ sink and stove
*Refrigerator
*Toilet
*Shower
*Table (doubles as working space)
*Propane or wood heater

Since I will be driving across the US, I need something that can handle highway and mountain driving. So, if you have any bus recommendations that could work for my needs (models, transmissions, engine, etc), I'd really appreciate it.
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:48 AM   #2
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9/AT
Rated Cap: 2 adults, 2 dogs
My wife and I just started our bus. We will be traveling with 2 dogs also. Just started converting a TC1000 with 9 windows. It has 20ft from the back of the driver seat to the back wall. We originally were looking for something that would take a queen and have it long ways with a little extra room on each side. All said and done we are settling for a double turned sideways. I almost made an offer on a traditional that had 16 more inches on the inside. It would have made a hell of a difference, at least graph paper.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by AZHippie View Post
My wife and I just started our bus. We will be traveling with 2 dogs also. Just started converting a TC1000 with 9 windows. It has 20ft from the back of the driver seat to the back wall. We originally were looking for something that would take a queen and have it long ways with a little extra room on each side. All said and done we are settling for a double turned sideways. I almost made an offer on a traditional that had 16 more inches on the inside. It would have made a hell of a difference, at least graph paper.
Thanks for the input, I'll check out that model. I say a queen bed because I'd like to use my existing mattress and not spend money on a new one. Also, sleeping everyone would be uncomfortably tight in anything smaller than a queen. LOL
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:27 PM   #4
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Engine: 5.9/AT
Rated Cap: 2 adults, 2 dogs
Honestly, if doing it over again, I would go 2 windows bigger
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Old 02-03-2019, 11:52 PM   #5
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Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: 6.4 liter Mercedes MBE 900
Rated Cap: 48 passenger


I have a 2005 Freightliner Thomas 7 window bus. 19 ft behind the driver seat. Was originally equipped for wheelchair transport, so it has a very large door on the passenger side and another exit at the rear. It is conventional style, front engine dog nose. Were it not for the wheelchair accommodations it would haul 48 passengers. Mercedes-Benz MBE 906 engine, Allison 2000 transmission, air brakes. Came originally equipped with air conditioning, but I removed those systems. (2 of them) I preferred having the head room. this engine and transmission combination has delivered between 11 and 14 miles per gallon, and that includes mountain range driving.
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Old 02-04-2019, 02:16 AM   #6
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Honestly, if doing it over again, I would go 2 windows bigger
You have an 8-window?
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Old 02-04-2019, 02:23 AM   #7
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I have a 2005 Freightliner Thomas 7 window bus. 19 ft behind the driver seat. Was originally equipped for wheelchair transport, so it has a very large door on the passenger side and another exit at the rear. It is conventional style, front engine dog nose. Were it not for the wheelchair accommodations it would haul 48 passengers. Mercedes-Benz MBE 906 engine, Allison 2000 transmission, air brakes. Came originally equipped with air conditioning, but I removed those systems. (2 of them) I preferred having the head room. this engine and transmission combination has delivered between 11 and 14 miles per gallon, and that includes mountain range driving.
That sounds pretty good on mpg from what I've been reading. I like the idea of the wheelchair access door, just not sure how I'd make it functional with my design. Thanks for your input!
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by nic5454 View Post
That sounds pretty good on mpg from what I've been reading. I like the idea of the wheelchair access door, just not sure how I'd make it functional with my design. Thanks for your input!
I've had 3 buses with WC doors and I really don't like the wc door.
Just not too practical an opening and sorta kills design space. But I'll work around it no biggie.
Another thing that sucks about em is all three of mine have leaked in the rain.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:20 AM   #9
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You have an 8-window?
9 window, each window is a little over 20" on avg. It has a 5.9 Cummins and a 545 trans. I'm told I will get 10-14mpg with it but only filled the tank once so no clue what I'm getting. My wheelchair door leaks too. Debating if I should just disable and permanently seal it. The drive train seems OK, drives great and pulls hills decent with minimal temp change. Mixed reviews on the 545. In my research it's a good trans, just not a good trans in a big bus. Once i'm built I'll do some short trips towing a small car and decide if it's going to need to be swapped.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by AZHippie View Post
9 window, each window is a little over 20" on avg. It has a 5.9 Cummins and a 545 trans. I'm told I will get 10-14mpg with it but only filled the tank once so no clue what I'm getting. My wheelchair door leaks too. Debating if I should just disable and permanently seal it. The drive train seems OK, drives great and pulls hills decent with minimal temp change. Mixed reviews on the 545. In my research it's a good trans, just not a good trans in a big bus. Once i'm built I'll do some short trips towing a small car and decide if it's going to need to be swapped.
I don't know why anyone thinks the 545 is a "good trans". Its adequate at best. I've got one now and I've had a few. Wouldn't stop me from buying a real nice bus. I wouldn't swap it till it breaks. I definitely wouldn't replace a bad 545 with another!
I think 7-0 mpg is a bit more likely than 10-14.
post some pics and enjoy the bus!
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:14 AM   #11
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Chassis: International 3800
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Rated Cap: 28 + 3 wheel chairs.
I have a 28 foot doghouse (eight window) bus. It has 20' behind driver's seat. It runs great - drove from Florida to Montana to Virginia to Texas through California and around Arizona (37,000 since Oct. 2017). It is a great size for driving around - but living with more than me and the 120lb Bernese Mountain Dog would get a little cramped for me. I would have to reconfigure the layout to accommodate more people.

I have friends who drive a 28' Flatnose which has about 4 more feet of room inside - and the couple live happily with a 3 year old and a dog. So it can work nicely.


HEJxc0+MQI6VfsspSSB58A.jpg

IMG_0139.JPG

I do not have an onboard Shower - and don't think I would add one unless I was more stationary - (I have a Planet Fitness membership - and use that a lot). I would add a bigger sink - hot water - and a sink faucet that can reach out the window for a temp. outside hot shower.


IMG_1291.JPG
I have the 210HP Navistar 7.3L V8 Turbo diesel - with the Allison 2000 transmission - and it runs beautifully. It's slow going uphill in the Rockies - but I've never been in a hurry to get up a mountain pass. I cruise at 55mph and get 9-14mpg towing a car.

IMG_0480.jpg
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Old 02-04-2019, 12:41 PM   #12
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I have a 28' dognose and can't quite find a way to get a queen and a bathroom into it. I'm sure it can be done if you cramp in the floor plan enough.i live on mine with my two dogs. We get along fine most of the time!) Dt360/Spicer 5 speed. 9 mpg at freeway speeds. 10 mpg on the highways
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Old 02-04-2019, 01:30 PM   #13
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Engine: 5.9/AT
Rated Cap: 2 adults, 2 dogs
Definitely would not replace with another 545. And we will see in a couple months if it is adequate or not, I don't think it will be for my purposes. long hauls and towing. I'm thinking 643 or 653
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:16 PM   #14
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That sounds pretty good on mpg from what I've been reading. I like the idea of the wheelchair access door, just not sure how I'd make it functional with my design. Thanks for your input!
Just my two cents but saw a build with the side ADA door ant they used it for there solar system and made access easy.
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