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Old 03-21-2019, 02:55 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 26
My Little Retirement Home

Hi All,

I知 considering getting a Skoolie as my retirement traveling vehicle. I値l be spending a lot of time down in Baja so I need something with good clearance so I can get down those dirt roads. I値l also be driving up to eastern Oregon to my sister痴 place and around the US so I also need something that can do freeways and climb mountains at a decent pace. The bus needs to be around 25 long so I can fit it on my carport and get into the smaller camping spaces. It痴 just me and the dog so I don稚 need a ton of space. I like the flat front busses but think clearance-wise I壇 be better off with a dognose. I do not want one that痴 on a van chassis. I致e read a lot of the posts about engines and transmissions so I have some idea about what to look for (pre-2004 DT-466 and Allison 2000 seems to be the magic set-up)

I知 happy for any input about my plans but I have a few specific questions.
How hard is it to cut off that bottom step on the doors? It seems like that would give me better clearance.

Are there any particular bus models that are 25 long that I can keep an eye out for? I know that the general rule of thumb is 6 or 7 window but that seems a bit random. Also, is there a way to tell if it痴 the higher roof model?

What gear ratios should I look for to get a bus that will do well on the freeway? How much does it cost to re-gear?

Are there any good bus mechanics in the San Diego area? That痴 where I live.

Are there any bus sales places in So Cal where I can get a good deal or am I better off keeping an eye on the auction sites?

Thanks!
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Old 03-21-2019, 10:11 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2017
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
I love my 26' BlueBird TC-1000 HandyBus. A guy here has a TC-2000 HandyBus a foot or two longer, and his has taller tires and a side door on the driver's side that I am jealous of.
The TC-1000 has a flatter roof. I forget if the sides are higher, middle is lower, or both.

Cutting off the bottom step is easy, but in practice, unnessesary on mine, dispight what it seems looking in pictures. Don't think you are gonna go true 4-wheelin' in your bus.
But I have seen some dognoses that seemed to have better clearance.
The tranny is an AT-545 (not preferred for highway) but with a 3.56 ringgear in the rear-end, I can go highway speed no prob. Got it up to 80 once (going downhill), cruise at 70 all day (on the flats).
Got my bus in Tucson at govdeals.com. No SoCal prices. NO RUST. All the body sealer caulk is dried up though....
ALOHA!
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Old 03-22-2019, 04:53 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
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A DT466, Cummins, or Cat with an allison 2000 would be a good start. Any of those before emissions will do. Condition is more important than manufacturer.
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:52 AM   #4
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Location: Unity, NH
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
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Generally, for ground clearance, you'll want to stay away from a special needs bus. They tend to have the slightly smaller tires (255/70x22.5) and are lower. Plus, as nice as the under bus storage is, they may have an impact on your off-roading capabilities.
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
Generally, for ground clearance, you'll want to stay away from a special needs bus. They tend to have the slightly smaller tires (255/70x22.5) and are lower. Plus, as nice as the under bus storage is, they may have an impact on your off-roading capabilities.
Lowriders aren't very popular on rural roads and off the beaten path. I'm sure mine is a fairly odd duck but its a WC/special needs bus that came with a lift kit.
I wasn't looking for a lifted bus but they're out there. Mine has 4.5" blocks and the ride height increase is pretty cool.
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Old 03-22-2019, 11:06 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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All the good camping in Baja is down these crazy dirt roads so while I won’t be 4 wheelin’ I will need to get over some big bumps.
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Old 03-22-2019, 11:13 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Lowriders aren't very popular on rural roads and off the beaten path. I'm sure mine is a fairly odd duck but its a WC/special needs bus that came with a lift kit.
I wasn't looking for a lifted bus but they're out there. Mine has 4.5" blocks and the ride height increase is pretty cool.
Your bus is awesome! I didn’t even think about putting a lift kit on.

I notice people wanting to get a bus with a wheelchair lift. Is that because of the bigger door or some other reason?
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Old 03-22-2019, 11:55 AM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
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Your bus is awesome! I didn’t even think about putting a lift kit on.

I notice people wanting to get a bus with a wheelchair lift. Is that because of the bigger door or some other reason?
thanks! We sure like it! Best $1625 I've ever spent!
Some people want the wc lift for loading stuff.
I've had three WC buses and the lifts worked but I just can't take the rattling. They clank around constantly and I even tried quieting it with pool noodles and ratchet strap to no avail. So I pull em out.
I wish mine didn't come with the WC lift and door but I'll deal with it. The door is cool, but it makes a good bit of floor space fairly useless if you want to actually use it.
I keep ending up with WC buses cause I like 5 and 6 widow short buses and most buses that size are setup for wc or special needs kids.
IDK what all you'd need to lift a bus but its definitely possible. You'll have plenty of clearance if you get a standard height bus. The lowered ones I'd definitely avoid for your uses.





You could probably talk to someone at Thomas and find out about suspension heights. Mine came like this with 4.5" blocks. Could probably find the part #'s easily enough.

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Old 03-22-2019, 06:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disastrogirl View Post
How hard is it to cut off that bottom step on the doors? It seems like that would give me better clearance.

Are there any particular bus models that are 25’ long that I can keep an eye out for? I know that the general rule of thumb is 6 or 7 window but that seems a bit random. Also, is there a way to tell if it’s the higher roof model?
I really like your user name.....sounds like a superhero you'd want to steer clear of.

I cut off a little more than just my bottom step, for the reasons you mentioned......took about 10 minutes with an angle grinder and cutting wheel. It'll take you much longer to reinforce your step after its support is gone.

My 6 window is just a shade under 24" bumper-to-bumper. Higher roof models will have a slight upward "bump" in the roof starting at about the driver's seat, or the side windows will be taller than the top of the service door, or both. Mine's a 'standard' ? 'average' ? 75" interior height.....notice how straight the roofline is, and the top of the windows are even with the top of the door opening.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:34 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by plfking View Post
I really like your user name.....sounds like a superhero you'd want to steer clear of.

I cut off a little more than just my bottom step, for the reasons you mentioned......took about 10 minutes with an angle grinder and cutting wheel. It'll take you much longer to reinforce your step after its support is gone.

My 6 window is just a shade under 24" bumper-to-bumper. Higher roof models will have a slight upward "bump" in the roof starting at about the driver's seat, or the side windows will be taller than the top of the service door, or both. Mine's a 'standard' ? 'average' ? 75" interior height.....notice how straight the roofline is, and the top of the windows are even with the top of the door opening.

Good luck in your search.
Ha! I'm like the opposite of Domino. Strange things tend to happen around me.



Do you mean you cut off two steps, or other things around the bus? Do you have pics? It looks like you sealed up the door. How do you get in now?
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