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Old 06-21-2018, 10:45 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 14
Need to start planning. Questions galore.

Giving some backstory. Feel free to scroll to the TL;DR
So Iím planning to get a short bus Iím what I think will be the near future. My husband is terminally ill. We were planning to travel once he got better but things only got worse so he wants me to go on without him after he passes. So Iím getting my sticks and bricks ready for sale and downsizing. I had a sticks and staples we ended up selling when our car died for a new vehicle. I loved the idea of a class-C RV but was trying to stay pretty short so my options on having extra space without requiring slide outs was slim. When I found out Iíd be traveling alone I started looking at large vans but I decided that wonít be big enough, so Iím pretty sold on a short bus. So Iím trying to figure out everything I need to know so that as soon as my house sells after my husband passes I can start bus hunting.

TL;DR
Iím looking for a short bus between 5-8 windows. I donít want too much space but the 5 window ones seem a tad on the small side. It needs to house myself, my normal sized cat, and my 18lb Norwegian forest cat full-time for mostly boondocking.
I plan to put a twin bed, a small kitchen and a composting toilet. Iíd really like to use school lockers floor to ceiling on about half of the wall on one side. Curious what kind of bus I should be looking at conventional vs cutaway, engine, Iím poorly educated mechanically so Iím not quite sure what all I need to know. Also Iím not too sure on the difference in size just that the longer they are the more windows they have so not sure if 5 windows will actually be too small or if 8 windows will be way too much room. Any insight is welcome.
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:14 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 2,440
Year: 1999
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Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
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Sit down and draw out a diagram of the floor plan with all the amenities you need in scale. This will help you decide how many feet of build out you need. I recommend if you plan on living in it more than driving it, get one the next size bigger than you think.
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:41 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 14
I made a floor plan. Iíll need between 20-25 feet feet from the back of the drivers seat to the back of the bus. 20 is enough but Iíd prefer not to go smaller. So 6-8 windows. Is there a big difference size wise for cutaways vs conventional? Is 8 windows still a shortie? How much more space would I gain?
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Old 06-22-2018, 11:52 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 13
I just did a huge search last night...lookin at 5-7 window schoolies specifically. I was thumbing through wesellschoolbuses.com and they had measurements in most listings for usable space(length behind drivers seat), interior height, overall length etc. So i made some comparisons.

First off, I'm afraid of parking and driving a 30'-40' bus and the stereotypes too...Im a tall guy who could live in a van but better yet a short bus...and I like the option of driving without a special license if I dont do a title switch...
So in my search I saw 7 window dognose models that were 14 passenger/nonCDL and so I got curios...I suddenly wasnt limited to cutawys...It apparently happens when they have accomadations for 3 wheel chairs and a lift, well its now classified as a 14 pax....I digress...

THe International BB DT466E, 28.5' O.A.L., 73.5" interior height, 19' usable length...flip foward bonnet, full blown industrial dognose...if I can rationalize 29' long, I want it!
I saw an 8 window with 1 foot more usable, .5 foot O.A.L.

6 window International Carpenter DT466, 24' O.A.L., 15" usable...

5 window Ford Corbeil E450 Cutaway, 23' O.A.L., 73" int., 14' usable...This seems the most sensible of choices...good allaround....its where the cutaway really shines, I reckon...

Or this...unless its a typo...6 window Ford Girardin 7.3L PS, 21.5' O.A.L., 75" int., 14" usable...I dont know how its a foot and a half shorter than another e450 so, grain of salt...

then shuttlebuses
5 window Ford Goshen, 21.5 O.A,L,, 77.5" int., 13' usable...

3 window same as 4 window schoolie...19' long, 11ft usable...72.5"-75" int.

So...14"usable but u got a doghouse engine to deal with...or a couple more feet in length and 1 foot more usable and you got a mini semi truck basically to work on...

Then it jumps to 19'-20'+ and thats not a shortbus anymore, I'm thinking...mostly cuz the ass end starts sticking way out...The 7 window is the biggest one that still seems proportionate to its wheelbase...

That's my report...
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Old 06-23-2018, 05:17 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Taylor Lake Village, TX
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Year: 1994
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT408 6.7L L6
Rated Cap: 14
Just brought home my 7 window 94 Thomas. Its a handicap and the equipped capacity is 14. Also the GVWR is below the 26500 cutoff for extra endorsement on the drivers license. I just had it titled as a bus until the conversion is done and I don't plan on driving it (much) until the the conversion is done, but I know this size dodges a lot of the "commercial" requirements.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:47 AM   #6
Bus Nut
 
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Location: Greenwood, Indiana
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Engine: 11.1L Detroit Diesel S60
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Just FYI - there are many posts on this board about "special licenses" for vehicles over 13 tons gross. You'll be surprised what is really required if you are not driving "commercially". Just search for "CDL" or "commercial drivers license"....


Sparkle - my heart goes out to you for the situation you are in. I know there are others here in similar situations. Furthermore, I hope you find the bus that will fit what you are planning on doing. If you find a bus that looks good for you, please post its information so that the mechanical wizards here can give you advice. The more information, the better, but is usually the make/model/year and engine/transmission combo. Also, note any rust you see.



If you are looking at a diesel-powered bus, generally stay away from buses newer than about 2004-6. That's when the diesel emission standards came into effect. The early emission diesel engines were problematic. The later engines were better, but you'll be dealing with computers and DEF, making repairs and upkeep more expensive. From what I've seen, the sweet spot right now is late-90s to early '00s, although older buses are good if they were kept up (like Crowns and Gilligs). However, I'm far from an expert....



Finally, there's a thread on here where people are posting buses for sale that they find while surfin' the 'net. You might check it out....
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:45 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
Just FYI - there are many posts on this board about "special licenses" for vehicles over 13 tons gross. You'll be surprised what is really required if you are not driving "commercially". Just search for "CDL" or "commercial drivers license"....


Sparkle - my heart goes out to you for the situation you are in. I know there are others here in similar situations. Furthermore, I hope you find the bus that will fit what you are planning on doing. If you find a bus that looks good for you, please post its information so that the mechanical wizards here can give you advice. The more information, the better, but is usually the make/model/year and engine/transmission combo. Also, note any rust you see.



If you are looking at a diesel-powered bus, generally stay away from buses newer than about 2004-6. That's when the diesel emission standards came into effect. The early emission diesel engines were problematic. The later engines were better, but you'll be dealing with computers and DEF, making repairs and upkeep more expensive. From what I've seen, the sweet spot right now is late-90s to early '00s, although older buses are good if they were kept up (like Crowns and Gilligs). However, I'm far from an expert....



Finally, there's a thread on here where people are posting buses for sale that they find while surfin' the 'net. You might check it out....


Should I be looking for a particular engine/tranny combo? Are there disadvantages to a cutaway? Do cutaways come in diesel? Iíd highly prefer diesel from the research Iíve done.
I know a lot of people have luck with auctions but personally Iíd rather be able to see the shortie before buying her....is this really a better route to go or is it worth the money youíll save at an auction?
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Old 06-24-2018, 11:51 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
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Engine: DT466/3060
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Quote:
Originally Posted by middlenamesparkle View Post
Should I be looking for a particular engine/tranny combo? Are there disadvantages to a cutaway? Do cutaways come in diesel? Iíd highly prefer diesel from the research Iíve done.
I know a lot of people have luck with auctions but personally Iíd rather be able to see the shortie before buying her....is this really a better route to go or is it worth the money youíll save at an auction?
We go to the same auctions the dealers go to. You win one at the auction for $2k, you go home happy. The dealer wins your bus from you for $2001 and immediately puts it on his lot, basically untouched for $6K. You can pay the extra $4k, or spend around $500 flying out to check out the bus yourself. Many of the buses you find on Craigslist were bought at auction then the buyer lost interest and they try and flip them for more.
There are places like this : https://wegolook.com/ebay-inspection...D=153072887866

For $100 they will send someone out to the vehicle and do a walk around inspection.
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:12 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post

There are places like this : https://wegolook.com/ebay-inspection...D=153072887866



For $100 they will send someone out to the vehicle and do a walk around inspection.

Thank you so much. I had no idea there were options like this!
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Old 06-28-2018, 12:39 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: St. Charles, IL
Posts: 18
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: 6.6 LLY Duramax
Rated Cap: 15
Difficult situation and I feel for you.

Regarding the bus, we went with a cutaway shortie because where we go requires maneuverability. It’s a diesel too, though we are hardly hi mileage types - this was more about fuel economy. And many choices are tough. Regarding prices, agreed there are buses all over the place for less though flying, driving, etc wasn’t worth the likely $1250 difference based on eBay sales and postings. The dealer, Midwest Transit, was open to negotiating and so far so good.
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