That was my thoughts - a coach is a good starting point for the design..but the mileage and costs of parts is way up there. Scary.
I think of skoolies as cheap hippie rides..my age is showing LOL. But now that I drive one I have a different opinion - some things are still pricey (we have one at work with a bad radiator..$3,000 for a new one).
As for hiway...depends on the bus. Spent 4 hours on the PA turnpike with a 2013 international, 260hp cummins and no issues with speed or comfort at all.
As for brands..thomas are the cheap ones, bluebirds are good but my boss has issues with where they rust (harder to fix) and he prefers internationals.
How much of that pertains to what we'll use them for, I can't say. How they get spec'd out when bought is the issue - he orders his Internationals the way he wants, about $90k each. They come with air suspesion, air brakes, on-spot chains, the most powerful engines and many other details. ALL our buses are garaged.
A competitor buys off the lot 'last year' model thomas' for around $70k new. So no chains, no air horns, no perf ceiling (noise control w/ kids on board), backup cameras (so very dark interior mirrors). None of the buses are garaged and is common they are parked with the door open..critters DO get in. The paint gets more weather worn.
Here transits (door in front of wheel) are rare, 30 miles away another company looks to have nothing but transits.
And out of 15 buses we have only 2 over 100k miles. PA pretty much limits a buses age to 14 years so some never get a ton of miles on them. HOWever, compared to over the road coaches they are hard miles - all stop n go, kids on board.
Research I've done in the past says a lot of the coaches/city buses have stainless in them- lasts but you can't (realistically) modify/weld it. Limits what you can do or raises the costs as you have to pay someone to do it.
Drum vs disk..on a passenger vehicle yes, the front does the stopping..but on a big truck (aka bus) the rear does much of it. So disk's don't have the benefits that they do on cars.
Originally Posted by dgorila1
Thanks for the feedback on the coaches Morefire. I'm not impressed by Eagles. Prevost and MCI seem to be the industry standard for high end coach conversions, but I love the looks of the Van Hool...they have a modern look even with the late 90's models. From what I've read the later models also have disc brakes in front, which I think would be a plus.
My only concern in buying a used coach is they will already have 500,000 miles or more on them when bought used, so unless you find one where you can verify all the major components have been recently replaced/serviced (i.e brakes, air bags, tranny/engine, axles, etc), it's a potential pricey gamble with the purchase. Would hate to buy one and then have major repairs several months later which would cost tens of thousands of dollars. I do prefer coaches though due to more interior room and all the space underneath for installing the various systems, plus they ride so much smoother and faster on the highway than a skoolie.