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Old 02-01-2016, 06:44 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
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Question Which brand is best overall for conversion?

Was looking at the different brands of coaches available. Wanted to see if anyone has feedback on if one brand is better than others for converting to an rv and lower overall maintenance and operating costs. Thanks.
Prevost, MCI, VanHool, Dina, Setra, Mercedes, Bluebird, Eagle, GMC
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:09 PM   #2
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I wish there was an easy answer to that question. That's the same dangerous question as to which is better, Ford Chevy or Dodge.....

I have a Gmc
But A LOT of it depends on what your abilities and what you want to do with it. They all have pro's and con's. Some people convert and live in cargo vans, some are very nice! We have 6 out of our 8 kids going with us so no way a cargo van will work for us.
FWIW

Eric
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:16 PM   #3
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Thanks. Are the different brands made of different outer materials (fiberglass vs. steel/aluminum) or or all of them metal on the sides and other main panels?
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:22 PM   #4
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There are different materials that make up the different brands. I don't know specifics other than gmc. Most coaches are either stainless steel or aluminum skinned like gmc's. Gmc's are also aluminum "frame". Not like a real frame on a school bus, they rely on the skin for their structural integrity and don't have a truck frame. The aluminum frame work is just to help the structural skin keep its shape.
Most school buses are steel and have a real truck frame under them with a separate body.
Eric
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Old 02-01-2016, 08:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by daddyoften View Post
There are different materials that make up the different brands. I don't know specifics other than gmc. Most coaches are either stainless steel or aluminum skinned like gmc's. Gmc's are also aluminum "frame". Not like a real frame on a school bus, they rely on the skin for their structural integrity and don't have a truck frame. The aluminum frame work is just to help the structural skin keep its shape.
Most school buses are steel and have a real truck frame under them with a separate body.
Eric
Thanks. I've been looking at school buses for some time now and know how they are built on a truck chassis. This is what makes them so safe in a crash and somewhat reasonable in cost to repair. I briefly investigated coaches in the past but was deterred after reading some posts saying the repair costs tend to be much higher on them. I am reconsidering them now as I find out more info. I don't plan on any slideouts so either style will work for me, but I like the headroom and road comfort/speed the coaches tend to have. The enclosed underbody bays are also a big plus.
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Old 02-02-2016, 08:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dgorila1 View Post
Thanks. I've been looking at school buses for some time now and know how they are built on a truck chassis. This is what makes them so safe in a crash and somewhat reasonable in cost to repair. I briefly investigated coaches in the past but was deterred after reading some posts saying the repair costs tend to be much higher on them. I am reconsidering them now as I find out more info. I don't plan on any slideouts so either style will work for me, but I like the headroom and road comfort/speed the coaches tend to have. The enclosed underbody bays are also a big plus.
This is true. However, to re-man an engine on a coach bus is anywhere from $15K to $30K depending upon model and parts availability. Transmissions can be worse. Keep that in mind. These pieces of equipment are intended for 1M miles of use. Most Skoolies I know are not looking to rack up that many miles on their vehicle. I'm intending to run maybe 200K miles on my buses and have my buses outlast me. The smaller Cat, Cummins, and DD engines are cheaper to maintain and overhaul/replace than the bigger brother coach versions, same for the transmissions.

As far as headroom is concerned, roof raising is always an option. Many people do it here. Personally I lack the facility and equipment to do one safely and properly.

Just sayin'

M1031
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Old 02-20-2016, 08:48 AM   #7
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Coachwork: Bluebird
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It's more about the condition of the coach than the brand IMO
I chose my Bluebird because it was brand new, and when I looked into it, it was full of high end parts from the drive train, to brakes, suspension and priced like a good used coach.
But If I were looking for a good used coach, my choice would be Prevost. For build quality and TONS of used parts available.

Eagles have major rust issues and parts are very hard to find now.
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:10 AM   #8
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It's more about the condition of the coach than the brand IMO
I chose my Bluebird because it was brand new, and when I looked into it, it was full of high end parts from the drive train, to brakes, suspension and priced like a good used coach.
But If I were looking for a good used coach, my choice would be Prevost. For build quality and TONS of used parts available.

Eagles have major rust issues and parts are very hard to find now.
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.
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:16 PM   #9
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Eagles are amazing machines. Until the torsion bars have reached their limit, or corrosion sets in.
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Old 02-20-2016, 02:32 PM   #10
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Year: 1946
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I was much impressed years ago the first time I saw an all stainless MCI. Awesome bus. No knowledge/recollection of the drive-train though.
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