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Old 01-09-2018, 08:36 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Gathering advice stage

Hello, we haven't even purchased a bus yet but have two decent possibilities. There is good chance that if we buy in the next week or so we'd be doing our first trip in April so we'd need to hit it hard and have a decent plan.
We would be using this mostly for long road trips, a month or two max. We'd typically head west from the East coast and then south through Central America. Some areas of Mexico can be hot dessert like and some steamy jungle areas along the coast but evenings cool off and many areas are comfortable with temps in the 70's even during the day.
We're thinking AC while driving will be our most important heating/cooling necessity.
So number one question. How many people haven't torn out the ceiling and walls to insulate? Because of our time crunch and the fact that with 9 kids we will almost certainly never use this as a residence we're thinking of leaving the walls and ceiling as is and only tearing out the floor. Would this be a huge mistake? I'd love to hear from folks who've done this and how it worked out for them.
Thanks in advance for any and all advice. This forum is amazing and a wealth of information!
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:44 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by marlinangela View Post
Hello, we haven't even purchased a bus yet but have two decent possibilities. There is good chance that if we buy in the next week or so we'd be doing our first trip in April so we'd need to hit it hard and have a decent plan.
We would be using this mostly for long road trips, a month or two max. We'd typically head west from the East coast and then south through Central America.
It sounds like you want to take it slow...Get a bus...convert it in 3 months....be in Peru by April. As long as you are organized and can perform Major Miracles, I don't foresee any issues.

Tell us more about the buses you are thinking about.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:01 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Ha, well my husband is a bit driven and once he decides to do something he does it with all he's got so if anyone can make this happen he could! He is a carpenter/furniture builder by trade and would possible have some help from a guy or two in his shop but it'd be basic for this trip.
It'd be between a 1996 or 2003 International. Both have a 7.3/T444E with automatic Allison transmission. Both claim to be in excellent running condition The 96 has less miles but possible more rust. The 1996 is already stripped of seats with an RV title and has a few basics included so that is the huge draw toward that one.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by marlinangela View Post
Both have a 7.3/T444E with automatic Allison transmission. (545?)

..using this mostly for long road trips, a month or two max. We'd typically head west from the East coast and then south through Central America. Some areas of Mexico can be hot dessert like and some steamy jungle areas along the coast but evenings cool off and many areas are comfortable with temps in the 70's even during the day.
We're thinking AC while driving will be our most important
The problem is in bold: not enough motor in either bus to do what you want. We don't like the 545 transmission it probably has for that job.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:32 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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So we'd need to give up the idea of AC while driving? I'd be almost more concerned about the noise with windows down than the heat.

From what I read here a DT466 would be ideal but we were kinda hoping we could make do with what we found but maybe not.

Anyone else with this engine want to chime in with their experiences on long drives?
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:52 AM   #6
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If those are 40' buses, that engine would likely feel underpowered on the highway.

As everyone keeps saying, it all depends on how you're going to use your bus.

I'm sure you've read by now that insulation works both ways. It's not just for cold weather. It's also a great help if you're trying to ac your bus. It also deadens noise quite a bit. That said, it's a personal choice.

Sounds like a cool trip. Please be sure and keep us posted.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:05 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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We also saw a 2001 Bluebird with a DT466E. It would have been a longer drive to pick it up but sounds like it might be worth it for the engine we'd need.
Any guesstimates on how much $ are we looking at to decent install AC units?
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:08 AM   #8
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Being underpowered for the job doesn't mean it can't do the job. It's a bus, not a race car, you just need to have realistic expectations for it.

I took my bus through the mountains more than once with my dual AC running and I got to the top of all the hills eventually. I've got the lowest spec T444E and the AT542 transmission.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:14 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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From what I gathered by counting windows they'd all be more like 35'.

We did this drive 2 years ago in a Suburban pulling a 15 ft trailer. It is incredible views and an amazing way to experience countries many different landscapes.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:46 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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[QUOTE=brokedown;244102]Being underpowered for the job doesn't mean it can't do the job.

That is my husbands theory too..as long as it gets us there. Speed isn't our top priority, especially once we hit Central America.
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