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Old 01-16-2015, 12:48 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: West CO
Posts: 2
Year: W.CO
Hello from Colorado

Well I have to start with I have no bus, although I plan to have one mid February at latest. I live in Western CO, I currently manage a head shop as well as provide consults on effective cannabis usage. I am currently debating between and MC9 or a Safe-T-liner, I personally am leaning Thomas side but the wife is liking the MC for some reason. The goal for the wife and I is to simply reduce our space usage. We had moved from a 1500 sqft house 2 years ago to a 600 sqft house and both times we only effectively used half of the space so a bus is the next step for us.

I have been researching for six or so months so far and have noticed one slightly bothersome and irritating trend. It seems that quite a few purchas buses at auction and resell them for substantial mark up. I have seen several Thomas buses leave auction at 2.5 to 3.5 grand only to turn up for sale on open market at a touch higher price to say the least so I guess I may have to travel some way to get a bus. I do have a current 6k budget but would like to purchase, transport the bus, as well as purchase a composting toilet and a few other more expensive items. Ideally I would like to invest no more than 4k to 4.5 in bus and transport; however it currently appears as if all 6 is destined for just the bus.

I have a lot of wood and metal work experience as I grew up in a mechanics shop, managed a fabrication shop until the market crash. So I plan on using lots of free and cheap stuff to upcycle, one such example would be using oak pallets for flooring. While this is meant to be done cheaply that is a subjective statement as my wife says I am a quality whore. All together though my original plan was slated to cost 6k total for purchase and conversion. That was assuming 2-3 for a bus and 1.5k double for conversion. 10 k is looking more realistic now maybe?

At any rate thank you in advance for the advice I will receive and I look forward to meeting you all.
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Old 01-16-2015, 03:18 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Salida CO
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Let's stay in touch. I am in Salida, just started work on converting my 1982 Carpenter skoolie. Will be all over the state this year (entertainer).
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:38 PM   #3
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biggesy differencs is mileage on drivetrain (between MC9 and school bus) parts are basically the same duty series.
Now the engine price point for repair could be a game chamnger, that will be up to you

and welcome
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:10 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
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We have a nice MC-9 for sale at a very reasonabale asking price.

http://showroom.auction123.com/thebusdealercom/inventory/9869/1984/MCI/COACH/1TUAAH9A8DR004147.html


And we have four Thomas Saf-T-Liner RE's for sale at very reasonable prices. Two of these buses have engines that have less than 20K miles on them (don't ask me why a school district would spend the $$$ necessary to do such major work on buses that had so little service life left in them).


http://showroom.auction123.com/thebusdealercom/inventory/9869/1991/THOMAS/RE/1T7A3G907M1781500.html


The MCI has seen most of the service life in MT and the Thomas buses were in western WA. In other words, no rust.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:07 PM   #5
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Year: 1992
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westco View Post
Well I have to start with I have no bus, although I plan to have one mid February at latest. I live in Western CO, I currently manage a head shop as well as provide consults on effective cannabis usage. I am currently debating between and MC9 or a Safe-T-liner, I personally am leaning Thomas side but the wife is liking the MC for some reason. The goal for the wife and I is to simply reduce our space usage. We had moved from a 1500 sqft house 2 years ago to a 600 sqft house and both times we only effectively used half of the space so a bus is the next step for us.

I have been researching for six or so months so far and have noticed one slightly bothersome and irritating trend. It seems that quite a few purchas buses at auction and resell them for substantial mark up. I have seen several Thomas buses leave auction at 2.5 to 3.5 grand only to turn up for sale on open market at a touch higher price to say the least so I guess I may have to travel some way to get a bus. I do have a current 6k budget but would like to purchase, transport the bus, as well as purchase a composting toilet and a few other more expensive items. Ideally I would like to invest no more than 4k to 4.5 in bus and transport; however it currently appears as if all 6 is destined for just the bus.

I have a lot of wood and metal work experience as I grew up in a mechanics shop, managed a fabrication shop until the market crash. So I plan on using lots of free and cheap stuff to upcycle, one such example would be using oak pallets for flooring. While this is meant to be done cheaply that is a subjective statement as my wife says I am a quality whore. All together though my original plan was slated to cost 6k total for purchase and conversion. That was assuming 2-3 for a bus and 1.5k double for conversion. 10 k is looking more realistic now maybe?

At any rate thank you in advance for the advice I will receive and I look forward to meeting you all.
I'd take an MCI hands down. Those things just ride nice.
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:32 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Denver
Posts: 489
Year: 1982
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International S1800
Engine: DT466 Trans: MT643
Rated Cap: 65
HEY!
Im in CO, too.
I've owned MCI 8s, 9s, 12s and 102s
They are incredible machines and share more in common with small planes than vehicles, IMO, which is amazing because they will last forever, but also not so friendly to the more intense levels of modification or repair. They ride better, which is great if you are traveling a lot, but their suspensions are much more complex. If you will be parked more, the suspension is not quite as important and simplicity is nice.
Also, the luggage bays are SUPER handy.
But school buses are shorter, cheaper upfront, and cheaper to maintain.

Id be more than happy to meetup, talk shop and help you make informed bus decisions. There are often local auctions in Denver where you can pick up busses for a good price. I saw an amazing MC9 for $4,900. I kicked myself for not buying it.

There's nothing stopping you from being one of those people who picks up a bus cheap at auction just like those buying and reselling them--I've done that game, too, and it's a way to make a living. Educate yourself and there's nothing to keep you from getting those deals, too.

Best of luck, welcome to the club!

FWIW, I bought a school bus for my most recent conversion because of their relative cheapness (Mine was $2k), simplicity, and availability of parts.

Plus, coaches are generally only 40' long, and I wanted something 35'.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:11 PM   #7
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Location: West CO
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Year: W.CO
I plan to park mostly which may be an issue with the bus vs. MC9. We are thinking at least one year in each location we would potentially like to live in and if we dislike it we make a new plan. With the goal that once our degrees are finished we will have found our 10 year plus location;( I will be starting law school soon) which means bus living for the next 4 years minimum. With this plan the MC9 would be awesome good build quality, under storage, looks, and less raised eyebrows.

Honestly it is an initial investment issue, if I found an MC9 at 5k total investment I would snap it up. for 5k total on a school bus I could have a low miles Thomas auto 40ft pusher and if lucky it would be an activity type bus with under storage albeit minimal, and the higher roof as I am 6'2" tall.

I would love to meet any one into buses at this point simply because I only really understand the basics from a mechanics view right now.

As to maintenance costs; is there a large difference? From a mechanical standpoint I thought there was little difference, I have seen many school buses with the same or similar motors and transmissions.
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Old 01-17-2015, 05:10 PM   #8
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Posts: 489
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Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International S1800
Engine: DT466 Trans: MT643
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The main difference is that most school buses are medium-duty in terms of their components --transmissions are Allison AT and MT, whereas a coach would be an HT.

The engines in coaches are also bigger, for example a Detroit Diesel Series 60 or 8v71, whereas a school bus would have smaller, straight-6's like Dt466 or powerstrokes.

A school bus is like a box truck and a coach is more like a semi.

I would much rather buy a super nice school bus at $5k, than a so-so coach at $5k, espcially if you are going to keep it for a long time. Ive owned old, tired, cheap coaches and Id rather have a newer, fresh, school bus ----if they both cost $5k

Not to mention, coaches have tag-axles--2 more tires to buy, maintain, etc, and the air suspension is a whole 'nother system to keep up with air hoses, etc.

That said, I have an ancient 1976 MC8 that sat for 4 years once. I went out, charged the batteries, and it started right up and I drove it 90 miles to a new yard right then.
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:20 PM   #9
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: NM
Posts: 23
Year: 1959
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: 1959 Chevy
Engine: 350
I like the idea of down sizing your living area, My bus is alot different than what your wanting to use, it's a 1959 Chevy that's been a house bus since 1970 fully self containd with solar, water, lp, and gen. so don't let anyone talk you out of it. I'm down in Taos so lets keep in touch !
Good Luck,
Sky
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