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Old 06-07-2019, 07:23 PM   #1
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Hello from Hamburg in Germany

Hello,
my name is Mirko, I live in a small village near Hamburg in Germany.

For over two months, I've been infected with the Skoolie virus.
For hours I looked at Youtube videos, and read a lot of pages about conversions of school buses.

For some time now I've been thinking about buying a van, but somehow I do not like the conventional ones that much. The furniture is more plastic, the space is not very big and they are very expensive.

Now I'm really thinking about buying a school bus in the US and convert it here. In Germany there is unfortunately no large selection of school buses from the USA.

In september I travel to New York, maybe there are some good dealers for school buses in the area that someone can recommend to me?

Please excuse my bad English, do not write very often in other languages, speak a little better.

greetings
Mirko
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:40 PM   #2
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Welcome, one problem of buying in the New York area is rust. They salt the roads pretty heavily in the winter.
Your English is better than many who were born here.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:40 PM   #3
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Welcome from New Hampshire Mirko.

Typically we like auction formats for scoring busses vs using a middleman/dealer. It just makes dollars and cents to do that, unless money is not an object?

Anyhow, if you planned right, you could win a bid on a bus here and pick it up when you cross the pond in Sept.
Several US auction companies you might like:
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...=&category=94H

https://onlineauction.422sales.com/c...cal.cgi?bsales
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:44 PM   #4
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Herzlich willkommen, Mirko!
There are numerous auctions where retired busses may be bought In the USA. Many people here complain, because the bus they want is so far away from them. I believe you will earn bragging rights in that regard!
Reading through this forum will inform you of where the websites are for the auctions, but even more importantly, you will learn what to avoid, as well as finding what fits your needs most closely.
Please consider: these machines are used, and far from being new. Parts in the EU may prove difficult to find, likewise mechanics willing to work on such a rare bird. I could not guess how expensive transhipping a bus to Germany will be.
So, welcome to the irrenanstalt!
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Old 06-08-2019, 03:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa View Post
Welcome, one problem of buying in the New York area is rust. They salt the roads pretty heavily in the winter.
Your English is better than many who were born here.
Thanks for the tip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by peteg59 View Post
Typically we like auction formats for scoring busses vs using a middleman/dealer. It just makes dollars and cents to do that, unless money is not an object?
Ok, but I can't see the bus before in an auction, so I don't know what I get?

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Originally Posted by haz.matt.1960 View Post
Herzlich willkommen, Mirko!
So, welcome to the irrenanstalt!
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:05 PM   #6
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Stoneage, you might want to check out Midwest Transit.com
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:09 PM   #7
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I have heard a lot of good things about Harlow Bus Sales. Some folks here have had good luck getting good buses at prices notably lower than most of the other dealers I have seen.
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Old 06-08-2019, 05:14 PM   #8
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somebody needs to check this one out.
Not yellow
MD-3060
RE
$1500

https://www.goharlows.com/default.as...OwnedInventory
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:08 PM   #9
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No kidding, such a deal!
Well, maybe...
Stairwell shows a goodly amount of rust. Possibly posterior rot, too. Pix won't enlarge on the fon.
Location'd be nice too. Tho anywhere in the Dakotas'll be a hike for most.
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
somebody needs to check this one out.
Not yellow
MD-3060
RE
$1500

https://www.goharlows.com/default.as...OwnedInventory
$1500 from a dealer, it's got to be scrap. It's a ski resort bus from Id.
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:56 PM   #11
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Welcome Mirko!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoneage View Post
Hello,
my name is Mirko, I live in a small village near Hamburg in Germany.

For over two months, I've been infected with the Skoolie virus.
For hours I looked at Youtube videos, and read a lot of pages about conversions of school buses.

For some time now I've been thinking about buying a van, but somehow I do not like the conventional ones that much. The furniture is more plastic, the space is not very big and they are very expensive.

Now I'm really thinking about buying a school bus in the US and convert it here. In Germany there is unfortunately no large selection of school buses from the USA.

In september I travel to New York, maybe there are some good dealers for school buses in the area that someone can recommend to me?

Please excuse my bad English, do not write very often in other languages, speak a little better.

greetings
Mirko
—-///

Hello and welcome Mirko... your English is perfect!

So you want a skoolie, ahhh? So do I...

I live on Long Island, New York, and I started looking in February.

So far, I have nothing... and I have looked, and looked... yes, and a lot of research too. But nothing.

The more I look, the more people tell me of all the things, my “blindness” will not allow me to see.

The more I hear, the more people tell me of all the things my “deafness” will not allow me to hear.

So, needless to say, I went from having nightmares to sleeping like a baby.

Yeah, sleep like a baby... sleep, wake-up, cry. Go back to sleep, wake-up again, cry a little more...well, you get the idea.

Just getting a bus, it’s not an easy thing... and that’s just finding one you can trust, is not going to die the moment it changes ownership.

It is my humble opinion, perhaps you should be looking for a bus there rather than here. After all, buying an old bus, paying money for something without any warranties and with no guarantees whatsoever... it’s a scary thought by itself.

And if that’s a scary thought, wait until they give you the requirements for importing used vehicles. Some countries are very strict when it comes to soil. Vehicles being imported cannot have a trace of soil from the country of origin anywhere.

So after disinfecting the vehicle, you will need to transport it on a flat bed to the freight forwarder to be placed in a 40’ shipping container, and then FOB New York or New Jersey.

After that, you will have import taxes to deal with... and then... well, some tell me, a mini nervous breakdown is part of the initiation ritual as well.

Have you ever driven a bus? I have not. I cannot even get behind one without a Commercial Driver Permit.

And that I can’t get without first passing a written test on air brakes -which they tell me, has a 90% failure rate-

I’m sure in Germany there are many buses, and probably much more modern than the ones we have here... hey, you can probably get one and convert it into
a space ship looking vessel!

Or if you want something with a little more history, an English tourist bus, or even a trolley (which is what i’m thinking of getting now) may be ideal.

Anything you are able to get in Europe will be a more “secure” option and a much better choice based on logistics alone.

Anyway, I been through the Hazz.Matt160 rude awakening.. and that visual of driving a bus through the George Washington Bridge, is not one, I will soon forget.

Oh and one more thing. If you have never been to New York City, coming here to buy a bus, may not be the ideal situation.... you will probably get all stressed out just by being a passenger in a car! Plus, the buses in the Northeast are full of rust... buses from California or the South are much more desirable.

You may also want to check on Alibaba.com. I don’t know what your trade deal is with China but boy, they surely have some great looking buses.

And don’t forget England.. maybe you can get something really extraordinary before Brexit takes over!

There are also finished skoolies for sale, maybe one will catch your attention.. You may also want to inquire what the import duties are prior to looking though; A finished skoolie will be a housing type of vehicle. So not only you’re importing a vehicle but a house as well!

Good luck on your journey. I’m still waiting for mine to begin!

Leibe GrüBe

Dèsirée
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dèsirée View Post
It is my humble opinion, perhaps you should be looking for a bus there rather than here. After all, buying an old bus, paying money for something without any warranties and with no guarantees whatsoever... it’s a scary thought by itself.

...

I’m sure in Germany there are many buses, and probably much more modern than the ones we have here... hey, you can probably get one and convert it into
a space ship looking vessel!

...

Good luck on your journey. I’m still waiting for mine to begin!

Leibe GrüBe

Dèsirée
I've been looking here, but just a handful of American school buses, and there are all scrap!

We have a lot of buses, like MAN, Mercedes, Volvo. But all of them are either too expensive or have too many kilometers down. A bus from 2005 has 900.000 km(560.000 miles) driven, the dealers here want for those one 8.000 € to 12.000 €, the condition of it is often very bad.
If it is cheaper, the condition is even worser.

The problem with buses from England is, they all drive in the left-hand traffic, so the driver seat is in the right side, this is not an option for me.

And all of them don't have these great look of an American school bus, this is what makes it here in Germany so special to drive some of those buses.

If I can buy a bus for $5K to $7K, import it for $4K to $6K, then I will be happy!
I don't know if this is realistic, but I'm on my way to figure it out!

Good luck to you too, hope you don't have any nightmares more and find some bus it will fits to your needs!

LG (wich means Liebe Grüße)
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoneage View Post
I've been looking here, but just a handful of American school buses, and there are all scrap!

We have a lot of buses, like MAN, Mercedes, Volvo. But all of them are either too expensive or have too many kilometers down. A bus from 2005 has 900.000 km(560.000 miles) driven, the dealers here want for those one 8.000 € to 12.000 €, the condition of it is often very bad.
If it is cheaper, the condition is even worser.

The problem with buses from England is, they all drive in the left-hand traffic, so the driver seat is in the right side, this is not an option for me.

And all of them don't have these great look of an American school bus, this is what makes it here in Germany so special to drive some of those buses.

If I can buy a bus for $5K to $7K, import it for $4K to $6K, then I will be happy!
I don't know if this is realistic, but I'm on my way to figure it out!

Good luck to you too, hope you don't have any nightmares more and find some bus it will fits to your needs!

LG (wich means Liebe Grüße)
Honestly I'd expect it to cost a bit more.
There are a few older threads of folks importing US buses to Germany and the Netherlands.
Good luck!

The only old vehicles I saw in Germany were antiques owned by collectors and I was told they had special restrictions and that they couldn't be driven much because of emissions.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f6/hel...any-26219.html
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:17 AM   #14
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Hello again!! If you believe you can overcome any mechanical issues that a school bus may present in more than one way, and if you have that much of lead way when it comes to the cash on hand, then eBay may be a good place to start looking. And it would be wonderful if a mechanic could check it out before you bid on it.

But let’s say you do win a bus on eBay, the very first thing you should do is have the bus delivered to a service garage where they can run a diagnostic check with a computer and at least you can correct anything that may be wrong while still here in the US.

The last time I checked, there were quite a few on eBay.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:55 PM   #15
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Hallo Mirko,

If you want to use the vehicle in Germany, I would not buy a school bus in America and then try to import it. If the customs people do not kill the idea, the TÜV (German inspection) will. And even if you get past that, the fuel consumption will put you quickly in the poor house. And even if you have the money for the fuel you will be a rolling obstacle on the Autobahn.

I would go with a Sprinter. One of my brothers who lives in Dortmund bought an empty high top, designed his own interior and had it build in Poland by some furniture makers that were very reasonable with pricing. It is a nifty design with a full sized bed that gets pulled up under the roof during the day.

If you need something bigger, look for a delivery truck with a reasonably clean box and build that out to your needs.

Decades ago, my other brother wanted something even bigger and bought a huge military truck with a "Funkkoffer" (radio communications body). He converted that into a cozy cabin including a wood-fired stove. When he got to the TÜV, they required communication ability between the driver cabin and the separate rear body. So my brother went to the next toy store, bought a children's telephone set, bolted one unit onto the dashboard and the other one connected with a wire back in the rear. He got the precious inspection sticker the same day an was going to rip the phone out soon. But the little red phone made for a nice conversation piece in a military truck. When people asked what it was for, he replied: "To launch the missiles".

An American school bus would be a very unique and attention getting vehicle in Germany but just not very practical considering that everything is smaller (backroads, cities, travel distances, the whole country) and traffic moves at a faster and more aggressive pace.

Servus,

Claus
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:08 PM   #16
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Hallo Mirko,

If you want to use the vehicle in Germany, I would not buy a school bus in America and then try to import it. If the customs people do not kill the idea, the TÜV (German inspection) will. And even if you get past that, the fuel consumption will put you quickly in the poor house. And even if you have the money for the fuel you will be a rolling obstacle on the Autobahn.

I would go with a Sprinter. One of my brothers who lives in Dortmund bought an empty high top, designed his own interior and had it build in Poland by some furniture makers that were very reasonable with pricing. It is a nifty design with a full sized bed that gets pulled up under the roof during the day.

If you need something bigger, look for a delivery truck with a reasonably clean box and build that out to your needs.

Decades ago, my other brother wanted something even bigger and bought a huge military truck with a "Funkkoffer" (radio communications body). He converted that into a cozy cabin including a wood-fired stove. When he got to the TÜV, they required communication ability between the driver cabin and the separate rear body. So my brother went to the next toy store, bought a children's telephone set, bolted one unit onto the dashboard and the other one connected with a wire back in the rear. He got the precious inspection sticker the same day an was going to rip the phone out soon. But the little red phone made for a nice conversation piece in a military truck. When people asked what it was for, he replied: "To launch the missiles".

An American school bus would be a very unique and attention getting vehicle in Germany but just not very practical considering that everything is smaller (backroads, cities, travel distances, the whole country) and traffic moves at a faster and more aggressive pace.

Servus,

Claus
one thing about traveling from one country to another in Europe is you don't have to be on the road very long to get to the next country
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:45 PM   #17
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Great posting... even greater advice for Mirko!

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpine44 View Post
Hallo Mirko,

If you want to use the vehicle in Germany, I would not buy a school bus in America and then try to import it. If the customs people do not kill the idea, the TÜV (German inspection) will. And even if you get past that, the fuel consumption will put you quickly in the poor house. And even if you have the money for the fuel you will be a rolling obstacle on the Autobahn.

I would go with a Sprinter. One of my brothers who lives in Dortmund bought an empty high top, designed his own interior and had it build in Poland by some furniture makers that were very reasonable with pricing. It is a nifty design with a full sized bed that gets pulled up under the roof during the day.

If you need something bigger, look for a delivery truck with a reasonably clean box and build that out to your needs.

Decades ago, my other brother wanted something even bigger and bought a huge military truck with a "Funkkoffer" (radio communications body). He converted that into a cozy cabin including a wood-fired stove. When he got to the TÜV, they required communication ability between the driver cabin and the separate rear body. So my brother went to the next toy store, bought a children's telephone set, bolted one unit onto the dashboard and the other one connected with a wire back in the rear. He got the precious inspection sticker the same day an was going to rip the phone out soon. But the little red phone made for a nice conversation piece in a military truck. When people asked what it was for, he replied: "To launch the missiles".

An American school bus would be a very unique and attention getting vehicle in Germany but just not very practical considering that everything is smaller (backroads, cities, travel distances, the whole country) and traffic moves at a faster and more aggressive pace.

Servus,

Claus
—-///

What a great little story... and you’re sooo right, how will Mirko navigate a skoolie is hard to imagine!!
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Old 06-09-2019, 11:14 PM   #18
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Just thought of another example to make the point that vehicles which are totally sensible in one country are at odds with the conditions in another country.

I don't know whether you guys are old enough to remember the huge Chevy pickup trucks the GIs were driving around the military bases in Germany. They appeared to be twice as big as the surrounding "normal" cars and made the people driving them look like dwarfs.

In America this is a classic full-sized pickup truck. I use one of these in SUV configuration as our trail rig in the National Forests around Asheville, North Carolina and it looks absolutely reasonable in this landscape even with a 6" lift and big tires as you can see in the photo taken at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

20181012_144716s.jpg
I replaced the backseats with a platform for a full-size mattress, which saves us pitching the tent for the night. All our gear and food for 2-3 days fits easily under the platform. So, it's just the right size for an American weekend.

In Germany that vehicle would fall squarely into the category "Monstertruck". With its V8 6.2 Liter diesel engine and retrofitted 4 speed transmission with locking converter it costs me about 14 cents (~0.12 Euro) of fuel per mile to operate. Driving this truck for 1.6 kilometers in Germany would cost you about twice as much. A school bus would double your fuel cost one more time.
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Old 06-09-2019, 11:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpine44 View Post
Just thought of another example to make the point that vehicles which are totally sensible in one country are at odds with the conditions in another country.

I don't know whether you guys are old enough to remember the huge Chevy pickup trucks the GIs were driving around the military bases in Germany. They appeared to be twice as big as the surrounding "normal" cars and made the people in them look like dwarfs.

In America this is a classic full-sized (pickup)truck. I use one of these as our trail rig in the National Forests around Asheville, North Carolina and it looks absolutely reasonable in this landscape even with a 6" lift and big tires as you can see in the photo taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Attachment 34360

In Germany that would fall squarely into the category "Monstertruck". With its V8 diesel engine and retrofitted 4 speed transmission with locking converter it costs me about 14 cents (~0.12 Euro) of fuel per mile to operate. Driving this truck for 1.6 kilometers in Germany would cost you about twice as much. A school bus would double the fuel cost one more time.
—-//
The cars in Europe as well as Japan and China are so petite compared to our standard size. I remember when I was in Rome, a Cadillac was taken out of an old enclosure and it took up the entire cobblestone street... we couldn’t even walk in the sideway.

And even though that was many many years ago and our cars keep getting smaller and smaller, somehow we seem to forget, so is their vehicle scaling.

As a matter of fact, the coolest cars now, are their 3 wheelers.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:15 AM   #20
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Thay sounds precisely like Mew Enhlamd
...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
one thing about traveling from one country to another in Europe is you don't have to be on the road very long to get to the next country
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