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Old 06-07-2017, 05:08 AM   #1
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Hello from Nebraska!

Hey there!

I've been thinking about buying a bus for a few years, but a recent need to split my time between two cites has made the idea much more appealing. With a few years of thought behind it, I've got a ton of ideas on what I want to see in it in the long run, and a little bit of knowledge on how to get there, but still have a TON to learn! Hopefully, I can pick up a good chunk of that knowledge here!
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Old 06-07-2017, 04:45 PM   #2
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Hang On........and welcome.
There are a lot of amazing folks on this sight, and they are willing to offer help and advice.
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Old 06-07-2017, 04:53 PM   #3
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Well... First challenge is finding the right bus!


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Old 06-07-2017, 06:26 PM   #4
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Tell us what size and type of bus you're thinking of and why. As much as you've thought about this already I'm sure you probably have a specific bus model in mind.

Are you wanting to make a bus into an apartment for this other town or are you thinking of something you can drive back and forth?

Most of us define buses as either campers for weekend type trips or the more heavily built live-ins. Naturally there's every conceivable level of build in between too.

You've indicated this idea has been in your mind for a long while. Tell us more detail about what's in your mind. I know I was always looking at school buses I'd see driving around thinking about which ones would be best to convert. What kind of bus do you like?
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:59 PM   #5
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You aren't wrong... I am looking at it as mostly an apartment for the other town. I've got a friend who owns a ton of land out there and has offered to let me park there (he's got hookups already). It's an area that definitely falls under the "country" category, so a random bus parked on the someone's property wouldn't even attract attention.

That said... I do a fair bit of traveling, so the ability to have my apartment "mobile" is definitely attractive. Nothing that would be considered "long haul", but one or two states over happens several times a year.

Shockingly (maybe), I don't have a specific model in mind, mostly because despite a lot of thought, I don't know enough about most models to know what's what yet. Like I said... still learning. Originally, I'd been thinking about getting a pusher, simply because it negates the rear entrance (which wouldn't be overly useful with the layouts I've been considering), and would likely be quieter overall. Lately, I've been thinking that having the engine up front might actually be better because I'd like the option to tow and in my research, front engines tend to be better at towing (and with towing, if you did have a pusher, you'd be preventing easy access to the engine).

Given that it'd be a semi-long-term place of residence, and I'd be working out of it, bigger is better. As such, I've been focussing on the 60+ seat models, but beyond that, I don't have anything I'm super fixed on yet. I can save a bit of space on beds, as I'm single and don't intend to change that any time soon, so don't need to do the whole queen-plus-single-bunks thing that seems to be prevalent in the community.

Beyond that... I'm not sure what all I can provide info wise. All my layout stuff is super early drafts since I don't have a specific bus in mind (and therefore don't have internal dimensions yet). I know wet wall will be on the drivers side (common sense), I know I plan on "zoning" the bus ("cab", living/kitchen area, bathroom and bedroom separated by pocket doors), I plan on using flexible solar panels on the roof to augment power, etc.

I'm also (slowly) working on setting up a website to track the whole process (research through completion), but it's nowhere near ready yet. Web design is a significant part of my income, so you'd think it'd be easy... but it's painfully difficult designing for myself!
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Old 06-07-2017, 08:23 PM   #6
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It wouldn't be hard to find a 36-40' FE bus. Are you into something classic, like the Crown or Gillig buses? There has been a number of them on line lately, probably still listed in the for sale section of this site. Then again, location is important. How far are you willing to go to drive the right bus home? I found mine in my back yard, but normally a guy has to do some driving to get the bus to the right location.

So pretty muc you're looking for a full size FE. Most here will recommend you stick to a Cummins 8.3 or the Cornbinder 466. It's usually an Allison transmission and ideally you're looking for a 3060, but even a 2000 series would be good. Most of us have the Allison 545 which is an adequate 4 spd auto, but leaves us wanting. This 545 transmission basically freewheels on downhills while the newer transmissions have lockup on the gearing that uses engine speed to help slow your decent on hills, not to mention being 5 or 6 speed transmissions.

About the last real question is do you prefer a mechanical engine and transmission or do you prefer the computer controlled engine/transmission setup? Mine is a '97 and was the last year this model was produced with a mechanical engine and transmission. You'll learn to tell which engines are mechanical and which are electronic. This may have something to do with how good you are with computers or not.

It's a fun process but there will be times you'll want to do some back peddling. This is a good time of year to begin, hoping you can get your insulation in before the cold weather hits this fall. This sounds perfect, unless you'd rather buy a grandma's trailer and park it out there. Granny's trailer ain't much good for trips through.
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Old 06-08-2017, 02:09 AM   #7
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I'm not super set on style, so anything from the mid-late 90's on would probably work fine. I'm also definitely capable of driving something pretty far if necessary... but that brings up the logistical challenge either buying sight unseen, or doing a LOT of potential pre-purchase traveling to find something in good shape.

I'm very comfortable with technology, so not at all opposed to a computer controlled setup... but there's also still something to be said for tried and true (plus, mechanical tends to be easier to fix in my experience... at least with trucks).
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Old 06-08-2017, 11:29 AM   #8
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You're right, and these are simply trucks. You've obviously done enough reading here to have a good idea of what you want. Now it's just a matter of time until you find the right bus. You'll be popping rivets in no time.
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Old 06-08-2017, 01:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgriffiths View Post
I'm also (slowly) working on setting up a website to track the whole process (research through completion), but it's nowhere near ready yet. Web design is a significant part of my income, so you'd think it'd be easy... but it's painfully difficult designing for myself!
Been there done that. When you are your own customer it becomes impossible to nail the damn customer down to a set of agreed upon actionable requirements. Requirements creep is incredible in that scenario!
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Old 06-08-2017, 01:37 PM   #10
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It's definitely a difference, isn't it?? Super annoying. For that matter, I haven't even picked a name yet... hard to finish the site without a name for it!
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