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Old 01-04-2019, 07:41 AM   #1
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Smile Hi all!

Hi all!

We are Marvin & Lisanne and we are going for our own bus conversion. However we don't have a bus just yet.

Since we are from the Netherlands it'll be an over-see conversion and we therefor have to ship the skoolie to Europe.

What we are looking for is a bus that dates from 1997 (or lower because of import rules) and because i'm just over 6' tall we are looking for a construction where I still have headspace.

Any tips on how to buy a skoolie that fits our needs would be very welcome!

Regards,

Marvin & Lisanne
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:08 AM   #2
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What part of the Netherlands?
I love it over there.
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:09 AM   #3
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What part of the Netherlands?
I love it over there.
Eastern
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:28 PM   #4
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I don't have a bus yet, but this is info I've gathers from searching around and looking at buses locally.



You'll likely get a bus in 2 variants of headroom - (72")1.8288m and (78")1.9812m. The former leaves you no headroom, the latter allows you a bit.

The USA has a lot of states where we use road salt that results in rust. Here is our "Salt Belt" states to avoid: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington DC.

Other states such as Colorado and Utah are also considered part of the Salt Belt but use less corrosive substances that do not lead to rust as quickly.

Also stay away from coastal areas. Salt in the air leads to rust as well.

Stay away from Florida and Georgia. These states run their buses till they don't run no more it seems. You can find reasonable milages in the 100k to 200k ranges. FL/GA run theirs to the 300k-400k ranges until they go up for auction.

Arizona buses are what I've been told are the best. Texas and Tennessee also have some nice buses.



--------------------------------------------------------

So, while I would love to visit your country some day, unfortunately I have not been able to yet. I don't know anything about your nations use of trucks/diesels, so here's my advice:

Find out what some common transmissions and engines are in your country. See if certain ones are banned from import for some reason or another, and shy away from those. What may be deemed great in the USA due to low parts cost and parts availability might be completely different in another country.

Being said, there is a "unicorn" combination that is popular here (trust me, I've been digging through engine transmission combination possibilities for the better part of a month). The DT466 engine and 643 or 3060 transmission. Many a users have given me and others advice against the 545 due to it's lack of features useful in skoolies, such as overdrive and locking torque converter.

CAT engines and Mercedes engines cost a lot more than Cummins or 444/466 to repair. CAT's are good engines, just expensive. Mercedes, eh, not so much from what others have said. Lacking a 444/466, the cummins comes in second it seems.

But - all of this may be a moot point. If the only parts and mechanics in your area are only for, say, Mercedes, then I'd be hard pressed to say it's not a "better" engine choice than, say, a DT466 that nobody works on near you or has parts for. It wouldn't perform better, but maintenance would be quicker (maybe not cheaper though). But again - I have no clue what engines are popular over there, so take this as a grain of salt.
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geminusprime View Post
I don't have a bus yet, but this is info I've gathers from searching around and looking at buses locally.



You'll likely get a bus in 2 variants of headroom - (72")1.8288m and (78")1.9812m. The former leaves you no headroom, the latter allows you a bit.

The USA has a lot of states where we use road salt that results in rust. Here is our "Salt Belt" states to avoid: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington DC.

Other states such as Colorado and Utah are also considered part of the Salt Belt but use less corrosive substances that do not lead to rust as quickly.

Also stay away from coastal areas. Salt in the air leads to rust as well.

Stay away from Florida and Georgia. These states run their buses till they don't run no more it seems. You can find reasonable milages in the 100k to 200k ranges. FL/GA run theirs to the 300k-400k ranges until they go up for auction.

Arizona buses are what I've been told are the best. Texas and Tennessee also have some nice buses.



--------------------------------------------------------

So, while I would love to visit your country some day, unfortunately I have not been able to yet. I don't know anything about your nations use of trucks/diesels, so here's my advice:

Find out what some common transmissions and engines are in your country. See if certain ones are banned from import for some reason or another, and shy away from those. What may be deemed great in the USA due to low parts cost and parts availability might be completely different in another country.

Being said, there is a "unicorn" combination that is popular here (trust me, I've been digging through engine transmission combination possibilities for the better part of a month). The DT466 engine and 643 or 3060 transmission. Many a users have given me and others advice against the 545 due to it's lack of features useful in skoolies, such as overdrive and locking torque converter.

CAT engines and Mercedes engines cost a lot more than Cummins or 444/466 to repair. CAT's are good engines, just expensive. Mercedes, eh, not so much from what others have said. Lacking a 444/466, the cummins comes in second it seems.

But - all of this may be a moot point. If the only parts and mechanics in your area are only for, say, Mercedes, then I'd be hard pressed to say it's not a "better" engine choice than, say, a DT466 that nobody works on near you or has parts for. It wouldn't perform better, but maintenance would be quicker (maybe not cheaper though). But again - I have no clue what engines are popular over there, so take this as a grain of salt.
.
Not true what you say about buses from Ga.
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geminusprime View Post
I don't have a bus yet, but this is info I've gathers from searching around and looking at buses locally.



You'll likely get a bus in 2 variants of headroom - (72")1.8288m and (78")1.9812m. The former leaves you no headroom, the latter allows you a bit.

The USA has a lot of states where we use road salt that results in rust. Here is our "Salt Belt" states to avoid: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington DC.

Other states such as Colorado and Utah are also considered part of the Salt Belt but use less corrosive substances that do not lead to rust as quickly.

Also stay away from coastal areas. Salt in the air leads to rust as well.

Stay away from Florida and Georgia. These states run their buses till they don't run no more it seems. You can find reasonable milages in the 100k to 200k ranges. FL/GA run theirs to the 300k-400k ranges until they go up for auction.

Arizona buses are what I've been told are the best. Texas and Tennessee also have some nice buses.



--------------------------------------------------------

So, while I would love to visit your country some day, unfortunately I have not been able to yet. I don't know anything about your nations use of trucks/diesels, so here's my advice:

Find out what some common transmissions and engines are in your country. See if certain ones are banned from import for some reason or another, and shy away from those. What may be deemed great in the USA due to low parts cost and parts availability might be completely different in another country.

Being said, there is a "unicorn" combination that is popular here (trust me, I've been digging through engine transmission combination possibilities for the better part of a month). The DT466 engine and 643 or 3060 transmission. Many a users have given me and others advice against the 545 due to it's lack of features useful in skoolies, such as overdrive and locking torque converter.

CAT engines and Mercedes engines cost a lot more than Cummins or 444/466 to repair. CAT's are good engines, just expensive. Mercedes, eh, not so much from what others have said. Lacking a 444/466, the cummins comes in second it seems.

But - all of this may be a moot point. If the only parts and mechanics in your area are only for, say, Mercedes, then I'd be hard pressed to say it's not a "better" engine choice than, say, a DT466 that nobody works on near you or has parts for. It wouldn't perform better, but maintenance would be quicker (maybe not cheaper though). But again - I have no clue what engines are popular over there, so take this as a grain of salt.
Sticker shock at Navistar is why I switched to a CAT. If I gotta pay so much to repair it, the damn thing better be GOLD.
The "Cat is expensive" thing is WAY overblown on here. Unless you're a technician or very mechanically inclined and determined any modern medium duty engine is ridiculously expensive to pay someone to repair. Even some fairly normal repairs on these things will have folks selling their bus.
I learned the hard way what loyalty to IC/Navistar gets you.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:07 PM   #7
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Location: Wright City MO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Sticker shock at Navistar is why I switched to a CAT. If I gotta pay so much to repair it, the damn thing better be GOLD.
The "Cat is expensive" thing is WAY overblown on here. Unless you're a technician or very mechanically inclined and determined any modern medium duty engine is ridiculously expensive to pay someone to repair. Even some fairly normal repairs on these things will have folks selling their bus.
I learned the hard way what loyalty to IC/Navistar gets you.

I agree the "CAT" thing is overblown the parts are a little higher due to CAT trying to keep things captive but not that much higher and it is a very sound design and not really trouble prone and they ALL seem to be trouble prone and expensive once they become computerized/emissions engines. Gene
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:26 AM   #8
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Location: Netherlands
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by geminusprime View Post
I don't have a bus yet, but this is info I've gathers from searching around and looking at buses locally.



You'll likely get a bus in 2 variants of headroom - (72")1.8288m and (78")1.9812m. The former leaves you no headroom, the latter allows you a bit.

The USA has a lot of states where we use road salt that results in rust. Here is our "Salt Belt" states to avoid: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington DC.

Other states such as Colorado and Utah are also considered part of the Salt Belt but use less corrosive substances that do not lead to rust as quickly.

Also stay away from coastal areas. Salt in the air leads to rust as well.

Stay away from Florida and Georgia. These states run their buses till they don't run no more it seems. You can find reasonable milages in the 100k to 200k ranges. FL/GA run theirs to the 300k-400k ranges until they go up for auction.

Arizona buses are what I've been told are the best. Texas and Tennessee also have some nice buses.



--------------------------------------------------------

So, while I would love to visit your country some day, unfortunately I have not been able to yet. I don't know anything about your nations use of trucks/diesels, so here's my advice:

Find out what some common transmissions and engines are in your country. See if certain ones are banned from import for some reason or another, and shy away from those. What may be deemed great in the USA due to low parts cost and parts availability might be completely different in another country.

Being said, there is a "unicorn" combination that is popular here (trust me, I've been digging through engine transmission combination possibilities for the better part of a month). The DT466 engine and 643 or 3060 transmission. Many a users have given me and others advice against the 545 due to it's lack of features useful in skoolies, such as overdrive and locking torque converter.

CAT engines and Mercedes engines cost a lot more than Cummins or 444/466 to repair. CAT's are good engines, just expensive. Mercedes, eh, not so much from what others have said. Lacking a 444/466, the cummins comes in second it seems.

But - all of this may be a moot point. If the only parts and mechanics in your area are only for, say, Mercedes, then I'd be hard pressed to say it's not a "better" engine choice than, say, a DT466 that nobody works on near you or has parts for. It wouldn't perform better, but maintenance would be quicker (maybe not cheaper though). But again - I have no clue what engines are popular over there, so take this as a grain of salt.
Hi Geminusprime,

Thank you for your response! We really appreciate that.
So we'll be looking for the latter then. Is this like a bluebird or a carpenter? I'm not sure what you mean by 'latter'

Great advise on the states and how they 'treat' there buses. This will help us a lot!

If you do visit the Netherlands one day, make sure to let us know. We'll be glad to show people what the Netherlands really has to offer^^

About the importing stuff. When we get a bus that dates before 1 jan 1998 it'll be not so difficult to import. Cost approx is:
Bus price + transport to europe.
Over the above there will be a 10% import fee.
Over the above there will be taxes 21%.
Then it has to go through a condition check (before allowed on the road) approx €200. And another €50 for the plates.

Buses that date after 1 jan 1998 will be seen as 'self build' and you have to come up with all kinds of documentation over the vehicle such as strength test etc.

In some city's (the larger ones) in Europe the bus is not allowed to go in due to emissions. This can be corrected with an extra filter (catalyst? Are these available over there aswel?) And I will need a trucker's drivers license aswel because the vehicle is heavier then 3.500kg. (7716lbs) and longer then allowed to be driven with a normal drivers license.

We have been looking for these buses in the Netherlands but they are not very common. Luckily we found a guy that has 10 of them for rent (bus trips etc.) they all have the T444E engine and an Allison transmission (not sure which one, I included a photo of Lisanne standing in front of it ). So we got some information and he said that almost all the parts (except for the very common ones, like tires, have to be imported). Luckily my brother is a mechanic and I also know a thing or 2 about engines. Together with the diagnostics manual and the service manual we should be oke to check the technical state ones the bus is here.

We also read some good reviews about the DT466. We'll now also be more on the lookout for the 643 or 3060 transmissions. Thanks!

Another question we have: what are the approx additional cost / time for a roof raise (doing it ourselfs). This might open up our search criteria a bit
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:33 AM   #9
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:03 PM   #10
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Location: Wright City MO
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Year: 1998
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Engine: 5.9 Cummins/Allison
Rated Cap: 74
My roof raise (14") cost about $650.00 that included 14ga 1 1/4" tubing prepainted aluminum sheet to reside the bus rivets, adhesive,welding wire and the dump fees for the windows. That did not include the cost of the new windows because I was going to install them either way.The roof raise took the better part of two days working almost entirely by myself. Gene
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