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Old 09-24-2017, 04:55 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Olympia WA
Posts: 11
Smile Hi Folks! A beginning...

Hi Everybody!

I've dreamed of living in a converted bus since I was 13 years old, and now almost 20 years later I'm finally embarking on the journey of making that dream a reality. I haven't bought my bus yet, but am going to have a look at a likely prospect next Saturday, and so decided to finally register and start to engage with this community. I need some advice! (Which I will ask about in the appropriate forum categories).

I spent the first decade of my adulthood traveling, crossing the country by car, plane, freight train, hitching rides, and even once on a bicycle. I have led a pretty adventurous life and had a lot of opportunity to learn different skills on the road. At 27 I found myself on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, living in a little cabin with a 12v lightbulb and a cat, exploring the nearby Buckhorn Wilderness and increasingly feeling like I had come to the extent of my ability to self-educate. So I enrolled at The Evergreen State College, pursuing a dual Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree in Latin American Studies and field biology. My academic career has enabled me to focus my intentions while engaging with Evergreen's very self-directed educational format to fulfill my need for diverse experiences. I've learned woodworking and metalworking skills, field biology practices, continued my Spanish studies and taught English to immigrants, and spent a year abroad in South America dong field biology and cultural studies.

Tomorrow I begin my fifth and final year at Evergreen. I've worked at the school and received different scholarships and grants, but have still managed to accrue significant debt, and have been thinking for a while about my next steps, and especially how to find some kind of housing stability as I try to find work in my fields as a 33-year old graduate. I've been dreaming and scheming on a beautiful bus to take me to seasonal field biology gigs, a self-contained living system that I can move with me. So I've managed to save a nice chunk of change, and am in the market. But as I've focused on my studies and building up some capital, I've done little research on the actual conversion process, or the mechanical aspect of skoolie purchase and living. And that's why I'm here. So please check out my other forum posts, especially the one I'm about to write about finding and buying a bus, and message me anytime if you're near or far and want to chat! I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
Michael
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Old 09-24-2017, 05:26 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,456
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Bienvenidos !

Looks like you are in the right place.

Lots of good posts here to get you started. We've got other skoolies up in your corner of the map.

What size bus? One guy- not crazy big, I'd guess.
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Old 09-24-2017, 05:35 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Olympia WA
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Thanks for the welcome!

I'm actually looking to go big- I consider this a long term housing decision, and want as much space as possible. The bus I'm going to look at is a 40' 97 International 3800 with a DT466E, 104K miles, waiting to hear which transmission. It's been gutted, floor, ceiling and wall panels removed and insulation out. Looks to be in pretty darn good shape, and maybe just what I've been looking for. Asking $5100, already titled RV, and seller seems like a straight shooter.

Any thoughts on the price/value/engine etc? I am as yet pretty unstudied, I know I want to do a conversion but have focused on saving money and expected to do more planning and reading up before actually trying to buy, but if this is a really good offer I am considering going for it.

I posted the above info on the general conversion thread, do you have thoughts on where would be best to post or read for those questions? i haven't used forums before and the structure is kinda hard to figure right off hand. And thanks again for being my very first contact in Skoolie land!
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:59 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,456
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Quote:
Originally Posted by doompup View Post

Any thoughts on the price/value/engine etc?
Sounds like a nice package. Few things that will make or break this deal:

Tires- How old? There is a DOT date code on the side of each tire- older than 7 and they suggest replace. about $2K for a set of 6

Trans- big bus will have big trans- which one? Look on the side of the trans, wipe the tag to read. Unsure, snap photos and post.

Interior Height- roof raise is $1500, am told.

Insulation- if it's built and not properly insulated, might as well be empty.

Paint- not yellow, i hope- painting mine now and 2 weeks into it....

All starting points to talk him down. Print some comps from past sales to show/help
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:06 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Olympia WA
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I'm waiting for the seller to let me know most of the information before our meeting next weekend, he said the tire "have years left in them" but who knows. What I do know is I don't anticipate a roof raise, DEFINITELY plan to insulate (my sister has a skoolie, built it out very DIY without insulation and I'm like WHY), paint's yellow but the time will come...

Some pics:







Also, I believe the driver seat has air ride, and apparently the "air activated"(?) door has an issue the owner has failed to diagnose, must manually open and trouble closing all the way.
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:08 PM   #6
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,456
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
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Originally Posted by doompup View Post
I'm waiting for the seller to let me know most of the information before our meeting next weekend, he said the tire "have years left in them" but who knows.
Looks nice to me- air ride and basement storage. High ceilings guessing based on windows.

Broken door probably be replaced with RV door- seals better, easier for egress.
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:14 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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What about your transmission criteria? Which would you consider desirable in that bus, or is there one you would avoid or use for bargaining? Thanks for your responses!
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Old 09-25-2017, 04:47 AM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 11,199
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
I'd go for ANY transmission that isn't a 545.
Broken door should knock the price down some. ANYTHING that's not right is a bargaining point.
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Old 09-25-2017, 09:57 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Olympia WA
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Well, just got a call from my seller that despite his commitment to give me first refusal this weekend, he did a showing and a buyer offered him 6500, and he sold out from under me. I guess I learned something about jumping on a deal. Also made me wonder about posting questions about potential deals....
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