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Old 08-28-2015, 09:41 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Round Lake Park,iL,
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K and J say Hi!

Howdy !!

Our names are Kristi and Jim. Just another couple reaching their mid fifties and looking to find a better life on the road in a bus. In 8 short months we are planning on going into semi retirement and plan on working less and living more. Converting a bus and living in it while we undertake this adventure is a big part or our dream. I've repaired, serviced, and restored RV's for most of my life and the normal motor home just won't do. We haven't found our bus yet but plan to in the next couple of months. Our goal is to find it and get it in our driveway before winter hits and do most of the needed work by spring. Doesn't have to be finished,just road ready as our lease will be up at the end of April 2016. And we plan to have everything sold off and be on the road by then. I don't think my soul can take the 75 hour work weeks I put in much longer than that. Luckily I slow down to about 35-40 hours a week during the winter so I will still have energy to work on the bus.

Not sure on the size or style of bus we want yet. We want it to be diesel powered, auto trans, have air brakes, air ride would be nice, not a rust bucket, and must be able to be a traveling bus as we have a lot of places to see. We are willing to travel for the right one, want to keep it as low cost initially as we can but know we might have to pay more to get what we want, and are also looking at partial to complete conversions we can modify to our ideal traveling home. We also plan on towing a trailer with some kind of 4x4 toy/transport (haven't decided on if it will be a jeep or truck yet) so we have to figure out how to build that into or bus needs.

Got a ton of reading to do here and have learned a lot in a short time from all the info that has been compiled. I'm sure I'll still ask a few stupid questions and get on a few nerves eventually. So I'll just ask everyone's forgiveness now.
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:55 PM   #2
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Howdy Guys & Welcome! --- Sounds like you might wind up answering more questions than asking them what with your background. And you have the right idea. Read as many of the build threads as you can cram in, make notes on what seems to fit your personal dream/lifestyle and then take the time to find the best platform you can afford. Diesel?...definitely. All mechanical engines are much easier to maintain than those with 118 computers. Tranny-wise, Allisons are tough to beat but avoid the old 545's if at all possible. I can't even give mine away due to their dinosaur status, no lockup and general lack of support. The newer five speeds are great and most can be re-programmed to unleash the 6th gear that's already in them, but you have to find the right tech to get it done. The 5th gen 6-speeds are pretty amazing but have not been out long (2012 I believe). But unlike the earlier releases, they can "talk" to an all mechanical engine with nothing more than a TPS (throttle position sensor) which makes them an excellent candidate for a transplant.

Best of luck on the hunt and please do stay in touch. We need all the experience folks like you can bring to the table.
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Old 08-29-2015, 07:43 AM   #3
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welcome, looks like your on the same page as me and my wife, only we have our bus already. looking forward to more living and less work.
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Old 08-29-2015, 09:42 AM   #4
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Welcome, where ya'll located?

Anything special you wanna see?
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Old 08-30-2015, 01:27 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks for the nice welcomes. We are up in northern Illinois right now. Been here almost 20 years and it is time for a change. I'm homesick for Texas and the wife wants to see the mountains so those are our first couple of destinations. Back when we were younger we did a lot of traveling in a beatup VW van and were probably the happiest we have ever been during those days. I have always been able to fix just about anything and am a fair hand at carpentry so I never had trouble finding jobs to keep us fed and gassed up. Now that I'm older and have certifications from auto,rv,motorcycle,atv,and marine I'm finding a lot of shops and areas I can go work at for short term and keep with my work less live more desired lifestyle change.

I've already come to the conclusion that we will need to go south for a good bus. So far everything near us have a case of rust cancer too bad to make them worth the investment. I'm dying to get our bus and get started on this build. Worse case scenerio is we will get a cheap motorhome if we can't find the right bus. There is nothing going to stop us from hitting the road next April. I am not even wanting to sign a six month lease as it is because if I had my way we would be gone at the end of October. But the reality of it all is we need the time to get things in order so that if don't just screw ourselves by taking off now.
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Old 08-30-2015, 10:25 PM   #6
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Lots of good buses here in Texas. California rigs are desirable too because of their strict maintenance policies. And the consensus for mountainous treks seems to be that Colorado school district buses come with all the right stuff (gearing, retarders, etc.).

The overriding poll results for what to avoid are any rigs that spent their careers on salted roads.
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Old 09-02-2015, 12:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Lots of good buses here in Texas. California rigs are desirable too because of their strict maintenance policies. And the consensus for mountainous treks seems to be that Colorado school district buses come with all the right stuff (gearing, retarders, etc.).

The overriding poll results for what to avoid are any rigs that spent their careers on salted roads.
Thanks for the info. At least I know I've been looking in the right areas. I know we are going to probably look for a while before we find the "one". The only issue we have right now is time. I'm working in the marine industry and won't slow down till the end of November. That is if I don't just say screw it and quit like I almost did today. They know I'm out of here in April of 2016 one way or the other. I'll do my best to train,organize, and figure a way for this shop I'm at right now to make money before I leave. Training the owner is my biggest headache and I can only hold his hand for so long. My body is going to fail me someday and I am not going to cripple myself any more than I have to for a company I don't own. I'm 54 and in better shape and work more than anyone in that shop.

I've already told them that if I find a bus I'm going to take at least a week off to go get it. Seems our desire to work less and live more is upsetting a few people who just want us to work hard and then work harder to make them happy. Its a common story and one we are tired of being a part of.

If you see anything down your way in Texas let me know. Been missing my Mom's cooking and I haven't been down to Texas in a few years because of working. I might even put a wanted ad in the forum classified section to see if anyone has anything they might part with.
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Old 09-02-2015, 10:19 AM   #8
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You might want to shoot a line to Member M1031A1. He works with the school district in Katy and has a direct line on what buses are coming available. I met with him recently after he bought his dream bus from the district. Worth a note and he was a friendly, helpful sort of guy.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
You might want to shoot a line to Member M1031A1. He works with the school district in Katy and has a direct line on what buses are coming available. I met with him recently after he bought his dream bus from the district. Worth a note and he was a friendly, helpful sort of guy.
Aw shucks Tang! Thanks for the vote of confidence!

Heck, yeah, I'd be happy to help. If y'all are interested in some quality buses that are rust free we can talk about what's coming available from Katy ISD. I work there so I have knowledge about most of the buses going to auction and the range of prices anticipated using the last auction as my template. These buses are in decent shape for the most part. There are some exceptions though......

PM me if you want specifics.

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Old 09-02-2015, 11:17 PM   #10
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Good info to know; I'll be (not soon enough) looking for a bus too.
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