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Old 03-26-2018, 08:59 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Tallahassee FL (for now)
Posts: 17
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas Body
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12 valve
Let's talk Busses

Hello Everybody,

I have been hanging out in the shadows around here for a little while now, so I decided to actually make a profile and join this insightful community. I am planning on acquiring a bus and making the conversion over the next six months or so. I am not in any particular time crunch, aside from the strong urge to get on the road and start my journey. I will be living in the rig full time with some traveling and some parking mixed in there. For now I just wanted to say hello and get your thoughts on the following style of bus. (hopefully I can make this link work)



So it's a 24-pass, 8 row, 27-1/2 ft (i'm unclear on which measurement is appropriate to use) Thomas. I am not attached to that particular bus because it is really expensive and it's a little too modern. I do really like the medium size though and I think I want a 5.9 cummins. (I have not looked into transmissions that hard yet)

Any thoughts on this size bus? They seem a little hard to come buy, for a decent price. I like the narrow wheel base for maneuverability and the hope of maybe a little better mpg? A big bus seems excessive for me. It'll just be me, the dog, and some occasional friends here and there for the immediate future. That being said, I would like enough room to put in a proper shower/toilet area and have sectioned off area for the bed room.

As a side note, I'm 6'-2" on a good day and while the idea of ducking my head is not a deal breaker, how ambitious/expensive/overwhelming is it to raise the roof a foot or so? I know people that can weld, but I would by no means consider them to be experts. Would this be too large of an undertaking for the first bus?

I look forward to chatting with everyone in the future!
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:40 PM   #2
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Posts: 973
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkoolSurfnSnow View Post
Hello Everybody,

I have been hanging out in the shadows around here for a little while now, so I decided to actually make a profile and join this insightful community. I am planning on acquiring a bus and making the conversion over the next six months or so. I am not in any particular time crunch, aside from the strong urge to get on the road and start my journey. I will be living in the rig full time with some traveling and some parking mixed in there. For now I just wanted to say hello and get your thoughts on the following style of bus. (hopefully I can make this link work)



So it's a 24-pass, 8 row, 27-1/2 ft (i'm unclear on which measurement is appropriate to use) Thomas. I am not attached to that particular bus because it is really expensive and it's a little too modern. I do really like the medium size though and I think I want a 5.9 cummins. (I have not looked into transmissions that hard yet)

Any thoughts on this size bus? They seem a little hard to come buy, for a decent price. I like the narrow wheel base for maneuverability and the hope of maybe a little better mpg? A big bus seems excessive for me. It'll just be me, the dog, and some occasional friends here and there for the immediate future. That being said, I would like enough room to put in a proper shower/toilet area and have sectioned off area for the bed room.

As a side note, I'm 6'-2" on a good day and while the idea of ducking my head is not a deal breaker, how ambitious/expensive/overwhelming is it to raise the roof a foot or so? I know people that can weld, but I would by no means consider them to be experts. Would this be too large of an undertaking for the first bus?

I look forward to chatting with everyone in the future!
Most folks surf the auction sites...especially govdeals and purplewave...there's others

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Old 03-28-2018, 01:32 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Tallahassee FL (for now)
Posts: 17
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas Body
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12 valve
Thanks! Yea I've definitely noticed the government/auction sites are the way to go.

What do y'all think about this bus?

http://www.ironplanet.com/jsp/s/item...ation&src=mktg

Too much rust? Anyone know the type of engine/transmission pictured?
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:34 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Tallahassee FL (for now)
Posts: 17
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas Body
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12 valve
Thanks! I've definitely noticed that the government/auction sites are the way to go. What do y'all think about this bus?

http://www.ironplanet.com/jsp/s/item...ation&src=mktg

Too much visible rust? Can anyone tell me which engine/trans is pictured?
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:15 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkoolSurfnSnow View Post
Thanks! I've definitely noticed that the government/auction sites are the way to go. What do y'all think about this bus?

http://www.ironplanet.com/jsp/s/item...ation&src=mktg

Too much visible rust? Can anyone tell me which engine/trans is pictured?
Engine blow-by would make me walk away.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:13 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Anything is possible with determination. I'm in a wheelchair and starting my second bus. Just by learning everything you need to through reading and asking questions you can instruct others on how to help you with what needs done.
It's ideal to be friend a local metal fabrication shop for a little help as needed.
Fill out your profile so we know where you're located that will help.
Under 30 feet is definitely ideal for all campgrounds and windy mountain roads.
You might find this interesting:

Ideal RV Length for Fitting into National Park Campsites - Camper Report
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:36 PM   #7
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Posts: 973
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkoolSurfnSnow View Post
Thanks! I've definitely noticed that the government/auction sites are the way to go. What do y'all think about this bus?

http://www.ironplanet.com/jsp/s/item...ation&src=mktg

Too much visible rust? Can anyone tell me which engine/trans is pictured?
Looks like a crew hauler for a MOW crew...maybe union Pacific? Rust stains look like they coming from the rub rails...but looks like a tall ceiling

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Old 03-29-2018, 02:29 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Tallahassee FL (for now)
Posts: 17
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas Body
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12 valve
Apologies if I post a duplicate message again. For some reason my computer likes to freak out when I try to post messages here.

Thanks so much for the replies. I have updated my profile. I am currently in Tallahassee FL, so this bus is super close to me, but I think the salt air has probably gotten to the important bits and not just under the rub rail. Are rub rails difficult to remove? Or can a grinder and impact wrench take em off fairly easy?

How can you tell that it has engine blow by? is it from the video on the page where you see the little puffs of smoke coming out?

As for size, the more I think about it, the more I think I would rather have the extra room than the maneuverability/mpg. I drew up a few plans last night for a 35' bus with the wheelchair lift in the back. I would totally leave the lift in, get a dirt bike or scooter and turn it into a garage. That way I can just take the scooter into whatever park I can't take the bus into. Additionally, boon docking will be my modus operandi so I'm not worried too much about finding campgrounds.
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Old 04-06-2018, 03:42 AM   #9
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,135
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkoolSurfnSnow View Post
Apologies if I post a duplicate message again. For some reason my computer likes to freak out when I try to post messages here.

Thanks so much for the replies. I have updated my profile. I am currently in Tallahassee FL, so this bus is super close to me, but I think the salt air has probably gotten to the important bits and not just under the rub rail. Are rub rails difficult to remove? Or can a grinder and impact wrench take em off fairly easy?

How can you tell that it has engine blow by? is it from the video on the page where you see the little puffs of smoke coming out?

As for size, the more I think about it, the more I think I would rather have the extra room than the maneuverability/mpg. I drew up a few plans last night for a 35' bus with the wheelchair lift in the back. I would totally leave the lift in, get a dirt bike or scooter and turn it into a garage. That way I can just take the scooter into whatever park I can't take the bus into. Additionally, boon docking will be my modus operandi so I'm not worried too much about finding campgrounds.
If you plan on boondocking having the extra length is a good thing. It takes a lot of space in order to have room for larger potable water and waste tanks, larger propane tanks, a larger solar array on the roof, and a larger battery bank under the floor.

As far as fuel economy is concerned, whether it is a 25' shorty or a 40' full length the fuel use will be pretty much the same. School buses by design are very brick like in their aerodynamics. It takes more energy to push through the air than to move the weight. Of course the faster you want to travel the more fuel you will use.

Yes the longer buses are harder to get around a corner. But if you are looking specifically at front engine buses they do tend to get around corners better as they generally have shorter wheelbases than a rear engine bus with the same number of rows of seats. The down side of getting around a corner easier is the HUGE tail swing they all have. Very few buses with long rear overhangs get through their service life without ever bashing something with the back corner of the bus.

If you have rust issues that require removing the rub rails I would suggest you find a different bus. Rub rails do come off. They are after all put on after the body is assembled. But they are there for more than just decoration.
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Old 04-06-2018, 03:46 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,135
As you look at buses, since you are more than 6' tall, shop around for a bus that has the extra height roof on it already. That is unless you decide to raise the roof.

Most buses before about 2003 had the high roof option but most school bus operators didn't want to spend the extra $$$ for the option. When you are moving school kids to and from school it isn't an option you "really" need.

The shorty Thomas you have a picture of is not a high roof optioned bus. It has the standard 9" windows.

Buses with the high roof option have 12" windows. These can be easily seen in pictures because the top edge of the windows will not line up with the top of the driver's side window or the top of the service door.
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:21 AM   #11
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 8,278
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkoolSurfnSnow View Post
Apologies if I post a duplicate message again. For some reason my computer likes to freak out when I try to post messages here.

Thanks so much for the replies. I have updated my profile. I am currently in Tallahassee FL, so this bus is super close to me, but I think the salt air has probably gotten to the important bits and not just under the rub rail. Are rub rails difficult to remove? Or can a grinder and impact wrench take em off fairly easy?

How can you tell that it has engine blow by? is it from the video on the page where you see the little puffs of smoke coming out?

As for size, the more I think about it, the more I think I would rather have the extra room than the maneuverability/mpg. I drew up a few plans last night for a 35' bus with the wheelchair lift in the back. I would totally leave the lift in, get a dirt bike or scooter and turn it into a garage. That way I can just take the scooter into whatever park I can't take the bus into. Additionally, boon docking will be my modus operandi so I'm not worried too much about finding campgrounds.
In the check list under Engine on that link, under "Blow by @ idle" it says "significant", engine rebuild would be needed soon.
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