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Old 05-21-2018, 08:29 AM   #1
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Hi all,

Just saying hi and reading everything I can. Looking for a bus. Family of 3 looking to travel and work over the next 3-5 years. Fully off grid capable and will most likely be towing a jeep. 6'1" tall, so looking mainly for a Thomas high head coach and preferably an RE. Not set on that as I imagine a lot of dirt road traveling and worry about the ground clearance. Were on Cape Cod and our house is just about to go on the market....Will be re-locating to western Wyoming for the build.....Tickled Pink...

Jeff Smith
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:29 AM   #2
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welcome. you will find more info and help that you could even imagine on here. Hopefully you are handy because there is a lot of work involved in a conversion. I have an international with high head clearance and a flat floor because it had a wheelchair lift. I love the flat floor as there are no wheel wells to design around. there are pros and cons to each bus type. have fun researching on here.
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:03 AM   #3
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Welcome,

Sounds like you're well on your way to defining your first bus
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Old 05-22-2018, 12:58 PM   #4
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The biggest issue I am having is determining our requirements and then trying to figure out what model I am exactly looking at online....
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Old 05-22-2018, 05:56 PM   #5
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The biggest issue I am having is determining our requirements and then trying to figure out what model I am exactly looking at online....
So ... you are looking for either a Thomas Saf-T-Liner MVP RE, or a Thomas Saf-T-Liner ER (it's slightly heavier duty than the MVP), or a Thomas West Coast. The West Coast is a unicorn, built to compete with Gillig and Crown, and it excelled at it.

Engines will likely be Cummins 6CTA8.3-250 (pre 99) or Cummins ISC (electronic version of 6C). Transmission will be either MD3060 or MT643.

Those big Thomas buses also come with CAT engines.

Many (I hesitate to say most) come with the high ceiling as standard. I only hesitate because I've seen a few with the regular ceiling.

If you are looking a bit newer than, say, '01, you may also find Thomas HDX starting to appear. Little difference between it and the Saf-T-Liner MVP.

They are all good platforms to convert to family use and to tow with. Get a good one and you will be very happy with any of the above.

A good MVP with a high spec is going to cost around $4000 at auction or at least $10000 from a dealer. They are available rust-free and ready to go.
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:23 PM   #6
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IC/AmTran are my favorite buses. I like the lines and the way they're put together.
Bluebird is also a great choice.
Thomas are ok, but MY PERSONAL OPINION of them is that I just don't like them as much.
Everyone's opinions will vary- so go look at as many buses as you can.
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:32 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
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IC/AmTran are my favorite buses. I like the lines and the way they're put together.
Bluebird is also a great choice.
Thomas are ok, but MY PERSONAL OPINION of them is that I just don't like them as much.
Everyone's opinions will vary- so go look at as many buses as you can.
Charlie's right, each has their adherents. I only posted about Thomas because the OP specifically mentioned them.

That said .... I wouldn't buy a Thomas if I was planning a roof-raise. I bought mine specifically because I wanted the higher ceiling so as to not need to raise the roof. The ceiling height is doable, it's not as good as a roof raised 10-12". One advantage of Thomas that is not to be sniffed at is that they are screwed, not riveted together, for the most part.

If you are raising the roof I would steer clear of Thomas Built. They slope in 6 degrees from the lower window line. That makes a raise a good deal more complicated than it needs to be.

Other than that, I don't think there is a great deal to choose between them.

One point ... If you buy a bus with an MD3060 transmission, Thomas have a track-record of allowing 6th gear to be unlocked.
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Old 05-22-2018, 08:09 PM   #8
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Hello!

Iím new to the Skoolie world. When I was a kid I dreamed of converting a bus, but thought it was unrealistic and too expensive. So I was going to do a van conversion, when I decided to look anyways and saw that buses are much cheaper than I thought! So converting a bus is going to be literally a childhood dream come true. Iím still trying to nail down which bus is exactly what I need. And Iím not sure where to find the relevant information needed to figure out the type of bus I want. If anyone could give any advice that would be great!
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Old 05-22-2018, 08:15 PM   #9
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Nail down a place to park it and work on it.
That can be harder than finding the right bus.
Hope you like getting dirty!
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Old 05-22-2018, 08:25 PM   #10
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Well that is most certainly true! I haven’t put much thought into that aspect yet, so thank you. And I don’t mind at all. ��
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