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Old 02-06-2018, 01:24 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 37
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
New to Skoolie

Being a fanatic about buses, I recently acquired my second, third, and forth buses.
My first was over 20 years ago, a 1965 Bluebird, which I intended but never did convert to a motor home.
My recent buses were all towards easier travel with my handicaped wife.
My second was an accident? I was looking for a handicap bus and came across an auction for a Freightliner senior citizens bus, Cummins diesel powered, 99k miles, with a handicap lift. Has a bad water leak somewhere. Not the 53 Brazil block but is a 54 Brazil block.
I bought a Bluebird just in case I needed another block for the Freightliner. It leaks oil and water but if I changed out the block I'm sure I could fix the leaks at that time. The Bluebird starts and runs.
My forth bus is a Goshen handicap, Ford E450 bus from the State of Georgia. It's my current heartburn, having the tag office insist it's a school bus, and it actually says, "School Bus" on the tags.
Now, though I didn't really want to, it looks like the only solution is to convert it to a motor home and somehow get it changed from a bus.
My Freightliner, much larger bus, is what I really wanted to convert to a motor home, having plenty of room in that bus.
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Old 02-06-2018, 02:54 PM   #2
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Location: Upstate, SC
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You may be able to make some money back by selling the unused buses on here. I know there's a member or two looking in GA, AL, and SC.
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Old 02-06-2018, 03:28 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 37
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
Smile Thanks for the hint

Thanks for the hint I could sell some if I needed to.
I'm currently in, "super-overwhelmed" mode. Nothing happens soon. It may be years before I figure out what buses to keep. I have 40 acres so I could park several hundred and not miss the space.
The only one that is immediate is the Ford/Goshen E450. That one needs to be converted already (so I can drive my wheel chair bound wife around) and isn't.
The others are probably a retirement project or two. If I fix the Freightliner and don't need the Bluebird for the engine I will figure out what to do with it then. If I get as far as retirement maybe I will convert them both. Maybe I will end up with three motor homes and need to sell at least one of them.
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GaryTheRock View Post
Thanks for the hint I could sell some if I needed to.
I'm currently in, "super-overwhelmed" mode. Nothing happens soon. It may be years before I figure out what buses to keep. I have 40 acres so I could park several hundred and not miss the space.
The only one that is immediate is the Ford/Goshen E450. That one needs to be converted already (so I can drive my wheel chair bound wife around) and isn't.
The others are probably a retirement project or two. If I fix the Freightliner and don't need the Bluebird for the engine I will figure out what to do with it then. If I get as far as retirement maybe I will convert them both. Maybe I will end up with three motor homes and need to sell at least one of them.
I only need an acre.
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Old 02-06-2018, 06:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ben2go View Post
I only need an acre.
Is that so you have enough room to turn around?
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:11 AM   #6
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Is that so you have enough room to turn around?
I need enough room to drive around my McMansion.
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ben2go View Post
I need enough room to drive around my McMansion.
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:39 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 37
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
Wrote my politicians

Everyone who knows me knows I'm a pessimist by nature (we call ourselves, "realists"), but not enough of one to stop me from writing to my political representatives, both State and federal.
I asked the State of Georgia for clear laws on converting a bus to a motor home which is now ambiguous, it's up to the discretion of the person who signs as far as I can tell. The tag offices do what they please, and place requirements as they please, not having any specific legal regulations that I know about.

I asked my federal senators and representative to add a personal use, handicap exception to the CDL requirement for buses.

I'm wishing they would note I'm a disabled military veteran (actually I'm as healthy as a horse ... just ignore why I have several specialist doctors) with a wheel chair bound wife.

Just a very lone voice in the wilderness, trying to get a politician to help me with a, "school bus" problem.

Not me -> but like to try to be even in a world that often seems disappointing if not sometimes uncaring or downright evil.
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Old 02-07-2018, 02:44 PM   #9
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If you're writing to your politicians, I'd say you're pretty optimistic. Most of us just try to find a loophole.
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Old 02-07-2018, 02:53 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 37
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
minimal expectations

I have very low expectations but if I don't ask I sure won't get!
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:29 PM   #11
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If your three buses are FEs and you're looking for a RE with a big engine it seems clear that you are now a secondary bus seller. That is unless your willing to compromise to a FE. Yes they're harder to work on, but sometimes it more about what you've got than what you want. Besides, lets be honest that this is just your first bus build and as such should be your pratice run. Your FE fleet seems to be of reasonably low mileage and hours. Do they all have smaller engines not suitable for towing?
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:24 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 37
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
FE engines

Two of the buses are Cummins 5.9 Liter diesels. The Bluebird could be a donor block for the Freightliner, which is the only reason I bought it, though I might need the handicap lift out of it some day.
At the moment I have no plans to sell any of them. It could yet come to pass, but if so more than 5 years from now. That would be more likely a while after I retire and if I lose interest. Had that dream to convert a bus since I was pretty young.
The first conversion will certainly be a practice conversion. I don't get good at things like this until about the third pass. I'm pretty handy with the required skills but nothing beats personal experience in the task. I love tools and likely will need some for this task. The better the tools the better the results.
The Ford E450 has a 6.8L V10 SOHC 20V. I am currently adding a hitch to the back. For the short term it really is for a hitch step to get in the rear emergency door, but rated at 16,000 pounds I likely will make use of it.
Knowing my wife and myself, if we ever did try to visit the children, 2000 miles away, we'd need a trailer of some size because the E450 is pretty tight considering the wheel chair requirements. The Freightliner is a much better size for the conversion and has the required handicap lift in it.
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:06 PM   #13
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Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 933
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
Side note?
I have been working in a diesel shop that we have gotten to know each other pretty well and just today I said something about a pusher that I had found and I just happened to be in front of the owner,parts manager and two mechanics and they all said not NO but HELL NO because of the tight compartment,the way the engine and intake ducting is routed and with the close quarters compartment the WIRING takes a beating and for them when they deal with one they don't replace a single wire they pull a whole new wire harness cause if one is bad then the others aren't far away.
Or the truck will be back in a few weeks and they're chasing another wire in the same harness.
No manufacturers upgrades on some models.
Stay away from Mercedes? And they will work on cat but it is not an in-frame rebuild the Mercedes is.
I have watched very experienced men do both in a full fledged shop and it is nothing that I could do at home.
My little 8.2 has a chance of me fixing it but when I mess up and can't get it right it. I have there business card.
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:26 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 37
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
Working on Bus engines

Not intentionally, but because I'm mostly on a shoe-string budget, I have two diesels that need work on them. Both are front engine.
I've worked on a pickup Cummins engine, which lets me get to the engine by opening the hood. I have no idea how the Freightliner or the Bluebird access is done. There is the cowling from inside but that's not going to help much with the oil leaks and I can't tell yet if the water leaks can be fixed from there.
I probably won't look at either of them until the spring time, maybe March if the weather decides to be cooperative then.
I figure the Freightliner water problem should be easier since it drains the water out of at least the top of the radiator in a day or so. I can't yet tell if the overheating problem destroyed that engine but the last repair shop replaced a hose for the same problem.
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:59 PM   #15
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Location: Swansboro,NC
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Year: 86
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Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
Not to be rude?
You really are the rock.
This is an opinion??
A thought from your life that you have shared with us?
You are on a shoe string budget because you have four busses and?two diesel trucks that need two be fixed???
Pick the mess you want to keep and learn how to fix it,pay for it to be fixed.
Learn how to work on what you keep and I I will say from what you have choose the one that you would be comfortable working on? Little issues don't require a wrecker on a shoestring budget NOT knowing how to diagnose and or work on what you have. REQUIRES a lot more than a shoestring budget when your setting on the side of the road.
You have a few vehicles to choose from and getting to know what/about each one Takes time.
Once you get to know each engine/truck/bus then only you can tell us which one YOU are going to KEEP?
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:12 PM   #16
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Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryTheRock View Post
I asked the State of Georgia for clear laws on converting a bus to a motor home which is now ambiguous,

I asked my federal senators and representative to add a personal use, handicap exception to the CDL requirement for buses.
I'd be cautious about drawing unwanted attention to something that is currently flying under the radar. When they pass laws, they have a period where they solicit opinions from experts in the Field. RV construction experts, from RV companies. They won't ask for "Skoolie experts" , as there isn't any such Trade Group willing to bribe them.

It's a similar "hide in the grey" attitude with a another vehicle hobbiest group I roll with- former Military vehicles. Grey sucks at times, but is better than an unequivocal "No".

Grey is their friend- ambiguity lets them permit those they like do certain things, while targeting those they don't like.
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:35 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 37
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
Patience, and give a guy a chance

Wow, Jolly Roger! Give a poor guy a chance! None of my projects are going to get done overnight, and likely won't even start until I retire several years from now.

I only intended from the beginning to fix the Freightliner and convert it to a motor home. I bought the Bluebird bus solely for the Cummins engine. It was cheaper to buy the Bluebird diesel bus in an auction than the prices I've seen for the engine by itself. Has some extras, like the wheel chair lift which could come in handy.

Even though I always wanted to do a bus conversion buying the Freightliner bus was actually a fluke. I liked the idea of a Freightliner chasis with a Cummins engine. The funny part is I did not win that auction. The minimum bid was not met. Apparently I was the highest bid at just over half the minimum and they offered it to me at my bid price. It's a sweet looking bus, looks like a touring bus, had reclining seats and foot rests. All things considered, I just had to buy it even though it wasn't my primary reason for looking at buses. Still fits in my long term plans.

The Ford E450 bus is so I can transport my wife shopping and most importantly to the emergency room which we have been to 3 times in two months, twice because her doctor said to go there immediately. Very scary, didn't have the time to take her wheel chair.

Though it would be very useful if the E450, Goshen had a bathroom and shower for her medical condition, it does work way better than manually assisting her into my one ton pickup, which did happen on two of the three recent emergency room visits.

Probably no one here would be surprised, but the Freightliner leaks water when it rains. I was surprised the Bluebird was leak tight. It's not a lot of water but has to be fixed before the conversion.
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:54 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 37
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
Rusty, I hear you.
I was pretty concerned in the process the politicians could make it worse. In the end though I have serious doubts they will do anything at all.
We've really reached a low point where our expectations are at best the politicians won't do anything at all and at worst they will make it even more difficult for us.
My idea of worse, and I did think about it, was they'd place some kind of extremely unreasonable requirements on the conversion. With bureaucrats that may mean expensive inspections or ridiculous things that have to be installed.
What I really asked the fed's for though was only to add an exemption for handicap bus licensing so a CDL is not required.
It's the State request that could go bad, where I wanted a clear idea how to get my bus to be an official motor home instead of guessing what this inspector will require, and what the tag office will do.
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Old 06-04-2018, 08:36 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 37
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
Talking After all my paranoia I did luck out and succeed!

I have been concerned since I bought my bus I would be ticketed, particularly because the tag office insisted on a, "School Bus" tag on it. Additionally I could have been ticketed for a 17 passenger bus which requires a CDL.
I'm happy to say today I got the title and registration converted to a motor home.
I called the sheriff's office and asked to get a T22-B signed. That form is really for VIN verification but as best I can tell is the only means in Georgia to have a sheriff put down he thinks it is not a bus, it's a motor home.
My original comment still stands about it depending on the exact person who shows up to fill out the form. It is completely at their discretion to put down motor home. Most of the sheriffs I've talked to over the past three months didn't even know that form could be used that way, and one said he didn't even know it had a box to put that in. It does.
-> I'm finally legal to drive my, "motor home" without a CDL! <-

P.S. They even let me put a veteran's tag on where the last time they said that's not possible as a bus. As a motor home though, it is.
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