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Old 11-23-2016, 02:44 PM   #1
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New to this whole thing

Im looking for lots and lots of recommendations as I am looking to buy a bus within the next month or to. So far the Thomas built, flat nose, rear engine has caught my eye. Anyone and everyone feel free to give me your two sense on what you think the best bus for the money would be. My budget is 3000-5000 or so.
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:22 PM   #2
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Year: 1998
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I have read that a lot of first timers should consider the standard truck front bus for ease of maint.

I suggest buying the biggest bus you can and can afford. Skip a bus with a handicap lift unless you need it. A lot of guys swear by them for a lot of reasons but, I have seen them take up so much space and be difficult to remove and or sell.

Another big suggestion I have personally is finding an activity bus with below / low body storage. My bus was a standard rig and I would die for some good solid semi-rust free built in below floor storage.

Also, rust is huge. If, I remember correctly your location was Ohio. Check the frame for structural rust, pitted metal, rods, ribs, rub rails, rivets, everything. I bought a rusty bus and had to reskin the entire thing and replace a wheel well and rip out and replace the entire rear wall.

It was a mixed blessing, a ton of extra work but, I was able to get my bus down to the frame and rebuild from scratch. In hindsight, I would have avoided my bus or at least waited and haggled the price more. My bus is a 1998 with under 40k miles.

Check the engine, put the tranny through a nice gentle drive and then hammer it. Red like that bad boy before you buy it, feel the switch in gears, the engine sounds, everything. It is hard to hear most of the time but, you will feel it more than anything. Try not to focus on the cluster, feel and listen.

Tires are important, newer nicer tread the better. My bus had nearly brand new tires on it and I am thankful. Drive tires are about 300 bucks and push tires are about 400 each, with four rear and two front it would have hit my wallet hard to replace a tire or all six.

Another big personal thing are interior screws or rivets. Some buses have rivets inside holding the panels together and others have screws. My bus had screws and I am glad it did, cutting, grinding and busting rivets off is a pain. I was lucky to be able to buy a few bits and just unscrew everything.

Damage is a big one. I have seen a few very nice buses locally, good mileage, good prices, everything was ideal but, there was damage. One of the buses backed into a tree and had a good size dent in the rear roof section and it would need to be replaced if you wanted it to look good again. That is a lot of work.

Learn how to weld if you don't know how. Buy a little AC buzz box welder for a hundred bucks and a auto tint mask for about a hundred bucks and go to town. You will get the hang of it. Stick welders are harder to learn but, in my opinion much better and easier in the long run.

I know that is a lot but, this will be a long term investment and long term project. It is something you will love and something you will hate. You will have it all planned out and boom something comes up and you have no idea what the hell to do. A project you expect to be easy and take half a day will become the hardest four day operation you could imagine. Just take it step by step with love and enjoyment. That is what this is all about, fun and learning.

Good luck and have fun.
You are in for a fun ride and this forum is the best asset ever.
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Old 11-23-2016, 08:14 PM   #3
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I'd go with an Amtran/ICBus 3000RE. Full size radiator, easy access to both sides of the engine block, all the interior panels held in place with screws (#2 Square Drive), and lots of fresh air cooling. My hindsight would have been finding one with a DT466, an MD2000/3000-series transmission, and an air ride driver's seat.
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Old 11-24-2016, 07:12 PM   #4
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Ideally Im looking to buy a bus from a southern state so I can hopefully avoid, most, if not all the rust issues. I personally and not the most handy person. I have a friend who is an all around joe can do. Who is both willing to help and teach me everything he knows. Im definitely going to look into the IC 3000re. Either truck nose, or flat nose, for my price range 3000-5000. What are some of your guys' top recommendations? Also, I'm not looking to live in mine. Just looking to road trip the US with friends. Then use it for adventures after that.
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Old 11-24-2016, 07:25 PM   #5
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love my bus, after i drove a rear engine i stopped looking at front engine buses, no comparison. big honkin motor thats quiet, you can talk to each other and barely hear the motor. i got my rust free bus from N C, it was an activity bus, belly storage, high ceiling,highway geared, 2 ac units that kick butt.if you plan on driving the country, get a rear engine bus.
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Old 11-24-2016, 07:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superdave View Post
love my bus, after i drove a rear engine i stopped looking at front engine buses, no comparison. big honkin motor thats quiet, you can talk to each other and barely hear the motor. i got my rust free bus from N C, it was an activity bus, belly storage, high ceiling,highway geared, 2 ac units that kick butt.if you plan on driving the country, get a rear engine bus.
I really want to find a bus with a rear engine, and the under belly storage. Hopefully in my price range. But If i can't find one ill settle for something else.
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Old 11-24-2016, 07:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebowski265 View Post
I really want to find a bus with a rear engine, and the under belly storage. Hopefully in my price range. But If i can't find one ill settle for something else.
it took me a year to find this one, don't get in a hurry and read up on buses as much as you can. good luck
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Old 11-25-2016, 06:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebowski265 View Post
I really want to find a bus with a rear engine, and the under belly storage. Hopefully in my price range. But If i can't find one ill settle for something else.
I thought I was SET on buying RE.
Glad I stayed oped minded and bought a FE.

They both have their merit.
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Old 11-25-2016, 06:56 PM   #9
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I find myself flipping from fe to re dog nose or flat..so i guess ill know when i see her
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Old 11-25-2016, 07:05 PM   #10
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Year: 1998
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I have the truck nose and naturally since, I do. I want a flat nose.
Next bus will be a flat re just because I don't have one haha.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
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