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Old 05-10-2017, 11:59 AM   #1
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Location: BC, Canada
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Ready to buy, but where in BC?

Hey everybody,

Just joined Skoolie after looking into school buses for a while. My wife and me are planning on converting a short/medium size bus and living in it for a while. We are so psyched on starting.... but still need a bus!

We have been looking on the internet but it seems tricky to find used school buses online, we are in BC, Canada. Sometimes they come available on Kijiji or Craigslist but unfortunately not the right one yet.

Does anyone have tips, tricks or ideas that might help us with the search?

Thanks and nice to be here!
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Old 05-10-2017, 12:22 PM   #2
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People on this site post buses for sale daily. We try not to post junk buses, unless it's just plain funny.

Importing a bus from the south is possible. You've got company in the form of bus owners in your area that can help with specific issues.

Can I ask, what specifically are you looking for in a bus?
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Old 05-10-2017, 12:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for your quick reply!

I'm definitely keeping an eye on the classified page, hoping something comes by. I also looked at the rules for importing into Canada from the US and it seems like there is "a bit" of paperwork involved. Even buying a bus from a different province within Canada comes with additional inspection (which i'm obviously trying to avoid).

We are not very picky in what kind of bus, for the size we are looking at around 20 seats. But even this can be less or more, we just don't want a large bus. We do a lot of rock climbing so don't want to get stuck with this huge bus
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Old 05-10-2017, 01:48 PM   #4
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It sounds like a short bus would be good for you, because they drive like an old pickup truck. Then again a medium size bus would be a lot better for two people and gear.

I opted for a front engine bus in the shortest model I could find. This bus is also a handi-bus with WC lift. The good point of that is wheelchair buses have flat floors, rather than wheel wells intruding through the floor. This bus is 26' long, compared to a five window shorty at 25', yet I have about 40% more floor space than the shorty. The handi-buses do come in a dognose (conventional) model, also with a flat floor.

It all depends on what you want to use the bus for and how much space you think you need. From what you've told me a six or seven window dognose bus for easy driving might be best. If you're planning to do a lot of freeway driving a pusher might be your best option, but yes these can get stuck easily. Even my 26' FE gets stuck on wet grass, but then I don't have traction tires. I didn't count on getting stuck turning around in my own yard.
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Old 05-10-2017, 08:11 PM   #5
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Yeah I was thinking the same, short is good for maneuverability but medium size would be more comfort. We plan on spending a year or 2 full time in it so medium sounds like the way to go.

Thanks for the wheelchair tip, that is helpful to know. Flat floors would make life a bit easier.... and easier building.

We take our current mini van out and about on logging roads to get to cool places. Although slippery grass is probably more tricky, especially the nice lawns where the heavy bus can sink right in ;)

Time to find a bus!
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Old 05-12-2017, 07:48 PM   #6
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I did find this listing on Craigslist, it seems a bit expensive for the mileage but it might be worth a shot.

#167 - 1997 Ford Girardin Mini-bus 20 passenger 7.3 Diesel Single rear wheel, 290,000 Kms Asking $8,000 CVIP

#168 - 1997 Ford Girardin Mini-bus 20 passenger 7.3 Diesel Single rear wheel, 320,000 Kms Asking $8,000 CVIP

#169 - 1998 Ford Girardin Mini-bus 20 passenger 7.3 Diesel Dual rear wheel, 330,000 Kms Asking $9,000

#113 - 1996 Thomas 48/72 passenger, Cummins B (non electric) Auto 343,510 Kms Asking $6000

#69 - 1996 Bluebird 48/72 passenger, 366 Auto / Propane 401,000 Kms Asking $8,000

#219 - 1991 Bluebird 56/84 Passenger, Cat 3116 /Auto / Diesel / Air Brakes / 550,000 Kms Asking $6000

https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/rch/cto/6092293888.html

Anything that jumps out to anyone?

Also would anyone know how many windows a 48 and 72 would be?
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:27 PM   #7
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Another option

Hey guys, found another bus here that you might have some insights into. Unfortunately not a lot of info but I can contact them for more.

1996 International 7.3 Turbo Diesel Thomas built 22 foot bus. Has wheel chair lift on right rear. It has run 320k km. $7500 CAD (US $5500)

Again steep price and lots of mileage but that seems to be the trend in the Canadian West Coast.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:37 PM   #8
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Wow, for a while there I was reading the km as miles. Beyond that, those seem like kind of high prices. I do like the older buses but that seems like a reseller price. I don't remember the conversion rate either, but that seems kind of high.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:46 PM   #9
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Haha, yeah miles would have been a blast. I sure agree, prices are high and they are pretty much all like that. Maybe because we are near hipster Vancouver ;)

But what would you say about the 7.3 Turbo Diesel engine? Just so I can keep an eye on it... or stay away..
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:57 PM   #10
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I don't hear a lot of complaints about the 7.3, but I'm not familiar with it myself. Most of are happy with something that is seriously overpowered, or at least has highway gears. That stands to reason, but every now and then someone gets a bus with a nice size engine that only goes 55, or sometimes even 45. Not good for your cross country trip unless you really plan on taking your time and letting everybody pass you. On the other hand the 45 mph bus should be a good hill climber.
It's hard to find a bus with all the things you want, and after you get it you find you still could have made better choices. Hindsight is 20/20.
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