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Old 02-18-2017, 05:34 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Holyrood, Newfoundland
Posts: 34
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins ISB
Sailors about to buy a bus! (are we nuts?)

Hey all,

My fiancť and I have been reading the forum and other resources for some time now and planning our next adventure. We live in Newfoundland, Canada so we like to pack as much into our summers as possible (because winter just sucks).

Our eventual plan is to take our sailboat to the Caribbean but right now we want a way to downsize and explore the East Coast while still working our day jobs to get where we need to be $$. Since the bus will allow us to sell or rent the house and live between bus and boat that will greatly speed the process (it also just looks cool and we wanna try!)

We have a couple of busses narrowed down to view tomorrow and I was hoping to get some sage advice. They are not old busses but have seen some use, about 200-250k and some surface rust but that will be stripped/sanded and I plan on rust-checking the bus annually. They are also very cheap (compared to what I have seen online in Ontario and such).

The candidates are:

High headroom busses: (I am 6'4" and want to insulate also)

2004 Thomas Freightliner FS65 with MBE 900 and Allison Trans. 250k for $4k (owner claims out of his fleet it was the lowest maintenance bus but I have read otherwise on here...) 6'6" ceiling

2006 IC C300 with Navistar 466 and Allison Trans with 200k for $4k (owner says is a great bus to drive but he has had issues with the electronic park brake, I do have a knowledgeable mechanic who could fix this hopefully for cheap) 6'4" ceiling but seems higher....

My other options that I would love for reliability but only have 6' and I really want to avoid a roof raise based on budget and time:

2000 Bluebird TC2000 (5 available) with Cummins 5.9 ISB and Allison 545 (I know, no lockup torque converter) with varying mileage and varying conditions all for $4000

If anyone can comment to their own experiences with these busses, or lend an opinion on using a donor trailer (can get a 30ft 2004 TT for less than what a propane fridge and stove cost...) for your big ticket items like tanks and appliances I'd love to hear what your experiences are.

I think if i can negotiate the price on the bus a bit lower and use the donor trailer as i have planned (everything works) I can get this project built for under $10k (with incidentals and mechanical maintenance being the only possible overruns). But if it's anything like boating it will all take twice as long and cost twice as much as you think lol. Also, feel free to check out our other obsession with sailing and liveaboard life at @sailingalwayssunny on Instagram.
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:59 AM   #2
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I would be careful about the 2006 bus with the 466 as that is an emission Engine and they have had plenty of problems. Any 466E 2004 and older should be fine, but 2005 I would be careful. Test drive the other two, take them on the interstate and see which one you like better. If your not licenced to drive them then ride along with the seller.

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Old 02-18-2017, 07:01 AM   #3
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BTW- the 466 Engine prior to emissions were tough Engines long lasting engines. It's just the emission controls killed them.

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Old 02-18-2017, 07:08 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Holyrood, Newfoundland
Posts: 34
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins ISB
Thanks for the input, I have heard the same of the newer 466 having overly complex emissions systems and leading to problems, that coupled with the FS65 having more headroom and a better undercarriage layout for tankage has me leaning towards that one. I would love to get an older 3800 Bluebird (they are so cheap here) with the DT466 or the Cummins 5.9 but I really do want something with the 6'6" headroom so after a test-drive it'll likely be the Freightliner...
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:12 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,462
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:27 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Holyrood, Newfoundland
Posts: 34
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins ISB
EastCoastCB Yes those Nor'westers are why I want an unaltered structure, insulation on all sides and a wood stove! I'm enjoying reading through your build thread btw, very detailed.
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