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Old 07-23-2016, 07:41 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
the transit busses ive ridden and driven dont drive well (to me) on the highway... plus a lot of the gilligs we have currently in the fleet here in columbus ohio have a wierd floor line.. with the last 3rd of the bus raised up a foot or two...

the busses do run 65+ on the highway as the transit routes (express routes) take them on the freeways..

most of them do have air-ride as they "kneel" them for wheelchair and handicapped people to enter and exit... the ones here in town also have air brakes air seat and tilt / telescopic.. they have road A/C, tinted windows...

people can and do convert transit busses.. there was just a FLXIBLE rally here in ohio.. I didnt make it up but pictures i saw were of some later model (90s) transit busses that had been driven a decent distance...

I know our city runs mainly all gillig transits.. and for some routes (the city circulator that goes in the historic districts) are shorter than the normal busses.. but I dont know by how much.....

our transits also seem to have low floors even before kneeling so im not imagining there much space underneath for plumbing , tanks, generators, etc...

-Christopher
Cadillackid thanks for that info about the low flooring. I have seen a lot of low-floor buses and did not put 2 and 2 together about tanks. I wonder where they would put the tanks with such a low floor? Although a low floor would likely mean that there would be more head room?
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Old 07-23-2016, 07:52 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by girasoledonna View Post
BusFiend... would you advise me against buying a VERY old bus... like something built after 1980? That certainly IS old ( i was born in 82 after all hahahah) just to keep it under 35? Or would I better off, based on being faced with a very old bus or a school bus to stay under 35, to go with a school bus?

Or maybe I should throw out the 35 rule? I just wanted to be able to get into national parks? My boyfriend is disabled from his traumatic brain injury and we can get into all of them for free.
a real motor coach can go like 80 mph all day and rides GREAT. They also last for like a million miles, not just a few hundred thousand.
For around 20k, this one is sweet. Even has a roof raise!
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:34 AM   #33
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yes that one looks amazing for the price! I did contact him to see if it was sold already, no word yet! So, they run for 1,000,000 miles? Which means if i see a bus with 500,000 miles I should think of it as half way through its life span?
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Old 07-23-2016, 08:39 AM   #34
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Generally, yeah coaches can easily go a million with proper care.
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Old 07-23-2016, 09:24 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by girasoledonna View Post
BusFiend... would you advise me against buying a VERY old bus... like something built after 1980? That certainly IS old ( i was born in 82 after all hahahah) just to keep it under 35? Or would I better off, based on being faced with a very old bus or a school bus to stay under 35, to go with a school bus?

Or maybe I should throw out the 35 rule? I just wanted to be able to get into national parks? My boyfriend is disabled from his traumatic brain injury and we can get into all of them for free.
Well maintained, a coach will go almost forever. A skoolie, well maintained, is a 300-500k mile bus. The example that EastCoastCB posted, is probably one of the best MC5s on the market. It's a great opportunity if still available. You will end up spending close to that $21k (or more) converting a skoolie. For the essentials, it is turn-key. Plan on a Skoolie taking a year or longer to convert, especially for full-timing (though you will probably never be finished).

Most of the MCI5s or cheaper other coaches will have manual transmissions, requiring double-clutching or rev matching. Most skoolies will be automatics. Most professional coach conversions will have a 10" roof raise. Coach conversions will require plugging in to "shore" utilities for anything but a short overnight stop or running your gernerator constantly. The same $5-10k can be spent on any bus for solar/boondocking capabilities.

The MC5 will go most places. Modern Class A motor homes have been 40-45 feet for many years now. Check online to see what the requirements are for the national parks (and other areas) you want to visit. Ask around on other generic RV and full-timer forums to see what they have to say. Probably a good rule of thumb is a coach will want to stay mostly on pavement and maintained/graveled surfaces. A skoolie will be a bit more flexible but certainly not an "off-road" machine.

TL/DR: A coach will probably be a turn-key RV for you. A skoolie will be a DIY or contracted project. The former is a heavy duty platform, while the latter is medium duty. Maintenance and repairs will be slightly more expensive for a coach. A coach will be a much more pleasant over the road vehicle (ride, A/C, etc). A skoolie will go some places a coach will not. A coach will also be mostly made out of corrosion-resistant materials (aluminum, stainless steel, fiberglass, etc.). A skoolie is good old galvanized steel that will rust.

Have you driven both a school bus and a coach? You might want to do that, if you haven't already.

Good luck, Anj! Keep singing!
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Old 07-23-2016, 10:13 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by BusFiend View Post
Well maintained, a coach will go almost forever. A skoolie, well maintained, is a 300-500k mile bus. The example that EastCoastCB posted, is probably one of the best MC5s on the market. It's a great opportunity if still available. You will end up spending close to that $21k (or more) converting a skoolie. For the essentials, it is turn-key. Plan on a Skoolie taking a year or longer to convert, especially for full-timing (though you will probably never be finished).

Most of the MCI5s or cheaper other coaches will have manual transmissions, requiring double-clutching or rev matching. Most skoolies will be automatics. Most professional coach conversions will have a 10" roof raise. Coach conversions will require plugging in to "shore" utilities for anything but a short overnight stop or running your gernerator constantly. The same $5-10k can be spent on any bus for solar/boondocking capabilities.

The MC5 will go most places. Modern Class A motor homes have been 40-45 feet for many years now. Check online to see what the requirements are for the national parks (and other areas) you want to visit. Ask around on other generic RV and full-timer forums to see what they have to say. Probably a good rule of thumb is a coach will want to stay mostly on pavement and maintained/graveled surfaces. A skoolie will be a bit more flexible but certainly not an "off-road" machine.

TL/DR: A coach will probably be a turn-key RV for you. A skoolie will be a DIY or contracted project. The former is a heavy duty platform, while the latter is medium duty. Maintenance and repairs will be slightly more expensive for a coach. A coach will be a much more pleasant over the road vehicle (ride, A/C, etc). A skoolie will go some places a coach will not.

Have you driven both a school bus and a coach? You might want to do that, if you haven't already.

Good luck, Anj! Keep singing!
Very good post!

My school bus will go about anywhere our 30' RV will go and vise versa.
I've seen RV's in pretty much all sorts of places, so I don't think a 35' coach would be much of a problem to get into anywhere reasonable.

I love school buses, but when someone says they wanna REALLY travel a ton of miles I always would suggest a motor coach.
I've said it many times now but I always go back to the feeling of barely being able to keep up doing 63 mph top speed for 800 miles on my journey home. Coaches, semi's, box trucks, pretty much everything FLEW by me. Now I'm in no hurry, but sometimes is SAFER to keep with the flow of traffic.
Passing through Atlanta you NEED speed and power to be able to get across the horribly laid out series of lanes and exits. Atlanta is hell in a school bus if there's any traffic!
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Old 07-23-2016, 11:43 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by BusFiend View Post
Well maintained, a coach will go almost forever. A skoolie, well maintained, is a 300-500k mile bus. The example that EastCoastCB posted, is probably one of the best MC5s on the market. It's a great opportunity if still available. You will end up spending close to that $21k (or more) converting a skoolie. For the essentials, it is turn-key. Plan on a Skoolie taking a year or longer to convert, especially for full-timing (though you will probably never be finished).

Most of the MCI5s or cheaper other coaches will have manual transmissions, requiring double-clutching or rev matching. Most skoolies will be automatics. Most professional coach conversions will have a 10" roof raise. Coach conversions will require plugging in to "shore" utilities for anything but a short overnight stop or running your gernerator constantly. The same $5-10k can be spent on any bus for solar/boondocking capabilities.

The MC5 will go most places. Modern Class A motor homes have been 40-45 feet for many years now. Check online to see what the requirements are for the national parks (and other areas) you want to visit. Ask around on other generic RV and full-timer forums to see what they have to say. Probably a good rule of thumb is a coach will want to stay mostly on pavement and maintained/graveled surfaces. A skoolie will be a bit more flexible but certainly not an "off-road" machine.

TL/DR: A coach will probably be a turn-key RV for you. A skoolie will be a DIY or contracted project. The former is a heavy duty platform, while the latter is medium duty. Maintenance and repairs will be slightly more expensive for a coach. A coach will be a much more pleasant over the road vehicle (ride, A/C, etc). A skoolie will go some places a coach will not. A coach will also be mostly made out of corrosion-resistant materials (aluminum, stainless steel, fiberglass, etc.). A skoolie is good old galvanized steel that will rust.

Have you driven both a school bus and a coach? You might want to do that, if you haven't already.

Good luck, Anj! Keep singing!
can you tell me what double clutching and rev matching is? I don't drive stick but would be happy to learn for the right bus.

So i can spend 5-10 K and get solar panels on a coach as well as a school bus? (as I get it).

School buses need to plug in too don't they? Or do they need to plug in less often because they require less power to run?

When you say heavy duty platform vs medium what do you mean?

I have driven neither hahah. The only thing I drove was a class C and a class B, when I was shopping three years ago for my Class B. I am a badass lady though and am sure I can handle either with practice. But I'm sure a school bus is easier to handle?

I do LOVE that MC5 you sent me via youtube! I hope they get back to me... although I don't have all 20K to throw at it - they said they lowered the price to 18K and somebody messaged them a week ago asking to buy it. So i don't know if its still there. But, even if it isn't, its given me a lot to think about with conversions, and I'm sure another would pop up. The coach shot out white smoke when he revved it up - said that was normal with the engine. Speaking of engines, anything you tell me to be on the look out for?
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Old 07-23-2016, 12:37 PM   #38
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can you tell me what double clutching and rev matching is? I don't drive stick but would be happy to learn for the right bus.

So i can spend 5-10 K and get solar panels on a coach as well as a school bus? (as I get it).

School buses need to plug in too don't they? Or do they need to plug in less often because they require less power to run?

When you say heavy duty platform vs medium what do you mean?

I have driven neither hahah. The only thing I drove was a class C and a class B, when I was shopping three years ago for my Class B. I am a badass lady though and am sure I can handle either with practice. But I'm sure a school bus is easier to handle?

I do LOVE that MC5 you sent me via youtube! I hope they get back to me... although I don't have all 20K to throw at it - they said they lowered the price to 18K and somebody messaged them a week ago asking to buy it. So i don't know if its still there. But, even if it isn't, its given me a lot to think about with conversions, and I'm sure another would pop up. The coach shot out white smoke when he revved it up - said that was normal with the engine. Speaking of engines, anything you tell me to be on the look out for?
The drivetrain in a coach is similar to that in an 18-wheeled tractor. A skoolie drivetrain is closer to a U-Haul truck. Most coach engines, through the 90's, are 2-stroke Detroit diesels in the 71 or 92 series (IE 8v71, 6v92). They are good engines. A little smoke out of a 2-stroke Detroit is normal, especially on startup. Detroit's 50 & 60 series 4-strokers are excellent too but only come in newer coaches ($$$). Skoolie engines are more varied. For over the road use, the International/Navistar DT466/DT466e are good choices, as is the Cummins C-series 8.3L turbo diesel. Many of the turbo diesels are fine. You do want a diesel, however.

Yes, $5-10k will get you a solar/battery system for any bus. A skoolie will have to be plugged into shore utilities too, unless you have it built for off-grid living (solar, etc).

The manual transmissions in coaches are non synchronized. They are harder/more complicated to shift than a manual in a 4-wheeler. They're not crazy difficult. My mom drove them. I'm not sure I would recommend learning to drive a manual on a non synchronized tranny though. I could be wrong. A coach conversion, from the mid-80s on, will most likely have an automatic (though, in good shape, cost in the $40-50k range). Remember, a brand new Prevost coach "shell" (no interior or RV infrastructure whatsoever) runs $400-500k, about 10x that of a skoolie shell. All coaches built after 1980, will be 40-45 foot long.

Double clutching is a way to rev match. You can rev match and shift without using the clutch at all! In short, the engine and transmission input must be turning at the same speed in order to change gears up or down.




Given solid working conditions, I think a coach is easier to drive on the open road, while a skoolie is easier to maneuver in town. They were made for two different purposes.

I realize that upwards of $40k dollars seems like a lot of money and it is. If you'll be contracting out most of a skoolie conversion, you're probably looking at $30k anyway. :-\
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Old 07-23-2016, 03:53 PM   #39
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Thought I'd share some other links with you.

This is a seated Gillig Transit for sale...



<strong><font size="3">BUSES 4 SALE</font></strong> : 1996 Gillig 102 Transit bus

Here's a converted 1956 GM PD 4104... $15k obo; 35', DD 671, 4pd MT, needs a little TLC. Beautiful, classic GM flat-top.



<strong><font size="3">BUSES 4 SALE</font></strong> : 1956 GM 4104-1828

Converted 1984 MCI Marathon 40'... $46k... DD 8v92; Allison AT. Nice. New Marathons start at over $2 million. The 8v92 is STRONG.



<strong><font size="3">BUSES 4 SALE</font></strong> : 1984 mci MCI Marathon 40'

Converted 1988 MCI 102a2 40'... $25k... 6v92TA, Allison AT, two-axle
This is a nice rig, inside and out.



<strong><font size="3">BUSES 4 SALE</font></strong> : 1988 MCI Bus Conversion
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Old 07-23-2016, 05:53 PM   #40
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The old Detroits were stout engines. Had an old Pete road tractor with a so-called 318 Detroit in it, would run well over 100 on the highway with a loaded trailer on flat ground. Empty it would do OK going over mountains, loaded, not so much.
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