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Old 12-15-2017, 10:33 PM   #1
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Skoolie Research from SoCal in Riverside, CA

Hello all,

I'm looking at buying a bus to convert or converted bus.

What would would you say are the top years for engines and manufacturers of well made buses for regional travel?

Thanks in advance!
Todd
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Old 12-15-2017, 11:41 PM   #2
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Hello Fish

It's kind of a personal preference thing for a lot of people. The more technically minded individuals don't mind dealing with the computer controlled newer buses, while many of us are stuck on the idea of having truly mechanical engine buses. Differing skill sets I'd guess.

Personally I like a proven technology that is easy to maintain and repair. I want to travel and it's not about flash. Others go for the more exotic buses. They seem to enjoy the hunt for rare repair parts and the attention from having a unique bus.

Most of us get buses that are 15 to 20 years old on average, but that's because that's when the school districts are selling them. There are buses of all years out there.

Tell us what you are looking for and your intended use and we'll try to help you find it.
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Old 12-16-2017, 03:16 AM   #3
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Hello Fish

It's kind of a personal preference thing for a lot of people. The more technically minded individuals don't mind dealing with the computer controlled newer buses, while many of us are stuck on the idea of having truly mechanical engine buses. Differing skill sets I'd guess.

Personally I like a proven technology that is easy to maintain and repair. I want to travel and it's not about flash. Others go for the more exotic buses. They seem to enjoy the hunt for rare repair parts and the attention from having a unique bus.

Most of us get buses that are 15 to 20 years old on average, but that's because that's when the school districts are selling them. There are buses of all years out there.

Tell us what you are looking for and your intended use and we'll try to help you find it.
Robin,

My intended use is Full Time living with travel in US 1-3 months of year. I'm handy with most things, but engine work I would defer to a good mechanic. I'm also pretty good at asking for help when I am over my head. I have a friend who fixes RVs and other friend who is electrician, so planning on using them.

Easy to repair works for me! I'm driving a 99 4Runner 4WD, so It doesn't need to be new by any means. I liked the idea of gutting a bus and making it my own living/travel vehicle. I thought about big truck with fifth wheel, but I like that a bus is more solid. There are definitely advantages to both.
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Old 12-16-2017, 11:05 AM   #4
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Todd, it sounds like you've got your maintenance plan worked out. That's good because there will be things to contend with. There's always some deferred maintenance to take care of. Most buses are maintained quite well, but when they know they're getting rid of a bus they tend to skip some of the maintenance expense. Usually nothing that serious.

The easiest buses to maintain are the dognose or conventional buses. Next in line for ease of repair are the RE rear engine buses. Both of these have good engine access. I have a FE front engine bus which has its disadvantages when it comes to accessing the engine. I've got some maintenance issues that are going to have to wait for warmer weather.

I'm sure you've been reading and learning. Which bus style is more appealing to your needs?
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Old 12-16-2017, 03:29 PM   #5
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I'm sure you've been reading and learning. Which bus style is more appealing to your needs?
I'm open to either style actually. I'm still VERY green when it comes to the buses and research. What are the advantages and disadvantages to each? Is it called Type C or Type D? (Are there good links that go through the advantages/disadvantages?) These topics might be a function of bus engine and manufacturer too.

Here are areas that are important to me up further reflection.

Engine Access - Are the front engine traditional (Type C) easier to access than the engine for repair? What repairs are easier/difficult with each type?

Electrical - Ease of repair and modificaiton

Sound - Which is louder on the road? Which is better for small recording studio?

Parts - Easy to find and less expensive parts

Cost of maintenance - How much do I need to plan for?

Ceiling Height - How high inside are they?

RV Parks - Do they allow Type C or Type D bus conversions?

Ease of driving

Thanks for asking the questions!
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Old 12-16-2017, 04:24 PM   #6
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Hey BlueFish and welcome!

Got mine a few months back from a dealer in Fontana. The best advice I have to offer is take your time and choose well. My only regret is not getting one with a handicap door and lift.

Beware of people that will attempt to put false barriers or fear when you go to look at one. The sales guy at the dealer where I got mine was adamant that in Cali I'll need a CDL with air brake cert. and I'll have to fork out $15,000 for a DPF and log my miles with DMV every month and pay a diesel fee. All of these things turned out to be false.

It is quite easy to get a California registration and convert it into a house car / RV and be diesel emissions reporting exempt.

Let me know if you need help finding one BlueFish, I'd be happy to share my research with you. Lots of luck!
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Old 12-16-2017, 04:46 PM   #7
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Let me know if you need help finding one BlueFish, I'd be happy to share my research with you. Lots of luck!
LE,

Great information on licensing. CA is not a cheap one as you know!

I'm in no hurry at all.

Thanks for the offer and I may take you up on your offer. What were your requirements for a bus? How did you decide on yours?
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Old 12-16-2017, 05:32 PM   #8
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LE,

Great information on licensing. CA is not a cheap one as you know!

I'm in no hurry at all.

Thanks for the offer and I may take you up on your offer. What were your requirements for a bus? How did you decide on yours?
The requirements were a bit complicated for my build since it will be used as a mobile resource in a non-profit.

- Bullet proof diesel engine and transmission
- minimal rust
- rear engine
- Air brakes
- 1998 or newer
- enough space for 2 computer terminals & desks, sitting area for counselors to utilize when we are doing a homeless veteran outing or blue ribbon events. space for a fridge and small kitchen to make brown bag meals to hand out
- ability to install solar roof deck and generator.
- less than 40'

The reason I decided on this one was the back story (it's from Hawaii so I have the option of making her the first 50 state Bluebird. On top of that she was used in some Disney movies and Marine recruitment videos) so she fits the bill to the T.

As far as making her into the first 50 state Bluebird, I contacted Bluebird several times to see if there was any interest in pursuing a joint effort but to no avail. Guess I'm on my own.
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Old 12-16-2017, 06:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueFish View Post
Engine Access - Are the front engine traditional (Type C) easier to access than the engine for repair? What repairs are easier/difficult with each type?

Electrical - Ease of repair and modificaiton

Sound - Which is louder on the road? Which is better for small recording studio?

Parts - Easy to find and less expensive parts

Cost of maintenance - How much do I need to plan for?

Ceiling Height - How high inside are they?

RV Parks - Do they allow Type C or Type D bus conversions?

Ease of driving

Thanks for asking the questions!
Most of us could answer these questions for you, but the answers aren't going to mean anything. You're in the right place to gain a lot of knowledge quikly. You're already doing reading I'm sure, but you also need to go somewhere where you can physically look at and climb in to various types of buses in person. You'll quickly figure out which type bus is your favorite.

From what you've said so far I'm guessing you're either after a RE or a conventional dognose. The RE would likely be 40' or near that, but the dognose could be as small as a 25' 5 window shorty. I'm unaware of how much space you're looking for inside the bus.

The shorty can easily be powered by a 5.9, but the RE should have a larger engine.

Window shopping the auctions should help you see many different styles of buses.

You're getting it. You know more already than you did a few days ago.
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Old 12-16-2017, 07:49 PM   #10
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The requirements were a bit complicated for my build since it will be used as a mobile resource in a non-profit.

- Bullet proof diesel engine and transmission
- minimal rust
- Air brakes
- ability to install solar roof deck and generator.
LE,

You are helping add to my list of requirements. Your veteran project sounds wonderful. I might be able to help you.
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