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Old 07-11-2016, 08:43 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: The mythical land of hills
Posts: 15
getting ready to start shopping and take the plunge.

Hello Everyone,

It's been a while since been reading and posting on the skoolie site. Around my life, the poopie really hits the fan hard here when it does. Been through some ups and downs but now everything has leveled out again and I'm resuming the bus idea. And. . . here's the big one. . .the wife has not only become encouraging but is also starting to offer her input on what we should have.

Now bus ways, we differ on what the bus should be. Make model and year aren't up for debate since she feels thats trivial stuff left up to me when it comes time to buy. But our main issue at the moment is she wants a rear engine flat front, and I want the conventional dog nose style bus. I like the idea of preserving the look of the bus minus the color and interior arrangement, but she wants something as close as possible that resembles the big highway cruiser bus conversions and class A motorhomes. Flat front, front engine seems to be out of the picture since having that big engine up front in the passenger cabin roaring away will get old fast to her. Other than price and total volume, let's hear some arguements on what type of bus is better for a conversion.

She's short, I'm 6'1" in the morning on a good day but tend to stand slightly slouched most of the time at 6 feet even. I'd love to have a double insulated roof and the same for the floor, but my patience and skills won't let me do a roof raise and I would really like to have full standing headroom on the centerline. I plan on refinishing the floor with some thin laminate flooring to not loose headroom and leave the interior ceiling in its stock trim. Even 1 inche loss in my case could be a deal breaker for full standing headroom.

Showing the wife some other conversions you all have done have really helped since she sees how beautiful this vehicles become after the work is done. I too, but she really likes the rustic knotty unstained wood interiors, has a log cabin feel to her she says. That works for me since thats the look I'm going for too.

I have lots of buses to choose from locally, pretty much everything from around 2003 and later can be easily bought from one of the area's local bus companies. So lets hear some input on which make and model is best for conversion. Me, I'm still leaning for a Bluebird Vision but I'm all ears to what people think is best for a fairly experienced RV'er but new to doing a bus conversion.

Getting ready to take the plunge and buy a bus, so please any advice offered is grealty appreciated.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:25 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Danville, California
Posts: 345
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: DD6-71T
Rated Cap: 78
I could not tell which state you were in. I am in California. The advantage of California buses is the low amount of rust. Rust is the enemy of any skoolie. Some areas of the country are worse than others in terms of the rust. The Mid-West and New England states are pretty bad. The West is best in terms of low rust. Being from California, I am partial to Crowns. I now own three Crowns. One is fully converted, and the second is starting in about a month. These Crowns are up to 40 feet in length and are the transit style (flat nose). You really don't want a conventional in my opinion. First, they are harder to drive and maneuver (having been a bus driver in an earlier life I know from experience). Second, the view from the driver's compartment is way better in a transit than in a conventional. Third, the engine is still near the driver area and the noise is much worse than a rear engine transit. The Crown buses are mid-engine (it is under the floor of the bus in the middle) and thus have superior handling. You have to work really, really hard to get a Crown to go into a spin. Crowns have high interior ceilings unlike some other buses. You can still get Crowns at auctions around California as the state has a final date of 2018 when all the Crown school bus diesels must be off the road (state air board regulation on diesel). In a nutshell, I agree with your wife that the transit style is best. Rear engine if you go for a Blue Bird, Thomas, etc. Mid-engine if you go for a Crown.

Again, just my opinion. There are others on this forum with passionate beliefs different than mine. Go with what makes you both happy and that is what is important.
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Old 07-18-2016, 10:17 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 910
Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Glad you weathered the storms of life and returned to the bus dream.

I look forward to seeing what unfolds for you both
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:33 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Denton, Tx
Posts: 11
Year: 1991
Engine: 5.9L Cummins Mechanical
Hi All,
I am about to buy a bus also. Here is what I have collected and would love everyone's feedback.

1. My plan is to live on the skoolie for at least 3 to 5 years full time after my daughter graduates June 2017. Some boondocking but mostly staying with family and friends to help them with their stuff for a spot to part but I will be doing traveling after I get my feet wet living in the bus.
2. I want to get something 1997 or older (Mechanical). I am fairly mechanically savvy (no diesel experience) but everyone is telling me it is going to be easier and less expensive for me to cut my teeth on the mechanical engine and the electronics out of the picture for troubleshooting.
3. One thing that is really important to me, I want a shop in the back of the bus with tools and area to work on different projects. So I would like a wheelchair lift so I can load and unload things and a 250cc Ninja just to run around on when needed. Now because of the shop I am leaning towards a Flat nose with a engine in the front. The only thing that concerns me with that is maintaining it in such close space. I did talk to a bus mechanic and he said he wouldn't worry about that too much because they were made to be worked on and maintained. He said that some were made to be rebuilt right there in the bus.

Sorry if I rambled, just putting my thoughts out there.

In closing what I would like is a mechanical, flat nose with a front engine and a wheelchair lift. If anyone has any suggestions I sure would appreciate them and also if what I am wanting is screaming, "No don't do that!" let me know. lol. Thanks everyone
Wes
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:46 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 11,150
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Sounds like a good plan.

I had a "ninjette". It was one of my favorite bikes. Would make a great alternative to towing a vehicle.
I'm now fully immersed in mopeds and moped life. I'll have two Tomos step thru's in the back of my bus when I'm done with it.
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