Originally Posted by jake_blue
What in your opinion would make an intelligently-designed pusher? Just so we know what to look for or what to avoid... Still being in the shopping stage myself I'd like the feedback from current/past owners to what headaches they've endured so I know if I have the patience to endure the same. I also have some ideas myself but may find they are impractical or ill-considered once neurons meet reality.
I would look for ease of maintenance and servicing - everything that routinely needs to be checked or replaced, such as air cleaners and valve adjustments, should not need lots of other unrelated things to be removed or disassembled first to get to them. There should be space to work on almost anything without constantly skinning your knuckles or having A Bad Day. Unrelated to whether it's a pusher or not, the main junction box is also a good indicator how well the bus is put together and how easy it will be for you to work on it - if the wiring is a god-awful spaghetti mess of unlabeled and un-color-coded wires going hither and yon, with no apparent logic to how it's been planned, you can assume you'll have a big job ahead of you if anything needs to be rewired and changed.
Pushers generally make the best platforms for serious conversions because almost all the space forward of the rear axle is available for conversion. It makes it much easier to plan bathrooms/showers/kitchens and to keep the plumbing simple when tanks can be located where you want, not where the bus dictates. Plus, pushers drive well, quiet and smooth riding, almost like a "real" bus such as an MCI.
I like my Crown, but I almost bought a Thomas WestCoastER when I was looking - that again would have made a fine conversion platform. Crowns are, as others have said, simply the best school buses ever made, but that's just my opinion!