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Fernweh 04-02-2015 07:42 AM

Jumping in headfirst with no knowledge
Hey Y'all,

I haven't purchased a bus yet. Hopefully, I can acquire one in the coming months. I am in the pre-purchase planning stage, if such a stage exists. I just decided to do this yesterday. I have no construction experience or any bus knowledge. :confused:
I have a couple friends that say they will go through this adventure with me, but I am sure I will end up converting solo. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what general tools I would need. That way I can get the tools and purchase some of the small stuff ahead of time as money comes in.

Thanks a bunch for any tips and insight.

nat_ster 04-02-2015 08:05 AM

Welcome friend.

Be sure to read as many build threads as you can. The info you need is there.

This list depends on how far you will take your build.

Angle grinder.

2 pound hammer.

1 inch cold chisel.

And everything else needed to build a house.


Fernweh 04-02-2015 09:03 AM

Thank you!
I have been reading through this website extensively. It is an awesome amount of help.

Appreciate it.

Roadrunner 04-02-2015 09:37 AM

Make sure to check out all of the picture albums too. You will get some good ideas there too. The tools you will need will depend on how far you want to go. Be warned it will take longer than you think and will cost more money than you think. Everyone will be glad to assist you. It will always be a work in progress. Think about what you need to do first so that you can use it before you are completed or you will be waiting a long time to use it. That way you can also change your mind on things as you go. If you have questions someone will be glad to help you. There are many great people on here with a vast amount of experience that are more than willing to help you out. That is what makes such a wonderful place. I'm on here a couple of times a day, I just love it here. Enjoy and please don't hesitate to ask questions. Oh, one more thing. We love to see lots of pictures. If I can be of assistance just let me know. God luck.

cowlitzcoach 04-02-2015 01:04 PM

Before you start shopping determine how your will be using your conversion.

If you plan to do lots of miles every year (10,000+ miles per year) you may want to consider a motorcoach rather than a school bus.

If you plan to do lots of off the beaten path traveling that will include lots of gravel then a school bus would make a better choice than a motorcoach.

If you are tall or of generous proportions a 102" wide transit bus with 84" ceilings might be a better choice.

Just be aware that there is no single bus that will work the best in all situations. Regardless of what you purchase you will need to make some compromises.

If you want to contact me directly we can talk aobut what would work the best for you.

Good luck and happy trails to you!

superdave 04-02-2015 06:05 PM

start looking for a bus now,look at all the things you want, its harder than you think, unless your flush with cash! good luck.

Fernweh 04-06-2015 11:51 AM

Sorry for the late reply I just got back from Czech. Happy Easter to you all.
I will look into a motor coach. I have just been looking at school buses and didn't even give other varieties a thought. I am hoping this bus can be my permanent home. I have been browsing auction sites and craigslist for a bus. I can't make any purchases until I return to the states and start back up at my job. I am hoping by October I will have a good enough understanding to make the purchase. :) I purchased some of the tools mentioned above and am honestly excited for the adventure building this home will bring.
Thank you guys so much for your feedback

cowlitzcoach 04-06-2015 02:13 PM

If you decide to go the motorcoach route be aware of the fact they are considerably heavier than school buses. Which is why almost every 40' motorcoach has three axles and almost every 40' school bus has two axles.

The third axle adds a lot of expense for maintenance--two or more tires (most are a single tag or bogey wheel but some have duals), two more axle ends including brakes, bearings, suspension parts, etc.

Unless you move up into about 1995 or newer the vast majority of motorcoaches have 2-cycle Detroit Diesel engines. They are good engines but finding people who know what they are doing when they work on them is starting to be a bit difficult. They are also a lot thirstier than 4-cycle engines of the same HP rating.

Motorcoaches are also considerably taller than a school bus. Between their height and weight you may find yourself sometime late at night in the rain having to back up for a looooooooooooong way because you have encountered a bridge with weight restrictions or a bridge or tunnel with an overhead lower than the top of your bus.

The beauty of a school bus is they travel almost every street and road in the country every day as they transport kids to and from school. You will find very few roads a standard school bus can't go on.

At the end of the day you are the only one who can determine which bus will be perfect for you. But before you purchase anything you need to first determine where you will be driving your bus.

As it has been mentioned before, go through all of the albums and build threads. They will give you ideas and pitfalls to avoid before you ever purchase anything.

Good luck and happy trails.

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