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Old 07-05-2017, 06:30 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 63
Sturgis Skoolie

Whats up everyone!
Me and my buddies bought our first skoolie project last week and I want to share my story for you guys. Our goal is to get to Sturgis, SD in a bus. We looked at toy haulers for a while. then i got the idea to convert a school bus. So June 23rd me and two of my good friends pointed our wheels out west in search of a bus. We drove an hour to look at a 1998 GMC Bluebird with 150,000 on a CAT 3116. Long story short, the bus was being sold to another individual as we were getting into town. When we pulled up to the address, the bus was heading the opposite direction. At this point we lost motivation.. One buddy found another bus on Craigslist. We made our three hour trip down south to Carbondale, Illinois. Because it was three hours away i set up multiple times where i could meet people with busses for sale in the southern Illinois area. On our way to C-dale, we spotted a bus grave yard in Ashley, Illinois and decided to stop. Pretty cool guy. we literally just stopped and asked if he was selling a bus. he said he would sell one. it was a great fall back plan and he was going to beat the price of the guy we were originally going to see. We still wanted to see what was farther down the road before we bought the first one we saw.

Once we got to West Bus Service in Merryville, illinois he had a few to choose from. I don't think i would recommend buying from this guy because he seemed frustrated with all the questions we were asking and did not know much about the bus he was selling. He advertised 10 late 90's, GM busses with 3116 motors for sale. When we arrived he only had one pulled out and said it was the best one. It had been sitting for 10 years and vines growing up and over the roof. The bus was 20 years old and did not expect perfect, but i don't want to be lied to. After a test drive and negotiation he offered to give us better tires from the shop he had down the road. The only catch was we had to put the tires on. It was a B word. He used is backhoe to lift the bus. he dented the bumper and complained that we shut the bus off. He was upset because the alternator would only put out 9 volts and we needed a jump. Long story short, we drove away with a 1997 GMC 36foot Blue Bird and "newer" tires and 100k on the dash for 2500 bucks.. I will upload pictures and more details later.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:08 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,106
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 65 pax
Welcome to the skoolie family! I look forward to your build.


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Old 07-05-2017, 10:52 PM   #3
Traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Welcome ! Sounds like you found a salty support vehicle. Looking forward to a creative build.


That's a good price to get some backhoe work done- will he dig septic field?

Welcome to the Club...
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Old 07-06-2017, 08:16 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 63
After having the bus for 5 days we have managed to drive home. We replaced the alternator. Oil change, coolant flush, replace fuel filters, trans filter. replace leaking brake lines. We have ripped the seats out and now time to title it.











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Old 07-07-2017, 12:15 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 63
Day 8: I finally got the bus titled as an RV. I thought it was going to be a lot harder than expected because of other topics on this forum. I also got the underwriters at state farm going. They are going to write me an insurance policy for a school bus so i can drive it around legally. For the people who didn't know, like myself doing research on this website, there is two big advantages for titling a bus in Illinois as a RV. 1. You do not need your CDL to drive this thing. I DO need a class B non CDL though. #2 RV tags are way cheaper than school bus tags. School bus tags in Illinois run almost or more than a $1,000 bucks. I walked out of the DMV with two rv plates on July 5th and spent 200 bucks. I am still dealing with State Farm on getting insurance because they want pictures and the completed process documented. Also my agent is out of town this week, bus she is still emailing me keeping me informed. I really do like my state farm agent. I would HIGHLY suggest my friends and family to go to them. I am not paid or work for them by the way. Long story short I purchased a truck in OCT 2016. The day I bought it i was hit by a drunk driver. I was in the office of an american family office because that is where my gf is insured through and we decided we were going to put a second car on her policy to make it cheaper. (I already had two cars and two bike with state farm). We left the dealership with a new truck at 6 pm. We were T boned at 9 pm heading home. American Family would not cover the accident even after it wasn't my fault. State Farm covered the truck and now has and ever will have anything I own. (again i was not paid to say that story.) I just really don't like American Family insurance. I plan on doing a lot of work this weekend because Sturgis Bike Week is less than a month away. I hope this helps anyone in Illinois out who was on the fence about getting a skoolie.


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Old 07-07-2017, 01:55 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 13,125
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
wow that looks like a great bus!! northern bus but sure doesnt look rusty! great find!
-Christopher
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:18 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 63
Thanks. The mechanic we take it too said it was one of the best he has seen for the age.
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:46 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 63
Day 12. Not much has changed. State Farm submitted my application to the underwriters for insurance. They did not require any pictures. They asked the basic questions about tickets, accidents and suspended licenses. I don't know how long it will be before i find out if it will be approved or not but it will be insured as an RV now. They did ask what the MSRP value of the bus was. I had no idea. I couldn't find anything on this site so i told them over 50k. She emailed me back and sent two quotes. One is for liability only and the other is full coverage at $80,000 original MSRP, with a 0 comprehensive deductible and a 500 collision deducible. Full coverage is $600.58 dollars a year. 50 bucks a month is not back at all. I decided to go with liability only right now. Once the complete conversion it totally finished will bump it up but right now just to get around i have liability.

Since my last update, I went to the DMV and took my written test for my class B. If you live in central Illinois, do NOT go to the Decatur DMV. It took an hour. So i will probably go to a smaller branch when i go take my driving test. They informed me that i can't take my driving portion until it is completely street legal. So the bus will need to be painted. ILCS 625 5/12 804

625 ILCS 5/12-804

The bus will need insurance. I will need a driver to drop me off to the DMV. Everything on the bus will need to be working correctly. I don't know how I will take the test because i ripped all of the seats out. There will be nowhere for the DMV employee to sit. I got a year to think about that i guess.

This last weekend we mocked up the floor with Painters tape and added a my old college dorm room fridge/microwave combo and futon.



The bus has been sitting since 2009. The Driver side (North side when parked) was covered in green mold. My Girl friend and I hand scrubbed the bus and now it looks brand new. The power washer just was not getting it as good as hand.



Last night me and the guys took the bus to Performance Welding to talk to a guy who will weld on the trailer hitch we bought. Its a class 5 and should be good enough. Hitch should be here within the next 7 days. We also went to mendards to get 2x4's for the interior frame.

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Old 07-11-2017, 01:44 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Farmington, IL
Posts: 187
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: AARE 3903
Engine: Cummins 6CTA 8.3
Rated Cap: 84
I think you got lucky, not all DMVs in Illinois will title you as an RV without an inspection. I'm titled as a bus, so I don't have any plates. I decided to forego registering it until after the inspection, because I don't want to pay $1123 a year for plates!
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:22 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 63
I think I did as well. I got the new guy. I go into the Decatur DMV all the time to purchase new tags. I didn't recognize him, so i was a little nervous but the guy didn't give me any grief. So thankfully I did have something go my way.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:06 PM   #11
Traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Excellent, but it doesn't count until Springfield mails you a RV title. I'm still awaiting mine, was told Springfield may flag for SOS inspection.

So, still checking the mailbox...
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:19 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 63
SHOOT! How long do you think it will take for them to decide? thanks for the info. How long ago did you title your bus as an RV? thanks again.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:09 AM   #13
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Lake geneva Wisconsin
Posts: 199
Year: 93
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 idi
I got my title back lickety split. No inspection, says under body style: mortor home. I had zero problems in illinois with plates or anything else. I also went to state farm their great.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:11 AM   #14
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Lake geneva Wisconsin
Posts: 199
Year: 93
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 idi
Oh it only took about 3 or 4 weeks for my title to come back.
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Old 07-12-2017, 11:24 AM   #15
Traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatestrr View Post
I got my title back lickety split. No inspection, says under body style: mortor home. I had zero problems in illinois with plates or anything else. I also went to state farm their great.
Excellent News

The difference between a bus and an RV in Illinois is $$$$. Insurance, registration, inspection 2x annually.

I'm still waiting- right at 3 weeks mark.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:54 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Excellent News

The difference between a bus and an RV in Illinois is $$$$. Insurance, registration, inspection 2x annually.

I'm still waiting- right at 3 weeks mark.


Awesome. Thanks for all the info guys. The skoolie Community is an awesome group of individuals. Hopefully I get mine before I leave for Vacation.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:21 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Lake geneva Wisconsin
Posts: 199
Year: 93
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 idi
Are you going to haul bikes in that thing? I have an idea to build a rack on the back for a bike maybe two.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:24 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 63
I am going to haul 800 lbs motorcycles. I might take my bicycle.
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:30 PM   #19
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 13,125
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Excellent News

The difference between a bus and an RV in Illinois is $$$$. Insurance, registration, inspection 2x annually.

I'm still waiting- right at 3 weeks mark.
wow illinois is a stickler.. in ohio the only "inspection" the bus got was to say "yep the vin matches the title". and I pay like $40 more a year to have it as a bus instead of a motorhome.. the only time it gets inspected is if I were to run it commercial and had a DOT number.. then id be in for the 2X inspection..
-Christopher
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Old 07-12-2017, 01:31 PM   #20
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Lake geneva Wisconsin
Posts: 199
Year: 93
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 idi
Haha yeah I'm talking about motorcycles. I have a hitch rated for 5,000 lbs so i can put 2 bike on a rack back there easy. Figured it'd leave a lot more room inside.
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