Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-09-2022, 07:38 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 2
New to the group and loving it!

I am new to the group and have been researching the 'skoolie life' for about 6 months. I have been debating between a skoolie and a 5th wheel toy hauler as I really like the idea of the happy jack bed system and back deck idea.

I'm leaning more toward the skoolie as the price is truly more in my budget and I don't have a truck! LOL. The idea of the skoolie being so much more structurally sound is also a high selling point.

My goal is to be on the road in late 2025 or sometime in 2026. I still have a child in high school and will not uproot her until she is done with high school and settled into her new life. (Maybe with me or maybe not)

I will be looking to buy a mostly converted bus as I want to get living' right away. As I will be in my mid 50s by then.

I'm also needing to 'raise the roof on my bus' as my son is 6'4 and I want to make sure both my children are comfortable when 'home' or just visiting. And I will be living in it permanently so I want the feeling of home.

This sounds like a pipe dream now, but it's my goal and very much a part of my every day thinking. I can't wait but I know I will.

This forum and all the youtube videos and tiktock groups have been fun to watch.

Any advice from you folks is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!

DayDreamer4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2022, 09:18 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 713
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
the best advice i can give you at this point is to go to you tube and search "mistakes i made on my schoolie" and "what i wish i did on my schoolie" your best info is there. then write your list of rules like 1 raise the roof 2 insulate the hell out of it. (ect) also make a list of what you want (full size,front or rear engine, auto or manual tranny air or hydraulic brakes (one note here we went hydraulic disk as they stop just as good , do not need daily inspections and if i get a leak i can see it). we raised 16 inches and will have over 50 cubic feet of extra storage cabinets. another benefit of raising. we are almost done as i retire his fall. pm me as my wife would be happy to help as she already retired im still drivin a truck.
mmoore6856 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2022, 09:21 AM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 713
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
my wife and my combined age was 128 when we cut it and raised it by ourselfs. age is only a number
mmoore6856 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2022, 11:12 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
TheHubbardBus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 1,889
Year: 2004
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: CE300
Engine: t444e
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DayDreamer4 View Post
I'm leaning more toward the skoolie as the price is truly more in my budget and I don't have a truck! LOL. The idea of the skoolie being so much more structurally sound is also a high selling point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DayDreamer4 View Post
I will be looking to buy a mostly converted bus as I want to get living' right away. As I will be in my mid 50s by then.
An affordable bus built by someone else that's reliable & sound is likely more the exception than the norm. The amount of time & labor necessary to perform a conversion and assure the bus (often decades-old and decomissioned) is in good mechanical condition is far from trivial. A bus done professionally and competently by someone not desperate for cash and possessing the skills necessary to do the work right will command a high price. A 'budget friendly' bus will be budget-friendly for a reason. I'm not saying there aren't circumstances out there where you can get a good deal on a well-built bus, but for every one of those there are many more that have significant problems (often owner-induced, and/or owner-ignored).

I'm not trying to burst your bubble, but please approach this dream from a pragmatic and well-researched foundation. The ratio of happy endings to major disappointments isn't accurately expressed via social media.
__________________
My first wife was 'tarded. She's a pilot now.
TheHubbardBus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2022, 12:04 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 713
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus View Post
An affordable bus built by someone else that's reliable & sound is likely more the exception than the norm. The amount of time & labor necessary to perform a conversion and assure the bus (often decades-old and decomissioned) is in good mechanical condition is far from trivial. A bus done professionally and competently by someone not desperate for cash and possessing the skills necessary to do the work right will command a high price. A 'budget friendly' bus will be budget-friendly for a reason. I'm not saying there aren't circumstances out there where you can get a good deal on a well-built bus, but for every one of those there are many more that have significant problems (often owner-induced, and/or owner-ignored).

I'm not trying to burst your bubble, but please approach this dream from a pragmatic and well-researched foundation. The ratio of happy endings to major disappointments isn't accurately expressed via social media.
Yea if buying one already done its buyer beware
mmoore6856 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2022, 07:49 AM   #6
Bus Nut
 
DeMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
Posts: 940
Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
Buyer Be Scammed

Yes. Buyer beware. The owner is already aware. That's why it's being sold, again. (Retired once already.)

If you buy a lemon, you can try to sell it to an instagram dreamer.

Unfinished skoolie projects far outnumber completed rigs. Lots of low priced 'yard art' buses are available. Some even look completed (short factory ac & heat). Be prepared to repair/remove/replace.

Are you already familiar with the various skoolie scammers, selling 'completed' conversions? Such as
Lone Star Skoolies
(KSAT news reel - Lone Star)
__________________
Ceiling: Framing & Electrical Rough-in
Convert Hatch to AC & Roof Patch
Frederick Douglass: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
DeMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2022, 08:22 AM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 713
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
Finding one where it's stripped inside and owner lost interest, job or other legitimate reason can be a good deal
mmoore6856 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2022, 08:32 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
DeMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
Posts: 940
Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
I Concur

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
Finding one where it's stripped inside and owner lost interest, job or other legitimate reason can be a good deal
Absolutely, mmoore. I 100% agree. Gutted. As you described, this ought to be the target search for many buyers'. Combining the benefits of lower cost, inspectablity, and reducing time constraints.
__________________
Ceiling: Framing & Electrical Rough-in
Convert Hatch to AC & Roof Patch
Frederick Douglass: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
DeMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2022, 09:09 AM   #9
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 2
Thank you for the feed back. Not what I was exactly hoping for but I do understand that the build is important. I just do not have the tools but I think now I'll work on finding a good bus and having local companies help in the build. Thanks again. I hope most people have not all had such negative experiences!
DayDreamer4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2022, 10:27 AM   #10
Bus Nut
 
DeMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
Posts: 940
Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
Ah, the Smell of Rust in the Morning

Quote:
Originally Posted by DayDreamer4 View Post
Thank you for the feed back. Not what I was exactly hoping for but I do understand that the build is important. I just do not have the tools but I think now I'll work on finding a good bus and having local companies help in the build. Thanks again. I hope most people have not all had such negative experiences!
Home built RVs are not a site built structure, so no requirement for license, bonding, insurance, education, training....
Also, no county safety inspector, no home inspection team, no insurance agency or title company to review the investment.

How many legit realestate sales are lost before closing, due to the aformentioned?
Now estimate "who" flips buses for profit. Anyone who cannot earn a comfortable living performing legit construction, can build houses on wheels.
Often Hacks. (You'd be lucky to find the likes of Ross & the Taylor family)

No realestate laws applicable. Buyers have zero recourse once the money has changed hands. They may even have to choose between accepting their losses or become a conman, themselves to recoupe money from another starry-eyed member of society.

Like many builders, I daydream of all things skoolie: rusty bolts, loose wires, leaking fluids, sweaty underwear, usually with something in my eye. I love it.

You began with "price is truly more in my budget", now considering building a custom coach.
(Money pit: wrong way).

Skoolies require a do it yourself lifestyle and/or a steady flow of disposable income.

Neither? Unless you want yard art, you might shop used RVs & dually trucks. Both can be financed and resold, with little risk.

Are you an experienced trades-person or avid camper, already?







(I miss BeNimble)
__________________
Ceiling: Framing & Electrical Rough-in
Convert Hatch to AC & Roof Patch
Frederick Douglass: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
DeMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2022, 11:42 AM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
TheHubbardBus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 1,889
Year: 2004
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: CE300
Engine: t444e
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by DayDreamer4 View Post
I hope most people have not all had such negative experiences!
It's not that everyone chiming in here is jaded from a bad personal experience. Our words of caution come from witnessing the same story play out for others time & time again. There are new accounts here daily. The vast majority never make it very far, and one big reason for that is because social media has sold them the sizzle without serving up the steak.

For most people, the only way to make a school bus conversion economically viable when compared to other options (like used RVs) is if you do most if not all the work yourself, and don't account for your time. Once you start paying people - even if you're lucky enough to find people who aren't hacks - you're going to start and remain under water.

Now, if money isn't an issue for you, then by all means - go for it. If you get what you want out of something for a price you're willing to pay then there's no problem. But if you think you're going to be saving money by having someone convert a bus for you... nope... that isn't happening. You'll either pay up front, or pay down the road, but either way you'll pay.

If I were in your position, and was sold on the idea of living in an RV, I'd be saving up cash right now to take advantage of the countless newer-production RVs that will be (already are?) flooding the market as everyone who bought them during the pandemic sells them to weather the coming recession. Same goes for school bus conversions as well, to be fair, but that brings us back full circle to the potential pain points already mentioned.
__________________
My first wife was 'tarded. She's a pilot now.
TheHubbardBus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2022, 08:06 PM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Rwnielsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 808
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Please, please do your homework on drivetrains and known mechanical issues. They will come back to haunt you and are generally expensive. Get a bus, make it reliable, drive it around from time to time...before you put all your time and effort into it. The people on this forum will usually be able to help with all manner of weird problems that come up when you resurrect an old bus but try to start out with a sound foundation.
Good luck on your journey : -)
Rwnielsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2022, 08:26 PM   #13
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 16,948
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus View Post
It's not that everyone chiming in here is jaded from a bad personal experience. Our words of caution come from witnessing the same story play out for others time & time again. There are new accounts here daily. The vast majority never make it very far, and one big reason for that is because social media has sold them the sizzle without serving up the steak.

For most people, the only way to make a school bus conversion economically viable when compared to other options (like used RVs) is if you do most if not all the work yourself, and don't account for your time. Once you start paying people - even if you're lucky enough to find people who aren't hacks - you're going to start and remain under water.

Now, if money isn't an issue for you, then by all means - go for it. If you get what you want out of something for a price you're willing to pay then there's no problem. But if you think you're going to be saving money by having someone convert a bus for you... nope... that isn't happening. You'll either pay up front, or pay down the road, but either way you'll pay.

If I were in your position, and was sold on the idea of living in an RV, I'd be saving up cash right now to take advantage of the countless newer-production RVs that will be (already are?) flooding the market as everyone who bought them during the pandemic sells them to weather the coming recession. Same goes for school bus conversions as well, to be fair, but that brings us back full circle to the potential pain points already mentioned.

commercial RVs already are flooding the market.. and im one of those in the market.. yes on thos forum ill say that yes im looking to buy a gently (hardly used) motor home (van cutaway) for travelling.. why? because my INTEREST in busses is in the mecahnical side.. and also the Vintage BUS part.. thus my participation here.. even though I am capable of building walls, wiring, plumbing and of course HVAC.. I really dont have any interest in doing it.. so for me buying a newer, quiet, low miles / hours RV where i put the key in, pack my bags and go is where its at for me...



the other side to a skoolie of course is the safety aspect... the pure brute and strength of ab us vs a motorhome (esp the spartan chassis style)( van cutaways at least give you a sturbdy van cab..).. rolling over a commercial motorhome is likely to end up in serious disaster compared to putting a skoolie on its side.. (everyone has seen the spliters scattered everywhere from a motorhome crash.. )(most have seen pics of a mainly intact school bus in a ditch too... )... if safety is what you are after than by all means paying someone to build you a skoolie might very well be worth it if you dont have the skills, time, or interest to do one yourself..



please though whether you buy a motorhome, build a skoolie, or hire a build... use and enjoy the thing!!! and make sure you are comfortable driving said vehicle / combo / size before you commit...



I always tell the story of the 2 rich guy friends of mine that in 2004 bought a 750k Prevost Glamper.... one of them ran over a plastic trashcan in the pakring lot picking it up new... he determined that he couldnt drive said rig... (I had a lot of fun driving it over the years... it was a BEAST).. but reallly dont get it and let it become one of those relics like in the storage unit where i store my busses.. covered in 20 layers of dirt and 6 flat or near flat tires.. sad the number of boats, campers, 4 wheelers, sleds that havent been moved in many years....
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2022, 02:32 PM   #14
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 843
Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus View Post
It's not that everyone chiming in here is jaded from a bad personal experience. Our words of caution come from witnessing the same story play out for others time & time again. There are new accounts here daily. The vast majority never make it very far, and one big reason for that is because social media has sold them the sizzle without serving up the steak.

For most people, the only way to make a school bus conversion economically viable when compared to other options (like used RVs) is if you do most if not all the work yourself, and don't account for your time. Once you start paying people - even if you're lucky enough to find people who aren't hacks - you're going to start and remain under water.

Now, if money isn't an issue for you, then by all means - go for it. If you get what you want out of something for a price you're willing to pay then there's no problem. But if you think you're going to be saving money by having someone convert a bus for you... nope... that isn't happening. You'll either pay up front, or pay down the road, but either way you'll pay.

If I were in your position, and was sold on the idea of living in an RV, I'd be saving up cash right now to take advantage of the countless newer-production RVs that will be (already are?) flooding the market as everyone who bought them during the pandemic sells them to weather the coming recession. Same goes for school bus conversions as well, to be fair, but that brings us back full circle to the potential pain points already mentioned.

Agreed on every point.

I don't want to say the market is flooded with 'used' skoolies but there seem to be a heckuvalot more on the market just these past few months.
  • Some trying to bail, with great rigs, some with hack jobs;
  • Some flippers, taking a crappy auction bus and putting on a coat of wax and a can of seafoam;
  • Some totally legit folks going through the rig, stripping it just for those who want a jump start on their work.
  • Some beautiful looking and complete rigs, well built, worth every nickel.

This is a perilous space. How can someone who has no prior knowledge or experience tell the difference between the above scenarios?

It makes me really wonder if it is possible to jump in anywhere on this crazy train except at the beginning, without significant unknown risks.
Rucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
new to the group, raised roof, skoolie life

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:24 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.