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View Poll Results: Did I make a mistake with this purchase? What should I do?
Sell it! There are better buses with in the 2-3k range. 2 28.57%
Sell it and save more for a better bus. 4 57.14%
Get rid of it, get a van and get a bus in the near future. 0 0%
No. Its not that bad and still worth of a conversion. 1 14.29%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-21-2021, 01:07 AM   #21
Join Date: May 2018
Location: EastCoast
Posts: 13
Year: 2000
Engine: 6.5
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
It's definitely badly rusted. Your best bet is probably to resell it and try again, although I personally wouldn't feel good about passing this on to somebody else since the only person who would buy it is somebody that knows nothing about rust. If you do choose to proceed, one thing in your favor is that the bus is very small and you would correspondingly have much less rust remediation to do (my bus was in similar condition being from Buffalo - check out my build thread if you want to see what kind of work goes into fixing this sort of thing, although you probably won't get far with the thread before deciding to drive your bus into the river).
I decided to sell it but apart of me wants to keep it. I listed all the issues. So if and when someone buys it they'll be well aware of the issues. I made it very clear that TLC is needed.

I do love the bus though. Its the perfect size and I've grown a little attached to it. Been loving going outside and working on it and working on it. Also would've been nice to at least camp out in it at least once.

I checked your thread out a few days ago but I'm pretty sure that I saw it when I first discovered this forum. Anyways I was like OMG. I cringed at seeing all that rust. You did a hell of a job.

Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
No offense to your BIL but it sounds like he knows absolutely nothing about dealing with rust in vehicles if he let you buy this thing in the first place - its problems are quite obvious from the outside. Welding sheet metal patches over the holes in the floor is correct (and relatively easy), but cutting out and replacing parts of the ribs is a no-go - way too much work and you're mucking with the structural integrity of the bus body. The good news is that replacing the ribs is also unnecessary; the rust on them is just surface and can be dealt with easily.
He doesn't, he's not all that handy when it comes to cars besides the basics like tire and oil change. I noticed the rust on the body when I went to see it in person but my sister was like that wouldn't take much to fix.

Thinking back I realize it was a little run down looking (can even see it in the pics) and so was the other bus he had for sale. During my skoolie research I tried looking up pictures/videos of what was an ok amount of rust but I was still a little confused. I do see the signs now though. If I paid a little bit more attention or knew what I was looking for i.e rusted hubcaps, rusted wheelbase, rusted holes on the outside, on top of looking underneath I would've never bought it. Then to boot cracked mirror, door slightly open. The guy also seemed a tab bit shiesty. The signs were definitely there. Should've went with my instincts. Will definitely pay more attention the next time around.

I don't know why but when he talked about cutting out some of the ribs I did question to myself if that would mess up the structural integrity. Just for ha ha's what would need to be done to remedy the ribs? I think 4 are rotted out at the bottom.

Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
The fact that your BIL wants to charge you for labor to fix this after letting you buy it in the first place bothers me enough that I would offer to weld up your floor for you (for free) if you could get it to Philly. But with the bad brakes (and probably other mechanical problems that you just haven't run into yet) and all of the additional work you would have to do to treat the rust, you're probably better off eating the $2500 - which in the grand scheme of things is a cheap lesson (don't ask me how much rust has cost me).
He was more so saying that about the ribs not the floor. I think he was saying in general that work like that (to the ribs) would cost $1000 in labor. He's helped alot (driving it home, taking out the seats..I only grinded like 3 bolts because the dang grinder scares me, removing the heater and ac, cutting out the walls) which I appreciate especially since there's not really any men around that can or would help me with physical labor type of stuff. I also get that welding is what he does for a living. If he really did charge me I would be a little bothered but at the same time I understand. I don't expect him to help me with anything but he has and for free however I definitely understand what you're saying as well.

If I were to keep it I'd definitely take you up on your offer. I just looked it up and Philly is only like 2 and a half hours from me. The brakes aren't necessarily bad btw he just said that they could be better. I do have a feeling that there probably will be more mechanically issues not only because its old but more so because there seems to be alot of issues that the prior owner didn't mention. Although I'd love to keep it I don't want to deal with more issues or waste more money than needed.

Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
One last thing: $4K for a skoolie conversion is pretty unrealistically low.
That isn't including solar. That's more so what I figure it will cost for materials, appliances, accessories, decor. I figure I can wait a few years solar.
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Old 02-21-2021, 01:40 AM   #22
Join Date: May 2018
Location: EastCoast
Posts: 13
Year: 2000
Engine: 6.5
Originally Posted by cai70 View Post
BTW. I am still searching for my, perfect, bus also. I did buy a van though. My family of 4 regularly go for weekend camping trips and have really enjoyed it. I purchased it from a local church in 2019 with a whopping 78k miles on it for a VERY nice $1000 and it had new 10 ply Toyo tires on it. It is a 1996 Dodge 1ton just like the pic you included. I have included a pic as I acquired it, a exterior pic current and a, unfinished, interior pic. I have since done more on inside, but canít seem to find any pics right now. Good luck in finding your dream.
That's nice. Sounds relaxing and like so much fun. I've never been camping. I can't wait to be able to.

Thanks. I thought a very long time on what kind if vehicle I wanted. I had X'd out doing a van-build because they always seemed too small and dark. I didn't want to be cramped. I really love bus builds...there's just something about the windows and large doors however I'm tired of waiting to be able to live this lifestyle. At this point I just want a decent vehicle that I can live and travel in. An extended van seems likes it maybe the happy medium until or unless I find a decent bus. I found a few extended Dodges but of course now I don't have enough money they also weren't close. Sometimes living on east coast/tri-state sucks.

How did you find out about your van? I'm always reading about people finding these awesome deals I'm like where do these people find these deals. I search FB, Craigslist, etc all that time...can never find deals like that.
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:33 AM   #23
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 128
Hang in there, SkooleeGrl, and have some perspective.

First, you got away from this one cheap. Any of us who have been playing around with vehicles for more than a few years (or decades) will tell you that you've learned a very good lesson without wasting a whole lot of money or time on your first purchase. Most of us have paid as much or more for more headaches than this bus has caused you. You'll get something out of selling this one off, and now you are MUCH wiser and better positioned to get a rig that really meets your objectives.

Second, that kind of knowledge can only be gleaned by paying for it, IMHO, and despite kinda getting burned, you've done it quite well. You know better for the next time, and really aren't out a lot of money or effort in the big picture. Now that you have found a community to help you, and some well earned temper on blind enthusiasm, the best is yet to come.

Third, and this is a tough one for all of us at almost every level in the hobby- the market is really moving and now is a BAD time to be looking for an RV, conversion host vehicle or van. These things are cyclical, and right now is a cycle of too much interest and too few vehicles. Used Mercedes Sprinters have about doubled in value in the last year, and new ones are sold out. School districts are critically strapped for cash nationwide (as are municipalities and commercial carriers) so the usual turnover of old vehicles coming out of service that hobbyists like us buy has largely dried up. Dealers and flippers are licking their chops and doing everything from jacking up prices on good vehicles to dressing up crappy ones that would probably be junked at most times just to pass off to novice buyers in a hot market. Can you see where you fit into this picture? Don't be offended, we're all subject to market forces, and as I said before, you got off cheap for a first purchase gone bad.

Yes, it is still possible to get what you want at a fair price, but you will have to look MUCH harder, be prepared to pounce on what you want quickly, and you'll have to pay more than you would have just 18 months ago. This situation will either get better in a year or two as the kids all get back on the school buses, transit in general bounces back, everybody replaces their aging fleets, and life returns to normal, or maybe not. Hard to say more than RIGHT NOW is a relative seller's market. Still, searching all the time and improving your acquisition skills and judgement will make you all the better at getting a great deal on the perfect bus for you when the market loosens up.

The hardest thing to do at this point, and probably the most important, is to be patient and keep looking.

Its all good...
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:57 AM   #24
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 128
One more thing:

You are in the worst geographical area to be looking for a vehicle of ANY kind, from a skoolie to a motorcycle.

Everything in the TriState area has had the life of it banged out over the worst roads, by the most aggressive drivers, bathed in salt slush and treated badly. You'll have to go as far north as rural New England or south to Delaware at a minimum, to find local vehicles that aren't heavily rusted and banged up from "regular service." Looking west won't help until you got to Iowa.

Everybody likes western vehicles that are dry and rust free, but in my experience the mid-south ones are great, too. Virginias, Carolinas, Tennessee, etc. and they can be even better than AZ and TX buses because the wiring, plastic and rubber isn't baked hard. Anywhere is better than a NY, NJ, CT, though. Sadly, I predict that NONE of the buses you find that have been local from new are worth buying. You're going to have to look regionally or nationally.

Hone your skills making calls, asking for good pictures of rust-prone areas, and be both patient and ready to drive 500+ miles when the right one comes along. Also be prepared to come home without it if it doesn't check out. Don't asked me how I learned that particular lesson.

I know it sounds all negative, but I'm just telling you what I know and have lived- 12 years in the TriState area. I'm 100% in favor of your quest and trying to encourage you in my own gruff way. New Yorkers are tough for a reason. Hang in there and do the work. Your day will come...
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Old 02-21-2021, 07:05 AM   #25
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,031
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
In today's market someone will likely buy it. Maybe even for more than ya paid.
This fad is is full bloom right now. Someone will buy it.
Wear A Mask- Stop the Spread!
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Old 02-21-2021, 09:00 AM   #26
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 12
Trade?? I have a 1993 Chevy mark3 conversion van with only bed and two cabinets in it. I have driven over 15,000 miles since last April in it. 4.3v6 so decent mileage,from Florida no real rust. I now tow a trailer and need a better tow vehicle as I move out west. From upstate NY so rust doesn't scare me as not a long term use for me. Just a hauler/mover... Dave I only have a few van pics,but not cyber smart to post.
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Old 02-21-2021, 05:13 PM   #27
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 154
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
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east coast, rust, short bus, tri-state

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