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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, 12:07 AM   #21
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: EastCoast
Posts: 19
Year: 2000
Engine: 6.5
Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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, 12:40 AM   #22
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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 can’t 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, 02:33 AM   #23
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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, 02:57 AM   #24
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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, 06:05 AM   #25
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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.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:00 AM   #26
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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, 04:13 PM   #27
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https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...code=undefined
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Old 02-28-2021, 04:25 PM   #28
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Engine: 6.5
I've gotten a few offers. Some of these people sure are so rude smh. Anyways with the condition that my bus is in how low do you guys think I should go? One person offered 1600, another offered 1200 for the engine and another offered 1000. So far I've been saying no to the low offer.

The person who offered 1000 I responded back that I'm not accepting lowball offers. He asked what's the lowest I was willing to go I told him its 2500 or best offer. He responded ...I know the frame is bad chassis wise that's why I offered low. He has not seen it in person he's only watched the video I posted. He went on to say that he's very serious about purchasing, let him know when he can come see it and we can talk numbers in person.

I'm know the bus is alot of work but I'm not in a rush or that hard up to sell it for as low as $1000. How low such I be willing to negotiate?
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Old 02-28-2021, 04:39 PM   #29
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It's up to you, but I personally would take the $1600 and be happy to get out from under that bus for only $900. People have made *way* bigger mistakes on first buses than that.
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Old 02-28-2021, 05:49 PM   #30
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yeah I lost like $2000 on a bus with a bad timing cover.
I'd take the $1600 and cut my losses.
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Old 02-28-2021, 06:51 PM   #31
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With the current prices you will not find a diesel bus in that price range.
Maybe two year from know when the fad is over and or new regulations make it impossible to convert your self.


If you have the money to buy anything better then sell it.


You can also gain some experience and fix and insulate the floor. That way it looks like a doable project. Especially since all these vehicles of that age on the east cost look similar.
If the floor is fixed you might get $3000 for it. No profit but you gained experience.

If you get empowered you might keep it for a couple of years.


Waiting a couple of months with then nicer weather to work on it might get you in a better season to sell higher.


Johan
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:15 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ddcam View Post
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.
Appreciate the offer, I'm not opposed to it. I'm still thinking about want to do and what I should do. I'm not that great at explaining things but I've wrote out instructions below that maybe able to help you show your pictures.

Small world by the way. I've spent some time in upstate ny.


1.You will need to upload your pictures to a image hosting site like https://imgbb.com/

2.Click the upload button at the top or open which ever folder you've saved your pictures in. Select all the pictures that you want to upload with your mouse and then drag them to where it says drag and drop.

3.Once they are uploaded you will receive a link for each picture. Copy the link for a picture.

4.On this site go to where you write posts. You will see a small yellow square that looks like it has a mountain and sun on it. Click on it.

5.A box will pop up that says please enter the url of your image. Delete the http:// that's there. Paste the link that you copied in the box where you deleted http://. Now click ok

You will need to do 3-5 for each picture you've uploaded.
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:19 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by awilder View Post
Perhaps not terribly helpful as the bus is Pending, but, this is in MD and looks okay (also good interior headroom):

https://www.facebook.com/commerce/li...are_attachment

They are out there!

Use searchtempest.com to search craigslists. I am in the NE and found my shortie on craigslist in VT; it had recently been driven from the SW. But as others said, expect to pay more than you may have originally thought..
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I have searchtempest bookmarked and search it as well as Facebook every few days. Thanks for your suggestions however 5k isn't in my budget quite yet.
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Old 02-28-2021, 08:59 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
yeah I lost like $2000 on a bus with a bad timing cover.
I'd take the $1600 and cut my losses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
It's up to you, but I personally would take the $1600 and be happy to get out from under that bus for only $900. People have made *way* bigger mistakes on first buses than that.
Thanks for the responses and suggestions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
With the current prices you will not find a diesel bus in that price range.
Maybe two year from know when the fad is over and or new regulations make it impossible to convert your self.


If you have the money to buy anything better then sell it.


You can also gain some experience and fix and insulate the floor. That way it looks like a doable project. Especially since all these vehicles of that age on the east cost look similar.
If the floor is fixed you might get $3000 for it. No profit but you gained experience.

If you get empowered you might keep it for a couple of years.


Waiting a couple of months with then nicer weather to work on it might get you in a better season to sell higher.


Johan
Thanks. You've hit a few thoughts that I've been having. The low offers have really made me think. I thought to myself does it really make sense to sell it for less than I paid and be negative whatever amount when I could just keep it?

In my OP I mentioned potentially selling the bus for a decent van and then saving for a better bus but there haven't been any decent vans available plus I realized that, that doesn't really make sense since my bus is pretty much an extended high top van.

At the moment I do have enough money to buy another bus but only if its in the 3k range. However at the moment I'm not in the position to be able to travel outside of the tri-state for a bus. Even if I were somehow able to go to the states that have been suggested I wouldn't have enough $$ to buy a bus as well as start the conversion unless or until I sell this bus.

I'm not opposed doing the floor. I pretty much have all the tools that are needed. When I initially decided to do a skoolie I planned on doing the majority of the build myself whether or not I had help. The amount of rust discovered pretty much blindsided me is all.

I've stopped working on the bus when I decided to sell it. To be honest though I've been quite bored since then. I love doing handy work and being outside. The longer the bus sits in my possession the more I contemplate figuring out how to fix the floor, reseal the windows, insulating the walls so that at the very least it can be hung out/camped out in regardless if its sold or not.

I've been hesitant to do anymore work on it because I didn't want to waste anymore money. I can see this easily becoming a money pit. The most important thing I've realized though is that I'm going to loose money regardless. If I sell it as is by accepting one of the lowball offers I'd loose money. I'd also probably loose the opportunity to vehicle dwell this year due to the fact that I haven't had and probably won't have much luck finding a better vehicle. I'd pretty much have to wait another 3-6 more months to save up more money. But if I keep the bus for a while longer and put a little work into it in a way I'd still loose money but the bus will be in better condition for me and a buyer.

Seems like pulling my ads, putting a little bit of money and time into fixing the bus up and trying to resell it when its warmer months like you said maybe my only and best option. At least that way I can still continue to save money. Buying sheetmetal, plywood, insulation, trim seal/sealant, etc and putting in work isn't that expensive. That honestly sounds and would be alot better than giving my bus away for a low amount. Those offers made my heart hurt

Biggest question......what do I do about the ribs? How do I go about fixing those?
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Old 02-28-2021, 11:36 PM   #35
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Engine: DT408 6.7L L6
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Since you don't really have the money for a new bus, and you don't really wanna take a loss, why don't you do a CHEAP conversion on this one. It gets you in. Don't worry about fixing everything perfectly, just put some lipstick on that pig. Then you can start saving the money to travel for a better bus. Also if you plan ahead, many of the materials you use now, you might be able to easily pull out to put in a new bus.
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Old 03-01-2021, 07:55 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djdalfaro View Post
Since you don't really have the money for a new bus, and you don't really wanna take a loss, why don't you do a CHEAP conversion on this one. It gets you in. Don't worry about fixing everything perfectly, just put some lipstick on that pig. Then you can start saving the money to travel for a better bus. Also if you plan ahead, many of the materials you use now, you might be able to easily pull out to put in a new bus.

Somebody on this forum once said “How long ya really gonna have your bus, 5-10 years”? What is your dream? Travel?

Boat decks get soft because many are just wood with fiberglass on top. Once water makes it through the fiberglass the rot starts. I’ve seen many a fisherman cut out some deck, repair a stringer or two(supports), and slap marine plywood over it all and get back to fishing.

Those spots where the rust has come thru to the yellow? Grind off the rust(both sides), fiberglass behind the hole and bondo the yellow side before you paint.

If you feel comfortable with the drive train, you can make it travel worthy for 5-10 yrs.

I used to have a VW with a rust hole between the drivers seat and the pedals. I could see the asphalt. I always figured if I get pulled over that I could jettison anything illegal thru the rotten floor. Pffisshaha!

Peace
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Old 03-01-2021, 04:27 PM   #37
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My first bus was very rusty from Ohio and I ended up selling it. Took a while though. I was about to just start converting it but then a buyer showed up and took it away.
If yours doesn’t sell I wouldn’t be too worried about keeping it, I mean it’s not ideal but if you just want to do a $4000 conversion it’s not too much to worry about. After using for a few years you may want to sell the conversion and start new when you have much more experience with them.
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Old 03-01-2021, 06:11 PM   #38
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If you're uncertain about whether you want to move forward with this bus maybe you could get a good light, a couple tarps to lay on, a ball peen hammer and large flat bladed screw driver and spend whatever time it takes UNDER THE BUS tapping and poking at the rust until you know how bad it is. The frame rails, cross members and suspension components and major body mounts are the most important elements. If they're perforated that would be a good indication you should move on. Also you mentioned you aren't certain about the mechanicals of the bus. Before you made any decision to try to salvage this bus you should have a competent mechanic do an inspection to determine whether it is mechanically sound. In your video I noticed there appears to be a leak at the tail housing of the transmission and I'm wondering about that carrier bearing right behind the transmission.

I'm NOT suggesting you should keep this bus but if you have any inclination to move forward with it . . . .
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