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Old 09-01-2017, 07:47 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 228
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: AARE 3903
Engine: Cummins 8.3L 12v
Rated Cap: 78
Intro and Bus Opinions Wanted

Hi all,

Not super serious yet, but my family is fantasizing about taking a year off starting next summer to wander the county in search of a new place to live. We sort of ended up in Phoenix by accident, and next thing we knew we'd been here for 15 years. We've seen enough of RVs to know that's probably not the best option for us. I don't think we've managed a single outing with the grand parents in their 32' class A without the boys managing to break some cheaply made piece of RV furniture or interior

We will probably be renting a Winnebago View to try out sometime soon. The 15-25 mpg on the Mercedes diesel sprinter platform is at least somewhat appealing given the shock of the thought of giving up our 50mpg Priuses for a <10mpg bus/RV. I'm also a sucker for vintage buses, but that's probably a whole lot more trouble than we're ready for.

So in many ways a skoolie probably makes a lot more sense for our family of 5 (2 adults, 3 boys 11/9/3, 2 cats and 1 dog to spend a year living in. We don't really need anything fancy, just rugged, reliable, and convenient/comfortable enough to not get too much in the way of the primary goal of exploring and spending time together.

I think I've picked up some of the basics of what to look for, but wanted to see what you all thought of this as a possible example of what we might want to build on:

1997 BLUE BIRD ALL AMERICAN RE, 78 passenger (36-37'?), 8.3L Cummins, Allison (maybe 3k series based on pics) transmission, high roof (assumed from windows line in pics), air brakes (possibly air ride as well?), dual roof AC, 3 under bus storage compartments, and transit style windows. 247k miles. Price is $10k fresh out of fleet service and inspected by large local new/used bus dealer. Seems a bit high, but maybe worth it if dealer bought translates to ready to drive, and/or some significant service done for mileage? Like the idea of the transit windows vs. traditional school bus windows, under storage seems very handy, seems like potentially a good drive train / mechanical setup for the size? Maybe good enough for towing a trailer or vehicle?

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