Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-13-2019, 11:53 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 38
When a class A makes sense no more.

We bought it with 11,000 miles on it, though it was 30+ years old.
One or two trips per year from Boston to Vermont in all that time.
32 feet of 454 powered goodness that ticked all our boxes, but cost SO little.
(We paid $4,000 for it 7 years ago.)
The main drawbacks for our class A were, 55MPH=7MPG 70=3.5MPG (If you ran the genset driving down the road with the A/C roof units running.)

When we took off with it in 2013, we spent 20 months living in it and using it.
Now, we are ready to go again (permanently this time) and I am shocked how the numbers come out.

Repairing the leak in the windshield area is going to take me a week of work.
The tires are more than I can buy 22.5's for, because they are odd sized, no longer used.
Rear springs are wasted and one is cracked.
Brakes need doing again. One rear caliper is locked up.
Power steer pump is now leaking.
The vehicle still SCREAMS and makes me cringe any time I highway-drive it.
(4:56 gears and a t-400. Does the term, "WAAAAAAAAAAA" mean anything to you?)
All the belts on the engine (4 of those) need doing again. (Those are a pain in the butt!)
There is a manifold leak or cracked header that now needs remedy.
One tie rod is a bit loose.
All four shocks are wasted.
By the time you add all this up, you could pay for a damned good chunk of a low mile skoolie.

We can utilize:
Shelves/stove/cabinets/sink/water-grey tanks/hot water heater/pump/furnaces/LP tank/solar setup/roof vents/windows/lights and more from the Class A.
When you figure this into the equation, the costs drop even more for the skoolie.

Anyone here currently working on a donor RV-skoolie project?
Anyone else taken a candid and honest look at their RV and thrown in the towel for similar reasons?

NC/KY/VA area active skoolie folk??
caseythenose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 12:04 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Rivetboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington beach
Posts: 709
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by caseythenose View Post
We bought it with 11,000 miles on it, though it was 30+ years old.
One or two trips per year from Boston to Vermont in all that time.
32 feet of 454 powered goodness that ticked all our boxes, but cost SO little.
(We paid $4,000 for it 7 years ago.)
The main drawbacks for our class A were, 55MPH=7MPG 70=3.5MPG (If you ran the genset driving down the road with the A/C roof units running.)

When we took off with it in 2013, we spent 20 months living in it and using it.
Now, we are ready to go again (permanently this time) and I am shocked how the numbers come out.

Repairing the leak in the windshield area is going to take me a week of work.
The tires are more than I can buy 22.5's for, because they are odd sized, no longer used.
Rear springs are wasted and one is cracked.
Brakes need doing again. One rear caliper is locked up.
Power steer pump is now leaking.
The vehicle still SCREAMS and makes me cringe any time I highway-drive it.
(4:56 gears and a t-400. Does the term, "WAAAAAAAAAAA" mean anything to you?)
All the belts on the engine (4 of those) need doing again. (Those are a pain in the butt!)
There is a manifold leak or cracked header that now needs remedy.
One tie rod is a bit loose.
All four shocks are wasted.
By the time you add all this up, you could pay for a damned good chunk of a low mile skoolie.

We can utilize:
Shelves/stove/cabinets/sink/water-grey tanks/hot water heater/pump/furnaces/LP tank/solar setup/roof vents/windows/lights and more from the Class A.
When you figure this into the equation, the costs drop even more for the skoolie.

Anyone here currently working on a donor RV-skoolie project?
Anyone else taken a candid and honest look at their RV and thrown in the towel for similar reasons?

NC/KY/VA area active skoolie folk??
Joe here, sounds like a great idea. People here have done before and IMHO its a money saving step . Strip that bad boy, throw what you cannot use on Craigslist and then enter the hulk in the RV destruction derby at your local County fair.
Rivetboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 12:56 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
bigskypc50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: MONTANA
Posts: 375
Year: 1995
Coachwork: AMTRAM
Chassis: INT
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: Big Girl
That list is honestly not totally out of line for a 30 year old rig, as long as there is no major water damage on the body, I would pick up some tools and change that all yourself. If that list is enough to make you get rid of it or scrap it then you are in for a big huge surprise when you start taking care of a diesel bus ($$$) and building it yourself ($$$$).
bigskypc50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 03:11 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: GA
Posts: 559
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Amtran RE
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444e 7.3L
I'm a few hundred hours of labor into my skoolie. I bought it with the seats removed, but then had to:

remove, fix, and reseal all the windows,
Recaulk all the roof seams,
Replace the driver's seat,
strip all the outside decals,
strip, grind, rust convert and paint the floor
Repair the wiring to the lights
Fix the windshield wiper motors
Diagnose and replace blown fuses (cruise control, etc.)
Remove several thousand screws to take out the ceiling panels and remove insulation
Cut panels off walls and remove insulation
Fix dents in the rear
Replace about a dozen light bulbs
Replace all fluids and filters and add grease to all grease points
Disable the interlock system
Replace the emergency hatches
Repair the exhaust system

And what did all that get me? Just a water-tight (mostly) bus that I could start building with. I've since installed propane, generators, fridge, bathroom, bunks, storage boxes, pullout steps, electrical system, a new door, etc. but the prep work getting there was a lot of labor, and I still have a ton left to do.

If you want to build a skoolie, it should be because you enjoy having a project. If you want to save time and money, get your old RV fixed.
Biscuitsjam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 04:12 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivetboy View Post
Joe here, sounds like a great idea.


Rivetboy, I only have one thing to say to you:




As for the rest, thanks for your concern.
Retired from diesel service, trucks and heavy equipment. No mysteries under bus hoods to me.
(and I know 99 out of 100 "bargain" $4,000 buses represent anything BUT a bargain.)
caseythenose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 05:56 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: GA
Posts: 559
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Amtran RE
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444e 7.3L
In that case, have fun - this can be a blast, and it's pretty awesome to take a trip in a skoolie that you custom designed and built yourself.
Biscuitsjam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 06:30 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,224
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by caseythenose View Post


Rivetboy, I only have one thing to say to you:




As for the rest, thanks for your concern.
Retired from diesel service, trucks and heavy equipment. No mysteries under bus hoods to me.
(and I know 99 out of 100 "bargain" $4,000 buses represent anything BUT a bargain.)
Actually the cheaper buses are almost always a bargain. That is if you're auction shopping.
Also- there are a TON of high priced used school buses with nothing more than a paint job and a lowes cabinet interior for sale all over and they usually aren't any better mechanically than any other school bus.
My $1600 bus is the nicest bus I've had in 5.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 06:33 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Drew Bru's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Minnehaha Co., SD
Posts: 1,068
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Whoa. That was my first show!
__________________
Our Build: https://dazzlingbluebus.wordpress.com/
Drew Bru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 06:36 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,224
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
Whoa. That was my first show!
Really? Its my favorite Dead recording!
THAT was a great show. They actually released it on DVD. Its amazing and Brent really tore it up! If you want a copy its called Downhill From Here.

While I love the original Dead, I don't partake in the "Co".

So Drew- you were at the show of my dreams, and now you drive the bus of my dreams! Congrats, man!
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 06:56 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Drew Bru's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Minnehaha Co., SD
Posts: 1,068
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
While I love the original Dead, I don't partake in the "Co".
Same. Last show I saw was 7/9/95 at Soldier Field. I gotta say, I've never had a bad time at a Dead show and I don't wanna risk it on some half-assed Jerry wannabe.....it was bad enough they replaced Brent with an 80's synth rocker with no soul.


So as not to derail the thread further: OP, if you're planning on full-timing then a purpose-built skoolie is the ticket. Ours is laid out exactly the way we like it, we know every square inch of the build (the bus, itself, is a different story!) and anything that we've done can be repaired or upgraded quite easily. So much higher quality and better designed than any motorhomes we've been in.
__________________
Our Build: https://dazzlingbluebus.wordpress.com/
Drew Bru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 07:17 PM   #11
Bus Nut
 
Rivetboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington beach
Posts: 709
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post

While I love the original Dead, I don't partake in the "Co".

!
Yeah, that does not work here either.
Rivetboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 07:20 PM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Rivetboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington beach
Posts: 709
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigskypc50 View Post
That list is honestly not totally out of line for a 30 year old rig, as long as there is no major water damage on the body, I would pick up some tools and change that all yourself. If that list is enough to make you get rid of it or scrap it then you are in for a big huge surprise when you start taking care of a diesel bus ($$$) and building it yourself ($$$$).
The vehicle still SCREAMS and makes me cringe any time I highway-drive it.
(4:56 gears and a t-400. Does the term, "WAAAAAAAAAAA" mean anything to you? 3 miles to the gallon is not happening either, thats my reasoning
Rivetboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 07:43 PM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
Ronnie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,606
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
I have wanted a skoolie for some time, and when my camper started showing it's age and an old school bus became available it was an easy choice to go with a bus. It was a lot more work, but I now have a great bus that will way out last the old camper. Plus it is built like we like. So yes I can certainly understand and wish you great luck and fun with the build.
Ronnie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2019, 11:31 PM   #14
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Greater Boston
Posts: 504
The answer to the first part of your question is obvious :


Your current rig is not right for you, replace it.


It doesn't sound like its particularly highway-capable, makes noise at speed, and gets terrible gas mileage. And that would be true even if it didn't need any work at all. Re-sealing the window won't fix that. Changing the belts won't fix that. Changing the brakes. . .well, if you don't, it will be even MORE fun at highway speeds! All kidding aside, your rig isn't working for you.

$4,000 seven years ago is a pretty darn good deal IMO. That's about $750/year, or a few nights in a hotel - about what it sounds like you got out of it. (That doesn't include the 20 months at the start either.) You got your moneys worth from it, its at the end of its lifespan.



The second part, HOW to replace it. . . is complicated.
Like everyone else says, a skoolie can be a lot of work, it's going to be a project, it will cost you time and money. If you're going to full-time in it, then a skoolie might be the better way to go - since they tend to be a bit more durable, and you can build it whatever way you like.

On the other hand, you got a lot of life buying a pre-built RV - so you know some of the things to watch out for and take care of. There are some decent, newer (this century - 2001 and up) offerings out there around $10-$15k, which seems to be where a lot of people end up with their skoolie builds in the end. (I just bought a 22' Winnebago because I don't have time to do a build, but I have time to travel this fall. I'll eventually get around to a bus, the timing just isn't right now.)

The question I'd ask yourself is if you want to spend time buying a bus, and then building out the bus, or if you'd rather just hand over some cash for a completed rig (skoolie or motorhome.)

Figure out which is important, and which ones you have (time/money/neither/both).
Mark_In_MA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2019, 03:39 PM   #15
Almost There
 
vintageracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 89
You paid $4K for that 30+ year old RV 7 years ago.

You made 1-2 trips in each year. Your words.

If you only made 1 trip a year 7 trips into $4K is $571.00 therefore your cost of lodging was $571.00 for each of those 7 trips. If you made more than 7 trips your average cost for lodging would be Less. A LOT LESS!

Yes you can add fuel to that bill however you would still have some fuel cost in whatever you drove on those same trips.

If you walk away from this RV right now and get $0.00 for the it you still did GREAT as you would have spent at least that much and probably much more on lodging for those 7 trips.

Sell the RV, junk it, abandon it, give to the homeless no matter what you do you did GREAT!!!

Time to move on.

Just remember there is No Way In Hell that you will EVER own a Skoolie that will be that CHEAP to own and operate for as little money as you spent owning that 30+ year old RV!!!
__________________
Mike

Remember "Drive Fast, Turn Heads, Break Hearts"
vintageracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2019, 04:31 PM   #16
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 193
Drive anything thatís big and there will be expenses. Tires I just spent $3500 for 6 tires forMy firetruck. Brakes and everything else are part of the package. I
Can only
Imagine the sticker shock if youíve been paying for repairs on the family sedan then jump
I to the big leagues. $11,000 is a lot for a used schoolbus. My auction find was under $5000. But when you get it all done you will have a great rig!
Dirtdoctor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2019, 04:59 PM   #17
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Mt Vernon, WA
Posts: 351
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Bluebird, Collins
Chassis: G30 Bluebird Microbird, E350 Shuttle Bus
Engine: 1995 Chevrolet 350, 1992 Ford 460
I have a similar class A Motorhome with aFord 460 for 7 years also. Its retired to being a solar cabin on wheels. It still runs, knock on wood, and I can move it when necessary. Someday Iíll put a cranking battery in it, turn the key, and it wonít start but Iíll cross that bridge later. I put fuel stabilizer in it and hope for the best. And I add a little fresh fuel in the tank very year and drive it around the block. Iím not planning on changing anything. I was told if I drain the radiator every year as just replace whatís in the radiator it will not rot out due to acidity. But I havenít got round to that. Except a coolant flush, brake flush, trans and engine flush, when I got it.
I covered it with solar panels so itís worth more to me as a energy system and crash pad than a traveling vehicle. I bought a smaller class A with a 4 cylinder Isuzu diesel, 15 mpg average, and a aluminum frame. Iím raising the roof on it presently. I hope to do some good traveling with this one. What I donít like is the windshield has a crack.
A travel trailer and pickup is more versatile. Or pickup, cab over camper, and cargo trailer. But the motorhomes are so cheap. I paid 2500 for this diesel.
You could cover it with solar panels.
Doktari is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

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 05:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×