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Old 05-21-2018, 12:19 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 7
Year: 1987
Engine: International DT466
FS: Simple Green, a 1987 International S1853 w/ 97% full conversion

Ripped from the Craigslist ad here: (go here for the pics!)

The Bus
The overall size is about 40' long by 8' wide by 12.5' tall (to the top of the chimney stack). The bus has a free and clear title, and has already gone through the retitling process of being labeled an RV. You do not need a CDL to drive it.

It's been a very good runner with a DT466 inline 6 turbo diesel engine (installed shortly after I purchased the bus in the spring of 2014) with a 4 speed automatic Allison transmission and air brakes. Never fear a dead battery, as there is a dedicated 50w solar panel feeding into the starter battery. The bus stays secure with a combination slide lock on the back door and no way to open the front door when it's latched.

The previous owner before me had it running on a veggie oil conversion. I believe most of that equipment, including a 150 gallon tank attached underneath, still remain, but was never connected or hooked back up after the engine swap.

It currently runs, and will continue to do so for years if given the TLC it requires. It does need some work, which I've detailed below.

The Conversion
The overall inner space before I started the conversion was about 190 sq ft total, although now that it's been built out, the actual floor space is a lot less. This is a completely self-sufficient tiny home on wheels, and I fully lived in it for about a year. It has everything you need to completely go off on boon-docking adventures:
  • Complete solar power system: 4 x 100W solar panels on the roof feeding into a 45A Tristar charge controller charging a 425Ah battery bank. This bank supplies 12V DC power to various lights and outlets and 110V AC power to multiple outlets via a 3000W inverter. This is a serious power system and can even run power tools!
  • Full IKEA kitchen with butcher block counters, highly efficient electric 4 cu. ft. mini fridge with separate freezer compartment, sink with integrated dish drainer, and an RV-style propane range with a 3-burner cook-top and small oven compartment (big enough for a frozen pizza, but not much else)
  • Hot water on demand with a tankless propane hot water heater
  • Double propane tank compartment, accessed externally, with dual regulator that automatically switches from an empty tank to the second full tank
  • 2 couches that fold together into a king-size bed, plus bunked almost-twin-sized beds, with all cushions cut from 8" memory foam, with hand-sewn washable canvas coverings
  • 2 x 80 gallon water tanks, one for fresh and one for gray water
  • Tiled shower
  • Composting toilet (in a separate room for privacy)
  • Wood-burning stove for heating during the colder temperatures
  • Roof vent fan for cooling during warmer temperatures
  • Large closet
  • Ski, snowboard, golf club, and other tall item storage
  • Ample storage space (seriously, more than I needed) in overhead cabinets and underneath all seating
  • Hand-sewn, light-blocking canvas curtains to cover every single window
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detector
  • And a bonus deck on top with a ladder up the back!
The conversion is about 97% done, as there were some items that I didn't complete before leaving it (see below).

The Fun
When Denver was my home base, I drove this bus everywhere: with about 10 people to Burning Man and back; with my girlfriend and son to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks and down through western Colorado; and to visit family and friends in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and the Ozarks. I've taken it to shows at Red Rocks, to various neighborhoods around Denver, to City Park on lazy Sundays, and up to the mountains in the summer to escape the sweltering heat (no A/C). When you can take your house with you anywhere you go, all the conveniences of home are right there with you!

Issues and/or Fixes
Top speed is about 62mph on the flats, either mostly empty with only my stuff or fully loaded with 9 people's gear for Burning Man towing a trailer of bikes -- consistently 62mph. And that speed drops A LOT when going uphill in the mountains, and coasts to 70mph+ when on the downhills. There might be some sort of limiter or governor that's impeding its top speed, but I never looked into it.

A few switches in the main console, along with the speedometer, odometer, and tachometer aren't connected or are improperly reading.

The transmission timing is off a bit -- it shifts quickly from 2nd into 3rd and then from 3rd to 4th, which obviously kills any sort of power and speed. To circumvent this, I drove it like a manual transmission, since all gears were accessible via the shifter. Manually going from 2nd to 3rd and from 3rd to 4th at the proper moment maintained the desired speed and power.

The engine needs some work. There is a pretty bad oil leak in what I've been told is a cracked gearbox housing. I've gotten one estimate of $1200 and another of $4k, so hopefully it's on the lower end. That said, the last major trip I took it on I religiously checked the oil, topped it off at each stop, and she ran like butter.

As I stated above, the conversion is about 97% done. There are a few minor fixes that remain, but don't affect the function or livability of the bus itself: some cosmetic work, the sink empties into a 5 gallon bucket that requires regular dumping, the gray water tank needs an air vent cap (it sloshes and spills when driving), the battery monitor shows the remaining capacity as incorrect (I had hooked up the alternator to charge the battery bank when the solar panels couldn't keep up with the power draw, but in doing so, this affected the monitor.)

The Purchase
I've spent almost $30k in materials and installed equipment plus thousands of man-hours on the conversion. A purchase price of $21,000 seems like a realistic and solid number to me. I will not respond to low-ball offers, but will be happy to answer any questions you might have -- I'm sure you'll have some if you're serious about it.

The bus is currently in Durango, CO, under the care of a trusted friend who lives there, and who also lived in it with his girlfriend for about 6 months last year. He will be handling the sale, payment disbursement, and title transfer, as I've given him Power of Attorney of a Motor Vehicle for the bus, since I now live in Washington DC.

The End
Aside from some hiccups here and there, I loved everything about this bus -- from planning the conversion, to the build-out and learning so many valuable skills in the process, to all the adventures had and memories made -- and would still be living in it had it not been for the move to DC with my long term girlfriend who got her dream job here. We naively planned to be here for 2-3 years, only to return to Colorado and turn the bus into an AirBnB rental property. However, we surprisingly fell in love with our new city and bought a condo here, which affected our long term plans with the bus.

To see even more pictures of the bus and the conversion process, check out the instagram @simplegreenbus. I'm sad to see it go, but Simple Green is ready for a new owner and a new life.
mrkos67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2018, 07:08 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 176
CH777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2018, 03:39 PM   #3
New Member
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 7
Year: 1987
Engine: International DT466
bumpity bump bump.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:32 PM   #4
New Member
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 7
Year: 1987
Engine: International DT466
Still for sale, with a price drop... 'Tis a steal at $20k (obo)!
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:56 PM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 40
Hey dude! Is Simple Green still available? Very interested here.
cjmorin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2018, 09:20 PM   #6
New Member
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 7
Year: 1987
Engine: International DT466

new link:

best offer?
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Old 10-06-2018, 02:59 AM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 3
Still for sale?
TamiMarie86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2018, 06:29 AM   #8
New Member
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 7
Year: 1987
Engine: International DT466
Sure is! Email me at john [ dot ] bandy [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com

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