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Old 07-04-2020, 06:42 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1
Question South California, looking for a School Bus quite rapidly

Hey folks, long time lurker first time poster! My wife and I have been planning our skoolie build for well over a year now and our plans have moved forward quite suddenly.

We're full time RVing, and our 22-year-old falling-apart vehicle just broke down with a huge repair bill. We're strongly considering putting that money into a down payment on a school bus for our conversion rather than sinking it in to this hunk of junk.

So for the moment, we're broken down in a car park with a 10 minute walk to the nearest toilet but that's life, not much we can do about it! haha

We're not looking to buy from auction, and we'll have a mechanic give any vehicle we consider a full inspection before putting money down, of course We're also looking to pay on finance, we were originally planning to save the full amount to pay in one go, but as the situation has changed we now want start with a down-payment and start paying monthly.

Here's what we're looking for, could you advise us on the best places to contact for school bus sales?

Could you perhaps suggest other things we need to put on our list of "must-have" or "would-likes" too please, as you're all more seasoned with skoolies than we are?
  1. Diesel
  2. Rear Engine
  3. Full Length (the big 40 footers)
  4. Intact Maintenance Records
  5. Bluebird (preferably)
  6. Compliant with California's Emissions Requirements (Level 3 PM Filter)
  7. Good Cummins engine
  8. Allison Transmission
  9. Year 2007 or newer (due to emissions compliance requirements, however if already retrofitted with all the required filters etc we could look at something a little older)
  10. Air Brakes
  11. Price range is < $10k
andrewsmyname is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2020, 10:00 PM   #2
Bus Nut
WIbluebird's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 931
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
I'm fairly certain that once a bus is retitled as an RV in California, CARB rules no longer apply.

If you absolutely must have a post 2007 your best bet is going to be a Cummins. They did make the ISC in Bluebird and Thomas pushers after 2007 with an EGR system but those buses are still new enough that they're commanding 20-40k at the auctions and dealerships.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:04 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 931
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75

Rocky Mountain Bus Sales in Colorado Springs has a lot of what you're looking for but you'll have to up the budget to 25k or more if you're dead set on a post 2007 emissions bus (and more money set aside for repair bills when the EGR system starts causing trouble as they often do when they get higher mileage).
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:09 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,529
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I've never noticed that bus dealers do any financing, but maybe they do. If so, it means you'd be buying from a dealer who is very likely marking up a questionable bus by a considerable amount, and who would then be squeezing you even further with the financing.

Skoolie building is expensive, with the total cost being many times the cost of the bus itself. If you don't have the cash on hand to buy just the bus outright, this might not be the best plan for you.
Rusty 87 build thread
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:19 AM   #5
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 117
If you thought you can't afford to fix your current ride, what will you do when your 40ft bus needs repairs?
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air brakes, buying, california, diesel, filter

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