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Old 12-06-2019, 02:03 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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WTB: Mid-Full size Skoolie with our specs

Hey everyone,

Still pretty new here. I've been through so many classifieds, craigslist ads, etc. and was hoping for a little advice on a ballpark figure (or a potential lead or two as a bonus) on a Skoolie with some certain specifics.

Length 35-40
Engine 8.3 or dt466
Additional Req's:
Sub ~250k mileage
Rear pusher ideally
Passthrough or underneath locker/storage

Our priorities are: strong enough to tow a jeep or equivalent with relative ease at grade, maximum living space while remaining relatively maneuvarable, quality engine/transmission.
A/C Would be a bonus but certainly not necessary.

Anything else major to consider? Is this even a reasonable ask? And if so, what would you expect to pay for something along these lines?

Thanks in advance yall!
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:35 PM   #2
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Watch the auctions, especially out west (CO, AZ, WY, UT, etc) that's where most of the big pushers live. Pass through storage can be found on the Bluebirds, usually the All Americans. Not sure about Thomas or IC.

You're probably going to be in the $5k - $10K range, auctions can vary wildly. Good places to start include Gov Deals, Public Surplus, 422 sales, etc. You can also check with bus dealers but you will pay more for the same bus you'd get at an auction.

good luck
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:51 PM   #3
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I would suggest finding a candidate bus with little to no rust/rot underneath.
Then focus on the functionality of its running gear. You don't want to buy a bus only to find it needs extensive, unplanned, mechanical repair work.

While some might argue that finding such a candidate is impossible, let me tell you from experience, it is not! You simply must be prepared to walk away from one that doesn't fit the bill, and keep looking.
It took me the better part of 6 months, looking at dozens of potentials, to settle on what I have now. Six months of searching isn't bad, in the big scheme of things.

A bus that has seen its use anywhere in the nations "rust belt" should be eliminated from your list. Unless all of the rusted structural members have already been repaired or replaced. Then it would take someone with a basic knowledge of vehicle construction to determine if the repair(s) were done correctly. Duct tape over rusted out wheel wells doesn't count!

You might look at a bus from the rust belt that has a good looking outside body. However when you dive in and discover the floor, wheel wells, back door/wall, etc. are soft enough to poke a finger through, your project has just come off the rails.

Hope I haven't bored you with minutia on rust, but it can be a real bummer/project killer when much $$ must be spent to get it safely back on the road, and the actual camper conversion process hasn't even started.

Good luck and remember its always "Buyer Beware"...
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:40 AM   #4
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I appreciate the advice thus far!

Was doing some further research though and it seems like towing maybe isnt a possibility with a rear engine pusher? Was hoping to avoid the noise and heat from a FE but the ability to tow is fairly important for us.
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Old 12-10-2019, 03:21 PM   #5
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Anyone else have any more advice on towing with a pusher?
I've searched the site and seems like its "possible" but i don't know if we're up for the challenge as newbies.
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Old 12-10-2019, 03:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by skoolofwander View Post
Anyone else have any more advice on towing with a pusher?
I've searched the site and seems like its "possible" but i don't know if we're up for the challenge as newbies.
There's gotta be enough frame behind the engine to support bolting the bumper to. That's all the support you need for a class III hitch which is more than enough to tow a jeep.

Just design the hitch to be removable for future maintenance needs -- ie: have it bolted to the frame, not welded...
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Old 12-10-2019, 04:09 PM   #7
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There's gotta be enough frame behind the engine to support bolting the bumper to. That's all the support you need for a class III hitch which is more than enough to tow a jeep.

Just design the hitch to be removable for future maintenance needs -- ie: have it bolted to the frame, not welded...
That's perfect. We were thinking jeep anyway.
Thanks for the response! Assuming it wouldnt matter much if the jeep was packed up with some toys? (camping gear, kayaks bikes etc?)
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Old 12-10-2019, 04:50 PM   #8
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Keep in mind when towing to figure your length of tail behind the wheels. On some steep entry angles it's not hard to scrap the tail. The reverse of that will have your trailer better than 40" off the ground, now potentially dragging the trailer tail and lifting the trailer wheels off the ground.. They make an adapter that goes between the ball and your tongue that pivots opposite the bus. When the tail goes down, the the tongue goes up, and vice/versa, keeping the trailer level. I can't for the life of me find what it is called. After a 1/2 hour internet search and 3 calls to manufacturers I have come up empty handed. Someone will have to help me here, it was posted before in a thread.
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Old 12-10-2019, 05:23 PM   #9
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Hmmm,
This is the 26' box truck I rented for the move from CO to OH...
If you blow up the pic you can see it's not an simple hitch -- maybe that's what you're talking about -- I didn't think about it -- but the overhang from the rear axle is at least as long as on my 40' bus...

But when you flat tow a vehicle (at least the cheap mount I have for my Willys) you have movement at the ball hitch BUT you also have movement at the toad's bumper, both up/down and side to side. so maybe flat towing isn't a problem the way pulling a trailer is...?

I don't know -- I do know that brand new Penske truck was easy to drive, even with the trailer making me over 50' long
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Old 12-10-2019, 05:27 PM   #10
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Hmmm,
This is the 26' box truck I rented for the move from CO to OH...
If you blow up the pic you can see it's not an simple hitch -- maybe that's what you're talking about -- I didn't think about it -- but the overhang from the rear axle is at least as long as on my 40' bus...

But when you flat tow a vehicle (at least the cheap mount I have for my Willys) you have movement at the ball hitch BUT you also have movement at the toad's bumper, both up/down and side to side. so maybe flat towing isn't a problem the way pulling a trailer is...?

I don't know -- I do know that brand new Penske truck was easy to drive, even with the trailer making me over 50' long
No, that looks like a load stabilzer . if the only movement between the two is at the ball, then it doesn't fix the issue.
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Old 12-10-2019, 05:59 PM   #11
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I know these guys are overpriced, but there are two 2000 AmTran RE's with the DT560E and MD3060 on their site, about 2/3rds of the way down. Asking price is $13k...

https://www.wesellschoolbuses.com/#non_bus_vehicles
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:29 PM   #12
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I know these guys are overpriced, but there are two 2000 AmTran RE's with the DT560E and MD3060 on their site, about 2/3rds of the way down. Asking price is $13k...

https://www.wesellschoolbuses.com/#non_bus_vehicles
Nice buses and I'd be interested in one for less than half that price. Listing says $15K, cash $13k, but windshield says $16K, nothing like throwing prices out there.
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
I know these guys are overpriced, but there are two 2000 AmTran RE's with the DT560E and MD3060 on their site, about 2/3rds of the way down. Asking price is $13k...

https://www.wesellschoolbuses.com/#non_bus_vehicles
Holy crap! These people want 6 to 8 large for "my" bus and it looks like their's don't have the 5sp with o/d like mine!
(only the tires look better...)
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:05 PM   #14
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Holy crap! These people want 6 to 8 large for "my" bus and it looks like their's don't have the 5sp with o/d like mine!
(only the tires look better...)
They have your bus for $10500- $9500
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Old 12-11-2019, 12:47 AM   #15
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Re: Towing with Rear Engine

Somewhere here on the forum there's a 2 or 3 year old post, with links to product listing on Amazon, about mounting a receiver with a hitch on it using the same bolt holes where the OEM tow hooks are mounted under the rear bumper. The poster recruited a friend and they unbolted the tow hooks and then installed the receiver they installed from Amazon. No cutting or welding were required. Receivers can also be installed on the front tow hooks as well. I want one in front for a spare tire mount and a bike rack.

I have no experience towing with a rear engine, but I intend to install a hitch at some point next year. I don't know how often I will use it, but I want to be able to tow things when necessary. The downside to towing with a rear engine is the soot, which will accumulate on everything being towed. I may need to reroute my exhaust to reduce the soot deposit from my cummins 12 valve, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

I will try to find the post I am referring to tomorrow. I probably have it bookmarked, but I am too tired to go through bookmark folders now.
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
I know these guys are overpriced, but there are two 2000 AmTran RE's with the DT560E and MD3060 on their site, about 2/3rds of the way down. Asking price is $13k...

https://www.wesellschoolbuses.com/#non_bus_vehicles
Way too much money. Heck, I would probably sell you my A3RE with 8.3, MD-3060, 180k miles and a 10" roof raise for that price and feel guilty all the way to the bank

IMHO: the auction prices on nice RE's have gone up since I bought mine. I bought mine sight unseen. I took a bit of a gamble and bid $3450 and won. Turned out to be a good bet .
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:29 AM   #17
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Just looked at the link.

I think that those guys may be scammers. I have seen more than one bus listed for sale on another site for a reasonable price and see the same bus, same pictures, on the wesellbuses for 2-3 times as much.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:35 AM   #18
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IMHO: the auction prices on nice RE's have gone up since I bought mine. I bought mine sight unseen. I took a bit of a gamble and bid $3450 and won. Turned out to be a good bet .
Couldn't agree more, more people are starting to watch the auctions on the big sites so they get more eyeballs and more bids. Plus the skoolie movement is starting to attract the instagram #vanlife hipster types that see $15K for a bus as a bargain compared to the $80K sprinters they usually roll in.

I gave up bidding on buses at the auctions and ended up finding mine on Marketplace. Just the other day I saw a scrapyard in Washington state advertising 3 Bluebird AARE's with 8.3/MD3060 and understorage for $3500 each, said they were getting scrapped in a week if they didn't sell. This was on marketplace fyi.

I really think people should also look on marketplace for skoolies, unfortunately the auction sites seem to be too high profile and filled with flippers and people willing to overpay these days. Craigslist used to be decent but now that they started charging to post ads on there the level of content has really nosedived.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:43 AM   #19
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Just looked at the link.

I think that those guys may be scammers. I have seen more than one bus listed for sale on another site for a reasonable price and see the same bus, same pictures, on the wesellbuses for 2-3 times as much.
YEah they're opportunists.
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I gave up bidding on buses at the auctions and ended up finding mine on Marketplace. Just the other day I saw a scrapyard in Washington state advertising 3 Bluebird AARE's with 8.3/MD3060 and understorage for $3500 each, said they were getting scrapped in a week if they didn't sell. This was on marketplace fyi.
Do you happen to remember what city or area on marketplace that was near? I could be willing to take a flight for the right bus/right proce i cuppose.

Again, appreciate everyone's responses.
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