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Old 07-29-2022, 07:07 PM   #1
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Out of state bus or no?

Hi there!
We are finally taking the plunge and jumping in!
Please bear with me as I am new to these forums and if this is the wrong place to post this, please tell me what to do to fix it.

We are trying to get a short dognose bus. Around 22ft if we can. We live in CA. Found one that looks good in Vancouver, WA. A 2006 IC bus, 26ft long.
What Iím wondering is how much would it be to get it from WA title to CA title? I did a calculator thing that puts it close to maybe $600. But then, how do I estimate what it would be to register it? Also, what does the process look like for getting it converted to motor home/housecar title?
Is insurance going to be more if itís converted, or less? Itís going to take us time to convert it, so it wonít be a motor home title for a while.
We have a second option in southern CA, another good looking bus. 2001 freight liner 24ft. Also on the edge of our price range.
Would it be better to pick the bus thatís already in CA but needs more work (seats taken out, etc) or the buy in WA that is a little longer than we want but has seats removed and gone?
Third potential option Iím waiting to hear back on is from a bus sales guy in wolf creek Oregon. Itís a 26ft international similar to the WA bus but much closer.

Wait for a different bus entirely?

We are looking for a unicorn, I know. These short dog noses are like 1 in 500.
We would like a dog nose short bus, around 22 ft long, probably an International but open to others. We want an Allison transmission with a lock up torque converter(? the overdrive thing that gives it better fuel economy on highway drives) and AC. Ideally no rust/minimal and all but 1-2 seats removed is a huge plus. Anyone selling? Haha

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Old 07-30-2022, 09:21 AM   #2
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Being in CA. If they are diesel powered. Check and see if you can get it registered. CA has a law passed a few years ago that anything older than 2006 diesel powered can't be plated for road use.
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Old 07-30-2022, 09:38 AM   #3
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ive never seen an IH dognose at 22 feet.. my redbyrd is like 24 and its a 6 window.. (bluebird IH 3800 dognose) probably like your unicorn.. (ive been known to use that as a daily driver) I got it before the skoolie craze seemed to lift the price of busses up..



thomas did make a 5 window IH 3800 (and I think a freightliner FS65 5 window).. those would be closer to 22 feet.. the later models of all these busses (2001 to 2004(2006 for the FS65)) were available with Overdrive Allison 2000 transmissions..



mid year 2000 was the first year for the allison 2000 and ive rarewly seen anything oder than an 01 model with it.. a short bus with the Non OD but Lockup MT643 would be rare.. and even Rarer (but was available) would be a short-bus with the 3000 series OD + lockup (world series) allison called it.. those were available since the mid 90s but very expensive so mostly the rear engine transits got them in those early years..



A/C is a crap shoot.. my redbyrd is a year 2000 (I swapped out the crappy trans for a good one).. it came from texas with factory A/C .. more often shorties with wheelchair lifts (that you can remove) are more likely to have A/C as they were special needs busses originally..



None of my Busses have come from Ohio where i live.. (one did spend its school life in Ohio but was in florida when I bought it.. one was in texas, and the other in oregon.. ive driven all of them home from their purchase places..
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Old 07-30-2022, 11:16 AM   #4
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You have the opportunity to buy a bus closest to the size you're looking for in southern CA which 'usually' means corrosion free but you're looking in Washington and Oregon because the one in southern CA still has the seats in it? If seat removal influences which bus you buy I'm wondering if you've really considered what you're getting into with a skoolie conversion? Seat removal is a PITA but it's not difficult if you have a helper.

Of the three buses, which is closest to you mileage-wise? Transporting a bus over long distances will significantly add to the cost of your conversion not to mention that you'd be taking a long trip in a bus you haven't had checked out.
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Old 07-30-2022, 01:48 PM   #5
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We live in an apartment, and the bus would be parked on our street or at my sisters house while it’s being worked on. Yes, I have considered the conversion. Ours will be nothing fancy for now. we could remove the seats ourselves. But if they were already out it would be a huge plus. To us it is worth considering. If we are going to go far to get a bus, we better get the best bang for our bucks.
The closest bus is going to be the Oregon one which e are still waiting for details on when the dealer gets the bus in.
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Old 07-30-2022, 01:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
ive never seen an IH dognose at 22 feet.. my redbyrd is like 24 and its a 6 window.. (bluebird IH 3800 dognose) probably like your unicorn.. (ive been known to use that as a daily driver) I got it before the skoolie craze seemed to lift the price of busses up..



thomas did make a 5 window IH 3800 (and I think a freightliner FS65 5 window).. those would be closer to 22 feet.. the later models of all these busses (2001 to 2004(2006 for the FS65)) were available with Overdrive Allison 2000 transmissions..



mid year 2000 was the first year for the allison 2000 and ive rarewly seen anything oder than an 01 model with it.. a short bus with the Non OD but Lockup MT643 would be rare.. and even Rarer (but was available) would be a short-bus with the 3000 series OD + lockup (world series) allison called it.. those were available since the mid 90s but very expensive so mostly the rear engine transits got them in those early years..



A/C is a crap shoot.. my redbyrd is a year 2000 (I swapped out the crappy trans for a good one).. it came from texas with factory A/C .. more often shorties with wheelchair lifts (that you can remove) are more likely to have A/C as they were special needs busses originally..



None of my Busses have come from Ohio where i live.. (one did spend its school life in Ohio but was in florida when I bought it.. one was in texas, and the other in oregon.. ive driven all of them home from their purchase places..

Thank you, this is good info!! Iím going to research those other models. We do want the shortest possible. A 5 window would be amazing. After seeing how limited the option pool is, Iím starting to think a van chassis/cutaway style bus might be better for our needs but my husband doesnít like them. I worry about the clearance because it seems much lower than a dognose. I wanna get on dirt roads/forest service roads. And I also want this to be able to double as a second vehicle when needed.
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Old 07-30-2022, 01:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BossLady View Post
Found one that looks good in Vancouver, WA. A 2006 IC bus, 26ft long.
That is probably going to have a VT365 engine... Caveat emptor!
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Old 07-30-2022, 01:56 PM   #8
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What does that mean? Caveat emptor?
And yes that is the engine it has
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Old 07-30-2022, 02:26 PM   #9
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What does that mean? Caveat emptor?
And yes that is the engine it has
Buyer beware. That is not a very popular engine and is avoided by a lot of people, myself included
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Old 07-30-2022, 02:53 PM   #10
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Check this chart out

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1070242319

It's where a lot of people who aren't familiar with diesels start their research. It has the common engine and transmission pairs listed and which are generally recommended or not recommended. It's kinda like politics, everyone has a different opinion so don't take it as gospel but a good starting point. For example there are some people who like the vt365 since it's very similar to a Ford powerstroke and there are more mechanics familiar with it. Some people hate huei engines which is what my favorite the dt466e is. And I for example am not a fan of the all mechanical 12 valve Cummins 5.9 in any bus longer than 30 feet although most people love that engine.
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Old 07-30-2022, 02:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BossLady View Post
Thank you, this is good info!! Iím going to research those other models. We do want the shortest possible. A 5 window would be amazing. After seeing how limited the option pool is, Iím starting to think a van chassis/cutaway style bus might be better for our needs but my husband doesnít like them. I worry about the clearance because it seems much lower than a dognose. I wanna get on dirt roads/forest service roads. And I also want this to be able to double as a second vehicle when needed.
The clearance below the entry door of a 98 Thomas I have is only 6 inches. I damaged it from a small swell driving it on my property. I have an 02 Chevy Express (6.5 diesel) cutaway, 5 window Bluebird box that I have used for hauling sheep, lumber and going to grocery store. I had the title changed to a van and is insured for cheap. I have an old popup that I will use the contents of to do a quick cheap rv conversion for "van".
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Old 07-30-2022, 05:56 PM   #12
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Being in CA. If they are diesel powered. Check and see if you can get it registered. CA has a law passed a few years ago that anything older than 2006 diesel powered can't be plated for road use.
This doesn't apply to RVs and low-mileage (<1000 per year) vehicles.
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Old 07-30-2022, 07:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BossLady View Post
We live in an apartment, and the bus would be parked on our street or at my sisters house while itís being worked on. Yes, I have considered the conversion. Ours will be nothing fancy for now. we could remove the seats ourselves. But if they were already out it would be a huge plus. To us it is worth considering. If we are going to go far to get a bus, we better get the best bang for our bucks.
The closest bus is going to be the Oregon one which e are still waiting for details on when the dealer gets the bus in.
Seat removal is the single easiest part of bus ownership it only gets exponentially more difficult.
A short bus is pretty hard to find. I'd love to be able to buy a nice CA shorty.
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Old 07-31-2022, 01:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
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We live in an apartment, and the bus would be parked on our street or at my sisters house while itís being worked on.

You are buying a bus and you live in CA.This is probably going to be your greatest challenge.



Your bus, until officially recognized as a motor home, is a commercial vehicle. Parking it on the street will likely draw attention, stripping it down will definitely draw attention. Karen's and Ken's will draw cops who will ask questions. You probably won't be able to park on the street at your apartment for more than two weeks and depending on where you are you risk getting towed out of the residential area.



If your bus weighs more than 26,000 pounds GROSS (GVWR) you cannot drive it with a standard CA drivers license. I don't know the GVWR on a 26 footer but be aware of that.
Also, if your bus has air brakes, you can't drive it with just a standard CA license.
NOTE: Once it is officially a motor home, You can drive it with regular license.


Our rig is a 40 footer and weighed just 20,400 when we brought it home. BUT.... it has a GVWR of 31,800 and air brakes. A CDL was required to legally drive it home. Eight weeks later, same bus, same weight, but with VT motor home license plates..... now it's legal for anyone with a standard Oregon drivers license to drive.
Just something to be aware of as the Oregon or Washington trip will be a long way and making the trip without insurance and proper license could end up costing a LOT more than just fuel.
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Old 08-03-2022, 04:36 PM   #15
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If you can get one from a dry area with no road salt, that would be best. That sounds like Southern California. I bought mine from New Mexico a few weeks ago and drove it back to Maryland because it was worth going that far to get the perfect bus for me. It has everything I wanted and there is no rust at all since itís from the desert. Some states let you get transport tags to drive it home, in New Mexico you just email them a picture of the title and your insurance and they will send you one you can print out and stick on the back. I was planning on doing that, but the people I bought it from just let me go with the license plate on it and then I mailed it back to them when I got home. My friend with a cdl came with us to help drive it home. What others have said about the seat removal is true, itís the easiest part, plus the metal makes good welding practice and itís cool to have some of the seats around for sitting on. Iím keeping a couple of mine for use in the shop and teaching my girlfriend how to weld on the rest of the frames. Some people keep them in the bus and turn them around to make a dinette table too, but it all depends what you want.
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Old 08-03-2022, 11:20 PM   #16
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I believe 2006 is into the years where emissions equipment became an issue. You might consider that. We had a 22' Thomas Vista but for several reasons ended up selling it when I found a van based "cutaway" bus in very good condition. Though I love the big bus look, our new Ford E-450 based model (also 22') is so much better to drive. It's quieter, smoother, lighter, and is already geared for highway speeds. Just my 2 cents.
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