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Old 02-06-2016, 11:09 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
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5 Window Conventional Bus

I'm having an extremely hard time finding any conventional short buses with 5 windows, diesel engine, and non tinted windows. Do they even exist?

Also discovering how unbelievably bad used school bus sale websites are...

Anyone have pictures, specs, or a link to any such bus?

Thanks!
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:50 AM   #2
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Just keep looking and be patient.
I see some buses that people buy because they want one "now".
Can't you just remove window tint?
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:08 AM   #3
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Woah!

Woah! Thanks!!
Somehow I always thought that window tint was a feature of the glass - yes, we could definitely handle removing the window tint.

I guess the question is now whether you can find a conventional 5 window short bus with a decent engine & tires. We've been trying to find one with a Navistar or Cummins engine since we plan to drive it across the country a couple times and those have the best reputation for reliability.

We don't have to get a bus "right now" but with the aggressive goal of finishing our conversion by mid August, we should get one soon. We've been looking intensely for about a month and a half, and more lightly since last October. (But were looking for 6 Windows till recently)
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:16 AM   #4
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Cool. What part of the country do you currently reside in?
Not sure on the tint, but factory tint is good stuff as its in the glass and won't peel. Most tint is pretty easy to remove.
What if you find one with six windows?
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:06 AM   #5
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We actually found a pretty good six that fits all our requirements, but we're trying to make sure we've turned over all the stones before we commit. Going smaller would be nice as it would get us close to being able to park wherever you can park a big pickup. But right now it looks like we would loose a lot of other things if we went with a shorter bus, at least at the dealers we've been checking. (i.e. More rust, engines with not as good of reputations, worse tires & less ground clearance (for logging/camp roads), and higher price). Neither my bf nor I have driven a vehicle larger than a uhaul van so we're a little wary. We're going to test drive next weekend so that should be informative.

Any thoughts on this '98 vs this '07?

http://www.422sales.com/components/v...nk_27903_12800

http://www.422sales.com/components/v...nk_27903_16223



Oh! And we live in west PA
thanks so much!
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:33 AM   #6
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the length of a six window vs five is pretty insignificant and any extra space you can get will be super useful. Even my 40 footer isn't too bad to drive once you've done it.
The 07 is too expensive for what it is. the 98's price seems a lot more reasonable.
Start watching the auctions and less dealers. Also, I'd travel for a bus if I lived up where you are. Michigan, Ohio, and PA buses just are too rusty for me.
From Colorado to Cali is where the nice buses are.
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Old 02-07-2016, 10:45 AM   #7
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Or how about this one-
Public Surplus: Auction #1534540
Allison 2000 tranny, 7.3 Diesel with lowish miles, looks pretty solid, even has auto chains!

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Old 02-07-2016, 03:43 PM   #8
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My 24' cutaway drives just like my van until I go to park it or back it up. It has a wider turn radius but that's only an issue in tight spaces. Brakes are great, better than my van I'd say. If you're used to a van you'll hardly notice the extra length behind you when driving a short bus down the road. I do need two parking spaces.

My 24' six window has 16' behind the driver's seat while a five window 21' footer has only 13'. That extra 3' let us include a shower and a bit more storage.
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Old 02-08-2016, 02:32 PM   #9
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I can attest to the patience bit! I was so itching to buy our bus....but I finally found ours from a local preschool!
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Old 02-08-2016, 02:57 PM   #10
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You want one like this. If you count the windows all the way around, I think there are 5.
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:03 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks for the suggestions & leads and encouragement everyone!
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:14 PM   #12
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal View Post
You want one like this. If you count the windows all the way around, I think there are 5.
Is this for real? The could have bought a golf cart and hauled as many kids. lol
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:07 PM   #13
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Now, THAT'S what I call a Special Bus. More on the order of a SmartBus.
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:10 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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What do you guys think of this one?

https://greensboro.craigslist.org/cto/5441627278.html

What do you guys think about this one?

1991 Chevy Diesel, not much info but it's a great looking bus and seems to have really low miles and no visible rust (makes sense for where it is).
We've emailed and not gotten a response yet, but would like to know your thoughts.
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:41 PM   #15
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Engine: Cat 3126
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Not my favorite buses. I'd say its worth about a third of what they're asking. What's the engine, detroit or cat?
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:48 PM   #16
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Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
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Suspiciously low miles for a '91 and priced way on the high side to my mind but probably worth looking over. Check what engine & tranny as well as the axle ratio if possible. That will give you some idea as to whether it was an "in towner only" or can make highway speed. A lot of skoolies need $$$ gear and or tranny changes if you expect to drive anywhere near highway speeds. Oh...and tires. They can make or break many deals given the cost of a half dozen of them these days.

Good luck and let us know what you find out.
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Old 02-23-2016, 01:57 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
I have to say, I love my E450 Super Duty. The tires are normal sized (although there are 6 of 'em); the Ford Powerstroke is killer; with a backup camera I'm sure I'll be able to park in reasonable spaces (although I haven't tried that yet); and now that I've gotten rid of the bi-fold doors, I really love the interior space.
If I were to do it all over again: I'd pay more attention to rust; I'd go with a Duramax (I'd love the 6.6L and Allison tranny!); and I'd try to find one with a stock passenger seat/door, like this:

I do worry about major engine work. The drivetrain is really shoehorned in there, so I'll probably have to drop the engine to do anything significant. That's pretty much the only drawback I've come across though.
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Old 02-23-2016, 02:09 PM   #18
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Is this what you're looking for?

2004 Ford Thomas 6.0L Diesel Auto Hydraulic Brakes 5 row@ BGA School Buses, Inc. Hudson, FL
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Old 02-23-2016, 02:35 PM   #19
Skoolie
 
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Turtle Top
Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
https://houston.craigslist.org/rvs/5457542198.html
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:33 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
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@EastCoastCB: Can you go into any more detail about why they're not your favorite? Not too sure about the engine. Based on the VIN it's a 6.5L V8 Diesel manufactured by GM. Any thoughts on this?

@Tango: The odometer reading did seem very low... Apparently the current owner has had it for 5 years, and has not driven the bus at all, except to get it inspected. That accounts for some of the life of the bus, but we don't know the history prior to that. We're planning on calling a dealer to try and find out more information about the rear axle and transmission. The seller is not much of a bus person...

Would anything like a title search be helpful for getting more information?
Hopefully we'll get some more pictures of the bus (tires, chassis, stairs, etc)

Any more thoughts/opinions are welcome!
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