Originally Posted by coastalrootsgreenery
I am looking at purchasing a bus for my to be mobile business currently. I originally thought I wanted a shuttle bus, then a short bus, then back and forth based on others opinions. I am gutting whatever I get, more looking for something mechanically sound than anything. Does any one have pros and cons of either a shuttle or mini bus? I like the characteristics of the mini buses, but like the wheelchair option door at the back of most shuttles I see ( will be taken out, but a nice in and out walkway thru the store)
Any preferences on Ford vs Chevy/GMC? Any preferences on years? red flags?
I am over all just confused, and dont want to jump on a purchase. A full size bus is not an option right now because of storage, so would like to stick with mini bus/shuttle bus sizes.
Search for "Skoolie Ten Commandments". Good rules to follow to keep you out of trouble, especially in uncharted territories.
The key difference between any kind of bus and a school bus is the school bus has all sorts of safety electronics that can be problematic if you remove/disconnect something that will cause the bus not to start.
The other thing is larger buses have larger everything, tires, brakes, towing bills, etc. The size you buy really depends on your needs.
Any vehicle basically breaks down into:
Engine type - diesel / gasoline. Most people try an stay away from engines with emission controls, so 2003ish and earlier.
Transmissions - Honestly, I only hear of Allison, but there are others I'm sure. They break down generally into manual shift (older), automatic mechanical and automatic computer controlled.
Body Builder - Bluebird, IC, Thomas are the big three school buses. Ford, GMC, Chevrolet are smaller school bus manufacturers.
Rust - Rust is not good and many times not visible. Learn how and where to check for rust on a vehicle, especially if the bus spent any time in rust belt states.
Mechanical Inspection - ALWAYS get it inspected thoroughly, especially if you don't know what you're looking for. It's well worth the money.
Drive it - If it's not running or drivable, the price goes way down. It should be able to cruise at 60mph at 2000rpm or better, shift smoothly, stop smoothly with no pull right or left, pull grades well, turn with no clunks and not wobble at higher speeds.
Tires are expensive, especially full size bus tires, and even more so because there are 6 of them. Learn to check the manufacture year to determine how old they are, inspect them for cracking on the sidewalls, tread depth.
Once you found a bus you're interested in, find out exactly what engine and transmission in it, research it, ask questions on here after researching it, etc. before you buy.
Buy on condition of it passing inspection to your satisfaction.
If all that looks good, no matter the make/model/etc., you probably can't go too wrong.
I'm sure I forgot something, but that's the basics.