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Old 02-24-2018, 10:49 PM   #1
jmccoola's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 36
Year: 1997
Chassis: E-450 Collins
Engine: 7.3l Diesel
Recommendations for buying...?

Hey all!

I am a recent addition to the community and looking for a short bus to convert to a full-time home space (please let me know if this is the wrong place for this kind of post, I am new to the whole forum thing as well). I have been doing research to figure out exactly what I am looking for and searching pretty intensely (read: obsessively) for the right bus for the past few months. However, I am getting a bit discouraged. I was wondering if you, the knowledgable masses of the skoolie community, had any sage wisdom for a youngin' like myself (lots of energy, fairly reasonable resources, burgeoning knowledge base, little experience).

I have been mostly looking for 7.3L E-450 short busses; it seems like these engines go forever and are relatively fuel efficient and the diesel minimizes maintenance. However, it seems like the E-350's (most have a 6.0L engines?) are also good choices although I don't know how big the power or reliability differences would be practically.

Unless I'm mistaken, most E-450's also have a 14,050 GVWR which would be handy for carrying the weight of a conversion (water system, roof deck, etc...?)

I have been looking more at bus bodies rather than shuttle style bodies although I am not sure really the practical differences between these (fiberglass vs. metal? weight capacity? style? ceiling height?).

I have been focusing my search around the PNW but am also trying to consider rust- it seems like most busses that have spent their lives here have seen more than their fair share of moisture. I have recently been exploring the world of online auctions but I am rather dubious considering that most of the time I wouldn't be able to travel to check things out before bidding. However, it seems like most of the old timers (read: experience, not age- no offense intended) on the site have had most luck with auction sites. They seem to maximize bus/buck ratio but might be less accessible to someone without much knowledge like myself. Any insights into playing this system?

Anyways, please forgive me if this is just a random rant and I am asking too much advice. I recognize that I am starting from a rather ignorant place and feel free to give me the old "shut up and do more research before wasting our time" shtick. But any advice is greatly appreciated (!!!)

Thanks so much!! I am inspired looking at what you all have been doing.

PS I also have a super soft spot for the classic bus aesthetic and would be willing to put in a ton more work to convert something old and beautiful!

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Old 02-24-2018, 11:27 PM   #2
Bus Geek
Robin97396's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9

This is a good place to get buying advice. It's easier than trying to figure out how to fix a bad bus.

If you're considering fixing up an older bus I'm going to have to assume you have some skills in those trades. There are some classics that you can pick up, but not many.

Good luck. I don't really like Fords.
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Old 02-24-2018, 11:28 PM   #3
Bus Nut
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Greater Houston, Tx.
Posts: 588
Welcome, and good luck on your search. I too like the older buses. There is/was a 63? north of Seattle listed on C/L a week or so ago. NOT a short bus, but a classy looking rig.

Let us know what you find.
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