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Old 12-14-2017, 12:17 PM   #1
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Recommendations for shortie in SoCal - what I've learned, please correct me!

Learning more every day, thanks much in part to folks like you!

I've narrowed my search to a large shortie, 5 window minimum. I travel with a good deal of music equipment so the extra space is necessary for my work. I've heard that the thinner-width bodies sacrifice a good amount of space so that's probably something I should avoid.

From what I see available in SoCal, most are GM or Ford chassis. It seems most recommend against the 6.0L Ford engine and the 6.5L Chevy, with the 7.3L Ford considered a good choice.

Less than 200k miles seems ideal, and I've been recommended to change the gears to something more amenable to highway driving which will run around $1k.

Seems like I can get something to these general specs for $4-8k if I'm patient.

Am I in the right ballpark? Anything I missed?
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:24 PM   #2
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I should add, in case the information is valuable, more about how it will be used.

I will be traveling to music festivals most of the year working, and living out of the bus. I'm not planning on a shower or toilet, just a minimal sink, bed, and table/lounge/work area. And again, lots of storage for music equipment, specifically two mid-size keyboards, guitar, accessories, and massage table (I'm a sound healing facilitator).
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:26 PM   #3
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Something like this is what I had in mind, although they want something ridiculous like 18k for it:
Used Thomas Built Minotour school bus for sale at Buswest Preowned, California.
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:29 PM   #4
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Or this: http://www.a-zbus.com/bus-listings/2...-unit-16u004s/
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Old 12-14-2017, 12:46 PM   #5
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That is ridiculous. You should be able to buy at least three if not four of those for that much.

At the same time youve got to be carb compliant based on your states rules.

First, you should be shopping the auctions rather than middle man dealers that want to triple their money. Take your time and get the right bus.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:20 PM   #6
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I wouldn't pay that, I talked to the dealer and they'll let it go for 8k.
Still a bit high, but I've had no luck with auctions anywhere near here.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:25 PM   #7
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I don't think that older, secondhand vehicles have to be CARB compliant in private ownership. Not even in California.

You cannot register a vehicle in Cali. unless it has the appropriate sticker, if it has done less than 7500 miles. After that, you can. It's to stop Californians buying new vehicles out of state, and bringing them home.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:25 PM   #8
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So that's just commercial vehicles that need to be carb compliant? I never could keep up with their efforts to be green. I also never really understood how all these older buses were ok down there.

Firewall, you should be able to get your bus for half of dealer cost.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:31 PM   #9
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So that's just commercial vehicles that need to be carb compliant? I never could keep up with their efforts to be green. I also never really understood how all these older buses were ok down there.

Firewall, you should be able to get your bus for half of dealer cost.
Used commercially, they all have to be compliant. That's why the Crowns are all being sold. They cannot be used in California as school buses, but they can be used privately.

Private vehicles need the CARB sticker if they are new. Secondhand vehicles don't need it.

Laws change fast, so what I say now might not be the case when you read it.

I think that vehicles in private hands are only subject to the emissions standards in place when the vehicle was new, but again ... check.

Many buses were retro-fitted with diesel particulate filters, but that's because they were commercial. If you get one of those, you can legally delete the filter.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:44 PM   #10
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I've seen some of those beautiful crowns, and they aren't selling for that much either.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:44 PM   #11
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Firewall, you should be able to get your bus for half of dealer cost.
Lowest they would go was $8k each for the two I was looking at that were stickered at $14k, so a little more than half. Both are 2002 E450 7.3L 5-windows.

I'm sleeping on it tonight before I decide. One (or both) will need tires sooner than later. But I'm considering how much time I've put into finding these vs time I'd need to spend waiting on an auction... might be worth paying a bit extra to have this step done.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:53 PM   #12
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Lowest they would go was $8k each for the two I was looking at that were stickered at $14k, so a little more than half. Both are 2002 E450 7.3L 5-windows.

I'm sleeping on it tonight before I decide. One (or both) will need tires sooner than later. But I'm considering how much time I've put into finding these vs time I'd need to spend waiting on an auction... might be worth paying a bit extra to have this step done.
Before you agree to the lowest dealer price, ask the dealer if they have a better set of second-hand tires they can throw on for you. You won't get any if you don't ask, and you might not if you do but it doesn't cost anything to ask.
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:00 PM   #13
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Great idea, thanks!
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:24 PM   #14
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Exactly. If you're going to pay dealer prices you might as well get everything you can from them. Why should you have to lay out a couple grand for tires right away? If you want those seats out you can make that part of the deal, or leave just two seats in the bus. The point is you can make the dealer do a bit of a backbend if you push them a little, or multiple times.

There are going to be maintenance issues with your bus anyway even if you buy it from a dealer. That's a used car dealer, and as usual their warranty extends until the time your tail lights disappear from view. I can understand being unsure about this process. Each of us feels the risk and quite frequently a bit of buyer's remorse. The remorse comes and goes, then comes again and hopefully leaves. You can find a lot of buyer's remorse on craigslist.
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Old 12-15-2017, 02:35 AM   #15
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If you really want to spend $8000 mine could be available. I have the time to look for another one
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Old 12-17-2017, 07:06 PM   #16
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Even at 8k that's crazy money for those shorties. That's double Craigslist prices and triple or more auction prices. You can buy good shorties all day long for under 3k.
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Old 12-17-2017, 07:24 PM   #17
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I'd consider 8k if it had all the bells and whistles, including 4x4, low miles and excellent overall condition with good tires.

Can you imagine a shorty with a big engine and a 3060 unlocked? Talk about cruising power.
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Old 12-17-2017, 07:32 PM   #18
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I'd consider 8k if it had all the bells and whistles, including 4x4, low miles and excellent overall condition with good tires.

Can you imagine a shorty with a big engine and a 3060 unlocked? Talk about cruising power.
I'd shell out 8k for a shorty with a 250+ hp 8.3 or 466, 3060, air ride, and high headroom. And NO RUST. Also would have to have new tires.
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Old 12-17-2017, 07:55 PM   #19
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You do realize that shooting for a unicorn like that pretty much puts us out of the buying game? You're close enough already when you get your new shorty cleaned up. Ok so it's a little like getting a new dog with a big vet bill in this case, but it's going to be a good dog.
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Old 12-17-2017, 08:12 PM   #20
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You do realize that shooting for a unicorn like that pretty much puts us out of the buying game? You're close enough already when you get your new shorty cleaned up. Ok so it's a little like getting a new dog with a big vet bill in this case, but it's going to be a good dog.
No regrets at all on the shorty.
But If one with MORE HP, higher headroom, and air ride came along I'd be tempted. There's ALWAYS an upgrade out there somewhere.
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