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Old 08-13-2015, 07:00 AM   #21
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I will probably get a lot of bad comments for this, but, I really don't see the need for a diesel engine on a shorty. Cost a lot to buy them, cost a lot to repair them ($400 injectors, $2,000 pump, solenoids and glow plugs are usually very pricey too, Filters and oil change prices will shock you.). Sure you get a little better mileage. More torque. My 5.4 gasser pulls my trailer just fine at 65 MPH. I use my bus about 6-8 times a year and for maybe 3-4 thousand miles. Of course your needs may be different from mine. If you travel full time , then I see the need for a diesel, or maybe you tow a monster trailer. IMHO
Of course you don't want a gasser with 200,000 miles on it but mine has just over 100,000 so it should last a very long time.
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Old 08-13-2015, 07:31 AM   #22
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Glad to help! Keep looking. As you look you'll be able to better understand what type of bus you're looking for. Take pictures to remind yourself about what you liked/didn't like about a particular bus to help narrow your search.

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Old 08-13-2015, 12:28 PM   #23
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I'm in the "Ok-I got some money saved up-I'll start shopping." group that sdwarf36 was talking about and I have got to say, the process of looking for a bus has NOT been an easy one at all. There are so many subjective views out there that it's really hard to follow advice from people who have "been there, done that."

In the end, all that really matters is your goals and what you're looking for in the bus. If you're going to be traveling full time, you need a reliable engine and transmission, if the bus is going to be moved to a property and converted you may not even care if it has either!

Each person requires more or less space depending on their needs and the problem there is, there are SOOO many buses out there on the market that it is flooded with both great and bad finds.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this aside from just to say that I'm where you're at and the ride has been a long one for the past 2 months, although I do feel like I'm getting closer to finding the perfect Skoolie for us! Keep on looking until you just "feel right" about it and then go for it!
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:25 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadsled01 View Post
I will probably get a lot of bad comments for this, but, I really don't see the need for a diesel engine on a shorty. Cost a lot to buy them, cost a lot to repair them ($400 injectors, $2,000 pump, solenoids and glow plugs are usually very pricey too, Filters and oil change prices will shock you.). Sure you get a little better mileage. More torque. My 5.4 gasser pulls my trailer just fine at 65 MPH. I use my bus about 6-8 times a year and for maybe 3-4 thousand miles. Of course your needs may be different from mine. If you travel full time , then I see the need for a diesel, or maybe you tow a monster trailer. IMHO
Of course you don't want a gasser with 200,000 miles on it but mine has just over 100,000 so it should last a very long time.

Your right, only because the $hit selection of diesel engines in shorties.

If you could get a 12 valve Cummins in a shortie, it would be cheaper to run and maintain than Any Gas Engine.

The lack of a Cummins engine in shorties is the biggest reason I will never own a shortie.

Next reason is lack of brakes, load capacity, shitty little tires that are always over loaded, ect.

Gas engines have far more parts that need changing on regular intervals than a 12 valve Cummins.
Plugs, wires, distributer cap, rotor, carb cleaning, ect.

Nat
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Old 08-13-2015, 06:06 PM   #25
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My next bus WILL have AC, I have been pricing AC in my current bus (driving on the road AC) and so far I could buy another bus for the price of installed AC
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:51 PM   #26
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I am going to be traveling in this full time. Probably doing a combination of seasonal work, side income (selling items on etsy, etc.), and possibly working on community/organic farms through WWOOF in exchange for board and food. I want to get involved in activist projects around the country, see the national forests, meet loads of new people... really tramp all over the place for all sorts of reasons. My goal is to see every single state in the U.S. Then I'll start thinking of ways to see other countries. I want mobility and freedom for a long time. So this needs to be a very reliable travel bus. I may wind up settling down on a piece of property to homestead at some point, but that wouldn't be for quite some time.

I think that diesel really would be best for my interests. A good engine and good transmission with as little mileage as possible is an absolute priority.

Again, thank you all! I will keep searching
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:35 PM   #27
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If you are thinking of putting many miles on it, definitely go diesel. And shoot for as many gears as you can find as far as the tranny. 5 minimum...6 is even better. And if you can score an overdrive unit...mmmmmmm!
Also check the gear ratio and tire size before you buy or go to the site below and make a few notes. It will tell you how many rpm's you'll be turning at various speeds with the ideal being within a hundred or so of any given engines "sweet spot" at highway speed. Every engine has one and it is usually close to it's peak torque number (not HP...torque).

Engine RPM Calculator
If you can find or put together a package like described, you will be on track for optimal fuel mileage, reliability and peak longevity.

Best of luck on your quest!
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Old 08-15-2015, 06:26 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
I am going to be traveling in this full time. Probably doing a combination of seasonal work, side income (selling items on etsy, etc.), and possibly working on community/organic farms through WWOOF in exchange for board and food. I want to get involved in activist projects around the country, see the national forests, meet loads of new people... really tramp all over the place for all sorts of reasons. My goal is to see every single state in the U.S. Then I'll start thinking of ways to see other countries. I want mobility and freedom for a long time. So this needs to be a very reliable travel bus. I may wind up settling down on a piece of property to homestead at some point, but that wouldn't be for quite some time.

I think that diesel really would be best for my interests. A good engine and good transmission with as little mileage as possible is an absolute priority.

Again, thank you all! I will keep searching
Sounds great. Hit us up if and when you get to the land of Disney.
When bus shopping it really pays to know whats out there and what to look for. Patience will pay off big time.
I was ITCHING to buy a bus... But I passed up a ton of "awesome florida buses" and bought a GOOD one from Kentucky. For some reason I'll never understand folks erroneously think FL buses are worth a lot more than a lot of other eastern states. Under-maintained buses in salty humid air...

If I were you, I'd buy a Colorado bus. Built for the mountains. Buy/build the bus for the worst terrain you'll encounter.
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:40 AM   #29
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If I were you, I'd buy a Colorado bus. Built for the mountains. Buy/build the bus for the worst terrain you'll encounter.
Keep in mind that where you're buying doesn't always equal where the bus spent its life. Look at the district stickers on the side and figure out where it originated. Also, call the manufacturer with the VIN and they can usually tell you where the bus went from the dealer.

I bought my Thomas and my Bluebird from the same auction in Denver. The Thomas spent the first 13 years of its life in Maryland, but was bought and driven by a local bus contractor in Denver. It's rusted underneath pretty bad from its time back East.

The BB was bought and driven by a Colorado school district, so she was well maintained and is virtually rust free underneath. What lies under the plywood flooring may be a different story, but we shall see what we shall see. I'll know soon enough. In the meantime, she's got a big Cummins diesel, Allison with retarder, fresh tires, and screams down the road (for a bus)...

Good luck with your search!
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Old 08-15-2015, 09:03 AM   #30
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Lisa, you have absolutely nothing to apologize for. I'm a noob as well and will probably ask some questions that have already been asked and answered. The problem being the mobile version of the dite doesn't appear to be very friendly. But I am!! If I know the answer to your question I'll just jump right in there and click on a few keys!! No worries!
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Old 08-15-2015, 10:05 AM   #31
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Keep in mind that where you're buying doesn't always equal where the bus spent its life. Look at the district stickers on the side and figure out where it originated. Also, call the manufacturer with the VIN and they can usually tell you where the bus went from the dealer.

I bought my Thomas and my Bluebird from the same auction in Denver. The Thomas spent the first 13 years of its life in Maryland, but was bought and driven by a local bus contractor in Denver. It's rusted underneath pretty bad from its time back East.

The BB was bought and driven by a Colorado school district, so she was well maintained and is virtually rust free underneath. What lies under the plywood flooring may be a different story, but we shall see what we shall see. I'll know soon enough. In the meantime, she's got a big Cummins diesel, Allison with retarder, fresh tires, and screams down the road (for a bus)...

Good luck with your search!
All Colorado school buses have driveline retarders... If they bought one from another state they would still have to put one on.
Of course, individual sellers can sell any bus in colorado for private use, but I was only referring to district owned buses at auction.
To me thats the only way to buy one.
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Old 08-15-2015, 11:44 AM   #32
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My Thomas doesn't have one. It came from Montgomery, same as PorkChopSandwiches, but was operated by a company called ATS here in Colorado.
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:10 PM   #33
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Right- you bought from a dealer. not a district.
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:30 PM   #34
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Anyone that intends to live in their bus full time needs to keep in mind it takes $15k to $20k to build a bus for full time living.

Far too many newbies come here thinking the bus was the most expensive part.

The bus is the cheapest part of the entire build. Everything else adds up big time.

Nat
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Old 08-15-2015, 01:37 PM   #35
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Right- you bought from a dealer. not a district.
Not really. ATS does contract bus service. Head starts, events, things of that nature. Once they've completely exhausted the buses, THEN they go to the auction block. I found this out later on. I could see the old "Montgomery County" lettering, just didn't know what it meant for the bus...
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Old 08-15-2015, 04:25 PM   #36
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Right... ATS is NOT a school district.
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Old 08-15-2015, 04:54 PM   #37
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Right... ATS is NOT a school district.
Right, they're not, but wouldn't they be subject to the same rules as a district for hauling kids around? That's all I was getting at. I wouldn't say I know anything about regional school bus requirements, just what I've seen running around here.

I was also saying that ATS is not a dealer.
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:16 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Right... ATS is NOT a school district.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dammit View Post
Right, they're not, but wouldn't they be subject to the same rules as a district for hauling kids around? That's all I was getting at. I wouldn't say I know anything about regional school bus requirements, just what I've seen running around here.
Contractors are different from districts. They meet the state *minimums* when it comes to hauling kids around legally (and a maximum amount of insurance). Here in NJ, private ambulance services, as an example, have a minimum of equipment to carry to be "legal" in the eyes of the State Dept of Health.

Because districts are using taxpayer dollars to haul the kids around, they're going to *exceed* the minimums, so that if Little Johnny got injured in a bus v whatever, the district won't necessarily have to worry about Little Johnny's parents getting on the horn with their lawyer and suing the pants off the district.
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:53 PM   #39
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Lissa

When I bought from a dealer I didn't have the option to view beforehand, so I phoned up the School Transportation and spoke to the mechanic. I also used a website called lemonsquad.com to do an independent road test for me and I got the dealer to send LOTS of photos. I posted them on this forum and received helpful feedback (hard to judge as a newbie whether to be worried about the level of rust.).

One thing I have learnt is that there are not many traditional looking short buses on the market, so you may have to compromise.

The other tip is to forget about trying to judge the state of the bus and ask whether you trust the seller? Ask lots of questions - if you think they are trying to hide something then walk away.

Good luck!
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:44 PM   #40
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I also used a website called lemonsquad.com to do an independent road test for me and I got the dealer to send LOTS of photos. I posted them on this forum and received helpful feedback (hard to judge as a newbie whether to be worried about the level of rust.).
Timbrass, I looked through the report they gave you. It was great! This is a REALLY good idea for people who are too far away to do it themselves, or who don't have an exceptional knowledge of vehicles (particularly medium-duty diesels).
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