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Old 07-15-2014, 07:58 AM   #1
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Prevost Le Mirage

Does anyone have any experience converting a Prevost Le Mirage? I have an opportunity to get one of these instead of a 92 BB AA. I'm wondering if it is a better idea in the long run to start with something like this for my first build? Any thoughts, reliability of engine/transmission, you name it, I've got about a week to decide which one I'm going to get, and the list of pros and cons I've come up with are about even. Skoolies are sturdier and easier to work on, but require more work to convert. Skoolies are great on the shorter trips, and can get into far more places off the grid, but aren't as good over the road.

Need more information from people that have been there and know what I am about to get into, lol.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:30 AM   #2
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

I'm going to give you this in the Readers Digest version. A school bus is simple! Everything Prevost is difficult. Its all about looks with those buses, not serviceability. You'd end up with a 2 stroke Detroit, which is a great engine. Twice as many moving parts than a 4 stroke though. Detroits are all getting age on them now. Fuel economy isnt great, engine oil is getting hard to find, Detroit parts are as well. Tires are much more expensive. If you need Prevost parts, be prepared to pay. I could go on forever.

Long story short, if you dont have a substantial bank account, skip it. You will be spending a good bit of money buying a coach/entertainer. I'd rather be negative with you BEFORE you buy it, than afterward.

On the positive; nice ride, creature comforts, good looks, stout units. Lots of power generally, durability as well. Much, much nicer than a school bus.

If you want more, go here and ask the same question: http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?board=1.0
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:04 AM   #3
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Quote:
You will be spending a good bit of money buying a coach/entertainer.
This actually isn't a problem, I'll be getting it from the same guy that has the school bus I am looking at, so it will still be mostly a trade. It's not an entertainer though, it's a seat bus. I guess that would be considered a transit? I got a better look at it yesterday, it is the same dimensions as the skoolie, 40' long and 8' wide, and the head clearance is the same as well. So the amount of room to be remodeled into an RV isn't a factor either way. It is a manual transmission as opposed to the auto in the skoolie, which means my wife wouldn't drive it, even around the yard. But I really didn't believe that she would drive the skoolie anyway. My next step is to find out exactly what shape the motor and transmission are in, I don't want to start the project with a bus that doesn't run or will need extensive repairs. It's still up in the air, but my wife got to look at both buses for the first time yesterday, and she is leaning towards the Provost just for the comfort level of the air ride suspension and the already existent basement storage being well over 4x what the BlueBird has built onto it. She doesn't have much of an imagination when it comes to what can be fabricated and attached to the skoolie. I need to learn more about the mechanical side of the Provost before I settle on which one will be best.

(I have this lump in my gut that tells me that sometime over the next 4 years I will end up with both, but which one should be first?)
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:00 AM   #4
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast
Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus
You will be spending a good bit of money buying a coach/entertainer.
This actually isn't a problem, I'll be getting it from the same guy that has the school bus I am looking at, so it will still be mostly a trade. It's not an entertainer though, it's a seat bus. I guess that would be considered a transit?
1. I think you misunderstood Opus. He was listing the money you will be shelling out AFTER the acquisition, not the cost of becoming the owner.

2. Transit means city bus, usually with low floors and no luggage areas. The drive trains are usually geared to running block-to-block at 25 to 50 MPH. Most of them can also be used on the big highways, but not happily.

All the Prevosts I've seen or installed radios into are coaches, but some companies make both. Coaches are highway buses, usually much taller than Skoolies and geared for Interstate Highway travel. They should have baggage bins and usually have a small toilet room. Think of Greyhound or Trailways buses when you think of coaches.

A coach will get you from point to point with more ease than a Skoolie, but will not be at home off of the pavement the way a Skoolie without belly bins could. Forget exploring forest roads in a coach. But it will be more welcome in many upscale RV resorts than a Skoolie. So besides cost and comfort en route, ask yourself how and where do you intend to use your bus after conversion?
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:19 AM   #5
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Well, the wife decided she wanted the Prevost. (For the first build, don't mention that to her) So I guess that's that.

I did get a little more info:

1981 model, seated coach. 121,000 miles on a 8v71 Detroit Diesel with a 6 speed manual transmission and a built in lavatory. Put good batteries in it and it fired right up. Ran the motor for about and hour, all the air system seems to work fine. Didn't take it on the road yet. It will need tires on the drive and tag axles.

It has the Air Conditioning unit in the under storage, in the middle of the bus. I was wondering if this could be run while the engine was off, forgot to ask the owner. Still want at least one roof AC unit.

A roof raise should be interesting, seeing that you have to cut below the windows instead of about them like on a skoolie. It'll make for more light up high anyway.

I figure in a few years I'll get the skoolie as well, for more remote camping. I'm going to need a second job!
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:39 AM   #6
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

there no riseing on a provost roof,,, trust me ,been there ,try it no upper surports to speack of ...unless your over 7 ft tall leave it along... I work for a company and they will not rise a provost that's my 2 cents worth
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:49 PM   #7
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Thanks Keith, I need to do a lot more research into it before I go cutting anything, but I did see a tutorial, pics and all, on another site where a guy raised the roof 8 inches by cutting the ribs below the windows, and welding in 14" sections of square tubing inside the original tubing. (3 inch overlap top and bottom for stability)

So, it can be done, I just don't know if it's worth it for me to tackle. But I have until November to ponder that question. Phase 1 is getting it titles and tagged as an RV, which doesn't need all that.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:17 PM   #8
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

best of luck,,, mine is tag in Ga too,,,Ellijay ga
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:23 AM   #9
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Cool, I'm in Cleveland.

If I could pick your brain just a bit more, what is required in Georgia to have it retitled as an RV? I'm getting conflicting information from what are supposed to be "official" sources and with your experience in the matter maybe you can clear some things up. To begin with I'm looking to just do enough to get it retitled, a bare minimum. Later, over the winter, I'll gut her and start a complete rebuild, but I need her retitled so I can get a tag and insurance and drive her to the various places I need to be to get some of the work done. As it already has a toilet built in, that is one out of the way, but what else will I need, and how intense are the inspections, if any?
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:09 AM   #10
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

If you want to know about converting a Prevost, ask on BNO's forum. We had an Eagle 05 (Prevost was based on an Eagle). Getting it up the driveway was a pita and yes, the rear did drag (typical mountain driveway) unlike the skoolie on the same driveway. I'd bet that you will be spending more for your Prevost conversion over a skoolie conversion. Mostly because you will upgrade everything a little because "it's a coach not a skoolie". We chose to do things differently over the Eagle because we were no longer dealing with the "coach" mindset. Also highway coaches are just that HIGHWAY. They are not real fond of being driven down a rutted gravel road to a remote public campground, thru steep turns and I have watched more than one get hung in a steep gas station drive. But I really miss the basement. Other than the basement, I'm glad we went with a skoolie. Not quite the same cachet as saying "we live in an Eagle" but I will take the "stigma" of the Blue Bird. If you drive a highway coach, then people just assume you have the $$ to go with it.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:32 AM   #11
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Forgot to mention, make sure your appliances will fit thru the entry door. Unlike skoolies, a Provost or any other highway coach, does not have the lovely wide emergency exit doors. We use ours to get our full sized residential appliances in (and out). If you own a highway coach either your appliances will fit thru the entry door or you haul the coach into a shop, the front windshield is pulled so the applinace can be removed & replaced using a hoist and then the windshield is re-installed. It's a pricey thing but you can afford it. After all you own a coach.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:56 AM   #12
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Thanks for the link and the information lornaschinske. As I indicated earlier, I expect to have both the coach and the skoolie before this is over with. And for the advice on getting things in and out of the Prevost. Unfortunately I don't have the kinds of funds available to have much of the work done by shops. Fortunately, I do have the skills, and machinery to do most of that in my home shop. I was thinking of popping out a side window to move things in and out, but removing one of the front windshields would allow even more room. I have a hoist and a small forklift (I live on a farm, we have lots of equipment that can be repurposed temporarily) in my shop, so that should help. The only things I will be farming out are replacing the tires and possibly a paint job, but I'm trying to get my buddy that does paint work to come up to my place to do the paint, as his shop isn't big enough to pull the bus into. I really don't want an open air paint job, Georgia has too many things floating around in the air to contaminate the paint.
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Old 07-22-2014, 12:49 PM   #13
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast
Cool, I'm in Cleveland.

If I could pick your brain just a bit more, what is required in Georgia to have it retitled as an RV? I'm getting conflicting information from what are supposed to be "official" sources and with your experience in the matter maybe you can clear some things up. To begin with I'm looking to just do enough to get it retitled, a bare minimum. Later, over the winter, I'll gut her and start a complete rebuild, but I need her retitled so I can get a tag and insurance and drive her to the various places I need to be to get some of the work done. As it already has a toilet built in, that is one out of the way, but what else will I need, and how intense are the inspections, if any?
well I went to country tags place here in Ellijay,and told them I had converted a blue bird school bus to a motor home and I want to the retitled as motorhome,so when the title came back.it was bluebird motorhome,i just put the bear mim insureace on it. and my cost for a tag a yr is $125.00 per yr and insureence was $25.00 a yr
also I painted mine in the back yard,and build a paint both of 2x4 and bisqeen (plastic trap )
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:15 PM   #14
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Great! What insurance are you going through? I use progressive, but everybody keeps telling me that they have issues with covering converted buses.

Thanks again for the words.
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:16 PM   #15
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast
Great! What insurance are you going through? I use progressive, but everybody keeps telling me that they have issues with covering converted buses.

Thanks again for the words.
I use the same thing,now for four yrs now ,,,,,,,, when u in the hood stop by...
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:56 PM   #16
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Re: Prevost Le Mirage

Went to tag office in Gainesville, Ga to find out what we needed to do, girl didn't know was gonna have Super research and get back with us. Two weeks went by, no call, so we went back. Same girl, remembered us and went off to the back to chat with Super (I guess). Long story short....left there with new tags for our now titled MOTORHOME. Go figure!!!!!

Called Keith's agent about insurance....Progressive no longer playing with bus conversions and didn't have a clue who we could call. Started checking around here and got some name & number (don't remember who...not important). Somehow got to this very, very pregnant girl who was jumping thru hoops while walking on her hands who got us insured through NATIONAL GENERAL INSURANCE (800-325-108, under a GOOD SAM VEHICLE INSURANCE PLAN if we joined Good Sam Club, which we did.

Good luck.....each story seems to be different which each bus.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:17 PM   #17
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You can convert a Prevo for "looks" if you want to have a nice shiny bus. Many RV parks will still not let you in. The Prevo Conversions have other advantages like my 8V92 Silver Turbo with 1250 ft-lb.s torque, 550 HP, and freeway gearing that is unstoppable. The hydraulics will allow for higher clearance but you will not want to offroad with an 8 foot wide, 12 foot tall three-axle hydraulic lift bus. Also, all of the panels are made from stainless steel so rust is not a factor.

The negatives include higher maintenance from the hydraulics, refrigerant, finding 40W CFII oil ***do not use Delco 15W40 on a two stroke***, and tuning. Mine gets about 12MPG and can go much faster than is legal (70MPH up steep Mountain Passes).
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:40 PM   #18
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I spent alot of time in the pilot seat of a Converted 2004 Prevo.. what a joy that bus was to drive... and it had Power... I never took it up the rockies.. but it ran from ohio to florida plenty of times... im not sure what was in it... I like to think this one was a 450 HP cat though.... it wasnt mine, it was brand new , and its owners had it serviced professionaly a few times a year.. even they wouldnt drive it...

-Christopher
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Old 11-28-2016, 04:28 AM   #19
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I was a charter bus driver in the late 70s and early eighties. I have driven a lot of miles in these coaches. Every thing from PD4104s PD 4106s eagles, Prevost, you name it. I drove in the mountains of Colorado, ski charters,etc. I was an owner operator independent trucker for many years also. I chose a skoolie because they can go places you can't go in a coach. I have driven 4104s and 4106s for a resort driving up steep gravel roads to ski areas. The old 2 cycles burned up because the axel ratio was so high, we had to lug the engines to keep the speed down, resulting in low oil pressure causing engine failure. Dust and dirt got into the air filters and that killed the engines also. A front engined skoolie would be better for gravel roads because the air intake is in the front of the cloud of dust behind the bus. A rear engined skoolie,,, I have one and I'm going to be very careful with dust on dirt roads, but skoolies seem to be better designed for rough roads. Lower gearing, higher clearance. Tighter turning radius etc. It is also much cheaper to replace a skoolie engine. They are smaller, lighter, and you can just buy another school bus for the engine and parts if needed. That keeps the cost low. I needed to have $10 thousand to $20 thousand in the bank just incase I had to rebuild the 425 air to air Cat engine in my Kenworth. I was running a 15 speed with over drive and a deep reduction gear to deliver pipe to oil wells. One of the rear ends still failed once anyway. Larger coaches have tag axles and that means more tires to replace, more brakes, etc. Someday if my ship comes in, I'll buy an old Eagle for the highway. But my skoolie will run circles around it in camp grounds, and city streets. The old Blue Bird FE Wander Lodges from the late 70s and early eighties had a lot of things right other than the throw away cat engines in my view. Tough as nails. Low enough to clear low hanging tree branches over rural highways and drive ways, and low clearance bridges and phone lines also.
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Old 11-28-2016, 02:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveningham View Post
I was a charter bus driver in the late 70s and early eighties. I have driven a lot of miles in these coaches. Every thing from PD4104s PD 4106s eagles, Prevost, you name it. I drove in the mountains of Colorado, ski charters,etc. I was an owner operator independent trucker for many years also. I chose a skoolie because they can go places you can't go in a coach. I have driven 4104s and 4106s for a resort driving up steep gravel roads to ski areas. The old 2 cycles burned up because the axel ratio was so high, we had to lug the engines to keep the speed down, resulting in low oil pressure causing engine failure. Dust and dirt got into the air filters and that killed the engines also. A front engined skoolie would be better for gravel roads because the air intake is in the front of the cloud of dust behind the bus. A rear engined skoolie,,, I have one and I'm going to be very careful with dust on dirt roads, but skoolies seem to be better designed for rough roads. Lower gearing, higher clearance. Tighter turning radius etc. It is also much cheaper to replace a skoolie engine. They are smaller, lighter, and you can just buy another school bus for the engine and parts if needed. That keeps the cost low. I needed to have $10 thousand to $20 thousand in the bank just incase I had to rebuild the 425 air to air Cat engine in my Kenworth. I was running a 15 speed with over drive and a deep reduction gear to deliver pipe to oil wells. One of the rear ends still failed once anyway. Larger coaches have tag axles and that means more tires to replace, more brakes, etc. Someday if my ship comes in, I'll buy an old Eagle for the highway. But my skoolie will run circles around it in camp grounds, and city streets. The old Blue Bird FE Wander Lodges from the late 70s and early eighties had a lot of things right other than the throw away cat engines in my view. Tough as nails. Low enough to clear low hanging tree branches over rural highways and drive ways, and low clearance bridges and phone lines also.
Those are good points to bring up. However I was not going to pass up a $6,000 Prevo with 100K miles and being able to shave my head in my alloy mirrored wheels. Schoolies definetely have their advantages. Maybe after getting more settled and buying land a schoolie or wanderlust is in my near future as well. Great busses!
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