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Old 05-18-2022, 03:36 AM   #21
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Join Date: May 2022
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This is definitely the feedback that I was looking for, thank you so much!

I do have a place to park and work on the bus with an extra large flat concrete slab and a big garage for tools, etc. (my mom's place), so that's not a worry.

I plan on spending some time parked and some time traveling the country. I would like to have the option for exploring the regions I visit, and it sounds like a 45' bus would be very limiting in that respect. I don't plan on towing anything at this time, but figured I would get an electric bicycle for exploring around wherever I end up parking.

I don't have unlimited funds (who does?) but should be able to handle a solid conversion build with some nice features built in. I'm not terribly interested in getting something already converted. I plan on living full time in whatever I end up getting and want to make it my own. This is also why I don't want to get a van or short bus (which I had previously considered) as I don't feel that would be a good option for me for full time living.

While I don't currently have much mechanical knowledge, I'm more than willing to learn and expect to as part of living the bus life. However, considering my current ability level and what I want and need in a rig, I think I'm going to pass on the Prevost

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Old 05-18-2022, 05:54 PM   #22
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 392
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
A good, reliable, well engineered, and using quality materials, candidate bus, would be to find and acquire a nice clean Gillig Phantom. They come in several incarnations from School bus service designed, city transit with two entry doors, suburban transit with one entry door. Some have a totally flat floor inside, some have a raised floor with a couple steps toward the rear. All are full air-ride suspension which is a very nice coach like feature.

School bus Phantoms are only 96" wide and no more than 40ft long, by law. They are very nice indeed. The other flavors of Phantoms are typically 102" wide and can be either 40 or 45 ft long. Lots of variables here with doors and floors and lifts etc.

Unfortunately they do not have the very desirable under floor luggage bays to house the required house equipment and tanks etc. This can be a negative, but with creative design and clever use of all the internal space, and extremely limited spaces under the floor, you can still build an imminently usable RV conversion on a Gillig Phantom. Lower to the ground floor height with a comparable higher inside ceiling height.

They are exceedingly well built and many will approach 8-900k miles with grace and reliability. I've driven more than a few lately on rather long ferry trips and can attest to their very pleasant road handling and overall ride comfort. I wouldn't mind having a good Phantom with a 6V-92 or Series 50, and Allison which is not hard to find at all.

I ferried one from Seattle back to L.A. that had 800K miles of fairly hard local city transit service on it, and it drove marvelously. I was told about the high mileage upon my arrival, and if I hadn't been told, I never would have guessed.

Phantoms are an excellent blend of school bus cheap with a few key coach features like full air-ride on both axles, A/C (except for a school bus Phantom, ..usually, optional I'm sure), comfortable drivers air seat, very nice handling both in town and on the road, automatic transmissions (Allison, again usually), several common engine choices, Cummins M11, Various DD 6V sizes, even DD series 50 (4-cylinder 4-stokes), maybe more that I haven't seen. The point is to look around with an eye to finding a GOOD Phantom with the drive train you want and over all body features you can use, #doors, floor layout, wheelchair kneel at front door, etc.

It might be a School Bus Phantom build, or a species of the various transit/suburban builds. Quite a Zoo to pick from actually. They are still recent enough, and in production, that you can get parts, support, and they aren't selling for very outrageous prices because they aren't in short supply, like Crowns are today.

If interested I can get you in touch with a guy who is a huge Gillig fan and buys and sells them as a side line. He can inform you better than me and he's one of the very good guys to deal with.

I actually wouldn't mind finding a nice Phantom for myself someday. I like them for their overall excellence in design execution, and they are a treat to drive and very comfortable on long trips. For me to say that about a non-Crown is quite a tribute. As everyone knows how I feel about Crowns. Coaches are a different matter and for that I prefer MCI's. The Phantom is a pleasant blend of both in a nicely done package.

Contact me direct, and if you're close enough we can meet, and I'll introduce you and show you some Gilligs he usually has hanging around. We're both located in So Cal. mikemcc2k@yahoo.com


I hope this helps you in your search.
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Old 05-21-2022, 04:24 PM   #23
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You should be able to download engine and transmission data that would give you a clue to how the mechanical are.

I would collect spare parts.....like an air compressor, an extra ujoint.....and the tools to make repairs on the road. Just sayin....
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Old 05-21-2022, 07:17 PM   #24
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird Mini-Bird 24'
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Engine: Chevy 6.2L Diesel
I would skip on a Prevost.

Prevosts are generally $MILLION$ dollar chassis to begin with. The 102" wide and 45' long are signs of this--they are generally sold for tour bus conversions for traveling bands and the like to touring/logistics companies for custom builds, or for actual rock stars who give a thumbs-up and have an underling oversee and manage the exacting details these are expected to be built to. Think the kind of people that aren't just looking for Carrara marble, but marble from a specific quarry/section of the quarry--or 'reclaimed marble' from some ancient site that probably belongs in a museum somewhere.

This is the Prevost market, by and large, and their coaches, I would imagine, would also fit that bill, essentially design in some things will think "to hell with the people who have to work on it, if you have to ask, you can't afford it". Just walking into one, you know it's going to be a smooth ride, but when something breaks, expect it to be painful both to the pocketbook, as well as to access, troubleshoot, and repair it.

The focus is largely on luxury and smoothness of ride, as well as being able to bring anything and everything you could possibly imagine wanting along with you.
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Old 05-21-2022, 07:20 PM   #25
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird Mini-Bird 24'
Chassis: Chevy P30
Engine: Chevy 6.2L Diesel
https://prevostmotorhomes.com/

This is what they talk about for their new base chassis.

Think about what that actually means, and then decide if you want to try an convert or deal with finding parts for an old one.
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Old 05-24-2022, 10:04 PM   #26
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Beatrice. If you still follow this thread and are interested in an alternative, I just followed up on the status of available Phantoms and found one you would most definitely like. I went and looked at it today and took pics. I will also PM you, but if still interested, contact my email and I'll give you details and put you in touch with the seller. It's a Gillig Phantom transit with a single door and all flat floor. Air Conditioned, Cummins 8.3, and Allison 6 spd. transmission, best of all it's only 30ft long, a real rare bird. Very good condition and still with seats. mikemcc2k@yahoo.com
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Old 05-24-2022, 10:28 PM   #27
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Join Date: May 2009
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
there were some of those for sale here in columbus ohio.. (cant reemember where the OP said they are).. I think they are out west though.. these gilligs are being retired from a bus company known for keeping their equipment nice..
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Old 02-17-2023, 12:35 AM   #28
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[QUOTE=Don in E Texas;472498]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beatrice View Post
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

The seller is asking $13k; is that a good price?

I was thinking of trying to find a knowledgeable diesel mechanic/bus person to go with me to inspect it, but I'm not sure exactly where to find such a person.

Check your local phone book -- or Google -- and find a listing for any large truck -- like Freighliner, Peterbuilt, etc. Visit with the shop foreman or the person that writes up service tickets. They should be able to point out someone that does this type of work on the side.

Price is not an issue; seems fair - I just have questions like others have posted - how you want to use your rig -=- are you going to tow a car -- or tow a trailer?

Would like to mention some of my thoughts on engines/transmissions.
First - if it says "Allison" you will be fine.
Engine - Detroit makes other engines - 8V71 and 8V92. Stay away from the 8V71 as they are way underpowered (what I have in my bus). 8V92TA is a hill burning machine!! The numbers mean: 8 cylinder in a "V" configuration - 92 is cubic inch displacement and the TA means Turbo Asperated. My poor bus is a 8V71NA - non turbo asperated.. These are 2 cycle engines - that does not mean you mix oil with the fuel nor do you have a separate oil tank! It just means it powers on every other down/up cycle of each cylinder where most other engines power only once during 4 up/down cycles. Hope that makes sense. They are mechanical engines meaning no computer like the bus you are looking at. Very simple to work on - I've never had a problem getting service on either the bus or my truck.

Need to mention my truck. Over-the-road Freightliner (Think Orange Schneider Trucking) with Detroit engine - one of the newer electronic engines. If you had the proper computer to connect to the electronics of the engine, you can change horsepower for one thing. My truck had 3 settings, if I remember correctly. Computer can also test the transmission, if I'm not wrong. Loved driving this rig and pulling my RV. Truck and trailer have been sold, but I still have found memories of our trips around the USA.

I just mentioned service. On the road service on my bus or truck was never an issue. Had road side service on the truck once - a sensor on the engine failed. My towing insurance paid for the service call and I paid parts/labor. Saved the insurance company a tow charge. I currently have a short, 4 window bus (my Man-Cave -=- will not be an RV). I had a noise under the hood - it was the belt tensioner. I can't fix this - so I took it to the local Chevrolet dealer. I called after 3 days and was told it would be too expensive for them to work on it. First was there $130 per hour diagnostic charge - followed by charges to actually do repairs. My grandson replaced the $50.00 part in under an hour. Cost to me for service: One Beer.

...but I talk too much..

don
I think 13 is a good price. I did a conversion at the turn of the century and was a reader/author in Bus Conversion Magazine. Prevost's were the undisputed bees knees back then. I would assume they still are. Personally 45' is too long but there are many people driving 45 foot rigs so it's doable. Best of luck to you!
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Old 02-17-2023, 07:48 PM   #29
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
having Logged a lot of miles in an 03/04 Prevost i can say they drive wonderful.. although theres things i liked ablout the VanHool driver area better.. this parricular prevost was a custom, buiolt RV (custom coach in columbus ohio built it).. belonged to a couple friends of mine who absoilutely decided after paying over 750k (in 2003) couldnt drive it..



for on road main road travelling the 45 foot really wasnt a big deal.. the extra 5 feet wasnt hard to navigate in Unless driving it in the city or trying to get around in tight parking lots.. but then many of those places i wouldnt drive a 35 foot school bus..



the rear overhang seemed to ride a bit low for some steeper driveway or parking lot entrances.. the bus had a button to temporarily raise the air suspension higher.. not sure if that was part of a normal Prevost for just that one.. it helped.



the transmission was a 6 speed allison (4000 series).. and the bus had power.. I could haul ass about anywhere I needed to even in the hills.. had a retarder and a jake brake both for the downhills


all corner air ride made for a really nice ride quality even sitting front of the front wheels.. they are tall so i did feel the wind and cornering it n the curves..well it didnt corner like the SS camaro i had at the time the bus was new..


being a brand spankin new bus meant that everything was tight, very little rattles.. seals were tight so it was rather quiet up front... this bus had road A/C as well as a bunch of rooftop A/Cs for being parked.. that separate driver compartment A/C was nice.. big windshields heading into summer afternoon sun made a lot of heat and I never once roasted..


I wasnt a big fan of the tiny driver window opening.. didnt allow for really more than paying a toll booth (you could fit your arm out it and that was it). no way i could run that through the drivethrough at starbucks like i have a school bus..


everything on it seemed rather proprietary either to custom coach or to prevost itself.. the electronics on that bus were pretty complex (even in 03).. I never layed a finger on any repairs as it was brand new.. gary made sure it was serviced a couple times a year whether we used it or not..



the Backup Cameras were a must.. i felt like the factory mirrors were pretty worthless..any campground we stayed at was a pull-through so I rarely ever had to back the bus..


when it was brand new I thoiught the powered steering was too stiff.. apparently it was adjustable.. a trip to the shop and I could spin the wheel with a pinkie finger..
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Old 02-20-2023, 08:18 PM   #30
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Coachwork: 44' Newell Coach
Engine: 8v92T Detroit
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Doubtful this came to fruition for her, but mine is a 44' and it is not intimidating at all. Once you have several hours and different small towns under your driving belt, you will not have any issues navigating these. Like anything, spending plenty of time behind the wheel gets your comfort levels high as well as your senses. Pulling a Jeep along and increasing the length to 65' changes things up but only for finding places to park for food. In that case, you need to plan ahead. I would easily go up in length for my next one for sure. Prevost is an incredibly solid chassis. The main thing you need to keep in mind with these Vs skoolies is mathematics. Repairs can and will cost 4x or more the price over a smaller diesel engine. It's not so much that Prevost or Newells are for the wealthy, but you need to have reserves to keep and maintain these. Doing and learning as much as you can for yourself will go very far. Paying someone for everything will force you to cash out of these early on. Best of luck! Whatever you do, please chime in and report what you ended up with.
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Old 02-21-2023, 06:27 AM   #31
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,034
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
even a school bus having cash / credit / other reserves is pretty much a must.. we have seen more than one mechanical failure and never see them again here on the forums... assuming they sold / lost / scrapped their bus..


while a complete catastrophic engine failure would sink most any project (making it easier to replace the bus itself).. having at least a few grand to fgure things out is a must.. or even to live someplace while your bus is in repair,


even as an RV if you break down and need to make way to an airport and fly home because its a multi-week repair or total loss (crash / fire / etc)..



all this is multiplied in the coach world..
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