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Old 05-16-2022, 03:13 AM   #1
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Should I buy a Prevost?

Hello!

This is my first post on skoolie.net and I'm hoping to get all y'all's thoughts on a bus I'm interested in, a 1995 Prevost LeMIRAGE. This would be my first foray into the land of bus conversions and I'm looking to create my own tiny home on wheels. I'm not very mechanically minded, so the engine and other such systems will be beyond my ability. However, I did previously renovate my fixer-upper home that was built in 1920, so I feel I can handle the home build aspect of such a project.

I've been looking into the pros and cons of the different bus bases for conversion (i.e. school, coach, transit, etc.), so I'm aware that the coaches cost more for maintenance. I don't plan on doing any major body changes, so that's not a concern. However, I'm a little concerned about the 45' length. I was originally thinking about getting something in the 35'-40' range, so if anyone here has any input on the difference between these lengths, I would appreciate any feedback you're willing to give.

As to why I'm considering this bus in particular, the sturdiness of a coach build and the smoother ride are definite pluses to me, but what I really love is the windows. It just seems like it will be so much more open when inside such a relatively small space, and I love the thought of having a near 360 view.

According to the description that the seller has on their listing and the LeMIRAGE spec sheet I found online, here are the bus specs:
1995 Prevost LeMIRAGE XL45
DDEC III Series 60 engine (not sure if it is the 12.7L or the 11.2L)
Allison World B-500, 6-speed auto. trans.

Also according to the seller:
Seats already removed (was a 56 seat bus)
All glass is good
Starts and runs perfectly
Doors and storage are all lockable
Clean title in hand
Tires are 80% or better
Has air ride suspension, and can be lowered for getting on or off
Last driven in March 2022

I've included a couple of the pictures from the listing, for reference.

Do you think I will be biting off more than I can chew with this? Any advice on making sure I don't get taken for a ride if I do decide to pursue the Prevost? I welcome any and all feedback

Thanks!
Attached Thumbnails
Prevost LeMirage Outside.jpg   Prevost LeMirage Inside.jpg  

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Old 05-16-2022, 05:40 PM   #2
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Great bus!!! Engine is strong - you should be able to set cruise control and make any mountain pass. Does it have a Jake Brake (or some other exhaust brake?) With the Jake on, going down the same mountain is a breeze. You will have plenty of space for holding tanks (I have 3 -100 gallon in my bus), diesel gen set will be no problem locating space for it. Roof emergency exits make great locations for roof air units, too.

My advice is to check into the Bus Nut site - this is the group that does all the large buses plus they also do some City transit bus conversions as well. I've been a member for many years (finished my conversion in 1999 - first trip was to New York State (Sampson State Park) for a bus nut convention. My bus is a 40' MCI (ex-Greyhound coach). Any thing else I can help you with, I'd be glad to.

BNO - Bus Nut Online

Some random thoughts.... bus is 102" wide. I don't know the current laws, but anything wider that 96" was Okay on any Interstate, but once off one, there is/was a mileage limit on how far off the Interstate you can go. This may all be changed by now; don't know. When you make a reservation at a RV park, you will need to state you have a 45' coach - many parks will not be able to handle your rig.

Welcome to the world of Bus Nuts! You are in for a fine time..

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Old 05-16-2022, 05:44 PM   #3
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This is the kind of platform I'd like to start with for a coach conversion (wanting more space at 38'), not knowing anything about the engine/transmission.



How much were they asking?
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Old 05-16-2022, 05:48 PM   #4
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Oh --- my bus is terrible in making U turns. Takes acres to do it. The 45' bus you are looking at has a 45' turning radius --- that takes a lot of pre planning when making turns at intersections, etc.

Do you know how air brakes work -- what to be aware of - how to do a pre-check of the system?

Drivers license requirement is normally a Class B.

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Old 05-16-2022, 06:09 PM   #5
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I drove an early 00's prevost across the country many times and that thing was a beast.. (its owners had a 750k motorhome conversion).. it was brand new.. and like Don says, I pulled the mountains with the cruise on.. on the down side the thing would kick the fan in and engage the jake and even take the allison from 6 to 5 to keep from overspeeding.. loved that bus.. had awesome A/C in the driver area too (many coaches have crappy A/C for the driver).
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Old 05-16-2022, 08:34 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback everyone!

I haven't gone to look at it in person yet, or contacted the seller, so I don't have any more specifics about it (braking, etc.). The seller is asking $13k; is that a good price? Is there anything in particular that I should ask/look for when I do go look at it? 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. The bus is located just south of Olympia, WA.
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Old 05-16-2022, 09:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beatrice View Post
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

I haven't gone to look at it in person yet, or contacted the seller, so I don't have any more specifics about it (braking, etc.). The seller is asking $13k; is that a good price? Is there anything in particular that I should ask/look for when I do go look at it? 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. The bus is located just south of Olympia, WA.
You mentioned renovating a 1920s fixer upper.

Home Inspections save investors from money pits.
The same can be said for 27 y/o RVs (or any large purchase with unknown pedigree).

Set an appointment for an RV inspection on your test drive. Maybe with Ernie's RV in Olympia. Coordinate the appointment with RV owner.
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Old 05-16-2022, 09:57 PM   #8
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If you got a place to park it then the only question is how deep is your pocket.

If you want to run it on the road, and you don't have mechanical savvy, you will pay big time. You'll pay big time regardless, but welcome to the club.
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Old 05-17-2022, 05:14 AM   #9
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You'll pay big time regardless, but welcome to the club.
lololol - truth!!!

cool solid rig! no opinions here, just relaying my experience.
i have a 30' bus.
i had a 40' bus.

the 30' is easy to drive, pretty similar to a pickup. the 40' was harder, i'd clip corners and park crooked. i got used to it, but its harder and different.

i would not drive a 45' into a national park like yellowstone. i've seen it done, but.... nope, not for me. also, the tandem axle scares me. 4 more tires is an expense i would not want and don't need.

i don't have a crystal ball, but with the price of fuel, i think big rigs will spend more time parked than cruising.
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Old 05-17-2022, 06:30 AM   #10
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You mentioned tires being 80% or better. This is but one measurement of a tire - the other is age. Dry rot on older tires. Can tell the date of tire manufacture from reading the code on the tire sidewall. FYI. Rear tires - one axle is a drive axle with 4 tires total; the other is a 'tag' axle with 2 tires total.

There are a LOT of used buses similar to the one you are looking at that are ready for the road. This is but one:

https://www.rvt.com/Prevost-Liberty-...46848-UX432300

This is a tour bus -- you can find a LOT of them in the Nashville, TN area. But there are also family designed buses for sale ready to go.

What ever your budget is --- double it. Might be far easier and more economical to purchase one already converted.

That is what I'd do if looking for a bus along the lines that you are looking.

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Old 05-17-2022, 06:37 AM   #11
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....and one more for you to check out -- not as large as you are looking at -

https://www.rvt.com/Prevost-XLCountr...37814-UX175156

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Old 05-17-2022, 09:57 AM   #12
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You didn't mention anything about how you intend to use a bus. You envision staying near interstates in RV parks? Were you thinking you wanted to explore places off the beaten path. You thinking you'd be moving frequently or spending long periods in an established RV facility with all the amenities? How you answer those kinds of questions would help you with this decision.

The biggest bus I ever drove was a 410X. Not nearly as big as what you're looking at but a handful driving through populated areas. That something you figure you could get comfortable with? I love the old GMC passenger buses with their Detroit Diesel engines but I decided I really didn't want to be jockeying that much vehicle around on a regular basis.
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Old 05-17-2022, 10:54 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=Beatrice;472475]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..

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Old 05-17-2022, 04:31 PM   #14
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Be sure to check out the Bus Conversion Magazine Forum as well.

https://www.busconversionmagazine.com the forum link

I've been driving Charter and Tour Coaches and Crowns for 50+ years and still do today. I have experience in all of these coaches and know what I speak of. My own personal plan is to get a nice clean pre 1999 40ft MCI D with a series 60 and B500 when the time comes to add to my already nice little 4 Crown fleet. I don't want to take any full sized 102" 45ft coach around as a conversion since there are way too many times it can be a real hassle. I know from my work experiences and don't want the limitations for anything I own and wish to take places with no concerns. That's just me, of course, but I plan on being able to take my coach places I want to visit with no limits due to excessive length concerns. I can take any bus into places most would think impossible because I've done it many times already for work. But even I draw the line on the 45ft length, it's just a bit too much for real comfort. If I never expected to take it off the pavement and kept it on the interstates, then no biggy, but I'm adventurous and enjoy a good driving challenge.

It's supposed to be fun and an adventure in exploring, and seeing new sights and places. Not the problems with getting high centered, dragging or hanging up the front or rear on dips and driveways, being unable to turn or maneuver into or out of a particular place or road. The fact I do it all the time for business doesn't mean I'd want to deal with it for my personal vehicle, no thanks. 40ft is more than long enough to build a good conversion and still have a bus you can take most anyplace with confidence. Something to consider, from someone with the experience to know better.

My views are well documented here regarding anyone acquiring a Coach for conversion, especially a new person with little to no experience and/or mechanical skills. It's a guaranteed recipe for heartache and drained bank accounts as well as relationship stresses. Basically, if you have to ask, it's usually not a good idea. One thing never fully considered is the never ending costs of monthly storage fees, and where to park the damn thing. This is a killer that never goes away. There are lots of buses of all kinds for sale where the seller lost heart and money and needs to sell it, or he may also have found something really expensive wrong with it that isn't worth, (or he can't afford), fixing. As much as I love the Series 60 DD engine, if it needs any serious work it will take usually way more than $15k to get it repaired, plan on $25k+.

There's also the little matter of potential nasty rust and corrosion. This would not be a good sign and usually the tip of a potentially fatal problem for the whole vehicle. There are areas that can rust and corrode that are not worth or in some cases even being able to be repaired, scratch one Prevost. Not uncommon.

Prevosts are notorious for using very special and proprietary parts throughout the coach forcing you to deal with their parts system and pay whatever they want to charge you. No outside sources for compatible parts at lower prices, and Prevost may or may not even carry stuff you may need for a coach this old which will force you to learn to scrounge in salvage yards for stuff. All part of the charm as some would say.

Those big beautiful side windows are actually the exact same windshields turned 90 degrees and Tinted. They cost easily $400+ each and they don't open under any conditions except to push out in case of emergency exit. So that's 20 tinted side windows plus the two up front for a total of 22 $400+ windows. These are all custom curved glass items so you have to get them from Prevost and not possible from any local friendly glass shop who could sell you all the flat glass you might need for any other bus.... The only fresh air available would be the roof hatches, which isn't very much. Many things to consider. Also you'll need to keep the road A/C to provide tolerable temperatures inside, go ahead ask me how I know. All that glass will cook you inside without an operating A/C system functioning. And just think of the fun trying to add insulation to the interior with all that window acreage, all kinds of issues with the windows and their curved design along with the curved body to go with them that allows them to be mounted, plus the almost non existent structural side body walls to use for the interior build. Those window pillars are very narrow indeed. Essentially no substantial body structure above the window bottoms for use. I shudder to think of it.

If you like crushing challenges and have deep pockets and willing to spend lots of money then by all means give it a try. Don't forget the many $Tools, various $Parts for the conversion, Critically, a Place to do the work on the thing, most storage places forbid any work done in their yard.... Meaning you'll have to keep it drive-able to move it to your work place, $Registered, $Insured, $Fueled, etc... Then pack everything up when done so you can drive it back to storage... also there's no place other than the bus interior to store those parts and tools you'll be needing.... I hope this gets your attention. Do you have electricity, water, compressed air, a nice big beautiful Concrete Slab to work on at your work place?? If not, believe me, it's a nightmare.

I always caution inexperienced folks considering this course of action to think about the old adage "Where Angels Fear to Tread". By the time you realize the oops factor it's way too late, then you become one of those unfortunates looking to sell their dream baby to stop the bleeding. I'd always advise to start small and much cheaper with some kind of school or van type bus and give it a try. If this, then, becomes too much for you to deal with, please remember to thank me later and bless your Guardian Angels. Much easier to bail out and get rid of a less expensive albatross than something on the order of a Prevost.

These things are in the Class of Airplanes, Sailboats/Motorboats, Yachts, Race Cars etc. Very expensive toys for those with never ending deep pockets. Very sincere words of caution to the wise to consider.

I really hate to see innocents get scorched by their dreams and then lose all faith in ever being able to make it happen.

Good Luck, though you may yet prove me wrong.

Yeah, I talk too much Too.
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Old 05-17-2022, 06:29 PM   #15
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Crown guy thanks for taking the time to explain all that in such a way that it really sinks in. Ya it’s great to have a dream but you better have deep pockets.
We all get stuck sometimes with the rose coloured glasses on.
Best of luck.
Safe travels
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Old 05-17-2022, 07:03 PM   #16
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Crown_guy, I just tried to send you a thanks but it failed, several times, so if you get several thanks, that's what happened.

Your posted reply to the OP was excellent. Some of the things you said were on my mind but I don't have the experience to back them up, well done.
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Old 05-17-2022, 07:10 PM   #17
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yeah you wana have deep pockets for one of them beasts.
I've been in a really nicely converted one and its fabulous but I know I wouldn't even dream of owning one.
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Old 05-17-2022, 07:32 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Depending on what transmission it has and lots of other factors the purchase price of a Prevost is a trivial affair.
If you can afford to own one they're amazing machines to drive I've heard. I know a guy with a couple and they're NICE.
ECCB you got your wanderlodge?
hows the new kid going?
you holding up?
hows roxy doing with it?
you got anytime to play with the bus stuff?
sorry OP but a coach. and no mechanical knowledge?
we are not trying to crush your dream but more like bring you down into a more respectable knowledge of what you can actually do?
example for my wifes bus.
3500$ purchase drive home solar system,flooring ,framing, electrical, new exterior light new enterior lights, paint and body stuff before building the solar rack.
plumbing holding tanks and plumbing to and from them. probabaly 9-grand in with me doing the labor
alot goes into building anything most dont see much less the money for how the hell does it go down the road.
we can all dream big.
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Old 05-17-2022, 07:34 PM   #19
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Crown_guy, I just tried to send you a thanks but it failed, several times, so if you get several thanks, that's what happened.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldyeller View Post

Your posted reply to the OP was excellent. Some of the things you said were on my mind but I don't have the experience to back them up, well done.

No Problem. My pleasure. I hope to enlighten the unwary before they make decisions they can't easily back out of. They shouldn't be scarred forever with an outrageously expensive project, but we've all seen it happen anyway. If they start small and gain tools and experience then they can upgrade with confidence and knowledge later going into the project.

Even with all my years of experience I'm in no hurry to get myself an MCI until I can have the money with continuing cash flow as well as a place to park and work on it in proper fashion. That's also a very expensive thing to get put together too. We all dream of a nice shop and tools and concrete pad to do the work on, at least I do.


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Old 05-17-2022, 08:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
ECCB you got your wanderlodge?
hows the new kid going?
you holding up?
hows roxy doing with it?
you got anytime to play with the bus stuff?
sorry OP but a coach. and no mechanical knowledge?
we are not trying to crush your dream but more like bring you down into a more respectable knowledge of what you can actually do?
example for my wifes bus.
3500$ purchase drive home solar system,flooring ,framing, electrical, new exterior light new enterior lights, paint and body stuff before building the solar rack.
plumbing holding tanks and plumbing to and from them. probabaly 9-grand in with me doing the labor
alot goes into building anything most dont see much less the money for how the hell does it go down the road.
we can all dream big.

Agreed!! even with school busses my general knowledge of vehicles, their systems, and mechanical skills have saved me a boat load of cash and gotten me out of some jams!!!


I dream SMALL (short busses with no or very little conversion).. apparently i do dream big when it comes to A/C.. I had 3 people riding in my dev bus the other day... it was 91 and sunny out.. they all had hoodies on with the hoods up and hands in pockets.. Ooops (good thing I have 3 zones)..
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