Originally Posted by ocean
Hi all. I do not yet own a bus. Am saving money to purchase one to convert for blend of living and working out of. Am asking for recommendations from those of you with experience, what buses are most compatible with my preferences -
One thing I am noticing from browsing cl and other ads of buses for sale, is most school buses seem to be both diesel and automatic transmission. Both of which are opposite of my preferences.
I definitely prefer regular gas as its more affordable to maintain, repair and buy gas for. With as high gas mileage as possible.
And automatic transmissions tend to also be more expensive and complicated to repair or replace than manual transmissions.
Any suggestions for short to mid size, mechanically and structurally durable buses run on regular gas, and manual transmissions?
And given Californias smog red tape, compatible with smog requirements.
Ive heard Collins are better built structurally.?
Definitely need height enough to stand fully upright in. Ideally with some extra space I can add a loft to some portion. Even the type with an outcropping space above driving area cab is good. Realize i may just need to do a roof raise for this preference.?
I am in the SF Bay area of California.
Manual transmissions are rare in buses made in the last 30 years or so, but there are a few. "Regular" gas (as in the old leaded gas) was phased out in the late 80's, so I'll assume you mean whatever gas is commonly available these days. If you're wanting a smaller van style cutaway bus, gas options are widely available, but manual transmissions are not. Moving up to larger style buses, gassers aren't as common, and even fewer with manuals ... I haven't seen a manual gasser since the 70's. Keep in mind, with a gas full size bus, you'll do good to get 6 MPG (and that's being very optimistic, many get closer to 4-5), where a diesel can get between 7-10 MPG. Diesels will also last much longer. Are you *SURE* you still want that full size gasser? Still have to have one with a stick-shift? Good luck with your search, you'll probably be finding buses from the 80's and older. Also, good luck finding parts for these old beasts, you're going to need it.
There's a reason school districts have mostly switched to diesels, mostly beginning in the late 80's. Even with the higher initial purchase cost, they require less frequent maintenance and have greater longevity, and considerably better fuel economy. It was shown to have a return on investment after just a few years (something like $8000 more to buy a diesel over a gasser, but saving that much in fuel and maintenance over about 8-10 years; these figures were from the late 80's).