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Old 03-22-2018, 12:26 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 2
Redundancy = Bus Life

Hi guys, this is my first post here after a lot of reading and absorbing of info, another great forum so thanks to the admin team for keeping it going! We have a bus plan and its an audacious one so thought wed share and let you pick holes in it so we dont get too caught out.

As of the end of May myself and a colleague are being made redundant (blessing in disguise). Weve had time to process the news and now both see this as the perfect opportunity for a career break and maybe a lifestyle change, who knows! Without further ado we are from the UK and plan on flying into Vancouver, buying a skoolie, converting it and living the simple life until the money runs out. Naturally this news spread amongst our friends and we are now a team of four and everyone is psyched which is really cool.

We are currently designing the bus in Solidworks to minimise the build time once we are over there and get an appreciation of the size of bus we need. My goal is to turn up in Vancouver with a scalable 3d model so whichever bus we buy the cutting list can be generated really quickly and aim to do the build in the same fashionfast! Hopefully within two weeks achieving a similar sort of standard to Hank Bought A Bus | Sometimes the best plan is to not have one

The bus spec were looking for is something like:
- 10 window (30ft total length, 25ft usable), maybe bigger
- 78 high top
- Dog nose
- Year: 1990 2003 (2004 EGR came in)
- Engine: Cummins 8.3 or 7.6L DT466
- Transmission: Avoid Allison AT 545
- Ratio 4.33 or lower rear ratio (will be taking in mountains and lots of highway miles)

With the aim of having the following internally:
- Sleeps 4 permanent (+ 4 visitors)
- Log burner (copper coil heating water tank)
- Hot water tank
- Cold water tank
- Grey water tank
- Gas hob/cooker
- Sink/tap/pump
- Fridge
- Platform on roof (with tent option)
- Shower (external)
- Storage
- Solar Panels
- 12v system with inverter for 110V / 240v
- Lights

Once converted the plan is to travel round Canada and eventually into America seeing some sights but mainly focusing on rock climbing and other outdoor activities as this is our passion, think places like Squamish, Bugaboos, Devils Tower, Yosemite, Moab & Boulder etc

So backstory over and as a first time buyer/converter in a new country naturally there are a lot of open questions:

1. Is Vancouver a good place to buy an old school bus? (Ive read they get very rusty in some states/areas). Or is there a state with a reputation for having lots of second hand buses.

2. Im a hobbyist carpenter and a design engineer by trade and we are all practical people, I have friends in Vancouver where we can register the bus but they dont have a workshop or tools. Ideally wed find a friendly Canadian with a workshop but failing that is there somewhere which would rent out workshop space and or tools?

3. Whats legally required to change the deed from a commercial vehicle to an RV in Vancouver? (i.e. can it stay yellow, cooker, beds etc)

4. Whats the timeframe to get the paperwork/new deed through once all the modifications are done?

5. Insurance, how much are we looking at for a year if registered as an RV?

6. What do you guys think about stealth camping in a bus as we are keen to avoid RV parks due to cost and convenience? My feeling is this will be ok in Canada and not so easy in USA, especially National Parks.

Sorry for the long post and hope to see you all on the road soon! Well be heading over mid to end of May all being well. Please point out anything which we might have overlooked...
rockley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2018, 08:56 AM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Pendleton Indiana
Posts: 281
Year: 2010
Coachwork: IC
Engine: MF DT466
Rated Cap: 81
Looks like you got it planned out,now just find a bus that fits your needs.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:50 PM   #3
Bus Nut
Rivetboy's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington beach
Posts: 709
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
I would find a place to work on it or store before you even started.
Good luck with that.
Buy an RV you will be better off.
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Old 04-04-2018, 07:55 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
Drew Bru's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Minnehaha Co., SD
Posts: 1,069
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65
A 30 foot dog nose is not going to have 25 feet of usable space, it will have closer to 20.
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:50 AM   #5
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 925
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Two weeks? It sometimes takes me two weeks just to solve one intractable problem while working on my bus! Yes, you can get something done in two weeks, but it will end up looking like it took just two weeks to do. For a basic tin tent that will be fine, but for anything less ephemeral it will probably be inadequate. I suggest not giving yourselves too tight a schedule.

Where are you from in the UK? I was living in Norfolk (hence my screen name), and it took me thirty-odd years to realize my dream of converting a bus.

Good luck, John
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Old 04-04-2018, 11:02 AM   #6
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 736
I just looked at Craigslist and saw no school buses except an old clunker. Surely they have yellow school buses.
Former owner of a 1969 F600 Skoolie.

1998 Ford B700 Thomas body 65 passenger. 5.9 Cummins 12 valve with MT643 Transmission 123,000 miles.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:27 AM   #7
New Member
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 2
Hi again, and thanks for the replies.

We've progressed with our plans and importantly have arranged a place to work on the bus when we arrive in Canada.

We have found a bus and want some feedback on the following:

Dog nose high top.
Year: 1997
Make + Model: IC Thomas
Engine: T444E
Miles: 315,000
Transmission: AT545 Auto
Length: 40ft
Internal Height: 6ft 6

Asking price: ~9,500 CAD

The bus has been well maintained and has a great service history.

Having read other threads our concerns remain over the AT545 transmission, notably with driving to climbing ares in Canada/USA and performance on steep hills up and down.

We're also concerned on value for money due to the age of the vehicle and engine/transmission setup.

Any thoughts are much appreciated, thanks!
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