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Old 04-17-2015, 05:02 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 11
Am I the only woman here? Surely not!

Hiya Fellas (And hopefully ladies, too!),

I've poked around a bit, and so far I haven't seen any other ladies in here, but that's okay! A bit about myself: I am a wife and mother of 2 young girls (1 and 5). With limited to no technical or mechanical prowess, you might wonder what I'm doing poking around here. Well, two parts wanderlust (I spent a year living in South Korea and travelling around there as well as Cambodia, and it just wasn't enough!), one part financial planning (invest in a bus and live semi-rent FREE you say? Tell me more!), and a dash of common sense (why BUY an RV when we could MAKE the perfect-for-us conversion for (hopefully) much less....like thousands instead of hundreds of thousands)! Also I should add that my husband knows his way around tools of all kinds and my father is a diesel mechanic/carpenter/amateur electrician/amateur plumber, so there will be SOME help of the mechanically minded sort.

Which brings me to our bus. We don't have it yet, but we are looking. Due to our family size, I know that we want a 40 ft one, which is proving tricky to find. I am leaning towards diesel for durability of the engine, power, and mileage. My husband would feel more comfortable working on a gas engine, so we are undecided.

Anyway, I am excited to be here learning from all of you! Your pictures and stories have been inspiring!
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:26 PM   #2
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He'd be more comfortable with 8-10 mpg vs the 3-4 you'll get with a gas bus.

Diesel power all the way when it comes to 40 footers.
My bus is 40' and it was 2100 bucks from an auction online. Check out Govdeals or Public Surplus.
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Old 04-17-2015, 06:10 PM   #3
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I would agree EastCoast about diesel vs. gas.

I haven't seen a new Type 'D' bus with a gas engine since about 1975. The last of the gas Type 'C' buses were made by GM and the last ones were built in the mid to late '90's. The last IHC gas buses we used had the MV446 V-8's with automatics and they got about 3 MPG on route and 4 MPG on the highway. The stick shifts got a little better but no where close to the fuel mileage of a diesel bus.

The other thing to consider with the gas powered buses is how they performed. The fastest gas buses I remember would cruise flat out at 60 MPH and would slow down to 45 MPH or less on any hill. The first diesel buses we got had the DT466 engine and they would cruise easily at 55 MPH and would not slow down when it got to a hill.

Type 'D' buses that have the service door in front of the front axle have more interior volume than and Type 'C' bus that has the engine under a hood out front. But if you take a tape measure you will discover a 12/13-row Type 'C' bus has almost the same interior volume as a 12/13-row Type 'D' bus and will be much easier to find. Easier usually also means less expensive.

In the world of Type 'D' buses, the rear engine (RE) is preferred because the engine is a long way away from the driver. Which translates to the fact the heat, noise, and smell is also a long way away from the driver.

Purchasing a bus from an auction will usually cost less than purchasing from a private party or from a dealer as the auction cost usually works out to be the wholesale cost.

At the same time, many times the buses that show up at the auctions are the buses the dealers didn't want. I know for us we have turned down the opportunity or offered such a low price on some buses the schools have chosen to dispose of them on their own.

At the end of the day a used bus is not that much different from a used car or truck--some are cream puffs and have a lot of life left in them and others have been rode hard and put up wet and have very little life left in them.

If I can help in your decision making process feel free to contact me.

Good luck and happy trails.
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Old 04-17-2015, 08:12 PM   #4
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Welcome and x3 above

You will need to look at flat nose buses if you want that much usable space inside

And nope on the only girl...sorry...;)

There are and have been plenty, it just seems like mostly guys are into the posting for the family thing, we have several new women and a few in progress builds also

So get busy, buy a Hus and start to convert
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Old 04-17-2015, 08:16 PM   #5
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Another lady. I'm new to this adventure as well with my husband. I've met a few ladies now who rock the skoolie.
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Old 04-17-2015, 10:48 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks everyone! Such helpful information! I can't wait to get our bus and get to building! Until then I'll watch and druel over your creations!
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Old 04-18-2015, 06:07 AM   #7
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howdy, lady. what part of okiehoma are yall from? we will be around lake tenkiller in a couple weeks.
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Old 04-18-2015, 02:33 PM   #8
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My wife did all the planning and I did the actual work sorry meant actually making it work. I don't have to worry about painting ever again? She has taken that over. We bought ours from the school system with full 20-year maitenance records and a full inspection from the county to ensure it was safe to leave there bus barn? So far after 5-years no hidden secret's or problem's. I would look for school system's buying new buses and talk to them about the ones they are phasing out. I love my bus and what I have created but every now and then I wish I would have found one with a third exit door on the side but then again I have more usable space without it. I would have a lay out for each style of bus in mind before you go look at buses. That is just an opinion if you heart is in it you can make any style work because you are the one designing,engineering, and constructing so any idea is doable. Mine has taken so long because one I work six day's a week and almost everything I have done is created from salvaged material. The only thing we have bought at this point was extra seat belt's , tint for the window's and material to cover the seat's, and bed's, and a few consumables. I found holding takes for free but it cost me the effort to remove them from an old rv basically setting on the ground and the time to make them fit where I needed them and we ended up buying 12v light's. the only thing I really want to buy now is batteries to power the light's and stuff without effecting the starting batteries.
Any advice I can help with let us know.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:17 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Awesome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by claydbal View Post
howdy, lady. what part of okiehoma are yall from? we will be around lake tenkiller in a couple weeks.

We are actually pretty close to Tulsa, which isn't too far away from Tenkiller. My hubby and I would love to meet up and chat with you guys (maybe even take a look at your bus!!) on your way through if you think you may have an extra half hour in your trip. It's one thing to read all about conversions, watch the youtube videos, and look at all the great pics: It would be quite another to actually step inside one and get a real "feel" for it.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:23 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
My wife did all the planning and I did the actual work sorry meant actually making it work. I don't have to worry about painting ever again? She has taken that over. We bought ours from the school system with full 20-year maitenance records and a full inspection from the county to ensure it was safe to leave there bus barn? So far after 5-years no hidden secret's or problem's. I would look for school system's buying new buses and talk to them about the ones they are phasing out. I love my bus and what I have created but every now and then I wish I would have found one with a third exit door on the side but then again I have more usable space without it. I would have a lay out for each style of bus in mind before you go look at buses. That is just an opinion if you heart is in it you can make any style work because you are the one designing,engineering, and constructing so any idea is doable. Mine has taken so long because one I work six day's a week and almost everything I have done is created from salvaged material. The only thing we have bought at this point was extra seat belt's , tint for the window's and material to cover the seat's, and bed's, and a few consumables. I found holding takes for free but it cost me the effort to remove them from an old rv basically setting on the ground and the time to make them fit where I needed them and we ended up buying 12v light's. the only thing I really want to buy now is batteries to power the light's and stuff without effecting the starting batteries.
Any advice I can help with let us know.
Yes, I will definitely be more of the planner and painter. I was asking my husband all day yesterday if he knew what words like "tig", "Mig" and "rivet" were! LoL. (Thankfully, he did. ) Our project will hopefully be completed a bit quicker as we are willing to buy (albeit for used prices if at all possible!) what we need, although reused and recycled are always better options!
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:42 AM   #11
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The biggest stumbling block for me is the weather

If I had a barn/building with power that would be awesome, then I could work on it when I have time and not have to sync weather to time off

Example is today...100% chance of rain and storms....and I have work to do outside of bus
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:21 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Oh! I could just cry. We have found the PERFECT bus. It ticks all the boxes and then some. The only problem is it's an ebay bus and we won't have the funds ready anywhere near in time to get it. Another will come along, right? These aren't SUPER hard to find, right? (40', flat nose, rear engine, diesel pusher, Allison transmission, storage). :/

1984 Thomas Cat Diesel Pusher Allison Automatic Trans No Reserve | eBay
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstTimeSchoolie View Post
Oh! I could just cry. We have found the PERFECT bus. It ticks all the boxes and then some. The only problem is it's an ebay bus and we won't have the funds ready anywhere near in time to get it. Another will come along, right? These aren't SUPER hard to find, right? (40', flat nose, rear engine, diesel pusher, Allison transmission, storage). :/

1984 Thomas Cat Diesel Pusher Allison Automatic Trans No Reserve | eBay
That's not a perfect bus, it has a cat engine.

If it had a Cummins 8.3 it would be perfect.

Nat
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstTimeSchoolie View Post
Oh! I could just cry. We have found the PERFECT bus. It ticks all the boxes and then some. The only problem is it's an ebay bus and we won't have the funds ready anywhere near in time to get it. Another will come along, right? These aren't SUPER hard to find, right? (40', flat nose, rear engine, diesel pusher, Allison transmission, storage). :/

1984 Thomas Cat Diesel Pusher Allison Automatic Trans No Reserve | eBay

Looks like a nice bus. They sure laying it on thick though. Their transportation director had tears in her eyes as she handed me the keys. Please.


Quote:
Recently retired school district-owned buses are a great transportation value. Schools maintain their vehicles better than any other owners. They have to be safe for the kids, and they HAVE to be totally reliable. Plus, they're regulated to death at every level. This bus just came to me out of a small district near Sacramento, CA. Their transportation director had tears in her eyes as she handed me the keys to "Old #3". California school districts are being forced to either crush or remove from service all their older diesel buses. This was the last one they let go, because it was, so they said, their best bus ever. I try to save an occasional really special bus from the crusher, and a friend of mine told me about this beautiful old Thomas. I normally collect Crown and Gillig buses only, but this Thomas caught my heart.
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:21 PM   #15
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I got my bus off Craigslist. It was $4k and we did the deal in a Lowes parking lot. Cashiers check so I was fully covered. Not to mention my girlfriend and her sister were in a car nearby with cellphones and guns.

It has a dt466 which dies probably 8mpg and has about 100k on the click. Flat out on the flat its top speed is 55ish. Uphill, its about 38. Downhill 70.

I'm happy with mine. My carpentry is improving and I'm learning a lit moire about diy.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:02 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Just wanted to say hey and weigh in with my ladiness. I'm doing this on my own without (gasp! ) a boyfriend and the water is just fine! Check out the website sheexplores.com, all about women on the road and pretty great.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:16 PM   #17
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There're loads of girls doing busses. The schoolie group on facebook has several.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:27 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephod_beeblebrox2 View Post
There're loads of girls doing busses. The schoolie group on facebook has several.
What is this schoolie group you speak of and how might I find it?
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:29 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Posts: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
The biggest stumbling block for me is the weather

If I had a barn/building with power that would be awesome, then I could work on it when I have time and not have to sync weather to time off

Example is today...100% chance of rain and storms....and I have work to do outside of bus
My dad not only has ALL the tools we will need, but he has a huge barn with a cement floor just itchin for a bus! LoL If we can get the ball rolling, there's plenty of help to see her to the finish line.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:32 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marigold View Post
Just wanted to say hey and weigh in with my ladiness. I'm doing this on my own without (gasp! ) a boyfriend and the water is just fine! Check out the website sheexplores.com, all about women on the road and pretty great.
Thanks for the weigh in! (And the website. LOVE the idea, but I can't seem to get it to open for me. )
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