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Old 01-28-2017, 06:22 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming
Posts: 31
Dual purpose bus: moving van then skoolie in MI

Greetings all,
I was on a business trip last week talking with a guy that buys used school buses for a non-profit. He was saying how you can get a used school bus really cheap. I started looking around and he is so right. That got me to thinking a bus would be cheaper than a u-haul rental to go from MI to WY which is a move we hope to do in the next year or two. I could scrap the bus afterwards and get much of my money back...or...then I found these forums. I would not buy a bus in the salty winter states and I am looking mostly out west/southwest.

Somehow I then got to see the Good family skoolie videos. OK, now I am getting a plan. This could be fun.

As I start looking into this there are so many bus configurations so which one would be good for what I want? At this time I am looking at Bluebird All Americans or TC2000 or a Thomas MVP all rear engine models. I am thinking I would prefer the Cummins 8.3 or Navistar DT466. I want at least an Allison 643 or 3060. Not sure on rear differential ratios so I'm open to suggestions. I want a highway cruiser. I think I want airbrakes at this time (if they fail they apply). I also want a wheelchair lift to load stuff to move but then later to load motorcycles into a motorcycle room, which means I probably want the lift in the rear. I am watching public surplus and government deals. I made a spreadsheet so I can watch what the going prices are to get a good gauge on how much to bid when I do pull the trigger.

For fun my daughter and I went looking at RVs and diesel pushers today. They sure look nice but man are they made with cheap components. Really junky made by 2x2"s stapled together. Walls were really thin and flexible. Most weren't very square either. Lots of vinyl covered particle board. Talk about pigs with lipstick. I know I can do a ton better. A freightliner based Winnebago looked nice but the engine seemed inaccessible as the radiator was at the rear, not on the sides like a bluebird. Maybe there is a trick to getting in there. On sale for only $199,999, no thanks. I think I can do something pretty nice for 10% of that.

I grew up on a farm working on diesels off and on. Later I rebuilt gas and diesel engines throughout my life. Also overhauled some large piston turbocharged aircraft engines. I drove a large tar tanker for our local road dept one summer and had my Chaufer's license before the CDL. I didn't grandfather to a CDL but wish I had (hindsight is always 20/20). I did a stint as a professional bush pilot for 7 years in South America. I also built our house only hiring out the cement work and drywall. That's why I know I can do better than the RV companies if I do a skoolie. I currently work as an engineer for the local electric company.

For hobbies I enjoy motorcycles both on and off road. I have a BMW R1100RL setup for sport touring and a Honda CRF230F that is plated for dualsport rides. I fly drones as well as RC planes and helicopters. I am a ham radio operator too. Shooting sports are fun as well as fishing and canoeing. I also tinker with a listeroid diesel if you know what those are.

Well, that's just a little about me. I'm a lifetime learner so this is my latest craze. My wife laughs at all the twists and turns of things I have gotten into. I am just really curious and love learning.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:12 PM   #2
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Location: near Christiansburg VA
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Yay for you! I hope you find a great bus.

I'm planning on a moving van, too, though I hope to sell my mine at the other end. I would love to keep it and turn it into an RV, but there are the costs of doing that added to insurance and storage/workspace rental. This suggests that I would be wise to pass it on - our station in life doesn't include and RV. I expect to spend $3-4K on a bus to get me across the country; I'll be delighted if I pick up $2K at the other end. But who knows how things will work out? Wishing you the best - and welcome!
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:19 PM   #3
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Welcome dude,
Better to be busy than bored.


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Old 01-28-2017, 09:00 PM   #4
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Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
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I saw a helluva rig today.... I'd say he didn't touch it for $199,999!

Sorry for the windshield glare, it's a screen shot of a video... If I hadn't been trying to be sneaky I'd have stuck my phone out the sunroof



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Old 01-28-2017, 09:10 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming
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You're probably right, that one was more money than what I looked at earlier. For that price I could stay at 5 star hotels, eating filet mignon every meal, and still be ahead.
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:10 PM   #6
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ive seen a couple of those on my way to florida... Mercedes and winnebago have teamed up to build a rig that is about skoolie size.. not a sprinter.. looks to be based on a medium duty truck.. I see those on my trips to and from florida fairly often now.
-Christopher
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearhawk View Post
You're probably right, that one was more money than what I looked at earlier. For that price I could stay at 5 star hotels, eating filet mignon every meal, and still be ahead.


thats why I dont build a camper... i'd rather stay in a nice hampton or hilton garden inn than I would a cramped bunk in a bus or a camper... $$$-wise building a skoolie you can be ahead of hotels , I just didnt want to deal with black water.. and im not one who wants to clean out a composter.. I like the flush-and-gone method.. which means id have had ot buy a pretty expensive camper... I'll drive my busses all day long, but let me sleep in climate controlled bliss lol
-Christopher
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:22 PM   #8
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,372
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
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Originally Posted by bearhawk View Post
You're probably right, that one was more money than what I looked at earlier. For that price I could stay at 5 star hotels, eating filet mignon every meal, and still be ahead.
It was a stretch for me to buy the phone to take the video!!!
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:23 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I'll drive my busses all day long, but let me sleep in climate controlled bliss lol
-Christopher
Hmm, then what do you use your bus for?

Also, I get to Columbus regularly as my best friend lives near there.
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:42 PM   #10
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by bearhawk View Post
Hmm, then what do you use your bus for?

Also, I get to Columbus regularly as my best friend lives near there.
one was built for specific Mobile CLoud network testing and development.. I have a couple projects for it early / mid year.. (plus the many it did last year.. 13k miles it got put on it)


the bluebird I drive it around kind of like a daily driver.. I go to dinner, get groceries, group of friends for outings, I like driving it on my runs to florida and back.. I just like driving a bus around as opposed to the pickup or the car...

I cant say ive never slept in the bus, I do carry an air mattress for when I grt sleepy and just need a nap.. but im the type that leaves the bus running and the Air-Conditioner or Heat on when i do.. I have no Off-gridding capabilities.. other than the house batteries and big inverter for the server racks.. i can run my portable A/C on that for awhile or if I park at night, the portable A/C shuts off enough to last a long while on the inverter..

-Christopher
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:59 PM   #11
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Location: Central Florida
Posts: 897
Chassis: GMC or Chevrolet, I hope
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
one was built for specific Mobile CLoud network testing and development.. I have a couple projects for it early / mid year.. (plus the many it did last year.. 13k miles it got put on it)


the bluebird I drive it around kind of like a daily driver.. I go to dinner, get groceries, group of friends for outings, I like driving it on my runs to florida and back.. I just like driving a bus around as opposed to the pickup or the car...

I cant say ive never slept in the bus, I do carry an air mattress for when I grt sleepy and just need a nap.. but im the type that leaves the bus running and the Air-Conditioner or Heat on when i do.. I have no Off-gridding capabilities.. other than the house batteries and big inverter for the server racks.. i can run my portable A/C on that for awhile or if I park at night, the portable A/C shuts off enough to last a long while on the inverter..

-Christopher
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:03 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Middle of Nowhere, Wyoming
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
the bluebird I drive it around kind of like a daily driver.. I go to dinner, get groceries, group of friends for outings, I like driving it on my runs to florida and back.. I just like driving a bus around as opposed to the pickup or the car...
-Christopher
That makes me laugh and smile. I kind of understand but I'd be too cheap to pay for that much fuel as a daily driver.
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