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Old 10-30-2016, 01:54 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 2
Exclamation European guy with a dream

Hello everyone,

I will start this thread, by saying thank you to all the members for the great community you have here and for the usefulness of the articles/discussion/advice's found on this forum.
I would kindly apologize for the eventual mistakes in my written comments or threads as i am not a native English speaker and i will do my best to correct any of them, if i see them.

My name is Daniel and i currently live in Denmark. I am 31 years old , a software developer by trade and i am planing to get into the bus conversion game.
The reason i want that.... would be the life on the road, not having to think that i actually need to pay 1k euros rent per month, for a house that is not even mine. And that is not including electricity, internet and other stuffs.

Another big factor would be the possibility to relocate and travel at will, while working as a software developer freelancer or as a consultant.
The opportunities are endless when you consider that nothing is holding me in a certain city/area.

I have some money saved up...around 30000 euros /35000 dollars and i would like to start this project as soon as possible.

With the help of this community i hope that dream of mine will be possible.
I kindly ask any veterans of this forum to give their opinion on the possibility of acquiring a bus from the USA and bringing it here in Europe.

As i understood there is a import tax that i have to pay .....and the most important bad factor, would be the extreme gas prices we have here ( 1.5 euro/ liter ..which is like 2 dollars for 1 liter of petrol.

Another big factor that is not in my favor would be the parts availability. Is there anyone on this forum that is a European and built such a project? If so please get in contact with me if you have the time and will.

As i am no expert in buses, i would kindly ask anyone that has knowledge of European bus brands suitable for this kind of project send me a message or reply to this post with some recommendations.

I want a full size the big GMC ones that are used for taking children to i am planing to keep it around for many years and use it as my home, grow a family in there if you know what i mean.

All in all...i am glad to be part of this community and i hope that in the future i can contribute to it with whatever i can.

Best Regards,

Daniel B

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Old 10-30-2016, 02:04 PM   #2
Almost There
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Tepme AZ
Posts: 97
Year: 1976
Coachwork: Crown
Engine: Detroit Diesel 6-71
Rated Cap: 52 pax
Hello! Please let me be the first to say welcome! There is plenty of info to be found here and plenty of people to help you out with whatever questions you may have. I think it is pretty cool that not only do we have people from all over the USA but we have people from all over the world into restoring/converting big old machines no one else wanted into unique and mobile mini homes and vacation vehicles. Its also great to make friends overseas as someday I plan to do extensive traveling and will need a place to stay lol. You have a solid plan and even a good budget so it looks like you are ready to make it all happen! Good luck and keep us all updated!

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Old 10-30-2016, 04:42 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 1,034
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
I was watching a YouTube video a few days ago by (I think) a young Belgian couple who brought a Thomas rear-engine school bus to Europe and are using it as a mobile hostel of sorts as they travel from country to country. Blue Bird has sold some of their All American rear-engine school buses to a school bus operator in England - they're even right-hand drive! Someone else in England has imported a traditional front-engine school bus for his company - I think there's some pictures of it here, but I cannot remember its name. So, yes, in theory you could import an American school bus to Europe, and if you have your heart set on doing so you will certainly stand out in a crowd wherever you go!

However, consider the nuts-and-bolts practicalities of it: shipping and import/customs costs, possible modification to meet European safety or emissions requirements, maintenance and repair of non-European parts (brake chambers, air compressor, wheel bearings, engine, transmission, steering box, window glass if it's not plain flat, etc etc etc). Fun though an American bus could be, I would much prefer to buy an older Mercedes or MAN or Scania or DAF or IVECO or Volvo or Renault/Saviem or whatever is common where you are - any heavy truck and bus mechanic anywhere you go will be able to quickly (i.e. cheaply) fix it and get you back on the road, instead of waiting weeks for parts to come from USA. How many Cummins 8.3 or DT466 or Caterpillar engines are used in Europe? How easily could you get work done on an Allison automatic transmission? What happens if your Bendix air compressor or Webster hydraulic pump fails - where will you find something else with an American/inch-size shaft that will bolt onto an American SAE mount? (Forget about using a Knorr/Bremse or GKN instead!) Even finding some American standard pipe-thread or JIC fittings to connect to existing components such as air tanks or hydraulic systems could be difficult. I don't have a single metric thread anywhere on my bus! How many European mechanics have a full range of non-metric tools? Imagine my trying to find a 3/4" MPT air check-valve in some dusty fly-blown Spanish town in the middle of nowhere, or a Stemco wheel bearing or CR axle seal in rural Romania, or a new hydraulic hose with 1" fittings in the mountains of Macedonia! If any of those things failed, my bus wouldn't be going anywhere until they're fixed.

I'm an expatriate Englishman, but I never thought for one moment to import to USA a Bristol RE or Leyland Leopard or Bristol VR bus (or even an interesting old English car), even though I would use one of them in a heartbeat if I were still in England. They're fantastic buses, but I can't even imagine what it would be like to find someone here to work on a Gardner 6HLx or Leyland O-680 engine, or a Pneumo-Cyclic or Self-Changing Gears electro-pneumatically operated semi-automatic transmission, or the Bristol RE's dropped-center asymmetric rear axle with planetary final drives. Give me the relative simplicity of my bus, even though it has a Detroit 2-stroke engine - there's nothing for it that I still cannot readily get here, even though Crown went out of business a quarter-century ago.

If I haven't put you off the idea of importing an American bus to Europe, at least have it inspected and serviced thoroughly, and I mean fastidiously, before it sets sail to Europe, then it should be reliable for a long while and many miles (oops, kilometers). In other words, do your research first! Caveat emptor.

Have fun, John
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Old 10-30-2016, 06:32 PM   #4
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: near Christiansburg VA
Posts: 692
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 44 or 66? 11 rows
BUT... all of the advice and wisdom of the masters here will still likely serve you well with a European bus. Please make this your home for information, advice, and encouragement. We wish you the best.
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Old 10-30-2016, 09:50 PM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 39
There is only one way to go. You must find a European vehicle for the job. Forget about importing a US bus. The cost will be enormous and there will be no parts or service in Europe. The cost of fuel for a US bus will kill you. Another thing to bear in mind is that in the US roads are much wider and parking spaces much bigger than they are in Europe. You will find that a large American bus simply will not fit anywhere. There are a lot of RVs in Europe (not buses) and since many people always have to have the latest toy, you should be able to find a used one a few years old that is still reliable. Good luck in your quest. I am also a software developer though I am now semi-retired.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:26 AM   #6
New Member
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 2
Thank you all for the inputs. I was looking these days for buses here in Europe. Mostly, Mercedes, Scania, Setra and some Renault ...but not any of them are to my liking ...

The reason i wanted a skoolie was because i could potentially go off road with it also since it is practically built for that...instead of these coach or city buses available here .

There is nothing similar to a skoolie in Europe.
You guys are right about the size of teh roads in Europe... i can barely park my car ...a bus will be difficult considering i live in the city centrum.

Anyway ..i will try to find the right bus for me and let you guys know once that happens.

Have a nice day everyone and thanks again.


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