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Old 01-10-2020, 04:14 PM   #1
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My family has decided to pull the trigger and start our bus journey! Never attempted anything like this before and are still in the planning/research phase but looking for a bus to purchase in the next 2 months. It'll be my husband and myself, our daughter(3yrs) and son(1yr) as well as our 1 dog, 3 cats and snake(who might not be going). Currently we are looking for a flat nose, rear engine type, preferable with a raised roof but that might have to be forgotten. Havent narrowed down years or engine types yet so any suggestions please let me know!
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Old 01-10-2020, 05:04 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Stansbury Park, Utah
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Year: 2000
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: GA39530
Engine: DT466E 215hp 620tq
Rated Cap: 40

Big high 5,
The options are vast when choosing a bus drive train. Typically you want diesel over gas on a basic level.

Next you typically want to stay away from the emissions equipped units so 2004 and older, this minimizes operating expenses, these systems can be expensive to repair if not maintained properly.

Next would be handicap buses which most often have higher ceilings.

The south west buses have A/C which can be reused.

Almost all have some model of Allison automatic transmission, the specific model means alot, these vary from the least desirable 545 to the more desirable 2000 and MD 3060/B300 models.

As far as engines, theres the International DT series engines and the T444 engines, the DT is the better engine

On the CAT side theres the 3126, 3116, C7 these are good engines but expensive to repair and maintain.

The Cummins engines are the ISB series engines which come in 5.9 liter or on later engines the 6.7 liter. Then theres the ISC/ISL which are 8.3 liter engines which are common and typically more desirable.

I know I missed a bunch but this is a basic run down.
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Old 01-11-2020, 04:59 PM   #3
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This was incredibly informative, thank you! Ill take any bus knowledge!
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:35 PM   #4
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Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 612
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30
Engine: 350 Chevy
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Without knowing what part of the country you are in or are looking for your bus in, I offer the following:

I would suggest finding a candidate bus with little to no rust/rot underneath.
Then focus on the functionality of its running gear. You don't want to buy a bus only to find it needs extensive, unplanned, mechanical repair work.

While some might argue that finding such a candidate is impossible, let me tell you from experience, it is not! You simply must be prepared to walk away from one that doesn't fit the bill, and keep looking.
It took me the better part of 6 months, looking at dozens of potentials, to settle on what I have now. Six months of searching isn't bad, in the big scheme of things.

A bus that has seen its use anywhere in the nations "rust belt" should be eliminated from your list. Unless all of the rusted structural members have already been repaired or replaced. Then it would take someone with a basic knowledge of vehicle construction to determine if the repair(s) were done correctly. Duct tape over rusted out wheel wells doesn't count!

You might look at a bus from the rust belt that has a good looking outside body. However when you dive in and discover the floor, wheel wells, back door/wall, etc. are soft enough to poke a finger through, your project has just come off the rails.

Hope I haven't bored you with minutia on rust, but it can be a real bummer/project killer when much $$ must be spent to get it safely back on the road, and the actual camper conversion process hasn't even started.

Good luck and remember its always "Buyer Beware"...
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:03 PM   #5
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What state do you think would offer the best buses? We are more than willing to walk away if it's not right. Also if the bus is promising enough, we have thought about flying to the best and driving it back so location isn't too important. I was thinking maybe southwest part of the country for being dryer and most buses have a/c that we can use.
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:45 PM   #6
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Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 3,019
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
oregon, Washington, Arizona, maybe Colorado. Arizona bus is most likely to have air conditioning.
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:49 PM   #7
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Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 840
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
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Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
oregon, Washington, Arizona, maybe Colorado. Arizona bus is most likely to have air conditioning.
My bus was Wyoming spec and had airconditioning as well.
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