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Old 07-31-2016, 11:33 PM   #1
New Member
BeardedPastor's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Western MD
Posts: 1
Greetings from Scenic Western Maryland!

Hi everyone!

Very cool resource here--I'm excited to dig in deeper and see what type of projects everyone is doing or has done.

About me: I'm a pastor by trade, but don't let that freak you out. Before that I was a professional videographer shooting tv commercials. Life is crazy! I love the outdoors, do Muay Thai, love banjo music and am an avid film lover.

Looking to do a project & complete it in the next year. My wife and I will be moving to Juneau, AK next summer, and instead of freighting/moving all our stuff up there, we're going to by a bus, fix it up to live in, drive it there (and float on a ferry), and then live in it temporarily until we get our feet underneath us in AK.

So I have a ton of questions to start off--not sure if this is the best place to ask--in an introduce yourself thread--or if it belongs elsewhere, but here goes:

1. I know you don't need your CDL if you get your bus classified as an RV, but I had heard from a friend that if your bus has air-brakes you might still need a CDL license regardless. True?

2. Dog-nose vs. Front-nose vs. rear-engine? Is this a preference thing or does one have a bigger pro than others? I'd imagine front nose would be easier to work on?

3. Insurance, any leads on where to start looking?

4. Any books on school bus conversion out there worth picking up?

Ok, that'll get me started

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Old 08-01-2016, 02:27 AM   #2
Bus Nut
Carytowncat's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 932
Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Welcome ! Looking forward to seeing which bus males its way to you.
Hope to see pictures then!
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Old 08-02-2016, 04:36 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: SW New Hampshire
Posts: 1,334
Originally Posted by BeardedPastor View Post
Hi everyone!
Hello! Where in Western MD? I'm in the DC burbs.
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Old 08-03-2016, 08:11 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 64
Hi there and welcome. I just bought a bus recently and fortunately it was already registered as an rv. But i just went through my ins company i have my auto and renters through. I had to email pics and send them the vin#. I go through American family. Full coverage for me is only 30 bucks a month. And as for having a cdl. Im sure every state is different with the requirements. I think u might need an air brake endorsement because the state needs to know u have a good understanding of how to correctly test and use air brakes. I prefer a conventional vs anything because i honestly think their easier to work on and have a little more cushion if ever in a collision. I also prefer hydraulic breaks over air because they are cheaper on repairs. In mn the laws for skoolies are pretty lenient and fortunately i already have my class a cdl. And the only requirements were that the eight way lights were disabled and the school bus part was covered. Hope this was some help and good luck on your adventure.
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Old 08-03-2016, 08:27 PM   #5
Bus Nut
Dapplecreek's Avatar
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
Check these responses with other references, of course: telling an officer of the law that you read my post and it's OK is unlikely to work too well.

CDL is not be required if you're just driving for your own pleasure instead of business. Some states may have some sort of requirement for air-brake endorsements, which might be a portion of the CDL test - not sure. I believe that Canada will require a CDL (or some sort of air-brake endorsement?) on entry or you get to park your bus until a CDL driver arrives.

Dog-nose: more common (=cheaper) and better in front end collisions, I should think ( ref yesterday's crash, though that was a coach and thus of lighter construction). Rear engine buses will be quieter because the engine is 30' behind you. Front-engine flat-nose buses will be noisier and hotter due the engine being under your right elbow. Given a choice, try to get air ride suspension (smooth), air brakes (stop when they fail instead of no braking when they fail), and a retarder to help with braking in the mountains.

Insurance? Check with Ricky Burgess at Sutphin Insurance in Moneta VA (see thead

Wishing you the best - (secret handshake and good wishes veiled due to keep-yer-religion-out-of-it policies here... but I'm on your side and hope your efforts are met with great success).
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