Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-23-2017, 07:44 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Homestead, FL
Posts: 14
Year: 2003
Rated Cap: 90
Greetings from South Florida!!!

Hi Everyone!!! My name is Ofelia I'm from Homestead, FL on the country side!..

We have been thinking about a bus conversion for some time now but I never thought it was possible and never even looked into it. I always thought a bus alone would cost me over 10K. I'm pretty sure my husband and I can covert the inside for a low cost since we are pretty handy and crafty. My dad is also an electrician with plumbing experience so that would definitely save us some $$. However this idea stayed on the back burner and never crossed my mind until last week.

I was on craigslist looking for an office trailer and I found an ad on one that was at a local government/city auction. I followed the link and of course there happens to be a school bus auction going on as well. Bidding on all of them started at about $1,000.00. Can you imagine my excitement??? LOL

There were two options 2003 International IC and 2003 BlueBird All American. I fell in love with the International because it was a 90pax compared to 72pax on the BlueBird. Dummy me only focused on the Internationals which all sold for 4k Just didn't have that much in our budget. I'm so heart broken! With over a week of seeing the highest bid at $1000 I had this bus layout and design all down packed. Now I'm stuck with no bus What was I thinking??.. winning a bid on a bus at $1500

I cant seem to find anything I like out there and for a decent price. The best I found is a 13 row 2000 Internation Amtram with a bad oil leak which scares the crap out of me and it also has the engine in the back with these black filter things coming up the sides (in the inside of the bus) so I'm not even sure how to put a bed back there. The lowest they are willing to sell is $2600 and its in rough condition as well in the inside including the gear panels. I also need space for bunks/bath/kitchen/living.. I need an 80ft bus

Enough of my sad sad story.. where is everyone from?
offy729 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2017, 09:40 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Colorado
Posts: 49
Year: 1998
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000FE
Engine: 5.9L Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 71
Welcome from Colorful Colorado!

Don't get discouraged! I fell into my first Skoolie through a good friend. Purchase price $100.00 (directly from the school district)
After 5 years if fun, and burning up the tranny, I spent over a year looking for it's successor. Thought I found it, flew to Iowa and drove it back the 800 miles. Went through all the trouble to get it licensed, and found the motor needed rebuilt to the tune of $12k.

Started my search again, and finally found a GEM locally.

Patience is the key. The right deal is out there!

Florida has a pretty good supply of used busses!
ColoradoCummins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2017, 10:01 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: SE Florida
Posts: 1,098
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 65 pax
Greetings from Stuart, FL (about 140 miles north of you). I bought my bus from Public Surplus... here's my actual auction: Public Surplus: Auction #1682539

I am very happy with my bus and she came with no problems whatsoever. She was in active use until 2 months before I purchased her.

Good luck on finding a bus!!! Looking forward to seeing what you end up with.

Sandi
www.thismidwifetravels.com
Living full time on my Skoolie.
WanderWoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2017, 08:52 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Homestead, FL
Posts: 14
Year: 2003
Rated Cap: 90
Im trying so hard not to get discouraged but all that excitement even got me on our first trip planning to drive out to Waco,Tx since my little girl is obsessed with Chip & Joannas Fixer Upper (she's learning young lol)

So far I have my eye on a few, one has a cat motor (thomas 2005) one wirh a dt466e (international 2000) and one with a cummins motor (bluebird 1996). All 3 are 14-15 rows. Im so confused!!!! Im favoriting the 1996 blue bird with the 15 rows lol perfect size and has a front engine!

What do you guys think??? How many miles on the bus is too much? Is it easy to find replacement dashboards?

What do you guys think??
offy729 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2017, 02:30 AM   #5
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 21,476
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
I live in FL. I'd go WAY out of my way to get a bus from another state. They're cheaper pretty much everywhere else, and better maintained usually.
Got my big bus in KY and my new shorty was $1760 in Aurora CO.
Both really great buses for cheap.
Same buses in Fl go for a LOT more $.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2017, 08:09 AM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
2kool4skool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Spring Valley AZ
Posts: 1,343
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 elderly children, 1 cat
Welcome! . . . .
__________________
Don, Mary and Spooky the cat.
2kool4skool is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2017, 03:40 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Homestead, FL
Posts: 14
Year: 2003
Rated Cap: 90
You think driving a bus 1100 miles back home is too much?? Lol that's how far my favorite one is ����
offy729 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2017, 03:52 PM   #8
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 21,476
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by offy729 View Post
You think driving a bus 1100 miles back home is too much?? Lol that's how far my favorite one is ����
My 98 just came 1700 miles on its maiden voyage. With 208,000 and 15,000 hours. That's a lot of hours but it runs great. And it was CHEAP.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2017, 04:03 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Homestead, FL
Posts: 14
Year: 2003
Rated Cap: 90
Im terrified of breaking down on the way home with no bus knowledge. Hope im not getting ahead of myself. Thanks for the help! Im determined to have a bus sitting on my land soon.
offy729 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2017, 07:08 PM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,829
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by offy729 View Post
Im terrified of breaking down on the way home with no bus knowledge. Hope im not getting ahead of myself. Thanks for the help! Im determined to have a bus sitting on my land soon.

got my first bus in FL.. broke down 450 miles into my 1100 mile drive... called a Truck-down service and started Googling... had my work stuff with me so I set up shop in a Hotel with a sweet old-lady bartender, and pizza hut on speed dial..

learned alot about air brakes, git a lot of work done and began my advdenture.. an adventure that eventually took me 13000 trouble-free miles through the hills of tennesee... into downtown NYC, onward to chicago and michigan, and florida , alabama, missisippi and the bayou of new orleans..

played fast and loose on an aucgtion site and Opps! i had another bus!! drove it from texas to florida in the 100 degree heat.. and oh yes I found it had air-conditioning that worked an hour into my drive.. got it painted red and drove it to starbucks for a double espresso... my friends on facebook sasid "lets take it all over the place during christmas and look at the pretty lights.."... so I got to be "a guy who just got a bus and just took off..".. the little red bus from texas was Cheap and she runs like a Champ!

yeah if you break down you learn to make it an adventure... whether you are on an 1100 mile road trip maiden voyage or on a vacation trip you'll still want to learn what makes your bus wheels spin and what makes the heaters hot and the A/C cold...

just be 'a dude who got a bus and started driving...'.. its a blast really!!

I went to the Mall in mine the other night... even take it to the office now and then..

-Christopher
cadillackid is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2017, 10:13 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Homestead, FL
Posts: 14
Year: 2003
Rated Cap: 90
Love your post!! Thank you so much for inspiring me!! I guess I am in this 100% can't wait to see where we end up. Hopefully by next week I'll know.
offy729 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2017, 09:13 AM   #12
Bus Geek
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 3,019
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I bought my bus in homestead! It was moving kids on Friday and I drove it hime Saturday.

Price varies a ton on these things. The lowest prices are almost always the auction sites. I bought directly from the transportation company and paid a bit more but I was able to test drive it, talk to the mechanic, talk to the driver.

Then a few weeks later, eastcoastcb gets a super nice similar bus for half the amount! But sight unseen, and half way across the country.

I was set on a short bus, btw. The extra size of the full size was intimidating. If I were doing it again I would be looking at short and long buses.
__________________
Keep up with us and our build!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2017, 08:08 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Homestead, FL
Posts: 14
Year: 2003
Rated Cap: 90
My mind is set on a 40ft bus lol and I can't seem to win any in auctions.. my luck of course. Im starting to be a little more patient and hopefully soon I'll find the right one. I found a decent price MIC bus 40ft locally I'm just not sure if its converted the same as a school bus.
offy729 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2017, 09:22 PM   #14
Bus Geek
 
ol trunt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 2,647
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
The MCI is a great bus. Without a doubt the best bus built in the 80's and 90's--don't know about newer ones. The two stroke diesel engines used in those MCI's are fantastic and good for 3/4 million miles if properly serviced. On the other hand, should you over heat one it will instantly turn to scrap as a rebuild will run from $12 to $20 thousand dollars. The big Mci's aren't comproible to a school bus in any way, it's just a different animal. You might want to check out BCN.com and ask a few questions. I have and use an old skoolie. I did a conversion on a 1990 MCI and loved it but had no good place to keep it so sold it.
Jack
ol trunt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2017, 09:45 PM   #15
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,315
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
The MCI is a great bus. Without a doubt the best bus built in the 80's and 90's-

I agree. MCI built the best bus....... for those who could not have an Eagle......
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2017, 09:54 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Homestead, FL
Posts: 14
Year: 2003
Rated Cap: 90
Im looking at a 1985 MCI haven't been able to see it yet hopefully this week but they did tell me it runs great. Thanks for the info I'm definitely going to do some homework because I love the body/style. Plus 1985 is my birth year so might strike some luck in this one haha
offy729 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2017, 10:24 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Homestead, FL
Posts: 14
Year: 2003
Rated Cap: 90
Can't find a bcn.com
offy729 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2017, 10:29 PM   #18
Bus Geek
 
ol trunt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 2,647
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
Try this.
Bus Conversion Magazine
Jack
ol trunt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 02:00 PM   #19
Skoolie
 
jctrembly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Terra Alta, WV
Posts: 153
Chassis: Sold
On your MCI have the owner supply you with the VIN# (if not able perhaps the engine SN) and you could see if a local Detroit Diesel shop can look up the maintenance history. That bus should have a 6V92 (270-330hp) or maybe an 8v92 (up to 500hp) which like the other said, if taken care of will last a long time. But if over heated, you'll have to overhaul the engine. They are also not the best on fuel economy. MCI may be able to give you a history on the bus also. One of the advantages of a school bus chassis is they are normally cheaper to work on.

I did find an AmTran (International) Rear Engine out of Orlando FL. Yes, I did pay more for it than I could have bought a conventional around here (WV), but I didn't want any salt damage. It really goes to what you want. I also got what I wanted a 2000 40', dt466 250hp, md3060. It appeared the fluids where changed often and could see some of the work done to it so I was satisfied. I did have a little work to do to it (driver front kingpin), and upgraded the rear end for speed/fuel but.... In the end I have bought some other items in the past and would try to make something work and would end up spending more time and cash trying to make something work than if I just spent a little more up front and been done.

Engine wise, don't look at anything with an EGR or DPF system nothing 2005 and newer), Google those terms if your not familiar. Some Problem busses are starting to be sold cheap and it's best to stay far, far away from those. A DPF filter alone can be $10K and if it's plugged, there's something wrong somewhere.

If you have a long drive you can pull off at a TA Travel Center (truck stop). I think it's $20 for a chassis lube, and even a DOT inspection (check). That way you will at least be greased up and if there is a big Problem they should hopefully point it out. I flew to my bus and didn't want to pack a grease gun. Lol.

Take your time and look, if you really like what you see I wouldn't focus on the price as much. Have fun with it! We're about to start converting ours I have too many ideas, once the inside is removed I'll mail down our plans with the wife (aka the boss), and start working on it.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
jctrembly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 04:52 PM   #20
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 21,476
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jctrembly View Post
On your MCI have the owner supply you with the VIN# (if not able perhaps the engine SN) and you could see if a local Detroit Diesel shop can look up the maintenance history. That bus should have a 6V92 (270-330hp) or maybe an 8v92 (up to 500hp) which like the other said, if taken care of will last a long time. But if over heated, you'll have to overhaul the engine. They are also not the best on fuel economy. MCI may be able to give you a history on the bus also. One of the advantages of a school bus chassis is they are normally cheaper to work on.

I did find an AmTran (International) Rear Engine out of Orlando FL. Yes, I did pay more for it than I could have bought a conventional around here (WV), but I didn't want any salt damage. It really goes to what you want. I also got what I wanted a 2000 40', dt466 250hp, md3060. It appeared the fluids where changed often and could see some of the work done to it so I was satisfied. I did have a little work to do to it (driver front kingpin), and upgraded the rear end for speed/fuel but.... In the end I have bought some other items in the past and would try to make something work and would end up spending more time and cash trying to make something work than if I just spent a little more up front and been done.

Engine wise, don't look at anything with an EGR or DPF system nothing 2005 and newer), Google those terms if your not familiar. Some Problem busses are starting to be sold cheap and it's best to stay far, far away from those. A DPF filter alone can be $10K and if it's plugged, there's something wrong somewhere.

If you have a long drive you can pull off at a TA Travel Center (truck stop). I think it's $20 for a chassis lube, and even a DOT inspection (check). That way you will at least be greased up and if there is a big Problem they should hopefully point it out. I flew to my bus and didn't want to pack a grease gun. Lol.

Take your time and look, if you really like what you see I wouldn't focus on the price as much. Have fun with it! We're about to start converting ours I have too many ideas, once the inside is removed I'll mail down our plans with the wife (aka the boss), and start working on it.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
Some really good advice in there.

But there IS plenty of salt in many areas of FL. I'm as far inland in FL as you can live. Its 60 miles or so to the beach.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:24 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×