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Old 08-18-2021, 09:11 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 15
Hello Everyone! Looking for company and conversation :)

So I've been a lurker for a while now but I'm trying to push myself with reaching out and talking to people, starting conversations, and such and such.

I haven't gotten my rig yet and am still shopping. Right now, my dream bus would be a 25-30 footer with a DT466 engine, allison trans, yada yada.

So I'm interested in meeting people and I'd like to know more about what y'all got going on.

-What's your bus?
-Are you full time, part time, weekend warrior, etc?
-Any funny, interesting, weird, or creepy stories from your skoolie adventures?
-Or pretty much anything at all you wanna share, I'm listening :P

Thanks in advance!
-Rachael

edit: If anyone out there knows what kind of rig I could get for $3-4k, or if you're selling one in that price range, your knowledge would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 08-18-2021, 10:02 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 625
Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
1999 E450 6 window Shuttle Bus, designed for up to 4 days boondocking.

Nothing creepy yet.
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Old 08-18-2021, 10:37 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
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Location: Auburn, WA
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Year: 2000
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Hi Rachel.

I'd suggest figuring out what you want to go do with your bus before deciding what bus you want to get. Maybe it's not even a bus.

Buses, especially school buses have a lot of aspects that a more regular vehicle doesn't. Size of things...like tires, extras...like a bunch of safety stuff no longer needed (stop paddles, flashing lights, etc.).

I guess I'm saying figure out what shape hole you're trying to fill and then look for the vehicle that fills that hole.
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Old 08-18-2021, 11:08 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
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Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
Rachel

would a 30 ft with dt466 and a manual transmission work for you?

1977 ward, on an international chassis with two speed rear end.

It is in Arkansas for about $2700. probably needs six new tires and a host of other stuff for first trip out in a while

william
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Old 08-18-2021, 11:13 PM   #5
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Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 6,137
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
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My bus has been broken into four times - kinda creepy, I'd say.

$3K-$4K is probably more difficult to find these days than it was just a few years ago, especially for 25-30 footers which are less common than 35-40 footers. But the price range is all over the place - some people still find buses for a grand or two, others pay ten grand (or more). One thing's for sure, though: whatever you pay initially, you're probably going to keep on paying to get/keep your bus in good running order. These things are large, industrial vehicles and they cost serious money to maintain and repair (and they're often put up for sale in the first place because the owners don't want to pay for upcoming needed work). Your budget (just for the bus side of things, not at all for the conversion costs) should probably be a lot more than $3k-$4K.
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Old 08-19-2021, 12:25 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: Texas
Posts: 29
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: Unsure.Handicap bus
I picked up a 32 foot 03 International with the dt466e and a manual tranny 175k miles retired out of a school district because all the drivers that knew how to drive a manual retired for 2500 at publicsurplus(dot)com last october. Came with 13 years if maintenence records.

Lots of school districts decided to get rid of busses during corona last year. Not sure if deals like that are still to be found.
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Old 08-20-2021, 06:08 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
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thanks everyone for the responses

Thanks to everyone who responded.

To clarify, I meant $3-4k for the initial vehicle, not for the total conversion costs.

I actually just closed on a little shorty yesterday! Got her for $3850. I'm pretty sure it's a good deal, considering prices have gone up considerably since corona.

She's a 1998 Chevrolet P30. Which if you google that, looks like a box truck, but she's definitely a little school bus and does not look like that except for the face.

1998 is old but she actually only has 46k miles, single owned by a school, and it runs and drives, so it's gucci as far as I'm concerned. Gas engine, automatic transmission, tires are in great shape, body has minimal/no rust. She's a keeper.

She's a little smaller than I wanted, but I'm happy with her. I can test out my build skills, and upgrade to a bigger vehicle if I feel it's necessary in the future.

Wish me luck boiiiiiiis
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Old 08-22-2021, 09:35 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
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Location: Long Island, NY
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Year: 2009
Coachwork: Girardin
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Engine: 6.6 turbo diesel
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Congrats!!! Post some pics. Very exciting time for you. Wishing lots of luck on this journey!
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Old 08-28-2021, 04:34 PM   #9
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Location: Southern Oregon
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran (Now Navistar)
Engine: DT444E (7.3L) International
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46K is a good number for that year bus. Keep in mind though that with that low of mileage you should consider some CALENDAR BASED inspection/maintenance items.
For instance, rubber hoses are recommended to be replaced at 5 year intervals.... in reality that's a bit too conservative for most vehicles but they definitely should be inspected.

For general reference, if one hose goes (for instance the upper radiator hose), the lower hose, heater hoses, and any others in the engine bay should be replaced.
It's not a big deal and you'll likely find that maintenance was done if you got it from a fleet operation but it's certainly something to help with peace of mind as you drive down the road.
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Old 08-28-2021, 08:57 PM   #10
New Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Hanover Park IL
Posts: 2
Year: 1992
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: SchoolBus
Engine: 5.7 Gas
Rated Cap: 26
Best of luck

I have a shorty 1992 GMC P3500 which is pretty much the exact same as you Rachael. Was gifted it, but so far changed all the brake lines, fuel lines, fuel pump, and starter. Cut all the seats out and replaced two around a table that shortens to a bed, and put in a futon frame on the other side for the other bed. No toilet, or kitchen, but itís a shorty. We camp so cooking and such is easy outside. Love your ambition to try something.
Hope to see you camping one day.
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Old 08-28-2021, 09:17 PM   #11
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGorman125 View Post
Thanks to everyone who responded.

To clarify, I meant $3-4k for the initial vehicle, not for the total conversion costs.

I actually just closed on a little shorty yesterday! Got her for $3850. I'm pretty sure it's a good deal, considering prices have gone up considerably since corona.

She's a 1998 Chevrolet P30. Which if you google that, looks like a box truck, but she's definitely a little school bus and does not look like that except for the face.

1998 is old but she actually only has 46k miles, single owned by a school, and it runs and drives, so it's gucci as far as I'm concerned. Gas engine, automatic transmission, tires are in great shape, body has minimal/no rust. She's a keeper.

She's a little smaller than I wanted, but I'm happy with her. I can test out my build skills, and upgrade to a bigger vehicle if I feel it's necessary in the future.

Wish me luck boiiiiiiis
Have you verified that mileage figure on the computer. Typically a school bus sees 10k miles a year. It is very common to have speedo failures that get replaced without correcting the mileage shown. It's highly unlikely a school would invest in a bus that isn't used much over 23 years.
If you think it's too small now, it really is smaller than you think once you start filling it up.


Quick story on mileage of used vehicles. I bought a 95 Miata Feb. 1, 2020. 125k miles, no Carfax report, so I assume it had no accident history. Paid $2500 for it, thought it was a steal. There is literally nothing wrong with it and I have insured at a $9900 agreed value. I went on Carvana the other night to get an idea of what it would bring in todays market. When I put in my 132K mileage, it kicked it back saying 277,401 was more accurate. WTF, do these people know something about my car I don't? I call them and find they searched emission inspections. Yearly documentation around the end of July every year 2003-2019. The car had 133k on it at it's inspection in 03, and regularly driven yearly until 2019 when it had 277,401. I assume the guy I bought it from got taken as he was told things about the care that weren't true. I'm extremely disappointed as this brings down the resale value, but I have no intentions of ever selling this car, way too much fun, and in like new condition.

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Old 08-28-2021, 09:49 PM   #12
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Location: Virginia
Posts: 2
Year: TBD
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Hi - And Congrats! I'm brand new here as of about 30 mins ago. Just starting the research since I have a year or more to figure out the full time-part-time retirement plan. Glad you found what you wanted. I'm tall (6'1) and my boys are 6'5 ish so need to consider roof height. My cousin just retired and we are day dreaming about Skoolie life, so looking only at 40 footers for more roommate privacy. Great to find this site!
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Old 08-28-2021, 11:59 PM   #13
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Baja often, Oregon frequently
Posts: 229
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Our hot little grubbies...
Chassis: Ford CF8000 ExpeditionVehicle
Engine: Cummins 505ci mechanical
Rated Cap: Three RedHeelers
2003, we converted a 1997 Ford CF8000 commercial truck to our concept of an ExpeditionVehicle.
Nearly two decades full-time live-aboard.
Twenty-four months twenty-four thousand miles around South America.
Alaska, Panama, all over north and central America.
Summers up rough logger tracks to remote mountain lakes, winters on isolated Baja beaches.
.
Two adults -- plus a frequent yummy third -- and two RedHeelers in a rig three paces across by seven paces long.
In other words, we are your perfectly normal average folks.
.
.
PS:
I am the poster with the constant harpings about intentionally putting holes in a functional roof.
But somebody -- utterly disregarding the inevitable collision of rain with gravity -- always insists on a sun-roof over the bed so they can watch the stars [suddenly remembers to breath]!
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Old 08-29-2021, 12:26 AM   #14
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Baja often, Oregon frequently
Posts: 229
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Our hot little grubbies...
Chassis: Ford CF8000 ExpeditionVehicle
Engine: Cummins 505ci mechanical
Rated Cap: Three RedHeelers
Quote:
Originally Posted by RGorman125 View Post
.
...test...my...skills, and upgrade to a bigger vehicle...
.
Yes!
Our first conversions are our learners.
As we work on a conversion, we learn about relationships of three-dimensional spaces.
We learn about choices of including certain equipment, avoiding certain equipment.
.
In a year or in a decade, needs evolve.
A set of matching his-n-hers sinks in the head might seem unnecessary.
The required gourmet kitchen seems superfluous while meals are enjoyed around the campfire.
.
The simplicity of a non-computer diesel looks intriguing compared to a 'all-the-bells-n-whistles' newer platform.
A front engine with a stick-shift built on a commercial truck... or a diesel pusher.
.
A lot depends on your RequirementsStatement:
* destinations
* travel times/seasons, four-hundred mile days or hundred mile months
* caravan partners
and the biggie:
* mechanical aptitude, tool-box size, willingness to listen more than talk.
.
With my first bus in the early-1980s, I realized I did not know diddly about squat.
Accordingly, I volunteered at bus dealerships and repair-shops.
I still know I do not know, but I can usually find somebody to point me vaguely in the right direction. Mostly.
.
.
One direction I avoid:
* holes in the roof
'Yes', I realize leaks never happen (because fingers-crossed...), but call me suspicious about that gravity-rain business and its potential for middle-of-the-night drenchings.
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Old 09-15-2021, 05:59 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 15
Calendar based inspection and maintenance is a definite must. It was from a school, with one owner, so she's in great shape. But I want her to live forever.
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:01 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 15
YAAASSS I want to meet everyone in person and go camping. Covid's got me itching to go and meet people and do things.
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:05 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 15
Yeah I should probably look into that. I will say though, she has a wild paint job. She has flames painted on it, with fire safety tips on it, like 'stop drop and roll' and '2 ways out'. At first glance, it looks like it's covered in graffiti. So I think it was some type of...fire safety bus?? Idk but I doubt they drove it around much.
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:07 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2021
Posts: 15
That sounds fun! I kinda lucked out, my bus is tall enough on the inside that I can jump in it. Of course I'm only 5'3 so... but my 6' friend can fit in it with probably 4-5 inches to spare.
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Old 09-15-2021, 06:08 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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That all sounds amazing. Thanks for the reply
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:13 PM   #20
Bus Geek
 
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Year: 1999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGorman125 View Post
That all sounds amazing. Thanks for the reply
Use the quote button when replying to posts so we know which one your're referring to.
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