I've been lurking for a while and have learned a lot so far. I figured that I should finally introduce myself.
We don't own a bus yet but my wife and I are looking to find a full size bus to convert (a fairly low budget build) and live in full time for maybe a year or so - maybe more if things go well. We'd like to leave Alabama near the beginning of June and we have loose plans through the summer that would take us to L.A., S.F. bay area, maybe up to Seattle, and then to Colorado.
So we're looking for something that would be big enough to live out of relatively comfortably while also carrying a motorcycle and a fair amount of tools. On the other hand neither of us has ever driven such a large machine So the idea of getting around in dense urban areas and maneuvering into friends' driveways and such is a bit intimidating. We're limiting our search to flat nose busses thinking that they'd offer maximum maneuverability for a given interior space. Fe or RE is toss up as both have their distinct advantages.
I can work on this project nearly full time. (I have general carpentry and mechanical skills but will need to learn some things about diesel, electricity, ....?)
None of the busses We've looked at within our budget ($4,000 or less) have been exactly what we're looking for but I fear waiting too long, going thru Christmas without a bus to work on and not having enough time to get it done before summer.
Of the busses we've looked at so far we're still considering two that seem to be still available:
This one has a mechanical dt466 that looks nice and clean runs good. at545 with 60k or so miles on it. only negatives I can see are the headroom and I believe the front springs have sagged somewhat. Front left tire is worn significantly on the inside. Any body have experience with such spring, and/ or alignment issues on such a bus? We would probably go for this one if I weren't worried about those things.
And one of these:
looks to be well maintained, 193k miles, t444e, AT545, very good tires. Didn't go for a ride in this one as it was buried in other busses but it cranked and sounded good. Clear exhaust. Clean engine and underneath except for Slow engine oil drip from inside the bell housing. (which, I've learned, is most likely coming from the top of the engine).
I'd probably go for either of these right now if they had a better tranny.
Well, if anybody reads all of that long post and has any sort of guidance I'd be appreciative. If we end up with a bus maybe things will get interesting!