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Old 05-05-2020, 04:39 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 16
Hello from Michigan!

Next week my wife and are flying down to Illinois to pick up our first bus from Midwest Transit! It's a 2005 IC CE300 with the DT466e that has little to no rust and should be a great platform to start with. I negotiated to have the coolant and fuel filters changed and they are throwing in new batteries. It's also going to Pomp's for some Hankook DL12 drive tires and AH37 steers before the drive home. When we get it home I'll change the oil myself.

My wife and I have been watching tiny house living for years and love to camp. After experiencing how poor build quality can be with pre-built RVs we decided to build our own and hit the road for a few years. We were going to move Utah this Summer but COVID screwed that up for us. Needless to say we're still anxious to get out of Michigan and head west in a Skoolie until we figure out where we want to settle. Probably still Utah

We're still in our thirties with no kids and once we sell our house and other things we'll be debt free. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so we're pumped to get started on our new Skoolie home!
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Old 05-05-2020, 05:10 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: NW Illinois. Savanna on the Mississippi
Posts: 12
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: 1308N
Engine: 5.9 24V Cummins
Rated Cap: 44 Transit
Best of luck! Sounds like a great bus
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Old 05-05-2020, 09:02 PM   #3
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Location: N.C.
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 34
Congrats, and welcome to the site.

Gonna name it # SLEVEN?
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Old 05-05-2020, 09:56 PM   #4
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Congrats, and welcome to the site.

Gonna name it # SLEVEN?
Not a bad name at all!

It's one of my favorite movies
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:25 AM   #5
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Location: Minnehaha Co., SD
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
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Engine: DT466
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Congrats! We spent many an afternoon walking around the Midwest Transit lot looking at buses. We didn't buy from them but they were certainly helpful and let us poke around the buses without any hassle or pressure. Pomp's is a fine shop too...schedule to have them do an alignment while it's in the shop, it'll only set ya back around $150 or so. If you're doing any solar, I got the name of a supplier in Grand Rapids if ya need it. There's also a couple great RV equipment suppliers in SW Michigan for things like seats, awnings, windows or just about any other thing you'll need. Bontrager's and Johnson's...and they're right down the road from each other.

We left out of Chicago a year ago and have spent the whole year working our way from our favorite spot in Michigan to out west here. Utah is beautiful but we found the mountains of both Nevada and Idaho to be unexpectedly amazing.
Lots of great info on this site so don't be afraid to ask lots of questions and just read read read, because at this point there's lots of unknown unknowns.
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Old 05-06-2020, 07:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
Congrats! We spent many an afternoon walking around the Midwest Transit lot looking at buses. We didn't buy from them but they were certainly helpful and let us poke around the buses without any hassle or pressure. Pomp's is a fine shop too...schedule to have them do an alignment while it's in the shop, it'll only set ya back around $150 or so. If you're doing any solar, I got the name of a supplier in Grand Rapids if ya need it. There's also a couple great RV equipment suppliers in SW Michigan for things like seats, awnings, windows or just about any other thing you'll need. Bontrager's and Johnson's...and they're right down the road from each other.

We left out of Chicago a year ago and have spent the whole year working our way from our favorite spot in Michigan to out west here. Utah is beautiful but we found the mountains of both Nevada and Idaho to be unexpectedly amazing.
Lots of great info on this site so don't be afraid to ask lots of questions and just read read read, because at this point there's lots of unknown unknowns.
Thank! I talked to both salesmen at their Indiana location and they were both very helpful informing what I should consider in a bus. The negotiation process was fair and communication has been great. I read good reviews on Google and this forum also.

Our local Pomp's location is great but unfortunately for them I just wasn't comfortable with a 600 mile drive with the tires that were on the bus. Unfortunately for me, I called the Pomp's installing the tires about an alignment like you suggested but they don't have an alignment tech at the moment.

I'm in the upper peninsula but so I have to have everything shipped anyway. I was going to call Solar Tech Direct tomorrow to start building up a system. I'm getting power requirements for all of the appliances written down now. I already have a Micro-Air soft start coming for the 15K BTU AC unit on the way and plan to get a Honda EU2200i for a hybrid system.

In Fall of 2018 we flew out and spent a week out in UT, then a week in CO and we just fell in love with the West. We've both only ever lived in MI so we're ready for a change. We just went back to UT this past January and found the area we want to live and I even landed a dream job at Vanderhall Motor Works but that is falling through at the moment. COVID has forced us to change our plan but possibly for the better. Instead of spending $30k the first year between moving and rent we're putting that into the Skoolie. That way we have something the end that is ours, we can take our time finding out where we want to settle, we won't be throwing ourselves into a $300-400k mortgage, and when we buy land we can always live in the Skoolie until we build a house. Plus, we can get an enclosed trailer and move our stuff ourselve vs paying someone else $$$$$$ to do it. We're anxious to see Idaho, Nevada, and everything else the west has to offer.

Sometimes you just have to adapt
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:58 PM   #7
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Welcome from another Michigander! Although, not quite as far north as you guys...

My wife and I just read your post and laughed at how similar your story sounded to ours. We are in our late 20s with no kids, don't know where we want to settle, love camping, and don't want to throw away money on a pre built camper with shoddy quality. To add to it, we lived in Colorado for 3 years and spent our honeymoon touring Utah with a pop up (and can't wait to make our way back).

I wish you guys the best of luck in your build! We will hopefully be starting ours this summer.

GingrMartini
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Old 05-07-2020, 01:00 AM   #8
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Join Date: May 2020
Location: Near Flint, MI
Posts: 9
Yet another from Michigan, hi!

Hiya,
I'm just starting to get into the RV conversion scene myself and am about to look at/buy a bus in Troy soon. Created an account to start asking some 'noob' questions that I haven't been able to search the answers too.

What started as, "Hey, I've been thinking about traveling for a while, it'd be cool to re-do the 'INSIDE' of a vehicle/bus," turned into, "Which engine, transmission? What body style, need that high roof! Where is rust ok and where is it too bad to have." etc, etc.

Practically have to become an entry-level diesel mechanic to feel safe on the road, haha.
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Old 05-07-2020, 01:27 PM   #9
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Kato, is this the bus you are going to look at?

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...1859841892819/

I saw that one and love the configuration but was concerned when I saw the rust on the back door. Just something to think about!

We are up in Clarkston, I see you are near Flint. Where are you going to be doing your conversion?
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Old 05-07-2020, 04:05 PM   #10
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Wild Wild West
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC RE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
Ya, eh?

I am a former Up'er from the southern most tip of Da'U-P. I lived in Menominee and moved from there to the beautiful desert of east central Nevada. I grew up traveling to Utah from Northeast Wi on summer vacations and absolutely love the west. Southern Utah is magnificent, but somehow the beauty of Nevada won me over. I have been here for 19 years and never looked back!

I have one year left to my State retirement, which means I only have one year to have my build complete so I can throw myself a two month retirement party on the road! My wife and son have never seen Da'Up, so that will be our destination so they can see where I grew up.

Look forward to seeing what you come up with, and welcome to the wild wild west, when you get here!

I wouldn't mind owning a Vanderhall!
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Old 05-07-2020, 06:39 PM   #11
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Location: Minnehaha Co., SD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackE View Post
I am a former Up'er from the southern most tip of Da'U-P. I lived in Menominee and moved from there to the beautiful desert of east central Nevada. I grew up traveling to Utah from Northeast Wi on summer vacations and absolutely love the west. Southern Utah is magnificent, but somehow the beauty of Nevada won me over. I have been here for 19 years and never looked back!

I have one year left to my State retirement, which means I only have one year to have my build complete so I can throw myself a two month retirement party on the road! My wife and son have never seen Da'Up, so that will be our destination so they can see where I grew up.

Look forward to seeing what you come up with, and welcome to the wild wild west, when you get here!

I wouldn't mind owning a Vanderhall!
Oh man, what a weird world. Retired from a state job myself and hit the road very soon after. We love the UP, spent a good while camping up there. And now we're in east central NV in Ely waiting out the pandemic on public lands. Nevada....what an unexpected surprise!
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Old 05-07-2020, 07:43 PM   #12
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Location: Wild Wild West
Posts: 239
Year: 1999
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Engine: 8.3 Cummins MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
Oh man, what a weird world. Retired from a state job myself and hit the road very soon after. We love the UP, spent a good while camping up there. And now we're in east central NV in Ely waiting out the pandemic on public lands. Nevada....what an unexpected surprise!
Drew, I donít call Ely home, but thatís where I work. I actually live about 35 miles south. If you donít mind few miles (about 20) of dirt road, I can direct you to a pretty awesome place to camp for a few days. Itís about an hours drive from Ely.
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Old 05-07-2020, 08:29 PM   #13
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Minnehaha Co., SD
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Year: 1996
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Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackE View Post
Drew, I donít call Ely home, but thatís where I work. I actually live about 35 miles south. If you donít mind few miles (about 20) of dirt road, I can direct you to a pretty awesome place to camp for a few days. Itís about an hours drive from Ely.
Excellent! PM sent
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Old 05-09-2020, 05:23 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 16
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Originally Posted by GingrMartini View Post
Welcome from another Michigander! Although, not quite as far north as you guys...

My wife and I just read your post and laughed at how similar your story sounded to ours. We are in our late 20s with no kids, don't know where we want to settle, love camping, and don't want to throw away money on a pre built camper with shoddy quality. To add to it, we lived in Colorado for 3 years and spent our honeymoon touring Utah with a pop up (and can't wait to make our way back).

I wish you guys the best of luck in your build! We will hopefully be starting ours this summer.

GingrMartini
Wow are situations are similar! Colorado was beautiful also and we really enjoyed staying in Ouray for a few days. We really can't wait to call the west our new home. We're ready to have winters that aren't so harsh and limiting. We want the four seasons but don't need 8 months of possible snow. We had snow in the air yesterday...

Good luck finding a bus and making it your tiny home on wheels!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kato View Post
Hiya,
I'm just starting to get into the RV conversion scene myself and am about to look at/buy a bus in Troy soon. Created an account to start asking some 'noob' questions that I haven't been able to search the answers too.

What started as, "Hey, I've been thinking about traveling for a while, it'd be cool to re-do the 'INSIDE' of a vehicle/bus," turned into, "Which engine, transmission? What body style, need that high roof! Where is rust ok and where is it too bad to have." etc, etc.

Practically have to become an entry-level diesel mechanic to feel safe on the road, haha.
I'm good with my hands but there is a ton to learn about building a skoolie. I've been obsessing over it for the past couple of weeks now because I want to understand every aspect of it as soon as possible. I went to school to for automotive technology and custom fabrication but I have zero diesel experience. I know a couple of the basics but it's really nothing when compared to what I need to know in the future. It's all part of the experience!


Quote:
Originally Posted by JackE View Post
I am a former Up'er from the southern most tip of Da'U-P. I lived in Menominee and moved from there to the beautiful desert of east central Nevada. I grew up traveling to Utah from Northeast Wi on summer vacations and absolutely love the west. Southern Utah is magnificent, but somehow the beauty of Nevada won me over. I have been here for 19 years and never looked back!

I have one year left to my State retirement, which means I only have one year to have my build complete so I can throw myself a two month retirement party on the road! My wife and son have never seen Da'Up, so that will be our destination so they can see where I grew up.

Look forward to seeing what you come up with, and welcome to the wild wild west, when you get here!

I wouldn't mind owning a Vanderhall!
Nevada seems like it will be such a beautiful state. So far Utah is at the top of our list but once we explore the other states, who knows! The skoolie will provide us with the freedom to take our time and make the right move.

After going to school for automotive tech and custom fabrication I was anxious to start at Vanderahall but I guess it wasn't meant to be right now. We'll see what the future brings. It was cool touring the factory and they are definitely cool in person. My wife and I love motorcycles and do a lot of touring but I think the Vanderhall is one of the best looking three-wheelers out there.
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Old 05-13-2020, 03:34 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Metro Detroit Area , MI
Posts: 20
Fellow Michigander - and inspiring skoolie

Congrats on your new venture and good luck. My wife and I are discussing next steps in purchasing one ourselves. We LOVE Utah and plan on heading out there for our next chapter in our lives too. Not sure where in the mitten you are, but feel free to send message and we can share stories as both our new ventures begin. Good luck again !!!!
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:03 AM   #16
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Location: Metro Detroit, MI
Posts: 4
Hey! We are newbies from MI also, Metro Detroit area. Early 30s, no kids, and itchy feet! Lots of good resources already here (even in this thread--Looking at you Solar in GR haha)

We are still in the planning and saving stages but very excited to get the show on the road. I'm trying to be very patient though and thorough about what we need and want. We plan to full-time it so I want to be picky.

Here's to us all learning together!
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:35 AM   #17
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Join Date: May 2020
Location: Metro Detroit Area , MI
Posts: 20
Wow, so many of us in Michigan it seems and sounds like many are new to Skoolies and starting the adventure of it all !!! You all interested if I start a Michigan group for all of us to share stories, advise, and thoughts?
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:43 AM   #18
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Join Date: May 2020
Location: Metro Detroit Area , MI
Posts: 20
Group created....feel free to join. It's called "Skoolies of Michigan"
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