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Old 05-13-2016, 02:29 PM   #1
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Hello!! Newbie Preparing for Bus Living, so many ???

Well Hi!! I have been thinking about "off grid" living for a few years now. I think it takes a while to come to terms with letting go of our creature comforts and attachments to things. But I have been a "gypsy" of sorts anyway the last few years and after trying to have a live/work studio that didn't work as expected I had to move everything back to storage and rent a room. I was so heartbroken. I have been in and out of rooms and storage's for the last 4 years or so. Its made me seriously reconsider all the stuff I have and think even harder about off grid living.

So here's some things I'm considering and I would love feedback and help! I currently have a 93 Jeep with a 6 cyl and tow hitch that I'm getting into shape. I originally planned to get a cute vintage 15-17 foot trailer to restore and live in. But Now I'm thinking a bus might provide a better solution for space and be more solid of course. Pros I see for a trailer vs a bus is maintenance cost. Thats really #1 for me. A trailer still has maintenance sure, but as for the vehicle I can maintain the jeep myself and of course should I need a mechanic I'm sure its far cheaper than getting a bus fixed.

I'm also really nervous about driving one of those things! Well I'm also kinda nervous about pulling a 17 ft trailer too lol. I'll get over that part I'm sure. Another point is, having the trailer allows me to still have a separate vehicle to putt around town. My plans essentially are, a live work studio. I am a seamstress. I also buy and sell vintage on ebay and etsy so I can make a living anywhere really with just a cell phone and internet. I want to travel the US and maybe stay a while some places and then home base will likely be Tucson as my daughter has a property there.

I was thinking about the bus and the potential for it really outweighing a car/trailer idea. I had thought about if I get a bus with a back door and made a 4 foot "closet" back there with a ramp I could potentially get a vespa or scooter and keep it back there. If I had a 40 foot bus that's still 36 feet of usable space. I kind of have plans brewing in my head. But I don't know if its legal or safe to carry a vespa in the bus but then again isn't that what a toy hauler is? Decisions, decisions. I'm seriously leaning more toward bus. There's so many questions.

So what do you guys do about having a separate smaller vehicle? What type of bus is best for me? I need under bus cargo space for my supplies and storage of items that I will post for sale online. I'm planning to do craft shows and fairs or pop up shows at boutiques so really I care more about storage for my business so I can make money and survive. As for personal I will just have to be a tshirt and jeans gal from now on lol. I also love the look of the flat front buses vs the big nose ones. I of course love old stuff and Im not sure if an older bus (with less electronic systems) is better than a new bus or is there a difference really in electrical at all? OMG forgive me for rambling.

Thanks for input, ideas and insight. I truly appreciate it!
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Old 05-13-2016, 03:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by salvagedstitch View Post
I was thinking about the bus and the potential for it really outweighing a car/trailer idea. I had thought about if I get a bus with a back door and made a 4 foot "closet" back there with a ramp I could potentially get a vespa or scooter and keep it back there. If I had a 40 foot bus that's still 36 feet of usable space. I kind of have plans brewing in my head. But I don't know if its legal or safe to carry a vespa in the bus but then again isn't that what a toy hauler is? Decisions, decisions. I'm seriously leaning more toward bus. There's so many questions.
You'll want a 40' flatnose/transit style with a front engine. That'll give you the maximum amount of usable space for living with a garage. And as long as it's strapped down and chocked securely, a scooter won't be a problem.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:00 PM   #3
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You'll want a 40' flatnose/transit style with a front engine. That'll give you the maximum amount of usable space for living with a garage. And as long as it's strapped down and chocked securely, a scooter won't be a problem.
Scooter or better yet- MOPED!




I'm shopping (on a LOW budget) for a shorty to haul mopeds and scooters with.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:03 PM   #4
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Good that you're thinking about a bus. Most of the people here are also not good at doing without their creature comforts. You'll find all levels of builds here, from minimalist to kind of unlimited.
Most of us are dealing with ridding ourselves of the excess possessions that we lug around through our lives. It's not that bad. Possessions are basically hanging onto memories, and you're not letting the memories go. The problem I see with your trailer idea is there is no hope of storage. Yes it would be cheaper, and it almost certainly eliminates your business plans.
I'd say you're considerably safer driving a bus inexperienced than pulling a trailer inexperienced. With the bus you could pull a covered trailer that could carry your jeep when necessary and also act as additional storage. But then parking gets more difficult. It's good to shop at stores with big parking lots.
If you want maximized basement storage space you are naturally looking at a pusher. The RE (rear engine) buses are generally the smoothest riding and are preferred by those that like to put on a lot of miles.

You're on the right track. Start reading some of these build threads to learn more and decide what you want. It sounds like you already know what you want. There are a group of buses selling three days from now for seemingly extraordinarily low prices. It's an auction, so prices could go up easily the last day. Point is it would be good for you to start watching the auctions as well as listening to others that have the bus you're thinking of. You're at an unknown location so people are not able to refer bus sales to you that are nearby.

Yes, a lot of us have motorcycles. Some tow cars on trailers or dollys. I think you have the right idea for your scooter. There's even a scooter thread here.

Join in and ask questions. It's a pretty good group of folks here.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:08 PM   #5
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Your new/restored trailer.
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Old 05-13-2016, 04:46 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help everyone! Robin97396 where is this auction at? Im in southern Cali. And I think your right about inexperienced pulling a trailer. The only time ive ever done it was an empty boat trailer I would park for my BF at the time after we'd drop the boat in the lake. I just don't want to pull anything else with the bus. Also I'd say for me I'm more the top scooter girl than the bottom ahahaha Also define a pusher? If the auction your referring to is the one I came across Its in the east coast like philly or somewhere? I saw some going for less than $1000 so yea if they ended that low its totally worth a trip out.

What about these auctions tho how do u know the buses run? And is is expensive to register? Im guessing a few hundred especially to transfer from out of state. And is that any kind of hassle?
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Old 05-13-2016, 05:27 PM   #7
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It's like buying any vehicle out of state. It's all kinds of hassle. You'll get all kinds of free advice from people in other states. Listen to the ones that live in your state and your target state, or better yet talk to the DMV in both states.

Yes, I believe you're talking about the same group of buses back east that is on a thread here somewhere. Those are cheap, and for us west coasters it's a pretty expensive trip to go look at them. Washington has a lot of buses for sale just like what you want. They rarely have any rust. Usually the listing says if the bus will run and it only takes a few minutes to register at no cost. That's not always an indication that you can take off on an interstate trip with the bus. There is a certain amount of risk buying anything used. That's why dealers have such a huge markup. The same bus you can buy at auction, normally for $3k-$4k, will cost at least $8k at a bus re-seller. It's like buying a used car. You make your best choice by looking at them and if possible hearing them run. The mechanics in the sale location will usually start the buses for you. And like a used car it's when you get it out onto the road that you know if the front end is bad or whatever else might be a problem. Make friends with the mechanic at the bus lot and let them guide you if you have the chance.
The pusher is the RE (rear engine) bus, often with the incredible amount of basement storage you're looking for. That's the one that best fits the needs you described. The next thing is you need to decide about what engines and transmission you want/need. Rather than get into a lengthy discussion about transmissions, basically just avoid the Allison 545. Even that transmission is bearable if the bus is just right and for a good price.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:36 PM   #8
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What he said!
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Old 05-13-2016, 07:14 PM   #9
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Whew, I must of had diarrhea of the mouth this morning or something. I gotta start paraphrasing more.
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Old 05-16-2016, 03:56 AM   #10
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I was searching ca bus auctions and found this one selling next month https://www.rbauction.com/2007-INTER...NTO-CA-2016171

I really wanted a pusher but this one is white which saves painting for a while and is large and has belly storage. So let me know what you guys think of the specs on it. I might go check it out if I can pull the trigger by then moneywise. Im debating selling my jeep to buy the bus. BUt I need to get a place to park and work on it....SO many things to think about
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Old 05-16-2016, 11:33 AM   #11
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Plenty of ways to get a scooter into a bus since they're so light. A hoist or a ramp w/ a winch are two of the easiest to design and install. Scoot will probably even fit through the back door with no problem.
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Old 05-16-2016, 01:29 PM   #12
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Plenty of ways to get a scooter into a bus since they're so light. A hoist or a ramp w/ a winch are two of the easiest to design and install. Scoot will probably even fit through the back door with no problem.
I know a guy that loads his little 50cc scooters into a school bus through his emergency door.. they do fit as long as you fold the mirrors in then he ties them down to bosses he mounted in old seat holes..

he made a ramp similar to those that come with the uhaul box trucks that slides up neatly under his bus.. it makes a nice way to wheel luggage and such down too...

as far as getting them into the bus.. he is a bit of a daredevil so he just rides them up the ramp and in..

only issue he has is the gasoline smell from the scooters sometimes if their tanks are nearly full when he puts them in the bus..

-Christopher
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Old 05-16-2016, 04:35 PM   #13
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I know a guy that loads his little 50cc scooters into a school bus through his emergency door.. they do fit as long as you fold the mirrors in then he ties them down to bosses he mounted in old seat holes..

he made a ramp similar to those that come with the uhaul box trucks that slides up neatly under his bus.. it makes a nice way to wheel luggage and such down too...

as far as getting them into the bus.. he is a bit of a daredevil so he just rides them up the ramp and in..

only issue he has is the gasoline smell from the scooters sometimes if their tanks are nearly full when he puts them in the bus..

-Christopher
I just hauled a Tomos moped in the hatch of my Focus. A bus can haul and load mopeds like a BOSS!
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Old 05-17-2016, 03:11 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by salvagedstitch View Post
I was searching ca bus auctions and found this one selling next month https://www.rbauction.com/2007-INTER...NTO-CA-2016171

I really wanted a pusher but this one is white which saves painting for a while and is large and has belly storage. So let me know what you guys think of the specs on it. I might go check it out if I can pull the trigger by then moneywise. Im debating selling my jeep to buy the bus. BUt I need to get a place to park and work on it....SO many things to think about
If the price is right, that looks like a good candidate. V8 IH engine, 2007 model year, that's most likely going to be the DT444 engine (I didn't run the VIN to check). Air brakes, dual A/C, under floor storage on both sides (and more could probably be added), low miles and engine overhaul a couple years ago ... 11R22.5 tires (a common size, very easy to come by), air-ride suspension ... I'd say go for it.
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:15 AM   #15
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A 2007 IC bus with a V-8 will have the MaxxForce7/DT365 engine.

For all practical purposes, it is a disaster of an engine. They have finally worked out most of the bugs but has never been as reliable as the T444(E).

The biggest problem has been the emissions package which includes EGR. The engine needs to get good and hot for the EGR to work properly. If it doesn't get hot the EGR system gets all clogged up with soot to the point where it clogs up and causes major issues.

I would look for a different bus with either the ISB, ISC, or the DT466.
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:52 AM   #16
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A 2007 IC bus with a V-8 will have the MaxxForce7/DT365 engine.

For all practical purposes, it is a disaster of an engine. They have finally worked out most of the bugs but has never been as reliable as the T444(E).

The biggest problem has been the emissions package which includes EGR. The engine needs to get good and hot for the EGR to work properly. If it doesn't get hot the EGR system gets all clogged up with soot to the point where it clogs up and causes major issues.

I would look for a different bus with either the ISB, ISC, or the DT466.
I second that suggestion!
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:56 AM   #17
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the maxxforce 7 and VT-365 were disasters.. EGR is one thing.. then dont forget the injectors that DUMP fuel into the oil diluting it.. abd bye bye bearings..

-CHristopher
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Old 05-17-2016, 01:04 PM   #18
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That explains the low mileage engine rebuild. The DT444 engines were pretty good. The Maxxforce engines, I'd skip unless you plan to remove/bypass the EGR systems (not legal, easy, or cheap).
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