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Old 02-16-2019, 08:05 PM   #1
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Hi everybody, from a newbie just starting out...

Hi all, *

I've fallen in love with the skoolie bus life. *Of course I've watched hour upon hour on YouTube for months. Read blogs, Vlogs and whatever I found.


Im a 56 year young women that's retired due to some major back issues involving multiple surgeries. I have some restrictions, can't lift over 10 lbs. *I have a little dog, Gracie, who will be my co-pilot and partner in crime.


I have a daughter and so many friends and family, I would love to be able to go and see them all across the country. ( and not have to worry about hotels) *I could be gone for months at a time. Just tooling along and enjoying the ride.

*Im wanting a short skoolie or shuttle bus.

I need a good reliable engine. I've heard about the 7.3 diesel engine but obviously need help picking my bus. *I'm not mechanically inclined at all but I don't want that to stop me from embarking on my journey.


I'd like to leave the ceiling plain white metal, *siding white bead board or ship lap with insulation behind, *dark wood counter top and also on floor (maybe dark vinyl)


I'm interested in solar but need some direction in this as it seems so complicated. *I'd like a wave type heater and some sort of air conditioner.

I want my queen bed to go across the back of the bus with storage underneath including water tanks. *The kitchenette on one side and a banquet (or is it a dinette?) on the other side. Just a table with a seat on each side. I was hoping we could put a natureshead composting toilet under one of the seats. *I would like my headboard to be on the opposite side as the toilet.


I think over head storage should be over the banquet area. Wire type baskets over the kitchen and over head storage at the foot of the bed.

I think the outside should be painted white on the roof, pale light blue on the bottom.

A small kitchenette with running hot and cold water with a large sink with the faucet that you can move around and switch sprays. Id like a microwave.

I have a single burner Coleman camper stove. (Vintage pink) and a mini pink fridge. **I've also been collecting door knobs and handles, coat hooks , towels, fabric for curtains, *plastic type dishes, kitchen utensils and bedding.


I want this to be my home on wheels.

Is there anyone out there that works on short buses that's reliable and doesn't break the bank? I need help finding and building my skoolie.


Thank you for your help,

Tammy
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:45 PM   #2
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I suppose the first question is 'Where are you?' Wouldn't be much help if someone from the east coast replies, and you're in California (or vice versa).
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:39 PM   #3
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Yes, I guess that would be helpful. I'm in Wichita, Kansas.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:13 PM   #4
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Yes, I guess that would be helpful. I'm in Wichita, Kansas.
Go to the UserCP in the upper left and fill out your profile so we know a bit about you.
Welcome to the community.
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:40 AM   #5
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I am about 3 hours away in Olathe KS. As you may know the roads in this area are treated with brine/salt in the winter which is very caustic to metal. It was difficult to find the power train we were looking for in a rust free bus around the Midwest (rust is your enemy in so many ways).

We decided to look out West/Southwest for a rust free bus and found a nice 40 foot Crown. We thought the Crown looked better than the others and they are built like a tank. We purchased ours from a School District in a dry climate area of CA and drove it home about a month ago. We were fortunate that the engine was rebuilt around 64K miles ago. I don't know much about the shorties as I have not done research on them but hope you find a nice rust free bus.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:56 AM   #6
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Hi, thanks for the info. I've been looking in s. CA and Arizona because I don't want rust!! I'd love to see a pic of your new rig.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:18 PM   #7
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Hi, thanks for the info. I've been looking in s. CA and Arizona because I don't want rust!! I'd love to see a pic of your new rig.

Here are a couple of pics of mine the day I picked it up and the next day on the way home.
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sippy View Post
I need a good reliable engine. I've heard about the 7.3 diesel engine but obviously need help picking my bus. *I'm not mechanically inclined at all but I don't want that to stop me from embarking on my journey.
The 7.3 is a V8 which is not as smooth as an I6. The 7.6 DT466 and 5.9 Cummins will be smoother than the 6.0 or 7.3 V8s. You also need to be aware of the transmission. You'll find lots of 545's out there which may be fine in a shortie, especially if you aren't going to traverse the Himalayas or tow anything.

A lot of shorties have hydraulic brakes as opposed to air brakes. The air brakes are a simpler system and arguably better for the bigger buses.

You're doing the right thing searching in drier climates for your bus. We bought ours from VA/NC after discounting anything for sale closer to home in NH.

Spend the time searching for the right bus and you'll be happy!
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:08 PM   #9
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Hi, thanks for the info. I've been looking in s. CA and Arizona because I don't want rust!! I'd love to see a pic of your new rig.
Colorado has some great non-rust buses. Both Colorado and Washington get snow, but they don't use conventional road salt, instead they use a compound that doesn't create rust.

Plus you'll likely find a better transmission in the mountain buses as well as On-Spot chains.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:23 PM   #10
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Colorado has some great non-rust buses. Both Colorado and Washington get snow, but they don't use conventional road salt, instead they use a compound that doesn't create rust.

Plus you'll likely find a better transmission in the mountain buses as well as On-Spot chains.
Colorado has some GREAT buses. Still worth checking real well for rust. For whatever reason some areas of CO rust really badly.
My CO bus had some. It wasn't awful, but way more than I was expecting.
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:40 PM   #11
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I'll second the Washington buses. Oregon also turns out some nice buses.

Mine came from outside of Portland OR and had very minimal surface in a few spots under the plywood. Zero repairs needed.

Good luck with your quest.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:13 PM   #12
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Mines a Wash. bus and had more rust than I expected or wanted to deal with.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:59 PM   #13
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I got mine on govdeals from a school district in VA. Almost no rust at all! I’m very happy with it. I’m in the very beginning stages of demo tho... seats out n some of the rubber so far. It’s a 1998 international blue bird (11 windows) n has the 7.3. I’m not sure the transmission other than automatic. I’ll tell you what tho, after I get it thoroughly checked out mechanically, get the kingpin n some bushings that I already know are bad replaced, those 10R22.5 tires n steel wheels are getting upgraded! It screams at 2600 mph doing 60 so the gearing is definitely due for an upgrade to quiet it down like this Peterbilt I also drive. I’m told I’m gonna need to change the transmission with doing the gears n tires/wheels but I don’t know how true that is...
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:28 PM   #14
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Hi Tammy! You and I are about the same age and share the same love. Welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sippy View Post
*I’m wanting a short skoolie or shuttle bus.

I need a good reliable engine. I've heard about the 7.3 diesel engine but obviously need help picking my bus. *I'm not mechanically inclined at all but I don't want that to stop me from embarking on my journey.
Let me tell you, your mechanical inclination is about to expand. It's hard NOT to learn about your engine and all that when you own one of these things, both because it's really interesting and because there are quirks to be navigated. If you go with the 7.3 (that's what I have), realize it will be an antique by automotive standards, and I find that, after just a little bit of exposure from this site and a few others, I often know more about certain key things than the young mechanics who were born after my 28-year-old Buster (that's my bus's name) was manufactured. That doesn't mean I feel competent to do the work, of course, though I've done a few things I never imagined I'd be capable of. My best advice: Don't ever lull yourself into the belief that a mechanic knows best. Ask a lot of questions, then bring the answers to the guys here on this site if they sound wonky. You'll have to use your magical sorting-through powers because the opinions you get will differ, but you will not find more helpful people anywhere.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sippy View Post

Is there anyone out there that works on short buses that's reliable and doesn't break the bank? I need help finding and building my skoolie.
I don't live in your area, so of course I can't really say if there's anyone near you who does. But my experience here in MA is that I found someone who talked a good game, said he was going to hook me up at a great price, then proceeded to blow me off for months at a time. I am in a similar position with physical restrictions though it sounds like mine are not as severe as yours.

At first I sat around waiting and feeling helpless. Then I decided I really didn't like that feeling, so I took the ball back into my own court and did 80% of the work myself (I now have tools I didn't know existed). This required some rethinking and simplifying certain things but I honestly would not trade the experience for anything. There is something so cool about looking at cabinets I made (I have never made a cabinet in my life before this). They are utterly unlike cabinets any pro would have built, and I'm glad for that. I am fully immersed in this process right now, and really just need someone to install the solar. I still haven't found that person, but I just keep working on everything else and hoping that, as they say, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

My point here is, don't underestimate yourself! The joy of being mobile will be multiplied if you're tooling around in a vehicle with your personal stamp all over it. You have so many clear ideas about the aesthetics of your bus; you are capable of realizing that vision, if not entirely on your own, at least as a participant rather than a bystander.

Good luck, and let is know what you find!
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Old 02-24-2019, 09:34 AM   #15
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Id love to know why you want to leave the plain white ceiling?
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Old 02-24-2019, 09:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firebuild View Post
Hi Tammy! You and I are about the same age and share the same love. Welcome!



Let me tell you, your mechanical inclination is about to expand. It's hard NOT to learn about your engine and all that when you own one of these things, both because it's really interesting and because there are quirks to be navigated. If you go with the 7.3 (that's what I have), realize it will be an antique by automotive standards, and I find that, after just a little bit of exposure from this site and a few others, I often know more about certain key things than the young mechanics who were born after my 28-year-old Buster (that's my bus's name) was manufactured. That doesn't mean I feel competent to do the work, of course, though I've done a few things I never imagined I'd be capable of. My best advice: Don't ever lull yourself into the belief that a mechanic knows best. Ask a lot of questions, then bring the answers to the guys here on this site if they sound wonky. You'll have to use your magical sorting-through powers because the opinions you get will differ, but you will not find more helpful people anywhere.




I don't live in your area, so of course I can't really say if there's anyone near you who does. But my experience here in MA is that I found someone who talked a good game, said he was going to hook me up at a great price, then proceeded to blow me off for months at a time. I am in a similar position with physical restrictions though it sounds like mine are not as severe as yours.

At first I sat around waiting and feeling helpless. Then I decided I really didn't like that feeling, so I took the ball back into my own court and did 80% of the work myself (I now have tools I didn't know existed). This required some rethinking and simplifying certain things but I honestly would not trade the experience for anything. There is something so cool about looking at cabinets I made (I have never made a cabinet in my life before this). They are utterly unlike cabinets any pro would have built, and I'm glad for that. I am fully immersed in this process right now, and really just need someone to install the solar. I still haven't found that person, but I just keep working on everything else and hoping that, as they say, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

My point here is, don't underestimate yourself! The joy of being mobile will be multiplied if you're tooling around in a vehicle with your personal stamp all over it. You have so many clear ideas about the aesthetics of your bus; you are capable of realizing that vision, if not entirely on your own, at least as a participant rather than a bystander.

Good luck, and let is know what you find!
I cant belive how many skoolies there are in MA
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:03 PM   #17
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Thanks for the pics! She looks like a beauty.
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:05 PM   #18
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Thanks for the info. It's greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:14 PM   #19
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White ceilings

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Originally Posted by ThePimentals View Post
Id love to know why you want to leave the plain white ceiling?
I want dark flooring and counters with white cabinets. I thought that leaving the ceilings white would just give it a cleaner. Brighter look. I also want to be able to use magnets in hanging a number of things.
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Old 02-24-2019, 06:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I want dark flooring and counters with white cabinets. I thought that leaving the ceilings white would just give it a cleaner. Brighter look. I also want to be able to use magnets in hanging a number of things.
a white ceiling and light coloured walls makes an interior space appear larger - dark colours do the opposite - on the exterior, dark colours make an object appear larger and white colours make it appear smaller - something I learned as a painting contractor
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