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Old 10-05-2021, 06:37 AM   #1
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Smile Hiya

Hi ya'll, just signed up; new to skoolie.net and to skoolies in general. I've been wanting an RV for some time but the cost and poor quality have always made me (i.e. my wife) pause. When we discovered that buses were (relatively) inexpensive we decided to take the plunge.

We have no rig yet. We are nearing retirement and plan to mostly take weekend and week-long trips so we can stay close to grandsons' summer activities. We do want to take extended trips south to avoid most of the winter weather (we live in Omaha, NE.) I'm looking hard for a 7 window Thomas Safe-T-Liner C2 bus, which is about 19' interior and 6.5' height. I'm 6'1" so height is important. My wife wants to go smaller, about 5 windows, for maneuverability which would be fine except for our snowbird trips, I think.

I'm looking forward to soaking up as much knowledge as I can so I can someday be a font of knowledge myself.

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Old 10-05-2021, 04:14 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site.
Good to hear you know what you want in a bus. Your wife will learn to drive it, or not.
Don't compromise on the bus as there is seemingly never enough room in it once the seats are out!

Good luck on your search, and in the mean time continue your research on here to get as much info you can before pulling the trigger on a prospective purchase.

Post pics if you go forward with your plan and get a bus...
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Old 10-06-2021, 09:46 AM   #3
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I think you will find that the 7 window C2 is very maneuverable. I wouldn’t fret the difference between 5-7 windows based on that. $.02

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Old 10-06-2021, 10:26 AM   #4
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my full chassis international 6 window bluebird Turns Sharper than a Dodge Ram 1500 Crew cab pickup truck .. by quite a bit..
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Old 10-06-2021, 09:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by peteg59 View Post
Welcome to the site.
Good to hear you know what you want in a bus. Your wife will learn to drive it, or not.
Don't compromise on the bus as there is seemingly never enough room in it once the seats are out!

Good luck on your search, and in the mean time continue your research on here to get as much info you can before pulling the trigger on a prospective purchase.

Post pics if you go forward with your plan and get a bus...
Holy Cow, there is a wealth of info here! Gonna take a year just to get through it all!
Thanks for a great site!
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Old 10-06-2021, 09:32 PM   #6
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I think you will find that the 7 window C2 is very maneuverable. I wouldn’t fret the difference between 5-7 windows based on that. $.02

That $.02 may just save me some future disappointment. Playing with floorplans and it evident 6' ft. or so makes a huge difference.
Thanks.
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Old 10-06-2021, 09:38 PM   #7
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my full chassis international 6 window bluebird Turns Sharper than a Dodge Ram 1500 Crew cab pickup truck .. by quite a bit..


Thanks for the reply. Part of the maneuver issue was fitting into a standard parking space. We won't have another means of transportation (maybe I'll have to look into bicyles) but I want to spend away from parking lots anyway.
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Old 10-07-2021, 09:18 PM   #8
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Many (but not all) 5 window busses are on a van chassis’s. It is my understanding you need to be more mindful of adding weight in those busses.

A C2 chassis will handle way more conversion load. They ride much better full of kids.

Good luck! Send pics!
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Old 10-07-2021, 09:57 PM   #9
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cisauctions.com has a bunch here in MI
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:22 AM   #10
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Many (but not all) 5 window busses are on a van chassis’s. It is my understanding you need to be more mindful of adding weight in those busses.

A C2 chassis will handle way more conversion load. They ride much better full of kids.

Good luck! Send pics!

Good tip, thanks.

I've been aware of GVWR (I was looking at travel trailers for a long time) but didn't think about the difference between van and bus chassis. The impression I had was that most van-based chassis are fueled by gas, not diesel. I could definately be wrong about that since diesel provided more torque and power, that's the way I want to go.
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:30 AM   #11
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I've got a 7 window International 3800, and I love it. It's just under 28' bumper to bumper, and is easy to drive. As the C2 is newer, I imagine it probably handles even better. One thing to look for when bus shopping is GVWR. IDK what state you are in or what the drivers license requirements are or if you even care, but I was able to find one with a 23,800# rating which means I didn't have to get a class A or B license. Happy Hunting.
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Old 10-08-2021, 10:01 AM   #12
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I've got a 7 window International 3800, and I love it. It's just under 28' bumper to bumper, and is easy to drive. As the C2 is newer, I imagine it probably handles even better. One thing to look for when bus shopping is GVWR. IDK what state you are in or what the drivers license requirements are or if you even care, but I was able to find one with a 23,800# rating which means I didn't have to get a class A or B license. Happy Hunting.

Thanks. CDL required for anything over 26K in Nebraska so I think I'll be ok.
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:54 AM   #13
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Not sure your initial assumption that buying and converting a school bus into an RV will be cheaper than buying a commercially manufactured RV. I think it depends upon what you want to end up with and what RV you might have chosen instead of buying a school bus. If the end product you imagine is a stick built house in a school bus you probably won't save anything. If you go minimalist, and your state ALLOWS it, you can probably get by on the cheap. There are discussions here about the costs of building a skoolie you might want to track down before you buy - IF cost is an issue.

I think for me the deciding factor in going the school bus route was the idea of getting a medium duty truck chassis. I have no intention of sticking to the paved roads or staying in RV parks so the high clearance of a medium duty chassis was a real attraction for me.
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Old 10-08-2021, 12:58 PM   #14
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Not sure your initial assumption that buying and converting a school bus into an RV will be cheaper than buying a commercially manufactured RV. I think it depends upon what you want to end up with and what RV you might have chosen instead of buying a school bus. If the end product you imagine is a stick built house in a school bus you probably won't save anything. If you go minimalist, and your state ALLOWS it, you can probably get by on the cheap. There are discussions here about the costs of building a skoolie you might want to track down before you buy - IF cost is an issue.

I think for me the deciding factor in going the school bus route was the idea of getting a medium duty truck chassis. I have no intention of sticking to the paved roads or staying in RV parks so the high clearance of a medium duty chassis was a real attraction for me.

As a quick comparison, a brand new Winnebago Minnie travel trailer, the smallest they make but comparable in living space size, is $37K. Then I would have to by a tow vehicle. (I know conventional wisdom is to buy an RV trailer used a couple of years so that all the warranty work is already done but I always wondered if someone who sold their RV after a couple of years bothered with doing the warranty work.)


I didn't price used trucks, but imagine I would pay about the same for a decent tow vehicle. That's $70-75K. I'm reading/seeing you can outfit a bus for no more than about half that.


Out plan is to mainly stay on main roads but I'd like to also try BML/dispersed camping so the high clearance of a bus is definately a plus.
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Old 10-20-2021, 07:27 PM   #15
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Bus choice

I purchased a Blue Bird Micro 4 window last year. It sits on a Chevy express 3500
Just now figuring the interior. 11 feet of build space. 19’ total length. I believe it will work nicely for 2 + 2 dogs pictures attached
Good luck. Feel free to ask about anything
Tim
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Old 10-21-2021, 01:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawild View Post
...wanting an RV...but the cost and...quality...
.
re -- cost of a factory RecreationVehicle.
Yes, they are incredibly inexpensive for everything you get.
How can they sell them at such a great price!
The construction!, the components!, the top-notch assemblers!, the staples! into particle-board!
The swoopy decals!
.
Well, I have a theory on that.
By removing yuge sections of the roof, they save material costs... and pass those savings onto the customer.
Then, they fill those portions of the missing roof with more fascinating stuff -- vents!, and fans!, and air-conditioning units!.
.
But wait until you hear the best filler for those removed roof sections... sky-lights!
[ weeps in admiration ]
You haven't lived until you hit the pillow, all tuckered-out, and drift into slumber-land watching the stars through your personal portal to eternity!
.
'Yes', a sky-light over the bed is just one more thoughtful contribution from RecreationVehicle manufacturers to further our camping experience.
.
Bless their hearts.
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Old 10-21-2021, 05:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by LargeMargeInBaja View Post
.
re -- cost of a factory RecreationVehicle.
Yes, they are incredibly inexpensive for everything you get.
How can they sell them at such a great price!
The construction!, the components!, the top-notch assemblers!, the staples! into particle-board!
The swoopy decals!
.
Well, I have a theory on that.
By removing yuge sections of the roof, they save material costs... and pass those savings onto the customer.
Then, they fill those portions of the missing roof with more fascinating stuff -- vents!, and fans!, and air-conditioning units!.
.
But wait until you hear the best filler for those removed roof sections... sky-lights!
[ weeps in admiration ]
You haven't lived until you hit the pillow, all tuckered-out, and drift into slumber-land watching the stars through your personal portal to eternity!
.
'Yes', a sky-light over the bed is just one more thoughtful contribution from RecreationVehicle manufacturers to further our camping experience.
.
Bless their hearts.

Well, I can't say my build skills will match theirs but at least I'll know where the flaws are!
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