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Old 06-19-2018, 09:34 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
I just want to reiterate how nuts those prices are.. Even for a dealer. I appreciate that they are a little newer and some have pretty low miles, but they also have negatives like CAT engines and EGR etc.

If you're seriously looking in that price range, buy a wanderlodge. It's a RV built from a school bus made by Bluebird and is arguably the best pre-manufactured RV you can buy. They hold their value way better than other RVs because they're durable and built to last... But if you're looking at 20k+, stop looking at school buses!

When ECCB says they're listed at 5x their auction value, he's not exaggerating. They're also not particularly desirable models except for maybe #3, which should sell for maybe 4-5k if everything works (including the AC!)
Brokedown,
Yes that dealer is crazy priced. The 20k plus budget was for buying a bus AND full conversion to what I wanted. #3 is the one I was seriously considering. NOT for $13900 though. As a Vegas school bus the AC is critical out here and they said it works. I wonder if the buses out here are ordered with better insulation due to the heat?
Ah the eternal struggle, I wish I had more time.... Im gonna look at those wanderlodge and MCI conversions that Eastcoast recommended as well. But, I still have Skoolie dreams...

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Old 06-19-2018, 09:45 AM   #22
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No special insulation- its fiberglass batting.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:18 AM   #23
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A bus with good working AC can do pretty well without insulation, as long as the engine is running. The units they use are generally very high BTU, so for its intended use, insulation is not critical. The moment you turn the bus off, all that changes and you go from igloo to solar oven in just a few minutes.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:09 AM   #24
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Wanderlodge

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
I just want to reiterate how nuts those prices are.. Even for a dealer. I appreciate that they are a little newer and some have pretty low miles, but they also have negatives like CAT engines and EGR etc.

If you're seriously looking in that price range, buy a wanderlodge. It's a RV built from a school bus made by Bluebird and is arguably the best pre-manufactured RV you can buy. They hold their value way better than other RVs because they're durable and built to last... But if you're looking at 20k+, stop looking at school buses!

When ECCB says they're listed at 5x their auction value, he's not exaggerating. They're also not particularly desirable models except for maybe #3, which should sell for maybe 4-5k if everything works (including the AC!)
BrokeDown-
What do you think of this Wanderlodge I just found on Ebay?
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1982-Blue-B...AAAOSwJslbIHP7
Anything specific I should be looking for or avoiding in these old Wanderlodges? I never heard of them until you told me about them.
Thanks
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:12 PM   #25
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THey came in multiple lengths and with multiple powerplants. I'd say that the CAT 3208 might be the least desirable of the diesel options they used, but the 3208 has a pretty solid reputation otherwise. I see that thing only has 8 hours left, that's not enough time to make an informed decision. I hope someone else will comment on the engine.
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:46 PM   #26
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Exclamation New bus just popped up

Just found this on Craigslist. I know too expensive but I can always try and make an offer. It has the DT530 engine. Is this just the big bro to the DT466? Something good or something to stay away from? This one ticks a lot of boxes for me. Pusher, DT530 (if thats as good as DT466), Arizona desert bus, 40', 78" headroom....
Is this a decent bus? Should I be scared of the 240k miles? They claim they just drove it up 400 miles from Arizona. Thats a brutal drive through the middle of nowhere this time of year.

Thoughts? Things I should ask the seller particular to this one?

Thanks again.
https://lasvegas.craigslist.org/cto/...621293289.html

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Old 06-19-2018, 04:27 PM   #27
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fadderall

I live in topeka kansas, retired, I have some commitments until june 29, but after that I could be available for driving.

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Old 06-19-2018, 05:39 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fadderall View Post
Just found this on Craigslist. I know too expensive but I can always try and make an offer. It has the DT530 engine. Is this just the big bro to the DT466? Something good or something to stay away from? This one ticks a lot of boxes for me. Pusher, DT530 (if thats as good as DT466), Arizona desert bus, 40', 78" headroom....
Is this a decent bus? Should I be scared of the 240k miles? They claim they just drove it up 400 miles from Arizona. Thats a brutal drive through the middle of nowhere this time of year.

Thoughts? Things I should ask the seller particular to this one?

Thanks again.
https://lasvegas.craigslist.org/cto/...621293289.html

That person bought it on auction to flip it, it seems. I'd recommend trying searching the auctions instead of craigslist for the best deal, straight from the schools
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:34 PM   #29
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That person bought it on auction to flip it, it seems. I'd recommend trying searching the auctions instead of craigslist for the best deal, straight from the schools
JJ,
I thought that might be the case. I saw some posts about them being auctioned in Arizona recently. Aside from the price, is this a good bus? Good motor / trans combo? (530/6030). Is 240k too many miles on these?

Thanks
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:07 PM   #30
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It doesn't mention air conditioning. I would definitely want that for the price. That's a great motor / trans combo. If it's in good shape I imagine you could get 200,000 more miles or more out of it. I'm sure at this point things are going to be fixed from time to time regardless. Plan on that. The price still is outrageous though. MAYBE 6000 if it had AC.
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:05 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by fadderall View Post
Hello all. Thank you for the great information I have been reading on here.
I am ready to pull the trigger on a Skoolie and would greatly appreciate some guidance from the forum.

The Plan:
1 year full time journey with a family of 4. Kids are 13 and 15. Everyone is on board.

The Timeline:
Not ideal but targeting early October (yes this year) as a departure. I gotta get moving on this conversion.

The Questions:
The usual.....
Whats reliable (I know I need to make the ultimate decision here and have looked at by local mechanic, but looking for opinions as to known issues or strengths of the listed choices). I just want something that is safe and will last a year.
What size
What works best for all around driving (Highway, hot weather, cold weather, mountains and flats). Not looking for a single bus that is best for all these things, but one that would not be a total non starter for any one of those scenarios. Will spend most time following temperate climate but do want to spend some time in snow and well we are from the desert.

The Buses:
I have been pouring over the internet looking at auctions and dealers. I understand that a dealer will greatly increase the price, but I also have limited time and need to get started like yesterday. I am ok paying a premium for something available now and near me but I dont want to get totally hosed. I will walk if I cant get a deal I am happy with.

The following are buses available at a local dealer (Las Vegas Bus Sales-let me know if you have any experience with them good or bad). I know they are very high in listed price so I am looking for some specific advice.
1. Given the mechanical details, mileage and condition, what do you think a good price to offer would be?
2. Any thoughts/advice on the specific engine/trans combo of the buses I am looking at. I know DT466/MT643 is the mantra, but I am looking for thoughts on what I have available here (unless you have a bus to offer for sale then let me know).
AGAIN- If you have a bus for sale that meets my needs please let me know.

Bus 1:
2004 Thomas Saf-T-Liner
CAT 3126 (pusher)
Auto Trans (manual shifting as opposed to push button)
75,500 Miles
AC/Heat ducted throughout
More RVish style windows
Under storage compartment

LIKE:
Storage
Size (but smallest I would consider)
Clean

ASKING $19500






Bus 2:
2006 Blue Bird All American
CAT C7 ACERT
Allison Auto
126,930 miles
AC/Heat ducted 2 units
More RVish style windows
luggage racks inside
fresh white paint

LIKE:
Already painted (but I wonder why this one was painted are they hiding something)?
Clean inside
Possibly keep some of those inside racks for storage

NOT LIKE:
Front engine
some soft spots in the center of the floor when walking through

Asking $24,450






Bus 3:
2003 Thomas Saf-T-Liner HDX (they have about 12 of these to pick from with identical specs and mostly the same mileage)
8.3 Cummins turbo diesel ISC (pusher)
Allison 5spd push button
220,000 miles (average for all of them)
AC and heat Ducted
UP Down school bus windows
Big 90 pass (kids) size
Desert bus from Clark County School District (Las Vegas) no rust

LIKE:
Size big boy
Rear Engine
Those goofy big mirrors
AC
Desert bus

NOT LIKE:
In rougher condition then the other ones on this list. But, its mostly cosmetic (cracked mirror housings, torn seats, bumper damage). I think it is mostly stuff that I would expect in a school bus but not sure if it indicates rough treatment.
Mileage is higher than most others I have seen. Is this too much mileage?
Desert bus (operated in hot hot conditions, I am not sure if this has a negative effect on Diesel engines to be ran and idled in the brutal heat of Las Vegas)
Size, is this too big?
No under storage

ASKING $13900







Bus 4: (not sure about this one. Not a skoolie and I think its too much work for me but I looked at it today). Instead of the above format Im just going to cut paste his listing. Nice guy had a motor coach conversion company for like 30 years, got kicked out of his building and just decided he was done in this biz.
1986 Eagle Model 10 Bus for sale.

Cummins motor (I think he said it was a 350 or 400) with 740 Allison, 40 ft., raised roof, custom built water and waste tanks, Webasto heater, water heater, slide out tray, custom front step. new dash, custom battery pack, 3000 watt inverter, LED clearance lights, custom stair well, set up for side by side seating, water manifold, driver and passenger seat, custom engine door, custom engine hatch, RV windows, 1 roof mount AC unit, custom tail lights,polished bumpers, electric wipers, RV refrigerator, rear view camera. No rust, engine installed but not running. Needs tires but is towable.

LIKE:
Roof raised
tanks installed
tons of under storage
Coach ride
tons of stuff

NOT LIKE:
not sure about this thing mechanically and need to find someone to help me finish those parts. He did guarantee that if purchased it would be running and ready to drive off.
Needs Tires
The work was stopped a long time ago and much of the wood and interior stuff is weathered. Might have to strip it and start over.
Too much work for me.

ASKING $19,000








With your budget you could buy someone's already converted or mostly converted skoolie and just change a few things. There are a few for sale here and there. And there are probably some that aren't for sale but 20k would make it for sale. Lots of people do one and then decide "for my next skoolie I want (long list of things)." There is no perfect bus. Rear engine is quite to drive but now you don't get a garage back there. 40' has more room for the family but now you can't get into lots of national parks.
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:44 AM   #32
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Quote:
With your budget you could buy someone's already converted or mostly converted skoolie and just change a few things. There are a few for sale here and there. And there are probably some that aren't for sale but 20k would make it for sale. Lots of people do one and then decide "for my next skoolie I want (long list of things)." There is no perfect bus. Rear engine is quite to drive but now you don't get a garage back there. 40' has more room for the family but now you can't get into lots of national parks.
2martins-
Good idea and I am open to getting something already converted/partially converted. If anyone has a good bus and wants to cash out let me know!

Time is running out on me so I am looking at everything, skoolie, transit, motor coach, old conversion, trailer truck and even just an old motorhome. But, I really want a school bus.
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Old 06-20-2018, 12:08 PM   #33
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1991 MCI First Look What Do You Think

So I went and took a look at that 1991 MCI 102 A3 from local Craigslist. The guy began a conversion and is moving cant finish story. Its a BUS for sure. Stripped interior already. Has parts and pieces. Kept the skins from ceiling and walls (wall panels look beat but the ceiling pieces are clean and marked). Huge pass through storage bays. Monster AC unit underneath, but plan to remove and replace with mini splits so even more under storage. That's the good....
Issues
He couldn't start it yet. Said he just put in new batteries (used to have 4 6v series/parallel he converted to 2 12v) and not sure if he hooked it up right. He claims it runs and he drove it there. He says he will go over it again and have it running next week for inspection.
Tires are gone needs all new tires.
Not sure of mileage. ODO says ~365,000 but when talking to him he made some comment based on its old route that you might put a 1 in front of that. Makes me nervous.
Similar to the Eagle in OP but more together. Not sure if this is too much to handle either.
Rust ate through one cross member on inside wall. It is only in one spot but it ate through. He claims he is having a new piece fabricated to weld in. It is NOT the frame but the inside wall piece.
Air leak at driver console (he showed me the small tube that leaks and has mechanic coming out to show what it is supposed to hook up too).
Air leak in the drop down step.
Can a Diesel Mechanic inspection realistically tell me how long the system might last?
Does this look worth pursuing or do you think there are better examples available?













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Old 06-20-2018, 12:40 PM   #34
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While I agree with JD on "you often get what you pay for" I find this not to be the case at bus dealers. Those $15K+ buses are the same ones we would have been bidding against them at the auction and going for $2K-$5K. I would bring mine home and be happy, they would take it to their lot and mark it up $10K-$15k. I don't see where your getting your moneys worth out of the extra $8K-$10K.
For reference I just paid $3500, a bit more than I wanted to but got exactly what I was looking for. 40', Dt466, MD3060, Air ride, brakes, and seat, cruise control, 4 under storage cabinets, etc.
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:59 PM   #35
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At a bus dealer you get someone to hold your hand, tell you what you want to hear while you pay 5x as much as the bus is worth.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:44 PM   #36
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Iím a couple weeks into traveling with the bus that Iíve spent the last year converting.

If I have any wisdom to share I would say this about my own experience. May not apply to you.

My bus is 36í long and even with careful driving there are places you just donít want to go with it. As you consider full size coaches and whatnot, just know what that translates into.

The other thing I would say is that I grossly underestimated the time and expense of the project. We all have our own work styles, expertise, and expectations, but to do a good job you will have to be much better than me at quite a few things to pull off what you intend. You may well be.

If you persist and things go well, it is pretty rewarding!
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:50 AM   #37
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While I agree with JD on "you often get what you pay for" I find this not to be the case at bus dealers. Those $15K+ buses are the same ones we would have been bidding against them at the auction and going for $2K-$5K. I would bring mine home and be happy, they would take it to their lot and mark it up $10K-$15k. I don't see where your getting your moneys worth out of the extra $8K-$10K.
For reference I just paid $3500, a bit more than I wanted to but got exactly what I was looking for. 40', Dt466, MD3060, Air ride, brakes, and seat, cruise control, 4 under storage cabinets, etc.
MARC-
I hear you. In looking around you are 100% right the dealer markup is just that and nothing more. I would pay a little mark up just to get what I want fast but not that much. For example, if you wanted to sell your $3500 bus for $4500 (maybe $5000 if you drive it to vegas) well that is a markup I could swallow. But 10-12k markup no way. I keep watching auctions hoping to score. What auction did you get your bus from? You got a real good one there, how is it running?
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:51 AM   #38
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Iím a couple weeks into traveling with the bus that Iíve spent the last year converting.

If I have any wisdom to share I would say this about my own experience. May not apply to you.

My bus is 36í long and even with careful driving there are places you just donít want to go with it. As you consider full size coaches and whatnot, just know what that translates into.

The other thing I would say is that I grossly underestimated the time and expense of the project. We all have our own work styles, expertise, and expectations, but to do a good job you will have to be much better than me at quite a few things to pull off what you intend. You may well be.

If you persist and things go well, it is pretty rewarding!
David-
WOW just went through most all of your build thread.....WOW. Bus looks awesome and looks like you did everything "right". I agree on the shorter 36' length and that is what I was initially looking for. But, after stepping inside a few of the long boys I get space envy. I think the 36's are probably the way to go in the end for all the reasons you state.

So, you are two weeks in to a 2 month trip. Any chance you want to sell the bus after your trip? Las Vegas would be a great place to end the journey. Plus, whatever price we can agree on there is always the chance you could double it......Let me know what you think. PM if you prefer.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:04 AM   #39
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1991 bluebird tc2000 5.9 cummins new contender just came up local

What do you guys think of this bus? Aside from price, what are thoughts on this thing given mileage, age and condition?
1991 TC2000
Cummins B 5.9L
AC works
Wheelchair lift works
98000 miles
Claims it runs strong and everything works.
ALSO, question- in the picture of the drivers side there are 3 compartments. One has a door the other two do not and look stuffed with a radiator of some kind. Is this an engine cooler? AC? Any idea? I cant really tell from looking.

What do you think?






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Old 06-21-2018, 10:14 AM   #40
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Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 102 EL3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fadderall View Post
Are you out in Vegas as well?
No, I am in the SW though (NM at the current time).

Quote:
Originally Posted by fadderall View Post
There is a nice 91 MCI 102 A3 for sale on Craigslist today. Conversion already started and its gutted. 10k. As a "Missy" owner yourself, what are your thoughts on this one?
I'm afraid I don't know much of anything about the other MCI models. I know they mostly have good reputations though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fadderall View Post
Your bus looks amazing. Love those kitchen cabinets and really impressed with your wet interface area (water filters look awesome in there).
Thanks!
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