Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 06-18-2018, 09:12 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
Question INTRO: New Full Timer - Please Help Me Choose The Bus

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








fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2018, 09:21 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 120
Coachwork: None yet
1) those are really expensive compared to auction buses.

2) leaving in October is an incredibly aggressive schedule. Do you have about 80 hours a week to work on it?
cycle61 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2018, 09:23 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
milkmania's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,382
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
about all I can add

If I had it to do all over...
I'd go PUSHER!!!
__________________
I once complained I had no shoes....
Until I met a man with no feet
milkmania is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2018, 09:27 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,301
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Op you must have extremely deep pockets.
Just buy a nice coach conversion and hit the road with your family.

the buses you're looking at are worth about 1/5 what they're asking. On a good day.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2018, 10:20 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycle61 View Post
1) those are really expensive compared to auction buses.

2) leaving in October is an incredibly aggressive schedule. Do you have about 80 hours a week to work on it?
I know they are super high priced trying to figure if they are even worth negotiating on.

Yes 80 hours a week should be doable as long as my the amazon clone I ordered really comes with 2 day prime delivery. Kidding aside I can devour full time to the project right now.
fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2018, 10:21 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmania View Post
about all I can add

If I had it to do all over...
I'd go PUSHER!!!
I like pusher as well
fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2018, 10:35 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Op you must have extremely deep pockets.
Just buy a nice coach conversion and hit the road with your family.

the buses you're looking at are worth about 1/5 what they're asking. On a good day.
East coast - no brother my deep pockets got serious holes in em. I know those prices are crazy. I appreciate the 1/5 ballpark you mentioned as I have a point of ref now. To explain, I came at this first looking at trailer truck combos, then class A entry or used, then realized it was high dollar for garbage construction new or used, then I stumbled on buses and thought ok that sounds solid. Finally, I found the Skoolie world and thought “yes that sounds right in so many ways”. So, I am coming down from 60-80k rv world (which I couldn’t really afford) to the more manageable skoolie world. If I had a year I would hound auctions and search far and wide, but I don’t. I need to beg borrow and haggle my way into something right away if I have any hope of finishing in time. I do not intend on paying near that asking price.
All that being said, I figure for 30k I should be able to build a nice skoolie that’s just the way I want it. All I need is the right bus to start with. So, maybe someone has the perfect bus for me that is looking for someone to overpay for it (just a little).
Or if you know of a reliable safe coach conversion that doesn’t look like 1980-2000 rv style inside for 30k, well that would be imteresting too.
I really want a skoolie though
fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2018, 11:41 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
Thank you

Iím glad I posted all that even though I feel silly now. You guys gave me the wake up call I needed. What do you think of this one on eBay?
https://m.ebay.com/itm/2007-IC-School-Bus-78-passenger-Turbo-Diesel/132666407062?hash=item1ee388b896:g:Qs8AAOSwgGtbJZj A

Sounds better then the hdx I was looking at with less miles DT466 and asking half the one local. Still too high price but do you think this is a good bus? Comparable or better than the hdx I posted?

Thanks again for the wisdom.
fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 12:29 AM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Thomas1985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Here are some more resources:

https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/br...aucs?catid=402

http://www.rollerauction.com/home.as...ming#&panel1-3

https://www.purplewave.com/search/bus

Here is a Vehicle VIN Search website:

https://www.gates.com/search-by-vin

Ideal RV Length for Fitting into National Park Campsites:

http://camperreport.com/best-rv-leng...ational-parks/

It would help if we knew where you live. If you're willing to travel for the right one you're going to have more great options.
Colorado buses are typically ideal for mountain climbing situations. Anything out west is probably safe regarding rust. There's a lot of decent ones in Texas as well.
Avoid Florida, Georgia, Michigan and most everything out east for this reason.
If you have your bedroom in the back you can easily find places for two others to sleep whether it's a foldout couch, bunk beds or hammocks. A 30 foot bus will be a lot easier to find camping and parking spots for compared to the full size 40 foot. It just depends on your needs.
Anything before 2004 won't have the electrical and emissions problems that can be costly.
Here are some with good drive trains:

Good engine for this size vehicle. You can find parts for it anywhere.
https://www.purplewave.com/auction/180619/item/DD5668

This engine is highly sought after for full size buses:

https://www.purplewave.com/auction/180619/item/DD5668

Good luck.
__________________
- Thomas

The Daily Driver Bus Build
Thomas1985 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 07:18 AM   #10
Bus Nut
 
jjhwick119's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Frisco, Texas
Posts: 828
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: Dt466e
Rated Cap: 71
All I'm going to chime in is that I got my bus for 2000, and most purchase for under or around 4000. Run away from the buses you're looking at. If you like spending money, just send some my way for my build, lol.
__________________
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/n...tml#post256987
My build thread - Started 3.2.18
jjhwick119 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 07:50 AM   #11
Site Team
 
JDOnTheGo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: The West
Posts: 1,142
Year: 1998
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 102 EL3
Engine: DD 60
fadderall,

I can't really comment on the prices other than to say that you often get what you pay for. It appears you are looking at much newer models than many folks here.

Re: Las Vegas Bus Sales. I bought mine there. It was a positive experience. However; it is critical to note that they are salesmen of used vehicles. Apologies to those that I offend but those are a group of folks that I do not trust and very rarely find to tell the truth. At a minimum, they do not have the information about the vehicle to answer the necessary questions. DO NOT expect the best. Unless you ask & confirm, you should expect the tires are shot/recaps, the wheels are bent, the batteries are old/shot, the rig needs service, there are leaks, etc.

If you plan a VERY crude existence, your schedule might work. By that, I mean a bucket for poo, a ice chest for cooler, and BBQ for stove. Otherwise; you won't get it done. Apologies again... Given your schedule and budget, you would be far ahead to purchase a used RV.
__________________
JD - Full timer out west
Missy - 1998 MCI 102-EL3 - 1.7kW Solar - 10kWh Lithium
My Adventures & Build
JDOnTheGo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 08:14 AM   #12
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
Quote:
It would help if we knew where you live. If you're willing to travel for the right one you're going to have more great options.
Colorado buses are typically ideal for mountain climbing situations. Anything out west is probably safe regarding rust. There's a lot of decent ones in Texas as well.
Avoid Florida, Georgia, Michigan and most everything out east for this reason.
If you have your bedroom in the back you can easily find places for two others to sleep whether it's a foldout couch, bunk beds or hammocks. A 30 foot bus will be a lot easier to find camping and parking spots for compared to the full size 40 foot. It just depends on your needs.
Anything before 2004 won't have the electrical and emissions problems that can be costly.
Here are some with good drive trains:

Good luck.
Thomas,
Thanks for the great resources. The Roller auction, VIN search and National Parks article I had not seen before.
I am in Las Vegas, NV. Part of reason I liked the ones from our school district. Very Dry out here.
I planned on rear master bed and then a bunk setup for the kids, just like you said. 30-35 foot does sound like a good size.
I am willing to travel to get a bus but not too far. I dont fly sooooo makes traveling more than 500-1000 miles a bit of a stretch.
Those 2 on purplewave look interesting with the 5.9 cummins. Am I correct in thinking Kansas bus would be the opposite of a Colorado bus (as in never seen a hill in its life let alone a mountain)?
Those are at $1450 now so really cheap. Is there anyone that delivers buses? Someone want to drive one out to Las Vegas for $500 + a ticket home?

Anyone know of an upcoming auction in Nevada, Arizona, Ca, Utah?

Thanks again for the great tips. I really hope I can find one and truly join this community.
fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 08:27 AM   #13
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjhwick119 View Post
All I'm going to chime in is that I got my bus for 2000, and most purchase for under or around 4000. Run away from the buses you're looking at. If you like spending money, just send some my way for my build, lol.
JJ - Yes, Im running (right after I offer them $3000 for each one and they chase me off the lot). Just looked through your build. NICE. I saw you got the Vermont Plates. Did you ever determine how they registered it? Are you planning to use the Vermont Reg to Reg in Texas? I read the post about this and thought it might be an easier way to get Nevada Reg and skip the inspections out here.

I might want to send money your way....... you wanna sell your bus and drive it out to Las Vegas?
fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 08:43 AM   #14
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDOnTheGo View Post
fadderall,

I can't really comment on the prices other than to say that you often get what you pay for. It appears you are looking at much newer models than many folks here.

Re: Las Vegas Bus Sales. I bought mine there. It was a positive experience. However; it is critical to note that they are salesmen of used vehicles. Apologies to those that I offend but those are a group of folks that I do not trust and very rarely find to tell the truth. At a minimum, they do not have the information about the vehicle to answer the necessary questions. DO NOT expect the best. Unless you ask & confirm, you should expect the tires are shot/recaps, the wheels are bent, the batteries are old/shot, the rig needs service, there are leaks, etc.

If you plan a VERY crude existence, your schedule might work. By that, I mean a bucket for poo, a ice chest for cooler, and BBQ for stove. Otherwise; you won't get it done. Apologies again... Given your schedule and budget, you would be far ahead to purchase a used RV.
JD,
Just checked out "Missy". You are going all in for sure. I would not attempt this in my timeframe, the transit, coach MCI style buses look WAY more complicated then the Skoolies. I think I can get a reasonable, livable school bus conversion done in my timeframe (with a lil slipage). Something less than what you have done but a bit more then a poo bucket. Its aggressive but that makes it fun.
Are you out in Vegas as well? 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? It wont let me post links because Im a new member but if you go to lasvegas.craigslist and search Bus in for sale, it comes up on first page. " 1991 MCI 102 A3 BUS with WHEELCHAIR LIFT - $10000"
Your bus looks amazing. Love those kitchen cabinets and really impressed with your wet interface area (water filters look awesome in there).
fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 09:01 AM   #15
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,301
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDOnTheGo View Post
fadderall,

I can't really comment on the prices other than to say that you often get what you pay for. It appears you are looking at much newer models than many folks here.

Re: Las Vegas Bus Sales. I bought mine there. It was a positive experience. However; it is critical to note that they are salesmen of used vehicles. Apologies to those that I offend but those are a group of folks that I do not trust and very rarely find to tell the truth. At a minimum, they do not have the information about the vehicle to answer the necessary questions. DO NOT expect the best. Unless you ask & confirm, you should expect the tires are shot/recaps, the wheels are bent, the batteries are old/shot, the rig needs service, there are leaks, etc.

If you plan a VERY crude existence, your schedule might work. By that, I mean a bucket for poo, a ice chest for cooler, and BBQ for stove. Otherwise; you won't get it done. Apologies again... Given your schedule and budget, you would be far ahead to purchase a used RV.
Nice older MCI conversion coaches and Wanderlodges could be had for the price of one of the buses the OP listed.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 09:01 AM   #16
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
East Coast Auction Question

Just saw the 422 auction coming up June 23. @thomas1985 and others have mentioned I might want to stay away from East Coast buses. The Auction is in Pittsburgh, PA but doesn't indicate where the buses come from. Is it safe to assume they are all from PA and surrounding areas, or do they bring buses in from all over?

Excuse my ignorance, but this is all new to me. Appreciate you guys so much, you already saved me THOUSANDS. Like a Bus CPA you folks showed me how to avoid the Stupid Tax!
fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 09:08 AM   #17
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,301
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by fadderall View Post
Just saw the 422 auction coming up June 23. @thomas1985 and others have mentioned I might want to stay away from East Coast buses. The Auction is in Pittsburgh, PA but doesn't indicate where the buses come from. Is it safe to assume they are all from PA and surrounding areas, or do they bring buses in from all over?

Excuse my ignorance, but this is all new to me. Appreciate you guys so much, you already saved me THOUSANDS. Like a Bus CPA you folks showed me how to avoid the Stupid Tax!
Man that is FUNNY- you've coined a new skoolie term.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 09:10 AM   #18
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,301
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
This would be the route I'd go if I were you-
Used 1975 MCI MC-5B Conversion Coach - C11426-Used1975MCIMC 5B





Quote:
ul or intercity operation.

An MCI MC5 Motorhome! Dont waste your time with a stick built motorhome that isn't built to last the tests of time - go with a motorhome that was designed to last millions of miles - not tens of thousands.

She has everything you need to travel - even if you are the kind of camper that likes to be off the grid. There is a very large propane tank on board with an on board generator to ensure you have power wherever you are.

Bus Body Manufacturer and Model: MCI MC-5
Chassis Manufacturer: MCI
Year: 1975
GVWR: 30,500 lbs
Mileage: 20K on Rebuilt Engine
Engine: Detroit Diesel 8V-71
Transmission: Allison 4-Speed Automatic
Brakes: Air Brakes
Passenger Entry Door: Manuel
Passenger Capacity: RV Conversion
Heat: Driver and Passenger
A/C: Passenger & Driver A/C
Mirrors: Large Exterior Mirrors w/ Convex
Options:
Trailer Hitch
Huge Propane Tank
On-board Generator (operates on propane)
Side Sliding Windows Throughout
Breaker Panel above Driver
Full Size Refridgerator
Rooftop Air Conditioning
Kitchen w/ Stove and Microwave
Restroom with Sink and Corner Shower
Two Couches - One is Hide-a-Bed
Rear Queen Size Bed
Two Fresh Water Holding Tanks
End Tables
Back Up Camera
Extensive Underfloor Storage
Engine Fast Idle
Front Mount TV
Roof Top Vents with Fans
Great Tire Tread Depth!
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 09:15 AM   #19
Bus Geek
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 3,028
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
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!)
__________________
Keep up with us and our build!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2018, 09:29 AM   #20
Skoolie
 
fadderall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
This would be the route I'd go if I were you-
Used 1975 MCI MC-5B Conversion Coach - C11426-Used1975MCIMC 5B



EastCoast - Thats a nice bus. The only problem is the inside is not ideal. Time is ticking I gotta find something soon and decide once and for all. Really want to build.
fadderall is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bluebird all american, bus for sale, full time, need bus, thomas saf-t-liner

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:15 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×