Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-29-2016, 08:34 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Quebec
Posts: 4
Jaybird flying home ... in a bus!


I'm Jay, living in Quebec, Canada. I'm recently separated and looking to sell my house, simplify my belongings and head back to the West Coast where I come from. I have three cats and a few nice possessions that I will be bringing with me, and had looked into all sorts of options for how to do that - shipping the cats (no way!), bringing them by plane (3 plane trips??), or buying an RV to travel across with them in a more safe + relaxed way (more like it). I've looked into RVs for sale, converting a van, and finally fell onto the skoolie option as the most appealing for me personally. It will have enough space for everything I need, and I could see living in it indefinitely once I get back to BC where the rents are very high.

So this is the start of my adventure.
I'm trying to learn as much as I can about conversions. I have experience as a carpenter's apprentice but none with electricity or plumbing, and almost none with car repairs (I can change a tire at least!)

There's a local school bus rental company that I talked to about used buses for sale. They might have some in the spring and would be selling a full-sized 72-seater for between $1500-2000 which seems almost too good to be true, except that I live in a less economically prosperous region. I asked if the engine would still be in good shape for that price and they said yes.

Another place sells used buses and they have one for sale for $5000, a diesel, 250,000 km, 2004 Freightliner, but they aren't providing photos and I don't really want to drive 4 hours to try out a vehicle I haven't even seen photos of.

My criteria: that the bus be in decent shape for mechanics and not too much rust. I have no idea about diesel vs. gas. I will be driving the bus across the country which includes going over the Rocky Mountains. After that it won't do too much travelling. I pack light and live light so I won't be weighing it down too much though I will do enough of a conversion for it to be re-classed as an RV.

Never driven a vehicle that big and wondering if I should get my Class 2 license while I'm at it.

Any thoughts or advice warmly welcomed. Thanks for so much info on this site and the sharing of stories and failures!

jaybird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2016, 11:15 PM   #2
Almost There
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Canada eh?
Posts: 99
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Corbeil - RAMROD
Chassis: IH 3800 66 Pass
Engine: 7.3 IH IDI NA w AT545 hyd
Hey dude. Welcome.

Diesel is your friend - hands down and should be the only choice. With a Gas bus, you immediately are limited in a lot of the things you can do.

From what I've read they also average 3-4 MPG vs 7-12 for a Diesel.

Where is home on the West Coast?
slidewayzm5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 04:57 AM   #3
Bus Nut
Carytowncat's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 932
Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Welcome! Wow it sounds like you are starting a new life. How incredibly exciting and terrifying! lol

I can tell you from experience that once she got over the shock of transportation, the cat who travels with me absolutely loves it.
Time is best in revealing the right bus. Many members here caution against bus rental places because they more than often do the minimum repairs to the bus. However Canada may be different, and it doesn't mean a great bus can't be found there.
Good luck!
Carytowncat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 11:53 AM   #4
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Quebec
Posts: 4
hey thanks! I appreciate the advice. Will learn up about diesel engines. slidewayz I read some of your build, some great ideas in there, will get back and re-read it once I have a bus in front of me and can put it to practice! I like the idea of reinforcing all the joints of the bus before painting it so it doesn't leak.
Already learning a lot.
Oh yeah. From Victoria, BC!

Carytowncat, thanks for the advice about the rental place. $1500-2000 really does seem too good to be true so I'm planning a visit to the place with the Freightliner. They have some other buses in my budget as well. Seems better to talk about my criteria for buying a bus and look at them in person. Will take pics too.

Honestly I thought I would end up spending $5000 on the bus, that's about the max I'm comfortable with investing for the vehicle anyways. Then getting all the RV parts used - I'm getting good at finding things on Kijiji so should be a fun challenge!

That place is "Leeds Transit Inc. provides sales, service and parts for new and used school buses" so better than a rental place, yeah?
jaybird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 12:17 PM   #5
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 18,119
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
in canada, do they auction them off from schools or can you buy them directly from schools? or do all busses have to be bought through dealers... in general dealers charge ore simply because they buy the busses from ??? and then mark them up to make a profit..

the advantage to a dealer is often you can have servies done on it there, have the ability to look at lots of different kinds of busses, and can drive the bus you are looking at to give it a once over

cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 12:19 PM   #6
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Quebec
Posts: 4
Christopher, I have no clue. I will contact a local school or two directly to find out whether they rent or own their own buses. Thanks for the idea!
jaybird is offline   Reply With Quote

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 09:02 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.