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Old 10-10-2018, 04:49 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 5
Looking to buy first short skoolie.. advice please!! :)


My boyfriend, Rock, and I are looking to convert our first skoolie! We plan to live in this bus (mostly) full-time for at least a year or two, mostly in nature. We're hoping to turn this into our adventure mobile for all things outdoors.

From what we have read 5.9l or Dt466 seem to be two of the better engines, and buses prior to '04 at least for Ford run longer.
We are mostly interested in a 7.3 L Ford Diesel, though looking for advice here on what could be best. We don't know much about trannys either. Neither of us are mechanically savvy... yet , but Rock has carpentry exp for the conversion.

As for size, a 5-6 window bus seems perfect but we'll be driving some buses a local auction this Friday.

We live in Northern CA, and have been checking CA, Arizona, Nevada CL, and the gov auction sites, watching for buses with rust potential

Here are a couple I've found so far

We would greatly appreciate any advice on what to look for/not look for!

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Old 10-12-2018, 06:38 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,780
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
would you be content with

Driving minor highways with a manual or automatic transmission at 50mph to 55mph? I think if you answer yes, then just about any transmission engine combination will work.

If a manual is out, Then you narrow that down a little.

If 50mph to 55mph is too slow, then well,.....

here is another way of looking at it. The bus worked fine for about 150, to 200 thousand miles, some body else got the best out of the bus already, but you should be able to get more if you maintain and repair as needed.

bigger engines or more gears mean faster bus. so, it becomes a matter of how fast can you afford to go.

In the end I think that is what the engine/ transmission debate ends up.

Feel good about what you are going to purchase. I have seen to much bad when you lay big money on a project and you dont feel good about it. bad vibes from owning something you did not feel good about in the first place.

I cant explain it, trust the little voice in your head... I think, subconsciously we know more than we give ourselves credit for, if the little voice in the back of you head says anything other than this is really good, dont.

fare well, william
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Old 10-20-2018, 05:26 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 5
Hi William,

Thanks for your response. Really did clear it up for me. I feel like we will be on minor highways most often, but having a bus that can hop on the freeway is a potential priority even if it means less mpg.

I guess where I'm so hesitant is that it's hard to feel out which one is right one with little skoolie experience... and most buses I've seen are a flight away so we can't really scope out before buying as easily!
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