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Old 01-21-2021, 06:49 PM   #1
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Location: Idaho
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Looking to live FT in a skoolie in 1.5yrs time

Hello,


My wife and I are looking into the idea of living in a skoolie full time in about one and a half years from now. We will be traveling in the PNW (specifically AK, WA, ID, MT, WY) for two and a half years. She is in medical school and will be doing rotations within these states. We don't have her schedule yet, but are trying to be proactive for this. I have a remote job that allows me to do my job from any location with internet access. The locations we are traveling to could be in the city or a rural location. We will also have a truck that would be traveling with us.



We also have two lovely older dogs.



We are looking into the skoolie life as we don't own a house as of yet, and with the next 4 years being unknown, we want to keep our options open.


I have been doing research on the buses that are available within our area, and feel that it is the necessary time to reach out to this community to (hopefully) get some feedback. We are looking at the larger bus.. close to 40 feet.



First question(s).. Is the Cat C7 married to the Allison trans a bad engine combo? I have read about the overheating, but I have also discovered that every engine has a niche downfall to them.

Is there an engine I should completely avoid?


Second question... Has anyone found that traveling with a skoolie to a bigger city is an issue? I know that it wouldn't be ideal driving this in any sort of downtown location, but I am asking in case if we get sent to... let's say Seattle, WA. Like I mentioned before, we will have a truck as well, so we would try to stick to the outer spots, but I don't want to have my wife traveling a great distance everyday for work.



I have a background in woodworking & framing. I also feel comfortable with electrical and plumbing. What I am not very versed in is mechanics. I have the basics down, oil change, alternator replacement, starter replacement.. but that is about the extent.



I am trying to stay realistic and not let my excitement for this idea take off... yet. I sincerely appreciate all of the advice and help I receive from this. Thanks for your time!
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:16 PM   #2
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Hello Bull and welcome...and good for you and your wife, that sounds like a fun few years.

We had a C7/Allison combo in a bus and had no issues with it, at all. We've had, or currently have, several different diesel engines so I've got some to compare it against...and I'd own another C7 without reservations, as long as I watched the temperature. But I watch the temp on all diesels. The water temp gauge is the most important one to watch, going up hills...drive by that gauge and you'll be fine.

Now, I do have a personal preference for engines without the DPF stuff. So if given the choice between two buses, I'd chose an older engine without that. But if you find the right bus and it's got a C7 I wouldn't let that scare me off.
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Is the Cat C7 married to the Allison trans a bad engine combo?
With very few exceptions, almost all school buses have Allison automatic transmissions.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:22 PM   #4
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I think it will be a great experience. Start with a bus that's in good shape to start with. The people here can walk you through virtually any mechanical issue. I would strongly advise you to scrutinize any "really good deal". Read up on the engine, find out what kind of trans it has, miles and hours, tire condition, brakes.
As for driving in the city... I don't really mind it but I'm seriously on my toes. You need turning clearance (inside and out) and air brakes require an affirmative touch.
I'll be 67 in a month and I can hardly wait to get on the road. I think you'll have a great time, welcome to the asylum
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:25 AM   #5
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rossvtaylor


Thanks for the reply! Everything you mentioned is what I have found in my research as well. I appreciate your input. Most of the buses available that I have found have that particular combo. Thanks again!



I have a long list of questions for the seller, but I am sure I can add on a few questions. haha.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
With very few exceptions, almost all school buses have Allison automatic transmissions.

musigenesis


I am finding that what you said is very true.


Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:30 AM   #7
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Rwnielsen


Thanks for your advice. I am trying to stay grounded on this to make sure I stay patient and not jump at the first "good deal" that comes along. Looking forward to diving more into this and getting started.


Cheers!
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Old 01-22-2021, 07:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Bull View Post
Hello,


My wife and I are looking into the idea of living in a skoolie full time in about one and a half years from now. We will be traveling in the PNW (specifically AK, WA, ID, MT, WY) for two and a half years. She is in medical school and will be doing rotations within these states. We don't have her schedule yet, but are trying to be proactive for this. I have a remote job that allows me to do my job from any location with internet access. The locations we are traveling to could be in the city or a rural location. We will also have a truck that would be traveling with us.



We also have two lovely older dogs.



We are looking into the skoolie life as we don't own a house as of yet, and with the next 4 years being unknown, we want to keep our options open.


I have been doing research on the buses that are available within our area, and feel that it is the necessary time to reach out to this community to (hopefully) get some feedback. We are looking at the larger bus.. close to 40 feet.



First question(s).. Is the Cat C7 married to the Allison trans a bad engine combo? I have read about the overheating, but I have also discovered that every engine has a niche downfall to them.

Is there an engine I should completely avoid?


Second question... Has anyone found that traveling with a skoolie to a bigger city is an issue? I know that it wouldn't be ideal driving this in any sort of downtown location, but I am asking in case if we get sent to... let's say Seattle, WA. Like I mentioned before, we will have a truck as well, so we would try to stick to the outer spots, but I don't want to have my wife traveling a great distance everyday for work.



I have a background in woodworking & framing. I also feel comfortable with electrical and plumbing. What I am not very versed in is mechanics. I have the basics down, oil change, alternator replacement, starter replacement.. but that is about the extent.



I am trying to stay realistic and not let my excitement for this idea take off... yet. I sincerely appreciate all of the advice and help I receive from this. Thanks for your time!
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My only regret is.... NOT DOING IT FRESH OUTTA HIGH SCHOOL!

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