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Old 04-02-2019, 11:35 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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New from PA

Hello from Chambersburg, PA!

My husband and I are looking for a bus to travel in with our 2 year old son and lab dog!

So far weíve only checked out one in person. Itís a Ď95 Thomas 6.0L 3116 rear engine. 170k miles. But had some rust on the steps. Its for sale around 3k. We are thinking itís a no go due to the rust and the roof is pretty short (it has two air units making it about 6 feet)

My husband is 6í2Ē and Iím 5í11Ē so we definitely need headroom. 6í5Ē is what weíd feel comfortable with. We thought about the roof raise but we donít feel too confident in taking that on... any advice?

Basically weíre trying to find any bus with a decent head room, under 175k miles, and our budget is 4K. Does this seem reasonable?

I know we could find a shuttle that would meet our needs but then we have to pass up on any boondocking and off roads. Any shuttle people that would care to convince me that theyíre the way to go?

Thank you guys so much for your help. We definitely have the bus fever and itís so hard to not just buy the first you see so you can get started converting. Weíre trying to be smart and take our time.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:38 AM   #2
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Look for a high headroom model. I'm 5'10" and its really cramped feeling in a six foot headroom bus. Even if you can stand upright your head is so close to the ceiling it causes you to slouch.
Look at the passenger windows. If their top edge is higher than the drivers window its a high headroom bus.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:54 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Look for a high headroom model. I'm 5'10" and its really cramped feeling in a six foot headroom bus. Even if you can stand upright your head is so close to the ceiling it causes you to slouch.
Look at the passenger windows. If their top edge is higher than the drivers window its a high headroom bus.
Looking at this bus... check out the pic. The windows look ever slightly higher... is that what you mean? Or am I seeing things haha
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:57 AM   #4
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Looking at this bus... check out the pic. The windows look ever slightly higher... is that what you mean? Or am I seeing things haha
With a better side shot you would see the hump in the roof just behind the driver, tells you it is high roof.
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:00 PM   #5
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With a better side shot you would see the hump in the roof just behind the driver, tells you it is high roof.
In this pic I think you can see the top a little better

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Old 04-02-2019, 12:07 PM   #6
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In this pic I think you can see the top a little better

The whole white section of the roof is 3" taller than the front.
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:31 PM   #7
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This is basically my bus - it's going to run about 6'5" down the center. However, you're going to lose headroom if you insulate. A subfloor with 1" of XPS foam and 3/4" plywood (which is only an R value of 5) will take away 2" of headroom and furring the ceiling with 1X plus 1/4" plywood will cost another inch - so you'd be at 6'2" down the middle. If you're going to chase moderate weather, the insulation won't be so important, but this is like the bare minimum of what I'd do (I'm going for 3" insulation all around in my bus).
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:38 PM   #8
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Would you guys mind looking at these photos of the rust... I think this might break the deal for me but Iíve never had to deal with rust so I really donít know
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:40 PM   #9
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This is basically my bus - it's going to run about 6'5" down the center. However, you're going to lose headroom if you insulate. A subfloor with 1" of XPS foam and 3/4" plywood (which is only an R value of 5) will take away 2" of headroom and furring the ceiling with 1X plus 1/4" plywood will cost another inch - so you'd be at 6'2" down the middle. If you're going to chase moderate weather, the insulation won't be so important, but this is like the bare minimum of what I'd do (I'm going for 3" insulation all around in my bus).
Okay thatís helpful, thank you! Itís hard to know whether itíll bother us or not. I mean itíll prolly feel weird at first but I feel like youíd just get used to it and go outside when you wanna really stretch, etc
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:44 PM   #10
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Greetings from 3 hours west! Any time I search for a skoolie, I don't pay much attention to the headroom. As others have said, the roof bump and/or pass/driver window heights will tip you off. I am 6'3'' and would have to raise any roof I get. Insulation added to the roof/floor takes away that headroom, so a raise would be ideal. Id also insulate the sides after deleting windows. It may be daunting, but I don't think anyone regrets a roof raise.
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:48 PM   #11
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Would you guys mind looking at these photos of the rust... I think this might break the deal for me but I’ve never had to deal with rust so I really don’t know
That's not too bad - but it would depend on how widespread it is. If that's the only area of the floor that is holed like that, it's an easy fix; if the entire floor is in that shape, it's bad news. Edit: if that's the only part of the wood floor that was ripped up, then that probably means it's like that all over. In my bus (same model) the front half of the body floor was the part that was OK, and it seems these buses usually have rust going in the same places.

FWIW my floor is much, much worse than that but I'm proceeding with the project anyway. However, I got into this to learn some skills like welding etc. and I have a lot of free time right now so I don't mind wading into this.

An important thing for you to remember is that there are tons of buses available from warm-weather states that are essentially rust-free, so there's really no need to settle on a bus from a snow state. You might be better off dealing with the difficulties of buying a bus remotely and driving it home or having it delivered, than dealing with the difficulties of rust (you'll also end up with a skoolie that has a longer life expectancy).
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Kinson View Post
Greetings from 3 hours west! Any time I search for a skoolie, I don't pay much attention to the headroom. As others have said, the roof bump and/or pass/driver window heights will tip you off. I am 6'3'' and would have to raise any roof I get. Insulation added to the roof/floor takes away that headroom, so a raise would be ideal. Id also insulate the sides after deleting windows. It may be daunting, but I don't think anyone regrets a roof raise.
Thatís reassuring! Most people Iím meeting are under 5í10 and Iím like that must be nice!! About how much did you budget for a roof raise?
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:59 PM   #13
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Anything you find local will have rust. Look south (VA/NC/GA/TN, etc) for something better.
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:59 PM   #14
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The seller does have the floor ripped up and he said that’s the only spot... hopefully haha. I’ve been looking on publicsurplus a good bit... Tons of busses in AZ that I have good feelings about sense they’re away from salt water and in a warm state. The convience of buying one close seems much appealing to me, especially because this is my very first bus and it’s pretty scary taking the step of buying one!
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:00 PM   #15
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Anything you find local will have rust. Look south (VA/NC/GA/TN, etc) for something better.
Yeah VA would be closest and Iíve seen some on public surplus. Any other recommend sites to look at?
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:07 PM   #16
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Yeah VA would be closest and Iíve seen some on public surplus. Any other recommend sites to look at?
We just kept an eye on CL, Truck Paper, 422 sales, places like that. Others like doing the municipal auctions. We ended up finding ours on CL and drove it home 550 miles without a problem.
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:40 PM   #17
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We just kept an eye on CL, Truck Paper, 422 sales, places like that. Others like doing the municipal auctions. We ended up finding ours on CL and drove it home 550 miles without a problem.
Okay never heard of 422 sales, Iíll have to look at that too. Well time to increase my distance circle 😜 thanks for your input!!
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Old 04-02-2019, 02:11 PM   #18
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Thatís reassuring! Most people Iím meeting are under 5í10 and Iím like that must be nice!! About how much did you budget for a roof raise?
I haven't purchased a bus yet. In my mind, a roof-raise and window-skin just make sense together. Many people have documented it well and it's probably not much more hassle/cost than just reskinning the windows. You would need to extend the posts between the current windows and then figure out the front and back cap transitions. There are a couple different methods and examples in certain project threads.
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Okay never heard of 422 sales, Iíll have to look at that too. Well time to increase my distance circle 😜 thanks for your input!!
422 is pretty close to us. They have scheduled in-person auctions at their location. They may import some of their stock from NC. Anything that spent its life near us is probably ready for a scrapyard, but there are exceptions.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:16 PM   #19
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If you haven't bought it, run, very fast.
I would not be looking for a bus from the 4 states posted, there are better buses for less money out there, in way better condition. 422 buys their buses from the same auctions we do, then turns around and auctions them again.

Seller says that the only spot, if he hasn't removed the whole floor I can tell you he never has done one before. With that much rust in that space I gaurantee the rest is as bad or worse.
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