Originally Posted by musigenesis
I wish this could be sticked somewhere for everyone interested in starting on a skoolie project. As far as skoolie tasks are concerned, removing the seats is absolutely nothing, not even 1/100th of 1% of all the work that has to be done. It just seems daunting because it's literally the first thing everybody has to do.
From your numbers, it sounds like you have a rear gear ratio in the neighborhood of 7.25 to 7.5, which is indeed not going to be conducive to highway travel. It's possible to get that swapped out to a numerically-lower ratio, which could improve your cruising speed substantially. But your 7.3/AT545 drivetrain is already not great so the swap might not be worth your while. It might be worth calling around to shops in your area to see what kind of price you can get on it, however - maybe they have something sitting around collecting dust and a mechanic with no work lined up and it won't be some huge amount of money.
Yes that's definitely right on the whole 'step 1' thing. I have a bad tendency to make impulse purchases based on my interests at the time, and got hooked on the fact that it was a blank canvas and didn't bother to do more research before purchase. It was a foolish waste of a few thousand dollars and I haven't even been able to title it yet.
I think it would just be better to find a later model bus with a better powertrain choice; at least something with a T444E/MT643 combo and then worry if it has the right gearing. The rear center section would be a lot easier to swap than a whole drivetrain.
I'll make a FS post later when I get some photos and the title in my name.