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Old 03-19-2021, 01:35 PM   #1
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Newbie looking for advice!

Thereís a possibility (depending on how bidding goes) that we might end up with a 1989 Prevost LeMirage XLII bus instead of a school bus like originally planned. Please tell me pros and cons, if you know of any. I already know of the pros like cabin height, underbus storage, etc. I also know it rides a lot lower to the ground than a school bus would. Basically my questions are more mechanical. Is it more expensive or about the same to have fixed? Can we do an oil change on it ourselves? Will it last longer than a late nineties early 2000s school bus, or not? We are going to be full time living in whatever we end up buying, so Iím just doing my research, and Iím very nervous about buying the right bus for us. Thanks in advance🖤

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Old 03-19-2021, 01:51 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 780
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
I use to be a realtor. I always told my clients to buy an ugly home with great bones. I think this applies to buying a vehicle you're planning on gutting and painting.

Per school bus vs Provost, I feel the key is understanding the original purpose of each bus.

School Bus - Safety, slow, local use (unless it's an activity bus made for freeway speeds and storage of gear). The safety aspect that really matters is the wiring. Intertwined in all the basic wiring to run the engine and tranny is all the safety feature wiring. The safety feature wiring has a direct affect on if the bus runs or not.

Provost - Lower to the ground means more stable, yet also you can't go off pavement without some possible underbelly rubbing. A bus at the level of the Provost is kind of like a Mercedes, Lotus, etc. They are high class, high value product. With that, in general, comes higher costs for parts and repairs and possibly more difficulty finding repair shops.

Every vehicle you find will have its pros and cons, but no matter which you get, it will become yours. I'm assuming since you're looking at a Provost in the first place you have the financial means to buy and maintain that level of vehicle, and that you're going for a more posh conversion???

IF, that is accurate and considering you are going full time, I'd probably lean towards the provost.

Per the engine and tranny, without knowing what they are, mileage, do they have maintenance records, where did the bus operate (rust belt or hot and dry climate), etc., it's hard to comment on how reliable the mechanical aspects are.

Best of luck.
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Old 03-19-2021, 01:52 PM   #3
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Location: New Hampshire
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30~Chevy cutaway
Engine: 5.7/350 Chevy Vortec
Rated Cap: Just me and my "stuff"?
Welcome to the site.

Motor coaches are typically lots more expensive to fix vs their skoolie "cousins", and only specialized shops can or will work on them.

The upside is they're super reliable, and can really rack up the mileage if properly maintained.
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Old 03-19-2021, 10:24 PM   #4
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OP

Thanks! Actually, we just found a provost that was VERY cheap at auction. I was trying to figure out price of maintenance BECAUSE I didnít want to buy something for cheap that would cost a fortune if it needed maintenance. So thanks you guys for that. I researched skoolies for quite a while, but hadnít done any research on city or coach buses, and the husband kind of wants to lean that way because heís 6í3Ē and doesnít want to have to do a roof raise. (We are having a hard time finding a taller school bus)

So I guess we will go back to looking for a school bus! Thanks you guys!
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Old 03-19-2021, 10:32 PM   #5
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Location: On the road
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Year: 2013
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If I could start again, I'll go with a coach instead of a 40ft. RE school bus. More space, more storage, and about the same wheelbase. Or maybe a shorter school bus.
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Old 03-19-2021, 10:44 PM   #6
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Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,498
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: "Atomic"
Engine: DD 8V71
I agree with all of the statements already made...there's such great support on this forum. We own both coaches and school buses (and transits, too). If you're sticking to roads and willing to learn your own basic maintenance, a coach is a great potential build platform.

Do you follow the Lacroix Cruisers YouTube channel? They're on their 3rd coach build and Yvan just did a short "school bus vs coach" video.
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Old 03-20-2021, 12:42 PM   #7
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 780
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
This didn't start out to be so long, but I just dumped thoughts that I've had in my brain as I've been doing my conversion. Hopefully, the OP will get some use out of it as she considers their options.

I've determined I have a love hate relationship with my bus.

The hate is that it's a "school" bus. All the extra systems and wirings, lack of dealer support, cost of parts ($200 for an intermittent wiper switch!) etc. just make it harder. If it wasn't for skoolie.net providing a community resource of such great people, I don't know if I would have made it this far.

While the Provost is way too much bus for me, single guy, I still really like the diesel and the conversion process.

If I were to do another conversion, I'd look at different types of vehicles with the perspective of hindsight being 20/20, well, maybe 20/30?? ha.

I'm very surprised at the age of some of the buses (school, transit, over the road) that some people have. I'm not sure, but I think many of those may get drive train overhauls or swaps. Yet, they "seem" simpler in their function and have way less "safety" stuff to deal with. Yet, as what might be considered a collector or antique vehicle, I know they would have their own challenges. But how cool to take something, gut it internally and drivetrain wise and start fresh. Build-a-Bus.

I've also liked the thought of a box truck or starting fresh with just a cab on frame and custom building on, up, around and below the frame.

Finally, while I love my engine being in the rear of the bus (so much more quiet and plenty of room for me to work on it somewhat covered), EVERYTHING is far away. I love my flatnose, but I'd lean more towards a full front engine vehicle with a front hinged hood. It's all there except for a few wires going to the back lights. In my RE, if something goes wrong, I have 30'+ of extra lines and wires to un-bury, search and fix than in a FE vehicle.

All that said, the heart wants what the heart wants, so sometimes you end up with a RE vehicle with way too many wires!

Best of luck.
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