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Old 03-12-2015, 01:45 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Smile Newbies!

Hey-hi,

This is a wonderful site to discover! Chuck and I, wife-Anndru, are newbies; we are looking forward to the help, suggestions, conversations, and friendships that will soon come from this experience--thanks to you all, ahead of time.

The Small (A. K. A.: Tiny) House Movement and the subject matter of and or relating to, that is our main gig. We have (life situations) a total of 9 children and our last two will be legal in 5 years.

We are thinking of a bus conversion as a jump on the 'retired-n-traveling' angle. I word it as I did due to the fact that our girl's will be with us. We will use the opportunity to train them driving wise; including, environment, states, money--a real, real world (USA anyway/Canada probably) information, experience, cautions, FAQ's, and anything relatable.

So glad you're all here and available, thanks! We are planning to become quite involved; just gotta do a little study first. It's a new situation for me/us--thanks for your all's patience.

Anndru & Chuck
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Old 03-12-2015, 06:21 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard.
I've met some really great folks from Co. I love it out there.
A few friends of ours have already move out there. We plan to head out there in the next year. Will stay a bit then proceed to Oregon.
The fiance and i started looking into smaller homes. I currently own a 1950 block home that I've renovated over the last few years. Once the bus is done we will be moving into that.
I think buses are a much better idea than sheds on trailers.

Sounds like you'll have a very full bus when its all said and done!
If you have any questions feel free to ask. There are some really helpful and talented folks on here.
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Old 03-12-2015, 08:18 AM   #3
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I'm of a similar mindset as Chuck.
I've been a creeper here for a while, and I'm totally stoked on the bus idea (just have to get my wife as thrilled).
I am wondering if there is a best time in the year to purchase a surplus bus; i.e. end of school year, mid-summer or something. Or is it different for every location?
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:51 AM   #4
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There is no good time to purchase a bus.

Most schools prefer to put out of service older buses during the summer and put new buses into service in September.

The problem is the manufacturers can only build a set number of buses per day. They can't not build buses in the winter and than go like crazy in May/June/July/August.

So yes, sometimes more used buses are available during the summer. It is particularly true for the nearly new lease return buses as most leases run from July 1 to June 30.

But the reality is new buses are delivered all twelve months of the year with trade ins becoming available as new buses are delivered.

Currently we have the largest inventory of used buses we have had in some time. Many are priced below $5,000.00. Many of those low end buses are still really good buses with a lot of life left in them.

We have one IHC/Blue Bird that is in great condition, it still has a lot of life left in it, the bus is geared to go highway speeds, and it has a automatic 5-speed with a deep low gear. And it has an asking price of $3,500.00. 1990 International BB 1HVBB27N1LH288586 - TheBusDealer.com - Auburn, Washington 98001
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:41 AM   #5
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One post responce to each poster; look for user name

Hey-hi,

EastCoastCB: I love my home-state! It's been my 'thing' to travel, play tourist, and attempt to leave no stone unturned since I was a kid.

I, actually, did a lot of research as I was pondering on a website. I still may produce something once we hit the road. When Colorado History came up in school, it was not interesting to me.

In reality, Colorado History is quite rich; not boring, at all! We went from being a part of Kansas Territory to where we are now.

I plan on playing tourist, for-sure! I hope we 'got the angle' as Coloradoan's. You know, able to slide in with the locals so I can meet all the tucked back, locally know, personal spots all over the state.

When you head out, what area are you heading to?

Chuck and I grew up in Western slope, Colorado. The area working from the east moving west, starts middle-ish of the state, spreads out west and splits, middle-ish Southwest from Northwest, and ends at the Utah border.

The Western Slope area are the counties that are X miles to the west of the Continental Divide--hum, a bit shoddy--I should look that up!??

Anyhoo--thanks for the warm greeting. We thought we'd get lost in the how-to's, tutorials, and video's for a while. Unless you have a starting point suggestion for Newbies?

Hey--I'm pulling the 'girl-card'!?? The majority of Tiny Houses on Wheels are quite awesome! We're not totally decided, there are pro's and con's to both sides.

The one thing I have yet to be answered and is a big concern. It's the stress on the trailer. After years worth of roadwork, they tend to bend and twist. It's just normal wear-n-tear.

I realize I said years and normal wear-n-tear, but I don't want to work our trailed home like a trucking business and have to replace my house and trailer every 5 years.

Chuck knows about this subject and what to purchase, I have no worries, I'm just curious. In the end, we'll probably get a bus and that's fine. I am so nervous about driving it--well, we're a ways away...

duglin2: I may be more stoked than Chuck as he drove truck for many a year. On the other hand, traveling like turtles, it's not work--eh? We see it as a good prep for our girls too!

If you need a support team to encourage your wife, I'd be happy to help lol. Hope she comes around--I can hardly wait! For me, it ties in with house-n-home and traveling, things wanted and dreamed about for quite a long time.

Your wife isn't me, perhaps she's the homebound type or would fill unstable on the road beyond vacation. Or, maybe, she doesn't have the personality for it. I believe there is truth there, I've been researching that very subject of late.

Thanks for your greeting as well,

Anndru & Chuck

Hi to you too, cowlitzcoach!
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Old 03-13-2015, 04:31 AM   #6
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most tiny houses aren't really built with tons of towing and traveling in mind.
They put them on wheels to get by zoning.

We will be headed to Co Springs first to visit friends, but we fell in love with northern Co. Fort Collins was a nice place. Denver was nice for a big city but I couldn't handle the smells. Never smelled a town so stinky. I was told there isn't enough rain to was away the garbage and bodily fluids that accumulate.

One place we really likes was St Mary's Glacier. That place is amazing.

The people of Co were the most welcoming and warm people, too. Really had a great time there.
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:03 PM   #7
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Colorado Springs

Hey-hi EastCoastCB,

I don't know yet as to the look-n-feel of Colorado, yet being the keyword.
At the moment, we're totally in the research stage.

Found a bus that the folks who refurbished it created a combo Tiny House wrapped around and intertwined with the bus; I could do that!

I'm sure your friends know the area; but, here are a few places to check out; some travel, not like 500 miles:

These suggestions are based on the cool-factor, according to me!??

Kit Carson Carousel

This link will lead you to the most awesome, romantic-ish (depends on strategy or aim; motives are not bad as long as there is win-win for both sides), so say I.

Anyhoo, the Kit Carson Carousel is very worth while, so say I. It's a bit further from the Springs then I thought. Still under 500 miles.

The Kit Carson County Carousel is located on the Kit Carson County Fairgrounds in Burlington Colorado. Burlington is adjacent to Interstate 70160 miles east of downtown Denver or 12 miles west of the Kansas Border.

Concerning plagiarism and proper citing, I did copy directly from the top of the map page from the above link for my convenience.

So, if you're coming in from Kansas, you and yours might hit it without your friends--suggestion; my family thinks I should become a professional planner.

It's far better to do it within the family, better results--outsiders would pay for my services, which means; if they were sure they hated something in the plans and I couldn't convince them otherwise...

Depending on our home situation, my suggestions can become, 'you will', if it comes down to it. It's rare, more common with our elder kids (sadly); our two teens are awesome.

Red Rocks Entertainment Concerts

The above link will lead you to Red Rocks info. (duh??) It is so much more than a natural amphitheater causing a great place for concerts! Geological points of interest, fossils (actual dinosaur bones if I remember right) left in the walls to check out when walking the trail(s). And, to one side it is the start of the Great Plains.

There is this place that puts on a laser-light show against the mountain--wonderful, after sunset, gig. I think it's on the way to, or round about, the area of Garden of the God's.

Zoning laws--huh! And I thought people ran all over. So they are more 'solid' then checking out the states. That's good to know.

Anyhoo, thanks,

Anndru & Chuck
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:22 AM   #8
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I think the tiny house people are laughing all the way to the bank!!! I know my wife will never go for it, but that doesn't mean I can't build a bus for camping! Good luck to you and your build!
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmed0302 View Post
I think the tiny house people are laughing all the way to the bank!!! I know my wife will never go for it, but that doesn't mean I can't build a bus for camping! Good luck to you and your build!
I definitely think the builders/sellers of them are.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:28 PM   #10
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Thumbs up Skoolie Driving

If you are interested in learning to drive a skoolie go to your local school bus barn and ask about becoming a driver for them. Most, if not all, will train you and pay you as well. If you do not like the idea of handling so many kiddos ask about becoming a trip driver only. I am a school bus driver (1990 to present) and have bought a bus from the school district I work for.

Knowing the history of the bus helped in my choice of purchase. 1998 Bluebird All American (Transit, front mount motor) that was used only on trips for the school district. Has luggage bays and is about 40ft long. Oh yea the Price was under $2000.00 and has under 70,000 miles on the engine.;)

I will be posting a 'who I am' soon when I get my introduction to myself organized or something like that.
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Old 03-15-2015, 05:53 PM   #11
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Hey--New Friends!

Hey-hi,

To Bro. Beno:

Thanks for the awesome tip and wow--you got a great deal!! Your pic's will be great, too! We're doing the same thing, setting up our profile as we grow into purchase, etc.

I am nervous about driving, but I know it's a mind adjustment; not allowing intimidation to 'crush' me--eh? Besides, once it's built and all the details worked out, all involved won't be able to hold me still!

To EastCoastCB:

Have you and yours checked out my tourist suggestions? What do you think?
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:42 PM   #12
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Yeah excellent...
If you're headed north from denver there is st mary's glacier and while I'd not take a bus up there, its worth it if you can get to it.
Coming from the east here, the mountains out there were amazing. We had a blast hiking many miles of trails out there.
Didn't see any snakes but heard a few which is a bit scary.
Our snakes get HUGE though. Rattlers well over six feet are very common!
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:36 PM   #13
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Rattlers!

6 foot rattlers--along with the cottonmouths and water moccasins!?? Gives me the creeps! We have rattlers but not 6' as far as I know.

Hey, I learned something about the above 'water-snakes'. If you swim without a group of people (less people, less noise) they, actually, hunt you--thank God for lifeguard training!

Tip: the silver lining in a flowing river that is moving upstream is not natural!

Hey--we are hunting advice, a how-to, video, something connected to the best bus to convert. I was just starting the research within the forum when I noticed your response.

Chuck is interested in a conversion that will incorporate the type of semi-truck engine and tranny he understands and knows will haul. He just mentioned it may become to much of a 'specialty' build of which he questions his 'aging-abilities'. He would like something along the lines of a
350 Cummins engine with a 10 speed Roadranger.

If all-ya'll think of an article, conversation, how-to we should check out; direct us, please and thanks?

Thanks EastCoastCB,

Anndru and Chuck
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:46 PM   #14
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Tell him Crowns have the most serious of running gear as far as school buses go.
For enough coin you can get an 855 Cummins in one of those from the factory.
Otherwise, a conventional with a big-rig engine and tranny would be a REALLY cool build to chronicle on here!
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:27 PM   #15
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Crown's

Hey-hi EastCoastCB,

Went to sleep thinking about converting a crown--perfect shape, classy bus.

Chuck was pleased to learn that an 855 Cummins will fit in a Crown. Does the year matter?
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:39 PM   #16
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Some Crowns come with them stock.
They are pancake engines.
Im not really a true "crown guy" but they will chime in soon enough.
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:44 PM   #17
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My 5.9 Cummins in my bus will not be close to enough power, so........

I don't skimp on anything. I always research.......

I have been looking at engines right from the N14 Cummins down to what I have. Here is my findings.

There is no need or gain for anything bigger than a 8.3 Cummins in a bus.
The older mechanical engines with the P 7100 injection pump can be pumped up to 400 hp and nearly 2000 ft pounds of torque.
Best part is they are only a few inches bigger height and width than my 5.9 Cummins.
The Cummins 8.3 is only 500 pounds more than the 5.9.

Any of the big 855's and other larger engines are much much heavier.

Best power to weight and size ratio is the Cummins 8.3.

Stick transmissions like the 13 and 18 speeds sound great, but make for a harder install in anything that's not a dog nose bus.

IMO the automatic Allison MD 3060 with 6th gear unlocked is the best of the transmission world for a bus. Again, best size, weight, and reliability.
They can be found behind the Cummins 8.3.


Nat
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:47 PM   #18
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Engine

A pancake engine? What do you mean?

Thank you
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:50 PM   #19
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Its lying on its side and mounted midship under the floor.
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:28 PM   #20
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Rethink

Hi--nat_ster & EastCoastCb,

Chuck agrees with you. He realized his mistake after he spoke. The reality is that a bus matches to bus parts.

What type of buses do you two have? Got a link to your stories?

Anndru & Chuck
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