Hello all! I'm Bob from Florida.
I've been checking out the forums for a while, watching youtube videos on bus builds, sketching out interiors and floor plans, photoshopping exteriors -- enjoying the design process as much as I anticipate enjoying working on the project.
Ultimately, I'd like to build a skoolie that I can boondoggle in, possibly live-in full-time and travel around some as I am a remote-worker. I plan to take my time with the build, do it right, and enjoy the process.
As I was looking around online for buses, I happened across an upcoming auction from the local school district for 16 Thomas Freightliners, ranging from 2008-2010, AT transmissions, air brakes, air ride suspension, many of them used as spares. Mileage ranging from 150K to 180k. 65 and 71 passengers. Mercedes diesel engines. Starting bids $2k.
The mechanics on SchoolBusFleet.com seem to like the Mercedes diesel. The main problem they mention with these buses is the thirty or so wires beside the chassis fuse box, and covered in wiring loom. The vibration can cause them to rub together in the conduit, or break, it seems.
Parts and service would be a little more problematic, I would expect, than what is available for a Cummins.
All that said, I like the body, the buses are newer and relatively low mileage, and only 8 miles down the road.
It looks like the 2010's have exhaust aftertreatment systems in them. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing.
Any sage advice? I'm tempted to bid this July 6th on one. Just not sure which one.