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Old 05-11-2016, 06:23 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Potential new handicaped bus owner

I am handicapped confined to a wheelchair, so I was looking to rent an accessible RV for a trip this summer. Turns out they are rare and astronomical. My wife's brother just bought an old school bus (98, full size, very clean, 98k miles, $4000), so I figured we could buy one. Plus I've seen them with lifts already installed, capable of fitting numerous wheelchairs. We've found a few, but somethings always wrong (too short, too many miles, too much rust, etc). So we are still looking. Meanwhile, I've been studying on this site, how to do things. It's great. By the way we are looking for a conventional nose, at, white roof, medium length, hydraulic brake, <150,000 miles. Doesn't matter what engine or chassis. And we are in Southeast Virginia.
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:36 PM   #2
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I admire your choice. It's much cheaper to get something with a lift in a medium size bus. If you're willing to buy at auction you can get better deals at times, but it also depends on location. However, the wheel chair capable buses are commonly the FE (front engine) buses. I did recently see a medium size dognose wheel chair capable bus, but that's the first dognose like that I've seen, ever. So they are out there, and maybe they're not as rare as I think. I don't know. I agree, that would drive nicer. This FE is ok but it's difficult to get used to the idea of hanging over a ditch sometimes in tight turning situations. It drives great on the highway. Completely flat floor. You'd have to remove the air ride seat that drivers usually have, but it seems to me it would work better than some of the smaller vehicles and the price is not comparable. These are medium duty truck frames and they're quite safe.
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:51 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2016
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Chassis: International
Engine: 444 International/545
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We aren't really sold on the conventional front, a flat front might work fine. I've seen quite a few flat front wheelchair buses around, just haven't found the right one yet. I've heard to try and stay away from front engines buses, because of heat and the difficulty of working on them. So we will have to see.
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:24 PM   #4
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Welcome, welcome, welcome!

Great to have you aboard.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:11 PM   #5
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I bought a 32' wheelchair bus, reluctantly, as I had envisioned strapping my motorcycle to the back to save interior space. This one came up, and I converted the rear to a garage, and have not regretted it.

Engineering challenge #1 | 3 Years

There is also a guy in your situation that bought a Muni-transit bus and converted it. It was AWESOME to watch this guy converting, by himself from a chair, and the ground.....

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7J...9BVmhfhETr31UQ

Good luck, and post up what you find and do to it
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Old 05-12-2016, 08:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lbickham View Post
We aren't really sold on the conventional front, a flat front might work fine. I've seen quite a few flat front wheelchair buses around, just haven't found the right one yet. I've heard to try and stay away from front engines buses, because of heat and the difficulty of working on them. So we will have to see.
I LOVE my front engine bus.
RE's get a lot of praise, but I like having usable floor all the way back and a real rear door.


Whatever you go with make sure you can get out quickly if theres ever an emergency.
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Old 05-13-2016, 09:48 PM   #7
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I am in the process of looking for a bus with a lift for my father inlaw that is in a powered chair. I have a 1996 bus with the lift in the front. We discovered that my lift max is 600 lb. it wouldn't lift him so we sighed him and his chair. Surprised me together they wieghed 700lbs. I have contacted a bus dealer. The newer buses seem to all have at least and 800. He also said some schools have upgraded the lift to a 1000 max. We want a front lift bus that way the bed is in the back and he has access in his chair to the rest of the bus. I am planning on doing the conversion for him. I priced rvs with lifts wow that number was huge. Good luck when I get his bus bought I will post the conversion on here.
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Old 05-13-2016, 10:20 PM   #8
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It could be you're looking for something newer than most of us have on here. Occasionally there are newer buses for sale, but every time I've gotten a good deal there's always been something wrong with an otherwise usable and drive-able bus. Most of the time it's just labor to figure things out and fix things, and that's likely to happen while building the bus anyway.
That would be a nice way to be able to get your dad out and around.
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:12 AM   #9
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This bus is not for sale but they are out there. Dog nose, hydraulic brakes, about 22 feet long, less than 150k and a lift. Just not in the front. They are out there but sometimes you must travel far to get them. In my case, over 1500 miles.
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Old 05-14-2016, 12:11 PM   #10
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I love the look of those buses personally. The local school district have a ton like you are looking for. I do think that they lease them though through Midwest Transit. Good luck on your search.
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Old 05-28-2016, 03:58 PM   #11
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Franklin, Va
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: 444 International/545
Rated Cap: Handicap bus
We have a bus!!
2001 Bluebird/International
7.3 444 545AT
Mid length 30.5' overall
Braun lift in rear
Air brakes
Air seat
Like new in and out
Retired 5/17/2016
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Old 05-28-2016, 05:27 PM   #12
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Congratulations.

Sounds like a good one.
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Old 05-28-2016, 06:53 PM   #13
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Pics! Congrats and we look forward to following your build.
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:13 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Franklin, Va
Posts: 28
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: 444 International/545
Rated Cap: Handicap bus
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:25 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
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Year: 2001
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Chassis: International
Engine: 444 International/545
Rated Cap: Handicap bus

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Old 05-29-2016, 05:52 PM   #16
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Nice, no wheel wells inside.
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Old 05-29-2016, 06:01 PM   #17
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nice!! flat floor!!
probably means air ride rear too?
-Christopher
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Old 05-30-2016, 06:20 AM   #18
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Nice looking bus!

Having a flat floor makes building a conversion that much easier.

Does your bus have air ride suspension in the rear? If so, that will make for a much smoother ride than if it is on steel springs.

I don't know if it is the angle of the picture but it appears as if the rear tires are a smaller diameter than the front.

It is relatively easy to build some blocks to raise the rear of the bus up high enough to put the same size tires in the back as in the front. By doing so you will increase your top speed 5 to 15 MPH.

Having the same size of tire makes it easier to find tires when you need them.
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Old 05-30-2016, 01:46 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Franklin, Va
Posts: 28
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: 444 International/545
Rated Cap: Handicap bus
No air ride. Same size tires front and rear. And yes, flat floor!! The renovation will start tomorrow.
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:48 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Franklin, Va
Posts: 28
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: 444 International/545
Rated Cap: Handicap bus
Mistake, air ride.
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