Sailors about to buy a bus! (are we nuts?)
My fiancť and I have been reading the forum and other resources for some time now and planning our next adventure. We live in Newfoundland, Canada so we like to pack as much into our summers as possible (because winter just sucks).
Our eventual plan is to take our sailboat to the Caribbean but right now we want a way to downsize and explore the East Coast while still working our day jobs to get where we need to be $$. Since the bus will allow us to sell or rent the house and live between bus and boat that will greatly speed the process (it also just looks cool and we wanna try!)
We have a couple of busses narrowed down to view tomorrow and I was hoping to get some sage advice. They are not old busses but have seen some use, about 200-250k and some surface rust but that will be stripped/sanded and I plan on rust-checking the bus annually. They are also very cheap (compared to what I have seen online in Ontario and such).
The candidates are:
High headroom busses: (I am 6'4" and want to insulate also)
2004 Thomas Freightliner FS65 with MBE 900 and Allison Trans. 250k for $4k (owner claims out of his fleet it was the lowest maintenance bus but I have read otherwise on here...) 6'6" ceiling
2006 IC C300 with Navistar 466 and Allison Trans with 200k for $4k (owner says is a great bus to drive but he has had issues with the electronic park brake, I do have a knowledgeable mechanic who could fix this hopefully for cheap) 6'4" ceiling but seems higher....
My other options that I would love for reliability but only have 6' and I really want to avoid a roof raise based on budget and time:
2000 Bluebird TC2000 (5 available) with Cummins 5.9 ISB and Allison 545 (I know, no lockup torque converter) with varying mileage and varying conditions all for $4000
If anyone can comment to their own experiences with these busses, or lend an opinion on using a donor trailer (can get a 30ft 2004 TT for less than what a propane fridge and stove cost...) for your big ticket items like tanks and appliances I'd love to hear what your experiences are.
I think if i can negotiate the price on the bus a bit lower and use the donor trailer as i have planned (everything works) I can get this project built for under $10k (with incidentals and mechanical maintenance being the only possible overruns). But if it's anything like boating it will all take twice as long and cost twice as much as you think lol. Also, feel free to check out our other obsession with sailing and liveaboard life at @sailingalwayssunny on Instagram.