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Old 03-24-2021, 09:49 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 24
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Front Engine
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84
Taking first steps

Hi all, glad to be here!

We're starting the (overwhelming) process of searching for the right bus to be home for for our family of 6 for this next chapter of our lives.

We've got our eyes on an 84 passenger 2006 Thomas, FE, C7 w/ a MD3060 from TN with just shy of 65k miles.

Hoping to learn/validate:
*That this is the right bus for us given our needs
*What questions we should be asking for proper due diligence (thread recommendations would be KILLER!)
*What is a fair price range (based on the answers to our due diligence questions)
*Whether Taylor Bus Sales in Murray, KY (who has the bus in question) is a reputable company to deal with


A bit about us and our goals:
*We're a family of 6 (2 adults, 4 kids ages 7 and under). Will possibly be traveling with our Doberman as well.
*The plan is to live in the bus fulltime for as long as it's an adventure for our family.
*We plan to travel across the country, staying for at least a few weeks at a time wherever we end up...through mountains, hills, valleys, desert plains, etc
*We have a LOT to learn, as none of us has extensive experience with busses, diesel engines, home-building, etc


What we want from our Skoolie:
*Boondocking capabilities for up to 10 days
*Reasonably reliable connectivity to enable remote work (Business Intelligence consulting)
*Several folks in the family have pretty severe mold sensitivities (actually lost our previous home to mold), so looking for ways to be extremely diligent in making our build as mold-proof as possible
*While we don't expect to winter in the arctic, we would like the option of being comfortable in freezing weather.
*Might like to have the option of towing our family's vehicle (but not crucial)

We're looking forward to diving in!

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Old 03-25-2021, 12:01 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Simplicity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 770
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
Welcome.

I can't tell you anything about the engine, yet others can. You might want to post in the drivetrain forum specifically about the engine and the transmission. I think you'll find that you'll get more response there.

I do know the 3060 transmission is a very popular and reliable transmission. Many of them have a sixth gear, whether they are unlocked through the computer already or need to be is for you too verify.

Per building for boondocking for 10 days with a family of six, specially young ones that don't understand about conserving energy as well as older kids might, will take a pretty good size solar, generator and battery setup.

What I have found is buying the bus was overall the lower part of the cost. All the electronics for your electrical (AC/DC/solar/inversion/charging/gen), kitchen, heating, cooling, propane, etc is where a lot of the cost accrue.

Per allergy free, I think wool insulation may be a good choice, but you need to research that. I think I would just research allergy free homes and see what kind of material they use and just use that.

It sounds like you would really benefit from some basic education on the aspects that you spoke about, diesels, building, etc.. YouTube is an excellent resource for that. The other thing I'd highly recommend is to tap into family and friends who have some of that expertise and can assist you with it. You'll learn a lot by simply reviewing things with them and or watching / helping them.

Hopefully this will get you off to a start. Again, welcome.

Best of luck.
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Old 03-25-2021, 05:14 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Jolly Roger bus 223's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,705
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
look up cheesewagon.
he has quite a few attachments at the bottom of his page that can help with the powertrain ideas.
as a family of four in a 60 passenger bus and there 6 of yall i would say dont forget to look into coaches.
do yall have mechanical skills?
construction skills?
and absolutely involve the children that want to be involved.
safety gear included dont tell them to stay away teach them.
if they get bored fine then let them go play they will come back and want to help.
my big bus i built there beds for the size they were then(9-10) and a few years after and now they dont fit there beds length wise but they are grown and on there own kind of. they are 20 now so the family camper served its purpose and now its time to renovate.
my point is your children are young so any space you build for them add room to grow.
i think that was my biggest mistake in my layout? used every square inch for at the moment but as the kids got older they got taller.
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Old 03-25-2021, 05:30 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Brewmaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: South Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 24
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Bluebird Chevrolet short bus
Chassis: Chevrolet 3500
Engine: 6.0 Gas hog
Rated Cap: As many as could fit
Let me jump in here quickly and offer my two cents. Taylor bus purchases bus from all over the country side that with a few minor repairs have more service in them. I've dealt with Tommy himself and have learned this to be true. He has often purchased unit from our company that were trades or leftovers and drove them to his facility, Repair their issues, and resold them to other contractors for transportation purposes. My suggestion would be this. See where the unit came from. Check it's history, and like any other used car dealers, be cautious. Tommy has some great units, and like others, a few clunkers.
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Old 03-25-2021, 08:53 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 24
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Front Engine
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
and absolutely involve the children that want to be involved.
safety gear included dont tell them to stay away teach them.
if they get bored fine then let them go play they will come back and want to help.

...

i think that was my biggest mistake in my layout? used every square inch for at the moment but as the kids got older they got taller.
Thanks Jolly - awesome guidance.

And I binge-read through all of Cheesewagon's posts this afternoon; excellent stuff! Those posts should be sticky threads in the new-member welcome board!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicity View Post
Per allergy free, I think wool insulation may be a good choice, but you need to research that. I think I would just research allergy free homes and see what kind of material they use and just use that.
Thanks Simplicity! We'll definitely look into wool insulation. Our biggest concern is moisture control - ensuring that we build in such a way that moisture/condensation isn't allowed to build up leading to growth. Lots of stuff from conventional home-building (which we've researched extensively) transfers over, but we want to make sure we understand how to do this well with all the idiosyncrasies on a skoolie to avoid expensive remediation down the line. We have a ton to learn, and are working to build a network of friends/family with experience to guide us along the way, along with a solid youtube playlist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewmaster View Post
My suggestion would be this. See where the unit came from. Check it's history, and like any other used car dealers, be cautious. Tommy has some great units, and like others, a few clunkers.
Thanks Brewmaster - your post provides some really valuable context about an industry in which we have zero experience. We did ask about maintenance records, and got the reply that they don't have any, but, "we're familiar with the school district in TN where we got the bus, and they do a great job of maintaining their vehicles."

Aside from getting a mechanic on-site to give it a thorough inspection (which we plan to do), any recommendations for avoiding a lemon?
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