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Old 09-16-2021, 11:01 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2021
Posts: 1
Teen new to skoolie life

Just an intro I guess. Im a teen who’s been fixated on bus life for about 3 years. I have a couple thousand saved up to buy my bus and there’s an auction near me finally. Im here because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing though. I have access to a whole workshop and I can do my conversion as part of one of my classes so I just need help here figuring out what I need to do. Right now I’m looking for help in figuring out what kind of bus to buy. My plan is to spend a summer road tripping with 3-5 friend living in my bus then use it as an Airbnb during the school year when I’m in college. If anyone has any tips or can point me to some good resources and YouTube channels for choosing buses and how to get them home/drive them, I would really appreciate it. Or if you have any tips from your experience just let me know. I still rely on my parents and they’re supportive but they don’t want anything to do with the bus.

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Old 09-16-2021, 11:15 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,047
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
Dear frizzy

This is grandpa kind of dude here. First, for your future, as in when you make it to 50 years old. Take 10% of that money you have.... go put it in some sort of investment account. One of the better ones is Vangaurd. Put 10% of everything you ever make into that retirement account. You can retire by 50 if you do. I learned this from a dude that was a mechanic in the oil field. Average working Joe. Had more than a million dollars in the bank when he hit 50. He is pushing late 70's now, still has enough to last him another 20 years.

Now, after that, go for it. There are a bunch of busses out there for less than 3,000 purchase price, but all of them will take some work and money to make them go down the road again.

I was involved with someone that bought a 1991 bluebird all american. That is a flatnose, front engine bus. only sitting since march .. about 6 months. Took two hours to do fairly in depth inspection. I still missed the turn signals not working and low maximum air pressure on the air brakes.

spent about $1000 on stuff like fuel, toll roads, food, engine coolant, tail lights, bits and pieces for wiring work, parts to repair oil pressure gage. New batteries. And three days work. Just to get this rig able to drive down the road. I still have to figure out why the air pressure is not coming up on the brake system. some of the parts we were able to buy from salvage yard some we had to buy new at bus supply. The folks we bought the from took a $1000 loss on the deal. I strongly suspect they did not have working turn signals when they drove the bus.

Oh, forgot, the new owner of the bus spent three days on the telephone just so they could buy insurance. I do not recommend driving it down with out making certain it is covered by insurance.

I hope this gives you just a little inkling of the kind of stuff to expect when you own a bus.

example, there is a bus in kansas, 1972 or so international with a thomas body . $1000. gasoline engine and four speed manual transmission. Just imagine hippy wagon. painted blue. gonna need tires, some brake system work. yadda yadda yadda.

you get the idea.

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Old 09-16-2021, 11:24 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 2,401
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Listen to Gramps

And make sure you can get insured and what you build is insurable.
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Old 09-16-2021, 11:53 AM   #4
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 794
Year: 1993
Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 66
To keep in simple as for insurance and such... avoid major body modifications. No roof raise.. etc. No wood stoves...

Gut it.. insulate it... fix the rust.. build it out with a few bunk beds, kitchen area, and bathroom. Can be done fairly cheap if you can do the work yourself.

Bus choice depends on how much room you need and if you want a diesel or not. Gas is cheaper to work on but typically less fuel efficient. Personally, I'd find a diesel from the mid 90s (IH DT series or Cummins) that are all mechanical.. with under 250k miles... with GOOD tires on it. Tires can easily double the cost of a "good deal" bus. I paid 1500 for my bus and drove it home. Just paid 2500 for new rubber.

Be sure to post a build!
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Old 09-16-2021, 06:26 PM   #5
Bus Nut
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lebanon, Indiana
Posts: 805
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Winnebago
Chassis: Ford F53
Engine: Ford Triton V-10
Rated Cap: currently 2
I know it's not what you want to hear but I would discourage you from pursuing this plan. Not that it isn't doable but if you're really only looking for one summer's worth of use I'd suggest getting an old RV for this summer of road tripping. It'll be less hassle and then you can probably resell it and get most of your money back, perhaps even turn a profit. But for the time and effort and money you'll sink into making even a bare minimum habitable road trip bus you'll never make that back AirBnB-ing a bus-turned-RV - it's just too exotic. Then you're saddled with a large vehicle that's eschewed by neighborhoods and RV parks alike so when you graduate you'll probably end up having to pay someone just to get it off your hands so you can move on with your life.
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:03 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,177
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Originally Posted by FrizzyIzzy View Post
I have a couple thousand saved up to buy my bus and there’s an auction near me finally. ..... My plan is to spend a summer road tripping with 3-5 friend living in my bus then use it as an Airbnb during the school year when I’m in college.
First, don't just buy what is there locally, just because it is there locally. If you do find what you are looking for locally, it is not rusted out, has a good drivetrain, etc, great! But don't count on it. Don't just get "whatever" is available.
Like Sehnsucht said, if you are just going to use it for road-trippin' with college kid friends, think about an old RV. I know kids like to destroy stuff (accidentally). But, maybe if you get a good price on a bus, do a "quickie" conversion, you would get a better vehicle for your needs as "boys". (I know how I was!). You have to make that decision. Both may need major $$$ just to keep on the road. Depends on the vehicles.
In retrospect, if I had had a real income most of my life, I would invest in land first. Then stocks. Then a bus. But I don't have that to begin with, and now my bus serves me well. The $5000 my grandmother left to me at 19 years old bought me my Klipsch and Harmon-Kardan speakers (over $2000 total), 4100 feet of premium caving rope (@$0.42/foot), a trip to go caving to Sótano de las Golondrinas in Mexico, and many dinners with margaritas with my friends - my treat in honor of my grandmother. Would I change that? No. I'm in my 50s, and don't want to "retire". I'm still a kid. Ask me again when I hit 95.
Look at the Sky; look at the River. Isn't it Good?
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:23 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,709
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
naw still young and dumb.
before you decide on a bus?
do a diesel mechanics course to learn the basics and hopefully they cover different engines.
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auction, intro + noob questions, need help, new here

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