There are pros and cons to everything. If you want to go to national parks stay under 35ft for sure. Then you won't have as much room for living as a 40'. Life is full of tradeoffs. A rear engine is a lot quieter to drive, but I can't have a garage in the back, both of which I really like. I went with the bus my son preferred because of this. Get it checked out mechanically FOR SURE unless you are a diesel mechanic (if you want to drive a lot as opposed to park it, get diesel).
Buy from a rust free area. If you want a bus equipped for the mountains, buy a bus that comes from the mountains. You aren't going to find a bus with auto chains, sanders, and a transmission for the mountains in Kansas. A transmission that is good in Colorado isn't going to run 75 on the freeway for hours happily.
You may want it all, but you can't get it all in one bus. You can get a shorter mountain bus and/or a longer freeway bus. Some people have 2, others pick one and embrace the advantages of the one they have and work around the disadvantages of that choice.
Also, when evaluating buses, if it's an International, you can call the dealer with the last 8 of the VIN and ask for the line set ticket or build sheet and it will have all the info on the original build. It's very unlikely to have had the transmission replaced with a different kind. When looking at pictures of buses, an International has the high roof option if the top of the windows is higher than the passenger door and driver window. That works on some other kind of bus, too, but I'm not sure which. You don't want an AT545 transmission unless you never want to go over a big hill.
Watch for re-treads as tires are expensive. Check the code on the tires for the date they were manufactured.
Originally Posted by aaiou1
We have a builder but no bus. We have no idea what to get and how to know if it's worth what's being asked for it. I'm leaning more towards an old Greyhound or some kind of motor coach. HELP?