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Old 08-09-2020, 01:22 PM   #1
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Need a little insight

I’ve been looking at buses and gone and seen two in person but didn't buy either for various concerns. Been doing a lot of research and I feel like I should be leaning towards diesel but besides that I don't know too much about the various engines/transmissions I’ll be finding in a bus.

When I finally buy a bus I wouldn’t be living in it full time right away, I would want to take it on longer road trips but it definitely wouldn't be a year round home. But eventually maybe building up to full time living.
With that being said here are two buses I’m currently looking at, anyone have insight on these?

Bus 1:
https://boston.craigslist.org/bmw/ct...172514371.html

Bus 2:
https://boston.craigslist.org/nos/ct...173313464.html

Thank You!!
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Old 08-09-2020, 02:50 PM   #2
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IMO the E350 is too small to be a candidate for long term living. Having built out a 5 window I can say that it’s absolutely the bare minimum size for a worthwhile build.

People who live in Sprinters would not agree.

The GMC Bluebird looks a little closer to what you’d want, but I can’t say anything about the drivetrain in it. There’s some rust, but it mostly looks like it’s on the surface. You’d plubanly want to scrutinize that
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Old 08-09-2020, 03:14 PM   #3
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IMO the E350 is too small to be a candidate for long term living. Having built out a 5 window I can say that itís absolutely the bare minimum size for a worthwhile build.

People who live in Sprinters would not agree.

The GMC Bluebird looks a little closer to what youíd want, but I canít say anything about the drivetrain in it. Thereís some rust, but it mostly looks like itís on the surface. Youíd plubanly want to scrutinize that
Thanks for your response.
Yeah, Iím definitely leaning more towards the GMC. I think I could manage with the shorter bus but if Iím looking to live in it eventually the added space would definitely be a huge plus. Going to do some more research and hopefully find some info on the drivetrain.
Iím definitely itching to buy a bus soon but not enough to rush into something!
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Old 08-09-2020, 03:36 PM   #4
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Smart not to rush
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Old 08-09-2020, 03:44 PM   #5
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Gosh I hate to keep saying it, but if you want a motorhome, why start with an uninsulated steel box full of windows? You are going to freeze to death without major mods, like remove all those windows and replace them with better ones. Insulate the crap out of it so the steel isn't a problem..
Between the two, the big bus is old and will get terrible mpg and has very expensive big tires not really justified for the size. The van-based 16in tires of the smaller ones make them attractive.


So I'd look for a shuttle bus with fiberglass, or better yet a box truck or step van, or..a motorhome..like this one on the cape for $9k..


Or an ambulance too, this one $6k,


Or here is what I'd be buying today, a $700 Aluminum Step van in Chicopee..
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:09 PM   #6
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Gosh I hate to keep saying it, but if you want a motorhome, why start with an uninsulated steel box full of windows?
The windows were a selling point for us, no motorhome offers such a panoramic view and such good ventilation. It's like living in one of those fire lookout towers. We spent years shopping for motorhomes and travel trailers and came to decide that we'd never feel comfortable living full time in a dark motorhome or a bus with the windows all skinned over.
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:12 PM   #7
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Gosh I hate to keep saying it, but if you want a motorhome, why start with an uninsulated steel box full of windows? You are going to freeze to death without major mods, like remove all those windows and replace them with better ones. Insulate the crap out of it so the steel isn't a problem..
Between the two, the big bus is old and will get terrible mpg and has very expensive big tires not really justified for the size. The van-based 16in tires of the smaller ones make them attractive.


So I'd look for a shuttle bus with fiberglass, or better yet a box truck or step van, or..a motorhome..like this one on the cape for $9k..


Or an ambulance too, this one $6k,


Or here is what I'd be buying today, a $700 Aluminum Step van in Chicopee..
I appreciate your response but I would be willing to do the work it would take to get a school bus livable. Iíve looked at motorhomes and frankly Iíd rather build a space out myself. I have been looking at shuttle buses as well.

Iím just beginning my search so Iím open to all of the above. Iím trying to educate myself as much as possible and what better way than to ask people who have more experience than myself? This isn't a decision Iím going to rush into. Again thanks for your response.
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:28 PM   #8
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Gosh I hate to keep saying it, but if you want a motorhome, why start with an uninsulated steel box full of windows?
You don't need to keep saying it. This site is literally skoolie.net, a forum primarily for people buying used school buses (aka uninsulated steel boxes full of windows) and converting them into motorhomes. Except in very rare cases, the "you should just buy a motorhome" advice isn't helpful and it clutters up threads with pictures of RVs (and ambulances for some reason). If you think converting a school bus into a motorhome is a fundamentally bad idea, why are you here?
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:42 PM   #9
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Motor homes suck, well, the high end ones don’t, but you got an extra 100K laying around?

I think most people on this site like the skoolie aesthetic and lots of windows
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Old 08-09-2020, 05:02 PM   #10
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The Skoolies everyone loves raise the roof and replace all those crap schoolbus windows.

A 40ft bus is a LOT of space for cheap, makes sense if you need 40ft of space.

Nothing prevents you from adding all the windows you want on a box truck, etc.

Don't like my opinion? There is an ignore feature on this website right?

I am here to document my trailer conversion. If you think there is a better forum for that, let me know.
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Old 08-09-2020, 05:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
The Skoolies everyone loves raise the roof and replace all those crap schoolbus windows.

A 40ft bus is a LOT of space for cheap, makes sense if you need 40ft of space.

Nothing prevents you from adding all the windows you want on a box truck, etc.

Don't like my opinion? There is an ignore feature on this website right?

I am here to document my trailer conversion. If you think there is a better forum for that, let me know.
I think youíre a troll
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:17 PM   #12
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I think youíre a troll
Because I give advice that isn't buying a schoolbus?
You like to keep people in the dark about their options??
Let them make the same mistake others did spend 3 years of their life building something worse than an RV that could have been enjoying life 3 years already, and instead of sweating grinding metal and welding roofs and floors and windows? I enjoy that kind of hard work, but most tell me I am very unusual.
I find people LOVE IT when others join them in making poor decisions.

I am learning about buses here, been looking for a 40ft one to build.
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:35 PM   #13
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Because I give advice that isn't buying a schoolbus?
You like to keep people in the dark about their options??
Let them make the same mistake others did spend 3 years of their life building something worse than an RV that could have been enjoying life 3 years already, and instead of sweating grinding metal and welding roofs and floors and windows? I enjoy that kind of hard work, but most tell me I am very unusual.
I find people LOVE IT when others join them in making poor decisions.

I am learning about buses here, been looking for a 40ft one to build.
To be fair it does feel like you are trying to deter people from building a skoolie on a skoolie focused website.

Iím sure an RV is probably the safer option but Iím looking forward to the challenge/learning experience of building a skoolie.
Itís fair to be here to learn about buses (thatís what I am doing and the intent of this post). But you just gave me three random vehicles which could be converted without giving me any information on why it would be easier to do so.
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
Because I give advice that isn't buying a schoolbus?
You like to keep people in the dark about their options??
Let them make the same mistake others did spend 3 years of their life building something worse than an RV that could have been enjoying life 3 years already, and instead of sweating grinding metal and welding roofs and floors and windows? I enjoy that kind of hard work, but most tell me I am very unusual.
I find people LOVE IT when others join them in making poor decisions.

I am learning about buses here, been looking for a 40ft one to build.
Coming on skoolie.net to tell people skoolies suck and you’re not a troll?

Telling people that it’s a lot of work and to be prepared for it to take twice as long and cost 3 times as much as they think is sage advice.
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:47 PM   #15
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I’m sure an RV is probably the safer option but I’m looking forward to the challenge/learning experience of building a skoolie.
It’s fair to be here to learn about buses (that’s what I am doing and the intent of this post).
We found the build to be one of the more rewarding projects we've undertaken, so don't be deterred if you're the type of person who's got some gumption. It's way more cozy and comfortable than any RV we've been in. We've even had a lot of RV owners tell us the same. If it's possible, I'd recommend seeing some bus conversions in person so you can get a sense of space. Once we toured one that was super insulated and the windows were sheeted over, we knew we'd be keeping the windows because it has a more open feel. These are the quintessential custom-made rigs and you can make them to suit yourself instead of settling for someone else's scuzzy discarded, water damaged, mold-ridden wreck.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:04 PM   #16
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We found the build to be one of the more rewarding projects we've undertaken, so don't be deterred if you're the type of person who's got some gumption. It's way more cozy and comfortable than any RV we've been in. We've even had a lot of RV owners tell us the same. If it's possible, I'd recommend seeing some bus conversions in person so you can get a sense of space. Once we toured one that was super insulated and the windows were sheeted over, we knew we'd be keeping the windows because it has a more open feel. These are the quintessential custom-made rigs and you can make them to suit yourself instead of settling for someone else's scuzzy discarded, water damaged, mold-ridden wreck.
Oh yeah totally, I just meant buying an RV is safer if I wanted something completed already.
I’ve gone to see two different buses that were partially converted and they were both really awesome! I’m leaning more towards getting something I can completely convert so I know it’s done to the standards I would want.
I don't really care if the seats have been removed or not, but I know I’d like to put in a passenger seat somehow, which I’ve only seen a few examples of.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:08 PM   #17
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I think the point that a bus will be difficult has been made here. The OP is looking for bus advice.

Carry on, and try to make it so I donít have to delete posts, please.
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:50 PM   #18
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Oh yeah totally, I just meant buying an RV is safer if I wanted something completed already.
Iíve gone to see two different buses that were partially converted and they were both really awesome! Iím leaning more towards getting something I can completely convert so I know itís done to the standards I would want.
I don't really care if the seats have been removed or not, but I know Iíd like to put in a passenger seat somehow, which Iíve only seen a few examples of.
We put a nice RV passenger seat in ours, so it can be done. It's a little awkward coming up the steps but it's worth the tradeoff since it swivels around and can be used as seating in the living room.
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:11 PM   #19
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To be fair it does feel like you are trying to deter people from building a skoolie on a skoolie focused website.

I’m sure an RV is probably the safer option but I’m looking forward to the challenge/learning experience of building a skoolie.
It’s fair to be here to learn about buses (that’s what I am doing and the intent of this post). But you just gave me three random vehicles which could be converted without giving me any information on why it would be easier to do so.
The step van for example, doesn't have bad windows that leak, are made of aluminum that is much lighter and doesn't rust, and have high roofs, so you don't need to chop off the top of a bus and make it taller and then block off all the windows and make sure it doesn't leak. That is true for most of these options presented, although the Ambulance maybe not so much, but still no windows to fix. Even if you start with a newer RV/Motorhome and gut it, you are "ahead" of the process than starting with a schoolbus, and you still get to build what you want and how you want it.

BTW, let me add given you are in the northeast (I lived in Amherst for years),
it is COLD and insulation is going to be important, so single pane windows--bad.

Only a schoolbus will make you part of the Partridge Family.

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Old 08-09-2020, 10:16 PM   #20
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We spent years shopping for motorhomes and travel trailers and came to decide that we'd never feel comfortable living full time in a dark motorhome or a bus with the windows all skinned over.
We eliminated the windows and used the hatches as skylights instead. The amount of natural light that comes in during the day makes it very bright inside, all while providing for privacy.

I get the wanting for a panorama, though.

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Don't like my opinion? There is an ignore feature on this website right?
Yeah, and its not very nice, I think. Shutting people off is a feature specific to the internet, not representative of the real world. Thing is, eventually the real world asserts itself.


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Because I give advice that isn't buying a schoolbus?
Seems to beg the question why they are asking here if they're not interested in buses. Aside from that, I agree, more options the better, and your ideas on the merits of other platforms are warranted, good ideas to think about.
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