Newbie looking for advice
Hello all, I've been dreaming of the Skoolie lifestyle for a few years and I'm finally at a place in my life where it's realistic to take the plunge. I'm a fairly handy guy and have a decent woodworking shop in my back yard. Nothing about the conversion process really scares me, but I'm sure I'll be learning a ton as I go.
What I don't have is any real mechanical experience (just basic maintenance on my car), but I'm not afraid to learn and I plan on taking some classes at the community college over the next year or two to beef up my skills.
I'm leaning towards a mid - larger size bus, but not quite full size. I'd like to stay under 35' which I'm guessing eliminates most rear engine buses. The research I've done thus far tells me I'd probably be best to find an older all mechanical engine in a dognose bus, as that's probably going to be the easiest to learn to work on, and there's at a somewhat realistic chance I'll be able to learn how to do most all of what I'll need to keep it going. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.
There's a bus for sale a couple of hours away from me that I'm pretty interested in, even though it really doesn't meet any of that criteria. It's a 2001 Am Tran with a DT466E engine and an Allison MD3060 transmission, seller says it has 130k on the engine and no rust. It's a 35' long FE bus, has underbelly storage and 6'4" ceiling height. Based on the storage, height and transmission I'm guessing it's probably geared for highway driving. Seller is asking $4k and it's been on the market for a while.
From what I've read, this bus seems to be a pretty solid deal. It's only a couple hours away so I can go take a look at it and drive it before making a decision, which I wouldn't be able to do in an auction. I live in AZ and it appears that we are scrapping our buses now due to get EPA funding so I'm thinking there will be fewer available at auction locally as well. The idea of driving a bus across the country without really knowing what I'm doing yet does make me a little nervous, so finding something in the area is appealing.
What do you guys think? Is the electronic engine going to be much more difficult to learn to work on for a newb? Is the FE going to make it even tougher still compared to a dognose? Or is this too good a deal to pass up and should I jump on it?