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Old 03-07-2022, 07:46 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Ohio
Posts: 224
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: 0908S
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 28' 9 window
Would you do it all over again?

I found my bus a couple years ago, or really it landed in my lap. I read and learned so much in this forum and did a pretty good job at converting this bus to a skoolie. and as everyone knows lots of sweat and tears. I had two hand surgeries while converting so it took some time mostly working by myself.

The grandkids and I have enjoyed using it during covid. It runs great and looks decent and functions perfectly.

But there are a few things I wish I'd done differently. The layout would change a bit. while the false wall in the rear works great I should have made it a little bigger because its hard for me to squeeze in some spots. In fact I don't think I'd have a false wall at all next time.

Next time? Looks like I might have the opportunity to get another bus. This one a handicap bus with a lower ceiling but a mostly flat floor. But looking back this was a lot of work and I'm wondering myself if I'm up to starting over?

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Old 03-07-2022, 07:59 AM   #2
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2014
Location: West Ohio
Posts: 3,783
You'll always come up with ways to do it differently and better after the fact.

I've got no regrets with what I did. At the time I was time rich and cash poor, and it was the only economical and mold free way we were going to sleep 8+ people. 10 years later, my friends all have families and campers of there own, so the sleeping 8 people part in the current skoolie is more of a detriment then an asset. Back then, we used it weekly in the summer. Now, it sits largely unused.

My wife thinks we'll go camping more this year. So I've considered doing another skoolie or redoing mine, this time with more creature comforts and less beds. But the amount of work and the costs involved have me hesitant. Building materials were cheap back then, not so much anymore. And my spare time week to week is less then half what it used to be.

I had a few friends rent campers last year. What they paid wasn't exactly cheap, but to do it once or twice a year I feel renting is the way to go. I dunno, once the weather breaks this spring I'll likely make a decision.
My build: The Silver Bullet
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Old 03-07-2022, 09:22 AM   #3
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 3,236
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
Give me ten years back and I'd build the same thing all over again in a heart beat! We mostly go out for 3 or 4 days at a tine now since there is no one to tend to the pets for longer than that. We generally camp once a month and still love it.

Wifey turns 84 this month and I'm not far behind so prudence dictates no new bus build--alas.

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Old 03-07-2022, 10:00 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: SW USA
Posts: 2,064
Year: 2003
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: CE300
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 23
Your vehicles are just amazing, Jack. How could you possibly regret that?

Ask me this same question a year from now (hopefully), once we've finally got to enjoy what we're building, and I'm certain the answer would be yes. Ask me right now - still in the process of a build that's literally taking years to complete - and the answer depends on my mood at the moment. In the high times, I'm excited and grateful for the opportunity to learn so much, and directly apply that learning, all to a project of such magnitude. In the low times, I think of all I could have done in these (almost) 3 years that might have made more 'sense'. I'm a perfectionist to a fault, and more than a little OCD, so when I say 3 years, I mean 3 years. Morning, noon, night, midnight, 3 a.m. pee breaks.... If I'm not working on it, I'm thinking about it, and that can be exhausting at times. At least we're at the point now where we're building things, which keeps the optimism level up. The 'gutted metal shell' phase was often a true test of patience & resolve.

We don't really have many regrets with the way we've done things or how they've turned out. I won't say everything is turning out perfect, but it's close enough that any nit-picky "We could have done things different" bits aren't worth worrying about. A big part of these years has been exhaustive research & planning before we did or do any work, which has helped prevent major regrets. Of course, we're not done yet. So knock on wood.

Out of all the stupid things I've done in my life, this ranks up near the top. Which means like most of the stupid things I've done, it's sure to bring the biggest smiles and fondest memories upon reflection. I'm just really looking forward now to that reflection period

I don't have another bus in me, though. This is it. I do, however, hope to apply the tools, knowledge, & perseverence gained through this experience to a static small/tiny home in the near future.
Go away. 'Baitin.

Our Build: Mr. Beefy
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Old 03-07-2022, 11:03 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 2,404
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
I've been wanting to do another.

last year i flipped a school bus for fun, and wow,seeing the amount of work needed to start over made me really second guess that desire.

if the build was for profit, in a second, i love the build more than the travel. for my own needs, I'm good.
Turfmobile Build Thread
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Old 03-07-2022, 07:08 PM   #6
Bus Nut
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: mid Mo.
Posts: 916
Year: 1976
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: F33695
Engine: 427 chevy converted to 466
Rated Cap: 84
Joan and I talk about our build once in a while and we are really happy with what we did 16 years ago. We would add a couple inches to the bathroom and start with a newer bus in better shape, one that will run interstate speeds when purchased. That's my 2 cents to newbies, get as good a quality bus that you can afford and you will do less work on the chassis and more on the build. An engine and tranny built for the interstate, mountains, less rust, etc. sportyrick
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Old 03-07-2022, 07:17 PM   #7
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 803
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
Rated Cap: just the 2 of us
I am doing it over again. First bus was done back in '97...had bunks for the kids, no heat, no a/c while driving, no hot water, gas V-8 that got 6 to 8 mpg.
This time, I'll have all the things we didn't have before But no bunks, built for 2..and diesel power...but @ $5/gallon not sure that's a plus anymore.
Only regret I have now is I wish I had shopped longer and found a bus that had more power.
Pics are "Then" and "Now" (time stamp on camera is wrong)
Attached Thumbnails
bus Lake Superior.jpg   Passenger side from front.jpg  
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Old 03-07-2022, 08:21 PM   #8
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington Beach CA.
Posts: 939
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
I have been building our TC 2000 5.9 Mechanical for 4 1/2 years and it is finally driveable. Rewire about 75% done and it has about $1500 of sounfdproofing that is working tremendous. Needs more. I had the engine out overhauled it down to a long block, replaced the trans went through the brakes, driveline and compressor plus moved the fuel tank to the other side... Painted it.
Trans cooler , new tires and the usual replace anything rubber, full gauges etc.
I have enjoyed the heck out of building it and look forward to the fun stuff now like solar and interior but no. A 28 foot bus is a huge piece of hardware and physically, 68, just more than I want to deal with. 5 years and not 1 vakay is a hard sell these days.

I really am growing fonder of driving and "reservations". which placates my better half just fine ( after her patience of me also building a couple of airplanes)...
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Old 03-07-2022, 08:37 PM   #9
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington Beach CA.
Posts: 939
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
The picture may or may not help.. 1991 TC 2000 28 feet
Attached Thumbnails
bus cropped.jpg  
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Old 03-07-2022, 08:48 PM   #10
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Bly Oregon
Posts: 544
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Cummins 350 big cam
Rated Cap: 86 passengers?
Actually I am doing it again now. I am incorporating the lessons learned from doing the "old Crown" and repeating the things that worked the first time.

It has been a lot of work and still a lot to go. With all the baggage that comes with getting older I don't know that I want to do this a third time.

Inflation rates (especially the cost of fuel this year) are now placing a cross country trip in doubt.
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Old 03-08-2022, 05:15 AM   #11
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 7,017
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I would never ever do this again. Way too much time, effort and money goes into one of these (or at least into mine). Plus, I'm happy with my skoolie as it is and there really isn't any major part of it that I would do differently a second time around.
Rusty 87 build thread
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Old 03-08-2022, 06:16 AM   #12
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grayson County, VA
Posts: 1,435
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65
We loved building, living, and traveling in our bus but it's too big for our needs now that we're not full timing. We're in the planning stages of building a vardo so we can travel more nimbly.
Our Build:
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Old 03-12-2022, 04:17 PM   #13
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 4
Love, love, love our bus! Full time 7 years with a few interspersed time outs. Any changes we wanted to make, we make! Move furniture around, morphed bunk beds for grandkids into a closet, created an elevator bed so we could use space under our bed as a den. It's our home. We miss it when we're away.

Would totally do again. Lots of sweat and some tears, but mostly joy! We did all the work ourselves, spent very little and are having a blast!
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Old 03-12-2022, 04:32 PM   #14
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,127
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Nope i dont regret it at all.. I got out of classic vehicles altogether for awhile.. and had got into an emotionally terrible relationship for awhile where i had a bus to build..

getting back into busses on my own mentally and physically has been an incredible thing for me.. it all started as i needed a bus for a special project.. really had no plansd in keeping it after the 6 month project but I loved it and then bought another one... and the rest is history..

imj the wierd one here since I want busses WITH seats but i dont regret any of it... maybe id take a little more time to build a mobile office bus again by doing a few things differently with the floors.. otherwise though i have no reason or desire to tear that bus apart and rebuild it..
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Old 03-12-2022, 04:59 PM   #15
Bus Nut
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Communist State of New Jersey
Posts: 964
Year: 2004
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: CE200
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 27,500
Knowing what I know now, if I could go back I'd buy the 5 window Freightliner with the 5 speed and Cat 3126 that I looked at in Virginia. I'd have bought it after the test drive and driven it home right then.

On the other hand I'm not unhappy with what I have. I was crawling around underneath it on a warm day last week and noticed there is a set of holes further forward in the frame matching the mounting holes for the rear axle. Got me to thinking . . . 5 window. Who knows, if I live long enough . . . . The only additional expense would be for a different, or custom drive shaft. Once you do your first shortening the fear is gone.
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Old 03-12-2022, 05:03 PM   #16
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Evansville, Indiana USA
Posts: 294
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: Caterpillar 3126B
Rated Cap: 66
I sometimes think about things I would do differently on the next build, but wife says ďno!Ē and I am good with that. We are 21 months in and Iím still figuring things out. At last count I had 30 floor plans, and the layout is still changing during the build.
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Old 03-12-2022, 06:35 PM   #17
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Ohio
Posts: 224
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: 0908S
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 28' 9 window
Would you do it all over again?

I passed up on the other bus. My current bus and have been through a lot together and I just canít part with it.

Iíve been reviewing my floor plan and Iím going to move my bathroom (composting) and turn the queen bed sideways in the back. I think this will greatly improve the layout.

Iíll be sure to post some before and after photos in my original build thread.
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Old 03-12-2022, 10:10 PM   #18
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 61
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 8 seats, 5 wheelchairs
First bust was a 40' and it was nice but the wife didn't really like the size, juust to big to suit her, I didn't have problem. I found a 28'dognose cheap and bought it and gutted it, prepped the floor and cleaned and redid the das to look new when a 28' flatnose handicap bus with factory a/c in the front and rear bulkheads, air ride suspension, and no wheelhumps showed up on govdeals an hour away from me and I bought it and the 40' had just sold and broke even on what I had in it, I got the dognose so cheap and only had some time in it and it sold for 4x what I paid for it. So the 28' flatnose is done and we have traveled in it during the last year or so and it's great. Keep doing it till you get it right! Took me three times, but we're there now.
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Old 03-13-2022, 04:21 AM   #19
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Earth
Posts: 162
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Cummins 5.9 ISB 24v
I was originally looking for an a-frame pop-up trailer to tow behind the Jeep. I'm not sure how it happened but I ended up with a 29' bus. I think i needed more room for fishing poles. Seriously, my gal was independently looking at van builds on the utubes and mentioned it to me so I went way down that rabbit hole and decided on finding a medium length bus. We want to be part time of the year ,3-4 months, full time in the bus so I wanted some more room than a van. Although 4x4 drive van would make it easier for me to get the thing stuck where I shouldn't be driving in the first place. Once I get the interior of the bus done we get to see if it was the right decision. I think it will be! We are both excited about being american nomads. I'm hoping to be on the road late this summer to catch the northern fall colors and trout.
His only defense was to answer a question she didn't ask.
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Old 03-13-2022, 09:17 AM   #20
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Rochester NY
Posts: 209
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Blueburd
Chassis: International S1800
Engine: 9.0L International Diesel NA
After 6 ish years converting and still not done.... If I finish it... I will never do another again. Such a time and money pit. I'd just buy an RV for the 30k if got "invested" allready
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