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dentedvw 08-02-2009 11:10 PM

Another new member, in Michigan
I either missed it, or perhaps this board needs a "new members check in here" forum. :D

So, I am new here, as you can see. I have been on a few bus trips with a buddy of mine who lurks here, I suspect. He has a Thomas shorty, we have used it pretty much just for rock climbing trips, but he has used it for many more things. That's what turned me on to the idea.
This spring, we borrowed a 26' RV from a family member, made a few upgrades to it, drove it to West Virginia, around the state of Michigan a bit, and found it quite handy, as we have a dog, and our daughter who like to have a bit of room to move around, to say nothing of ourselves of course.
Naturally, we found the disadvantages of a traditional RV as well. Shoddy construction, leaks, rotten bits, GVWR being exceeded before we even step foot on board, feeling like the vehicle is going to collapse at every corner.
Then it struck me. Bus, right? Or, since I am so close to Canada, it was "Oh... bus, eh? Right!" Wobbly pops all around. :lol:
First of all, our space predicament. We don't live in a Brownstone with street parking, but it's not exactly a farm either. We have approximately 58' from street to garage. Only one slot like that, and one on either side only deep enough for a single vehicle. Already we have it pretty filled up. So we thought a short bus would meet our requirements there, and still have some space to spread out, since we got along pretty well in the RV.
Our needs are pretty simple. Don't care much for a bathroom, we aren't too fancy to work it out as we use it. We don't envision a full motorhome conversion, just a simple family escape pod that we can bring our toys with us. That may include kayaks, dive gear, mountain bikes, motorcycles, climbing gear, ski/snowboard/snowshoe, or all of the above, or none of it.

Unfortunately, our vacation vehicle fund got raided for a new daily driver, and we bought a Toyota Tacoma. Fantastic vehicle, but blast it, I was hoping to have a bus by winter. Ah well, roll with the punches. That gives us more time to find the right one.
Ideally, we would find a Bluebird, or similar flat fronted model. Only reason for that is aesthetics. It just looks less, well, schooly. Part of the compromise with the wife, really. It can't look like it just dropped kids off at elementary school. This would require painting too, first thing. No problem, there is plenty of them out there. It can be a puller, or a pusher, not picky there. Maybe a puller would be better, because if there was a back door to load things in, it would be easier.

It can't be a full length model, it simply wouldn't fit in the drive, plus we couldn't really turn it in. I would have to take all vehicles out of the drive, then turn into the neighbors drive across the street, then into ours. Tricky. Not to mention, it becomes more of a chore to drive, and she is less likely to want to drive a huge bus. A shorty would work fine, and we think it would have enough room for now. Might graduate to a larger model later. Even as it is, it might find itself parked at a rental place some of the time.
Diesel, for all the normal reasons. Don't need a speed demon, but we want to be able to lug any heavy stuff we want to bring with us, possibly even including a towed vehicle, or small trailer.
Outside of that, I think we are open.
Oh, price. I know I will get what I pay for, and I don't mind paying a bit more upfront for something with a good history, good tires, sounds and drives good. But, still, as cheap as we can manage. We haven't got a lot to spare, who really does, you know?

So, since our search is delayed, I am relegated to just watching them sell here and there, and finding the best place to purchase one.
I figured finding one outside of Michigan will be the ticket, so many of them here have rust issues. I am not adverse to a fly and drive, or even a motorcycle trip. I might even have to ask someone to check one out for me. I would do the same for anyone here, if only I knew what I was looking at. :? I should say that I am pretty new to Diesels, and buses as a whole.
I don't know what mileage to look for, but I figure anything less than 200K should be fine, am I right?
I have been told that the Cummins 5.9 is pretty good, and is usually paired with an Allison.

dentedvw 08-02-2009 11:12 PM

Re: Another new member, in Michigan
Vanguy wondered in another thread:

Originally Posted by vanguy67
Welcome to the forum!

Sorry to hear about your VW crapping out. I know the feeling (all too well!) of having money saved and having to "divert" it to some other purpose.

Have you looked at my post "Some craigslist buses in my area" in the classifieds/wish list forums??

Are any of those what you're looking for?? Price wise and/or style wise??

I'm a craigslist junkie and look at the time all over the country. eBay can be expensive sometimes.

If you're willing to fly or take Greyhound, I or any of the other members will help you locate a bus if you have an idea of what you're looking for.

Again, welcome to the sickness! :D

I think I got all of them, above.
I forgot to mention our VW ate itself not long ago, and my fantastic wife actually repaired it. I think it still has some head damage, but at least it runs. Probably just going to sell it to someone willing to put the work into it, as we have grown tired of it's incredibly expensive repairs.

dentedvw 08-03-2009 10:46 PM

Re: Another new member, in Michigan
Sounds about right to me.
Errr... how long is a mid bus?

Train-train 08-05-2009 08:31 PM

Re: Another new member, in Michigan
hello dentedvw,

You seem to see camping exactly the way I do. Your bus requirements pretty much are the same too. I live near Sturgis, MI. Two years ago I bought my bus which is a 95 Ford/Thomas, 5.9, 545 trans, 7-window, and 6'4" ceilings. Its pretty close to being just what I wanted. I still have yet to repaint it but there are more important things in front of that.

When I was looking, I found it hard to compare buses because it was hard to see many for sale buses at a time. I bought mine from a bus dealer in Silver Lake, In. They have a website:

Let me know if I can help, info wise. I have learned a lot since having my bus.

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