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Advice needed - What kind of bus do I want? Joel 7-14-03  
I am looking for advice from people experienced in converting a school bus to an RV. I have been reading this forum and others about school bus conversions for quite a while. Converting a bus to a motor home sounds like fun and a fun way to take family vacations. Of course, lots of things sound like fun at first, but then turn into a big pain. I want to avoid that if at all possible.
I would like to use the bus for family vacations, even just a weekend at the lake. There would probably not be many (if any) cross country trips. Probably mostly just going to campgrounds. I have a family of 5, with 3 girls under 7. I think I would like the bus to have a toilet, a kitchen sink, and some beds.

What things do I need to consider when deciding if I really want to do this or not? What questions do I need to answer before I do this? What types of busses would be best for this? What should I look for/steer clear of when purchasing a bus? If I can do this for under $3000, I will definatly do it. If it will be more towards $5000, I'll have to get my wifes permission!

Any advice, experience, or words of wisdom from people who have enjoyed this, or those who have not would be appriciated.
Do the math... kd5kfl 7-15-03  
I can't find a worthwhile bus for less than $3500. That's a Crown with a diesel and a 4 or 5 speed, no synchros, crash box. Suits me to have something none of my buds can drive.

For an auto trans, you're looking at $8K. If your wife doesn't mind learning how to drive a crash box, she's one of a kind.

Most gas buses get terrible mileage, 3-4. Diesels get 7-10. Diesel owners figure an automatic costs them 2 MPG.

Calculate the cost of the same trip at 3, 7 and 9 MPG. You may find that taking the car and staying at motels is much cheaper.

You should be able to find a thrashed used motorhome for less than $5K. already set up.
Re: Advice needed - What kind of bus do I want? David G 7-20-03  
Stuff adds up! I bought '75 Crown on EBay in April 02 for $2500. It is not done yet. Bought new or scratch/dent roof AC, Furnace, Range, Inverter, Onan Genset on EBay. Bought storm wrecked camper and salvaged parts including toilet & waste tank. Bought 4 new tires & wheels, 100# propane tank, paint, wood, insulation, screws etc. Have kept track of every penney with tax. Now at $12,576.62. This includes the Greyhound ticket and 1800 mile trip to pick it up. All labor my own except $2500 deck welded to rear. Mostly done except for plumbing, upholstery, and flooring. Looking at another salvage trailer this week for fresh h2o tank and...? Best milage was 10.1. Detroit Diesel & 5 spd.
Good, fun project...but I don't think $3,500 would get you very far unless you just want to throw some cots and a porta potti in there and go camping. That would be fun too.
Re: Advice needed - What kind of bus do I want? Mark O. 8-10-03  
While I applaud David G's choice in buses (I have two Crowns), used yellow buses can be purchased very inexpensively. I have purchased a very good IHC conventional with DT466/Allison for $1500.

If you want to do a real low budget conversion it could be possible to do the job for less than $5K. I doubt it would be possible for less than $3K.

Prep and paint (doing it yourself) to make it so the bus wasn't yellow any longer is going to cost you at least $500.00 in materials (you really don't want to leave it yellow).

Purchasing a wrecked RV for the parts and pieces will make your job easier.

Purchasing apartment sized electric appliances and a good gen set/inverter(the school bus alternator is usually large enough to keep up with a lot of stuff running through an invertor) will cost less than RV appliances.

I have some buses for sale if you are interested.

Good luck and happy trails.

Mark O.
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