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Why choose a city bus? Tom 10-12-04  
I am considering a bus conversion in 3 or 4 years. I want a bus that is capable of traveling long distances, cross country, seats/sleeps 6 people and holds enough water for 4-5 days, preferably a week I am wondering if the transit bus is suitable for this kind of use? Why would someone choose a transit bus over a tour bus or school bus?

Thanks
Re: Why choose a city bus? grant g 10-21-04  
I own a transit bus. Basically your desire to travel across the country is perhaps the biggest factor in which type of coach to purchase. Those kind of long hauls really push you towards an intercity not transit style coach. My bus is fine for a couple hundred miles without too much concern for fuel economy and so forth. Cross country with hills and such would be another story.

I was able to get a great bus for less than $1,000 dollars and I have learned how to do things. If the bus went away today I have learned enough to advance to the "big boys" buses. My next bus will be the traditional intercity with large bays and a raised roof.

Actually, I think your budget, your preference for style and your tolerance for breakdowns is also a serious consideration. Transit style buses are "workhorse" and designed to take a beating and keep on running.

Good luck!

Grant
4517
Re: Why choose a city bus? DANatVAIL 11-10-04  
There are pros and cons on the type of bus you choose. I am quite new at all this, but may be able to help you. (see my post here...GMC - RTS, below...

School busses are really cheap, find a local operator with a fleet, or a school system getting rid of them, and you may find one as cheap as $500-$1000. These busses are simple in design. Easy to work on, service, maintain, but they are just ugly as a bag of rocks! (No offense to you school bus owners out there! HA!)

Transit busses are nice. Fairly cheap, and plentiful. Check out the style and quality of the GMC-RTS. THis was the choice I made for my first conversion which I am working on now. Good sources tell me the RTS is the easiest bus to convert to a good looking coach, and I am convinced of that. They are very well designed and built like a brick youknowwhat! Drawbacks... Slow due to low gearing and drafty because of split door design. Also, no under floor storage like highway coaches have, however get creative and you can design and build some limited storage areas. Highway coaches are more expensive, but they are at home on the highway. Complex systems, maintenance issues, but the resulting coach can be a masterpiece. (Be prepared to throw down some $$$) By the way...another thing I really like about my RTS is that most of the frame is stainless steel, and skins are easily replacable fiberglass panels...if you get some other bus with steel frame members check for rust. You don't want your bus to break in half if at all possible...which brings up another suggestion...put heavy thingd above or near axles and wheels...too much weight in the center of the bus can really mess things up, I am told.
Re: Why choose a city bus? TomC 1-30-05  
I have a 77 AMGeneral transit that took me 6 years to convert because of having to make all hangers, storage compartment, generator cabinet below floor level. While it is cheaper than an intercity, it is alot of work. Some advantages-don't need to raise the roof with 6'10" of headroom, lower floor level so only two steps in the bus or three steps up from the ground, I have manual air dump for the air suspension that puts me close enough to the ground that you don't need an additional door step, huge windows, same drivetrain as all other Vdrive buses, simple 12v system, is built like a tank with reinforced bumpers, have all systems anyone would want. Disadvantages-harder to convert and don't have alot of basement storage. Mine is 99"widex22"tallx66"long. Enough for tools, chairs, BBQ, carpet, etc. Good first converter, but my next one is going to be either a VanHool or MCI 35 x 102 intercity, since I believe I can be happy with the 35 instead of the 40. Good Luck, TomC
Re: Why choose a city bus? John Chleapas 10-5-05  
I am also hoping to buy a decent bus in a few years. I was once a parts and service manager for a small bus company. The big plus for me for a over the road type bus is the larger useful amount of underneath storage. You can never have too much storage in a bus IMHO for full time use, or any type of extended travel. The RTS type buses look very nice. There is a beautiful conversion for sale for around 39K right now fully converted. For long hauls the gears in the RTS rear end may need to be changed for better fuel mileage. If the RTS has a automatic trans there is a speedo gear waiting to be changed in the tail shaft if you swap out the rear end gears. Fitting a larger diesel gen set into a RTS might be more problematic. I will be on the FAR lower end side of the bus conversion food chain. The 40 year old GMC 4106 is at the top on my short list. They are built much like an airplane with all aluminum frame construction. The down side is they are not really a candidate for raising the coach roof, or slldes. The MCI 5a, b, and c series is also on my short list. But the older MCI 5 series can have rust problems where the 410X series does not really rust out. Good luck on your search! Be sure to pay your mechanic to go with you to inspect any bus you may seriously want to buy. A few hundred dollars spent to make sure it is not a rust bucket, or a mechanical monster is cheap money spent compared to the cost of a rebuilt and installed crate motor and the associated labor fees. John
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