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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2009, 10:28:47 AM »

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You would be surprised how many people are able to rely on the Flat Plastic Toolkit (aka the credit card), so that's not a problem.

LOL. That would *not be us.

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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2009, 10:30:10 AM »

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Might I suggest you have fun with the search up on the upper right of your screen.

You can search the archives of this BBS and find information and opinions on Everything.

Already on it.  Wink
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cody
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« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2009, 10:35:26 AM »

Just for reference, my iggles bays are 5ft wide, 3ft tall and 8ft deep, we got 3 of them that size, maybe others will pipe in with bay sizes too, I'm thinking the largest bays will be found in the setra, BK's bays are huge.
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BG6
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« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2009, 10:36:39 AM »

We're looking at this on Saturday http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/rvs/1056594901.html.


That's been on the market a while, but the pics look good.  You can probably talk them down several thousand.

You will NOT be able to tow your trailer with this coach (no way to mount a hitch for that heavy a toad), so if you are planning to keep it, you will still have to tow with your truck.  Depending on how much traveling you plan to do, this might not be a problem.

If you hunt around, you can find checklists online for what to inspect on coaches.  Print out and take with you (the ad, too), with a clipboard, pen, flashlight and inspection mirror (the kind on the telescoping antenna).  Write down everything that they tell you has been done, when they drove it last, anything they say needs to be fixed.

Since you're waiting for the check I urge you NOT to make an offer until you have cash in hand!  If you commit to this coach, you can't take advantage of any other deal which crops up while you're waiting.  There are plenty of coaches on the market.  

Use crazedlist.org to check multiple Craigslist sites -- I suggest that you look at all of them on the West Coast, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona, every day until you get the money.  You may have to go to San Diego or Phoenix, but there are a lot more coaches in the lower price range down there, so there is a lot more incentive to cut a deal (rather than watch you go buy the one 10 miles away).   It might be worth a weekend trip to So Cal or Arizona to check out several.

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Lee Bradley
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« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2009, 10:40:36 AM »

Hi Tamri,
Welcome to the looney bin.
You have a great start having lived in a confined space with your family. You will get the full range of opinions here, on what brand, size, type, layout and color bus you should buy. But you know your family and needs better than anyone else so take it all with a grain of salt. Do look at lots of buses and drive them. Now is a great time to be in the market; lots of people are getting out for pennies on the dollar invested. What ever you do, DO NOT buy a bus before you have it inspected top to bottom, front to back by a qualified bus expert.  The members here can identify plenty to choose from when you are ready.
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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2009, 10:41:06 AM »

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If you hunt around, you can find checklists online for what to inspect on coaches.  Print out and take with you (the ad, too), with a clipboard, pen, flashlight and inspection mirror (the kind on the telescoping antenna).  Write down everything that they tell you has been done, when they drove it last, anything they say needs to be fixed.

Oh, perfect, thank you!

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Since you're waiting for the check I urge you NOT to make an offer until you have cash in hand!

Oh heavens no! I would not presume to make an offer w/o cash in hand. This is a "we need to start looking and find out what questions to ask and what do we like and not like". At any rate, I don't think I would feel comfortable buying the very first coach we looked at.
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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2009, 10:42:21 AM »

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What ever you do, DO NOT buy a bus before you have it inspected top to bottom, front to back by a qualified bus expert.

Oh, that's what I meant to ask! How do I find somebody to do this? How much does it usually cost?
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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2009, 10:45:53 AM »

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You will NOT be able to tow your trailer with this coach (no way to mount a hitch for that heavy a toad), so if you are planning to keep it, you will still have to tow with your truck.

Hmm. Tell me more about this. Is it b/c it's a GMC? I'm seeing some Suburbans and 15 passenger vans as toads.
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BG6
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« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2009, 10:46:55 AM »

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You would be surprised how many people are able to rely on the Flat Plastic Toolkit (aka the credit card), so that's not a problem.

LOL. That would *not be us.

Then you need to reconsider.

Your coach will need a certain amount of support, by someone who has an understanding of the difference between, say, a fuel rail and a sand rail.  You will be replacing hoses now and then, belts (on some coaches), you will have minor little glitches come up now and then, and you need to know how to deal with them.

If your husband does his own tune-ups and oil changes on the car, tinkers with things, etc, you will be okay.  

However, if nobody in the family can be trusted with a wrench, your faces are on posters at Harbor Freight and the Snap-On truck drives the long way around to avoid your street, then a coach is going to be more than you really want to tackle.
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BG6
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« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2009, 10:48:08 AM »

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What ever you do, DO NOT buy a bus before you have it inspected top to bottom, front to back by a qualified bus expert.

Oh, that's what I meant to ask! How do I find somebody to do this? How much does it usually cost?

Depending on where it is, you might be able to find a busnut who will do it for expenses and a good lunch.

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PacNWNomad
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« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2009, 10:50:43 AM »

I'm sorry, I'm afraid I didn't word that clearly enough.

We're not mechanical people, meaning engines are not our hobbies. We are, however, two people who are willing to read, look things up, Google, consult, to try and figure something out on our own. If that doesn't work, then we bring in A Professional. When you said a Flat Plastic Toolkit, I took that as to mean somebody who just took the coach in every time an issue arose, without really taking the time out to troubleshoot on their own.
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BG6
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« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2009, 10:55:36 AM »

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You will NOT be able to tow your trailer with this coach (no way to mount a hitch for that heavy a toad), so if you are planning to keep it, you will still have to tow with your truck.

Hmm. Tell me more about this. Is it b/c it's a GMC? I'm seeing some Suburbans and 15 passenger vans as toads.

The GMC coaches were designed for minimum downtime (if the wheels aren't turning, the coach is not earning).  The engine and transmission are mounted on a cradle, so that they can be pulled out as a unit and another put in place to get the coach on the road again.

This cradle is supported by straps which come down from the coach roof at the back.

For this reason, there's no way to rig a mount for a heavy tongue weight, even if you use an A-frame mount which goes to the hardpoints that the cradle mounts to at the front of the engine bay.

Also, this is why you RUN, do not walk, to the nearest exit if you see an owner-installed vent, aircon, skylight or whatever in the center of the roof of a GMC!  There is a structural member that runs the length of the coach at the center of the roof, and if this is cut, the coach loses a significant amount of structural integrity (the only exception is escape hatches built in at the factory).

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BG6
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« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2009, 10:58:27 AM »

I'm sorry, I'm afraid I didn't word that clearly enough.

We're not mechanical people, meaning engines are not our hobbies. We are, however, two people who are willing to read, look things up, Google, consult, to try and figure something out on our own. If that doesn't work, then we bring in A Professional. When you said a Flat Plastic Toolkit, I took that as to mean somebody who just took the coach in every time an issue arose, without really taking the time out to troubleshoot on their own.

You should be okay, then.

It's just we all would here hate to see you get in over your heads on a coach.
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RJ
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« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2009, 11:06:30 AM »

Tamri -

Here are a couple of suggestions that might fit the bill.  Slightly over your budget, but, in this market, CASH talks!  (Maybe 2/3's of asking, or less!)


http://www.busforsale.com/buses/bus_detail.php?bus=309&name=Topeka


http://www.busforsale.com/buses/bus_detail.php?bus=253&name=Shamrock


Granted, these are in TN, but Nashville's also the capital of Entertainer Coaches, which is more along the lines of what you need, based on what you've shared with us.  Both of these have bunks for the kids, and the rear stateroom can be modified for mom & dad.  The MCI is finished w/ a genset, the Eagle needs some finish work and doesn't have a genset.  Read the specs carefully and you'll see what I mean.  (Personally, I like the MCI's layout, just not the colors.)

The suggestion of pulling your camp trailer as a second living space is also a good one, I've seen that before.  Does eliminate a toad, however, so you'd have to choose.  The hitch weight wouldn't be as much of an issue with MCI, Eagle or Prevost.  Suburbans & big vans are usually towed "four-down", not on a trailer, so there is minimal hitch weight, comparatively.  Remember, too, that 65-feet overall is the legal limit in most states, another consideration.

Keep in mind, too, that MCI & Prevost are still in business, Eagles & GMCs are orphans.  Not really an issue if you know where to look for stuff, but factor that into the equation.

Before spending the big bucks on a coach, you need to purchase a couple of books.  Spend the $40 or so to buy a copy of The Bus Garage Index, published by Bus Ride magazine, an industry trade journal.  Lists bus garages all over the US & Canada, including contact info.  Best investment you'll ever make in your coach for being on the road and needing service.  Available from www.busride.com, link to order is in the LH menu off the home page.

The second book I'd recommend highly is Larry Plachno's Beginner's Guide to Converted Coaches.  It's slightly dated, but the information contained therein is very insightful, from this long-time industry veteran who's also the publisher of National Bus Trader, another industry journal.  Available from Amazon or direct: www.busmag.com.

Do your homework, and make sure ANY coach you're seriously considering is inspected thoroughly by a BUS technician, not a truck mechanic.  Different beasts!!!  (Maybe you can get BK's dad to inspect it for you - BK says NO ONE inspects a coach more thoroughly than Pop!  Especially if you might consider the MCI in the above link - they're not too far away.)

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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S13406 Now
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Timkar
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« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2009, 11:27:05 AM »

Here's one from CG in Oregon...Supposedly stretched to 45', etc.
It's been listed for a while, so may be available for a good price.
http://salem.craigslist.org/rvs/1050971805.html
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Cawston, British Columbia
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