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Author Topic: Newbie looking for any help buying a bus conversion  (Read 2262 times)
wrismith
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« on: June 03, 2011, 04:17:45 PM »

My family (husband, wife, and two tall teenage boys) and I are looking for a conversion bus.  We would like some help knowing what to look for. We have always tent camped so have never owned even an RV. We did travel the country in a conversion van and tent twice so we are use to roughing it a bit. As the boys are getting older and looking towards college we thought an RV would be great to go visit for games etc.  We wanted a bus for the longevity and safety. 

We have looked at two in the northeast and called on several others but nothing has panned out. We want a completed conversion it can need cosmetics but nothing that needs alot of expertise. We know that there will be more money needed on repairs etc.  The boys know they will need to bend in almost anything we buy and that is okay with them. They will not be here forever so it can sleep 3 and we can use an air mattress etc on trips.

 I currently am waiting for pictures of a gmc 1963 that hasn't been driven in a few years it has been started.  We don't mind flying and picking up a bus but would prefer to find one in the northeast if that is possible.

We would appreciate any help or advice anyone would like to offer.  We're hoping to be able to be of help to others in the future.  Grin
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grantgoold
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2011, 04:30:35 PM »

You should perhaps provide a purchase price range first. Then, perhaps your monthly budget range for upkeep. Do you have the ability to work on the bus yourself or all hire out? Do you want something turn key? How often do you plan on using the bus? Have you ever taken an RV this big on a trip? If not, I would first rent a big RV and see what you think about managment of a big RV.

Are you prepared to lose money? Grin

Some initial questions and their responses might help us give some better help.

Regards,

Grant
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Grant Goold
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John316
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2011, 04:33:36 PM »

Welcome aboard, wrismith. (I will say it is one of my pet peeves when people don't even sign their first name).

We need some more information. It is a buyers market, and there are loads of buses out there. Take your time, don't jump into anything.

What style are you looking at? Some people like the look of really old ones, others just want a bus.

What are your mechanical skills? Can you repair a lot of things?

What is your price range?

Do you know what fuel will cost you in a bus?

Again, welcome aboard,

God bless,

John

Looks like Grant's and my posts just crossed. Just about the same questions....
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MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
wrismith
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 06:42:01 PM »

Thank  you for the help.
My first name is Walt, my wife is Laura
figuring around 15-20k but would go alot more for the right bus, and yes we are prepared to lose money we figure the time left with our kids is unmeasurable compared to money(which is always in short supply so might as well get use to it) My wife has discussed fuel cost with me and we are prepared for that too.
We are okay with anything that is sound.
I had an motorcycle accident about 20 years ago prior to that I drove commercial trucks and due to the accident I can't do the loading unloading over and over each day(no limits for short periods) so driving the rig shouldn't be a problem . We are not very mechanical but already have a mechanic lined up in the area, the problem is when we aren't in the area.
we would like turn key as we don't have alot of spare time and when we have it we like to be with the family.
We know we have plenty to learn. 
Thanks again,
Walt
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 06:46:05 PM by wrismith » Logged
JohnEd
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2011, 07:47:12 PM »

Walt,

Buyers market out there so dream BIG.

20K would get you a eye popp'n 4106.  Fast bus.  Very small bays and getting very old but they are game.

20K plus another 10 or 20 financed would get you a superb Prevost.  Maybe need a interior update and tires.  Shop  Shop Shop.

I suggest you expand your shopping area to include Fla and Az and points in between.  Not exclusively, but I would concentrate there.  Never ever buy a bus that doesn't have a full maint history on the engine.  Have a DD Factory Auth. dealer eval the engine regardless of what you are told.  Costs 3 or 400 dollars....or did.  Have the Alison dealer eval the trans.  The DD dealer is usually colocated with the Allison dealer and they share a DYNO for conclusive testing.   You can get by without the dyno but why do that if you don't need to?

A bus is a special critter.  Have the bus checked out by a reputable mech located in a bus garage that has your bus in it's fleet. 

Get people like Ace involved.  They are Knuts located all across the country.  Take a friend with you when you look or take delivery.  The cool head is valuable.

John
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DMoedave
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2011, 04:17:23 AM »

I agree with a 4106, there was a nice looking one in Rodman NY in your price range not sure if its still for sale. Take your time and look at as many as you can. Go to alot of the rallys in your tent/car wahtever and get a good education. kGood luck
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we love our buses!!! NE Pa or LI NY, or somewhere in between!
jjrbus
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2011, 04:52:15 AM »

Welcome to the insanity.   Never ever buy a bus without having it inspected by a BUS mechanic!   JIm
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2011, 05:57:40 AM »

If someone here has Johns4104s contact number he is getting ready to send 2 4104's and a nice 4106 to the scrap yard if he hasn't already they are located in Texas he got tired of trying to sell the 3

good luck
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Life is short drink the good wine first
prevosman
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2011, 06:10:47 AM »

Unless you are mechanically inclined I would urge you to seriously consider a conventional RV. As bus conversions age and the value declines they are often fixed or repaired in a manner that can best be described as less than professional.

I know it is heresy to say things on a forum populated by very talented and capable peoiple but those who really do high quality work on their coaches are few and far between and the result is a lot of home made conversions are filled with modifications, repairs, alterations, and systems that make future repairs and maintenance a nightmare due to lack of logic and documantation.

However, if you find a conversion in your price range that does not exhibit a rat's nest of wires, is not dripping fluids everywhere, shows signs of previous owners taking great pride in it it may represent a great opportunity. Just be aware you are in dangerous territory and purchasing a conversion without a detailed inspection by a professional and having complete documentation is risky.

My apologies to all the owners and homebuilders who really are craftsmen and who do superb work. You all know the coaches I am talking about.
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Jon Wehrenberg
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luvrbus
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2011, 06:23:10 AM »

Nice Prevosman I agree 100% a 10 year old RV over a 60 year bus any day won't cost you a tenth of the upkeep get ready this a  bus board and the storms will start I do love my buses but love the RV I have now lol

good luck   
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Life is short drink the good wine first
Mex-Busnut
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2011, 06:38:39 AM »

Walt: Here is a repost from the Flxible owners' list:
=================================
Sadly, it's time to let my 06 go.

This is conversion 99% complete (is a coach ever finished?)and is in CT , and will require a visit to FL to collect a ton of included goodies.

GM 4106 Coach Conversion - $19,900 (Middletown CT)

This 4106 is owned by a long term "Bus Nut" and is a conversion for touring or full time living.

The GM 4106 is a full aluminum monocoque shell with a Detoit Diesel 8V71 and 4 speed std. transmission.

The coach rides on an air suspension , and has air brakes.

Known as the "Sportscar of Coaches" due to its large engine , light weight and delightful driving experience.Usually 9+mpg snow birding.

The full conversion is very unique that the conversion systems, FW and waste tanks, furnace, HW heater, air cond are all internal, allowing the lower bays to be EMPTY! This is great for folks that like to take stuff with them.

Additional storage ( 60 cubic ft) is under the double bed , and most of the overhead luggage racks are in place.

The interior has a very open plan with loads of counter space and storage in drawers.NO windows have been blanked out.

A propane 6KW ONAN is installed on a HD slide , 4 rear tires are new in April, The coach is ready to go.Trailer hitch and wiring to tow a toad.

The coach is stock looking outside , and the entrance and drivers area are stock, so the bus can be used for movie work.

Fred 860-346-5008 in Middletown Ct. Zip 06457 Exit 11 off rt 9.

Location: Middletown CT

Craigs list postingID: 2418338133
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Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2011, 06:46:34 AM »

That belongs to Fast Fred seeing it before a little overpriced huh Ace lol

good luck
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wildbob24
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2011, 09:59:57 AM »

Here's a link to Fred's bus with pictures:

http://hartford.craigslist.org/rvs/2418338133.html

If I was in the market, I'd be taking a serious look at this one as well:

http://www.busnut.com/classifieds/index.php?a=2&b=852

Bob
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wrismith
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2011, 11:17:26 AM »

Bob,

I talked to Chuck in Georgia on the phone and he didn't recommend "driving the bus all the way to New Hampshire." Until then it seemed like it would have fit our needs.

Great price, actually bigger than expected. Thanks for your help. We'll check out the one in Connecticut and keep looking.   Grin

Thanks again,

Walter
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ChuckMC8
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2011, 11:54:40 AM »

Walter,  As a new member to the bus community, you aren't aware that buying a bus from a longtime member who has been active on boards for 10 years isn't like buying a sack of potatoes. I was trying to do you a favor and suggest that you look closer to home since there are many bargains on the market and you are a newbie, instead you make a post would indicate that I think my bus is unsound. This in not the case at all. There are unscrupulous sellers that just want your money and have no regard for you or the vehicle. I worked nearly 10 years on this bus and I want someone to be happy with it and enjoy it as I did. The selling price isn't even close to the parts bill, much less labor.  

Here's what you said in your intro post above, " We are not very mechanical but already have a mechanic lined up in the area, the problem is when we aren't in the area."Technically, you are quite a ways from your mechanic at 1200 miles. [b]

You also wrote, "We want a completed conversion it can need cosmetics but nothing that needs alot of expertise" and "We know we have plenty to learn."[/b] OK here's something to start with: For what I told you, I think that it is ill advised for anyone without bus experience to buy a 33,000 pound vehicle that is 34 years old and start on a 1200 mile journey in it, whether its mine or someone elses. I would certainly drive my bus that distance, but I know every nut and bolt on it, and I would spend a week on prep work and PM for the trip. It's part of the hobby. You would know it only from a test drive.



Technically, you are quite a ways from your mechanic at 1200 miles. For you to post that I told you that "I wouldn't drive it that far" would make others who are interested shy away from inquiring.
If you have ever put your heart and soul into something and have to part with it, you don't want it to end badly for the vehicle or the buyer. Do a search on my name here and on the other board. It's not about the money for everyone.


« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 02:03:58 PM by ChuckMC8 » Logged

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