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Question: I keep getting asked why I decided to buy a bus and not an S&S. Of course there are a number of reasons but I have wondered exactly what makes an otherwise reasonably intelligent man (or woman) choose to build a bus?
For the thrill of building my own - 29 (17.2%)
For the safety - 33 (19.5%)
Because S&S are too prone to being made cheaply or otherwise falling apart - 36 (21.3%)
I can do it in steps instead of paying all at once - 35 (20.7%)
I think I had a stroke or was drunk at the time - 7 (4.1%)
Because I'm afraid the wife will toss my can out someday and I need a place to put my junk - 6 (3.6%)
I was already very familiar with buses so it was the natural choice - 9 (5.3%)
Other - please elaborate - 14 (8.3%)
Total Voters: 53

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Paladin
Dave Knight
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« on: January 09, 2008, 09:28:15 AM »

I keep getting asked why I decided to buy a bus and not an S&S. Of course there are a number of reasons but I have wondered exactly what makes an otherwise reasonably intelligent man (or woman) choose to build a bus?
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'75 MC-8   'Event Horizon'
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 09:33:39 AM »

There was no way I could ever find a S&S with bunks and seating for 8.  I also thought it would be less expensive, but it turned out to cost a fair bit more than I ever imagined.

I could have choosen a much less expensive shell , but I figured I would probably have faced more time and expense getting the shell ready to go plus my Series 60 gets 2 to 3 MPG better than 102s with the two stroke and automatic.  It turns out I still had to spend a lot of money getting my shell roadworthy.

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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2008, 09:44:07 AM »

    My primary reason was safety. After seeing several S&S invlved in accidents while working as a Paramedic/Firefighter, I wanted something much more substanstial for my family. Other reasons were "pay as you go" rarher than paying someone a lot of interest as well as the satisfaction of doing it myself, to my standards.  Jack
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2008, 10:00:18 AM »

Because a Bus is much safer than Experimental Aircraft...

You only have to be Mental to own a bus... Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2008, 10:02:57 AM »

Nobody builds anything like what I have...probably couldn't afford to buy it if they did.
Doug in snowy Gunnison
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2008, 10:09:06 AM »

Can't haul 59 people & luggage in an S&S and they don't look or ride as good as a SETRA! LOL!
Grin  BK  Grin

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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage
Huntingdon, TN 12 minutes N of I-40 @ exit 108
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2008, 10:13:58 AM »

Nobody builds anything like what I have...probably couldn't afford to buy it if they did.
Doug in snowy Gunnison


True, my neighbors all think that I'm rich and eccentric.
The truth is that we don't have kids and own a small home otherwise I couldn't have my toys. Some of the guys I know get aggravated with me because they can't afford it and/or don't know how. Little do they know that I'm pretty much in the same boat except I'm willing to learn. I'm really amazed at how many men nowadays don't own even a basic set of tools or know how to use them.
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'75 MC-8   'Event Horizon'
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008, 10:22:17 AM »

I think the survey might have missed one big category -- to do it the way I want to.  I had the privilege of traveling all over the continental US (and a good bit of Canada) with a musical group in my younger days and I want my kids (8 - 13) to have that same experience.  When I started looking at S & S vehicles, I couldn't find one (short of a custom-built $1M rig) that I could really seriously contemplate as a vehicle for 5 people for months at a time.  I might consider one for the occasional week or two, but not much longer.  Also, if you get anywhere near the kind of rig that a family of 5 could spend months in, you automatically get the leather, the marble counter-tops, glass backsplash, etc. which is ridiculous when you have active kids.

My goals for a bus are:

1. All five of us can be reasonably comfortable for long periods, including some notion of "personal" space for everyone.
2. I will have some degree of confidence in the safety of the vehicle on the road and while living in it.
3. It is built with the durability required for an active family, but with practicality for the family budget, both in construction and operating costs.

In other words, I want to do it MY way...
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2008, 10:25:57 AM »

It's a character defect, I just can't do anything like everyone else!
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Don 4107 Eastern Washington
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1966 GM PD 4107 for sale
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Songman
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2008, 10:35:43 AM »

My reason is not really one of the choices. I grew up riding buses in the music business. It was just always a big part of my life. Of course, those were all factory built fancy tour buses and I don't know if I'll be able to get close to that building it myself or not. I spent most of my life on MCIs but Eagles are the legends in tour buses. Most artists are running Prevost now but the Eagles are still the standard.

I've convinced my wife that this will make a great way for me to show her any our daughter the country but since I am putting bunks in, if I ever decide to go back on the road I'll already have transportation!
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2008, 10:46:31 AM »

We just "fell" into this bus...

We had no real thought of getting a bus at the time. We had been using a truck and trailer to haul the gear to gigs and everyone drove. Someone we knew that has always had buses for his gospel group decided to get rid of the 4104 he had for the past 25 years and he asked us if we knew anyone that wanted it. We asked around and eventually started thinking that the deal was too good to pass up and bought it for ourselves. We have not regretted our decision yet.
$6K paid directly to him over the next year was the deal. We paid it off in 8 months. It's been a year and a half now and we absolutely love having it.


.
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1960 PD4104-4971 - Memphis TN

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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2008, 10:57:27 AM »

Simple - Buses are cool.   Cool

Before I bought my bus I had traveled with friends in Class A Motorhomes and one that owned a bus.  One trip on the bus and I caught the bug immediately.  I like the nostalgia that goes along with the bus plus how well they are made.  I never really gave a damn about how much it is going to cost me or how much it will be worth in the end.  I wanted one and I got one.

(now what in tarnation am I going to do with it)   Undecided
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2008, 11:07:29 AM »

I agree with buddydawg, buses are cool!  Plus, I could do it in steps (better than payments, to me), I could do it like I wanted, and most of the S&S's I've seen are pretty crappy.  It's been a good distraction for me in a lot of ways, but I've neglected a few things around the house since owning it.  At the time, diesel was cheap(er), too and was definitely cheaper than gas!

David
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2008, 11:14:38 AM »

Quote
I think the survey might have missed one big category -- to do it the way I want to.
  I have to agree.  And then, to be able to remodel as my needs change.  Can't do that in a stick and staple!  It's not too hard to redo an interior if you don't mess with the toilet and tanks.  I got the bug from my buddy Jim who owned an MCI 7 and was going to convert it.  He didn't finish and basically sold a shell, but I was hooked.  Once my 73 Winnie died and I saw how a s&s turns into mulch, I knew what I had to do.
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Glenn Williams
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Lee Bradley
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2008, 11:16:23 AM »

In part for all the reasons cited above but also for driveability. Every S&S I have driven, you spend all your time chasing it with the steering wheel and that is on a windless day. Buses are designed for a driver to spend hours driving them every day so they have to drive nicely and mine does even on a windy day when cars and vans are being pushed around my bus just tracks down the road.
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2008, 11:27:49 AM »

In the UK there simply aren't any domestic manufacturers building 40' A-class motorhomes - and you would struggle to get one into an average British campsite anyway. You do see big S&Ss on the road, but they are typically used by horse or car race teams going to events, rather than families going on holiday - and any that you do see are inevitably personal imports from the States and therefore prohibitively expensive and of course left-hand-drive. Old buses, on the other hand, are dirt cheap, right-hand-drive, better built, safer, etc etc.

Having said that you vary rarely see decent bus conversions here either - plenty of hippy-type buses, and quite a few buses with ramps built into the back and race cars inside, but very few high-spec motorhome conversions such as I am trying to build.

Jeremy
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2008, 12:24:54 PM »

Inherited madness.

forced into child servatude at age 9 (1978) for parrent's Charter Bus operation
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cody
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2008, 12:33:54 PM »

I hear it's a form of insanity, very contagious and can be caught at rallys, luckily a cure seems to be many years away lol.
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Paladin
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2008, 12:39:41 PM »

I guess I should have added a slot for the independent spirit but that's obviously a given isn't it?
Should have also made the "do it my way" an choice but that's sort of the same as #1.

It looks like I'm not alone in the insanity since my reasons are pretty much the same as everyone else:safety, reliability, do it my way, pay as I go and being different. To us it's a no brainer but to others it seems rather crazy.
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'75 MC-8   'Event Horizon'
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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2008, 01:35:11 PM »

I always wanted a big diesel motorhome and this is the only way I could afford it. I also love to build things.
Tom Hamrick
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Tom Hamrick
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2008, 02:15:12 PM »

Almost the same reasons as above, but slightly different.  I chose my 1974 Crown Super Coach 40-foot 3-axle 10-wheeler ex-schoolie (VIN 37317) because, in my humble opinion simply put, it is a better vehicle.  Durability, strength, safenessness, (SP?) handling, balance, braking, top speed, capacities, capablities, fuel economy, blah, blah, blah are all better than your average bus-type coach and simply light years ahead of ANY stick and staple cheapo motorhome.

Sorry everyone, but the truth burns true or something like that.  Also another reason is that I admit that I am slightly (?) crazy and would attempt to turn something else into something better given time, blood, sweat, tears and lots of $money$.  Crowns were/are great schoolies, but one (me?) really has to work at it to turn one into that ultimate driver's motorhome.  Not that easy to do actually, but then again, again like I said, I am crazy.  The question is, am I crazy enough?

Years ago I drove a very similiar Crown 10-wheeler school bus (lots of kids) while pretending to go to junior college part time.  Good idea, but it eventually failed as I was drafted.  Another story.  Anyway, at that time, I wondered to myself if the Crown Super Coach would make a superb motorhome.  Now understand this was way back in 1970 or soosss, a long time ago.  Again, since I am crazy and blessed with regression, validation, absolution, blah, blah, blah and all that other stuff, I am now doing the coach conversion thing.  Thank you, I feel better now.  Can I have more cheap red wine?  He he he.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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Slow Rider
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« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2008, 02:30:35 PM »

I chose a bus after a lot of looking at S&S's.  The safety factor was very high on the list.  I also just was not impressed with what I looked at.  They were falling apart and obviously poorly made.  Being able to do it a little at a time was a big reason also.  In the financial department I am one of those "who shouldn't own a bus" according to some bus nuts.  Another reason is when you by a manufactured motor home, you get what some one else thinks you need. With the bus conversion I get what I want or have no reason to complain.  The last and not necessarily the least reason was the style factor.  An S&S will never have the style, class and yes coolness factor of a bus.

Frank
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The MCI has landed..... We are home.
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« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2008, 04:42:15 PM »

I'm crazy,,,, and it's just Cool......

Bill
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« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2008, 04:55:00 PM »

We bought a bus because we knew that we wanted to live in our RV eventually & I got sick and tired of fixing low bid bullshit on production RVs.  We briefly looked at bus wannabees but I wanted a Prevost so eventually we found one that was already in Canada with the roof high enough to accomodate me and we bought it.  Then the Canadian $$ went from 65c to par and we lost some astronomic amount of money but that's a whole 'nuther story.

The safety thing was just a bonus - the real deciding factor for us was the endurance and overbuild on the chassis.

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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2008, 05:08:22 PM »

I bought the AMGeneral transit mainly for the price ($4000).  Also, it is built like a tank, had the correct engine and transmission, and very large windows.
But after driving it, the engine had the combination of not enough power, smoked at altitude and got bad fuel mileage.  So I turbocharged and air to air intercooled it, along with rebuilding the V730.  In retrospect, for the amount of money I spent for the modifications to the drivetrain- before delivery, paid to have the rear end ratio changed, wheel bearings changed to oil, injectors enlarged, Jake brake installed.  Then, having the engine overhauled, then having it again modified to the turbo'd engine with custom air to air intercooler, enlarging the radiator, larger air cleaner and larger muffler, auxiliary transmission cooler, overhauling the transmission, rebuilt water pump, rebuilt oil pump, rebuilt alternator with new regulator, rebuilt air compressor, new air/water separator, installed hydraulic steering, and have new air bags installed, I could have bought a MCI 102A3 with the money spent on the modifications.  My point-buy the bus that already has the desired engine, transmission in it, rather than spending the money to change it.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2008, 05:20:58 PM »

Doug, why did your dad wait till you were that old (9) to slave you into the business...my dad had me milking cows way way earlier than that?! Grin

Cody, you are right...a rally or two will get cha!  Thanks so much for you and Alice showing us you coach!

Jack
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Jack Hart, CDS
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2008, 05:23:15 PM »

Just because......and besides....I had already owned the other stuff and didn't care for it!.... Smiley Cheesy Grin Angry Huh
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RCB
'64 Crown Supercoach ( HWC)
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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2008, 05:42:54 PM »

Because the 2 S&Ses I have had are POSes.

So I can select the components to suit my design philosophy.

Because I ripped out most of the interior on my current S&S and redid it more my way. But not all my way.
Because your standard generic RV was not designed for retrofitting of network, home entertainment and CCTV gear. Which my bus will be.

Because I can save my pennies and pay cash for the shell. Then save my pennies and pay cash for the bits and pieces. Then install the bits and pieces at my own pace on my own schedule in my own bus. Which I own.
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Sojourner
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« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2008, 06:53:47 PM »

I always wanted to travel anywhere on land and divorces took most of my investment to buy my own house. I look at many stick & staples but when I learn I could purchase & convert it into a motorhome….that was it……but waited a year to find MCI-8 at nearby home. I have put in over 12K miles in bare shell form with toilet & 2-110 gals tanks. All this happing 1997 to 2000, now it is still in rebuilding stage…already widened to 102” with 2 openings for slide-out but units yet to be built, raise roof with MCI-9 type roof side curve and lengthen front 8” & rear 30” to repower with state of art 4 cycle engine. After I toured a top RV motorhome manufacturer to see how they are built. I learned more before purchasing MCI how much safer than a “trailer built on truck chassis” Because intercity buses are framed within body which is stronger & much more basement storage area. Plus doing a bus conversion the way you want in a home on wheels.

Now 11 years since I purchased MCI-8….if I had waited until now to purchase my first bus, it would be used H-3 Prevost or MCI –E series because prices are must lower now. Why the above models, because they build coach body with all stainless steel tubing & channels, before hand only bottom half is SS. Plus H-3 & MCI-E model are not skin dependent for structural framing. These have truss bridge design above floor level for main chassis. At the same time you can get DD 60 series or other newer 4 cycle engine with 6 speed automatic transmission. Suspensions are equipped with rolling lobe air spring (softer) and are wider spread so it handles better still.

FWIW

Sojourn for Christ, Jerry
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2008, 07:56:19 PM »

First of all, I have wanted to build my own traveling coach for many years. I remember having the bug some 30 years ago, it just took that long to actually get one. Instead of buying one totally finished I bought an older conversion and tore it apart. I could not have afforded to do it any other way, as I pay as I go and owe nobody.
I have always wanted the challenge and have acquired the skills throughout the years. When I got the bug I didn't have the skills, so it all worked out.

And besides I'm nuts, so there ya go!  Grin
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« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2008, 08:40:08 PM »

In 1974 I hired on at Brewster Transport's in Banff, Alberta, to drive tour buses in the Canadian Rockies. At that time, we still had a half dozen MCI Courier 96s. When they got sold in '77, I remember thinking how they would make a nice motorhome. 28 years later, I found one that had been converted in '77 and had to have it, and promptly bought it. I have since redone the interior and turboed the DD 4-71. I just love it. It brings back all those memories... My wife and 2 boys have grown to love it too. We use it lots in the summer, camping nearby and on extended long distance trips as well. It has a lot of caracter and draws a lot of attention. It is in excellent condition and is very solid on the highway. Much better than any S&S RV we ever had before.
I also maintain and drive our Junior Hockey team's 102D3, S60, 7 speed manual Eaton/Fuller, which is nice, (so much power!), but I always look forward to the old Courier 96 come Spring...
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JC
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« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2008, 09:01:11 PM »

What self respecting bus driver would be found driving a class "C" motorhome, with the driver's seat jammed up against the steering wheel, with a counter top pressed into the seat back, swaying all over the road in a crosswind, depreciating at a rate faster than a politician can tell a fib, built with chip board and glue, fit/finish a disaster?

If it is to be a low quality piece of junk inside, it might as well be built by me, and have pride of workmanship in that the junk is my doing, not overpaid to someone else, and I can drive my bus any where and anyhow I like?

I may not be done, I may never be done, it may not be very pretty, but I'll be:

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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Frozen North, Greater Toronto Area
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