EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: bus vs Class A  (Read 16220 times)

imageben

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
bus vs Class A
« on: December 06, 2011, 05:42:53 PM »
I'm considering purchasing an RV.  at first I thought that i would like just a regular class A type.  But the more I look the more I  think that maybe for the money and the safety factor maybe a bus would be better than a fiberglass diesel pusher.  I'm looking in the 50K or under range.  things that I like are diesel, 45 feet, i can go either way on the slides, tag axles.   

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3043
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 05:51:44 PM »
You can get more info on buses in general and bus conversions on: Bus Conversion Magazine Bulletin board.>>>Dan
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

seilerbird

  • Guest
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 06:03:27 PM »
...I think that maybe for the money and the safety factor maybe a bus would be better than a fiberglass diesel pusher.
Well if you are buying it to wreck it or enter it into destruction derby then a bus might have an advantage. But I really don't think there is an advantage from a typical RVers point of view. Class As outnumber bus conversions by a wide margin and I have never read anything to suggest bus conversions are safer. The problem you might have with a bus conversion is getting insurance. You might also be denied entrance to some of the better RV parks that don't allow bus conversions.

ArdraF

  • ---
  • Posts: 9784
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2011, 06:36:42 PM »
Tom has a good point, actually a couple.  It would be interesting to hear why you think a bus conversion would be better than an A.  Some of the newer As are amazingly well built, and I'm not talking about Marathons when I say that.  Depending on the conversion, it may not be nearly as nice or well equipped as an A.  There's definitely a group of people who like conversions, but most of us like more conventional motorhomes.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3043
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2011, 06:58:50 PM »
Unfortunately,, when "bus conversion" comes up,, a certain image of an old school bus comes to mind with many folks. A conversion can be done as well as the owner wishes it to be, and as well as a "professional" job. I owned my GMC 4106 for 14 years and have never been turned away, most folks wanted to have the nickel tour and marvelled how it can be done "my way".>>>Dan  ( Im not directing you eather way,, just look around and satisfy yourself)
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 07:03:31 PM by utahclaimjumper »
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

seilerbird

  • Guest
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2011, 07:11:20 PM »
Let me clear up one thing. There are plenty of really classy bus conversions that are the equal of a good Class A. Unfortunately they are in the minority. I have been shopping for a longer RV for the last few months and the vast majority of bus conversions look like, well, a bus conversion. I am sure you could find a classy one for $50k, but I think a $50k class A would generally be a nicer option. There will be very few bus conversions for you to choose from but an almost endless amount of class As to pick from. Personally I think the floor plan is the most important aspect of buying an RV. Second comes condition and price. Next comes gas/diesel, class and manufacturer.

Luca1369

  • ---
  • Posts: 1410
    • Seaworthy.com, Your Bahamas and Caribbean Cruising Advisory
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2011, 07:28:00 PM »
Before I purchased my Class A, I lost out on a converted bus on eBay by a few seconds (thanks to a slow dial-up connection).  I still have a very soft spot in my heart for bus conversions (not school buses), to me they have great aesthetic value.  It's like sailboats.  Most of today's crop of sailboats look like cookie cutter copies of each other, yet once in a while you run across the truly "salty" looking vessel that stirs you (not one of the norm).  To me that's how RVs appear.  I think it takes a special person to appreciate a bus conversion.  As the OP mentioned, a lower initial investment is one reason, safety another. 

While Geico won't insure a bus conversion (I've been told that GMAC will), and although their age may be greater than most Class As (it's not unusual to see a 20-50 year old bus in operation), the repairs often more costly, and the fact that they may not be as well equipped as some of the newer Class A's due to being individually finished some years ago, their safety factor is tremendous when you consider it from a vehicle collision standpoint.  Many of these buses are built like tanks and many older engines and trannies can still be found in used and rebuilt condition at good prices.
Steve
1990 Fleetwood Southwind 36'
http://seaworthy.com

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tsu (570-490 BC)

imageben

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2011, 07:43:21 PM »
I was really thinking of an Prevost or Eagle because I like the look of the exposed metal bottom.  I figured that I really only wanted to buy one RV that would last for a long time and with whatever i buy i'm sure that I would end up doing a fair amount of upgrades anyway.  Like new flooring, fixtures and electronics. 

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3043
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 09:21:40 PM »
If you like to get your motor running,, go to E-bay and type in: 150713715274.>>>Dan
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 09:54:42 PM by utahclaimjumper »
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

seilerbird

  • Guest
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2011, 09:47:21 PM »
I was really thinking of an Prevost or Eagle because I like the look of the exposed metal bottom. 

Now you are talking. I just figured that since your budget was $50k that you would not be looking at Prevosts. There are 13 of them listed on eBay right now and the cheapest one is $90k. At http://www.prevosttrader.com/ there are a few dozen listed but the cheapest one is $60k. I am sure you can find one in your budget but it will take some serious shopping.

imageben

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2011, 09:59:05 PM »
i'm hoping that if i really look hard that I can find a prevost in my range.  they seem to be constructed better from the start.  I'm just am trying to  buy something that i will not want to get rid of after a few years of ownership. 

seilerbird

  • Guest
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2011, 10:05:35 PM »
i'm hoping that if i really look hard that I can find a prevost in my range.  they seem to be constructed better from the start.  I'm just am trying to  buy something that i will not want to get rid of after a few years of ownership.

And there you have another problem with buying a Prevost. The people who buy them tend to keep them forever so there are very few on the used market. Happy hunting. Let us know what you find.

Lou Schneider

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 7409
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2011, 01:25:37 AM »
Commercial buses last almost forever, the problem is by the time they get to the conversion market most of their life has already been used up.

You might find a gem, or you might get a clunker that requires major rework.  The worst possible scenario would be to buy a bus that was sold by a major fleet that has experience in predicting the end life of the major components, then had it's remaining life further used by another owner who did minimum maintenance on it.

Once you start in on a bus, you're committed to doing whatever is necessary to keep it running.  It's not like a truck and 5th wheel where if the upkeep of the truck starts to look prohibitive, you can trade it in for a newer model while still keeping your investment in the the house part.  Or if you want to trade in the house, you don't have to give up your equity in the drivetrain at the same time.

This also holds true for a Class A, but in most cases it's mechanical parts have seen far less use than a bus.  There's not that much difference between the drivetrain of a diesel pusher motorhome and a "real" bus.

And it's not just the drivetrain - bodies and frames wear out over time, also.  The older Eagles in particular are known for developing rust problems in their structural members, for example.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 01:42:48 AM by Lou Schneider »

imageben

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2011, 07:25:22 AM »
I like the Eagles, but I'm really afraid of getting someone else's problems.  With a Provost the cost to join the club is really more like 100k.  The up side is that think that once i made the choice i would be totally committed to my decision. I think that causes someone to look at problems differently when they come up.

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3043
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2011, 08:38:38 AM »
You can buy new,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and get someone elses problems,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,now there yours.>>>D
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

bobofthenorth

  • ---
  • Posts: 22
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2011, 03:58:11 PM »
Anybody who has ever seen the aftermath of a motorhome wreck will understand the bus/safety argument.  When a production motorhome is in a wreck you typically end up with a pile of stuff and a frame somewhere else.  When a bus is in a wreck it typically ends up looking like a damaged bus.  Then there's the whole matter of overbuilt running gear and a chassis that is designed for millions rather than thousands of miles.  Service access is another huge advantage of a bus conversion.  Bus drivetrains are engineered for rapid replacement on the road so if something bad happens the mechanics can get to the components with relatively little trouble.  I've seen production motorhomes where the most important tool a mechanic could possess was a sawzall because that's the only way he would get to some of the major components.

We've lived in a converted Prevost for close to 8 years now - its built on a 30+ year old chassis - and the dreaded campground refusal has yet to happen.  I doubt it ever will.  The argument that there's scary conversions out there is just silly - there's way WAY more scary production motorhomes out there than there are scary bus conversions.  If you want junk you can buy junk buses or junk motorhomes. 

Right now there are some wicked deals on bus conversions if you know what you are looking for and are prepared to offer what its worth to you, not what the seller is asking.

imageben

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2011, 11:00:06 PM »
Thanks for the input .  I really do want a prevost bus , and I seriously wonder weather I can find a 45 foot Prevost for 50K  or less.  I see so many for sale in the 100K to 150K range, and I just wonder if with time and patience when I'm ready i can take my 50K and find a heck of a deal from the right person. 

bobofthenorth

  • ---
  • Posts: 22
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2011, 09:26:32 AM »
I'm sure you can find several 45 foot Prevosts for under $50k.  The question is whether you can find any good ones for under that number.  The big benefit and drawback of buses is that they are so heavily built.  They last for a long time and they can run for years with marginal components that will eventually fail and cost somebody a lot of money to rebuild.  I've been under buses that would be too expensive to own if somebody paid you to drive them home.  Our bus is 30 years old and it easily passes an annual DOT inspection so age is no determinant of condition.  My advice is to pay for a full blown DOT inspection prior to closing any deal.  That is in addition to your drivetrain assessment - DOT will only look at brakes, steering and running gear.

I don't think your $50k goal is unreasonable in this market but you'll have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.  The best rule for buying machinery is don't fall in love. Patience, patience, patience.

RnMAdventures

  • ---
  • Posts: 87
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2012, 01:22:48 PM »
I'm considering purchasing an RV.  at first I thought that i would like just a regular class A type.  But the more I look the more I  think that maybe for the money and the safety factor maybe a bus would be better than a fiberglass diesel pusher.  I'm looking in the 50K or under range.  things that I like are diesel, 45 feet, i can go either way on the slides, tag axles.

I wish I would have been paying attention to the forums when you posted this. In case you are still reading and if anyone else comes along and reads it, I will throw in my 2 cents. I have owned one class A, but I don't have any were near the experience most of the folks on this forum has with them. I have owned two bus conversions (still have one of them), but I do not have the experience Dan has. However, I do have an opinion.  ;)

Buses were built to make the "buyer" money, RV's are made to make the "seller" money. Buses were built to transport 40+ people across the country with reasonable comfort and a mandated level of safety. A class A RV was built for one small family, it was not designed for a million miles, so it's difficult to compare the two. When you take a bus, gut out and build a livable interior, if the builder did it right, you will have a fist class house on wheels. The down side is some of the home brewed bus conversions lack in quality and you have to beware of those. Look around at a few of them and compare them with Class A's in a similar price range.

In todays' market, if you see a bus conversion listed for 100k, you could get it for 50k... they just are not selling. However, as with anything, if you do not have the knowledge, get a person that knows bus's to check it out. If you are looking at a 45' conversion, you better think twice about driving that big joker around the country. It will limit where you can go... RV parks and roads. In my opinion, a well designed 35 or 40 foot conversion is MUCH better than a fancy 45er. (just my opinion) I really like how the Class A motorhome's are designed to take advantage of all the space, bus converisons tend to lack that, but you can build it in with it, if you are the builder.

As far as insurance, Progressive will cover bus conversions.

Mike & Rosemarie + 4 (+2 on thier own)
1964 PD4106 Bus Conversion

RnMAdventures

  • ---
  • Posts: 87
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2012, 01:25:36 PM »
I'm sure you can find several 45 foot Prevosts for under $50k.  The question is whether you can find any good ones for under that number.  The big benefit and drawback of buses is that they are so heavily built.  They last for a long time and they can run for years with marginal components that will eventually fail and cost somebody a lot of money to rebuild.  I've been under buses that would be too expensive to own if somebody paid you to drive them home.  Our bus is 30 years old and it easily passes an annual DOT inspection so age is no determinant of condition.  My advice is to pay for a full blown DOT inspection prior to closing any deal.  That is in addition to your drivetrain assessment - DOT will only look at brakes, steering and running gear.

I don't think your $50k goal is unreasonable in this market but you'll have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.  The best rule for buying machinery is don't fall in love. Patience, patience, patience.

Well put Bob... I agree 110%. A lot of good post here. I should have read all of them before I threw my 2cents.
Mike & Rosemarie + 4 (+2 on thier own)
1964 PD4106 Bus Conversion

Jackliz

  • ---
  • Posts: 1287
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2012, 08:20:34 AM »
Thanks for the input .  I really do want a prevost bus , and I seriously wonder weather I can find a 45 foot Prevost for 50K  or less.  I see so many for sale in the 100K to 150K range, and I just wonder if with time and patience when I'm ready i can take my 50K and find a heck of a deal from the right person.
Howdy.
We live fulltime in a 40 ft. 1993 Bluebird Wanderlodge, which we purchased in 2004. It is very comfortable and safe. If I were shopping for another bus, I would look at a bus that has a Series 60 Detroit engine, NOT an Detroit 8V92. I have found that it is hard to find good mechanics that can work on an 8V92. And of course, the Allison 6 speed transmission is desirable. My coach has the 4 speed and I wish it had another gear.
I think that Randy Dupree still has a Prevost listed on his web site, buybyebluebird. Whoops! Never mind, the asking price is way over $50K. BUT Randy is a good and honest resource.
Good luck on your search,
Liz Pearce
Regards,
Jack and Liz Pearce and Oreo the Escape Cat
Fulltiming in a 1993 Wanderlodge WB 40 ft
Dhanis, TX - Winter
Buena Vista, CO - Summer

Jarlaxle

  • ---
  • Posts: 82
Re: bus vs Class A
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2012, 07:03:33 AM »
I think GMAC will also insure buses.
John (and my wife Liz)
With three crazy cats & one lazy dog
1993 International Genesis school bus conversion

 

Hosted by Over The Network