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RVing message boards => Bus Conversions, Buses => Topic started by: jamez on January 11, 2017, 04:21:21 AM

Title: Bus/Truck conversion ?'s
Post by: jamez on January 11, 2017, 04:21:21 AM
Hey guys, and thanks in advance to anyone who reads this lengthy post and helps provide your information and experience.

I've got some questions regarding Bus Conversions and Truck Conversions. First of all, I'm trying to figure out all of the manufacturers who offer true bus conversions on the market today (capable of million + miles). I'm a musician looking for a tour bus that will reliably carry my group around for many years to come. I know Prevost is considered to be the gold standard for someone in my line of work, however, I want to understand the market to weigh all of my options.

To my knowledge, all of the following offer true bus conversion structures: Prevost, MCI, Silver Eagle, Newell, Van Hool [Possibly: American Coach, Monaco, Newmar, Entegra]

Are all of these true bus conversions? Are there others?

2nd Question relates to truck conversions.  These builds also intrigue me because they're built right onto a semi truck chassis with towing capabilities of 40,000 plus lbs.  I don't believe these are built like bus conversions, quite frankly, I don't know.  But, because of the great towing capacities, equating to less engine wear and tear, these builds also appear to be viabale options for me.  Both manufacturers, Showhauler and Haulmark, boast million+ mile capabilities for their coaches.  There's also the argument that the front engine provides better cooling with natural airflow, and easy access for maintenance and repairs. 

What are your opinions? Are truck conversions comparable to bus conversions in terms of longevity?

I'm looking for a long lasting coach that can go the distance, without paying a premium for the over-the-top luxuries typically found in most of the Class A's mentioned above.

Thank you.
Title: Re: Bus/Truck conversion ?'s
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on January 11, 2017, 07:29:08 AM
No, many of those are not bus conversions. That doesn't mean they aren't great coaches, but they may not have "million mile" chassis.

Prevost & MCI are bus chassis & body makers and several companies buy their chassis and make motorhomes out of them. Prevost and MCI both make models designed as the base for custom motorhomes, so "conversion" is not an entirely accurate description of those coaches. Some coach companies using Prevost & MCI are Marathon Coach, Featherlite, and Liberty. See a list of Prevost converters at (

Van Hool is a Eurpean coach builder, but I don't know of any US motorhome manufacturers using a Van Hool base. There may be one somewhere, though. Silver Eagle and American (not American Coach) buses have been used in the past, but those brands haven't been around for a while now.

Newell is not a converter - they build their own high grade chassis and body. As does Foretravel, though Foretravel has a Prevost-based model as well.

American Coach, Newmar, Monaco and Entegra do not use a bus chassis. Instead they buy a motorhome chassis from Spartan or Freightliner Custom Chassis. These are not truck chassis - they are designed from the ground up to carry Class A motorhomes. One could argue whether their chassis and bodies are up to the "million mile" standard or not, but most would say they are more like "500k mile" coaches.  Back in the 90's Monaco did some Prevost-based specialty models e.g. the Monaco Royale,  and American Coach used a Gillig bus chassis for a few years.

Class A motorhome chassis use the same engines, transmissions and axles as many trucks and buses. They may be be tuned & rated for higher horsepower or longer maintenance cycles because recreational coaches generally are a lighter duty application than OTR trucking or inter-city buses, but the basic mechanicals are the same.
Title: Re: Bus/Truck conversion ?'s
Post by: jamez on January 13, 2017, 11:37:54 PM

Thank you for your response.  Let me make sure I understand. 

Prevost and MCI are built on a Bus Chassis.

Newell, and Foretravel create their own chassis that looks like this
(Foretravel chassis) - Is this a bus chassis, or built onto a platform like a motor home chassis?

So Prevost, MCI, Newell, and Foretravel are all considered 1 million mile coaches?

And what are your thoughts on these two truck chassis coaches that both claim to be million mile coaches?

1. ShowHauler -
2. Haulmark -

Thank You.

Title: Re: Bus/Truck conversion ?'s
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on January 14, 2017, 08:05:09 AM
Prevost & MCI not "built on" a bus chassis - they ARE a bus chassis.  And a bus body as well.  That photo you linked to doesn't show the chassis at all - just a body framework. That sort of metal structure/frame would be typical of any modern Class A motorhome.

Freightliner Custom Chassis and Spartan are both truck & chassis companies that build chassis for and Class A motorhome use (and some truck chassis as well). They build a range of chassis models and sizes, so hard to generalize about features and capability.  High end motorhomes utilize very robust chassis that aren't much different than that used in Class 8 trucks, while low end models are often skimpier. A Truck comes with a cab in place, were as the motorhome chassis has only a dashboard & steering wheel, cause the body builder is supplying the "cab".  And the motorhome chassis will be rear engine. (as are transit buses), while the truck is a front engine.   But engines, suspensions, transmissions, axles, etc. are the same ones as are used in buses and commercial trucks, bought from the same component manufacturers (Cummins, Allison, ZF, Neway, Bendix, Eaton, etc). But are they "million mile"?  That's a highly subjective judgement. Take a look at a Freightliner SL chassis, used in top Class A coaches such as the American Eagle, and see what you think the differences are vs a truck or bus chassis:

Experts might debate whether Newell or Foretravel chassis are "million mile", but they are certainly robust and well-regarded.

If you expect to travel more than 500k miles over several years, than the chassis quality is perhaps a concern. Otherwise, the debate is probably academic.