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RVing message boards => Bus Conversions, Buses => Topic started by: daniel17319 on July 04, 2016, 05:27:52 PM

Title: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: daniel17319 on July 04, 2016, 05:27:52 PM
Like the Title says I'm intersted in purchasing a bus converions RV for around 10k.


I literally know nothing about it. What buses should i be on the look out what kinds of buses are converted minus old school buses.

I saw a guy driving down I 40 in a old bus that looked like a lot of fun thats what im looking for.

Also were do i look for a bus conversion, how do i go about doing it. Im a young man mid 30s and me and wife would like to travel about the US. We will have children soon and need the extra space for them.

Any advice is welcome.

thanks Fellas
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: halfwright on July 04, 2016, 08:30:33 PM
Most commonly converted buses are the over-the road "Greyhound" type. MCI (Motor Coach Industries)  made most of them.  City buses are not done because of the lack of storage and lower gearing. For 10K, you could probably get a 1985-90 bus with the seats still in and do the conversion yourself for another 10K.

If you want to look, just run a search on "bus conversions" .  Ebay usually has many for sale.
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on July 05, 2016, 11:15:22 AM
A bus conversion "from scratch" is a much bigger, and more expensive, chore than most everybody realizes, which is why there are so many that are half done (or less). Unless you have extensive handyman skills in cabinetry, plumbing, electrical and metal working, I would not recommend it. That said, it's a great project for those who enjoy that sort of thing and have fairly deep pockets (it ain't cheap!).  Also, figure years to complete the project. You aren't going to buy a bus one summer and go camping the next.

A great resource for converters is Bus Conversion Magazine (https://www.busconversions.com/). Not just the current issue - you can get issues going back for years, covering all kinds of upgrades and problem solutions. I wrote a column on Led Lighting for them for a short time, but it didn't generate as much interest as expected and I quit it.

Consider that for $10k you can buy an older motorhome and at least have the basics all in place. There will still be plenty of work to repair and upgrade, but it is a tremendous leg up on the task and might even be usable as an RV right on Day One.
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Lou Schneider on July 05, 2016, 11:54:31 AM
Inspect the bus mechanically at least as well as you would any used vehicle.  Almost any bus on the used market is there because it's reached the end of it's useful life, where the anticipated cost of continuing to operate it exceeds the cost of replacing it with a new unit.

The life of your conversion is only as good as the vehicle you build it into.  If the vehicle dies or develops major mechanical problems, you're committed to either doing whatever it takes to fix it or walking away from your investment.

Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: daniel17319 on July 05, 2016, 01:33:42 PM
I want to buy a conversion thats already done i think that may be the best. What about buying a conversion that needs upgrading buts is all done?
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Alfa38User on July 05, 2016, 01:55:01 PM
You might be surprised but many of the upscale parks do not accept home type conversions. Professionally done machines don't seem to have that problem.
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Utclmjmpr on July 05, 2016, 03:02:31 PM
 I have owned a bus conversion and was in "that world" for 14 years,,lived and breathed it ,,and enjoyed it,,.BUT, I was also an aircraft mechanic, machinist,, welder,,licensed general contractor,, truck driver,,and small engine repairman in a previous life..  This endever is NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!! or someone looking for a cheap M/H    Considering your background, save your self a ton of grief, work, and disappointment,(not to mention money) and look for a well kept motorhome that will give you enjoyment sooner and cheaper.>>>Dan
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on July 05, 2016, 03:07:53 PM
Bus Conversion Magazine website has a classified section for that. You can also find them on sites like RVTrader and RVT.com.

When you say "bus conversion", do you mean a professionally built motorhome on a Prevost, Bluebird or MCI bus chassis, or any "home built" motorhome on what used to be a transport or tour bus? I can see reasons for wanting an an older but pro-built coach, but no particular reason for somebody else's hand made rig.  Just asking...
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Sun2Retire on July 05, 2016, 03:08:14 PM
A dream I've had since I was in my early teens was to convert a Scenicruiser to an RV. I figure $1-2M + 3 years and I'd be good to go.

Which reminds me, gotta pickup this week's Powerball ticket.
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Utclmjmpr on July 05, 2016, 06:42:43 PM
  Thats a personal favorite of mine also,, but,, your still stuck with a 96 inch coach and a split level floor.>>>Dan ( I have a club member that has one with a series 60 Detroit, automatic and super single wheels and tires all around)
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: daniel17319 on July 05, 2016, 06:51:37 PM
Bus Conversion Magazine website has a classified section for that. You can also find them on sites like RVTrader and RVT.com.

When you say "bus conversion", do you mean a professionally built motorhome on a Prevost, Bluebird or MCI bus chassis, or any "home built" motorhome on what used to be a transport or tour bus? I can see reasons for wanting an an older but pro-built coach, but no particular reason for somebody else's hand made rig.  Just asking...


MAYBe buying one that someone already converted if its been done properly, i cant afford a expensive, im looking for the biggest bang for the buck

thanks
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Utclmjmpr on July 05, 2016, 09:34:04 PM
 And everyone else is to.>>>Dan
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Sun2Retire on July 05, 2016, 10:01:32 PM
  Thats a personal favorite of mine also,, but,, your still stuck with a 96 inch coach and a split level floor.

Nah, already budgeted for that. I figure for $2M I'm putting at least two slides in. (The split level is part of the charm!) And I'm keeping the twin engines for nostalgia (might hop them up tho)  ;)

I have a club member that has one with a series 60 Detroit, automatic and super single wheels and tires all around

Would love to see pictures!
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Utclmjmpr on July 06, 2016, 06:08:20 PM
 Scott,,, goes to prove you need to do the homework,,the twin 4/71s only existed the first production year (1953) it did not work out so most were switched out with 8V71s.. #2. the Scenic's were also a monocoupe and if you put large holes in the body it will fold up like cardboard, the 04s and 06s were the same. ( There is also NO source for any of the Scenic's glass).>>>Dan
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on July 06, 2016, 07:08:22 PM
Quote
MAYBe buying one that someone already converted if its been done properly, i cant afford a expensive, im looking for the biggest bang for the buck

I get the low budget angle, and you aren't alone in that. What I'm not getting is why you believe a home made bus conversion for $10k will be any better than a production model at the same price. I'll grant that a lovingly built conversion may well be a joy to own, but finding one is likely to be a challenge, and one that is already finished is probably going to be more than $10k. Check out the classifieds at Busconversions.com - finished bus conversions run upwards of $25k. Under $10k, you are likely talking a chassis only, with all the work still remaining.

https://www.busconversions.com/bcmclassifieds/index.php (https://www.busconversions.com/bcmclassifieds/index.php)
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Sun2Retire on July 06, 2016, 07:15:45 PM
Scott,,, goes to prove you need to do the homework,,the twin 4/71s only existed the first production year (1953) it did not work out so most were switched out with 8V71s.. #2. the Scenic's were also a monocoupe and if you put large holes in the body it will fold up like cardboard, the 04s and 06s were the same. ( There is also NO source for any of the Scenic's glass).>>>Dan

I did know about the twin engines but would be cool nonetheless.

Re the slides and glass, fine. $3M, not a dollar more
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Utclmjmpr on July 06, 2016, 09:48:44 PM
  Three mill would buy a VERY NICE Newell that you could be proud of immediately.>>>Dan
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: Sun2Retire on July 06, 2016, 09:59:59 PM
  Three mill would buy a VERY NICE Newell that you could be proud of immediately.>>>Dan

I'll let you know what I decide after tonight's Powerball  ;)
Title: Re: Purchasing a bus conversion
Post by: daniel17319 on July 06, 2016, 10:48:13 PM
thanks guys ill look into that magazine