Where and how to find a good deal on a used bus?

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Where and how to find a good deal on a used bus?

Postby BaalTeshuva » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:44 am

I am hopping to be able to find a used short to medium sized bus in time for Burning Man at the least (And If I can get it soon enough and get it ready in time, other burns ). I want to find something along the lines of a used church or school bus that me and some friends can modify for the trip out to BM... As I have never bought a bus, or any other used vehicle, on my own (My first car was a used SUV bought by my parents, that me and my sister shared, and my current car was a College graduation gift from my Grandmother), I was hoping a few of y'all could give me a few pointers and suggestions... Such as if it is better to get one from a junk lot and fix it up (as I have very little mechanical experience) or if it would be better to buy a used one from some sort of used bus dealer. Also if any one can give me a better idea of what I can expect to pay for a decent bus, and also if anyone knows of a good site or two for more information of bus modification.

Some of the modifications I would like to do would be gutting all or most of the passenger seating to be replaced by more comfortable seating (and maybe some sort of folding/convertible beds/couches/benches ), Folding/extending/retractable shade structures, a semi-decent sound system (more for the ride out rather then to party with), and if possible some built-in coolers, plus storage for gear. Oh and of course a wicked awesome paint job....

Any suggestions or advice on anything I have covered here will be welcomed. Thank you and have a wonderful day...
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Postby knowmad » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:33 am

Hi
I've noticed you are new to eplaya, and as you might notice Eplaya is full of threads, and has a Search Function up there at the top.

Some of us talk about busses here

please don't be shy. show us your newbies
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Postby BaalTeshuva » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:38 am

I tried that with out much success... the forum here is too cluttered with too many hits on those @ssh0les selling packaged deals on ebay!!! If you would like to suggest a better way to get info on this I would be thankful

Just saw the link... LOLZ thank you
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Postby knowmad » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:12 am

BaalTeshuva wrote:I tried that with out much success... the forum here is too cluttered with too many hits on those @ssh0les selling packaged deals on ebay!!! If you would like to suggest a better way to get info on this I would be thankful

Just saw the link... LOLZ thank you


ummmm. you are aware that on the actual playa, you are the search function?
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Postby lucky.bastard » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:43 am

i watched some of them on ebay.., you got time,,, follow a couple and see what they are selling for... as for not having mechanical skills you will either have to learn quick or pay someone to do the work for you so i would suggest getting one as ready to go as you can afford...,

http://www.skoolie.net/

i've converted a van before, but i just used my experience building houses to stick frame the inside, little tricks like putting henges on the seats so they flip up and double as storage units..., i read the bus 101 forum and the things i got that i would not have thought about would be shit like seeing how they are geared,,, that is to say some of them were not meant to do highway speed and if you are driving 2,000 from atlanta going 45mph ,, could take a while ( if it doesn't kill the thing ) .., that and if you can find a manual transmission they seem to be more desired...,

good luck and remember anything worth doing is worth over doing
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Postby TomServo » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:51 am

Try public auto auctions. Busses typically sell low at auction. I worked at an auction here in Benicia, and saw a prison bus (that I dearly wanted), sell for $100. Keep in mind the licensing that may be needed. If it has air brakes, its classB....if you plan on bringing several people then you will also need a passenger endorsement. Don't know if theyre still a company, but search Nationwide Auction systems online...you can view theyre inventory, and find out if you need to pay any back registration. City and county bus lines normally maintain their vehicles, but some are worse than others. If you choose to go to auction, bring a mechanic friend to inspect the vehicle.

Just a thought..
anything worth doing is worth overdoing..
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Postby BaalTeshuva » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:22 am

Thank you for any helpful information you have provided... have a great day and I look forward to more constructive suggestions... thank you
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Postby Risky » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:31 am

My friend is selling his bus. He has another that he uses for the playa.
Here is his ad on Craigslist -

http://reno.craigslist.org/cto/2216038033.html
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:38 am

Passenger endorsements are needed when carrying more than 16 people and are moot if the vehicle is registered as an RV. However! I doubt you would want to carry 16 people in an RV. People are heavy let alone all their stuff.

I would recommend getting a smaller bus with hydraulic brakes.

Look up the qualifications for an RV in your state and make those modifications then change the insurance and registration over to Recreational Vehicle.
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Postby CapSmashy » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:24 pm

Risky wrote:My friend is selling his bus. He has another that he uses for the playa.
Here is his ad on Craigslist -

http://reno.craigslist.org/cto/2216038033.html


To add to this (great price by the way), Craigslist is an excellent spot to watch for them to come up for sale. You being int he Atlanta area should have no issues finding several between now and the event.

Word of caution though, skoolies can turn into lots of money really fast when something breaks. The short busses built on heavy van platforms are a little cheaper to work on, but will not have the longevity of a full on bus with a big diesel and heavy duty transmission.

We have an 89 Bluebird. We bought it for $3k already gutted and painted. Since then, we have spent close to $10k both mechanically and fixing it up. We have two more big expenses on it coming up before Burning Man this year having the transmission dropped, repaired and upgraded and replacing our generator.

Oh yeah, and probably a couple of more tires on the back.
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Postby CapSmashy » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:30 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:Passenger endorsements are needed when carrying more than 16 people and are moot if the vehicle is registered as an RV. However! I doubt you would want to carry 16 people in an RV. People are heavy let alone all their stuff.


That's the beauty of a skoolie. My Bluebird empty weighs in at around 12k pounds. My gross vehicle weight, with the load properly split on the axles is 25k pounds. Traditional RV's come out of the factory pushing their gross vehicle capacity within a few thousand pounds, cheaper models are within 1000 to 1500 pounds of their gross vehicle weight.

I would recommend getting a smaller bus with hydraulic brakes.


Air brakes are pretty awesome.

Look up the qualifications for an RV in your state and make those modifications then change the insurance and registration over to Recreational Vehicle.


Yep. We got lucky and ours was already titled as an RV.
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Postby Martiansky » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:41 pm

Another place to look for a bus is your local schoolbus company.
They can only keep a schoolbus for so many years due to state regulations and have to get rid of them after that.
If you're lucky they may have a few in the back they are trying to sell.
I drove a bus for 20 years and thats how we got rid of our old busses.
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