Once our monetary goal was met, we started our bus search. To be honest, we had no clue what we were looking for. We Just knew we needed something reliable. We heard from numerous people we could find cheap buses at an auction, however, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good especially having no prior knowledge in purchasing a bus. Luckily, we found a bus market about 30 minutes from home and I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the incredibly helpful owners.
You can find them at http://www.wesellschoolbuses.com/
Enduring the scorching heat and summer rain in Florida, they took the time to show us around the lot and explain the differences in bus models and engines. It was only then we could fully grasp what it was we were looking for. They drew our eyes to things we didn’t even know we wanted.
Every bus has appealing and lovable characteristics which makes it difficult to determine which is right. It’s a matter of deciding what you really need to make it a home. One piece of advice the people we purchased from resonated with us. They told us nobody had ever come back wishing they had a smaller bus. In a few circumstances, some were actually wishing they had more room. We want to live sustainably for months, so even though the short buses are freaking awesome, they aren’t practical for us. After months of looking and researching, we ended up purchasing our charming ’98 Blue Bird bus.
-Size: Some parks can’t accommodate vehicles longer than 30 feet, so our beloved skoolie coming in just short of 30 seemed just the right fit. Our bus also has a flat front nose which allows us more living space.
-Engine: This bus has a strong Cummins Diesel that purrs like a kitten. The engine was placed in the front which means it’s less likely to overheat when we head for the mountains.
-Insulation: Our bus came with acoustic ceilings which is an expensive upgrade for the schools. These ceilings eliminate days of removing rivets and adding insulation. Jackpot!
-Short wheel base: The shorter wheel base gives us lots of underbody space in the rear of our bus. We can place our fresh water and gray water tanks under the bus and still have room for storage boxes!
-Handicap access door: We have a fun project planned for this door. We’re going to build a hideaway outdoor table that drops out of the door. Space to clean our fish and cook!
Every project requires a solid foundation, so with many factors considered, this was the perfect bus for us! Beep beep, here comes Liberty!
If you’re in the market for a bus conversion, my word of advice would be to take your time. We spent months researching and I’m pleased we did. If we had jumped on the first bus we liked, we would be stuck in a 40 ft GMC tour bus with big engine troubles. Keaton’s dad took a look at it and found some oil had mixed in with the coolant. We dodged a bullet with that bus for sure. Buying from a reputable dealer is ideal. In fact, we recommend never buying private. Most people who are trying to sell a bus attempted a conversion and have either run into troubles or couldn’t find the time to finish. We all know diesel engines don’t do well when they sit. The people we purchased from buy direct from northern schools. We had to be cautious of rust, but schools in Florida don’t require yearly inspections so steer clear of Florida school buses!
We hope you found this information helpful if you’re interested in building your own home on wheels. We’re going to try to regularly update our progress. Both of us are working full time jobs and trying to commit our free time to working on the bus, so this blog may not be updated as frequently as we’d like. Please stay tuned and continue following our journey. There’s much more to come!
Live free and stay humble.