Author Topic: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?  (Read 13851 times)

Offline HB of CJ

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Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« on: March 28, 2013, 01:54:13 PM »
Another excellent post got me to thinking. (dangerous!)  If you had the time and $money$, (lots of money) what kind of Bus Conversion Motor Coach would you have; how would it be designed and laid out and why you would do it in that particular fashion?

I will start.  Now old and cootie; but years ago I really wanted to convert a Crown Supercoach ex-schoolie into that ultimate high performance driver's Bus Conversion.  Big Cummins, Roadranger, great handling, big capacities with pretty much everything inside.

I had a 1974 Crown 40', 3 axle, 10 wheeler.  Never converted it and it has since been sold.  But had I done sooss, it could have had a "street" 600hp Cummins Big Cam 2, Jake, 10 speed Roadranger, huge brakes and about a 110 mph top speed.  Cruise at 80.

To exploit the fact that the coach was a logging truck chassis with an aluminum body on top, fuel, water and holding capacity would have been very large.  Would have been set up for two, (2) for full time, extended, dry boondocking.  Yours?  HB of CJ (old coot) :)

Offline Geoff

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2013, 06:36:14 PM »
'82 GMC RTS -- just what I have already.
'82 RTS AZ

Offline morefire

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2013, 07:12:51 PM »
I built/still building my own personal Ultimate Bus/Coach right now.  If I had to do it over, there isn't much I would change.  
I have all the features I dreamed of having From the Engine/drive train, generator, aqua hot etc...and am in love with the almost finished product.

Ultimate coach =

However, if I have millions of dollars to throw around,  I'd simply buy a late model Newell Coach for $1.5 Mil. :o ;)

« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 07:16:04 PM by morefire »
David G
Toronto, Ontario
2009 Bluebird 40' Coach
Cummins ISX-675HP!!

Offline Kevin

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 07:34:11 PM »
Well, Old Coot...

Always been a fan of the Crowns! In fact, it was the Crown school bus that drove me into the "illness". I wanted one badly. I spoke with the service manager at the local school district bus yard - inquiring about a 35 footer - but he pointed out that all of theirs were 40 footers. I tow a boat and can't exceed 65' total length (in SoCal) so I told him a 35' bus was my maximum.

He pointed me in the direction of the trusty old GMs, while cautioning that the angle-drive would limit power/trans options. Still, on my way to look, when I rounded the street corner and first laid eyes on our '60 4104, I realized that this was my new 'dreamboat'!  ;D

I am lusting for a  DDEC 6-71 TA for her (just as Rick West "gg04" and "Boomer" have installed in their early GMs) to boost the HP and allow me to pull the mountainous High Desert terrain with a bit more gusto. I'd be pretty damn happy with the GM 4104 set up like that... original 4-speed for me, please. Oh, if there were half a chance of finding a Hydra-shift trans.... or somehow adapting a Brownie auxiliary (mainly for Granny-Low) that would just be the cat's meow for me. Assuming of course that either of those trans configurations could be made reliable and able to withstand 300 hp and maybe 800 ft lbs of torque.

Love the look of the '04 to this day. She's a good-lookin' Girl!!! ;)


Quartz Hill, CA

"To the gov!!!"

Offline Seangie

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Re: Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2013, 08:11:10 PM »
If money was a second thought,  I'd buy the Newell and keep the Eagle 10S as a daily driver.  Always need something to work on.  Then I'd build a garage for the two buses, buy a bunch of new tools, learn to weld and I'd freshen up the paint, and find a way to squeeze a 14L 60 or ISX into the Eagle.

1984 Eagle Model 10S
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we live in a van (Eagle 10 Suburban)
Driving through the night
To that old promised land'

Offline luvrbus

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 08:42:25 PM »
Would be Newell for me with a 650 hp C-15 Cat and a new 10 speed Allision
Life is short drink the good wine first

Offline RJ

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2013, 08:42:43 PM »
If they were still in production, I'd order a 102" 4106 with a Jake-equipped 375 hp 8V71TA coupled to a V-730.  I'd check the options box for the RTS front axle with the big transit brakes and sharper steering cut and the RTS rear axle with the big brakes and a 4.125:1 ratio.  (If a 3.90:1 was available, I'd take that, along with 315/80R22.5 tires.

I'd also option the 4905 instrument cluster and driver's HVAC setup, along with supplemental sound-deadening around the engine compartment.  Oh, and a USSC air-ride driver's seat (more comfortable than a Recaro!)

Interior would be "seats six, feeds four, sleeps two" in a semi-side aisle configuration, probably in light oak.  Included would be lots of yacht-inspired nook & cranny storage for putting a quart into a pint pot.  LED lighting with modern electronics, too.

OTOH, HB. . . A three-axle Twinkie Crown with a 500 hp pusher automatic powertrain might be kinda fun!   ;D

Nice thread!

RJ Long
PD4106-2784: Donated to the Pacific Bus Museum
S14947: 1980 MC-5C Shell 6V92/HT-740
S13406: 1978 MC-5C Angola Coach - Swapped for vvv
M1001907: 1992 Prevost XL Vantarè Conversion 8V92T/HT-755 (DDEC/ATEC)
Cheney WA

Offline TomC

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2013, 09:13:51 PM »
Even though my Kenworth truck conversion is my dream motorhome since that's all I can afford, I'll second Cliffords Newall with an older Caterpillar C16 and the new Allison T-10 transmission. Good Luck, TomC
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.

Offline Seayfam

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Re: Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2013, 09:59:56 PM »
If I can dream big, this is my dream coach! But with my budget, I might get the couch for my bus. If I ever win the lottery though 8)

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Offline wg4t50

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2013, 01:47:54 AM »
Choices and more choices, having done the MC7 I find trting to sell a creation for 10% of invested money would be a winner.  Now at 71 and health going south, I find buying a proper coach already done by a professional RV coach builder a very attractine move, it is resellable, you can take it to the factory for any work since they built it, most RV shops are clueless beyond changing light bulbs.
As for the Newell, yes they are beautiful just liike the Blue Birds were, but the 45' units are very HEAVY, 55k lb+++, if they were required to have to cross the scales, they would be off the road, just like the later Blue Birds, as said, choices.
Me, I bought a 2001 Foretravel, has the ISM500, 4000MHR Allison, weight is 30,500 lb ready to go.  Great body, general opinion, "rather have a 10 yr old Foretravel than a brand new anything else"  That about sums it up. Was $189K about 5 years ago when bought it. Like driving the pickp, check oil every 5 k miles maybe, after the DDC 2 cycles, had to learn new habits.
Yes I do laugh alot.
Dave M
MCI7 20+ Yrs
Foretravel w/ISM500
WG4T CW for ever.
Central Virginia

Offline scanzel

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2013, 03:11:36 AM »
My ultimate would be to just finish what I have a 1989 Prevost, bought in 2005 and still working on it. The high end Newell and Prevost are too much glitz for me and my wife, we like it simple and functional. To me driving 1 to 2 millions dollars coaches on today's highways is just crazy, too many nuts out there. To each his own dream.  ;D ;D
Steve Canzellarini
Berlin, CT
1989 Prevost XL

Offline Ed Hackenbruch

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2013, 04:12:29 AM »
The ultimate bus conversion for me would be to trade my bus for a house in Hawaii. ;D
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 04:14:21 AM by Ed Hackenbruch »
Used to own a 1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.

Offline Scott & Heather

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2013, 05:03:05 AM »
Definitely a truck conversion. Something I could easily wrench on by flipping open the hood. Would love a couple of slides and dual stacks :)

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Offline Jeremy

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2013, 05:27:19 AM »
The thing about any 'ultimate' bus conversion is that it varies day-by-day depending on what you want to do with it. In one set of circumstances a 45' Newell is 'ultimate', but in other circumstances it's beaten by something much smaller and easier to park and maneuver for instance. Then there's different types of vacation trips -  for instance, boon-docking out in the wilds compared to never leaving the tarmac and full-service hook-ups. And then all the practical issues of running and maintaining a bus with all the latest exotic technology and equipment, compared to one with the minimum of electrical stuff and tried-and-tested mechanics.

For my own requirements, the bus I am building will probably represent my own 'ultimate' - although if money were no object everything on it would be newer and better of course.

Here are a couple of other ultimate buses (this thread having nothing to do with anything based on a truck):

For the tarmac-based RV'er who only cares about how big and luxurious their vehicle is when it's stationary (ignore the fact that it's from Sam Walker and unfinished - imagine what this COULD be like):

For off-road RV'ers who still want a bus-based vehicle:

For people who want a short and maneuverable bus to tow boats to sailing clubs, often in fairly difficult-to-get-to locations, and then stay there in a vehicle which has as much space luxury as possible, and yet still be cheap-to-run (imagine this when it's finished with four slide-outs etc):


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Offline CrabbyMilton

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Re: Your Ultimate Bus Conversion?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2013, 06:25:32 AM »
Where to start? I would love a solid black MCI J4500 but it looks like MCI no longer offers shells so I guess PREVOST is my only dream choice but I could live with that.Having a dark brown one would be fun just to drive near an UPS terminal to annoy them would be interesting. I can't afford a brand new or good used one and I don't know people with the skills needed to convert one so all I can do is dream but hey... great question though.