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 updated 12/23/2009 06:22 PM

We went through over 1000 of our latest emails and decided to answer the
 most  popular questions about our Custom Coaches and Coach Kits...


Check out our Questions and Answers for MCI Buses too

 


1. Can We Subdivide the Kit?
2. What is a Blank out Panel ? 
3. What is a Raised Roof?

4. What are front and rear caps?

5. What is Rear Cap A/C ?

6. What is Generator Power?

7. What kind of generators do you sell/recommend?

8. Can you level a bus using the existing airbags?

9. What is the  Extended Rear Clip?

10. How long is the Rear Clip Extension?

11. Is it feasible to raise the roof?

12. Can a 6' tall person live in a converted bus?

13. Can big guys have big showers?

14. What's a Neo Angle Shower?

15. Can you use hardwood floors?

16. Can you use radiant heat in the floors?

17. Can you buy a bus for $5000 ?

18. Is a city or transit bus good for conversion?

19. What is a bi-fold door?

20. Do you have floor plans for a party bus?

21. What is a 1-piece side?

22. Do you have a 1-piece down to the bay doors?

23. What's a cafe door?

24. Are GMC buses any good?

25. Are your coaches usable in sub-zero weather?

26. Is an Eagle a good bus?

27. Do you make a kit for the Eagle?

28. What is an A-2 MCI?

29. Is the two axle coach MCI A-2 a good coach?

30. Can you just buy the kit for the bedroom only?

31. Will your kits fit transit buses such as RTS?

32. What makes a better wheelchair designed coach, I was told to use a transit bus.
?
33. Will you have separate accessories besides the kit?

34. Why move the MCI radiator?

35. Do bus radiators get the same airflow as a truck radiator?

36. Is insulation for the roof/sides/floors included in the kit?

37. Is a water heater included in the kit?

38. Is the water heater provided with plumbing?

39. Is a furnace part of the kit?

40. Do you install propane?

41. What's the heating in a kit?

42. What size holding tanks do you use and how many?

43. What does the galley contain?

44. What does the bathroom contain?

45. Is there a choice of floor plans?

46. What kind of windows do you use and how many?

47. Do you change the windows?

48. Are flooring and wall treatments part of the kit?

49. If I am going to buy a used bus, what do you recommend?

50. What's the deal about your coach being 99% 120V AC power?

51. Do you have 12V DC?

52. Does your coach come with step-down connections (i.e. 100 A, 50 A, 30 A, 20 A)?

53. Do you offer an amperage monitoring system?

54.Cabinets and Vanity

55. Solid woods

56. Why raise a roof?
57. Do you build Slide Outs for monocoque chassis?
58. What is an Extended Rear?
59. What is a Conversion Kit?
60. What is the best Engine?
61. What's the difference between bus and motor homes suspensions?
62. Polished skins or painted smooth skins?
63. Is it difficult to polish my own stainless steel or aluminum skins?
64. Is it difficult to replace our own skins?

65. What is a legal motor home?     From Progressive Insurance

66. Do you know where we can get insurance for our Bus Conversion Motor Home?
 

"See our new Online  RV Catalog "


www.BusRVparts.com

 

0


 

1. Can We Subdivide the Kit?

We are sorry but at this time in order to make the kit more economical, we have to design it to be built as one unit. However, soon we do plan on offering modular sections of our famous kit.

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2. What is a Blank out Panel ?     DCP03482.JPG (125085 bytes) 

This is a solid panel of aluminum that spans the length of the coach and is installed to cover where the windows used to be. In essence it's a new wall. Some companies build this out of 10 ft sections; we use 1 solid panel at 1/8th of an inch thick. It takes special machinery, but it is definitely worth the investment.

3. What is a Raised Roof?   
DCP00255.JPG (126666 bytes)

A standard coach comes at a given height. The average is a 6'7" interior height. But when converting a passenger bus into an RV, it is better to have a false ceiling that's been squared off so as to make room for your overhead cabinetry. If you remember when you're standing in a passenger bus, you need to lean over to look out a window. When standing in a private coach, you should be able to look eye level to look out a window.

4. What are front and rear caps?     

Where the front windshield area meets the roof line, there is a smooth rounded area. This is your front cap. The same is true for the rear. These caps are a given size built for that bus' application. When you raise a roof, you need to redesign this front and rear area for the new application. 

5. What is Rear Cap A/C?    
( Patent Pending,  )

B.T.U. wise there is no better more efficient system than a Roof Air conditioning system. It's very durable well proven and cheaper to build. Unfortunately though it's also unsightly.
Carrier and BusConversion101.com have co-designed a modified Carrier Roof A/C unit that blows forward other than downward .

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The Rear Cap A/C Air Conditioning system is a very simple . It's 3 zones of control, 3-120 Volt 18,000 BTU Special built A/C systems. These units are mounted on a shelf inside the back of the bedroom area inside the rear fiberglass cap. Nothing is protruding through the roof or the rear of the coach. Units mounted in this fashion give you almost 5 tons of air conditioning, yet can be zone controlled for each area. However, this type of system mainly works with a raised roof coach. The duct work would be running through the ceiling. 


The Rear Cap A/C Air system provides over 4.5 tons of  A/C power. With one large 1.5 ton duct directly over the driver and passenger in the front of the coach. 

6. What is Generator Power?

Years ago, we used to purchase our generators and we found that there were many variations of the generating unit coupled with a different diesel powered unit. We have a very popular manufacturer to build our unit using Isuzu diesel engines with other top name-brand genset units. We now can offer a very good quality 10-24 kW generator at a normal price with a good warranty. 

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7. What kind of generators do you sell / recommend?      
 "The EPS Quite Pack"

There are many size generators to choose from. Some do it yourself Bus friends have started with a lawnmower engine connected to a small alternator and produce 3kW. Then they move to a 5KW portable contractors generator you can buy at home depot.  
We've found over the years that a generator in a motor home actually runs more than any portable or contractor's generator. So when you pick a power plant, you want to pick one that's designed to run 24/7. The most efficient one would be a diesel. Diesels do cost a little more up front, but the average one will last four times longer than the other types. We've tried them all, and the best system we've come up with is a company in Connecticut that is famous for their durable marine diesel Gen Sets.

With their engineers we've co designed the best RV Bus Conversion generator by using an Isuzu 3 or 4 cylinder engine. This is the same Isuzu pickup truck engine that's proved its reliability over the years. Couple that to a top name alternating unit, add a good cooling system, good electronic gauges, and a way for it to breath and exhaust itself, and you now have a great and reliable RV generator. We had them design us a entry level unit along with top quality ones too ... check our prices and see.

8. Can you level a bus using the existing airbags?

Yes, you can. We make an adaptor kit that you can add to your present suspension system and level your bus from that manifold kit.     

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9. What is the Rear Clip Extension Extended Rear Clip?      
ADCP02081.JPG (158763 bytes)s buses have grown older and technology has advanced in the later model engines, it's more economical to install a larger engine in an older shell. However, you have to adapt that shell for the larger engine. When we were adapting the larger engine to get 10 miles per gallon, we had to extend the rear about 9 inches. At this time, we realized for a minor investment, you can remove the radiators from above the floor and reinstall them beneath the floor. This makes for a much more efficient space inside the cabin area. Over the years, we've improved on this method to the point of designing a complete rear kit that comes out of a jig and is completely assembled. This rear clip comes in 1, 2, and 5 ft extensions and will enable you to be able to install up to 600 hp engine system. With a special transmission, some buses are getting all the way up to 16 miles per gallon. By removing the radiators above the floor to down below, that adds almost 3 feet back to usable space for additional room in your bedroom.

10. How long is the Rear Clip Extension?

They come in pre-built sections at 1 foot, 2 foot, 3 foot, and 5 foot.

11. Is it feasible to raise the roof?      
 
For a more Detail Images Click here

Absolutely. A raised roof coach is so much more in demand that if you attempt to sell a non-raised roof coach, it would go for approximately 25% less. As a rule of thumb, when building a coach and you have the roof raised, that amount of investment should double if not triple towards the total equity value of your coach.

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12. Can a 6' tall person live in a converted bus?

Yes. The average height of an MCI 9 is 6'7". If you do not raise the roof, this should be more than enough room. The average bus converter usually raises the coach 8 inches. This is so you can install a squarer ceiling in order to accommodate A/C duct work, recessed mirrors, and lighting and makes an overall nicer appearance with your cabinetry. 

13. Can big guys have big showers?

With a raised roof MCI, you don't have any problem installing 36" or 42" straight shower or Neo Angle shower, full height, without trimming the top. This is as large, if not larger, than a standard home shower.

14. What's a Neo Angle Shower?

This is a shower that permits you to enter from what would be a corner so the door is actually at an angle to the back of the wall. The shower is shaped more like a triangle with a door facing the center of the room.

15. Can you use hardwood floors?       
Parquet floors in this bus

Yes. There are all types of hardwood floor kits that can be installed. It is not recommend to use heavy tongue in groove type but you can use a lighter tongue in groove like Pergo etc.

16. Can you use radiant heat in the floors?

Yes. There are different manufacturers and different methods, but it has become more and more common this past decade. 

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17. Can you buy a bus for $5000 ?         
Click for Specials

No, not really. You can probably buy one for $3000, $4000, or $5000, but it will be a very old coach. The technology won't be as advanced and you'll end up spending the same, if not more, to bring that older bus back to specifications for a comfortable motor home. We do offer non runners from time to time .. The bus  chassis will be good condition but the engine doesn't run.

 

18. Is a city or transit bus good for conversion?

As a rule, a transit bus is not as good as an over the road coach to build a private coach out of. Keep in mind, a transit bus is designed for local trips and stopping and going and stopping and going constantly all day. It stands to reason, that this bus will be a heavy passenger bus with a reinforced breaking, suspension, rear end, and assorted steering components. There are no practical areas to use for your utilities (i.e. holding tanks, pumps, heating, hookup connections, etc.). This bus has a chassis, very heavy steel channel system going through the floor to the rear. An over the road coach is built from a monocoque design, which means it is built from many pre-assembled sections and pieces attached to create a very good chassis. This system is much lighter, but just as strong. The most common monocoque design is used in an airplane fuselage. 

19. What is a bi-fold door?      

Most transit buses use a bi-fold door (rather than sedan doors) which means two doors in one that separate to permit entry and exit. An over the road coach has a salon door or cafe style door that swings on one side and opens at a 45 angle. The better door is the salon door because you're only dealing with one set of seals that are pulled in tight to the bus as the door locks. On a bi-fold door, the door doesn't pull in as tight. This system is designed for many, many thousands of openings and closings, so they have a tendency to wear the heavy rubber seals down and they always have air leaks. We are designing a stainless steel kit door to replace the bi-fold door on MCI's. Call and ask about scheduling.

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20. Do you have floor plans for a party bus?     
Standard side bed.jpg (40212 bytes)

Yes we do have different styles of floor planning. We have several of the average RV motor home, day coach, and a party bus. See Floor Plans for more details.

21. What is a 1-piece side?                             
DCP03482.JPG (125085 bytes)

When you blank out the side of a coach (covering the windows), most converters use thin flexible aluminum in 10-15 ft sections or can be done in a roll fashion in one piece for the whole side of the window area. Our concept is to have a special 1/8th inch tempered aluminum panel design and made for us. It is delivered on a 53 ft flatbed. We hang this as one large heavy unit and install it over the window area so as to give a one smooth, seamless look with out a lot of distortions. This section goes from underneath the roof to down to the trim beneath the windows. However, this can be extended to go from the roof line down to the luggage bay doors. 

22. Do you have a 1-piece down to the bay doors?     

Yes. Our concept is to have a special 1/8th inch tempered aluminum panel design and made for us. It is delivered on a 53 ft flatbed. We hang this as one large heavy unit and install it over the window area so as to give a one smooth, seamless look with out a lot of distortions. This section goes from underneath the roof to down to the trim beneath the windows. However, this can be extended to go from the roof line down to the luggage bay doors. 

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23. What's a cafe door?                       

A cafe door is another name for the main salon door or sedan door for a standard over the road coach entrance door.

24. Are GMC buses any good?

Yes, GMC was the king of buses at one time. However, those buses went out of production back in the 60s. Naturally technology and deterioration has made this beautiful coach somewhat obsolete. Be careful, there are some later model GMC transit buses, but don't get them confused with over the road coaches or intercity buses. 

25. Are your coaches usable in sub-zero weather?

Yes. AS a rule, as in most RVs, you build your insulation package around an average given temperature which is approximately 30 F for the low side. However, you can order the option super insulation package that would insulate your coach and your vulnerable plumbing down to -15 F.

26. Is an Eagle a good bus?  

Yes. The Eagle originally came back from Germany in the late 50s-early 60s, and was a well designed coach. The biggest problem they had when this beautiful coach became Americanized was the engineering was not upgraded to keep up with competitive technology. In the 70s, rust was a serious problem with all coaches. In the 80s, MCI was the first to address the problem with stainless steel construction; others followed along in the 90s. Eagle never did and they failed and went bankrupt in the late 90s.

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27. Do you make a kit for the Eagle?

At this time, our kits are mainly designed around the most popular bus currently being sold, which happens to be an MCI model 9. However, the Eagle interior roof line does happen to be very similar, but not exactly like the MC 9. We are presently designing a system for the Eagle. Hopefully by the spring of 2002, we should have that completed. We have a program going on through the winter for some Eagle owners. If you would like to contact us, and perhaps we could work together in a prototyping program with a tremendous guarantee. 

28. What is an A-2 MCI?

MCI built coaches for many years and used model numbers (i.e. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). In the late 1980s, they changed what would normally be a model 10 and called it an A. The model number would be designated by the bus' size and type of axles that unit would have, i.e. a 96 A-3 means is it 96" wide A model with 3 axles. Then you would have a 96 A-2, which means this is a 96" wide A model with 2 axles, meaning no tag axle.

29. Is the two axle coach MCI A-2 a good coach?

The MCI A-2 was an experiment: they wanted to know if they could build a lighter coach to handle certain routes. It turns out, the coach, without a tag axle, ended up being too light to carry full passengers and freight. Remember, Greyhound at one time handled small freight packages until UPS & Fed Ex took over. The biggest negative is that this coach has a much longer tail swing because there is no tag axle; therefore stretching it would not be an option. The GVWR is also less, so there is an easy chance you could be in the overload area when carrying or towing. Some people feel that without the tag axle, the coach would handle better; that is a misconception. The model with a trailing axle actually has a tendency to steer straighter and ride more smoothly under different conditions. The final answer would the A-2 is a great coach to convert to a motor home, unless you plan on a lot of towing and the tag axle model does seem to handle a little better.

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30. Can you just buy the kit for the bedroom only?

At this time, in order to keep our price down, we cannot separate the package. But don't be too discouraged, because we are doing a modified bathroom kit and probably will do a subdivided kit sometime soon.

31. Will your kits fit transit buses such as RTS?

No, not at this time. We had to design our kits to fit the more popular buses first, so at this time, only some parts will fit transit buses (i.e. holding tanks, plumbing, wiring, etc.). Keep in mind though, this does not mean that we cannot help you if you are converting a transit bus. There are many items that can fit either coach.

32. What makes a better wheelchair designed coach? I was told to use a transit bus.

A transit bus does have a lower floor, but this type of coach just does not make as good a conversion as an over the road coach. We offer several floor plans for physically challenged families. We have a patented design wheelchair lift that comes out of the stairway that will fit and MCI 9 or 102 models. We are presently looking for persons who would like to co-design more floor plans for physically challenged persons using wheelchairs.

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33. Will you have separate accessories besides the kit?

Yes. There are always optional accessories available to design and decorate your coach to look more modern with up to date technology.

34. Why move the MCI radiator?     

Back in the 50s, MCI installed radiators in the back of the cabin structure above the floor. This idea was to prevent an ongoing problem of leaves, dirt, and debris being sucked in the low slung radiator. Over the years, all manufacturers install their radiators next to the engine on the left side. The main reason is roads are far superior to what they were 50 years ago and there is not as much debris on the highways. In the mid 90s, MCI did install the radiator down below the floor level beside the engine with the MCI Renaissance. Now all bus manufacturers install the radiator beside the engine. It just seems to be an easier way of maintaining and allowing more useable square footage above the floor. 

35. Do bus radiators get the same airflow as a truck radiator?

No, they don't. A bus radiator is on the side of the coach and the cooling fan has to pull air through it. On a truck, as soon as you get up to 35 MPH, air is pushing its way into it. The front radiator is a far superior design for a truck that works much heavier carrying an average weight of 80,000 lbs., where a bus seldom carries more than 40,000 lbs. The side radiator design for a bus is very adequate that engine.

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36. Is insulation for the roof/sides/floors included in the kit?

No. The shell has to be prepared as a separate operation before you install the kit. Part of the preparation is insulating, sealing, and than plywooding the interior so as to have a completed interior wood skin.

37. Is a water heater included in the kit?

Yes. There are other optional heaters available as well, i.e. faster, larger capacity, etc.

38. Is the water heater provided with plumbing?

Yes. There are other optional heaters available as well, i.e. faster, larger capacity, etc.

39. Is a furnace part of the kit?

Yes. There are other optional heaters available as well, i.e. faster, larger capacity, electric, diesel, etc.

40. Do you install propane?

Yes, we can. Most of all our coaches are full electric with diesel heat, but we can install propane if needed.

41. What's the heating in a kit? 

You have a choice of electric and diesel fired heating. These come in forced air or heat exchanger systems.      Webasto  info :http://www.webasto.us/am/en/am_rv.html

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42. What size holding tanks do you use and how many? 
tanks3.jpg (518140 bytes)

The holding tank system consists of three tanks with different sizes. Fresh water: 100-200 gallons. Grey water: 40-60 gallons. Black water: 40-60 gallons.

43. What does the galley contain?

The galley kit includes a two burner electric stovetop with glass surface, a sink with all fixtures attached. A refrigerator is optional because this is a heavy item that can be bought locally.

44. What does the bathroom contain?

A 30" vanity, an RV porcelain toilet, a small broom closet. The shower we let you purchase locally.

45. Is there a choice of floor plans?          
Standard side bed.jpg (40212 bytes)

Yes we do have different styles of floor planning. We have several of the average RV motor home, day coach, and a party bus. See Floor Plans for more details.

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46. What kind of windows do you use and how many?

We recommend a company called Peninsula Glass . they build custom  RV slider style windows. Their quality is superb and their warranties are great. They have single and dual pane insulated windows.

47. Do you change the windows?

All the commercial bus windows are a good, heavy grade window. They still are not the best for RV use. For one reason, most of the seals are old and cracked because they have to be escape windows. RV style designed are slider designed, so therefore you have a more modern technology and a more efficient window.

48. Are flooring and wall treatments part of the kit?

Most wall treatments are included in most design kits. A good quality linoleum is included in the kit. There are many optional floors available to you, i.e. marble, tile, wood, etc. Snap together wood flooring

49. If I am going to buy a used bus, what do you recommend?

As you probably know from your research, a commercial passenger bus can make a tremendous lifelong RV motor home. As you research, the biggest factors are age and corrosive deterioration. Some buses did not address the corrosive problem, so therefore, they may not be the best candidate. Some coaches addressed the corrosive problem, but then weight is a factor (i.e. Van Hool, Neoplan). It seems that MCI was the first to build a coach using aluminum stainless steel and a monocoque chassis which translates into a tremendous savings and a corrosive preventative program.  buses for sale

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50. What's the deal about your coach being 99% 120V AC power?

In the old days, most all motor homes offered a 12V DC electrical system for lighting. That day has passed. With newer technology, you can install a quality inverter which takes DC battery power and converts it into AC home power. This also makes it easy to design and decorate your coach using common accessories and fixtures available in most home improvement stores.

51. Do you have 12V DC?

Yes. There are a couple outlets by the driver for 12V accessories.

52. Does your coach come with power
step-down connections (i.e. 100 A, 50 A, 30 A, 20 A)?

Yes. It does depend on what your coach was designed for; the average is 50 A. But yes, the kit will have adapters so as to be able to plug into a standard RV 30 A.

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53. Do you offer an amperage monitoring system?

Yes. As an optional feature, there is an electronic panel available that mounts next to your controls. This monitors how much amperage you're drawing and can be set with an alarm to notify you when your amperage draw is nearing your connection limit. 

More answers to come ...

54.Cabinets and Vanity

The most important part of your entire coach is your interior finishing. If you skimp here, your beautiful motor home will always look like a do-it-yourself home built. Be careful. Most cabinet companies do not understand the way a coach is built. Most cabinet companies will charge you more than if you simply buy the kit that we offer. For example, if you went to Home Depot and bought a vanity and put it in your coach, the first thing you would notice is that the vanity leans to the right and is not flush with the back wall. The side walls on a MCI are bowed out in the middle 1" - 1.5". The floor is raised 3" in the rear of the coach. When you design and build to accommodate these tolerances, it can be somewhat challenging. Also, a cabinet built heavier and thicker actually supports a better riding coach. You don't have the squeaks and twisting noises you would with a pre-made, stapled together cabinet.

55. Solid woods

Solid woods might not be as good as you think. Most coaches, even the high end coaches, use veneers over an MDF (multi-density fiber) or plywood type base. The reason for this is that your bus is a sealed box that reaches temperatures over 130F in extreme conditions. The water that is stored inside your coach, i.e. sink traps, shower traps, toilet, even the evaporator tray underneath the refrigerator, adds moisture to the inside of your coach. On a very hot day in a parking lot, your coach can convert into a steam bath. Most solid woods can't handle this in time. We have addressed these problems in our kits. This is the main reason that laminates have become so popular in the last decade. A wood interior coach has a lower value than a laminated coach. 

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56. Why Raise a Roof?

Throughout the history of the bus conversion industry it has been a common practice to raise the roof so as to have ample height of your windows. You want the height in such a manner so when you're standing in the middle of the coach and looking out, you don't want to have to bend over to look out the top of your window. The higher ceiling has become so popular that almost 95% of all converted coaches are raised roofs. It also gives the ability to have an attic for sunken mirrors, recessed lighting and more space to run wires for sound systems etc. A coach with a raised roof has a much higher resale value than a non-raised roof. 

57. Do you build Slide Outs for monocoque chassis?

In the last 10 years, there has been a trend to have more and more space in your coach when parked. Instead of going longer, they started making them adaptable to be wider. This trend has also bled over into the bus conversion industry. Whenever considering adding slide-outs to your chassis, esp. with an MCI monocoque chassis, you want to be sure you have an expert to install this for you. The average expense usually is around $1,000. - $1,500 per foot. Depending on who's designing this for you, you can have as many as four units installed almost doubling the size of your coach when parked.
Ask about our Rack and pinion System using new two heavy steel rails. We use a unique system designed 18 years ago just for the MCI chassis. If one rail moves 1/4" the other rail has to move 1/4"' .. These two rails are synchronized with a axle that can not let one side go out without the other .. It can not tweak ..

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58. What is an Extended Rear?

There are a lot of you out there that feel a 36ft motor home is all you could ever want to have. However, and thank goodness, there are a lot of you out there who want the most space bang for the buck. If you're considering buying a used coach, and it happens to be pre early 90s, there were no 45ft coaches at that time. So to keep the budget within tack and to keep a fully converted coach under $150, we've taken the famous MCI 9 stainless steel aluminum chassis and modified it. The MC9 has the shortest rear end behind the last axle. If you ever want to upgrade the power plant to a larger engine, you need to add to the rear. Not to mention, I was never a fan of the two split radiators with the big blower box above the engines. Many years ago, we converted those radiators into one large truck radiator and put it right beside the engine. Over the years, we have perfected this to an art. Now, we can install a Cummings 400-500, series 60 Detroit or any other large engine for that matter, in this new location. By moving the radiators down below the floor level, it automatically adds 2.5 ft upstairs that you didn't have. So it stands to reason, if you're going to move the radiators and add 6 inches so you can put a larger motor, add 3 ft. This gives you a total of 5.5 ft above floor that didn't exist before. 

All this said and done, you've now extended the bus 3 ft, 4 ft, or ever 5 ft for that matter. But even at 5 ft, you still have less overhang than most much shorter motor homes. It just makes good sense to extend the rear and upgrade it. Whenever you extend the coach, this is the perfect time to throw away those two small access doors in the back of the bus and on the sides of the engine. We now install two large side doors, 3 ft in length and the rear is one complete large tailgate that lifts straight up, very similar to the new Prevost H3s. You can imagine the expression on an old MCI mechanic when he goes to the rear and swings this very large tailgate straight up. They always make a comment about how much more space is there than before. It makes the engine extremely easier to service and yes, you can still tow whatever you wanted to tow before. 

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59. What is a Conversion Kit?

We have been building high-end and entry-level coaches for over 30 yrs. A lot of your high-end coach companies go tremendous detail with hand woods and hand crafted textures and upholsteries. You can imagine the amount of time spent going in and out of the coach. Years ago, I took notice of that and came up with a plan to save the tremendous amount of wasted labor. What we have been doing, we try to pre-build as many of the large items as possible. Over the years, we've gotten quite proficient at this to where we were almost assembling these as if they were in a kit form. For many years, friends and customers have been asking us about kits because of our modular philosophy. A few years ago, we offered a very light kit, but very difficult to assemble. It wasn't much more than simply plans and light drawings. Over the years, we've perfected this idea to make it a little easier for the average skilled person. 

Now, we are pleased to announce that we have perfected our newest kit for 2005 to be almost completely built here. You literally buy a sink base with the sink and fixture installed with a Corian countertop already attached. This sink base has all the doors and drawers already assembled. Most buses have a inclined floor, meaning its 3 inches higher in the rear of the coach, along with a swollen side wall, where the side wall is as much as 1 - 1.5 in wider than the floor. You can imagine where this could give the average cabinet worker a heart attack. One your shell is prepared and insulated properly to the BusConversion101.com specifications, our kits are now so simple you literally open up a box with the base cabinet and sink in it. Lift it up and bring it through the windshield, set down where you want to mount it, slide it up against the wall, and attach the screws. You now take a panel with your beveled mirror already installed, set it on the back of your sink, install that to the wall, then your overhead cabinet that is completely assembled with all lighting and switches simply slides down, meets that mirror panel, and simply attach to the wall. 

Now that you're standing in front of your sink admiring your craftsman ship, you see the sink base, beveled mirrored panel, and overhead cabinets on top of that, you now notice directly above your head is raw plywood. Now we have a fixture that is your new ceiling. It could be a panel of upholstery, a recessed lighting box, approx 5 -6 ft x 3 ft wide. You simply attach this to your ceiling above your head and you ceiling is installed. Now continuing down, you install another overhead set of cabinets that will match flush with that unit. You notice these are shaped in a peculiarly different manner, but this cabinet is designed to site above the refrigerator. One installed, your new 22 cu. ft. side by side refrigerator will roll in just beneath that space. As soon as your fridge is installed, there is a small broom closet that mounts just beneath those cabinets you just installed and this now gives the impression your refrigerator is flush mounted with your wall. This broom closet/pantry is designed to have a laminated surface or beveled mirrors on the face facing the front of the coach. 

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60. What is the best Engine?

Over the years, Detroit has been the most successful engine when used in passenger buses. Recently however, companies have strived to meet ecological standards. Most recently, Detroit that had the famous 6V92 in all MC9s, now offers their 4 stroke series 60, 300-500 hp engines. This is a great engine, but it's fairly new; less than 10 years in popularity, and is also one of the most expensive ones in the marketplace. They average between $18,000 - $27,000.  

Our research has shown the best bang for the buck in an MCI upgrade is the Cummings Big Cam 400. Of course they have their other electronic versions in the 400-500 hp class. 

We use the BC400 because it's easier to retrofit in an MCI 9, and the prices are the most competitive. Prices can vary from $4500 for a used up to $8000 for a rebuilt and $15,000 - $18,000 for a brand new. They are easier to match with an average Allison transmission. 

However, don't discount this very famous Detroit DDEC 6v92 engine. With the invention of the DDEC (Detroit Diesel Electronic Control), coupled with the ATEC (Allison Transmission Electronic Control), these engines have proven themselves to be a good investment.

61. What's the difference between bus and motor homes suspensions?

An average motor home manufactured in the US is usually a heavy duty truck chassis, modified to run a little softer, with a large box (the RV) mounted on top of it. Technically, this is a suspension, but made from a modified truck chassis.

An over the road passenger coach (or commonly referred to as a tour coach) is designed to carry passengers 24/7. It's design facilitates easy maintenance. It also has a very soft airbag suspension, which is one of the softest rides we can make. A tour coach in particular MCI, is a monocoque configuration, meaning the chassis actually flexes with the suspension. This method has been a proven system for many, many years. Not to mention, this type of chassis is designed for thirty years and millions of miles. So obviously, a coach chassis would be a much better candidate to make into a motor home than an heavy truck.

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62. Polished skins or painted smooth skins?

When the American bus manufacturers started building our buses, someone came up with the idea of a heavy gauge, stainless steel skin with ribs, also called flutes, applied every three of four inches. The Europeans, however, always liked a flat skin painted surface. In the past decade, that trend has come to America. I'm partial to the mirror finish polished skin bus myself; nothing is more beautiful than that solid chrome-plated look with detail graphics painted above. This truly designates a highly crafted private bus conversion. However, some of the most beautiful bus conversion motor homes out there are the flat skin, fully painted coaches. Our concept at BusConversion101.com has been to offer both the painted and highly-polished mirror skins.

63. Is it difficult to polish my own stainless steel or aluminum skins?

There are two types of skins on passenger: aluminum extruded skins with an anodized finish, and heavy gauge stainless steel in a brush finish or polished finish with ribs. The aluminum extrusion with an anodized finish cannot be polished. The anodized coating is designed to be a matte finish and cannot be changed. Many have tried, but to do any changes, you're only left to painting the surface.

On stainless steel skins, you're dealing with a metal that is built of nickel and other alloys. It is somewhat tempered and brittle. It's very easy to polish one, but it is not very easy to polish with an even shine unless you have some experience. It does usually require a lot of elbow grease. If you'd like to attempt, we'd be happy to walk you through it and tell you where you can find materials and equipment.

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64. Is it difficult to replace our own skins?

Well, it all depends on your skill level. This is something that needs some skill. If nothing else, at least call us and let us walk you through some things that you need to be aware of, i.e. rivet vs. glue, tricks on heating larger skins to pre-stretch them, and tricks on how to pre-level all of your stringers to not have a wavy side. When you remove your rivets you need to be aware of the dimples you can make in the metal stringer that holds the rivet. If you don't bring that back flush, and you go to rivet your skin back, you'll see a sunken spot when the rivet pulls tight. When traveling down the highway, it becomes somewhat of an interest with my family and employees that you can tell where made by a do it yourselfer who did not address that issue on the skins or on the trim. 

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65. What is a legal motor home?
Answer from Progressive Insurance:

What is a Motor Home?
Motor homes are motor vehicles that are designed to provide temporary living quarters and that are permanently attached to a motor vehicle chassis or van.

ALL of the following must be permanently installed facilities:

  • Cooking
  • Refrigeration
  • Bathroom facilities (built-in and plumbed)
  • Self-contained heating and/or air conditioning
  • Drinkable water supply system
  • 110 to 125 volt electrical power system (including solar powered systems)

Information from Progressive website     

66. Do you know where we can get insurance for our Bus Conversion Motor Home?


    Link to RV  Insurance

 There are two types of RV Insurance for your Bus conversion

Non-Professional Bus Conversion - Class A        "For the Do It Yourselfer"

  • Motor Home facilities built into a greyhound-type bus shell, but does not include changes made to school buses as these vehicles are unacceptable.
  • Conversion is performed by the owner of the vehicle.

Professional Bus Conversion - Class A

  • Motor Home facilities built into a greyhound-type bus shell.
  • Conversion is performed by a professional converter such as Prevost, Marathon, Country Coach, etc


Progressive Car Insurance
    Link to RV  Insurance

 24/7. Call 1-800-PROGRESSIVE
 Copyright 1995 - 2007. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company. All rights reserved.  

 

 

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