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Buses or coach as a home.


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#1 OFFLINE   SherpaMog

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:13 PM

Hi I'm looking for advice from you knowledgeable bus people on here.
I'm considering living on a bus. Cheaply. Any recommendations on driving legally, licence insurance etc. Also advice on the type of bus that will be best value, won't be doing huge miles. Thanks chaps.
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#2 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:45 PM

Any bus over 30 years old can be driven on a car licence as long as it's still a bus and not used for carrying passengers, although insurance can be fun*.

 

Problem is that if you're looking to live in it you'd want to convert it to (and presumably register it as) a motorhome, whereupon you'll need a Class C licence to drive it legally.

 

I'm not the best placed to give advice over what to buy - Plaxton Panorama / Paramount-bodied Bedford / Leyland / Volvo seem to be reasonably cheap and plentiful, but they are slow as feck and rust like buggery which probably isn't ideal if you're going to be living in it.


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#3 OFFLINE   stonedagain

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:49 PM

Wait until you're old enough for a free bus pass & live in buses for free!
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#4 OFFLINE   sierraman

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:53 PM

You'll also struggle finding places that will let you camp it there. Most campsites will tell you to clear off if they get an inkling you are a new age traveller.

#5 OFFLINE   Zelandeth

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 01:54 PM

Probably the best thing to look at if you're wanting to live in it would be something like a late Volvo B10M Plaxton Premiere or Profile.  Both of these are relatively "modern" coaches and will be by vehicle standards pretty well insulated, and most will have double glazing.  Beware they can and do rust though.

 

The mechanicals of the B10M are pretty bullet proof unless seriously neglected, and the vast majority will probably have an automatic gearbox.  The drivetrain was used in millions of things, so parts availability is good.  Once well sorted they're actually pretty decent old things to drive.  The six speed ZF manual box is decent too if you find one - though expect to have to completely rebuild the linkage as the gearchange will most likely be crap when you get it.

 

You'll definitely need to get a category C licence though and look at getting it re-registered accordingly.

 

I wouldn't seriously look at anything older than 90s for this or a bus - the insulation and weather proofing being the biggest headaches.  You'll wind up spending a small fortune just trying to get the thing weather tight otherwise.  Going with a full size coach will give you better insulation, a nicer thing to drive and the luggage area means you've got plenty of room for services.

 

Stuff like this should be appearing pretty cheaply now as a lot of perfectly serviceable vehicles like this are having to come off the road now due to the changes to the disability rules requiring all stage service vehicles to be wheelchair accessible, it's just not a viable option for older coaches like this...so nobody really wants a lot of them.


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#6 OFFLINE   hairnet

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 07:05 PM

cms towers

 

take yir pick :D


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#7 OFFLINE   busmansholiday

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 07:36 PM

First thing if you chose to live on a bus is not to buy a double deck. Nice view, but too many low bridges etc to make it an open top without you wanting it. Also remember that if you go to Europe they work on 4m height for bridges etc (about 13 foot 4), lower than UK vehicles.
Volvo, Scania or Merc would be my choices, probably in that order.

Body wise, they all rust, but try to avoid anything with big front screens. Nice view forward, fucking expensive to replace if they get damaged. If you're sticking to the UK, Plaxtons, if you're trundling abroad then it doesn't really matter.

Insurance will be enjoyable* to sort, parking even more so and a Class C at least for driving.

Good luck.

#8 OFFLINE   D Spares & Tyres

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 07:48 PM

Personally I would buy a 7.5t box. Discreet, car licence ( for old duffers like me ) easier to work on than a coach and cheaper to run.

Leyland Daf for me please. Not an LF, the one before with the really revvy 6 cylinder

Fit snow plow brackets on the front, register as a snowplough then its tax and not excempt...
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#9 OFFLINE   DodgeRover

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:02 PM

This is my friends home, 60s Bedford now with Isuzu powerimage.jpg

You would have to pick your campsites carefully, some get arsy if you turn up with an old caravan...trying to get a decent park up is a challenge.
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#10 OFFLINE   catsinthewelder

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:09 PM

Do you have a pre 97 licence?  If you do it would make sense to try and make something that could be under 7.5T even if it only stayed below when the cupboards and water tanks were empty.


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#11 OFFLINE   vulgalour

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:12 PM

I've always been curious about insurance on this.  If you're living in the bus, technically you don't have a home address, so how do you insure it?  Also, how do you deal with things like internet access and water supply?  How do you keep it heated affordably without everything filling up with condensation inside?



#12 OFFLINE   DodgeRover

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:18 PM

I've always been curious about insurance on this. If you're living in the bus, technically you don't have a home address, so how do you insure it? Also, how do you deal with things like internet access and water supply? How do you keep it heated affordably without everything filling up with condensation inside?


Internet is easy with the advent of mobile data, water supply you either fill onboard tanks or your own barrels when/ were you can.
Specialist insurers for full time motor home dwellers are available

#13 OFFLINE   catsinthewelder

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:21 PM

According to the ex hippy in the room a lot of folks had a PO box or used a friend or relative as a postal address when she was growing up,  presumably similar now?

 

Just looked and Dennis Darts are between 5.5-6.5T unladen so could be downplated to 7.5T GVW to be driven on a C1.


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#14 OFFLINE   tooSavvy

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:28 PM

Wait until you're old enough for a free bus pass & live in buses for free!


.... SWMBO has hers and I encourage her to f**k off out on the 'povv wagginn' as oft feasible :(

Nope, she prefers been chuvverdd everywhere & complaining 'too low this, difficult to get out of!'

F**K OFF and catch a bus!! :)


TS
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#15 OFFLINE   rainagain

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 08:40 PM

Have a look here:
https://www.johnpyea...d=4652&siteid=1

#16 OFFLINE   jon.k

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 09:01 PM

Please post on here when you do this! I'd love to try it. The horsebox-style wagons seem to have some nice conversions done on them, and might be a bit easier to get around in.

 

Edit: I saw a good library bus on ebay for conversion with generator installed when new, but I can't find it now. There is a big library bus still on though.



#17 OFFLINE   DeeJay

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 09:59 PM

This chap and his girlfriend, enjoying life.

 

http://retrorides.pr...om/thread/77524



#18 OFFLINE   HH-R

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:02 PM

I keep having daydreams about running a Bristol VR as a daily. It's probably a bit far fetched so I'd settle for an LH.

#19 OFFLINE   Zelandeth

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:02 PM

Wouldn't fancy using a Dart as a basis... they're flimsy things really, and by the time you've insulated them and fitted the stuff you need you'll probably be struggling for weight.  The majority of them have an Alison auto box as well, which usually will be bouncing off the rev limiter at 45mph - if you've got one that actually has the guts to get there.  They're really city buses, and don't handle the open road well.

 

Plus they're far from the most dependable mechanically - Volvos are a better bet there (just for the love of all that's holy don't buy one of the B6* rear engined ones...they were dire when they were new and they're basically extinct now for good reason.  Was Volvo trying to make a lightweight rear engined competitor to the Dennis Dart - the result was an under powered, under cooled and over stressed mess.


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#20 OFFLINE   UltraWomble

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:06 PM

I'm considering living on a bus. Cheaply. 

 

First and foremost before you buy a bus and convert it is where are you going to park  it?

 

Have you got some land? Have you got utilities to said patch of land? 

Campsite? Good luck with that one finding a campsite that will let you park up 40 foot of bus on a touring pitch.

 

Friends with a big garden - again utilities and then what do you do when you outstay your welcome?

 

Touring the UK? See campsite point above - laybys and truck stops might be an option - but really do you want to live out of Truckhaven?


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#21 OFFLINE   FPB7

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:21 PM

Darts are fine for what they were. You're looking at a step entrance one if you can find one. Wrights or Plaxton pointer would be a fair starting point - nice straight lines to panel up and they came fairly well insulated as standard so a little extra won't be too much weight wise. Mechanically they are Cummins b series so engine parts are a plenty and cheap. Alison mechanical box is pretty robust and cheap when they go wrong, they're basically a large car box. The final drive was altered with the diff - there are higher ratio ones out there but can be a pain to find but you'll get about 50 out of one. Otherwise they're fairly easy to modify for reliability as you aren't bothered about running a fleet of them. A manual box could be fitted but you'd have to work out a linkage ( twin cable would be a good start) but there were one or two made that way from the factory.
Weight would be a piece of piss to get under the 7.5gvw category for old school licence holders.
If I was touring there's no way I'd start out with a coach. Fine and dandy when running but they can suddenly get VERY expensive very quickly. B10M and the ilk are getting long in the tooth now and will be fairly fucked so expect big bills from the start plus coach bodies rot like nothing else - all that nice extra insulation that you wanted has held a shittone of moisture against the frame - make good friends with a welder.
By all means go for it if you fancy a crack but do some research based upon what you expect to do with it before you commit to buying one.
VRs? Yeah, bought one of those. Many miles driven at 43mph with buttocks clenched due to mitre box imminent implosion. Good fun though, they sound fantastic!
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#22 OFFLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:45 PM

I was on the Oxford DP VR last spring and the mitre box was making a hell of a din on the A14, I was expecting a loud bang & loss of drive tbh. Finding a step entry Dart now is getting hard, DDA saw nearly all survivors off, quite a few early SLF Darts going cheap these days, but not much chance of getting these under 7.5t as they are largely 10.7m, and do require a fair bit of TLC, especially around the rear where they rot like a sod, 150 B series will scrape about 55 depending on gearing, even ex London ones will nudge 60 on a run, and they are LOUD,  there's no room underfloor for waste tanks on anything low floor, anything based on a coach, you are looking at a Class C, as you are talking between 11-12 tonnes unladen, and has already been said, you will need a tame welder, because coach bodies regardless of make rot like an absolute bastard, and remember, any repairs needed, you will have to go to somewhere that has a workshop that can handle something 40 ft long & 12 ft high, later B10Ms also have engine management that can cause issues.

 

Cheap buses re getting snapped up by banger racers now too, especially Dart SLFs, seen a few raced now, even Pointer 2 versions


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#23 OFFLINE   HH-R

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 10:47 PM

Aye,I could hear that noise all day every day (VRs) and never get tired of it.

#24 OFFLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 11:58 PM

How the hell do banger racers shift buses to and from events? Are the 'big cheeses' using friggin Chinook helicopters now?
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#25 OFFLINE   Captain Furious

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 12:44 AM

Although I have no interest in living in a bus, I’m quite intrigued whether it’s actually possible to do it cheaply or easily. It’s hard enough finding parking space for a car, never mind a fuggin great bus.

#26 OFFLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 12:58 AM

To answer your questions, no it isn't cheap or easy to be brutally honest, you need to be skilled at woodworking, plumbing, and electrics, plus a good spanner monkey, because if the bloody thing breaks down, and you do not have adequate recovery cover, a tow is easily £500+vat, buying the bus is the easy bit


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#27 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 12:58 AM

Wouldn't fancy using a Dart as a basis... they're flimsy things really, and by the time you've insulated them and fitted the stuff you need you'll probably be struggling for weight.  The majority of them have an Alison auto box as well, which usually will be bouncing off the rev limiter at 45mph - if you've got one that actually has the guts to get there.  They're really city buses, and don't handle the open road well.

Years ago I used to commute to work by bus - a trip of about 8 miles which included a couple of miles of dual carriageway.  At the time that route would either be a Dart or a B10M.  The Darts would come round the roundabout at the beginning of the dual carriageway section and the driver would floor it down the slip road, which would bring about an almighty hairdryer-like whirring from the back of the bus but very little else - on a good day we'd just about have hit 50 before it was time to brake for the next roundabout.  The Volvos would come round the roundabout, the driver would floor it, the bus would growl for a few seconds and we'd be on the limiter before the end of the slip road.



#28 OFFLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 01:38 AM

There are a fair few B10M/Alexander PS on the market currently, but they all seem to be from one source, a preservationist who has run out of cash, and they've all been stood, there is also only a flimsy superstructure from the rear axle back, the B10M chassis was basically a bobtail, as it was designed primarily as a coach chassis with a dirty great boot, so a saggy arse is common. There are a fair few Volvo B10BLE/Wrights hitting the market very cheaply due to them largely not being DDA compliant, the achilles heel on these being electrics & cooling, and the superstructure built by Wrights that joins the front module to the rear, the downside again to using an SLF bus is where to put the water tanks, as ground clearance isn't great, length on these is 40ft give or take, this means an unladen weight around 11 or so tonnes, running gear is straight out of a B10M, bolted normally to a ZF 4HP500 auto, and geared to around 60mph, sometimes less depending on operator. Also with any rear engined bus, there is the issue of all the weight being behind the rear wheels, and this shows up by a waistrail that is straight until the rear wheels, then bows downwards, this seems especially bad on Scanias and Dennis Super Pointers with the beefier Cummins lump, and heavy Voith or Allison World Series boxes. 


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#29 OFFLINE   BorniteIdentity

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 06:33 AM

I'm genuinely interested in this thread.  Not because I wish to turn my back on mainstream life, shake off the shackles of regular and good employment and hug trees in tie dye - but because I've been offered a bus myself.

 

I posted about it a while ago, but as a refresher - it's this.

 

Bristol_Omnibus_bus_2447_(LHY_994),_Showbus_2009_(2).jpg

 

It's a 1949 Bristol L5G apparently.  I don't know.  To me, growing up in Ipswich, all buses should both look and sound like a Leyland Olympian.  That sound is as synonymous with my childhood as the sound of my brother farting.  If it's not an olympian, is it even a bus?

 

Anyway - the guy who owns this lives 30 seconds from my house.  When he found out that my little boy makes us detour past the house just to look at it, and that I'm a serial car botherer, he started sounding out my wife about it.  He said that, soon enough, it'll be time to find the bus a new home.  It's part converted with a little kitchenette and loo at the back - a few places for beds but it's mainly bus.  Mick has had it since 1980, and they used it as a holiday wagon.  I'd also do the same (mainly weekends) and use it as over-spill space during the week.  I've got the space to park it up at mine, but you all put me off it last time!

 

Next time I see him, I'll see what the deal is.  Maybe he's made another plan.


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#30 OFFLINE   UltraWomble

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 08:18 AM

How the hell do banger racers shift buses to and from events? Are the 'big cheeses' using friggin Chinook helicopters now?

http://www.trbimg.co...an-dvd-20141118

 

Yeah, this is typical of downtown Carnforth of a bank holiday weekend


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The Picasso is the future Morris Minor.

28241562828_2eb015f344_m.jpg





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