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Old 10-10-2011, 07:03 PM   #1
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Wanderlodge and ????

I've figured out the various Bluebird Wanderlodges, but I'm still confused about some of the other "bus" motor homes. Some of the coach brands seem to appear in connection with several companies, and some companies apparently supplied the empty shells to several converters.

For example, I thought that MCI built the empty shell on the chassis, and then some other company would put the interior in it and put their name on it. True? Then if I find an MCI for sale, should I assume that it is an unconverted bus, a but that has a home-brew conversion, or should I look for another name?

I've also heard that Newell is/was a custom builder, so that no two coaches are alike inside. True? Wouldn't that make for difficulties for servicing?

Please keep in mind that I'm looking at coaches that are 20+ years old, not the current crop. If anyone can enlighten me I'd appreciate it. At this point we're still trying to learn all we can, and this is part of our education.

David, kb0zke
Mercury Mountaineer towing mpg 181(both sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 40'
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:42 AM   #2
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Bus converters work on MCI, Prevost, and other bus rigs. Some are converted to Motorhomes when new others are retired over the road buses or school buses.

Bluebird motor homes were typically a division of the school bus company, but some retired school buses could have been converted to motorhome use.

Newell, as far as I know, have always been Motorhome manufacturers and did not produce buses for transit purposes. These would be semi-custom in that the chassis configurations were on a relatively standard platform designed by the company and the interiors were custom to the purchaser most of the time.

If you are shopping for a 20 year old rig, and are open to fiberglass bodies with more standardized interiors, Gillig Bus provided chassis for some motorhome manufactures like Country Coach, Beaver, and American Coach among others in those years.

The interiors are appliances, plumbing, and electrical wiring in addtion to fabrics and cabinetry. Many custom converters will provide schematics, diagrams, and wiring schedules for the interior systems when they sell the conversion. Appliances are generally those used in other RV's or residential home type appliances so servicing of a custom arrangement is usually not an issue. (Proprietary printed circuit boards might prove a challenge in any RV or Motorhome. I had to repair one myself with help from folks on RV.net.)

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Old 10-11-2011, 02:30 PM   #3
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Bluebird does school buses/transit buses and used to do motorhomes. Their Wanderlodge motorhome (Wanderlodge Motorhomes for sale VintageBirds Chapter FMCA -) was not a conversion per se but a motorhome based on their transit bus chassis.

Like deandec said, MH Converters took/take MCI, Greyhound, and Prevost buses and did/do conversions. Big name mfg's like Thor, Winnebago, Newell, Monaco, Foretravel, etc. either produce their own chassis or use one of the Freightliner, Workhorse, Roadmaster, or Spartan chassis'.

Dave in Virginia
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:57 PM   #4
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MCI builds a chassis and both luxury motorhomes and other busses, so an MCI coach is a real coach.

Prevost is a bus chassis & shell manufacturer. They don't make motorhomes, but several other companies make motorhomes using the Prevost shell. Prevost even makes a shell designed for use as a motohome, e.g. it has slides and such. Some of the big names in Prevost conversions are Liberty, Marathon and Featherlight, but their are 20+ more as well.

Newell custom makes every coach to an individual customer order, so every one is unique. Newell makes their own chassis as well as the coach body. They only make about 20/year, and most get serviced at the factory for anything more than oil changes and such. Since engines, axles, and stuff like that are industry standard components, getting basic service is not an issue.

Wanderlodge was the motorhome subsidiary of Blue Bus Company. They also made a less expensive BMC motorhome. BMC = Bluebird Motor Coach.
Gary Brinck
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