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Old 04-03-2005, 08:11 PM   #1
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I found .... a school bus!

hello folk. I've been watching/reading from the wings for a while. I've found a school bus that I'm about to drag to a mechanic and then probably purchase. Wondered if there were comments on this particular make/model/year?

1991 IH Bluebird model3800 65 pass.
DTA360 Diesel w/ 187K
Auto tranny (Alison AT545 perhaps?) w/187k
air brakes
(2) 100% new goodyears on front w/"budd" disc rims
(4) 75-80% goodyears w/same on back
All seats stripped out. Holes sealed. 1/2" blueboard insulation w/ plywood installed
bus is from Maine (Ack!) but I've looked over the bus and while there's some flakey surface rust below, it seems really solid. (good frame, not rusted through anywhere, no rust on body etc.) I've seen worse in my home state of VT. At least it's closer to home than say, florida .... I'm not used to piloting these big buses around yet.

I want the diesel b/c I'm going to go wvo.
The guy wants 3300 for it.
Anyway ... I'm going to find a shop to put it through it's paces.
Any input helps me at this stage, thanks.nat.
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:30 PM   #2
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well people, I bought the bus. the mechanic said all main systems were good. the rust is @ a "treatable stage". he recommended I use a pressure washer and a light sanding in spots, and then when it's dry I'll spray it with oil. this bus needs no bondo! the machanic said the next things to be replaced would be the air cans, some exhaust work, and a couple of batteries (the 2 in it are shot, what kinda truck battery do I buy?). I can live w/ this.
problem is, bus is still at the mechanics! I'm a VT resident with a ME titled and inspected(expired) bus. I called the DMV and I need insurance for a trip permit. and i need one fast! i read that gmac is the way to go for us skoolies. but their websites down or my friends computer is a little to old and cranky.
any advice on how I can finesse my way through the insurance process? the seats are out, but it's still yellow. lights and signs are still on. it's not converted yet. the title says"BU" and "USED" that's it. what questions might I face from a gmac rep. I have coverage on my pickup w/ gieco but of course they wouldn't have any of it. I told them it was an ih bus that will be a motorhome. oh well.

HOW WILL I GET MY BABY HOME TO VERMONT?!!
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Old 04-06-2005, 02:36 PM   #3
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i'm in a real bind....

yup ..... i've worked myself into a bit of a situation. really need some advice.

me=vermont resident
bus=titled & previously inspected in Maine
bus is sitting at a truck mechanics up near rockland Maine
needs to end up in southern vt

in maine to get a temp. trip permit all you need is a valid drivers liscense and insurance on the vehicle.

been calling every ins. agent in the book. including GMAC. told them I need to transport to my home state finish conversion, title, inspect ......
they won't have any of it. Even though all the seats are out and interior floor is down, walls are painted!!! They say "we can't write you a temporary or "1trip" policy". "to get liability the conversion needs to be done proffesional conversion co." or else I need serious photo documentation of the conversion I do ..... only I have no place to finish the conversion except back in VT.

upon explaining my problem to the ME DMV, I was told that I'd have to find a company to insure the darned thing, or else I have to FIND SOMEONE TO TOW MY 31,000lb BUS. oh yeah and even then, I'd still have to pay $12 to get a trip permit! grrrrr .....

I'm almost desperate enough to make the trip illegally on back rds. at say 2AM some morning. I don't relish the thought ..... especially given the condition and driving time it's gonna take to do it on back rds thru Maine & NH.
Help?
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Old 04-06-2005, 07:10 PM   #4
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I just went through a similar experience. I bought a bus in Washington State and needed to get it back to Wisconsin. At first I hoped to do a quick & dirty conversion and get it licensed as a motorhome for the trip. Wisconsin has the usual list of required amenities (including paint), but they don’t require an inspection (except possibly for the paint). Unfortunately, they are currently two months behind in title transfers. Washington could transfer the title quickly, but they would first require an inspection – for which they had, of course, a two-month backlog.

I found that I could get a trip permit from Washington (they don’t ask about insurance when they issue one), but they couldn’t say whether this would exempt me from the CDL requirement, nor would they guarantee that any other State would even accept the thing (and I had to cross four intervening States to get home).

I finally said the hell with it, got a Washington trip permit to stick in the back window, and headed out – at 52 MPH (this thing is geared really low). It took three full dawn-to-dusk days of travel to get home. Every cop I saw on the way had their eyes glued to their radar-gun – and 52 MPH didn’t even warrant a blink.

If I had to do it over again, I think I’d skip the permit….

-A Moose
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Old 04-06-2005, 07:30 PM   #5
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Hate to say it but most people just go for it and the hell with insurance. Though you can probably get insurance you just don't mention words like "conversion or bus" and only use words like "recational vehicle" you will be insured. Insurance companies hate to hear "bus" espically "school bus" for some reason. I cannot remember what state will sell you a trip permit even if you don't live there. It may be missouri or maybe IL. You can search some past threads on this board. Many have had similar problems and ended up with insurnace by not mentioning the conversion or bus words. Hope this helps
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:35 PM   #6
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I would agree about skipping a trip permit and just drive it home. Insurance would be my only concern. I doubt anyone would give you a second look. If they do, it's probably cheaper to pay the ticket than the hassle and expense of jumping through the hoops like a circus poodle (as long as they don't tow it away on you). Small buses are a piece of cake since I could just insure it as a 1 ton van.
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:51 PM   #7
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Re: i'm in a real bind....

Quote:
Originally Posted by babylonbybus
yup ..... i've worked myself into a bit of a situation. really need some advice.

me=vermont resident
bus=titled & previously inspected in Maine
bus is sitting at a truck mechanics up near rockland Maine
needs to end up in southern vt

in maine to get a temp. trip permit all you need is a valid drivers liscense and insurance on the vehicle.

been calling every ins. agent in the book. including GMAC. told them I need to transport to my home state finish conversion, title, inspect ......
they won't have any of it. Even though all the seats are out and interior floor is down, walls are painted!!! They say "we can't write you a temporary or "1trip" policy". "to get liability the conversion needs to be done proffesional conversion co." or else I need serious photo documentation of the conversion I do ..... only I have no place to finish the conversion except back in VT.
What GMAC is saying is that they will write you an insurance policy. They just won't write you a temporary one, and they will not give you comprehensive coverage unless you have a professional conversion.

I just got GMAC coverage. No comprehensive, liability only. This is what they are offering you. Mine cost $293 per six months. They wanted $162 down and payments of $65 a month. Either the sales agent misspoke, or you misunderstood about the liability part of the equation. They will give you liability. Ask for your state's minimum requirements. They just won't cover the vehicle for replacement or repair (comprehensive) because the conversion is being done by an amateur and they have no good way to value the work.

Quote:
upon explaining my problem to the ME DMV, I was told that I'd have to find a company to insure the darned thing, or else I have to FIND SOMEONE TO TOW MY 31,000lb BUS. oh yeah and even then, I'd still have to pay $12 to get a trip permit! grrrrr .....

I'm almost desperate enough to make the trip illegally on back rds. at say 2AM some morning. I don't relish the thought ..... especially given the condition and driving time it's gonna take to do it on back rds thru Maine & NH.
Help?
Get the GMAC insurance. You'll need to have it insured just so you can move it around in Vermont, hauling the supplies you need for refitting it, hauling the seats to the dump, etc.

I think your bigger worry may be the weight of the vehicle. In my state (yours may be different) a regular driver's license is good for vehicles up to 26,000 pounds GVW. My bus is rated at 24,500, although it weighs much less than that empty (how much less, I don't know). In my state to go above the 26,000 pound limit you have to have a Commercial Driver's License.[/i]
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Old 04-07-2005, 02:04 PM   #8
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Macgyver's other bus

Do you have photo's posted or info on your "other" bus? This is the first I have heard mention to another schoolie you had. What's the story, what happened?

Just wondering. -Richard
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Old 04-07-2005, 06:47 PM   #9
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Drove mine home 1700 miles, no plates, cops passed me 3 times going in my direction...never pulled me over. But I did have a bill o' sale and insurance. I'm even kinda scruffy lookin.

I think school buses are off the law enforcement radar, for the most part. Don't do anything silly and you should be fine.
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Old 04-08-2005, 12:53 AM   #10
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Don't worry

I purchased TCD from Idaho-I'm in California. After freaking out like you did, I talked DMV into temp license, got AAA to insure it at $329 a year and drove her home.
No plates.
Didn't even put the red sticker in the window. Cops didn't bother me-even in bad voodoo Utah were the cop past by the bus slowly then drove away not caring.

Even locally I've been driving it back and forth and cops just zip around me w/o a second glance. Maybe you are right Sean, seems to be low on the pull over radar. That'll change once she is painted *evil grin*
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