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Old 09-02-2015, 08:05 PM   #21
New Member
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 4
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: MVP-ER
Engine: 3126B/MD3060/Air brakes/spring suspension/low roof
Rated Cap: 84
Howdy Ryan! Where are you at with your project? Not to get too biological, but your posts inspired some gut-fire in the body of this reader.

We actually bought our bus at the same time that you did, from the same people. Polk County. It was my first time bidding with GovDeals, and I placed bids ferociously on about 6 buses before getting in a winning one. (This was before they put in the time-extension feature they've got on everything now..) I was disappointed at the time because I paid significantly more than the first bunch that went, but the bidding was so intense that I also felt lucky just to buy one at all. Needless to say, some of that lucky feeling has faded.

We got a 2000 MVP, juuuuuuust like yours. 1 year newer, but same dang problems. We're from Maine, and ours was delivered from FL by a national bus transport company that contracts with bus manufacturers for their new vehicle delivery. Mistake. Their driver was not a skilled or trustworthy individual, and made some big errors in his rush to deliver. When it got here the back of it was covered with the contents of our oil pan, sprayed all the way up to the roof clearance lights. I was -mortified-. I'll post the entire saga of dealing with that company, and the story of my engine in our build thread soon. The shared maintenance heritage of our buses gives us a lot to chat about I'm sure.

How's your electrical panel lookin? How 'bout your heater/hose situation? How much "Good Stuff" do you have sprayed into the voids in your front-clip? Our alternator died too, leaving us on the highway in an evening rain storm with no wipers or lights, in limp-home mode. I thought we were going to be killed by the other rigs whipping inches by us. Without lights we couldn't be seen, even by the trucks who HAD wipers. Of course without wipers, I couldn't see 5 feet infront of us either. Good thing I could only go 10mph I guess. When you get into scary-mode our transmissions make a very unsettling alarm tone that is continuous, high pitched, and doesn't cancel for minutes. I couldn't shut off my engine or it wouldn't start again, and the panic of that coupled with the alarm tone... it still haunts me!

The guys at the Polk County muni-barn were very nice people to deal with, even by email and phone. I'll bet a whole bunch of them are even decent mechanics, perhaps overwhelmed with work and underpaid. Where I come from, that's not a good enough case for shoddy workmanship. The story this bus tells, isn't one I'd want on the internet if I was working there. I'll bet if given the opportunity to respond, budget would be the defense. Nonsense. In my view being careful/thinking things through/doing a job right is -always- a cheaper approach at the end of the day.

Live and learn I guess. I hope things are well in your pond!

Adam & Molly
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Old 09-02-2015, 08:16 PM   #22
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EastCoastCB's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 16,150
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
^^ that is why I ALWAYS warn people that the FL buses aren't worth the higher prices some folks are willing to pay.
Our schools are among the most underfunded in the US. I went 800 miles north to KY for my bus.
Polk County in particular is one county I'd avoid buying a bus from just based on what I know about that county.
The farthest one can be from salt water in FL is 65 miles. Couple the coastal climates with the high humidity and lots of rain and our buses rust almost as badly as some northern buses.
Why anyone would pay extra for a FL bus is beyond me.
At least you got yours from an auction. Probably paid half what a dealer or CL seller would want.
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Old 09-02-2015, 11:28 PM   #23
New Member
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 4
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: MVP-ER
Engine: 3126B/MD3060/Air brakes/spring suspension/low roof
Rated Cap: 84
I missed the warnings about Polk County somehow, but despite the surprises we're still happy with the package we're left with.

Most of the problems have been solved with elbow grease, and in areas where i have skills and resources. Rust is a big deal up there, and would have driven me south in any case. Availability is an issue also. Anything local is retired from service because of rust, and there isn't enough demand for the dealers to bring in out of state used stuff.

I've been involved in automotive for a while now, and Florida is a notorious place for Mainers to obtain clean examples of rare stuff for cheap bucks. The oil and alternator sucked, but we're talking about a $200 alternator, and a crank seal so far. I'm sure more will break, but I wanted the long body Thomas pusher with the MD3060. The only thing I kick myself over is the roof height. Reading Sojourner plan his roof raise has me realizing I probably don't want to make some of those structural compromises, and that has me wishing I'd found a factory high roof to start.

Oh well! We're both under 5'7", and at the price these go for we can always get a better one down the road. Looking at pictures of the HDX-ER electrical panel soothes my gut-fires quite nicely. I can't wait to get a shot at those when they come off duty!
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