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Old 11-03-2016, 12:53 AM   #1
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Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Best places to find a bus?

Well, I've been looking for a long while now being very picky and have got to the point where every day I check:
Craigslist
Public Surplus: School Bus
https://www.govdeals.com

Around my area the local school districts don't sell old buses they run them into the ground and scrap them. Are there any other places online some of you regularly check?

- Thomas
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:49 AM   #2
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They do it a few times a year I believe.
422 Sales

100+ buses next weekend.
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:50 AM   #3
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seems they have a year round online auction of buses too - all around the country.

Mathies & Sons, Inc. - 422 Sales
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:55 AM   #4
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gees...some closed auctions..some buses went for $500.
like this one..the drivetrain is worth more!

Quote:
1999 INTERNATIONAL THOMAS - Titled as 2000 Thomas, 77 Passenger, T444E Diesel Engine, Automatic transmission, AIR brakes, 144,905 miles. VIN 1HVBBABN5XH205062. Runs and drives. Located in JOHNSTON, IOWA.
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:56 AM   #5
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damn...$150!

1998 INTERNATIONAL THOMAS - Titled as 1999 Thomas, 77 Passenger, T444E Diesel Engine, Automatic transmission, AIR brakes, 185,118 miles. VIN on title reads 1HVBBABN1WH616666, Vin on bus reads -1HVBBABNXWH616666. Runs and drives. Located in JOHNSTON, IOWA.

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Old 11-03-2016, 10:07 AM   #6
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im guessing alot of people shy away from Iowa for rust concerns..
-Christopher
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:41 AM   #7
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many variables there - I"m in PA - we salt the roads ehre and rust CAN be a concern..but at least in PA there are inspections due on buses (state and I assume federal).
EVERYTHING must work - and no holes in the bus (federal) or frame issues (federal) for them to carry kids - so if they're selling htem off that could be why. Here in PA buses are pretty much newer than 14 years if they hauling kids (state law I believe).

So when they're retired/sold they were most likely working buses the week/month before.

We have a couple of buses about to be retired - a 2005 FE transit just got a new rad, air compressor and dryer and has turbo issues (leaking oil into the incoming air). 134k miles. No rust. garage kept. But because of the turbo it may not be around too much longer. that and the owner hates transits (he took over a company 4 years ago so he got what he got in the deal).

We're about to take over a competitor - they've got 20+ buses almost all will be sold - all were carrying kids today. They want my boss to buy the buses (of course) but he's not a fan of their fleet (brand, age condition). He garages ALL his buses where nobody else I've seen does.

He's not a fan of bluebirds either - the want the side rails run over the rear wheelwells traps water and creates rust - staff spends the summer fixing those issues.

SO...a northern bus with lower miles..or a southern bus that is older and had more miles...always a tough decision, even with classic cars.

What's rust repair cost? If the bus is $150 to 500...vs $7k...and you can do the work yourself...

My boss's dad runs the 'van service' (aka short bus) end of things and he got a 99 GMC 16 (or so) passenger bus at auction, mostly for parts. $1500. Ran it for 4 years with no issues. Sure, it's not as pretty as a new bus LOL, but that latest new bus we got was $90,000 (72 passenger International/Wolfington) and a sprinter van (2 wheelchairs with lift or 9 passenger with fold down seats) was $54,000 (it's really nice BTW). I'm guessing a short bus would be in the middle someplace.

You can fix a lot of rust for $50,000!

But one also needs to consider tires (i'm guessing they're not cheap..so a good bus with bad tires won't be a bargain), mileage, condition, recent repairs, etc. as well as the oft discussed eng/trans/gearing.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:45 AM   #8
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So how about PA?
Closed auction so you can see what people paid...$300 to $700 for most, one at $3300.
Mathies & Sons, Inc. - 422 Sales

Best deal might have been this one for $1100- new inspection.

2003 International Amtran, 71 Passenger, D444 Diesel Engine, Automatic transmission, Air Brakes. Newly inspected with state police sticker. (Was a spare) VIN: 4DRBRABNX3B953381, 151,000 miles Good PA Title, Titled as 03 American Tran. Runs and Drives.

The four michelin's i put on my silverado last year cost $950. I can get you a WRECKED mustang for this price.
And it's not some antique..not that I don't like antiques but new stuff is so much better IMO.

Mathies & Sons, Inc. - 422 Sales
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:52 AM   #9
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no rust..2012 buses..but both have other issues..and cost a whole lot more.

You can buy 4 to 10 of the other buses and mix/match to get a good bus and scrap the rest and come out cheaper.

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Old 11-03-2016, 12:36 PM   #10
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I looked at leasing a brasnd new bus built to my specs at one time... knowing I would be running it miles, and my "conversions" are very simple in nature... but even so the costs were crazy hiogh over the length of term..

the latest bus I got out of Texas was pretty much a "steal" at $1800... rust free.. engine runs good doesnt burn oil, trans shifts good doesnt leak.. even the seats (yes I keep some seats) are even in good shape... air ride, cruise, tilt, even the Air-conditioner works, tires are 2013s with lots of tread left.. i had a mechanical done on it and the brakes are 80%..

even if I were to rebuild the engine, upgrade the trans im still WAY ahead of what a new bus or even a 5-10 year old bus wouldve cost me..

from a friend who Lived in PA, if school busses are treated at all like cars then rust is not welcome in PA... he was telling me that even passenger cars with Rust holes are denied inspection stickers in PA.. let alone skoolies.. but im sure the perception is that PA is a rust-belt state so people justr assume the busses are going to be POS and and have lots of rust.. therefore they may sell cheaply...

Ohio is really stringent on physically inspecting busses.. However the mainly inspect mechanicals.. so form ohio you can buy Busses that will likely run forever however may have rust..

all depends on your Skill set... if you suck at body work, but are great at mechanics, best to buy from a state with little rust... if vice versa then someplace like Ohio is a good place to buy..

some school systems are known for maintaining busses better than others... my Texas bus came from a district that is noted to keep their busses up pretty well, so i did well with it.. certain places are known to run them into the ground as mentioned in some posts here over the years.. Florida and georgia may sound like great places to buy because of the southern locations, however the busses are beat to death before sales in those states...
-Christopher
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