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Old 07-13-2018, 10:22 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Bus purchase Question

How does the following bus sound?

Pros and Cons.

It would be setup for full time living and drive all over the country pulling a flat deck with our Jeep on it..

2003 International/Blue Bird School Bus. DT-466 engine, Allision 545 transmission, 11R22.5 tires, 72 passenger, air brakes. Michigan State Police Inspected January 2018. approximately 139,500 miles. $2,995
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:43 PM   #2
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Year: 1999
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Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
The 545 killed the deal.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
The 545 killed the deal.
Why is that?

Is it weak?

Slow?

Unreliable?
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:51 PM   #4
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The 545 was OK in its' day but is a dinosaur now.


No lockup.
No Overdrive.
Only four gears.


That combo sucks fuel, heats up on anything but level ground and puts undue strain on most engines when trying to run at highway speeds. And the lack of lockup also means no real engine braking which can be scary if you ever get into anything remotely like mountains...or hills...or just about any steep downgrade.


Many people have them and drive them all over but there are FAR better trannies.



The engine on the other hand is one of the better. Being all mechanical is also a big plus. No computer$ = much easier maintenance and servicing.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:56 PM   #5
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Ditto - I'm no expert, but I want some help from compression as I hit a downgrade.
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:18 AM   #6
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So what transmission should I look for?

And what motors?
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:36 AM   #7
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Basically anything that isn't an AT545 is better than the AT545. I am on my second bus with an AT545 and it's fine most of the time. It suffers a bit on the highway and suffers a lot in the mountains.
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navonifamily View Post
So what transmission should I look for?

And what motors?
Same motor or a DT466E (computer controlled) just with an Allison MD3060 or 2000 series transmission.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
The 545 was OK in its' day but is a dinosaur now.


No lockup.
No Overdrive.
Only four gears.


That combo sucks fuel, heats up on anything but level ground and puts undue strain on most engines when trying to run at highway speeds. And the lack of lockup also means no real engine braking which can be scary if you ever get into anything remotely like mountains...or hills...or just about any steep downgrade.


Many people have them and drive them all over but there are FAR better trannies.



The engine on the other hand is one of the better. Being all mechanical is also a big plus. No computer$ = much easier maintenance and servicing.
A 2003 isn't gonna be mechanical.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:43 AM   #10
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He indicated a DT 466. So the '04 is in reality a 466-E?
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:44 AM   #11
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You'll find lots of posts on which motor is best. Seems the majority of folks on this forum like International's DT466 and DT466e. International's T444 works for flat land but is underpowered (and harder to work on, if I recall). I was cautioned by the foreman of a bus garage to stay away from the DT365.

CAT motors and Mercedes motors require dealer parts and often dealer repair, so when trouble comes it will be expensive. CAT expensive is less (and likely less frequent) than Mercedes expensive.

Cummins engines are respected, but the 5.9 is a bit underpowered. That's what I have and it did a fine job with an empty bus and flat land. Once I put my junk in the bus and try to climb hills? I'm expecting to arrive at the top... tomorrow. The 8.3 is much preferred (see one of the many discussions).

Transmissions are nearly all automatics made by Allison. The most common is the AT545, because for the task of picking up kids it works fine and is cheap. But for highway or mountain use, you probably don't want one. Should you refuse a free bus with an AT545? No - unless your in the hills. You can always flip it and trade up! And it may do the job for you. But I would hold out for the AT 643 (it's lockup brother), or the 2000 (the one I have), or the MD3060 (though you may need to beg Allison to unlock the top gear). As mentioned above, you might just find the bus/engine/price you want, and then abandon it if is has the AT545 and buy it if it has anything else.

Others with more experience will chime in, hopefully, and the search bar is your friend. But this is what I've learned. Hope it helps!
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
He indicated a DT 466. So the '04 is in reality a 466-E?
1996 was the general cutoff year for mechanical engines. But they can be found in a few buses up to about 98 or 99. unless it was swapped in, an 03 isn't gonna be a mechanical DT.
OP just forgot to add the "E".
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapplecreek View Post
You'll find lots of posts on which motor is best. Seems the majority of folks on this forum like International's DT466 and DT466e. International's T444 works for flat land but is underpowered (and harder to work on, if I recall). I was cautioned by the foreman of a bus garage to stay away from the DT365.

CAT motors and Mercedes motors require dealer parts and often dealer repair, so when trouble comes it will be expensive. CAT expensive is less (and likely less frequent) than Mercedes expensive.

Cummins engines are respected, but the 5.9 is a bit underpowered. That's what I have and it did a fine job with an empty bus and flat land. Once I put my junk in the bus and try to climb hills? I'm expecting to arrive at the top... tomorrow. The 8.3 is much preferred (see one of the many discussions).

Transmissions are nearly all automatics made by Allison. The most common is the AT545, because for the task of picking up kids it works fine and is cheap. But for highway or mountain use, you probably don't want one. Should you refuse a free bus with an AT545? No - unless your in the hills. You can always flip it and trade up! And it may do the job for you. But I would hold out for the AT 643 (it's lockup brother), or the 2000 (the one I have), or the MD3060 (though you may need to beg Allison to unlock the top gear). As mentioned above, you might just find the bus/engine/price you want, and then abandon it if is has the AT545 and buy it if it has anything else.

Others with more experience will chime in, hopefully, and the search bar is your friend. But this is what I've learned. Hope it helps!
I've been pretty loyal to International/IC/Navistar and my last couple have been disappointing. My newest purchase has a low mile, low hour Cat 3126. When looking up parts prices they actually seem to be REALLY commonly available and honestly they look to cost about the same as parts for my Navistar DT. Maybe even cheaper.
This will be the first Cat I've personally owned. Looking forward to it!
If I'm not in love with it by the time I get it home I'll just sell it.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:27 AM   #14
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Give weight to EastCoastCB's advice: HE knows what he's talking about - I'm just a noob who reads a lot.
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Old 07-14-2018, 07:06 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone.

I've been reading ton's in part do to we look to buy with in the next 2 months.
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:13 PM   #16
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Thoughts on this one?

Year: 2007
Make: THOMAS/FREIGHTLINER
Model: SAF-T-LINER C-2
Mileage: 121,311
VIN: 4UZABRCT17CW26329
Running Condition: GREAT
Engine: MBE900 6.4L Merc.
Transmission: ALLISON 2500 PTS
Body Style: 77 PASS CONV.
Tires: 11R-22.5
Brakes: Hydraulic
Order a CARFAX Report
Selling a 2007 77 passenger Thomas C-2 school bus as is, no warranty implied or expressed. Selling unit due to down sizing fleet.

The bus is in very good condition, passed state inspections this school year with no violations. Bus was brought in every 3000 miles for service, oil and filters changed every 15,000 miles, and also inspected every 35 days. New Transmission installed at 78,787 miles. Rear brakes, rotors, and calipers replaced at 113,934 miles. Front brake pads replaced at 107,252 miles. Tires in good condition, steers at 10/32 and drive tires at 13/32. Repair history available.
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:27 PM   #17
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 8,955
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by navonifamily View Post
Thoughts on this one?

Year: 2007
Make: THOMAS/FREIGHTLINER
Model: SAF-T-LINER C-2
Mileage: 121,311
VIN: 4UZABRCT17CW26329
Running Condition: GREAT
Engine: MBE900 6.4L Merc.
Transmission: ALLISON 2500 PTS
Body Style: 77 PASS CONV.
Tires: 11R-22.5
Brakes: Hydraulic
Order a CARFAX Report
Selling a 2007 77 passenger Thomas C-2 school bus as is, no warranty implied or expressed. Selling unit due to down sizing fleet.

The bus is in very good condition, passed state inspections this school year with no violations. Bus was brought in every 3000 miles for service, oil and filters changed every 15,000 miles, and also inspected every 35 days. New Transmission installed at 78,787 miles. Rear brakes, rotors, and calipers replaced at 113,934 miles. Front brake pads replaced at 107,252 miles. Tires in good condition, steers at 10/32 and drive tires at 13/32. Repair history available.
General consensus has been to stay away from anything newer than 04+ due to added electronics issues that are hard to diagnose and expensive to repair. Add to that the name Mercedes, which is another word for expensive, will require getting parts from Mercedes and most likely having the work done at a Mercedes dealer service. Plus it's going to need tires soon.
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:11 AM   #18
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,886
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by navonifamily View Post
Thoughts on this one?

Year: 2007
Make: THOMAS/FREIGHTLINER
Model: SAF-T-LINER C-2
Mileage: 121,311
VIN: 4UZABRCT17CW26329
Running Condition: GREAT
Engine: MBE900 6.4L Merc.
Transmission: ALLISON 2500 PTS
Body Style: 77 PASS CONV.
Tires: 11R-22.5
Brakes: Hydraulic
Order a CARFAX Report
Selling a 2007 77 passenger Thomas C-2 school bus as is, no warranty implied or expressed. Selling unit due to down sizing fleet.

The bus is in very good condition, passed state inspections this school year with no violations. Bus was brought in every 3000 miles for service, oil and filters changed every 15,000 miles, and also inspected every 35 days. New Transmission installed at 78,787 miles. Rear brakes, rotors, and calipers replaced at 113,934 miles. Front brake pads replaced at 107,252 miles. Tires in good condition, steers at 10/32 and drive tires at 13/32. Repair history available.
Emissions stuff gets real expensive to own and maintain. Look for a 2003 or older.
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Old 07-16-2018, 09:50 AM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
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Wow!

Learning alot in here. I always thought (What most might have) is a Bus is a Bus is a Bus... But seems not so. I'm glad I asked though so far some of what I thought were good deals are cause of the lack luster drive lines..

We need to both pull and climb mountain passes with what ever setup we end up in.
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Old 07-16-2018, 09:53 AM   #20
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Is there anyway to tell transmission if the info isn't listed? See below listing for the info I do have and a link to said Bus..

Year: 2001
Make: international/Thomas
Model: 3800
Mileage: 178297
VIN: 1HVBBAAN02H530616
Running Condition: GOOD
Engine: international 466E
Transmission: Allison
Body Style: 71 passenger
Tires: fair
Brakes: air

https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2130760
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