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Old 09-27-2016, 01:55 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Marietta, GA
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Bus Shopping!

Yay! We are finally shopping for a bus. The first one we looked at is a 1998 Gillig. I love the big transit style windows, but I'm not sure about a transit bus. I recorded a video of me looking at the engine and pretending to know what I'm looking at: https://youtu.be/5ekfe7xdw7Y

Those of you who know more about buses than I do, let me know what you think. We are heading out to see bus #2 right now, so I'll have more soon!
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:02 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
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Because this is a School Bus forum, there may not be a lot of knowledge about the Transit style buses. I watched your video, but other than a quick look at the engine it did not tell much about the bus.
Try to post more info about the bus you are looking at, size, model, engine type, trans type, what you plan to use it for, anything you can tell us may help the forum to advise you on your bus purchase.
Also, look at a lot of converted buses and see what they have done, many of the newer Gillig Transit buses I have seen, would not be an easy, or a very good RV/Tiny house conversion bus. But without seeing it, its hard to say for sure.
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Old 09-28-2016, 10:17 PM   #3
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Location: Richmond Virginia
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Welcome, very excited to see you are on the adventure path.
We plead with you to buy a bus that the majority of us are familiar with so we can pretend to know what advice to offer

"The alternator appears to be securely attached...it's not going anywhere."
This reminded me of Mr. Mom "220...221, whatever it takes."
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:52 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
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My husband recorded video of the inside of the transit bus and the two school buses we looked at, but he hasn't uploaded them so I haven't been able to share them yet. We've ruled out the Gillig for a few reasons - as lovely as those big, tinted windows are, the bus sits sooooo low to the ground and I worry about trying to fit tanks and such underneath. Also, it has a fiberglass frame and I prefer the nice steel school bus. That said, bus #2 was very clean and nice, already titled as an RV, and already has the seats out. It's a real contender, so I'll try to get pics, video, and more info for you guys. Bus #3 was an already converted "party bus" and... No. Just, no. The guy had bolted a wooden box over the doghouse for the engine and said it would take 4 hours to get it open. He's had the bus for 4 years and hasn't done ANY maintenance on the bus itself. The stripper pole he installed really spins, though. O_o
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:17 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Here is a video of the interior of bus #2: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AW4...w?usp=drivesdk

Here's a pic of the underside (look at how little rust there is!) https://drive.google.com/file/d/14uR...w?usp=drivesdk

And here's an exterior shot https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TXD...w?usp=drivesdk

We didn't get video of the engine, but everything was pristine and well cared for. I test drove the bus and it starts up and runs beautifully. It has a manual transmission, which is a plus and a minus for us - I mean, that's great for driving through the mountains, but I hope we don't have to sit in traffic very often. It felt a bit cramped after the transit bus. I'm worried about squeezing 5 people and a cat in there!

We are headed to Detroit to look at bus #4 today. This one is a 14 row monster, so we'll see how that one feels.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:37 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Bus #4 might be the one. It's a 1999 Bluebird TC2000 with a Cummins 5.9TA engine and AT545 transmission. (Seems like I've seen those stats on a number of other conversions - must be a popular build.) The bus has been sitting for a while, so it needs a new battery. We were able to jump it to fire up the engine, and it seems to run just fine. The guy at the shop is finding out how much a new battery will cost.

It definitely felt more spacious than the other school bus we looked at, although there is some rust on this one that we'd need to deal with. It's a flat nosed, front-engine bus - which I think I like better than the dog nose on the other. It has hydrolic brakes, not air brakes, which surprised me on a bus this big. Should I be concerned about that, or is it not a big deal?

For comparison, bus #2 is a 1995 Thomas International with a DT466 and 6 speed manual transmission (not sure about specifics). It does have air brakes.
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Old 09-29-2016, 08:54 PM   #7
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Engine: DT360
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the 5.9 /AT545 will be fine as long as you donrt want to go in the mountains alot.. or go fast in athe mountains you do go in..

I have an international DT-360 / AT545 (a 360 is a 5.9 litre.. juyst ,made by international and not cummins).. my bus will run 65 on flat ground if iwant it to.. but get it in the hills and she slows down some... ive run it through the appalachains, adurondacks, and smokies... and it runs right through but definitely on the long hills im in the slow lane with the semi trucks.. my bus is a 7 row with a weight rating of 27,500.. I have a minimal conversion so not much weight added from stock..

only thing I'll say about detroit is it is a very depressed city on the mend.. it went bankrupt.. so them buying new busses is likely not gonna happen soon... so I almost want to question a bus they sell..

you WILL have rust from there as they salt roads like fiends in micbigan... since michigan is flat and not hot during ther school year, the chances are the drivetrain has likely not been run too hard or overheated.. be especially noting of the suspension though... looseness, and such as michigan roads are total Pot-hole junk...

not saying you arent looking at a good bus..as they do exist... just give it a 100% look over..
-Christopher
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:37 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Here is a video of the interior of bus #4: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzf...h5S2IzNkk/view

Here's the rust on the underside I mentioned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-u...tmX1VhYWs/view
This was the worst looking area. My stepdad thinks we could probably sandblast this off, then paint it with some rust protective product and it would be ok. Those of you with experience - what do you think?

And the exterior looks like a bus: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UON...fxd44k0-A/view
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:54 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
only thing I'll say about detroit is it is a very depressed city on the mend.. it went bankrupt.. so them buying new busses is likely not gonna happen soon... so I almost want to question a bus they sell..
Yeah, we went through some... interesting... neighborhoods today. The guy selling the bus owns a mechanic shop and tow yard. He suggested we meet at his shop, and then had one of his employees escort us to the tow yard to see the bus, and then back to the highway. He was blunt about being armed and said we had to drive through some rough neighborhoods. O_O

We got to see 8 Mile. And 7 Mile. And 9 Mile. And we almost got to see Flint in person, instead of in the news (Technically, it was up the road a bit, but we saw signs for it). We had planned to get something to eat after checking out the bus, but between the armed escort, the crackhead stumbling across the road a few cars ahead of us, and the fear of being poisoned by the water, we decided to hold off until we reached Toledo.

I'm sure there are much nicer areas in Detroit. We just didn't get to see them this trip.

Oh, on the plus side - the bus is already a movie star! Apparently, they've had it for a while, and it's been occasionally rented out to production companies. It was in Transformers and Red Dawn. So, we could have a celebrity bus! :P
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Old 09-30-2016, 04:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysty View Post
Bus #4 might be the one. It's a 1999 Bluebird TC2000 with a Cummins 5.9TA engine and AT545 transmission. (Seems like I've seen those stats on a number of other conversions - must be a popular build.) The bus has been sitting for a while, so it needs a new battery. We were able to jump it to fire up the engine, and it seems to run just fine. The guy at the shop is finding out how much a new battery will cost.

It definitely felt more spacious than the other school bus we looked at, although there is some rust on this one that we'd need to deal with. It's a flat nosed, front-engine bus - which I think I like better than the dog nose on the other. It has hydrolic brakes, not air brakes, which surprised me on a bus this big. Should I be concerned about that, or is it not a big deal?

For comparison, bus #2 is a 1995 Thomas International with a DT466 and 6 speed manual transmission (not sure about specifics). It does have air brakes.
Base model with 5.9, 545, and rust??
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