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Old 05-16-2016, 11:10 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 35
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT530
Rated Cap: 84
Couple bus buying questions: price and roof

Greetings. Been lurking. Just registered. No bus yet. Noob. Yes I know how to search the site with Google. You guys are cool and stuff. Did I miss anything? Okay... 😜

First off, can you believe my user name was available?? I put myself through college driving a school bus, a conventional International 77pax T444E fwiw, with occasional work driving an MCI and Prevost coaches and also a city transit style shuttle bus.

I've spent the last 18 months convincing my wife that we should buy a bus. Finally got her on board 💪😎🍻. Will buy anytime between next week and next June.

I've read all the stuff on what kind of bus. I want big and fast. So this means 40ft, 84-90pax, high roof, storage, probably a Cummins 8.3 (though maybe a DT466?), tall gearing and a MT643 or MD3060. No I'm not smart I just read.

Oh, I'm in Ohio and I am willing to fly across the country to NM, AZ, CA, NV etc for a rust-free bus. After seeing the crap that got cycled out of service in the Midwest every year when I drove I feel like it is probably worth it.

So my first question is price: I know I will pay more for what I want, since I basically want biggest best fastest everything 😛, than if I bought the old bus I drove around in college. Is it worth it to pay the the $5-$10k it seems used dealers are asking knowing that I could have somebody that will work with me on arranging a pre-purchase inspection so I can be certain of the condition, and also be flexible with my schedule, like often a month or more to go get it? I'm not sure how I would do any of that that with something on Public Surplus. Like, how would I inspect a district bus or interview some school district mechanic that's 1,800 miles away?

Second, since bus listings seem to be *ahem* somewhat sparse on info, I'm wondering if anybody could give me some tell-tale signs to look for to be sure I'm looking at a high roof. The older Thomases seem pretty easy with their pronounced hump behind the driver, but others I'm not so sure about.

Thanks. Happy to be here.
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Old 05-17-2016, 05:40 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 7,939
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
im from ohio too..
for me buying a dealer bus was right for me because i wanted a bunch of other work done to it and wanted to get it into fast gear... ie one stop shop to have the bus painted, serviced, etc.. as ready to drive as an old bus can be..

your best deals are going to be found on alot of the surplus and auction sites.. govdeals and publicsurplus.. im not sure what their rules are on inspections.. obviously any dealer that is reputable should allow you to get your bus inspected by a 3rd party.

Ohio isnt a bad place to get a bus from if its fresh out of service with cirrent inspection stickers.. as the ohio inspections are pretty tough to pass.. nevertheless you are right rust is an issue in the midwest and north.

my bus was run in ohio and I bought it from a dealer in florida.. go figure.. for a 25 year old bus its not a rust bucket..

main thing is take your time and determine your whole value.. what you are looking to do, read, learn.. AND it doesnt hurt to goto a dealer and look.. even if you are just kicking the tires.. to walk inside of busses, sit in the driver seat, etc.. look at various brands and years for ceiling heights.. .. just because you walk in the door doesnt mean you bought a bus..

midwest transit and don brown are dealers within somewhat reasonable driving distance from ohio...

but this might help you decide at least what you are looking for..

im not sure if the auctions let you walk inside the busses or not..

-Christopher
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:07 AM   #3
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9" split sash windows are still the standard for Blue Bird and some Thomas buses. 12" split sash windows have been standard in IC buses since about 2003.

The taller windows equal three more inches of headroom.

The easiest way to determine from a picture what size the windows are is to look how the top of the windows line up with the top of the driver's side window and the top of the service door. If the tops are all even it most probably has 9" windows. If the tops of the windows are higher than the service door and the driver's side window it most probably has 12" windows.
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:48 AM   #4
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Location: hills of sw virginia
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Chassis: thomas
Engine: 8.3 cummins
Rated Cap: 11 window
i got my rust free bus in N C. lots of good buses there
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:49 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,136
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus Driver View Post
Greetings. Been lurking. Just registered. No bus yet. Noob. Yes I know how to search the site with Google. You guys are cool and stuff. Did I miss anything? Okay... 😜

First off, can you believe my user name was available?? I put myself through college driving a school bus, a conventional International 77pax T444E fwiw, with occasional work driving an MCI and Prevost coaches and also a city transit style shuttle bus.

I've spent the last 18 months convincing my wife that we should buy a bus. Finally got her on board 💪😎🍻. Will buy anytime between next week and next June.

I've read all the stuff on what kind of bus. I want big and fast. So this means 40ft, 84-90pax, high roof, storage, probably a Cummins 8.3 (though maybe a DT466?), tall gearing and a MT643 or MD3060. No I'm not smart I just read.

Oh, I'm in Ohio and I am willing to fly across the country to NM, AZ, CA, NV etc for a rust-free bus. After seeing the crap that got cycled out of service in the Midwest every year when I drove I feel like it is probably worth it.

So my first question is price: I know I will pay more for what I want, since I basically want biggest best fastest everything 😛, than if I bought the old bus I drove around in college. Is it worth it to pay the the $5-$10k it seems used dealers are asking knowing that I could have somebody that will work with me on arranging a pre-purchase inspection so I can be certain of the condition, and also be flexible with my schedule, like often a month or more to go get it? I'm not sure how I would do any of that that with something on Public Surplus. Like, how would I inspect a district bus or interview some school district mechanic that's 1,800 miles away?

Second, since bus listings seem to be *ahem* somewhat sparse on info, I'm wondering if anybody could give me some tell-tale signs to look for to be sure I'm looking at a high roof. The older Thomases seem pretty easy with their pronounced hump behind the driver, but others I'm not so sure about.

Thanks. Happy to be here.
The BEST buses are out WEST. You seem to have been learning and lurking, that's great. Definitely don't buy a bus from OH, MI, or from that general rust region.
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Old 05-17-2016, 07:40 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 7,939
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
busses from out west also tend to built to handle hilly terrain too as opposed to busses from the "flat-belt"..

also bluebird made some busses with 12" windows.. they were from the 2000-2001 era.. maybe visions? dognose busses easy to spot because the poassenger windows were taller than the driver slider window..

-Christopher
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Old 05-17-2016, 08:03 AM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,136
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
busses from out west also tend to built to handle hilly terrain too as opposed to busses from the "flat-belt"..

also bluebird made some busses with 12" windows.. they were from the 2000-2001 era.. maybe visions? dognose busses easy to spot because the poassenger windows were taller than the driver slider window..

-Christopher
yep. all the high headroom buses are easily spotted. The side windows will be higher than the door.
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Old 05-17-2016, 11:10 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 35
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT530
Rated Cap: 84
Thanks for the advice. It helps, especially about looking at the window height.

This process seems daunting to find what I want, especially with the way some of the listings are written on GovDeals, Public Surplus, and some district sites.
Like:
Engine: GOOD
Transmission: AUTO
Well gee thanks that's very helpful...
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:13 PM   #9
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 446
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus Driver View Post
Thanks for the advice. It helps, especially about looking at the window height.

This process seems daunting to find what I want, especially with the way some of the listings are written on GovDeals, Public Surplus, and some district sites.
Like:
Engine: GOOD
Transmission: AUTO
Well gee thanks that's very helpful...
"Good", "Running Condition", etc varies GREATLY from person to person. That's why I'm so apprehensive as I search for buses as most are outside my area and require at least a day or 2 of travel. Only good thing is there are tens of thousands of them out there so I will eventually find "The One'! I remember reading something several years back that had the real definitions of what is put in for sale ads. Example: "Runs good, just don't have the time to work on it now" really means something like I just found out the engine (or other mechanical parts) is on it's last leg and I want to dump it on someone else while I can still make some money. Have to do some searching to see if I can find the list again.
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Old 05-17-2016, 01:11 PM   #10
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2
Hello Bus Driver. Obviously I'm new to this site as well, your post inspired me to say hello to all. I've been lurking for the past couple of weeks as well.

A bit of my background, I tried my hand at driving a school bus for a year and decided that transporting middle school aged students at $10/hr was not my forte (especially considering that it was for a city school with a few stops in the projects, too many stories for one post). But I always enjoyed driving the bus at the end of the day (when it was empty). Occasionally on the weekends the garage I drove out of also ran shuttle services between Oakland and Heinz field for Pitt football games, which I always volunteered for, driving an 84 passenger flat front school bus, I would also hangout at the garage, mid-day, performing fluid checks on the fleet and taking some of the buses out to fill up about 2 miles down the road, so I'm no stranger to driving a wide variety of buses/vans. (I'm going off topic, sorry)

Bus Driver, I too would like to someday join the ranks of skoolies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus Driver View Post
I've spent the last 18 months convincing my wife that we should buy a bus. Finally got her on board 💪😎🍻. Will buy anytime between next week and next June.
What I want to ask you, is how did you convince your wife to be on board with your decision? I have many hurdles to cross before I step foot in a bus again, this is my biggest one as of now (that and finances). But if I can convince my wife that this is a good/cool/interesting lifestyle, then we can start putting money towards it. Any advice guys?
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