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Old 01-16-2017, 12:11 PM   #1
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Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Do you think this bus is worth the money?

Let's try this again, computer rebooted about the time I was going to submit. Grrrr.

2001, International, FE, DT466, 89175.7 miles, 84 pax, last inspection expired 10/2016. It was listed for $3900 but the guy dropped it to $2900 while talking to him via email for the body damage. There's a rivet or two missing but nothing big. The ding near the roof doesn't appear to be leaking and looks like it can be hammered out easily. The wrinkle on the side is an eyesore but no biggie.




The stairs were patched and have since rotted out again. They will need a complete rebuild. There is also rust around the wheel wells but I can't tell how bad with the floor covering. One spot is certainly soft. But these are to be expected.

What worries me is the passenger side drive wheel; it's rusty as well. I've no idea how bad too bad is. Nor have I any idea what a new one costs. As they service buses there, I'd want them to at least swap it with another used bus.




The frame is also rusting. It's more than what I'd call surface rust but I don't think it's anywhere near structural yet. The whole underside needs sanded and sealed.




The bus was started the day before I came to see it (Fri). It dipped to 30° overnight and wasn't any warmer when I got there Sat. It started up. I decided to go back Sun to crawl around under the bus. I moved it 100 feet to a dryer spot. It started right up again. One of the times I started it, I didn't want for the Warm Engine light to go out but it started anyway. Sun I remembered to check the exhaust. With about a 2~3 minute idle, it was completely clear. No vapor even.

I don't know what the missing display is above the oil temp but the light goes out once the bus is running. Gauges, other than the plastic cover, all seem to be good.




The engine oil was black as coal but in a diesel it doesn't take long. Didn't see any water on the stick. Tranny fluid was the appropriate level too. I've no idea where the radiator cap is. The engine cover is bolted on; I expected hinged and a latch.

The rest of the bus...



Stairs






There was one sold at auction for $2k in MD just recently. But I didn't see that one so I've no idea how much rust or body damage there might have been. I'm thinking I'm going to offer the guy $2,000 and see if he bites. Good plan or let it pass?
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:19 PM   #2
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Low miles DT466 is exciting but the rust would scare me.
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:23 PM   #3
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i don't see every bus picture on here, but in the 5-ish years i've been on this forum, that got to be about the worst rust i've seen.

unless you just want just the engine or trans, i'd walk away. you can find much better than that.

my 2 cents

good luck
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:26 PM   #4
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Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
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Low miles DT466 is exciting but the rust would scare me.
Lowest mileage flat nose they had in the older bus lot. Next closest was 125k. It wasn't an 84 pax tho. Might have been a 77.

I think there are probably more unicorns in the wild than there are 15 yr old rust free buses. Some rust is inevitable. But how much is too much? An AZ, NV, NM, TX bus would cost me $1,000 in diesel to get it home alone. Plus airfare out, etc.
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:48 PM   #5
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Looks good for the money, I would buy it
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:51 PM   #6
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You can get much better rust free busses from the southeast as well.
For that $2900 at auction.
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Old 01-16-2017, 04:05 PM   #7
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I'd skip it
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Old 01-16-2017, 05:23 PM   #8
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the missing plastic piece over hte 2 lights.. one would be the ABS and the other is the LEFT turn signal arrow..

-Christopher
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Old 01-16-2017, 06:01 PM   #9
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I'd nope right out of that thing. Good for parting out the engine and trans, and scrapping the rest.
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Old 01-16-2017, 06:57 PM   #10
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i'd pass it too, i've got a 92 from MN and my rust isnt half as bad as this, took me months to get rid of it. the $1000 in cost to go get a rust free one might be cheaper than your time spent fixing that amount of rust, or your back! also got mine for $2500. keep looking, the one is out there!
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Old 01-16-2017, 06:57 PM   #11
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Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleO7 View Post
You can get much better rust free busses from the southeast as well.
For that $2900 at auction.
Auctions are a pain in the a55. Closest one is 100 miles away. Out of state and you are buying sight unseen. FL is 750 miles away. Figuring 6mpg and $3 a gallon, any trip is going to cost you 50 cent to the mile.

I'm not willing to pay $2900 for it. I am considering $2000 tho.
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Old 01-16-2017, 07:19 PM   #12
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Auctions are a pain in the a55. Closest one is 100 miles away. Out of state and you are buying sight unseen. FL is 750 miles away. Figuring 6mpg and $3 a gallon, any trip is going to cost you 50 cent to the mile.

I'm not willing to pay $2900 for it. I am considering $2000 tho.
How much you gonna drive it? That first shakedown run is nothing.
FL buses are low spec and low on maintenance.

RUN from that pile of rust... Don't walk RUN!
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Old 01-16-2017, 08:00 PM   #13
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The bus at which you are looking is exactly the sort of bus I would exhort people to run away from as fast as you could.

In addition to the rust you have the issue of a messed up dash board. You have to wonder how it got so broken up.

For the kind of $$$ you are talking about you can find a very decent rust free example. And the cost of transporting it back to where you live will be a fraction of what it is going to cost in time and $$$ to address all of the rust and damage issues on this bus.
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Old 01-16-2017, 09:08 PM   #14
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pass on it ,, the rust fixes are going to be a nightmare !!!!
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Old 01-16-2017, 09:40 PM   #15
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I'd look and see what else is out there. That rust could be a problem.
It's not terrible - but it will take time, and materials to address.

POR15 chassis saver is $165/gallon, and a gallon does 350 square feet. At 2 coats, including the nooks and crannies, I'd say that's 3 gallons. . .so you're up to $495 in rust remediation, and you haven't picked up the wire brush yet to start removing the loose paint.

On the other hand, you live in a snow and salt state - so giving the underframe a good rust proofing might not hurt in the long run anyways, in which case it's a wash.

Is that mileage based on the records, or the odometer? Some of those dashboards aren't repairable - so it could well be 87k since the dashboard was replaced.


I get that it might end up costing an extra thousand dollars to buy a bus from a less salty area, or a less rusty MD bus - but how much are you going to be spending on top of that (literally) for the build out and conversion?
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Old 01-16-2017, 10:57 PM   #16
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Yet another voice in the "run from that rust" chorus!

How much time are you willing to spend under the bus with a wire wheel, with rust/paint/crud raining down on you, just to prep to repaint the UNDERSIDE of the bus? I think it would be reasonable to guesstimate spending 40 hours on a mechanics crawler to clean that up. Plus the time for whatever damage you uncover...

That amount of rust will give you constant problems. The frame. The fuel lines. The brake lines and air tanks. The suspension parts. ANY exterior bolt for ANY mechanical issue.

I'd guess that the school district knew that too, and the missing gauges indicate it was a parts bus for a while.

Look, I don't mean to be discouraging, but unless you have a passion for rust repair and a lot of experience with a oxy torch and a stick welder ... PASS!!!
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Old 01-16-2017, 11:40 PM   #17
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Way too much rust! RUN!
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Old 01-17-2017, 12:28 AM   #18
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@ $200/ton a scrap yard will pay $2600 for a 13 ton vehicle.

good luck!

post pics
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:40 AM   #19
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Join Date: Oct 2016
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Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
FL buses are low spec and low on maintenance.
I'm from Tallahassee; find me a flat nose 84 pax bus and I'll come down and get it!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
In addition to the rust you have the issue of a messed up dash board. You have to wonder how it got so broken up.
Aside from the plastic cover, I don't think the dash is broken. If I were to get it, I would take it for a test drive and would expect the odometer to work. I found some online records that if I was reading them right said the last couple of years of service, the bus did less than 3k miles a year.

Quote:
And the cost of transporting it back to where you live will be a fraction of what it is going to cost in time and $$$ to address all of the rust and damage issues on this bus.
Time fixing issues isn't a problem. I have no hard deadline and I'm thinking it'll be a 2 yr project anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_In_MA View Post
POR15 chassis saver is $165/gallon, and a gallon does 350 square feet... that's 3 gallons. . .so you're up to $495 in rust remediation, and you haven't picked up the wire brush yet to start removing the loose paint.
Ouch.

What's with you guys and wire wheels? ABSOLUTELY hated my time in the Navy but if there's one thing I learn, if you want to remove paint and rust, the pneumatic needle gun is THE ONLY way to go.



Quote:
On the other hand, you live in a snow and salt state - so giving the underframe a good rust proofing might not hurt in the long run anyways, in which case it's a wash.
I can't see not doing it at the very least on this bus. Are you suggesting there are buses with whatever the OEM frame paint is still intact and doesn't have ANY rust? I don't know buses well but a 15 yr old vehicle?

Quote:
Is that mileage based on the records, or the odometer? Some of those dashboards aren't repairable - so it could well be 87k since the dashboard was replaced.
See above. I found some online pdfs that looked like a cost analysis. Number of pupils, number of miles, etc. I was looking for the last year the bus was in service so only looked at the 2012-13 and 2013-14 records. Both of those yrs looked like less than 5k combined.

Quote:
I get that it might end up costing an extra thousand dollars to buy a bus from a less salty area, or a less rusty MD bus - but how much are you going to be spending on top of that (literally) for the build out and conversion?
An extra $1,000 for a base bus doesn't bother me (much). Buying a bus from TX sight unseen only to find out the bus is from MI and just as rusty.

I've no idea what total cost will be. Seems the average here is 2 yrs and $10-$15k.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yeggs View Post
How much time are you willing to spend under the bus with a wire wheel,
Needle gun would be my first purchase.

Quote:
I think it would be reasonable to guesstimate spending 40 hours on a mechanics crawler to clean that up.
That was one good thing I found out over the weekend. I can sit fully upright under the bus. I had to duck to get under the driveshaft and the frame rails but otherwise I was fine.

Quote:
That amount of rust will give you constant problems. The frame. The fuel lines. The brake lines and air tanks. The suspension parts. ANY exterior bolt for ANY mechanical issue.
The leaf springs were good. I don't remember which project (Transcendence maybe), the guy bought the bus with broken leaf springs. Just from moving the bus 100 ft the brakes felt great but then I know NOTHING about air brakes. Seeing the drums would be a plus.

Quote:
I'd guess that the school district knew that too, and the missing gauges indicate it was a parts bus for a while.
There are no gauges (I don't think) missing. The light I was questioning was there and seemed to work, it was just missing its label. There were several other Internationals in the yard, I just forgot to take notice of the dash in those.

Quote:
Look, I don't mean to be discouraging, but unless you have a passion for rust repair and a lot of experience with a oxy torch and a stick welder ... PASS!!!
Gawd dam it man, quit p1ssing on my parade, this was supposed to be the best deal ever.

I am trying to jump the gun. I have nowhere to park the bus. I have a house to sell that isn't even ready for the market. I have an ex wife to fight on how much of a loss on the house is acceptable. I want to thru hike the A.T. in '18 (mid-build). All of which I don't have any real plans on getting started much less done. But if I bought a bus, I'd have to get my a55 in gear.

Rust repair in the stairs and the sheet metal of the floor doesn't bother me in the least. The bigger components like the frame or an engine overhaul scare me.

This bus is a very low mileage bus. It started right up on a cold day. It's an 84 pax flat nose. All of the in-service buses in MD and PA that I pass are dog noses and nowhere near 84 pax.

Quote:
Originally Posted by turf View Post
@ $200/ton a scrap yard will pay $2600 for a 13 ton vehicle.
Where are you getting your $200/t figure? Last I checked (which has been awhile), steel was 3 1/2 cents per pound. Empty weight after a quick google search is 18000 ~ 19000 lbs. Nine tons at your scrap price almost makes it a free bus assuming I get it for $2k.

Oh sweet, just googled scrap steel prices; it's up to 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 cents per pound.

Anyone want a low mileage DT466 and tranny?
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Old 01-17-2017, 08:47 AM   #20
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it IS possible to fine pretty much rust free 15 yr old busses..
RedByrd us frim Houston and pretty darn close to it.. sure a Lot of original paint / powder coat left on the frame underneath it.. and the interior floors except for the seat bolts are pretty much perfect..


the DEV is an Ohio bus and while its not a rust bucket by any means does have rust underneath.. I brush it and rust-converter it as I get time and parts of it like mudflap brackets etc had to be completely replaced as they were rotted Gone
-Christopher
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