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Old 07-15-2018, 01:16 PM   #1
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First skoolie

Hello I'm new to this forum and am in need of some guidance. I found a bus that appears to be perfect for us but I've never converted one before and at $5000 it's a scary investment so I came here for some advice https://kansascity.craigslist.org/ct...637919771.html this is the bus I have already viewed it and it is in good condition there was rust underneath on the frame that worried me though it could be nothing though I don't know what to look for with rust. So my question for you is this a good model engine how much rust is cause for concern and is this a good deal?
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devader View Post
Hello I'm new to this forum and am in need of some guidance. I found a bus that appears to be perfect for us but I've never converted one before and at $5000 it's a scary investment so I came here for some advice https://kansascity.craigslist.org/ct...637919771.html this is the bus I have already viewed it and it is in good condition there was rust underneath on the frame that worried me though it could be nothing though I don't know what to look for with rust. So my question for you is this a good model engine how much rust is cause for concern and is this a good deal?
Devader, nice to meet you. Firstly, you it will be suggested you fill out your profile so people know a bit more about you, where you're at, and how better to help you.

Secondly, I am the farthest thing you will find from an expert on this forum, but that seems expensive to me. Others with more knowledge will chime in, but that's my first thought. I am also looking to get a bus, planning to go look at one on Wednesday, but it'll be less than $2k for a similar bus with what appears to be a nicer body than that one. Start lurking on govdeals.com and publicsurplus.com and watching auctions to see what different buses go for. There are also several Facebook groups for selling skoolies that can help you get an idea on price.

Lastly, good luck. I'm with you, $5k is a big investment especially when you'll be putting more into it in the conversion.
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:48 AM   #3
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Location: Taylor Lake Village, TX
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Year: 1994
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT408 6.7L L6
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Welcome, I also am not an experienced skoolie, however I have read a lot, and will pass on the information I have gleaned as well as a few tips.

1. If you see rust that concerns you on the frame rails underneath, you can probably bet the floor will be rusted worse. This means more money/time spent to repair.

2. The 5.9 Cummins 12v is one of the smaller engines put into a school bus. It has a large following and plenty of parts availability due to it also being put in light trucks. It is an all mechanical engine, which means easy to work on and improve the power (at the cost of reliability) It is not a sleeved engine as it's big brother the 8.3, which means any real engine work and it has to be pulled from the bus.

3. This bus most likely has an AT545 transmission. This is the least desirable transmission, but also the most common for the era. It does not have a lock up torque converter which means there is always slip and therefor always heat. Not desirable if you plan on climbing mountains. An MT643 could most likely be swapped in if wanted/needed.

4. The age of the bus means you don't have to deal with emissions, or electronics. That's good. It does not have the P-Pump which is the most desired mechanical fuel pump, instead has the VE44 rotary pump. This is still adjustable for a cheap power increase.

5. IMHO the price is way too high, UNLESS;
a) it truly only does have 36,000 miles. (I suspect this number because of the age. 36000mi/26yrs = 1385 mi per year...)
b) the rust you saw is only surface rust and can be cleaned off with no/minor pitting.
c) the engine runs w/o ANY problems. If the 36,000 mi is correct it should purr like a kitten. Ask for maintenance records, at 36,000 mi there shouldn't be to many of them, most school districts do maintenance every 3000 mi. So if you figure, 12 of those, and maybe one every year?
d) all other systems are in great shape. Brakes, P/S, A/C, tires (check for cracking and date codes).
d) this is the perfect bus for you. Is it the size, style (front engine), have the options (A/C, Air ride, brakes, etc...) that you are looking for? If not, there is no way, I'd pay twice what I could get it for at auction.

If I were you, I'd pass. I'm assuming you're in the Kansas area, If you are looking for a bus, I'd check the well known auction sites like govdeals, and publicsurplus for buses close to you, but also www.purplewave.com which is a Kansas area auction site. If you're willing to travel a bit there are other regional auction sites which might not have the quantity of buses as the national sites, but might have what you want within a reasonable driving distance. renebates.com auctions in the Texas area, and I'm sure there are others, I just haven't found them all yet.

Happy hunting,
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:22 AM   #4
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It is very uncommon to find a 15 year old bus with it's original speedometer in it. They also only go 99999, which means you don't know if it has 10K, 110K 210K etc. I think it unlikely that thing is 26 years old and only has 36k on it.
That said, the price is about double and the drivetrain least desirable. But other than that it's not a Bad bus.
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Old 07-16-2018, 06:19 PM   #5
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Okay we will keep looking thank you so much for the advice! I have been keeping an eye on publicsurplus and found a bus we really like however it does scare me buying a bus so far away without any real guarantees it will run when I get there so I'll check out purplewave. Again thank you all so much for the advice
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Old 07-16-2018, 06:30 PM   #6
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First of all, welcome. glad you found this site. lots of good info and people here. that is a tc1000. nice bus, but depending on where you are using it, and what it is equipped with, it could be less than desirable. for that age, regardless of miles, that seems expensive. use this forum to research bus prices and what is a good bang for your buck. It took me 8 months to find my bus. (2004 28' International) which I paid $2200 for, and it has zero rust.
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Old 07-16-2018, 06:41 PM   #7
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36k is unbelievably low miles on that bus. As in, I don't believe it. There was a poor guy on Facebook who bought a "60k mile" bus on govdeals and it turned out that was the hours, it actually had almost 400k miles on it. I'm assuming that the 36k claim is what they think gives it 5k worth of value, I just don't believe it. Also, it's rusty.

The photos don't reflect premium condition or features. No mention of air conditioning, for example. Tires may have tons of tread but may also be 20 years old, etc.

BTW - I bought my 32 ft TC2000 with dual factory air conditioning and 160k for less than half that price.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:37 AM   #8
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Okay so after I told him I'm not interested based on the price he lowered the price to 2500. Would this be a fair price? I'm also on public surplus looking at a few pushers with the same size engine but an allison 3060 looks like the reserve is 2000.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:49 AM   #9
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Well at a more reasonable price you have to start considering what you plan to do with it. You haven't told us so it's hard to give more specific advice. if your plan is to live in it full time with your spouse and 9 kids and 7 dogs, you still shouldn't buy it.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:04 AM   #10
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Do they make pushers in short lengths like that? Do they make pushers with a 5.9? My understanding is that the pushers were reserved for the full length buses, and the only Cummins they came with was the 8.3. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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