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Old 12-20-2006, 01:06 AM   #1
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Found bus BUT--250K mileage. Is this too high to consider?

I like most everything else about this bus, (diesel pusher, air brakes, new Allison, no rust, belly storage, paint job, seats out, floor laid and more). I have a concern about the mileage (hoped to start with 150K or less).
I'm not a mechanic. Price is also a little high, considering the mileage, but not out of the ballpark. The thing is, I'm soooooo ready. It's close to home and calling to me. Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 12-20-2006, 09:00 AM   #2
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that is a lot of miles for most skoolies. I did buy my first skoolie with about 254K miles on it and sold it with almost 300K on it.


what engine is in the bus?

a DT466 could still be in good shape with that kind of mileage on it.....and a rebuild kit is only about $1K

i'm not too familiar with pushers. There was a CAT motor used in a lot of pushers that people have mixed feelings about.

how much are they asking?

i payed $775 for my first bus (72 pass, conventional front end, 6.6 liter diesel, allison auto) and $1,500 for my current bus (72 pass, DT360, ~180K miles)
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Old 12-20-2006, 09:55 PM   #3
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Mine had 191,000 on it...runs like a champ. I'm told the old Caterpillar is good for several hundred thousand miles between rebuilds!!!
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Old 12-20-2006, 10:38 PM   #4
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250K mileage. Too high to buy??

The bus is an '89 BB all-American, 40ft, with a rear 8.3L Cummins, air brakes, new Allison, WVO system (needs work), paint job, seats out--hardwood floor in (but no insulation), tires ok, good glass, air-ride seat. $5900.
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Old 12-21-2006, 01:35 AM   #5
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That is nothing for an 8.3 they are and excellant engine to have. Most will go half a million miles before problems start. The only thing you mentioned that the Veg oil system needs work? Did they run some dirty oil in that engine? That could be a problem.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:37 AM   #6
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Re: 250K mileage. Too high to buy??

Quote:
Originally Posted by greyguzziart
The bus is an '89 BB all-American, 40ft, with a rear 8.3L Cummins, air brakes, new Allison, WVO system (needs work), paint job, seats out--hardwood floor in (but no insulation), tires ok, good glass, air-ride seat. $5900.
My sense of it is that the price is too high. Now that's based on where I live and what I've paid for the two buses I've purchased and what I've seen available online. Since I can't see the specific bus you're contemplating and don't know your personal situation with regard to being able to bring back a bus out of your area I could be all wrong...so take it with a grain of salt.

What part of the country are you loacated in?

I'd suggest taking a look at the following web site:

http://www.floridachurchbus.com/

DISCLAIMER: I do not personally know Gregg nor am I recommending that you purchase a bus from him. I do know that he has a good reputation with several folks I know that did buy their buses there and he seems to have a wealth of knowledge and a willingness to help. He'll also deliver a bus for a very reasonable mileage fee.

One of the reasons I'm suggesting a look at the site is because there's a lot of info there and pricing so that you can compare that to others that you see available.
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Old 12-21-2006, 06:21 PM   #7
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Is 250K too many miles to consider?? More Info.

Thanks for all the good advice. Although I've owned a big RV and fully converted a old step van, I have not owned a schoolie. I am a newbie here and need all the feedback I can get. Believe me, it's valuable. I could do a first class job on the conversion, but I am not a mechanic. Wouldn't want a money-pit/lots of breakdowns. Don't have a lot of money, usually.

This bus was originally sold to the current owner (seller) by Greg. It still has great pick-up and power for as many miles as it has on it. But I have concerns--even though I really like the bus and want the bus and it is close and it's got all the other features I'm looking for.

The WVO problem is minor, not crap in the system/lines, etc. Just needs a replacement part. Owner claims it's an easy fix. I told him the system has to work properly before I would consider buying.

Feedback??
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Old 12-21-2006, 08:24 PM   #8
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Hmmm...things get interesting!

I don't think the miles in and of themselves are a major factor. My 1979 International Blue Bird has over 300,000 miles on it and it just recently passed a full DOT inspection and runs like a champ. If you really want to know what shape the bus is in take in to a large truck dealer and ask them to do a DOT inspection. At the end of the process they have to be willing to sign a federal paper that says the bus is roadworthy and meets all DOT requirements or tell you it doesn't and what is wrong; they do no sign them just for fun as the fines are horrendous. Now this won't tell you about the internal condition of the engine but it sure lets you know where you stand on "all that other stuff" under the bus. You can have them do an oil analysis too and it's not expensive. The first one all by it self won't tell them as much as a series of them over time but if there's something major wrong it will show up even in the first sample.

I still think that type of bus you're looking at is typically a $3500 to $4000 unit if it's not found "on a deal" but you if you factor in a long trip and such the seemingly "good deal" can get expensive. On the other hand the bus has a lot going for it...it is a Blue Bird, it is a transit-style bus, it is a pusher, and it's got a powerplant with a good reputation. One of the big questions for me would be which Allison transmission does it have? I think the AT545 would bring the price down and an MT643 would make the asking price look more reasonable.

Also important is overall condition; if it's lived somewhere where it hasn't picked up a lot of rust and such that's a real bonus. Tires are important too; for most of us they're quite expensive so if they're good that's something else you don't have to spend money on right away.

How many miles has the current owner driven it? Enough to know things are working well and there aren't a bunch of little things that have to be done? And would he tell you if he knew? Would you be buying from someone you have a good feeling about?

As I said in the beginning, this is a tough one to call because we all live in different places and the buses available to us come through all sorts of different avenues. To me the most important thing would be that you felt comfortable with the bus and the price you're paying for it. Even if you pay more than someone else might but you like the bus, have a good feeling about and are happy with the results it's well worth it. You could very well find a "deal" somewhere else and have all sorts of trouble...then it isn't a "deal" at all.
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:13 PM   #9
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The 8.3 cummins engine is comparable in size and power ratings as the DT466, they are both 500k engines if the routine maintainence is done on schedule. Make sure that you service the water filter/addative cartridge, it is every bit as important on a diesel as oil&filter changes are to the life of the engine.

All of these skoolie engines have been aropund for at least 20 years, the manufacturers spent lots of time and money to develop them before they released them for muse and they have continued to improve them. the real testament to them is that they continue to be used in new vehicles today in the days of electronic this and instant that, sure they have been improved but that comes with improved technology.

also a thought about WVO H2O will blow the tips off of the fuel injectors so be sure to use a good water seperator.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:12 PM   #10
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250K mileage. Too high to buy?? More Info.

Thanks.
Checking on the trans. will know tonight.
Also he painted the bus with that ceramic additive into auto paint (beige).
He also has paint for the roof that insulates/protects.
Serpentine belt was just replaced along with new brake hose.
Has WVO system but fuel (oil) pump overheated and failed--needs new pump. No switch-over switch on control panel, must pull over and switch over outside.
Deisel fuel guage not operating.
He tore out seats and center rubber aisle piece then laid ply over all and new hardwood flooring over it. He did not tear down all the way/no insulation. He's also selling a nice wood stove, two boxes of extra flooring included in price. He paneled the walls but used luan with seft tapping screws directly into the bus strut metal framing. No insulation.
If I buy it, I probably will deal with the floor as is, but will remove walls and do it right. No electrical or plumbing.
He drove it from Ohio to Arkansas to Arizona where it is now. Had no trouble with it except for multiple failures of the WVO system, which he had solved except for the fuel pump needed.
He wants $5900.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:19 PM   #11
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WVO water seperators and H20 filter/additive cartridge.

Thanks. All new important info for me.

I'll check on both the WVO water seperator and H20 filter additive cartridge service record.

I do know that the WVO fuel tank is insulated and on the bottom of the tank is a drain to let any settled water out of tank.
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Old 12-22-2006, 03:47 PM   #12
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racor and goldenrod both make water seperator/ filter setups, highly recommended on any diesel , and even more so on WVO the cost is pocket change compared to pump and injector work / repair
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Old 12-23-2006, 12:10 AM   #13
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If the bus was originally sold to the seller by Greg I would email or call Greg and ask him about the bus. He sold my bus to the first owner and he knew that bus inside and out.

From the prices I have seen that sounds like a good price for a rear engine BlueBird epsically with an 8.3. It is probably a 250HP with an MT643. Many of those buses even came with a retarder (MTB643). Again I would call Greg and find out everything you could ever want to know about the bus.

Like Les said if it has good rubber that is a $2000 savings. Tires are not cheap. Rust is another thing to look at. Since you are in AZ it probably is not a problem unless the bus came from the rust belt. Again Greg can tell you what school it came from and what condition it was in when he sold it.
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Old 12-23-2006, 01:01 AM   #14
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Contacting Greg.

Yes, I agree, I wrote Greg several days ago, then again two days ago. Again yesterday.

No response. May have to call.
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:15 AM   #15
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
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Hi guys:

I'm not going to try to evaluate a bus I cannot see, but for comparison:
I just paid $5.500,- for my 1992 Blue Bird TC2000 front engine 40-footer
with 189.715 miles. Bought it from First Student in Oregon. Cummins 5,9
and MT643, air brakes. Servicable tires. Some dents, no rust.
It had been sitting for sale for at least one year, maybe two. I saw it on
the internet a year ago at $6.500, then later at $6.000. I started by
offering $2.000 "due to the dents", but she would not go below 5.500.
Having driven it home and started converting it, I'm glad I bought it.
At the same time, there are bargains out there -- my local school
district sold a decent running 1981 Gillig pusher with 3208 and
MT643 for $20,- early this year.

I doubt a 250 HP 8.3 would be hooked to an AT545, since those are
only rated for 235 HP.

Keep investigating and then do what feels right. Good luck,
and Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-23-2006, 03:45 PM   #16
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More on the BB All-American w/ 250 miles.

The trans is a MT643.
Owner claims he is loosing $4000. on the deal selling at $5900.
Asking what the 4K was spent on.

Sure do appreciate all the feedback.

Got photo's of the bus, looks real nice.

So I buy it with 250K miles, convert it (invest another $5-10K??) drive it a few years and add another 50K to the odometer. Then I decide to sell it with even more miles . . . . . . . hummmm. I realize a conversion is monetarily a losing proposition, but---
It would be easier for me if it was a deal or lower mileage, for sure.
Now I'm rambling on. Later.
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Old 12-23-2006, 06:34 PM   #17
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Get the current owner to find out the horsepower rating for that particular engine. It will be posted on or around the valve cover. Like with all diesels, it will come in various hp ratings from the manufacturer. Why is this important? Because my high output version of the Ford 6.6 only has 10 hp less than the low output version of the 7.8 Ford diesel and that 10 hp wouldn't be worth the price gouge you might get for having the "bigger" motor. Of course a higher horsepower rating is only a turn of a wrench on the injecter pump away...
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Old 12-23-2006, 08:40 PM   #18
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Re: More on the BB All-American w/ 250 miles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greyguzziart
The trans is a MT643.
Owner claims he is loosing $4000. on the deal selling at $5900.
Asking what the 4K was spent on.

Sure do appreciate all the feedback.

Got photo's of the bus, looks real nice.

So I buy it with 250K miles, convert it (invest another $5-10K??) drive it a few years and add another 50K to the odometer. Then I decide to sell it with even more miles . . . . . . . hummmm. I realize a conversion is monetarily a losing proposition, but---
It would be easier for me if it was a deal or lower mileage, for sure.
Now I'm rambling on. Later.
So far with the engine and transmission you've got another 50K miles isn't even a hiccup. Or to put it another way...the 250K that's on it now is probably like 60k or 70k on a pickup. Enough that you should think about it and make sure the rest of the bus is ok but not enough that mileage alone should worry you.
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Old 12-23-2006, 11:06 PM   #19
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Les is right 250k on an 8.3 is not a lot of miles. If it is in good shape (rust) the miles are not that big a deal. Most likely if it has an 8.3 it will be 250HP you will have to look to be sure though. Also do you know what the rear end gear ratio is? Hopefully it has highway gears.
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Old 12-26-2006, 07:21 PM   #20
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It was 260K Miles, not 250K miles. Also smoked.

Checked out the BB All American mentioned in this post. It had 10K miles more than I was told. Grrrrrr! I was pleased that it was not yellow, but the bus was not preped right before it was sprayed. Grrrrr! When we started it it cranked up on first turn (oil pressure 60psi) but smoked. This was in the Phoenix area and the temp was about 65-70?? Even after the engine was warm, the smoke eased up but never quit. When I accelerated, another big black cloud rolled out. It has a new air compressor, tires were fair, entrance step rotted out (weak), all windows were very good. He lowered the price to $4500. but still, with the mileage and smoke, it doesn't look good.
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