Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-11-2009, 10:07 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 53
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: Spartan
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Going to look at buses on Friday

I've gotten in touch with a place up in Idaho that has some buses for sale. I have almost no details about the buses, but I've been a bit bored lately, so a trip up to look at the inventory should be an interesting diversion. With 400 miles of driving each way, I might be regretting this by the time I get back.

I can at least prove that there were a lot of buses there some time recently; here is a picture of the place:


This is my checklist of things to find out about each bus that I look at:
  • model, year, style, length[/*:m:km5by7tq]
  • mileage[/*:m:km5by7tq]
  • model of engine[/*:m:km5by7tq]
  • model of transmission[/*:m:km5by7tq]
  • engine or trans rebuilt at some point?[/*:m:km5by7tq]
  • maintenance history of bus available?[/*:m:km5by7tq]
  • air brakes or hydraulic[/*:m:km5by7tq]
  • condition of tires[/*:m:km5by7tq]
  • amount of rust[/*:m:km5by7tq]
Is there anything else that I should add to this list?

How do I determine the model of transmission that a bus has? Will there be a plaque somewhere, or do I have to look at the transmission and try to determine visually what kind it is? I don't even know what a transmission looks like or where exactly to find it.
Anomalous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2009, 11:30 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Upstate NY (Mohawk Valley)
Posts: 1,096
Re: Going to look at buses on Friday

The transmission is under the bus between the engine block and the driveshaft. You can see photos in the thread Elliot linked to. There were posts about where to find a metal tag, but I don't remember where. Bring a flashlight.

Quote:
Re: best trans for dt466

Postby Elliot Naess on Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:45 am

Don't even think about using an AT545 with a DT466. Specs here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1824&p=12668#p12668

An other advantage of the MT643 is the protection against excessive temperature. The biggest generator of heat in an automatic tranny is torque converter slippage. The MT643 eliminates slippage at all times in 4th, and part of the time in 3rd. Thus less heat.

Given my druthers, I'd certainly take a stick shift, and I love the 13-speeds in some of the big trucks at work. But admittedly, a stick shift is not for everyone. I don't know about prices, but there should be a lot of late-model 9-speeds and 10-speeds out there in the big-truck wrecking yards. The Volvos use a hydraulic clutch linkage.

An other option ought to be the medium duty stick shifts that come with such engines as the DT-466 in medium trucks. Six speeds? Seven speeds? Anybody?
__________________
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
Redbear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2009, 11:47 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 53
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: Spartan
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Re: Going to look at buses on Friday

Perfect, thanks! I'll have to either study those differences well, or else print out the pictures and bring them with me. Remembering to bring a flashlight is a great tip as well, though in a pinch I could always use the one I keep in the car for emergencies.

It looks like the temperature in Melba, ID is just barely getting above freezing during the day, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of half melted snow on the ground. That should make crawling around under a bus "fun". Hopefully the guy selling the buses will know which transmission each one has.
Anomalous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2009, 01:45 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 53
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: Spartan
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Re: Going to look at buses on Friday

Thanks for the advice everyone.

To be clear, even if I find a bus I like tomorrow, I'm not planning on buying it the same day. Since I'm not very familiar with vehicle mechanics, I'd plan on having the bus inspected before I hand over any money. I would also have to arrange for insurance and a place to store it before I can take it home.
Anomalous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2009, 11:27 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 53
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: Spartan
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Re: Going to look at buses on Friday

Well, this was a bit of a disappointment. Quick summary: bus I looked at has a good engine, transmission, tires, and is in good condition. However, it's a bit shorter than I was looking for, and the owner's asking price is three times what it's worth.

I drove up to the place in Idaho today to look at the buses. It turns out that these are retired fire crew buses. I don't know if that's good or bad in general, but it would save me having to remove the school bus signs and painting it can wait a while.

The guy showing me the bus is the one who maintained them when they were in use for ferrying firemen around, so he knows well the entire maintenance history of the buses. He says that they were very well maintained, and while that is what you'd expect a seller to say, I tend to believe him.

It was about mid 20s in temperature there today, which wouldn't be too bad, except that there was also wind blowing somewhere between 20 and 30mph. It was very cold, and I didn't want to stay out in that long, so I didn't do much in the way of inspecting the buses. I just looked at one bus instead of several, and didn't go through my whole checklist.

The bus I looked at was one from a set of 3 similar buses. They are flat nosed front engine buses, model years 1988 or 1989. The guy showing the bus to me said a couple times that they are 40', but I don't think that's correct. There are 12 windows, which would imply to me that there is 29 or 30 feet behind the driver's seat, for a total length of 35' or less.

These have Cummins 5.9 engines and MT643 transmissions. The rear axle gear ratio is 4.33, which I think is a fairly good ratio for driving on the highway, right? The particular bus I looked at had 157,000 miles on the odometer. The tires look to be in really good shape. There's even a spare tire and wheel on board the bus (though the spare looks a lot more worn). There's almost no rust on the bus; just a tiny bit of surface rust on the underside.

These buses have been sitting for a couple of years. The battery in the one I looked at was dead, so a fresh battery was fetched. The bus took a few tries to start (maybe about 6?), and I was told that this was because of the cold. Does this seem reasonable for a bus that's been sitting awhile and is in mid-20s weather?

The bus started with a brief cloud of black smoke, which dissipated rapidly. After that the exhaust looked pretty clean. Reasonable if the bus has been sitting a while, right?

Unfortunately, it only ran for a couple of minutes before the engine died -- out of fuel! They must have emptied the tank at some point, so only the dregs were left. I was disappointed that I was not able to try driving the bus, or even see it move. A favorable test drive will of course be required before I offer to buy a bus.

Up to this point, everything seemed pretty favorable. The only issue is that the buses are a few feet shorter than I really wanted, but everything else looked so good that I was willing to overlook that. The biggest surprise came when I inquired as to the asking price: $7500! That's about 3 times what I would estimate the bus is worth, based on the auctions I've been watching recently.

I'm thinking of making an offer: $2250 for the bus as is (contingent upon favorable test drive and more through inspection), or $2750 if they can do a couple of additional things for me, including installing a trailer hitch so I can tow my car home, and giving me some bus driving lessons. I kind of doubt that they will accept an offer which is 1/3 of the current price, though. Does it sound reasonable to everyone here, though?

Here are pictures of the bus:









Anomalous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 12:15 AM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Elliot Naess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,116
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Going to look at buses on Friday


I would say you have everything correct.

That huge asking price can safely be called a Fishing Expedition. If you decide you can use this bus, be polite but business-like and be prepared to show him some sale prices on similar buses.
__________________
Elliot
Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...gate-1564.html
Elliot Naess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 03:00 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Prescott, AZ
Posts: 53
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: Spartan
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Re: Going to look at buses on Friday

Well, I made an offer, but was told "no deal" immediately. No counter offer or anything. The seller said that he can get $4500 for just the engine alone (Cummins 5.9). So I guess this is just a case of someone who thinks the bus is worth far more than it is.
Anomalous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 03:26 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 143
Send a message via ICQ to mightybus
Re: Going to look at buses on Friday

The spare tire rack is pretty cool. Ask where the jack and lug-wrench is.
mightybus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 04:27 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
Elliot Naess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,116
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Going to look at buses on Friday


It is indeed possible to get more money for the parts than for the entire bus. The problem is all the labor and tools and so forth, and then marketing and transporting all these individual parts, including that giant hulk of scrap metal of a body. Many wrecking yards make a good living doing this sort of thing. Not so easy if you are not set up for it.
__________________
Elliot
Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...gate-1564.html
Elliot Naess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2009, 01:41 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New England
Posts: 1,009
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Ward Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/MT643
Rated Cap: 77
Re: Going to look at buses on Friday

A 4.33 axle and 10R22.5 tires means 60MPH is about 2100RPM--certainly fine for the 5.9 Cummins. Figure a top end of about 65, maybe 70. That does look like a 40' BB (it's a 72-passenger), probably a TC2000. But yeah...$7K is way, way beyond insane.

That bus is in pretty good shape, but DAMN is it filthy!
__________________
Jarlaxle
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Optimism is a mental disorder.
Jarlaxle is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Friday June 13th 55 years of marriage frank-id Everything Else | General Skoolie Discussions 7 06-14-2014 06:50 AM
buses in VA somewhereinusa Everything Else | General Skoolie Discussions 0 04-07-2011 09:53 PM
Party Buses (In Buses In The News) lapeer20m Everything Else | General Skoolie Discussions 4 07-03-2008 03:43 PM
Buses buses, ya wanna know about buses ??? frank-id Everything Else | General Skoolie Discussions 0 10-20-2006 12:42 AM
Crown ??? Crown buses??? The best of all the school buses frank-id Conversion General Discussions 1 03-05-2006 04:30 PM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.