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Old 04-05-2014, 04:36 PM   #1
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Good deal for a bus?

Hi
I am looking to buy a school bus to convert to a skoolie sometime soon, and i recently found one on craigslist that is 3 miles away. It is a 1997 International Blue Bird conventional, and they are asking 3K.



It has 167K on the T444E engine and is a 71 passenger. It has hydraulic breaks, and fairly good tires. (55% tread)
I am wondering if 3K seems like a good price for the unit, and if these blue birds are good for conversion. Since it is only 3 miles away i will be checking it out.
Whats your thoughts? I would like a flat nose more but my budget is small, so this may be the one. If anyone knows of any flat noses for sale in Ma. or New England in the 5K price range.
Thanks
Jake
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:49 PM   #2
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Need pics of the underside.

Up here 3k is on the high side, but worth it for a low rust, low mileage unit.

You list millage in km. Are you a fellow Canadian?

Nat
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:01 PM   #3
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

http://maine.craigslist.org/rvs/4411354228.html
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:12 PM   #4
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

It's got a tall roof, grab it if that's something you need.

The back will completely fall apart in 5 years due to the rust I see in the pic.

I would keep looking if you plan to have it longer than 5 years. The underside will look worse.

Nat
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:10 PM   #5
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Pretty rusty.....
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:34 PM   #6
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster
Need pics of the underside.

Up here 3k is on the high side, but worth it for a low rust, low mileage unit.

You list millage in km. Are you a fellow Canadian?

Nat
I went and looked at it today. The undercarriage has lots of rust. I got to ride in it down the highway for a 15 minute test run and it sounded real bad. The service records were sketchy and the breaks where sort of weak. I am going to look otherwise for now. That bus was from a company that went bankrupt (they where based in Canada) and was bought by the company that owns it now about 5 years ago.

The one malkieri gave the link to I'm not even gonna think about. Not what I want and as you all pointed out its rusted a ton.

I was looking on Craigslist and found this bus:





It's a 2003 Thomas HDX. It's out of my budget a little but hopefully I can negotiate down a bit. It's also 850 miles away but it's newer and a rear engine flat front bus. It's got the Cummings ISC 8.3 and a Allison auto transmission. Think 6000 is a OK price? It has 189567 miles on it. The tires look good.
Thanks
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:05 PM   #7
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Nope, too high. Mileage means nothing to me, how many hours are on it? Look here in the west, buses are cheap and no rust. You can fly out and drive home. Where are you located?
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:55 PM   #8
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
Nope, too high. Mileage means nothing to me, how many hours are on it? Look here in the west, buses are cheap and no rust. You can fly out and drive home. Where are you located?
I will ask him about the hours on it tomorrow.

I'm located in Boston Massachusetts. I can't take a ton of time off work to drive it home and can't spend a ton on fuel to get it here. I've had trouble finding a lot of newer buses out there and I want one that's fairly new. I've been looking at govdeals and public surplus too. A little rust doesn't worry me. I really like the hdx design so I'm looking for a nice hdx right now.

Thanks for all the help
Jake
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:33 PM   #9
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Try upstate NY, I used to drive bus there. They have the most stringent requirements in the US. Nothing should be shoddy at all. They would shut us down for ripped seats.
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Old 04-07-2014, 10:43 PM   #10
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
Try upstate NY, I used to drive bus there. They have the most stringent requirements in the US. Nothing should be shoddy at all. They would shut us down for ripped seats.
I'll definitely take a look. I saw some at Don brown bus sales but there overpriced I think. That's one that the international I looked at had a ton of. Every seat was ripped. I'm gonna check some of the ones first student has for sale, they have a yard in town. They won't show the service records so that worries me a little. If anyone sees some on Craigslist that look half decent are within about 700 miles of MA post a link, searchtemptist doesn't get all the results for some reason.
Thank you
Jake

EDIT I got the guy with the hdx down to 4000 how does that sound
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:57 PM   #11
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

I have read some more build threads and decided that the best choice for me would be rear engine, so thats what ive been looking for in buses. I cant really go less than a 72 rated cap. bus since my family is 6 people, and we also plan to hual stuff that we sell at a flea market on weekends, so i need more than what is in that 1st international i brought up. I also dont like how it had hydraulic breaks, since ive seen them fail before. I narrowed what I think i will get to 3 buses, i cant find a lot within 800 miles or so.

The first one on it is the HDX, I can get it for 4000 so i think thats fair, then a International/Amtran RE that is on the expensive size but i like the rear engine and underbody storage and the last one is a HDX that is going to be at 422 Auction on the 12, I will just bid on it online and see if I can get it.

Any thoughts?
Thanks
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:46 PM   #12
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

I HATE the mirrors on the HDX. We have 50 of those busses, the rear view mirrors VIBRATE like a cheap motel bed.... Need I say more? The push button transmission has continual issues getting in gear, the dash panel has problems in all of our HDX's as well.. Just letting you know what a rust-free HDX does in Texas..... Your environment may vary... The T466E is the BEST engine built for the International series, LOTS of torque.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:09 PM   #13
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031
I HATE the mirrors on the HDX. We have 50 of those busses, the rear view mirrors VIBRATE like a cheap motel bed.... Need I say more? The push button transmission has continual issues getting in gear, the dash panel has problems in all of our HDX's as well.. Just letting you know what a rust-free HDX does in Texas..... Your environment may vary... The T466E is the BEST engine built for the International series, LOTS of torque.
Thanks for letting me know about those issues. I will look in to them a little more before I make a purchase. I did see on a local HDX it had modified mirrors. Im wondering if thats why. The 1st HDX doesnt have a push button transmission but the Amtran and the other HDX have the push button ones. Ill see if i can find some with the normal handle ones, I don't care much if its push button or not. Bolth of the RE Amtrans im looking at have the DT466E engine so thats good to know.
Thanks
Jake
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:20 PM   #14
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Try and find the variant of the DT [DTA] prior to the E series. One less set of electronics will make you happier.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:43 PM   #15
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
Try and find the variant of the DT [DTA] prior to the E series. One less set of electronics will make you happier.
What model year did the switch over to the E series? Im having trouble finding a RE with the DT466. Ive found a few conventionals but that's it.

Also, Do you think air suspension is alot better than spring suspension. I found a 03 International RE on ebay that has spring suspension and im wondering if i should wait for one with air?

Thanks
Jake
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:09 PM   #16
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmar896
What model year did the switch over to the E series? Im having trouble finding a RE with the DT466. Ive found a few conventionals but that's it.

Also, Do you think air suspension is alot better than spring suspension. I found a 03 International RE on ebay that has spring suspension and im wondering if i should wait for one with air?

Thanks
Jake
1994 I believe was the change over. I have never seen a RE with a DT. If you found one with air, go for it. I would be far more critical about my engine choice. Mine is spring and it ride quite nice.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:44 PM   #17
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmar896
What model year did the switch over to the E series? Im having trouble finding a RE with the DT466. Ive found a few conventionals but that's it.

Also, Do you think air suspension is alot better than spring suspension. I found a 03 International RE on ebay that has spring suspension and im wondering if i should wait for one with air?

Thanks
Jake
1994 I believe was the change over. I have never seen a RE with a DT. If you found one with air, go for it. I would be far more critical about my engine choice. Mine is spring and it ride quite nice.
Thanks for that. Thats why im not finding any with the DT466. I dont think International made a RE before 96. I guess i will look at some of the front engine International Genius ones then. Im still going to look more at the HDX before I go a lot further with International. I can get a HDX serviced by a Thomas Built dealer 10 minutes away vs the 1 1/2 drive to the closest international dealer. The cheaper HDX has a 8.3 Cummings ISC, and I have read its a good engine. And I dont have to worry about a push button shiftier on that one.
Thanks
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:52 PM   #18
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

The 8.3 would be a bonus. A 643 transmission is all mechanical, no electronics. Getting both would be a super package. If you could find it with a transmission retarder, You wouldnt find any better!
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:35 PM   #19
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
The 8.3 would be a bonus. A 643 transmission is all mechanical, no electronics. Getting both would be a super package. If you could find it with a transmission retarder, You wouldnt find any better!
I think the 643 was stopped before the HDX was made. I think they both have MD3060's or 2000 Series. I think the 98 Amtran has the 643, but im trying to find something a little bigger since its only a 71 passenger. Would a DT466E and a 643 make a good combo?

M1031: I did some more research on the HDX. And I found one of my friends that drives one for a transit service, so it had the transit like setup, with the wheelchair lift and stuff. I got to ride in one for a mile and a half and your right while he was going to fuel it up, those stock mirrors do vibrate ALOT. It seems like there gonna fall off driving down the road. Apparently the newer ones he has drove dont vibrate half as bad, maybe if I see a newer one thats been in an accident ill see if i can buy the mirrors off it. He hasent had any issues with the dash, but the one he drives is an 04 so im not sure if that has anything to do with it. For the push button transmission ones they have had problems but the one im hoping to get doesn't have a push button.
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:13 PM   #20
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Re: Good deal for a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmar896
I think the 643 was stopped before the HDX was made. I think they both have MD3060's or 2000 Series. I think the 98 Amtran has the 643, but im trying to find something a little bigger since its only a 71 passenger. Would a DT466E and a 643 make a good combo?

M1031: I did some more research on the HDX. And I found one of my friends that drives one for a transit service, so it had the transit like setup, with the wheelchair lift and stuff. I got to ride in one for a mile and a half and your right while he was going to fuel it up, those stock mirrors do vibrate ALOT. It seems like there gonna fall off driving down the road. Apparently the newer ones he has drove dont vibrate half as bad, maybe if I see a newer one thats been in an accident ill see if i can buy the mirrors off it. He hasent had any issues with the dash, but the one he drives is an 04 so im not sure if that has anything to do with it. For the push button transmission ones they have had problems but the one im hoping to get doesn't have a push button.
You are probably right about the HDX having the 3060. A 466/643 would be great...I've not ever seen one though. Only DT's I have driven had the 545, which you dont want.

I think the 3060 is all push button. Someone can confirm this to be sure.
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