One thing about a bus advertised as a 1997 with a 6v71. Detroit Diesel quit making the 6v71 as well as all the other on highway two strokes in the early 1990s. Since it said it is a 1997 it is probably an older bus that was remanfactured in 1997. I would not have a problem buying a remanfactured bus though I personally would not like to have a DD 2 stroke engine in my bus. They are increasingly becoming harder to find a competent mechanic to work on them and they are not easy on fuel. The other problem with them is they have been fooled around with on most buses to meet emission requirements. If it is a DDEC engine you can forget getting a dealer to up the HP because of the emission crap. Lots of people with transits have run into this.
Another concern about the Flx Metro is it is a "V" drive bus. The engine sits in the back sideways. With a "V" drive bus you have only one transmission choice the V730/731. The V730 is a good transmission closly related to the HT740 however it is a 3 speed instead of a 4. Since most Flx Metros were run in the city they have city gearing and with a 3 speed tranny they will not get much over 60mph. Of course you can change out the rearend gears but that ain't cheap. Since it is a "V" drive you need a "V" drive rear end. They are over $2000 new and used highway gears are nearly impossible to find.
Another issue with the V730/731 is it is rated to handle a max of 277HP so even if you replace the engien with an MUI model and rebuild it to run 350HP you might have problems. I know of several people that are running 350HP 6v92TAs with a V730 and so far no problems but who knows.
Another quick bit of info about the V series tranny is the V730 is the mechanical version and the V731 is the electronic version (ATEC). You can tell which version the bus has by the shifter. If it has a push button pad for the gear selector it is obviously a V731.
I have been researching different types of buses for the past two years now and have decided to get a skoolie. I like transits for the price but for me a skoolie is the right thing. It is hard to find a transit with less than 500k miles that is ready to go 100k more. Most transit districts dump their buses when the mileage gets too high and the bus is too old. They also let them go with the wost tires they have laying around. It can also be very hard to find out how many miles the engine and tranny have since the last rebuild. A detroit two stroke in a transit will not last much over 250k miles. Also if a transit comes from the rust belt it is probably going to be a rust bucket since they spend so many hours on the roads.
All the drivers I have ever talked with say they love the way the Flx Metros ride and drive and wish they could still drive them. They are supposed to have the cadillac ride of buses.
If I was goign to get a transit it would be a Gillig Phantom. They have the same drive train as the highway coaches. Typically a 6v92 coupled to an HT740. Some of the newer model even have a Cummins L10, 8.3, or a Detroit series 50. I would love to have one with one of those 4 stroke engines. Since the Gilligs are a "T" drive getting rear end gears is not a problem and not as much $$$. Replacing the engine is also not as big of a problem since it is not a "V" drive you can replace it with a right hand turning truck engine. Drivers say that the Phantom does not ride as well as the Metro but it is still a good bus.
One last thing about transits is they usually come with "transit tires" on them. These tires are great for stop and go city driving but they have a max speed rating of 55MPH in most cases. The tread tends to come off if you drive them over the rated speed for very long.
In the end I decided to get a RE Thomas. I don't have the money to replace tires and air bags and anythign else that may be wore out. I want to spend my money on geting it converted and taking my family on the road to see the country.
Sorry for the long post, I hope this is helpful to somebody. As you can all tell I am no professional writer.