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Old 02-19-2007, 04:17 PM   #11
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how do we do a vin check? Carfax?
I'm not sure, but I think Carfax only does cars and light trucks (pick-ups & vans). I have a couple of cop buddies that have helped me out in the past... Check the net, there's a bunch...
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Old 02-19-2007, 05:49 PM   #12
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The DT466 is the big brother to the DTA360 and one of the best medium duty truck engines ever built. It is still in use today (though it has been computerized). It won't have to work nearly as hard to move that bus and is dead solid in construction. Parts are available just about anywhere.

The MT643 is like the more common AT545's big brother as well. It is rated for a much higher gross weight and more input power than the AT545. It also has a torque converter that locks up in 3rd and 4th gears yielding a better top speed and better fuel economy. Parts for both can be found damn near at Seven-Eleven, but the AT545 is cheaper. Last I looked it cost just under half as much to replace with a reman unit compared to an MT643. Of the two choices, the MT643 is most generally regarded as the better option.

While the 84 passenger bus only has two more rows of seating as compared to the 72 passenger bus, that might make all the difference when you get to hauling equipment, family, etc around. I think mileage would be comparable between the two lengths though it has been said that every row of seats adds about 1000 lbs to the weight of the bus. That 84 passenger Class D bus should be about the same overall length as a 72 passenger conventional so I don't know that you should run in to A LOT of trouble with manuevering and getting big enough campsites. It should be no longer than 40 feet.

Please do make sure these aren't hurricane fodder. While it might seem like the damage was superficial (maybe a little rust or easily cured mold), but that brackish water will be hell on things like wiring and tracing down little gremlins like that when you want to be converting can be a real drag.
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Old 02-19-2007, 08:34 PM   #13
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I'm in the process of buying a bus, and I wouldn't even consider this one. In Nashville I drove a lot of these kind of buses and they were okay. A Blue Bird or an older Thomas "feels" better (personal opinion!), and the mechanics seem to prefer them. BTW I looked at your other posts- like the music and I think homeschooling is the way to go- I'm homeschooling all of my children.

The rust really bothers me. Others here say that dealership is really good, and it certainly doesn't appear like he's trying to hide anything. There are plenty of other buses around in this area that don't have ANY rust.

Others are saying there are some older Thomas' in Virginia that might be worth checking out. They are going for 2.5k. If you're willing to spend 5k there are several dealerships here in the southeast that have some decent buses. There was a Gillig on Craigslist in Atlanta that was in great shape (new tires, paint, several upgrades) that was going for ~5k. If I had 5k that's the one I would get. I have the fella's email if the bus isn't listed. He was thinking about taking it off the list for some reason.

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Old 02-19-2007, 09:28 PM   #14
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Just for comparison purposes....

http://unitedtruckbody.com/used_buses.htm

I don't think those prices are very solid. Mine was listed at $2000 or $2500 I believe and I paid $1250 for it without even negotiating. They just wanted it gone. Notice the air ride buses....
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:17 PM   #15
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I don't think it's a bad lookin bus. $5,000 is more than most of us spent on our bus's. But its got newer tires and underbody storage.

I don't think that its very rusty... maybe the door, but the rest of it looks ok. I really like the underbody storage. That will come in handy, especially with a band. That might make it worth a little more.
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:24 PM   #16
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Tim said he'll get back to me about that 84 pax at the bottom of the page with some pictures, since I don't want to go all the way up there sight unseen.... I even talked with him over the phone.... He said he's getting some TC 2000s in soon... I'm still waiting for an update from him... But I do understand that the weather has been a bit nippy... So I guess I'll just wait a little longer....
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Old 02-20-2007, 09:36 AM   #17
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I've never done business with Greg personally but I've known folks that have and the comments have always been positive. I think the best approach is to just talk to him about the bus; I've always gotten he impression that he's very candid about things and will tell you where the bus is located or if already at his place where it came from (I think on his main page he says a lot are from Ohio(?) and the North East).

I don't believe that combination of drivetrain is necessarily the best for over-the-road use, not that it can't do it but it's optimized for moving a farily substantial vehicle around to pick up and drop off kids. A DT466 and MT643 are at least moving in the direction of a drivetrain that is used over-the-road for heavier applications.

SeanF of Flagstaff (http://www.seanf.smugmug.com) converted a Genesis so you migh take a look at his site as there are lots of photos.

Having bought a couple of buses now for my self and seeing what is out there I wouldn't pay $5000 for a school bus unless it was all but exactly what you want. That includes getting the drive train you want with the right gearing for freeway use. They're harder to find but if you can locate an Activity Bus you might find it better suited for your touring use. Typically these are just regular school buses used to transport the school's sports teams, the band, etc and they are usually spec'd with under body storage, taller roof, higher horsepower, and taller gearing for freeway speeds. If you're in the eastern part of the country there are a bazillion buses around so don't compromise on one that isn't just right.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:26 PM   #18
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Am I the only one that came from a school that didn't have underbody storage? We always just threw our football gear in the trailer or, if that was full, on top of a freshman.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:34 PM   #19
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None of our buses had underbody storage either. Maybe up north here were we live the salt we put on the roads would eat away the boxes so quickly that nobody bought buses with them.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:50 PM   #20
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Well....that much I can believe. I have one big underbody locker on my bus, but the hinge and lock are rusted shut. I still haven't worked up the gumption to grind it off and put a new door on. I could really use that space for stuff like spare belts, coolant, oil, propane, etc.
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