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Old 02-14-2012, 09:21 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 14
Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

Hey everyone! So I took the plunge and bought a school bus. It is a 1992 Bluebird with an International DTA360 engine. It has 315 000kms. The back of the bus had apparently been damaged and is now rebuilt to resemble a box of a truck. I can't imagine there are too many vehicles like this! It cost me $1500. It seems to drive fine and it came with a full tank of diesel. The only issues with it (besides from being generally beat up looking) are that the fuel gauge and the speedometer are not working, the stomp pad for the hi-beams is not working, the rear right tail light and blinker is not working, and as I was driving it home last night, the brake press light came on and a beeping noise started. I had to turn the key to the middle position for that to stop. I checked the brake fluid and it seems a bit low so I'm hoping a top up will fix that problem. Anybody have any experience fixing these problems? It's also pretty rusty in spots as you can see in the pictures. I plan to convert it to run on WVO before summer starts.
So, experienced school bus owners, what do you think? Did I get a good deal? Is this thing gonna fall apart on me? I have very little knowledge about mechanics but I am ready to learn. I appreciate all your input!

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Old 02-15-2012, 02:42 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 47
Re: Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

Sweet pickup truck you've got there! I think you did good, I would give $1500 or more for that.
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Old 02-15-2012, 03:18 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Year: 92
Coachwork: ward flat nose
Chassis: international
Engine: dt466 mt643 air ride
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

You should also be able to get good fuel mileage with your stick shift. i would think 13 to 15 mpg easy. I also like the cargo bed in the rear, it would be great to store fire wood for a wood burning stove/heater. Your bus looks very cozy inside, plenty room for a bathroom, small kitchen and a fold out sofa/bed.

if I'm not mistaken, your brake fluid is for brakes and power steering. Yes, fill it up and check closely for fluid leaks from the master cylinder and power steering. Follow all the lines and look for wet spots from front to back. International master brake cylinders are known to need rebuilding ever so many years, something to do with the seals and weather extremes but more then likely from being low on fluid while being being parked to long, allowing water condensation to collect in the master cylinder reservoir. Whatever you do, DON'T disconnect the brake warning buzzer, it could save your life. All in all, I think you got a good deal.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:06 PM   #4
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Location: SE Kansas
Posts: 82
Year: 1977
Chassis: International Harvester
Re: Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

Looks like a great start reminiscent of a toter-home. All that missing bus should allow that thing to tow rather impressively. That cargo bed is going to come in very handy. I actually like the look of the bus a lot. The only thing I see that would be replaced if it were my bus would be the wooden bumper and the tailgate. I'd also want to skin the back with metal instead of plywood. But those are just mainly ideas.

The big thing for me is the bumper though. You have no real protection for your rear tires if you get rear-ended or back into something. That plank is not going to be very much protection. You should be able to find a welder/fabricator that can make a simple adapter piece that can be welded to the frame to add a proper bumper that you can get from a junk yard. If you do that I'd also look at adding a really heavy duty bumper pull style hitch. Maybe even finding a bumper that has a Pintle hitch on it for some heavy duty trailers. It may help if you decide to ever sell it and it gives you options later on if you decide to get a trailer to haul any toys you decide to take when you use it.

I'd also look into at least skinning that back plywood wall with some sheet metal. I'm not sure if it would be easier to just use flat sheets and fabricate an edge to to find a donor bus to get a rear end cap from to transplant.

The stuff you say is wrong should be a relatively easy fix. The rear light is probably just the bulb or loose wire. Could be the same with the high beams. The fuel gauge is probably going to require a mechanic to replace because you will probably have to drop the fuel tank to replace the components that are in it as part of the gauge. It's not a hard job but it is a hassle best left to someone that has experience with it just for safety.

I know all of that costs money though and it all depends on how much and in what way you are going to use the bus. Overall I would say it was a great find though.
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:04 PM   #5
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Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,489
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/AT545
Re: Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

That's a rad looking machine you've got there. For $1,500 I don't think you can go wrong. You've got a good engine in there too. I hope you do something cool with it!
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:22 PM   #6
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Re: Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

Great start and a great vehicle! I'd hit the major rust spots with a wire brush and some rust inhibitor as soon as you can. It's not imperative, but you'll need to get to it and find the really bad spots before you start any serious building.

I look forward to seeing how you fix it up! Looks like loads of fun!
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:12 AM   #7
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Engine: DT466/MT643
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Re: Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

Check the power steering fluid...the brake booster runs off the PS pump, low fluid (or a bad pump) can set off that light.
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:56 AM   #8
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Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 968
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
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Re: Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

The dry rot on the tires worry me. Dunno how strict your motor vehicle dept. is-but that would fail around here.
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

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Old 02-18-2012, 10:34 AM   #9
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Re: Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

The rusty brake lines worry me, I have had two hardlines fail on my DD this fall/winter one time on the trails(I pinched it off and drove in 1st gear low range back to camp) the other time the side I didn't replace "popped" at red light at autostore)so I replaced it and borrowed an employee to pump my brakes when I bled them
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:01 AM   #10
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Re: Just bought a bus. What do y'all think?!

find a mechanic friend and ask them to go over the whole thing and check it out. $1500 isnt too bad i guess. Id be painting it not yellow lol
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