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Old 01-18-2016, 06:21 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Fingerlakes Region, NY
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: 3800
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 34
Looking at buying a Skoolie, thoughts on this one?

Hey All,
I'm looking at getting into Skoolies and I've found this one on craigslist.

1985 Bus

I'm looking for a shorter bus, but built on a full size chassis. I know that this one would be rather slow with the 6.9 V8, but I was wondering if it could be a solid bus? I've been playing phone tag with the current owner, but the fact that its already in private hands makes me think it might be easier to get on the road.

What should I look for when I go to look at it? Things to be careful of/keep in mind? What kind of fuel economy could I expect out of a rig like this?

Thanks,
Sam
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:25 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tomball, TX
Posts: 313
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC/2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9TA
That's a cool looking bus. 6.9 V8? Never heard of that one. I've got a 5.9 Cummins in my 9-window bus and I go plenty fast enough. Top speed in a bus has more to do with the rear end than it does the size of the engine. Find out what rear end it has in it. Since it's smaller and lighter you might get 12ish mpg out of it, but that depends on a lot of things.

Look for rust. Check the fluids. Try to pay less.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:46 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Fingerlakes Region, NY
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: 3800
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 34
It's the International/Navistar 6.9, same one that was used in the Ford heavy duty pickups around this age. I was thinking that might make parts easier find cheap too.

I was planning on trying to talk him down a good bit, hoping for around $2k.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:32 PM   #4
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Location: Gonvick MN
Posts: 255
Year: 1975
Chassis: Gillig
Engine: Cat 3208t/10 speed transmission
Looks interesting. Could make a nice rig with it.
Things to look for, Rust!! Smoke, Blow by.
A 6.9 should work well in a bus that size.
10-12 mpg?
Have fun!
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Old 01-20-2016, 07:58 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Fingerlakes Region, NY
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: 3800
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 34
I just got off the phone with the owner. He has had it 5 years as a "private use bus." The only issue he says it has is that it needs an exhaust. I'll have to get down on the ground under it and scope things out, make sure the rust isn't anywhere else. He said he was thinking $2k to sell it, so I should be able to get it in under budget. I'm going to look at it on Friday evening.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:08 PM   #6
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Location: New England
Posts: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SR2K View Post
I just got off the phone with the owner. He has had it 5 years as a "private use bus." The only issue he says it has is that it needs an exhaust. I'll have to get down on the ground under it and scope things out, make sure the rust isn't anywhere else. He said he was thinking $2k to sell it, so I should be able to get it in under budget. I'm going to look at it on Friday evening.
Good luck!
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:44 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
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Just make sure that it is the 6.9L and not the 9.0L engine. That bus was made at the time IHC was transitioning from the 9.0L to the 6.9L.

The 6.9L is a great engine and should go a lot of miles.

The 9.0L wasn't a good engine when it was new. Now it is good for things like boat anchors or door stops. They leaked, they smoked, and they were under powered.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:51 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Fingerlakes Region, NY
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: 3800
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Just make sure that it is the 6.9L and not the 9.0L engine. That bus was made at the time IHC was transitioning from the 9.0L to the 6.9L.

The 6.9L is a great engine and should go a lot of miles.

The 9.0L wasn't a good engine when it was new. Now it is good for things like boat anchors or door stops. They leaked, they smoked, and they were under powered.
Thanks for the advice, I'll be sure to check. He says it was something of a gutless wonder going up hills, so I have a feeling its the 6.9. He also said that when he weighed the bus with everything stipped out it was just over 8,000lbs.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:57 PM   #9
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If it is the 6.9L you do have the ability to add some performance to it since it is basically the same engine as the 6.9/7.3L that was used in Ford products from the late '80's to mid-90's. There are lots of aftermarket upgrades available for that engine.

While the 6.9L was no barn burner, it would run circles around a 9.0L.

I would tend to not believe the empty weight of 8K lbs. unless I saw a certified weight receipt. 8K is what new pickups weigh. I would believe empty weight is closer to 11K. There is still a lot of steel in that bus--inside and outside skins, steel ribs that go from the floor up and over and back down to the floor, and a pretty stout frame and running gear.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:21 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Fingerlakes Region, NY
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: 3800
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 34
The weight seemed really low to me too, I work for a bus builder actually, and our small busses that are built on van chassis weigh in in the 10k-12k range, so we'll have to see. One question I have is if its possible (or advisable) to put a hitch on this bus? Not for anything heavy duty, but my small pickup has a bar and can be flat towed, so it would be an easy way to get the bus home.
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