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Old 05-02-2016, 11:14 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 15
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 90 passenger
Exclamation Please Help! New to Diesel

Hi There! I'm new to this page but have done 3 conversions already. I'm looking for a large bus for my family of five. I know nothing about diesel engines or air brakes but am going to take the written for my CDL just so I feel more educated on the subject.
My questions are below. Does this bus look good for a conversion? I've been lucky enough to enjoy buses with NO RUST in the past, so rust is a new one. Also, does anyone have air brakes? Are they as scary as they sound?

I'm a gas engine mechanic but diesels are a foreign world to me. The guy said he would sell me this bus for 2,000$ because we are a non profit. What do you guys think? Will this bus hold up for a long time? Also, the tread on the front tires is uneven. On the right side of BOTH front tires the tread is almost gone, so I'm assuming there is some sort of issue there?

here is the ad: 1999 Thomas School Bus
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:25 AM   #2
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Location: MNT CITY TN
Posts: 5,044
First welcome

The floor scares me from the pictures, you notice all the flaky rust on all the floor trim? make sure to crawl under the bus and check the floors and fender wells,

I have a feeling that floor is bad (I may be wrong just an observation)

It has a 12v Cummins, good strong motor and can be turned up some depending on the tranny

I would make sure to have a ballpean hammer to check rails with (rust/rot) it looks like there is rust on frame parts

ETA: air brakes are a very good thing, check the pad thickness (look at back of each wheel/brake you can see brakes (there are not backing plates on these)new is about 5/8 thick, use your finger to check drum wear

Drive it and listen for noises (bring someone with you that can roam around bus while moving) listen and feel for loose parts just like your other buses

Good luck!
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:51 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 15
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 90 passenger
Thank you! When I was under the bus yesterday I noticed 4 or 5 support beams that go across horizontally were rusted almost all the way through, but the floor itself didn't seem rusted at all. Most of the rust looks superficial to me, but I wasn't sure. On the frame itself, there is a layer where the outside coating has rusted off and the frame itself does have some rust, but is solid.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:40 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,607
I would say find another bus.

Even at $2K you are going to spend a lot of time, effort, and $$$ to address the rust issue.

I don't quite understand the tire wear issue.

If one of the front tires has wear that is an indication of worn suspension or steering parts. That can get expensive very quickly if you need new king pins, tie rod ends, springs, spring hangers, etc.

If it is the outside edge of the outside duals that is an indication of a bent rear housing. It can be fixed, but again, it is going to get expensive quickly.

I would also be concerned about the most recent owner. A bus that is used only by a camp during the summer means the bus has not had the best of care.

You would be better off finding a different bus without the issues than to mess with that one.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:49 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 15
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 90 passenger
You're probably right. They actually have the buses serviced by a mechanic monthly according to them - even during winter. The front steer tires are both worn down on the passenger side, so same side on each one. The passenger side tire is worn down on the outside and the drivers side tire is worn down on the inside, towards the driver. It seemed strange to me.

The rust is that bad though you think?
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Old 05-02-2016, 02:02 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,607
You said a some of the cross members were rusted through.

In my book that says there is too much rust.

You are going to end up spending a lot of $$$ on rust repair, $$$ that could have been spent on a bus with no rust.

There are a lot of buses out there for sale without rust.

I would find a different bus.
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Old 05-02-2016, 02:07 PM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,165
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
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Old 05-02-2016, 02:44 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 15
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 90 passenger
fair enough! haha! Thank you!
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