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Old 02-22-2011, 04:57 PM   #1
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Possible purchases -- comments?

I'm looking at a few buses right now and would love comments on the makes/engines/etc, please

** new one** 1990 International 360 diesel, 5 speed Dana Drivetrain, 145000 miles $2k



1991 International convetional, Blue Bird model. Engine Size: 6.9
automatic. Diesel. 177,909 miles. Under $1000 price tag.

1992 Conventional International, Blue bird. 214,518 miles. Engine: DT360. Diesel. Also under $1000

Conventional International Blue Bird. 1992, 214,518 miles Engine: DT360 Also under $1000

Conventional GMC, Blue Bird 1993, 208,667 miles. Engine: 3116. Runs $1600
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:10 PM   #2
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

I've heard good things about the DT360, and not such great things about the 3116. I've not heard much about the 6.9 though, except that they are a cousin to the 7.3 which I have in my pickup truck. Not a bad engine, but I think the injection pump is weaker than the one in the DT360. The 6.9 is a bigger engine so perhaps more powerful if it has a turbo, but also worse fuel economy and 8 cylinders vs 6 means more expense if replacing injectors, etc. I personally would be attracted to the lower mileage though. People often say "oh it's a diesel, it'll last forever", but there are so many other major parts of the bus that can break down and cause the ultimate demise of the bus due to the expense of fixing it not being worth the investment. So I don't put a lot of stock in that "diesels last forever" philosophy. In your example I would be torn between wanting the DT360 engine, and wanting the lower mileage on the bus with the 6.9.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:20 AM   #3
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

Added today's find.
And thanks
Anyone else have comments?
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:28 AM   #4
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

I think, all other things being equal, I'd spend the extra dough for the low mileage DT360. It might be underpowered but from all I've heard it's not only a long lasting motor but probably the easiest one to repair. It was designed for tractors and those are the only 2 charateristics the old farmers cared about, How durable is it and how hard will it be to fix in the middle of a field. To me those are the same features I look for in a long term vehicle. I wanted the same drive train I just couldn't find one in a decent short bus and really didn't want to go to a full sized bus (for parking reasons)
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Old 02-26-2011, 08:14 PM   #5
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

All my buddies, that work on diesels for a living, have told me basically the same as above about my dta360...

I didn't have a clue when buying mine and was told it was a dt466, was kinda bummed when I found out it wasn't... But, after doing some research and talking to a bunch of people, I feel I picked up the perfect bus for my needs... Good luck with your search...
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:26 AM   #6
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

Bummer on these is they're sold already. Nothing lasts around here grrrr Buy that day or poof it seems.

I have found this one, not much details on it yet. Calling today once work hours start.

Shuttle bus
1995 ford E350 front
15000 GVW, 78000 miles on a 7.3 power-stroke, diesel
New batteries, new injector
Star Trans body with a tag axle
26 psgn, 7 window


Anyone have comments on this one? Would that 350 be strong enough to handle that much weight? I see it has dual wheels on back axel, not sure what a tag axle is though.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:19 PM   #7
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

Seeria, a shuttle bus and a full size school bus are two very different animals. How is it that you are looking at both types of vehicle? Are you willing to settle for something other than you really want due to availability, or just don't care which type of vehicle, or... something else? I know I would never have considered a shuttle bus since I knew that based on my needs a full-on school bus was the only thing that would fit the bill.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:55 PM   #8
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

What I need is a functional bus that has 17' to 20' interior usable space and is not a flatnose. Yeah, I'd prefer a conventional schoolie but won't pass on a shuttle that operates great. Four months to go... if I don't have something to fit that before then AND have it converted enough to live in then I'm buying a minivan and tent to live in until I can find a bus that size.
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:34 AM   #9
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeria
What I need is a functional bus that has 17' to 20' interior usable space and is not a flatnose. Yeah, I'd prefer a conventional schoolie but won't pass on a shuttle that operates great. Four months to go... if I don't have something to fit that before then AND have it converted enough to live in then I'm buying a minivan and tent to live in until I can find a bus that size.
Wow, you are on a tight timeline! It's been well over a year since my bus purchase and I don't consider my bus "liveable" yet! Of course I work full time, have a family, and tend to work slowly. I do hope you find something that works out for you. I would imagine the shuttle bus would be easier to drive, and probably get better fuel economy, and some parts (like tires) would be cheaper and easier to replace. The downside is I think the shuttle bus would have more limitations in terms of what you could do with the conversion. Less under-carriage space, limited capacity for weight on the roof, less capacity for hauling/towing, etc. Basically the shuttles are more "car-like" than "truck-like" in comparison to a bus. For me, I needed the size of a bus for my family, and also wanted to have a "sky-is-the-limit" attitude towards the conversion and what I could potentially do with it. Plus, with all due respect to the shuttle owners, converted school buses are just cool looking!
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:50 AM   #10
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

In RV terms... A Shuttle bus would be similar to a Class B or a small Class C. Bear in mind David & I have been in living full-time in a 22 ft (bumper to bumper) Class C since fall 2006. Our daughter has been in here with us since summer of 2009. After our first year in the Class C, we decided we didn't need a 40 ft bus. We did want something about 30 ft (Class C has 19 ft not counting the cab section). Mostly so I could squeeze a washer/LP gas dryer stack unit in there. But living in such a small space taught us what we needed, wanted and what we could do with out.

And then we ended up buying a 40 ft bus! If small buses/shuttles are what's being put in front of you... someone/something may be trying to tell you something. I'm a firm believer in "fate" putting things in your path... sometimes repeatedly.
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:03 PM   #11
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

maybe check out youtube and see what you can find and like there?
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:46 PM   #12
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

Yeah, time is running short. There are buses near me but they're super high priced and barely running. For $4 I expect the bus to OPERATE

Found this one ebay'd but its about 20 mins from where I live. Anyone know what something like this might end up going for?

Quote:
2001 Carpenter, 16 passenger, 5 wheelchair school bus with an 800 lb wheelchair lift and Trans Air AC unit, on an IHC 3800 chassis with 166220 miles, VIN # 1HVBBABP51H340535, powered by an IHC model T444E(7.3L) diesel engine. Transmission is an Allison model AT545 automatic. Brakes are hydraulic disc. All wheels are hub pilot. Steer tires are an 11R22.5 LR-G @ 10 & 12/32". Drive tires are an 11R22.5 LR-G Bandag recap @ 15,17,14,and 15/32".
Tad longer than I want, by 5 feet but well dang it LOL Running out of time.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:17 PM   #13
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

Sounds similar in many ways to the bus I just bought, A 99 International Thomas 3600 chassis with T444 and same tranny 130,000 miles 22c/14a capacity no idea how many wheelchairs it would fit but it does have a lift. Everything works great, just came out of school service. I paid $2800 but I bought it from a dealer so I probably pd a bit more than I would have from a private seller. I just went for the convenience factor. I looked at some farther away but then I considered the possibility of mechanical problems with an unfamiliar vehicle a long way from home and decided closer was better even if it cost a bit more. Thankfully the feared mechanical problems never happened. Not sure if this helps but it was my experience and it was within the last couple weeks so the price is current.
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Old 03-03-2011, 03:26 PM   #14
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeria
Yeah, time is running short. There are buses near me but they're super high priced and barely running....
I flew out to Kansas and drove my bus 700 miles back to Central Texas so I could get the bus I wanted and at a reasonable price. It may be worth your while to pay $500 for a one-way flight and fuel for the drive home so you can get the bus you want and get it somewhere that prices are cheaper than your area. In the end, you may come out even or ahead, plus get the exact bus you want. I went here: http://ks-bus.com/ but I see now their inventory is more limited than when I made my purchase. Of course this is a dealer and so they are charging retail, but the prices are not as high as other dealers I've seen, they were negotiable, and they picked me up at the airport at no extra charge. Overall, I was happy with my experience. I would rather have gotten a cheaper bus at auction here in Texas, but just wasn't finding the kind of bus I wanted and got impatient, so I found this dealer to be a good fall back plan. To get an idea of high dealer prices check out http://www.floridachurchbus.com/ - crazy high prices!
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Old 03-04-2011, 09:58 AM   #15
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roachhill
Sounds similar in many ways to the bus I just bought, A 99 International Thomas 3600 chassis with T444 and same tranny 130,000 miles 22c/14a capacity no idea how many wheelchairs it would fit but it does have a lift. Everything works great, just came out of school service. I paid $2800 but I bought it from a dealer so I probably pd a bit more than I would have from a private seller...
I think you got a fantastic deal! A '99 with low miles for $2,800?! From a dealer?! Damn!
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Old 03-05-2011, 07:59 AM   #16
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

That year, miles, size tends to run $2500-3500 from private and resale lots that I watch here in WI-MN-IL. Heading over to look at 3 of them either Monday or Tuesday. 35' long though... eek. Makes me nervous.
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Old 03-05-2011, 02:04 PM   #17
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

MY advice is to hold off and wait until you find a cummins 5.9 mated to an mt643 auto trans.

Same exact size as the dt360, parts are more common, but more importantly, fuel mileage is about 50% better with the cummins/643 combo compared to a dt360/at545 trans.

Just my advice. I've driven over 30K miles in junk skoolies. I drove the most miles in a bus with a dt360. it's a great motor, but the fuel economy is not that great.

I always spent far more in Fuel over the life of a skoolie than i actually paid for the bus.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:44 AM   #18
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

2001 Carpenter, 16 passenger, 5 wheelchair school bus with an 800 lb wheelchair lift and Trans Air AC unit, on an IHC 3800 chassis with 166220 miles, VIN # 1HVBBABP51H340535, powered by an IHC model T444E(7.3L) diesel engine. Transmission is an Allison model AT545 automatic. Brakes are hydraulic disc. All wheels are hub pilot. Steer tires are an 11R22.5 LR-G @ 10 & 12/32". Drive tires are an 11R22.5 LR-G Bandag recap @ 15,17,14,and 15/32".


OMG those tires are big. I'm 5'8" and they come to my ribs. Run about $130 each for retreads. I've no CDL so couldn't drive it, but did get to ride with it and talk to mechanic. That is one loud diesel engine. And I know nothing whatsoever about diesel.

Anyone else have comments on this bus?
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:09 PM   #19
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

Yep, those powerstroke engines are loud. My bus (DT466) is quiter than my pickup truck (7.3 Intl.) Regarding the WC lift: I got a bus with one, and actually it was part of my criteria of what I wanted in a bus. But in the end, I re-evaluated my priorities and decided I'd rather have the space for other purposes and just didn't feel like I'd use the lift enough to warrant the loss of space and the extra weight and all the noise it made clanking around back there when driving. It was a big hassle to remove from the bus (requiring three or four strong men and two attempts) and I was not able to find a buyer for the lift and ended up scrapping it for $25.

It's nice that the bus has built-in AC though. I consider that a big plus to not have to run a generator when driving down the road just so you can have AC. That engine/trans combo is okay, but I think Lapeer20m had a very good recommendation about eng/trans combos. But I understand you are pressed for time. Overall, I think diesel is the way to go. Even though diesel fuel costs more at the pump (which is a crime!), you still save money based on better fuel economy, and that's not to mention the greater torque and longevity of the engine. Let's face it, there is a good reason why most all big trucks are diesel powered.
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Old 03-09-2011, 04:14 PM   #20
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Re: Possible purchases -- comments?

I noticed the T444 was a loud engine and took it into consideration before buying my bus. At idle and slow speed it sounds alot like our diesel tractor. In the end I figured some careful sound proofing would make it livable. 22.5 is a standard size tire for a semi my old truck steer tires cost about $300 a piece so they are pricey but there is a great selection of heavy duty long lasting tires in that size. My bus has 19.5s on it and I'd like to get some 22.5s to lower the RPMs at highway speed. If you want smaller wheels your welcome to trade for mine, I think you'd be making a mistake, but then what do I know. Keep us updated, I'm enjoy following your search.
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