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Old 05-10-2018, 05:08 PM   #1
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Should I Buy....2005 Thomas HDX

I would appreciate any advice any of you can offer.

I co-owned a bus years ago and have rented RVs / Airstreams in recent years. Young family of 5 and it is time to convert a skoolie!

I donít know much about engines and transmissions. I can handle some carpentry, electrical, and plumbing. I am no mechanic. I am not doing work myself. Donít have skills or time. I will research options, systems, etc and find someone to help do the conversion.


I am now bus shopping.

I was sold on a RE HDX based on usable interior space, noise, heat, and undercarriage storage. But, Iíve recently read criticism related to bad mirror design (I can replace mirrors) and a recall on wiring system.

Looking for total length around 38ft.

I want to buy the best bus I can find so I have a solid vehicular foundation.

Currently looking at:

2005
Thomas HDX
38í
Cat C7 engine
______? auto transmission
51k miles
Air brakes


Is this a good bus?
What questions should I ask?
What are known issues or standard upgrades to this model?



Any advice appreciated.

Thanks,
Bart
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:48 PM   #2
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Depends on what the asking price is. Most of us shy away from anything 2005 or newer due to potential costly and hard to diagnose electrical issues.
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:16 PM   #3
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I've an 03 Saf-T-Liner. No problems with mine (so far)
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:40 PM   #4
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Honest opinion?

Awesome bus, horrible engine.

I would pass on the C7.

Now if you find one with the Cummins ISC ...
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Old 05-10-2018, 08:04 PM   #5
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I agree on the motor.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:20 PM   #6
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I agree on the motor.


What is wrong with Cat C7?
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:22 PM   #7
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What is wrong with Cat C7?
It's loaded with emissions equipment that they never got to work properly.

It was so bad they redesigned the system and called it the ACERT.

That one was a disaster, and CAT pulled out of the School Bus market.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:33 PM   #8
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It's loaded with emissions equipment that they never got to work properly.

It was so bad they redesigned the system and called it the ACERT.

That one was a disaster, and CAT pulled out of the School Bus market.
Yep, that's what went down.
I'd avoid ANY newer diesels with the emissions junk. But especially a Cat.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:35 PM   #9
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So, an old bus is better?
Before 2005?
Hmmmm... Got it.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:38 PM   #10
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So, an old bus is better?
Before 2005?
Hmmmm... Got it.
Yes and "old" is a relative term.

Rust is the killer. Few school buses get to the kind of mileage that means everything is wearing out.

So if you get a clean bus with moderate mileage, its age is secondary.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:39 PM   #11
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So, an old bus is better?
Before 2005?
Hmmmm... Got it.
2004 was the year they started transitioning to the really problematic stuff. My 2004 IC has an 03 DT466E so it doesn't have the EGR valve stuff. But an 04 engine would have it.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:44 PM   #12
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2004 was the year they started transitioning to the really problematic stuff. My 2004 IC has an 03 DT466E so it doesn't have the EGR valve stuff. But an 04 engine would have it.
And EGR is the easy bit. Fairly reliable, and moderately priced to fix if it does go wrong.

I wouldn't let EGR stop me buying (although for those looking, the T444 was never fitted with it), but a DPF .... blech.

That said, some DPFs were retro-fitted to buses, especially California buses. These have the benefit of being able to be removed, and the resale value is high.
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:17 AM   #13
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And EGR is the easy bit. Fairly reliable, and moderately priced to fix if it does go wrong.



I wouldn't let EGR stop me buying (although for those looking, the T444 was never fitted with it), but a DPF .... blech.



That said, some DPFs were retro-fitted to buses, especially California buses. These have the benefit of being able to be removed, and the resale value is high.


A little help:
DPF = ?
EGR = ?
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Old 05-11-2018, 06:26 AM   #14
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And EGR is the easy bit. Fairly reliable, and moderately priced to fix if it does go wrong.

I wouldn't let EGR stop me buying (although for those looking, the T444 was never fitted with it), but a DPF .... blech.

That said, some DPFs were retro-fitted to buses, especially California buses. These have the benefit of being able to be removed, and the resale value is high.
With EGR, seems the DT's lost some reliability and longevity. Plus EGR engines are more expensive. So are the parts.
I'd definitely avoid ANYTHING Navistar once emissions kick in. There's a reason they're now putting Cummins in IC's.
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:30 AM   #15
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So, would this jury like this model....



http://www.lasvegasbussales.com/scho...ool-bus-b24372



I would like if it were SHORTER. Looking for <=38í
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:30 AM   #16
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A little help:
DPF = ?
EGR = ?
DPF = Diesel Particulate Filter, fitted to exhaust

EGR = Exhaust Gas Recirculation, sends exhaust gasses back through cylinders to be burned again.
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:54 AM   #17
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Quote:
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DPF = Diesel Particulate Filter, fitted to exhaust



EGR = Exhaust Gas Recirculation, sends exhaust gasses back through cylinders to be burned again.


OK. Thank you. It sounds like the surest bet is a model year before these systems became required (<2004?).

Question, on a later year, could you simply remove these devices if you live in an emission friendly state like Alabama?
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Old 05-11-2018, 11:07 AM   #18
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So, would this jury like this model....



Used 2003 Thomas Saf-T-Liner HDX School Bus B24372-Used2003ThomasSaf T Liner HDX



I would like if it were SHORTER. Looking for <=38í
That's a $3k-$4K bus.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:37 PM   #19
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That's a $3k-$4K bus.
Same drive trane as my 2002. I am very happy with it. I paid a bit over $3800 including auction fees. 170k miles and it runs and drives great.

However, buying at auction has risks. We have had two members recently that bought at auction and traveled to pick up the bus only to find that it doesn't run.

I think the price on this bus is quite high but I do think that there is some value to being able to test drive and thoroughly inspect a bus before putting your money down.

If you want the benefits of buying from a dealer you should expect to pay more than you would buying at auction but $17k is excessive IMHO.
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Old 05-11-2018, 12:53 PM   #20
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Also it is a low roof model.
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