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Old 02-07-2018, 11:29 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
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What one to keep? Sell and keep looking? Or just make a quick buck?

I would like some advice from the collective wisdom of the group here.
My dad and I recently purchased 8 busses because the deal was too good to pass up, I hadn't really given much thought to a conversion but haved talked for a lomg time about taking my family of 8 on a year long road trip.

My dad is getting 5 of them as mobile storage units, all he cares is that they can move about 30 miles in the next 2 years.
I get the choice 3 as I was planning on converting one, keeping one as parts and selling the third to pay for the other 2.

As I actually research my decisions I am realizing just how good a deal I got but still questioning- Is this the right model for me? Is this really something I want to tackle? If the answer is yes to both then how do I decide what 3 to choice?

Ideal wants- higher roof, longest I can get (large family and all), pusher, ability to tow a minivan or honda pilot around the U.S. ie engine and transmission up to the task.

Bus background.
Busses, all are 2003/2004 saf-t-liners, front engine, 71 passenger, standard height, cat 3126 unknown hp, unknown transmission,
Mileage between 80k and 140k, hours between 9 and 11k

They are straight from Seattle area school service and have been sitting in the school lot for a year before they decided to clear them out, most of them have service records from the bus garage.

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Old 02-07-2018, 11:46 AM   #2
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sound lkike some pretty cool busses you might actually flip most all and go buy junkyard busses for the mobile storage units.. keep the best one and make a camper out of it for your road trip.. or if he keeps the mnobile ones, you know where to get drivetrain parts if you break stuff on your travellin rig.. , those likely all have allison 2000/3000 transmissions which are nice overdrive units ..

the 3126B is pre-ACERT so not too bad of a powerplant..

-Christopher
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:06 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks for the response cadillackid, any recommendations on deciding what one to keep? I'm 95% sure they all have the same specs, the only thing I know to look at right now is to look at the hours (odometer on several have been replaced so can't trust that.) and tires.
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:32 PM   #4
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Checks would be for rust tires and puddles of oil. it's a Cat so chances are it will be oily as most are. big puddles are bad slimy is to be expected. Gene
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godspyro View Post
Thanks for the response cadillackid, any recommendations on deciding what one to keep? I'm 95% sure they all have the same specs, the only thing I know to look at right now is to look at the hours (odometer on several have been replaced so can't trust that.) and tires.
The Hours meters suggest higher mileage than the odometers are showing.

The service records should give you some clues. WIth the stated miles I'd expect the Hour meters to be showing 4 to 6000 hours.

School buses are considered "severe duty" on the drivetrains, and at 11000 hours they are getting up there, especially on the CAT engines that have to come out to be rebuilt.

Anyway, check the documentation and it may tell a different story.

What you have though is a bunch of popular buses.
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:43 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks Twigg, so if I was to start flipping and looking for the "right" canvas what should I be asking? IE not a rip off 8k from Florida but not a total give away either?
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:00 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Originally Posted by Gdog 5651 View Post
Checks would be for rust tires and puddles of oil. it's a Cat so chances are it will be oily as most are. big puddles are bad slimy is to be expected. Gene
good tip, I didn't think to check for puddles when I looked at them, I basically made sure they started and came up to air pressure OK, I will take a look below them each, they have been sitting there for a year so if there was a leak we would see it.
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:04 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
The Hours meters suggest higher mileage than the odometers are showing.

The service records should give you some clues. WIth the stated miles I'd expect the Hour meters to be showing 4 to 6000 hours.

School buses are considered "severe duty" on the drivetrains, and at 11000 hours they are getting up there, especially on the CAT engines that have to come out to be rebuilt.

Anyway, check the documentation and it may tell a different story.

What you have though is a bunch of popular buses.
remember this is Seattle so average speed of 12 mph may not be that far off.
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:52 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
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Lead tech from the bus barn got back to me with the vin numbers of the buses I am buying.
I also confirmed it is the Allison 2000 tyranny.
Best news is that they are all 78" headroom buses

Sounds like I will keep one, maybe 2, now just to talk my dad out of the other 5 as we may be sitting on a goldmine.

Bus info
Digit position=Designation=Description
1-3=1T8= Thomas Front Engine
4=8=MVP-EF
5=M=? unknown wheelbase
6=4=School 78" headroom
7=C=Caterpillar Diesel (I know it is the 3126b, no idea on HP)
8=2=Air Brakes
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Old 02-08-2018, 06:14 PM   #10
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Sell them all and get your dad some storage containers/conex boxes.
I can get 50' boxes for 2000$ placed where I want them and 20-30' ones 11-1400$
But that's local delivery.
Most container companies will move a loaded container as long as it's not heavily loaded as far as weight.
And containers can be placed to put a roof on to build a garage or cut a door into and don't have to worry about motor,tranny,tires or getting it started when you want to move it. But a 50-100$ phone call. But getting a diesel that has set started isn't cheap either especially since you can't run to your local parts store and get anything CAT.
And if you can't get it started where it sets and have to get a mobile CAT mechanic then (in my area) it's 100$ an hour from the time he leaves his shop. Whether it's 1-hour away or 4 to get to you to figure out the problem,to order parts for overnight delivery and stays in a motel or leaves until the parts come in and don't know when he will be back but it will probably be another mechanic.
I don't know CAT engines in buses but I DO KNOW CAT construction equipment experience and you need money if it's not warranty work.
And with the lifetime warranty stuff car dealers offer it is only good if everything is done through them? CAT isn't that bad but then again only a CAT mechanic can work on them.
Next time you drive buy an equipment rental store then look at how much CAT equipment they own to rent to anyone.
The big rental companies don't rent unless they are a CAT specific shop.
I could go on and on about CAT rental equipment also. Serviced buy them and sent out to work.
There are several other types of equipment available that are more user friendly.
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