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Old 03-02-2016, 09:20 AM   #1
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Buying bus from NC school system?

Has anyone bought a bus from the huge inventory that the NC school system has? Wondering what condition they generally tend to be in. Are they in good shape and road ready or do they tend to have issues? Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2016, 02:36 PM   #2
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I'm from Oregon, but the bus barns usually have relatively serviceable vehicles. It's always a risk and anybody can get stuck with a lemon. Possibly you could talk to the mechanic at the bus barn when you're there viewing or even the drivers. Use that information to avoid the worst buses they have. Secondarily, look for decent tires to avoid that expense. Most are in good shape but some do have issues. They get rid of problem vehicles just like the rest of us. I hope that helps a little.
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Old 03-02-2016, 03:55 PM   #3
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Sorry I don't have any advice on this... but I'd be interested to hear what you find out. I'm shopping around in the Pittsburgh area, but am considering looking further south to buy a bus, and the supply in NC has come to my attention recently.
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Old 03-02-2016, 03:59 PM   #4
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definitely see if you can get any info on the "informal" history of the bus. no one will know the bus better than someone who has had their hands on it.
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Old 03-02-2016, 04:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ApplePie View Post
Sorry I don't have any advice on this... but I'd be interested to hear what you find out. I'm shopping around in the Pittsburgh area, but am considering looking further south to buy a bus, and the supply in NC has come to my attention recently.

They always have a good number of buses, I just haven't found any info on what shape they are in typically. Here's the website to look at the list:

North Carolina School Bus Surplus System
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Old 03-02-2016, 05:24 PM   #6
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There's not enough information there to make any sort of a decision! Year, make, number of passengers, mileage. No model, no pics. Evidently you gotta go visit all those counties to see what they have.
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dgorila1 View Post
Has anyone bought a bus from the huge inventory that the NC school system has? Wondering what condition they generally tend to be in. Are they in good shape and road ready or do they tend to have issues? Thanks.
I bought mine from the county bus barn.
Walked and talked with the mechanic's
When I went to pick it up I had to hang out for a few hours
They had to do a full safety inspection before they could turn it over to me because of liability
I didn't mind the wait because I got to watch them check/adjust the brakes
Air brake system pressure test
All fluids checked and topped off if needed and I paid attention to what fluid was topped off and what brand/type
And before I drove away they handed me the full 24 year maitenance record from day 1 including the FORD and THOMAS factory build sheets, specific wiring diagrams.
All weekly PM records and the monthly bi-annual oil analysis.
I bought a bus that was a daily driver for them 2-weeks before.
The only thing I wish I would have waited for was an activity bus. Better rear end gearing for higher road speed
They didn't have any for sale and for 2400$ I couldn't pass up what I have.
No matter what you get they all have leaks somewhere!
My bus body and frame is (down at the beach) in good to above good condition including the scar about halfway down one side from a sign somewhere in the jolly Rogers life (not bad but noticeable) and even though the barn had done a minute bondo skim and paint to dress it up.
The older bus barn man told me about it and it was in the maitenance records including before and after pics. No punctures,tears or damaged ribs.
The bus barn men my area in N.C. Are always ready to talk about there busses and if you buy one they want to see it and have experienced advice to offer.
I can only run at 49 butt I am getting ready to go to the barn and let them see the bus they sold me 5-years ago. Only primered but the inside is done.
I can do a lot of things but am tech challenged and my pics and photobucket do not quite get along.
Never done the surplus thing?
But my N.C. Bus was everything I expected and I can't complain
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:32 PM   #8
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JollyRoger, where are you at in NC again?

We bought our bus from NC School Surplus System. Alamance County. It's in great condition as far as body, tires, no rust, etc. But the guy didn't tell us that the records showed a major coolant leak in the oil. He also led me to believe it was a 466 engine. He just didn't know what he was talking about I think. But I kept asking for the paperwork and files on it and they didn't hand it over til after I left and came back to get it. When I got home I read about the leak. We had to rebuild the engine. But now it runs great! We actually love our bus and it was in great condition other than the leak. 192,000 miles when we bought it. I'd stay away from beach and mountain counties. I visited three or four county school bus garages with buses on that website and Alamance was the cleanest by far. Just take a day and go around to all that you can reach that have buses with bodies/ engines that you're interested in.
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Old 03-02-2016, 08:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
I bought mine from the county bus barn.
Walked and talked with the mechanic's
When I went to pick it up I had to hang out for a few hours
They had to do a full safety inspection before they could turn it over to me because of liability
I didn't mind the wait because I got to watch them check/adjust the brakes
Air brake system pressure test
All fluids checked and topped off if needed and I paid attention to what fluid was topped off and what brand/type
And before I drove away they handed me the full 24 year maitenance record from day 1 including the FORD and THOMAS factory build sheets, specific wiring diagrams.
All weekly PM records and the monthly bi-annual oil analysis...........

But my N.C. Bus was everything I expected and I can't complain
Jolly,
Do you know if the full safety inspection is mandatory for all buses they sell or if you just got lucky and got good mechanics who went the extra mile? Sounds like it might not be mandatory since the other county sold the bus to onenation with the known coolant leak but they failed the mechanics failed to disclose it. Great info though, comes down to needing to go on site and check it out first hand before buying to verify it is everything you need.

Onenation, why do you recommend staying away from beach and mountain buses? Did you notice particular issues with buses from these type of counties? Thanks.
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Old 03-02-2016, 08:25 PM   #10
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Don't know for sure but I picked a different bus two days before with a chevy nose and when I got there they couldn't let me have it because the brake line's were starting to dry rot and let me pick again.
All the power plants and body's were the same no matter the hood/grill style for there out of age fleet but they were still maintaining 86 busses in 2010 when they started getting new computerized stuff that none of them new what to do with when it messes up other than the brakes,oil,tire type things
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