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Old 07-17-2018, 10:45 PM   #1
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First Bus Advice!

I found a 1995 GMC blue bird school bus, about 37 feet long with a 3116 Cat engine and Allison transmission with 150k on it. The engine was recently rebuilt because of a school district required it. We found it for $5000. Originally from the south west, no penetrarting rust...everything else looks really good. I fell like everything seems pretty good but I'm just looking for any information that others might have that I might be missing. First bus purchase and want to make sure I do it right!
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:19 AM   #2
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That's a lot of dough for that bus.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:04 AM   #3
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Way too pricey for what it is.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:23 AM   #4
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So much money
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:23 PM   #5
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Could buy three of them for that price.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:35 PM   #6
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Bus price

I realize that in some areas I might be able to find this bus cheaper. But for the buses available within a 15 hour or so drive of where I am in the Pacific Northwest I'm not finding anything cheaper that comes close to mileage and condition. Maybe if I committed to driving across the country to an auction I might gamble and find a cheaper one. But I'm not willing to gamble and spend a thousand dollars to travel across the country to see a bus that might be better or might not be. I think for the area of the country I'm in the bus price is fair. I was mostly hoping someone could help me out with any mechanical issues I might watch out for or some other underlying issue I haven't thought of. My distance to travel for a school bus is limited and my time is also running a little low. I just want to drive away with a decent bus even if it is $5000. Any other thoughts? Or is there a mechanical reason the bus isnt worth $5000?
Thanks again!
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:38 PM   #7
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PNW is the mecca for good clean buses man.

You can do much better for 5 g's. Maybe not TODAY. But look around, check the auctions.
My buddy got a 99 BBAA in OR with low miles, all decked out with all the goodies, top of the line bus and he paid $4000 out the door with auction fees.

The GMC you're looking at is a $2000 bus in good running order.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:44 PM   #8
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I've seen many good deals coming from the PNW. Does your bus have a Allison 545? It would be important to know that. I paid $3500 for my bus out of Butte.Mt. I paid extra to get the bigger engine, trans, cruise control, etc.

I also question the mileage on a bus that old. If in fact it had that low of mileage, why did it need rebuild? School district required it? Why, because it was blown up? Certainly not a mileage or age requirement. That is not a motor that should have needed a rebuild before 150k.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:26 PM   #9
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The bus does have an Allison Transmission although I'm not sure which one. I have a lot of experience with different vehicles but not as much with bigger diesels. From what I could see the engine was in very good shape. I didnt see anything that made me question a rebuild. No oil leaks anywhere on the engine. Oil looked fine and smelled normal. Transmission fluid was a good color and consistency. Engine looked tight and dry and sounded good. Some of the reading I did on the 3116 said that they typically required a rebuild as a fleet vehicle every 150 to 200k miles. So I really didnt grill them too hard about why it was rebuilt.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:26 PM   #10
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Seems pricey in a way. Do not know what engine issues it had but to replace that engine is 11 -12 g's alone with no installation. They are good engines and I have one but with a standard transmission. The last of the mechanicals but a good one. Also 6 cyl which is far better than a v8 build wise.
Talk him down. I bet it sits for a while before someone pays his price.
Find out the tranny type too before buying, wouldn't want a 545 in that bus.



Good luck,


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