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Old 02-28-2017, 02:41 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,591
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Found a "lcoal" bus to me...

I called the guy and says everything works, tires are good etc.

2005 Thomas FE - Front Engine Transit School Bus
82 pax
Caterpillar Engine, 7.2 L Diesel Engine
Allison 2000 tranny
Bus runs, condition is operable
Removed from service just this month.
79,065 Miles

Hydraulic brakes which the guy was sure to point out. Any issues with that on a bus this big? I don't know that I have a preference; I've just never heard of hydraulics on a vehicle this big before. It's higher than I was planning on going but I do have the money to cover it. It's newer and that mileage!!

Current bid is $4600... if I could get it for under $5500. Auction closes 3/3/17 which doesn't give me a lot of time to get down there for an in-person inspection but I could make it happen.
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Old 02-28-2017, 03:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
I called the guy and says everything works, tires are good etc.

2005 Thomas FE - Front Engine Transit School Bus
82 pax
Caterpillar Engine, 7.2 L Diesel Engine
Allison 2000 tranny
Bus runs, condition is operable
Removed from service just this month.
79,065 Miles

Hydraulic brakes which the guy was sure to point out. Any issues with that on a bus this big? I don't know that I have a preference; I've just never heard of hydraulics on a vehicle this big before. It's higher than I was planning on going but I do have the money to cover it. It's newer and that mileage!!

Current bid is $4600... if I could get it for under $5500. Auction closes 3/3/17 which doesn't give me a lot of time to get down there for an in-person inspection but I could make it happen.
Hey BrewerBob,

I think that part of your question falls into the personal preference arena. Ford vs Chevy kind of thing.

IMHO:

79k miles - Awesome

Allison 2000 - Very good (5/6 speed OD)

CAT 7.2 - Deal killer for me.

$5k - There is definitely value in the low miles. If it has good tires and needs no further service/repair to be completely roadable I would happily spend $5k on a good low miles bus(if it had an 8.3 or DT466)

Hydraulic brakes - I would be reluctant on a bus that size. Air brakes would give you more braking "power" and reduced maintenance.

I think that CAT has built some very good and some not so great engines. One thing that they all have in common is the pain you will experience if you have to go to the CAT house for $ervice. I always felt like I was getting screwed.....


Good luck!!

S.
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Old 02-28-2017, 05:09 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,591
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Hey BrewerBob,

I think that part of your question falls into the personal preference arena. Ford vs Chevy kind of thing.

$5k - There is definitely value in the low miles. If it has good tires and needs no further service/repair to be completely roadable I would happily spend $5k on a good low miles bus(if it had an 8.3 or DT466)

Hydraulic brakes - I would be reluctant on a bus that size. Air brakes would give you more braking "power" and reduced maintenance.

I think that CAT has built some very good and some not so great engines. One thing that they all have in common is the pain you will experience if you have to go to the CAT house for $ervice. I always felt like I was getting screwed.....
So Chevy vs Ford... I don't know Cats but I've heard repeatedly about cost even from you before I think.

So some questions for you...

1) What is the service interval for a bus? Different for a Cat?
2) What services are you having done that you have to go to a Cat house?
3) Are you going to Cat for SERVICES or PARTS or BOTH?

I'm pretty handy with a wrench. I don't have a bus lift and I'm not comfortable tearing down an engine and rebuilding from the get go. But with 80k miles, what am I tearing down? I expect 200k out of my TDI wagon before it needs anything besides brakes, alt, filters, etc. Are buses any different? This was a field trip bus so I suspect most of its few miles were highway and not rural routes over pot holed dirt roads (excessive vibrations even).

On brakes I'm completely clueless. I tried googling earlier to see if there were pages and pages from drivers and/or maintenance shops having a hissy over them but wasn't able to find much of anything, good or bad.
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Old 02-28-2017, 05:30 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
05 is new enough that it will be going for a lot of $$ to an exporter or BGA, or some other dealer.
Bartow don't take very good care of their buses, from what I've seen.
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Old 02-28-2017, 05:37 PM   #5
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Location: Essex, MD
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
05 is new enough that it will be going for a lot of $$ to an exporter or BGA, or some other dealer.
Bartow don't take very good care of their buses, from what I've seen.
It's a St. Mary's county, Maryland bus. Close enough to the Bay that it should have seen any snow. It's now at $5100 which is getting steep.
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Old 02-28-2017, 05:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
It's a St. Mary's county, Maryland bus. Close enough to the Bay that it should have seen any snow. It's now at $5100 which is getting steep.
I'd definitely pay more for a MD bus than a FL bus.
I still would pass.
If I didn't already have two buses I'd definitely be jumping on one of these in AZ-
Public Surplus: Auction #1775367

I know- its not local.
Seems the further away from where I am, the nicer the buses get.
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Old 02-28-2017, 05:43 PM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,591
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I'd definitely pay more for a MD bus than a FL bus.
I still would pass.
If I didn't already have two buses I'd definitely be jumping on one of these in AZ-
Public Surplus: Auction #1775367

I know- its not local.
Seems the further away from where I am, the nicer the buses get.
My AZ buddy can't get time off to inspect one of those . I'm assuming those are the Gilbert buses.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
My AZ buddy can't get time off to inspect one of those . I'm assuming those are the Gilbert buses.
Roll the dice?
For the current price difference you could buy a LOT of stuff.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:12 PM   #9
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 4,997
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
So Chevy vs Ford... I don't know Cats but I've heard repeatedly about cost even from you before I think.

So some questions for you...

1) What is the service interval for a bus? Different for a Cat?
2) What services are you having done that you have to go to a Cat house?
3) Are you going to Cat for SERVICES or PARTS or BOTH?

I'm pretty handy with a wrench. I don't have a bus lift and I'm not comfortable tearing down an engine and rebuilding from the get go. But with 80k miles, what am I tearing down? I expect 200k out of my TDI wagon before it needs anything besides brakes, alt, filters, etc. Are buses any different? This was a field trip bus so I suspect most of its few miles were highway and not rural routes over pot holed dirt roads (excessive vibrations even).

On brakes I'm completely clueless. I tried googling earlier to see if there were pages and pages from drivers and/or maintenance shops having a hissy over them but wasn't able to find much of anything, good or bad.
The CAT powered rigs that I was around went to the CAT shop for most of their maintenance. I agree with you regarding handling as much of the service labor myself as I am able. You are still stuck going to CAT for any parts (engine) and anything computer related.

I am not sure about the service interval.

Personally, I too would get more excited about a 170k miles Cummins 8.3 bus like the ones in AZ than an 80k CAT powered bus. Personal preference.

There are folks here that know the 7.2 CAT far better than I do. Maybe one of them will chime in with particulars on that one.

If you don't mind the higher parts cost etc then you may be golden.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:14 PM   #10
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,591
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Roll the dice?
For the current price difference you could buy a LOT of stuff.
(*$%&*(&$#^*^&$$ exporters!!! Same dude has bids on half the buses. The one that was $1400 is more than $3000. The other 2 buses that don't have broken ACs are at $3500 already.
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