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Old 12-06-2014, 05:24 PM   #1
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Help deciding if bus/price is good!

Basically my first post, long time lurker. My intentions are to purchase a bus and convert it to a livable RV.

I have been looking at this bus to purchase, went and viewed it and have some reservations about it. Hoping perhaps someone can help me with deciding if the engine/bus type and price are decent.

craiglist add
1996 IHC Thomas 72 passenger school bus with DT466 engine. Air brakes.
Good tires.
384,092 km

There were some spots of rust on the bus, inside looked clean. The owner had actually pulled out all but 3 rows of seats, and laid carpet down. Tires are in excellent shape, the engine started up easily in -5 Celsius weather. Engine sounded like it was running smooth. Diesel DT466 engine, are these good?

Some of my concerns:
1. There is no maintenance records for this bus. I don't know when the last engine/tranny/brake servicing was. On the engine block someone wrote that the next service was due in 200 hours. The bus's dial reads 4400 service hours.
2. The bus is registered in another province than mine. In order to register it (in BC), I think I would have to have it inspected. I am worried if I purchase this bus, and try to register it in BC it might fail the inspection (faulty brakes or shocks or whatever) and I'm left with a bigger bill than I started with to get it road worthy.

Is it appropriate to ask the owner to have it taken to a shop and assessed by a mechanic prior to purchase? Is this a standard move by those of you that have purchased in the past?


choebee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-2014, 10:13 PM   #2
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Location: ellijay ga
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Re: Help deciding if bus/price is good!

to many miles for that yr
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:47 PM   #3
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Re: Help deciding if bus/price is good!

On a school bus look at hours, not miles. 4400 hrs is not bad at all for a '96. A DT466 is a great engine. I'd ask to do an oil sample. If he denies you doing so, move on.

Cant help you with the inspection stuff.
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Old 12-07-2014, 09:58 AM   #4
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Location: Upstate NY (Mohawk Valley)
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Re: Help deciding if bus/price is good!

Originally Posted by keith
to many miles for that yr
Remember, that's Canadian kilometers, and not the "kilo-miles" abbreviation used for advertising purposes in the States. It converts to about 240,000 US miles, which is not that shocking.

What transmission is in it? If it has a manual, it's probably well worth the $$$$. If it has an automatic, the model will determine how well it will perform for you.

Prices are going up drastically. The $500 bus of a couple of years ago is the $2000 bus of today, and some recent Skoolie purchases are reported in the $5000 range. But local conditions of supply and demand set the local value. The question is, is it worth it to you considering your budget?

Each bus is in an individual condition. An inspection by an independent mechanic would help decide how much work, if any, is needed to be road-worthy. A bus with no records may depress the price so that a potential Skoolie on a budget may get a good bus that someone with more money and less time might pass up.

The ad mentions good tires, which are expensive, and not having to replace them is an asset. But don't just go by tread depth, learn to read the date code on the sidewalls. If the "good" tires date back to the Chrétien administration, be wary of including them as value-added items in the pricing.
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
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