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Old 05-01-2018, 12:47 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 17
Looking for opinions on these buses

*Update*-newbie mistake-I now see my original post from a few days ago which includes the links to the ads. I am sure by the time we have find and convert a bus I will figure out how the forum works!

I tried to post this a few days ago with links to the ads but the post never showed up (I believe I read that new members cannot post links until they have reached 10 posts) so I thought I would try again without the links (I have pasted the descriptions included in the ads instead). Looking for opinions on these two buses. My husband and I are looking to convert for full time travel with our 2 young kids. Height is a concern as my husband is 6'3 but we are open to raising the roof if necessary. We appreciate any opinions as to which is favorable of the two as well as any comments on the asking price. Thanks in advance!

Bus #1. 2000 Thomas School Bus 35ft- $4000
Selling my 2000 Thomas School Bus with just over 129k miles. The only reason the bus was taken out of service is they bought a new bus to replace it with. It has the 24 valve Cummins Diesel Motor and Allison Automatic Transmission. Excellent tires, the fronts are supposed to only have 1000 miles on them. New battery installed as well. I put half a tank of gas in it. The bus is located in Dallas, Texas 75237 where it will need to be picked up. Clean & Clear title.

Don't be confused by the low price currently asking for this bus. There is nothing wrong with it. You can get in it and head to California tomorrow! With almost new tires and barely 129k miles it's barely broken in. This bus delivered kids to school the very morning I bought it.

Bus #2 Cummins turbo diesel school bus high roof model runs perfect - $7900
Cummins turbo diesel school bus
Allison transmission
1994 Thomas
127,000 miles
Runs perfect
Tax & title
Maintenance serviced 04/2017 (oil change, tune-up, check-in)
13 rows
Seats are removed, used as our tiny home
Comes with RV roof AC/Heater, new in 2017 ($1000 value new)
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Old 05-01-2018, 01:13 PM   #2
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
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Both probably have the undesirable 5.9/545 drive train. Bus #1 is slightly high in price, bus #2 is way over priced.
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Old 05-01-2018, 02:03 PM   #3
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Location: Eastern WA
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
I would agree. If they have the 5.9/AT545 combo I would no get very excited.

From the info provided it is hard to say how they are equipped.

In by chance they have the 8.3 and the MD3060 I would get more enthused. Even if #2 has the preferred drivetrane the price is high.
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Old 05-01-2018, 08:54 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I would agree. If they have the 5.9/AT545 combo I would no get very excited.

From the info provided it is hard to say how they are equipped.

In by chance they have the 8.3 and the MD3060 I would get more enthused. Even if #2 has the preferred drivetrane the price is high.
Thanks for the info. We will be asking some more questions before making the drive to see either bus based on this! We definitely thought they were overpriced but it is hard to tell because our local craiglist is flooded with buses priced extremely high.
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Old 05-01-2018, 08:55 PM   #5
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Thank you for the input!
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Old 05-01-2018, 09:21 PM   #6
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: near Christiansburg VA
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Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 44 or 66? 11 rows
Others have addressed the price; one of the big deals for me is the transmission.

If you have an AT545 you'll be going down hills as though you had a manual transmission with your foot on the clutch. Whee!

If you have one of the others, you'll have a bit of engine braking. Not as much as a manual, I'm sure, and nothing like a Jake Brake or retarder. But you would have SOMETHING to help your braking on descents.

I have the Cummins 5.9 and the Allison 2000, and am pleased with my purchase after a whopping 200 miles on flat land. So take my experience with a grain of salt. But the Allison 2000 might meet your need.

For either, make sure the block casting is not the dreaded '53' block. They were too thin and will crack. The '94 might be too early for the '53' block, but they were being used in the 2000 models.
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Old 05-01-2018, 09:25 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
As far as I am aware, if you have a locking TC and the ability to pre-select a specific gear, your engine braking will be pretty much the same as a manual transmission.

The only caveat is that if the engine speed rises enough by careless driving, then even the MD3060 might up-shift to protect the transmission even with a lower gear selected.
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Old 05-01-2018, 10:15 PM   #8
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Conneaut, Ohio
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Year: 2004
Chassis: International CE 300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71 passenger / 12 window
One thing I've picked up is that the AT545 is pretty easy to spot by looking at the shifter. If the shifter shows R-N-D-3-2-1, chances are it's an AT545. Mine is an AD2000 and it shows R-N-D-4-2-1.

I wouldn't put too much stock in what people say about the Cummins 5.9 engine being undesirable. It's not as powerful as larger engines like the Cummins 8.3 and the DT466E, but Cummins engines have excellent reputations. Even if it might be a bit of a dog getting a full size bus up a steep hill, it will run a long time and it'll probably return better fuel mileage than the larger engines, especially if you keep a light touch on the throttle.

That said, I've never owned a Cummins. My bus has the DT466E and I've only driven it a few miles. So... I'm no expert... I just know what I've heard and read. I owned an RV with a T444E and had a bad run with that engine, so I wouldn't recommend it, personally. Others have said it's a really good engine... maybe mine was just a bad one, or poorly treated by its previous owners.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:01 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
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Thank you again for all the information-this has helped us immensely!
Like other newbies on here we are trying to research as much as possible so make the correct purchase but we are far from experts. We are now looking at another bus and have some questions we were hoping you all could provide some guidance on:
40ft 2001 Bluebird Cummins ISB (from what I can tell from google that means 5.9). The transmission is a electronic push button-what is the best way to tell what type that is? The entire instrument panel will not light up or show mileage-checked the fuses and they look good so I think that will need to be replaced.
We only took a quick look at it so far and drove in a parking lot-it is owned by a construction company (they used it to shuttle employees and are now downsizing). The guy who showed it to me needed to get permission for me to test drive it off the lot so we are hoping to go back next week.
The body is in great condition. One tire will need replaced but the rest are fair. Two inside AC units. They are asking $6000-they said they would take $5500 without a road drive. I definitely think they are asking too much based on previous posts.
We are hoping to buy somewhat locally (within about 5hour drive of either Houston or Dallas) as we have limited time available to travel for pick up. Given that schools are out soon should we hold out to see if anything comes straight from the school districts? We are looking to convert and travel full time so we definitely want to ensure we have the right equipment. We are also hoping to tow a car or jeep when we travel. Thanks again for all the advice-we really appreciate it!
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:11 AM   #10
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Coachwork: IC
Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 32
I got my bus in TX last year.
DO NOT buy a bus from Cleveland ISD.

TX is a great place to find a good bus. Just avoid Cleveland. They're jerks and they don't know how to maintain their fleet.
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