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Old 01-15-2014, 08:02 PM   #21
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Re: Rust Buckets

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenny76
I really wanted to buy a school bus but it looks like I may be better off buying a coach and converting it. I can get a class a coach for less than 10k. Decent school buses are crossing that threshhold.
You get what you pay for in the mobile home/camper/metal tent used vehicle market

Just remember you are getting real heavy duty parts in a school bus, big air brakes, big stout axles front and rear also attached to the road with tires and wheels designed for big and heavy loads for 10's of thousands of miles

The typical under 10grand class "A" I will put every part up against the same purpose part and laugh at how "small" ...ugh "puny".....ugh...no nice why to say it.....my "junks" bigger and stronger


Now by coach if you mean a used OTR bus for 10k and convert it.....yes you can, maybe to convert it will cost the same to do a coach v/s skoolie to the same level of pretty.......problem comes up when you need to get it safe and to road worthy status and keep it there

So it comes down to condition at the start for the same price

I would love to pick up a 50yr old coach.....cash ain't there
So

Well

I reckon that's it
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:55 PM   #22
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Re: Rust Buckets

I like the MCI, Eagle, and provost buses but thats way more than I need or want to deal with. I have a base camp in SC and dont think I could even get a bus that big in my yard. So far from what I have read I think a single rear axel skoolie about 30 to 35 ft FE or RE is what Im looking for. I think I have owned 12 different RVs in the last 30 years and always wanted a wonder lodge up until about 1989 because of the all steal body. I think in about 1990 wonder lodge left the all steal design and went to some fiber glass and that ended the want for me. I looked at some used ones but I think the conversion is the way I want to go. I would like to have a newer drivetrain 1995 or so BB.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:25 PM   #23
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Re: Rust Buckets

Yes I am finding MCI 9's in the late 80's models for less than 10k. They are all over Florida. I am seeing similar aged Blue Birds going for the same price. I think the skoolie way would give me greater access due to its height and lower weight. I agree that you get what you pay for but for some reason the market asking price seems rather high on the school buses I am finding. And like the o/p states everything seems to be rust buckets that the Mexican/South American market didnt want. It is frustrating but I am wanting bang for my buck. The largest draw for me is to design and mod the base to be what works for me and my family.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:25 PM   #24
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Re: Rust Buckets

The main reason for me is the quality of the RVs we have owned. I guess being poor has its drawbacks. I cant afford the quality RV like I want so I will have to build it. Thank God he gave me the mechanical skills to do so. It looks like our neihbors south of the border are willing to pay more for the rust free units and our good US friends and neighbors have found a legal way to supply them and keep the public from getting to bid on them. I have been searching for months for a rust free flat nose Blue Bird 30 to 35 ft with under 150,000 miles on it for under $2500.00 and I see them selling for that criteria but they are all from the salt and snow belt or so far out west I cant drive to check them out before buying one. I see some on local dealers lots but you can smell the salt and hear it rusting from ten feet away. Wonder where those came from. Its amazing what salt roads can do in ten years of driving on them. Its also amazing how nice a southern vehicle looks in twenty years of never seeing a salt road.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:16 PM   #25
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Re: Rust Buckets

Okay, I just got back from business in SC a few minutes ago, while getting gas I saw an older gentleman with a Thomas bus jacket on, so I spoke with him.

He just retired, his job was too purchase school buses for SC.... I told him of this delima you have, he said:

The state of SC owns their buses, yup government, state legislators vote to buy buses yearly.

They are not buying buses this year, he did say the newer buses have the best of everything,ac, big engines and biggest brakes availible bought in the last couple yaers.

He gave me a name of a gentleman in Columbia that buys used buses of all makes in the state to resell, he is also the big Thomas dealer

If you want his contact info pm me

Also the above info explains why in the bus yard I stopped in 30min before meeting with his guy had:

FE dog noses and flat noses
RE BB,Thomas hi top and low top and Thomas hi-hi tops they looked like the roof raise that did
Dog nose internationals and gmc's

Literally every type except crowns...very weird parking lot

So only option in SC seems to be dealer in Columbia or private

Blue bird,Thomas,crown by carpenter,carpenter and every combo you could get
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:49 PM   #26
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Re: Rust Buckets

I have bought several buses from small local school districts around E Oregon and W Idaho. They usually put them out for sealed bid when they are ready to retire a bus, and top bidder wins. I just cruise by the bus barn at each school once a year and ask if any buses are coming up for sale. All the transportation managers are nice, and always are ready to show me what will be coming up for bid/sale. Then I find out when the bids will be opened, and when I need to get my bid in. Some school districts trade their old buses in on their new ones, and the bus companies have buyers lined up, usually from other countries, so the buses head out of the US. My strategy is just to check personally at every school district I come across, and keep in touch with the bus and transportation managers. I have netted about 4 good buses that way.

A lot of good buses in the west get bought up by forest fire fighting companies for crew transports- and occasionally they sell some of their buses to update their fleets. They are good to check in with also for rust free buses.
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:49 PM   #27
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Re: Rust Buckets

dburt,
The problem is if I buy a bus in Oregon the savings between the high dollar list price at the dealer and the cost of a direct buy is lost in fuel and airline ticket. I found a bus in AZ for example at $3500. But after factoring in $500 for a ticket and the $1000+ in return fuel, I would be better off buying a bus thats 250 miles from me for $4500.
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Old 04-20-2014, 04:41 PM   #28
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Re: Rust Buckets

Yes, the distance factor always kills a good deal- I know what you mean! But perhaps you could scout out some close by school districts to see if you might have a chance to bid on a surplus bus closer to home?
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Old 04-27-2014, 04:12 PM   #29
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Re: Rust Buckets

My search ended yesterday and I am now the proud owner of a 1992 BB TC2000!

I drove all day Saturday and ended up making my purchase only 4 hours away. If anyone was considering Tampa Bus market, I will save you the trip. Everything he had priced reasonably was actually overpriced and had major mechanical issues. One of the buses I was about to make an offer on, a 1997 Thomas wouldnt break 40mph on the highway. He had another one but you could pressurize the air tanks with the blowby. The 1993 I couldnt get out of neutral because the panel had been robbed of bolts. The more I looked at it the more $$$ i saw in needed repairs to make it home. He had one 1999 Thomas with A/C but he wanted $10,500 because he had to put a new engine in it. So after my disappointment my wife found one close to Atlanta. Drove 7 1/2 hours from Tampa and bought it. It came with a water heater, stove and fridge and built in coach a/c.

Although it has the 5.9, it had alot more power than any of the Cats I drove earlier and the only rust on it is minor surface on the shell. Well worth my 1200 mile adventure. Pegged to the floor cruised along at 60-62 and got a sweet 10 mpg all the way home.
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Old 04-29-2014, 11:49 PM   #30
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Re: Rust Buckets

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenny76
My search ended yesterday and I am now the proud owner of a 1992 BB TC2000!

I drove all day Saturday and ended up making my purchase only 4 hours away. If anyone was considering Tampa Bus market, I will save you the trip. Everything he had priced reasonably was actually overpriced and had major mechanical issues. One of the buses I was about to make an offer on, a 1997 Thomas wouldnt break 40mph on the highway. He had another one but you could pressurize the air tanks with the blowby. The 1993 I couldnt get out of neutral because the panel had been robbed of bolts. The more I looked at it the more $$$ i saw in needed repairs to make it home. He had one 1999 Thomas with A/C but he wanted $10,500 because he had to put a new engine in it. So after my disappointment my wife found one close to Atlanta. Drove 7 1/2 hours from Tampa and bought it. It came with a water heater, stove and fridge and built in coach a/c.

Although it has the 5.9, it had alot more power than any of the Cats I drove earlier and the only rust on it is minor surface on the shell. Well worth my 1200 mile adventure. Pegged to the floor cruised along at 60-62 and got a sweet 10 mpg all the way home.
Looking forward to your build thread.

Nat
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