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Old 04-05-2018, 01:53 AM   #1
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Location: Bay Area California
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Should I buy this bus?

Seeking buying advice :

Current owner asking 7777 for a 2002 blue Thomas body 75,000 miles on it from Kansas city (military base supposedly). Cat 3221 8 cylinder engine rear pusher air brakes.

Two points of concern are the

1. Mold all over the seats. How did it get there? No visible leaks found...

2. Rust on bottom... Is this normal? Manageable? Should I hold out for no rust? Is no rust even physically possible?

I'm looking for a rear pusher at least this size. At least 6 ft tall. Deathly afraid of rust... I have the luxury of as much time as I need to find bus and would also like to get started converting

Need to decide on this one very soon so any timely advice even if quick is appreciated.

If I don't get it would love for someone else to. Bus is in Oakland ca bay area.

Many photos in addition to these..nit sure how to add.
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Old 04-05-2018, 01:59 AM   #2
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Perhaps I can add more photos this way?
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Old 04-05-2018, 07:13 AM   #3
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Year: 1999
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Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
I think you can find more bus for less money

Especially if you have the luxury of a little time to search.
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Old 04-05-2018, 07:28 AM   #4
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Startrans
Chassis: Ford e-350 single wheel
Engine: 5.4 litre
Rated Cap: 12
Rust? where? Honey , I grew up in the rust belt. Vehicles that are 1 year old look like that. If you can't get your hand threw the rust hole, it ain't rusty.
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:28 AM   #5
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Price seems high for what it is.

It dosn't look bad from the pics, I like that it is not yellow. I think you could find better in that price range of you wait.
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Old 04-05-2018, 11:49 AM   #6
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Year: 2001
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If the ac works that is a nice option. Low miles. I have a very similar bus with more miles but less rust. There are different schools of thought on rust. That much doesn’t look fatal right now, but if it were me I would want to try to get rid of it to stop the attack, and that would probably take a lot of effort...under the bus, which sucks. I’ve spent way too much time under mine already.
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Old 04-05-2018, 02:38 PM   #7
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Thank you for your professional opinions looks like I am going to wait it out. Really needed that advice. Likely to be posting a 'personal' here for the perfect bus pairing for my purposes because I know there are some bus bloodhounds on here! Thank you again for your two cents.
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Old 04-05-2018, 03:56 PM   #8
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Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas Body
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12 valve
Most people around here will tell you to find a cheap bus with a lot of miles on it. I've heard those Cat engines are a pain in the rear once you have to start doing repairs (mainly because it's harder to find parts once you're on the road), but with such little miles one would hope you'd be good for a while. That bus isn't overpriced for what it is, but it doesn't seem like an ideal skoolie bus. That's just my thoughts on it, but I'm definitely still a newb. I do spend way too much time researching this stuff though haha. Good luck to ya!
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Old 04-05-2018, 04:44 PM   #9
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Wait for another bus and if possible a brake retarder. Remember no MT545 Tranny. Buy a bus with new or near new tires.
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Old 04-05-2018, 05:43 PM   #10
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If you are concerned about rust(like you should be) try looking in dry climates. Your tag says "bay area" You might look for buses from Las Vegas and other close desert areas.
Coastal areas are the worst, same with winter areas that salt roads.
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Old 04-06-2018, 01:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadsled01 View Post
Rust? where? Honey , I grew up in the rust belt. Vehicles that are 1 year old look like that. If you can't get your hand threw the rust hole, it ain't rusty.


A FACT!
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Old 04-06-2018, 02:02 PM   #12
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Plusses:
> Short miles on a 16 year old bus...less than 5K / year.
> No (visible) body rust.

Other comments:
> Surface rust on the undercarriage would not be a major concern to me. Easy enough to pressure wash and chemical treat those areas. What would be a concern would be rust / rot that isn't visible in the body / window and door frame areas. Any of that present on this bus?
> How are the tires? If they're new/ in good shape, that's a major investment that you can avoid for a few years...which would be a good thing!
> One of the advantages of the "Thomas" bodies is that their inner (Ceiling and wall) panels were installed using screws (vs rivets)....so they are much easier to disassemble and reassemble after installing wiring, insulation, etc. Lot's to be said for that!
> CAT Engines are perceived to be more somewhat more expensive to service, when service is required....but this vehicle is likely to run to 250K or more before a B10-level rebuild may be required. I'd be much more concerned about getting hours / miles on the vehicle on a regular basis, to keep everything free / lubricated etc.
> I (personally) wouldn't be too terribly concerned about the material on the seating surfaces, either....my suspicion is that most of that is due to not running the vehicle / AC systems for a period of time. I'd be planning to remove all of the existing seats and power wash / sanitize the floors and walls...and remove / replace the interior wall and ceiling panels (after adding insulation) etc.
The other advantage you have is that you're close enough to inspect the vehicle and roadtest it. A vehicle that starts / idles / runs well, that has good tires / batteries, and is close by is worth some $ premium, in my opinion.

Good Luck / Good Hunting!
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