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Old 03-13-2018, 03:49 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Posts: 34
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: DT466E
My First Bus! 1997 Int 3800 DT466E

I did it I did it I finally did it!

As some of you here may know, I been searching for a bus for months now. My lease is up at the end of April, and I'm sick of paying rent. I've traveled a whole lot in my life, spending years hitchhiking and living out of cars with friends, and I've been missing it. Last year I signed a lease for the first time ever (I'm 28 haha) and while it was nice having my own room and the stability that can afford, I'm over it. So I got to thinking, and realized that with a bus I get the best of both worlds! A little home on the go.

Fast forward to a checking out some buses that were NOT as advertised (and an immense restraint in compulsive buying on my part) to yesterday. I enlisted the help of a friend and we drove 4 hours away to check out a bus. And I loved it. And I bought it. The specs/important info/bonuses are as follows:

- 1997 International 3800 DT466E
- not sure what kind of transmission
- 253,000 miles
- working wheelchair lift
- already gutted!
- already painted flat black!
- governed at 55 mph
- mechanic at school said the bus had 253,000 miles one it, but it had the cluster replaced 39,000 miles ago so that's what it shows

Also, the incredible thing is, the folks who I bought it from got it from a school, so there are maintenance records. They records only go as far back as 2012 (not sure why) but I was told that since it was used to transport children, it had to go through some sort of inspection every 30 days. Not to mention that it was registered in North Carolina, which requires a top-to-bottom inspection annually. The couple purchased this beauty from the school in June of last year, and had it inspected when they registered it themselves in August. It passed everything except the wipes, which they replaced.

I. Am. So. Excited. Now, I know that there are plenty of folks who aren't into the DT466E's cause of all the electrical components. I weighed in everything I've heard about em, but I just couldn't pass this bad baby up. Oh, and I got it for $2,800.

The only down side I can see right now is the entrance door being electric. I'm trying to figure out a layout that would allow me to use the emergency exit or wheelchair lift door as my main entrance. The emergency exit would be unaccessable with the way I'd wanna build a bed, but if I put it off to the back right then I could feasibly use the wheelchair lift door, as long as I rig up a way to get in from the outside.

There are a million and one questions I'm sure I'm going to have, but as for now I've got a few things already I'd like to throw y'alls way.

First, with the governing: seeing as how if I went any faster the gas mileage would just get worse and worse anyway, I'm not tryna fly this thing. Doing 60 mph would be nice, but what I'm more concerned about is the gearing. The guy told me that he had talked to the schools mechanic, who said that technically the governor could be removed, but that the bus is geared for stop and go, so anything faster than 55 pretty much would overheat the engine. He didn't ask the mechanic what the gearing was, and I'm curious myself (although at this point with my knowledge the numbers themselves wouldn't mean anything to me). I noticed on my drive home that the temperature normally stayed at 180 degrees, but after driving up and around the mountains for a while the temp climbed to 210, and probably would have kept climbing had we not started to go down hill...er...mountain. At 55 mph the rpm's are 2,700. Does all this sound like to y'all that I should just avoid mountain driving at all costs?

Second: the wheelchair lift! What a cool invention (humans really are incredible inventors) however I don't need or want it. I've been told you could sell these things, but is there really a market for em? And what would I need to do when I remove it to make it more appeasing to the seller? Any specific ways I should remove the wiring?

Third: how'd I do!?

Y'all have been great so far, and I am forever indebted to this forum. I can't wait to learn as I go and to one day be able to pass the knowledge forward. I've already learned so much about buses (I even knew more than the men selling em at times, haha!). Anyway, that's all the info I can think to vomit up right now. Thanks for bearing with this long and excited intro. I know what y'all are waiting for anyway, so here's the pictures (let's hope I upload them right):


The coupled who sold it to me had used to to start their business - selling patches to mostly bikers. They eventually upgraded to a store and now the bus is mine! Just gotta paint over the stencils.




My favorite creature in the world checking things out




Thing works great




Not the best pictures of the chassis, but barely any rust (other than surface).




I wish he could drive...
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:24 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Congratulations!

It looks like a great bus.
I actually need a wheelchair lift but trying to get a newer one then that probably is.
You can always try craigslist for a couple hundred bucks. There's always people that need it but oftentimes they get trashed.
If you want to help some people that couldn't afford it you should go to your local DHS [department of human services] and ask about disability services and they can direct you to a place to donate it. Wherever that is would probably help you remove it.
That E track in the floor in various spots holds a wheelchair restraints and is probably bolted all the way through the bus. It will be a lot easier removing those if you get a friend underneath to hold a wrench on it as you unbolt it from the inside.
Removing the lift should be done with some help if you don't want to damage it. It's usually only four bolts holding it on but if you tip it over it's going to spill transmission fluid all over the place. There's a plastic cover on the side you can remove to see all the electrical components and the reservoir for the transmission fluid. You could drain it first if you end up removing it by yourself.
There's probably a ground wire and then another wire headed toward the batteries somewhere.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:40 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Elizabeth WV
Posts: 74
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: 466
Awesome news, and you don't have to paint.... I bought almost the same bus, no time to work on it but it's home.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:41 PM   #4
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great bus. i got mine from n c also they have nice rust free buses. good luck with the build
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:05 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Frisco, Texas
Posts: 799
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: Dt466e
Rated Cap: 71
Take a picture of side of the transmission and someone can identify it. My 98 intl has mt643. To figure out speed stuff, need to know trans, and gearing info, but knowing trans people could give ya some guesses

Congrats on the purchase!
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:30 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: N.C.
Posts: 533
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by homebus View Post

First, with the governing: seeing as how if I went any faster the gas mileage would just get worse and worse anyway, I'm not tryna fly this thing. Doing 60 mph would be nice, but what I'm more concerned about is the gearing. The guy told me that he had talked to the schools mechanic, who said that technically the governor could be removed, but that the bus is geared for stop and go, so anything faster than 55 pretty much would overheat the engine. He didn't ask the mechanic what the gearing was, and I'm curious myself (although at this point with my knowledge the numbers themselves wouldn't mean anything to me). I noticed on my drive home that the temperature normally stayed at 180 degrees, but after driving up and around the mountains for a while the temp climbed to 210, and probably would have kept climbing had we not started to go down hill...er...mountain. At 55 mph the rpm's are 2,700. Does all this sound like to y'all that I should just avoid mountain driving at all costs?


I wish he could drive..
That's a good-looking pup......and he looks smart enough to learn.

First thing I would do is get in touch with your local International dealer.....if you give him your VIN, he can send you a build sheet which will show which options your bus left the factory with. Would be good to know the HP of your 466 and which trans you have.....will also give you the gearing.

According to 3 bus superintendents and 2 International mechanics I spoke with, all NC buses are gear-limited to 55mph. The majority I looked at (when searching) had 6.50s....a few had 7.00+. If you've got enough horsepower, you could swap out your diff and have a bus that would haul a**, and anything else you wanted to carry.

Good luck with your build.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:34 PM   #7
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Join Date: May 2016
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Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebus View Post
I wish he could drive...
Not a good idea. My agent threatened to cancel my insurance if I let Beau drive any more.

Something to do with ducks.......

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Old 03-14-2018, 12:15 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Posts: 34
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: DT466E
plfking: he is absurdly smart it's very bizarre. thanks for that tip, I'm calling them tomorrow!

Hello there Thomas1985. Thanks for that solid advice. I put up an ad for the lift on craigslist as I was uploading the pictures of my bus, but I want this thing out sooner than I think I could sell it. I could really use the cash, but I also don't know why I didn't think to donate it. So much of my life has happened because folks have given when they can, and on principle I do the same as often as possible (in fact, when I first moved to Knoxville I had given away the truck I had. of course, it somehow s*** out on the folks literally the next day, which was surprising, but you can't say I didn't try!).

Today I started taking out all the screws and bolts I could reach from the wheelchair lift, and started taking out the screws to the metal strips that hold the rubber down. I thought about ripping that all up before insulating but have just come across a bunch of stuff saying don't bother. Oh! And I removed the two tables over the wheelwells. The drill went dead so I did it all with a screwdriver. I'm just happy to get started.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:30 AM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 415
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Definitely tear it all out before you insulate. I didn't on my first one and I regret it. It's really beneficial to be thorough. This is going to be your home.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:46 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 123
Year: 1999
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International FE
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 84 passengers
It definitely sounds like you are gearing limited if you're doing 2700 rpms at 55mph. It doesn't sound like it is electronically limited. My bus is electronically governed to 68-70mph. The single best thing you could do is change your differential to some more highway-friendly gears. You may even see your mileage increase since you won't be screaming along at 2700 rpms. The engine will have more than enough power in a nice short, light bus like that.
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