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Old 10-28-2008, 11:47 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,116
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Diesel emissions requirements in California


Welcome aboard!
To buy a bus, I would start with First Student. They operate the buses for countless school districts, and they have their inventory on their web site, although not always up to date.
Durham does not sell their decommissioned buses to the public -- as per their web site a couple of years ago.
There is A-Z Bus Sales in Colton, but they are expensive.
Try local school districts. Telephone them, or simply walk into the bus garage with a smile on your face.
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:05 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,116
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Diesel emissions requirements in California


First of all, I obviously gave you outdated information about Durham. Sorry. Now it says right there; "Used Bus Sales -- contact so-and-so."
That settled, perhaps they simply don't have a bus that meets the maximum price or other criteria you gave them? Concievably -- no offence intended -- the lady may have pegged you as a dreamy-eyed kid who is not a serious buyer. Since you are familiar with the local Durham buses, you might talk to the mechanics and drivers. They are likely to know about upcoming decommisionings. Then contact that corporate Assett Manager lady about the specific bus.

Crowns are a special case. Crowns hold their value like no other bus. Crowns are almost collector items. Crowns last forever. Crowns often go half million miles and are still in service and still worth five or ten thousand dollars. If you want a Crown, you'll know it. If you want a school bus, you most likely will not want to pay for a Crown.

No, in my experience with the purchase of Millicent, First Student will not negotiate price -- at least not much. But they sometimes cut the prices on buses that have been in inventory a long time.
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:28 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,116
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Diesel emissions requirements in California


Thomas and Blue Bird are good buses, and there are lots of them, so prices are reasonable. Keep reading on this forum until you have a good idea what you want in size and configuration. What are you going to use the bus for?
You should probably also "accept" that you are 19 and not yet the wisest man on earth. Evaluate your dreams and compare your ideas with reality.

Crown went out of business -- legend tells us -- because they built such durable buses that replacements were never needed. Thus, once everybody had one, sales stopped.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:38 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Diesel emissions requirements in California

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesccostello
Quote:
You should probably also "accept" that you are 19 and not yet the wisest man on earth. Evaluate your dreams and compare your ideas with reality.
Why does everyone automatically write me off as a lunatic?
Not at all, James. It's just that I remember some of the ideas I had when I was 19, and several of those were... (I'm 56 now. How I lasted this long is a miracle. Just a few months ago I overinflated a tire that resisted seating on the rim, and the tire went over my house, and the rim landed in the neighbor's yard.... )

Sounds like you have thought this one thru pretty well. A parking space is one key item. Now read and learn all you can. All the plumbing and wiring for appliances is quite a mess, if you ask me. By mess, I mean that there is a lot to learn to get it all working correctly. You might want to buy the book "How to build low cost motorhomes" by Louis C. McClure, edited by Ben Rosander. It does not look like 30 bucks worth at first glance, but I find it quite helpful.

Also, in my experience with Millicent and other home-brewed projects, the work takes longer than expected when I have to invent stuff from scratch along the way.

And yes, diesel engines are "better". There are plenty of folks who like gasoline engines for various reasons, but I'm not among them. And to live in full time, you will want maximum space inside, and that means a 40 foot flat-nose. If at all possible, get a pusher, that is, rear engine.

(Wonder if Les Lampman sold his 36 foot Thomas pusher? Awful far away, though -- near Seattle.)
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:48 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Posts: 2,116
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Re: Diesel emissions requirements in California


Have you tried to contact Les? I have a direct e-mail address that may still work.

It is unlikely you will find a stick shift. (That's one of the things that are so special about those Crowns -- many of them have ten speed stick shifts.) In a Thomas or Blue Bird 40-footer, you will probably find an Allison MT643, which is a good tranny.

The air door may seem nifty, but you have to keep air in the system for it to work. Do you want to start the engine every day just so the door will work? Also, on Millicent, the controls for the door were to the left of the driver's seat and not suited to "residential" use. And the bi-fold door is a nuicance, so I have converted mine to swing like a house door.

Prices vary widely. It's all about the right buyer in the right place at the right time. $2.000- 3.000 might very well "work". And a dealer like A-Z might demand $10.000 for the same bus.

About three years ago, there was an estate auction here in my tiny town of Clearlake. The auction firm brought in a few extra things to sell at the same time -- including two of the 97-seat mid-engine Crowns. I wasn't ready to buy a bus, and I needed to be at work, so I didn't even go. I'm told the Crowns sold for $500 each.



(Long pause. )


A year later, my local school district put four Gillig pushers up for sealed bids. Gilligs resemble Crowns. I posted a notice here on this forum, and a member bought one for $500. He did nothing with it, and sold it on eBay a year later for something like $3.000. Of those four Gilligs, the top one went for $700, the third went for $20,- and one they had to give away.

You might check with Patrick Young in Fresno. He's here on this forum occationally. I don't know him, but he is reputed to have a considerable inventory of buses.

Knowledge and wisdom are two different things. I can sit here and rattle off information about buses and other hobbies all day. But I lack the wisdom to quit doing that and instead hunker down and earn a living the rest of the day!
One day I'll tell you about the giant commercial fishing boat I almost tried to buy when I was a teenager.
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