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Old 01-15-2014, 08:04 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 36
Picking the right area of the country to purchase

Could some of you guys that have bought buses from north of TNN. tell me what kind of troubles you had with the frame and undercarriage being rusted out as well as the floor ? Fuel lines brake lines and such seem like they would be tough to work on when they got all rusted up.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:40 AM   #2
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Re: Picking the right area of the country to purchase

Just the thought of working on such things is enough to give me pause. Are you in such hurry, that you can't wait till the end of school year for the bus auctions to fill up? Please let me assure you that there will be more buses available for you. There is no shortage of school buses in the US, but most of them are auctioned towards the end of the school year. Do you have a pressing time frame you have to hit or are you just excited to get started on the months/years long conversion process? When we bought our bus I was VERY impatient, I have wanted to go down this road for a decade or more and I finally got her to say "yes" (it was more of a "fine, go ahead" but green light is green light ) I scoured CL and ebay daily, we looked at a couple of buses locally. It become my obsession for weeks, then I found an auction with a bus that fit our size and budget. I scrambled around to get registered for auction, got everything in order and waited for that timer. Placed a bid, and quickly got out-bid.. went back and forth a bit......exceeded what I wanted to pay by a couple hundred bucks but I got us a bus! That was a Friday, we went and picked it up the following Monday. We were thrilled!
Now looking back, I know that I jumped too soon. I love my bus, don't get me wrong but what we really want is a BB tc1000, flat front shorty. I say this to tell you to be patient, make a list of "must haves" make a list of "nice to haves" make a budget, and then take the time needed to find your bus. How much time and $$ do you think you want to spend repairing rust spots and holes? Does replacing a rusty brake line mean you can't get the couch/dinette/bed/fridge/stove/awning/stereo you want? Keep an open mind, you may start out your conversion with a crazy road-trip like the Squirrel and Crazycal or you may find in next door to you like mine. From where I sit, converting a bus is more about the trip and less about getting finished.
Good luck to you whatever you decide!
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:15 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Re: Picking the right area of the country to purchase

Thanks for the info and advice, and yea I think you are right about waiting for the right bus. I did not know at school year end was when most of them came up for sale. I thought they hit a miles or time frame and got pulled from the fleet year round. I may also be searching the wrong places to purchase one from GA and SC Govdeals, student first and surplus acutions ? are three of them, IDK ? I may also be dreaming about going to look at one before I bid on it too. What seems strange is people out west buying from the east or vice versa and north south as well. Looks like everyone paying taxes in the US would just be able to buy any local gov property up for bid. I noticed lots of snow belt buses selling right now but not many at all from SC or GA Thats what seemed strange to me. Actually their is zero from SC or GA as far as a BB 5.9 545 with under 175,000 miles or I would have already gone and looked at them. I am speaking of the ones from the bid sights first buyer after retirement. And yes I see plenty on dealer lots around both states that came from OH and NJ and they look rough. They are also a little pricey for a rust bucket. 1995 BB 5.9 AT545 FE $2500.00 with the frame flaking off in chunks same bus no rust $4000.00 I think a better deal will come along. My hats off to you guys again that can push that button with out kicking the wheels. I wish I had the guts to do that. Maybe I need to learn to gamble a little. Now I know why I never played the lottery. Still waiting to gamble that first penny.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:51 AM   #4
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Re: Picking the right area of the country to purchase

A lot of school buses are not Gov. property; alot are run by companies and they have drivers and everything(Holston bus company for example) school districts bid every so many years for bus services.

That is why I told you to go to the local companies, they sell buses off on certain criteria, TN is 15 years and they get "inspected" every year of service by TN troopers

I looked and waited until my district was selling buses(about 6months) I knew that about 10 buses were coming up, so I waited and saved fuel etc by getting a local to me one
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:31 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Re: Picking the right area of the country to purchase

Dang, I learned something new again. School buses not owned by the gov ? Thats why student first gets the GA school buses when retired. They must own them or be under contract to handle them coming and going in GA Now SC my state I live in Im not sure I even want one after all I have read about our bus program. I guess if the rust dont get em you can run em in the ground. Still have a couple contacts in SC tho. May not be as bad as it looks.
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:59 PM   #6
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Re: Picking the right area of the country to purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by norreh1
Dang, I learned something new again. School buses not owned by the gov ? Thats why student first gets the GA school buses when retired. They must own them or be under contract to handle them coming and going in GA Now SC my state I live in Im not sure I even want one after all I have read about our bus program. I guess if the rust dont get em you can run em in the ground. Still have a couple contacts in SC tho. May not be as bad as it looks.
Don't forget Craigslist, searchtempest.com, govdeals.com, publicsurplus.com, eBay, local surplus, and local churches. Even just driving around, if you see a church, daycare or summer camp with a bus you like in the parking lot, walk in and make them an offer. Worst they can say is no!

NC buses are pulled at 20 years or 200k miles and sell buses here and there through the year. I believe TN has similar restrictions. Just keep an eye out, and be patient!
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