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Old 01-22-2017, 04:22 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,406
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Checking the tranny?

Found this bus for sale in VA thru another listing.
https://www.proxibid.com/aspr/lot/33...p?lid=33633647

Went and looked at it yesterday. No rust. Started right up with a jump start. Idled fine. No smoke. Test drove it for a couple of miles. Stopped, backed up, and turned around. No vibrations. No warning lights. Nothing odd except the steering wheel seemed to be off; an alignment I think. It was hard to tell with the crowning of the road.

Anywho, the listing above says Starts and Moves - Trans. Needs Repair Per Seller. The guy I saw didn't mention anything about the tranny needing work. The dash appears to have been replaced; 26,009 Miles Showing (Mileage Per Sticker 94,840). The sticker is from some generic label maker and is stuck near the dash. Told the guy I would need to check around for service records since the mileage was hokie. That's when I found the listing above.
So, how does one know if a tranny needs work or not? It shifted from neutral to drive and to reverse just fine. It didn't lurch or anything else. I'll see if I can't find a number for the county maintenance guys. The guy with the bus now is asking $3500. I don't want to deal with ANY tranny work. Assuming it was something simple and this guy says he fixed it, I'll offer him $2500.

Found another bus on the auction block in TX. Has a buddy that is local to it and something of a gearhead check on it today. Rust free. Good rear tires, needs fronts. Air leaking from somewhere. Will only hold 30 psi. They couldn't get the brakes to release. It started right up once the batteries had a bit of a charge. Couldn't drive it with the brakes locked. The air tanks had the plugs in them.

The problem with the auction bus is that the auction expires on Thurs and the bus has to be out by Feb 2nd. Currently airfare is $110 one way which ain't bad at all. But what will it be when the auction closes on Thurs for a Sat flight? And what is it going to cost to get the brakes working? Could be just a hose but I don't know that either. Current bid is at $950. Even at $1500 and a $1,000 in diesel getting home, it would be the same as the VA bus. A year newer and lower miles.

What to do?
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Old 01-22-2017, 05:38 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,406
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Meant to put this in the Cat drivetrain section. Not sure what the tranny is.

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Old 01-22-2017, 07:31 PM   #3
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Hello,
Let share my noob experience.

I bought my first bus straight from a school district. Description: start, run, drive, bla bla bla, good.
Had two mechanics tell me all was good with it. Drove it home, and started to have tranny problems.
Not really sure if there is a bullet prof way to figure it out.
Good luck brother.

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Old 01-22-2017, 07:41 PM   #4
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Rated Cap: 15
Having access to the service records is about as good as it will ever get. And those are only rarely available.
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Old 01-22-2017, 07:54 PM   #5
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re: Tango

Ha. I bought a bus last week- ad says "serviced annually and avail for inspection".

Annually??? Then, after the sale they tell me it's been off the road for 3 years. Didn't get it's "annual" checkup for awhile.

Going to recover it tomorrow. I love surprises.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:29 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,406
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
The VA bus needs enough tranny to last 200 miles home. Worst case, I saw a remanned 3126 on the 'net for $3700. What tranny is most often mated to a 3126 and what do they cost? Obviously I'd rather have the perfect bus with no miles but it's going to sit for at least a year. More realistically, 2 yrs while converting it.

The TX bus ... 2003 International School Bus; 87,179 Miles showing - not guaranteed; Diesel; Auto; 60-40 and bench seats; Rubber mats; PS; Air Brakes; Has Keys; Was running when removed from service; Location 1

I don't know anything about the air systems on buses and whether or not it would be easy to fix.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
The VA bus needs enough tranny to last 200 miles home. Worst case, I saw a remanned 3126 on the 'net for $3700. What tranny is most often mated to a 3126 and what do they cost? Obviously I'd rather have the perfect bus with no miles but it's going to sit for at least a year. More realistically, 2 yrs while converting it.

The TX bus ... 2003 International School Bus; 87,179 Miles showing - not guaranteed; Diesel; Auto; 60-40 and bench seats; Rubber mats; PS; Air Brakes; Has Keys; Was running when removed from service; Location 1

I don't know anything about the air systems on buses and whether or not it would be easy to fix.
FYI, I'm noob, double check my info.

I don't know what size of bus/engine/tranny you want, but for 2-4 k, you should be able to get a decent big bus on govdeal.
I'm always crying about how the short buses sell for more than the big ones.


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Old 01-22-2017, 08:59 PM   #8
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,406
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
FYI, I'm noob, double check my info.

I don't know what size of bus/engine/tranny you want, but for 2-4 k, you should be able to get a decent big bus on govdeal.
I'm always crying about how the short buses sell for more than the big ones.


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Been watching there too. I just don't want to buy sight unseen especially if its from the rust belt. My perfect bus is a 90 Pax, flat nose. After seeing buses in person now, I don't even care if it is front or rear engine.
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:06 PM   #9
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Recently, there were a bunch being sold by a Huston school department on public surplus.

Not sure if your cup of tea, but here u go.

http://m.publicsurplus.com/sms/list/past?orgid=181290



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Old 01-22-2017, 09:40 PM   #10
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Posts: 932
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Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Have you searched Richmond Craigslist? I am seeing lots of busses showing up here.

Good luck!

And please do NOT buy a bus with tranny probs when there are sooo many without
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