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Old 04-03-2017, 11:28 PM   #1
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Year: 1997
Help! Purchased '97 Inter/Navistar with 100k mileage and now told it has 300k!

Hello Wonderful Humans! I need some help and advise as I am currently in a sale in which the terms have changed rapidly. I have been researching skoolie conversions for 6-8 months and took the plunge recently by purchasing a wonderful steal of a bus online at govdeals.com. I found a '97 International Navistar with only 100K miles(too good to be true?). As I called to arrange for pick up the fleet manager tells me that the bus's mileage was reported wrong and the bus actually has 300k miles on it.

I am now worried and freaked out! The key selling point other than the unique front end which made navigation look like a breeze, was the mileage. Now that I know the mileage is this high I am reluctant to buy. The original price was $1850 and they now have offered to take $825 off.

The fleet manager informs me that the electric board/wiring unit? was recently replaced as well as alternator, brakes, and a list of other small repairs only a month before fleet removal at the 300K PM. Then they received a new fleet and pulled 60 buses from the fleet.

He said this bus was only pulled a month ago and was well kept and had less stops as the handicap bus with less seats (he said thats better for engine IDK if this is true) and that this engine would get up to 500k out of it.

My question; is this bus worth investing into? Is the mileage too high? And is this engine, transmission and bus durable enough to last a good bit longer?

I am planning to live in this bus full time and I will be driving it from the East coast to the West right away and then spending a year exploring out West. I will be putting about 10,000 miles on the bus in the first year and look to upgrade to a larger bus for the second year.

I am most concerned with transmission as I have read that if that goes, your bus is pretty much toast unless you have $3-$6K to sink in. I have to decide by tomorrow if I want to buy the bus at the discounted price or let it go. Any insight, wisdom and/or nuggets of conversion knowledge you can offer would be truly appreciated!

Much love and thanks!
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Old 04-04-2017, 12:23 AM   #2
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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It's true the bus should be able to go 500k miles if it gets proper care and maintenance. I don't understand why any bus shop would install a bunch of new parts on a 300k mile bus they knew they were selling. None of us know how that bus was taken care of or driven. You have to judge by how it looks in general. Mechanically about all you can do is judge by the way it sounds and looks.
It's a risk every time one of us buys one of these buses, and some people do end up with a lemon. It sounds like they're offering to sell that bus for $1,025? I'm not familiar with that model but if it runs and drives I'd say it's worth the offered purchase price. Yeah the milage is a little on the high side.

I have no idea what transmission or engine is in your bus. That makes it hard for anyone to make a recommendation.

I'd say if you're afraid of it let it go based on your gut instinct. Wait for the right bus with lower mileage. I doubt you'll find one at that price though.
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Old 04-04-2017, 06:21 AM   #3
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You can buy a running, driving bus for a grand in Cali?
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Old 04-11-2017, 02:20 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 67
Year: 97
Coachwork: Moi
Chassis: International
Engine: 444e...7.3L
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Allison 4 speed is good...5 speed is iffy.
4 speeds are older. Diesels should get 500k EASY...If they were well maintained. Motors are numerous for that model...I know...
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Old 04-11-2017, 03:34 AM   #5
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At that price I don't know how you could go wrong. It is worth that much in spare parts and scrap metal.

As to whether it will be a good choice for you or not, only you can determine the value or lack thereof. So much about purchasing a used anything comes down to "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

If the bus has had reasonable care and maintenance over the life of the bus a 300K bus should be good for at least another 100k. A 6.9L/7.3L/T444(E) is going to be a bit on the tired side at 300K+ miles. But it should still have some life left in it. A DT360 or DT466 should have no problem going past 500K miles.

Depending upon the GVWR and the HP rating of the engine the bus might have an Allison AT540 or an MT640 or even one of the newer OD transmissions like the MD1000/2000/3000 series. Even if it has the AT540 the transmission will usually outlive the engine. By about 2x.

Lift equipped buses and buses used on special needs routes tend to get beaten up pretty hard. They generally go into tight spots on a daily basis which can lend itself to a lot of parking lot rash. Depending upon the rules of the school, some lift equipped buses operate the lifts with the engine off--if no driver is in the bus then the bus has to have the engine shut down. A lot of cycles of on/off is hard on an engine. It is particularly hard if the bus doesn't get up to full operating temperature before it is shut down again.

Since you only intend to keep the bus a relatively short period of time I would take a shot at this bus and hope for the best.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:17 AM   #6
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Thanks Everyone! I went for it! And while the 250 miles back in a bus for the first time was scary...by the end of the journey, I was in love! So happy with my new home
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:25 AM   #7
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Congratulations! I am looking forward to seeing some pictures!

The scariest part (the unknown journey home) is over - great things are coming for that bus!!


Quote:
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Thanks Everyone! I went for it! And while the 250 miles back in a bus for the first time was scary...by the end of the journey, I was in love! So happy with my new home
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happiinesshunter View Post
Thanks Everyone! I went for it! And while the 250 miles back in a bus for the first time was scary...by the end of the journey, I was in love! So happy with my new home
Congrats!

You did good!!!!! Enjoy the bus!
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