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Old 11-05-2019, 09:34 PM   #21
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Sandpoint, ID
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Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas Vista
Chassis: International 3600
Engine: T444E
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I bought a 1998 5 window bus from the Mesa School District at auction 2 years ago. I got it for $4300 from the district. It also has a reman. AT545 and had 210k miles. No rust. Great place to get a bus as they have a TON of shorties with A/C and maintain them well. I'm guessing the guy who is selling bought it from them for about half what he's asking. I started looking this time of year and the buses down there went to auction on Public Surplus in late February.
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:03 AM   #22
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Location: Fingerlakes NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
If you have a time shortage, you probably don't want a bus from anywhere near NY, unless you're going to have lots of extra time later for rust remediation and repair (by "lots" I mean waaaaaay more time than it takes to fly somewhere and drive back). My bus came from near Buffalo, and you can check out my build thread to see what salty winters can do to a bus.
Yeah in a perfect world I'd buy a bus from somewhere dry but with my work situation I don't really have time to, but I have plenty of time to worry about rust once I have a bus! I'm planning on working on it after work and weekends so if several of those weekends are spend combating rust then so be it
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:00 AM   #23
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Originally Posted by Sirirah View Post
Yeah in a perfect world I'd buy a bus from somewhere dry but with my work situation I don't really have time to, but I have plenty of time to worry about rust once I have a bus! I'm planning on working on it after work and weekends so if several of those weekends are spend combating rust then so be it
YOu could spend a year of weekends building a new bus out of a rusted hulk or a week getting a rust free one.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:49 PM   #24
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
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Engine: T444E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirirah View Post
Yeah in a perfect world I'd buy a bus from somewhere dry but with my work situation I don't really have time to, but I have plenty of time to worry about rust once I have a bus! I'm planning on working on it after work and weekends so if several of those weekends are spend combating rust then so be it

Don't forget, you can also get someone to drive it home for you, if you can't take a few days off to drive it home. Another thousand $ in transportation for a rust free bus will be far cheaper than a major rust rebuild.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:00 PM   #25
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Johnson City TN
Posts: 294
Year: 2004
Coachwork: IC/AMTRANS RE
Engine: T444E 7.3 w/ MD3060
Rated Cap: 36000lbs / 78pass / 39'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scvington22 View Post
It has a remanufactured Allison transmission. Model AT-545RM. Any good?
In a small bus the 545 is alright as long as you don't tow much but for me a 545 is a deal breaker, they are a weaker trans than should be only in a 1ton plat form, I went with a full sized bus and tow a full sized van.
The 545 doesn't have OD or converter lockup.
For $8500 I def would walk away WAYYY over priced, I paid in the 4k range for mine with 80 something k on the clock and well cared for.
Allison MD 3060 is a great trans that won't let you down should outlast the bus. The AT545 isn't rated for medium duty applications.
The 7.3 is a good engine that if cared for will last 500k or more, I've got a 2000 F350 with it and it hs 480k on the org engine that the worst it's needed were injectors, just change the oil every 5k and coolant every 30k.
For that shorty or about any similar to that anything over 3.5k is too much in my books.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:05 AM   #26
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I seem to only be coming across cutaways. I'm now trying to decide between two shortys. A 1994 Ford/Collins with the 7.3 diesel that going for $6000 but not firm has the retran Allison transmission with wood stove and solar already installed.. but my head brushes the ceiling.

Trying to decide between that and a 1993 Chevy/Collins 6.2 liter diesel about the same miles. 250,000. 4 speed overdrive transmission. Still had the seats and wheelchair lift. $4500 firm. And apparently much higher ceiling. I will probably test drive in the next day or two.

Im hearing that cowls are easier to work on and that I should check out the hours.. I suppose waiting for auction in AZ might be a good option too
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:49 AM   #27
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Location: N.C.
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: DT466E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirirah View Post
Yeah in a perfect world I'd buy a bus from somewhere dry but with my work situation I don't really have time to, but I have plenty of time to worry about rust once I have a bus! I'm planning on working on it after work and weekends so if several of those weekends are spend combating rust then so be it

I'll just throw these out there......not real close to you, but not across the country either. All these shorties have DT466s (except the FL, which has a Cat 3126), probably have AT545s, and the gearing will most likely limit you to 45-50 mph. Swapping out the diff to attain highway speeds will likely run around a grand.......you may spend that much on rust remediation. Most all of the NC buses I looked at during my search didn't have major rust issues.

Prices have increased about 30% since I started searching 3 years ago.



https://itre.ncsu.edu/ncbussurplus/s...size&order=asc
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:49 AM   #28
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Johnson City TN
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Year: 2004
Coachwork: IC/AMTRANS RE
Engine: T444E 7.3 w/ MD3060
Rated Cap: 36000lbs / 78pass / 39'
That 6.2 diesel is a horrible engine, I'd avoid it at all costs.
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:52 PM   #29
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Location: Philadelphia
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
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if several of those weekends are spend combating rust
Hee hee "several weekends".
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:14 PM   #30
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Location: Foot of the siskiyou mountains Oregon.
Posts: 194
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas / international
Chassis: International
Engine: Dt 360/ spicer 5 speed
Rated Cap: 42
If you live in Oregon Try Wolf creek skoolies maybe. I live in Oregon too and drove to so cal to get mine. They come up here, just be patient and keep looking. In the meantime, this is a great point in time to educate yourself and do your homework before diving into your first skoolie purchase. Best of luck
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Old 11-09-2019, 04:46 PM   #31
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Don't do that

too expensive.

Bought our 2003 e450 shorty with a 7.3 and 188k miles for $3200 (from the west as well - no rust).
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:05 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Scvington22 View Post
Thinking of buying a shorty to convert for tiny home living. I would likely sell my little 40mpg station wagon and be full-time in the bus. Found one I like that's going for $8500. Dealer says it's an International T444 7.3 powerstroke turbodiesel engine. It has about 220,000 miles. I am just getting started researching all of this and looking for any advice or I formation about this type of bus. Good solid reliable engine? Average mpg In can expect? I know thst can really vary just seeking some info. Thanks in advance!
It took us a while but it was worth the wait. I don’t know where you are loci or what kind of traveling you plan on doing, but here goes anyway.
1) it’s a weak engine
2) the mileage is to high
3) woah, the price
4) check the undercarriage
Depending on where you live you can check
WeSellSchoolBuses.com
They are very friendly, very reasonable and they sell top quality buses.
We got a 27 footer with a wheelchair door and no wheel wells sticking up. So it’s all open and useable floor space.
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Old 11-09-2019, 05:24 PM   #33
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Location: NC, TN, and CA
Posts: 104
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Eldorado (REV)
Chassis: Chevy Express Cutaway g3500
Engine: Turbo diesel 6.5L
Rated Cap: 14
I have a 2001 Chevy Express 3500 Cutaway with a 6.5L turbo diesel. Eldorado shell. I bought it in TN for $3000. It had about 150,000 miles. The engine was good. It had a lot of rust and water damage. I have had to replace the tires, brake lines, transmission, starter, and some of the electrical. It had already been partially converted, so the seats were gone. But everything else had to be replaced/upgraded. I have spent about $10,000 so far. I wish I had seen the Robert Braden videos before I bought. It is just me, my 2 cats and a parrot. My bus is a 5 window shell. Oh, and we replaced the bi-fold door and the steps. I had a mobile home door put in (dead bolt and regular lock for security). You can plan on spending a minimum of $10,000 to fix the bus you are looking at and remodel the inside. So, I would agree with the others that $3,000-$5,000 would probably be a better price.
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:13 PM   #34
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I got an 8 window for $2500 160k no leaks or rust it came from Virginia beach. Can gI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scvington22 View Post
Thinking of buying a shorty to convert for tiny home living. I would likely sell my little 40mpg station wagon and be full-time in the bus. Found one I like that's going for $8500. Dealer says it's an International T444 7.3 powerstroke turbodiesel engine. It has about 220,000 miles. I am just getting started researching all of this and looking for any advice or I formation about this type of bus. Good solid reliable engine? Average mpg In can expect? I know thst can really vary just seeking some info. Thanks in advance!
I paid $2500 for mine,160k no leaks or rust. All get 10 mpg or less. If your near Va I can give you my dealers ph
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:29 PM   #35
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You are paying too much
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:37 PM   #36
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Got mine $2500, 160k,no leaks or rust, 8window was aVa beach bus
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:02 PM   #37
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We ended up getting a 27 foot 2001 international with relatively low mileage from AZ no rust or mechanical problems. Got it a a very reasonable price. The biggest cost so far was having a Professional remove the three A/C units compressors condensers and all the hoses. So far we have about 1200$ invested and most of that was for tools and supplies.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:04 PM   #38
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 19,055
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjheaton@aol.com View Post
It took us a while but it was worth the wait. I don’t know where you are loci or what kind of traveling you plan on doing, but here goes anyway.
1) it’s a weak engine
2) the mileage is to high
3) woah, the price
4) check the undercarriage
Depending on where you live you can check
WeSellSchoolBuses.com
They are very friendly, very reasonable and they sell top quality buses.
We got a 27 footer with a wheelchair door and no wheel wells sticking up. So it’s all open and useable floor space.
Those are rusty ohio buses mostly and THE highest retail prices for used buses in the entire country. They even break the law by fudging the FREE motorhome conversion affidavit and use that as a selling point.
They totally do NOT sell top quality. They sell the swill for top shelf prices and then some.
I've owned several buses since 2003 and this hobby hasn't even cost me what one bus from BGA costs.
Take this shorty for example-
https://wesellschoolbuses.com/2374/5.html
over 12 grand for a mercedes engine and low headroom! 250k miles lol.
That's SWILL. I'd sell my unicorn shorty for that price in a heartbeat. I've got air ride, lift kit, low miles and hours... Hell I'd even take a thousand less lol.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:33 PM   #39
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Mt Vernon, WA
Posts: 199
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Bluebird, Collins
Chassis: G30 Bluebird Microbird, E350 Shuttle Bus
Engine: 1995 Chevrolet 350, 1992 Ford 460
I see prices are all over the map on bus purchases!! I got my Cutaway 1996 G30 Microbird for $200 and fixed it. I figure I could have spent $2000 on the same bus and have to fix all the same stuff anyway. They always need something fixed. Well it helped a lot this one was running ok when they parked it and it sat for only a year or two. If they sit for more than that be careful.
It needed:
Rear lenses
Mirrors
Headlight
One brake line
One tire
Battery
Fresh gas
Been running great. Only 117K miles. Now it needs a new “brain” as it drops out of overdrive into “limp” mode sometimes. $80 part when I get around to it. This is one reason I went with the one-ton van. Parts are cheap. But someday I’d like a medium duty bus. I do have a Motorhome made on a medium duty Isuzu NPR truck chassis. It has the sweet running BD41t diesel.
Working on a cutaway engine is no different than working on a van engine which has its challenges but is doable when you learn how. Get rid of the school bus door release lever immediately. It gets in the way big time. Get comfortable and dont twist your back. Remove the seat takes 5-10 minutes and reduces twisting the back. Ask me how I know!
The earlier G30 van is much easier to reach the engine through the dog house opening than the Express Van.
Good luck finding your dream machine.
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:26 PM   #40
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Bolingbrook Illinois. Just outside of Chicago
Posts: 2
Year: 1998
Coachwork: GMC Blue Bird
Chassis: Savanna G3500
Engine: 6.5 l turbo diesel
Rated Cap: 12000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scvington22 View Post
Thinking of buying a shorty to convert for tiny home living. I would likely sell my little 40mpg station wagon and be full-time in the bus. Found one I like that's going for $8500. Dealer says it's an International T444 7.3 powerstroke turbodiesel engine. It has about 220,000 miles. I am just getting started researching all of this and looking for any advice or I formation about this type of bus. Good solid reliable engine? Average mpg In can expect? I know thst can really vary just seeking some info. Thanks in advance!
I have a 1997 GMC Blue Bird short bus 4 windows each side. 20 ft bumper to bumper.It has a5.9 diesel in it. Runs good. 10 mpg. Brakes recently replaced. All brake lines under bus replaced. All seats removed. Bodywork done and new paint. Pictures upon request. Asking $7200. Negotiable. Gnlnc49@comcast.net. Geno
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