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Old 09-17-2017, 09:19 PM   #1
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Bus buying advice

Hello everyone, thanks for taking a look here Just signed up today!

I've found a couple buses I like the look of, both are 7-window international buses with 7.3L engines, both are about $3k, and I have hangups on both of them.

The first is a 1993 with 74,000 miles and a lot of rust. It seems like it would have been sitting for a long time and I know that's not great for the engine. Pretty sure it was a PA bus. It's also quite rusty (https://images.craigslist.org/00D0D_...Q5_600x450.jpg) and the rust on the door frame there doesn't seem like something I could just sand down and corroseal. Is that going to be like a $200 fix at a body shop, or closer to $2000? And I don't know yet what transmission it has.

The second is a 2004 with 270,000 miles on it. That's awfully close to the 300,000-mile limit I see on a lot of diesel forums; AND it's a 2004, I hear new emissions standards kind of messed with the reliability/longevity of diesels from '04 and '05. However the body is spotless and it's a Virginia bus (from what I've heard VA does the best maintenance on their buses). Allison trans.

Are either of these buses even worth paying $150 to get them inspected or should I just stay away? Is one clearly a better choice than the other?

Thank you SO MUCH for whatever advice you can offer!
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:11 PM   #2
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Welcome Kesona,

In my humble opinion:

Bus #1 - Rust=RUN AWAY. From your description it sounds pretty bad.

Bus#2 - What engine does it have? 270k miles is getting up there. But, if you are able to get hold of the service records you MAY find that things like engine, transmission and suspension rebuilds/repairs mah have been done recently and mitigate the high miles somewhat. As an '04 it will likely have a 2000 or 3000 series transmission. That is desireable.

My last bus had over 500k miles on it when I bought it. It had 40k miles on a factory rebuilt engine & tranny, new brakes & suspension parts. Drove like it only had 150k miles on it I put another 250k on it before I let it go.

Also, I don't think that emissions equipment is going to be an issue on a 2004. I don't have solid info but as best I can tell it did not get bad until '06 or '07.
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:24 PM   #3
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Since there is a question about rust...

Stop removing rust! Convert it with rust converter!
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
Since there is a question about rust...

Stop removing rust! Convert it with rust converter!
Depends. If its rusted through it has to be removed.
Even when using a converter its still required to wire brush the area heavily. Gotta get the worst off, and convert what's savable.
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Old 09-18-2017, 03:20 PM   #5
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There's no question the metal on bus #1 would have to be replaced - I'm just wondering if the bill is going to be in the hundreds or the thousands.

Both have International 7.3L engines.

I'm thinking I'll shell out to have someone do a thorough inspection on the '04 at this point. It's about 5 hours closer to where I live and I can look it over in person too...
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:00 PM   #6
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Look

Look at my Username. Look at my Avatar.

Please don't buy that rusty POS bus.

Be patient, tell us where you be, what you have to spend, what are you building and for who, and watch the auctions.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:03 PM   #7
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Haha
I'm in the DC area. Looking to get a six or seven window for about 3k. Building for just myself.
This is the '04 I was talking about (https://images.craigslist.org/00W0W_...K2_600x450.jpg) and it's not rusty at all, just lots of mileage.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kesona Fyren View Post
There's no question the metal on bus #1 would have to be replaced - I'm just wondering if the bill is going to be in the hundreds or the thousands.

Both have International 7.3L engines.

I'm thinking I'll shell out to have someone do a thorough inspection on the '04 at this point. It's about 5 hours closer to where I live and I can look it over in person too...
I wouldn't go out of my way for a 7.3 unless its a screaming deal. Its definitely an *ok* engine. I've got one in my 6 window shorty, but even in that it leaves me wanting for more power. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:41 PM   #9
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Well Bus #2 with a T444E is likely to be a bit tired at 270k miles if it has not been rebuilt. Not dead but getting to a point where a necessary rebuild may be right around the corner.

Personally, I would not buy a bus equipped with a Cummins 5.9 or a T444 with that kind of miles on it unless I planned to rebuild.

There are plenty of them out there with under 200k miles.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Well Bus #2 with a T444E is likely to be a bit tired at 270k miles if it has not been rebuilt. Not dead but getting to a point where a necessary rebuild may be right around the corner.

Personally, I would not buy a bus equipped with a Cummins 5.9 or a T444 with that kind of miles on it unless I planned to rebuild.

There are plenty of them out there with under 200k miles.
I agree.
The only thing about THOSE engines vs their bigger counterparts is that they can't be rebuilt in-frame. A DT466 or Cummins 8.3 won't have to be pulled to rebuild them and to me that makes them the keepers.
I do REALLY love my 444E shorty, but if it had a 466 I'd never need another bus ever.
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