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Old 11-19-2016, 05:31 PM   #1
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Checking our bus out!!!

Hey everyone. The hubs and I have been researching skoolies for a while now, and have finally decided to take the plunge. We are going to look at two buses (that a guy has on his lot) next weekend and we're wondering if anyone had any tips for things to look for that maybe they wish they would have looked at better, or just things to look at in general. Like I said we have done tons of research, but nothing beats actual first hand knowledge like the rest of you guys have.
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Old 11-19-2016, 06:59 PM   #2
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Location: Bemidji MN
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Year: 1998
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Engine: DT466
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From my personal experiences, rust is the priority once it is declared sound mechanically.
Crawl under the bus, look at the frame and level of rust any cracked, dents, off bends, out of place things added.
Then, the body.
Damage, rust is big again. Look closely at the rub rails, get inside, look under the seats to the wall and floor.
Feel around for moisture, look at the window ledges for water entry.
A big one for me was rivets or screws inside to secure the panels.
Rivets get hit with a grinder, screws are much easy and cleaner.
Wheels are important, rims and condition of tires.
Electronics, gauges and controls, fuel floater etc.
Look at everything you can, it is your future.
Have fun and good luck.
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Old 11-19-2016, 07:22 PM   #3
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Thank you! We will make sure to check all of that out!
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Old 11-20-2016, 06:24 AM   #4
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is this a weekender or live in? are you going to drive it alot or park it?
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Old 11-21-2016, 06:46 PM   #5
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I will be staying in it for at least four months with my two toddlers and two dogs while my husband is away (military). But after that it will be pretty much a weekender. So both?
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Old 11-21-2016, 06:46 PM   #6
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And we will be driving across the country exploring during those four months.
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:36 PM   #7
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Make sure it's mechanically sound, with a big beefy engine and transmission combo (DT466, any of the Allison variants except the AT545 and maybe the World 1000s, not sure how they rate.... the MT643 and World 2000/3000 variants will serve you well).

Tires and rims also count in this part.... you want rims with no rust, tires with plenty of usable tread, and absolutely NO RECAPS. The tread separates on one of those while you're going down the road at 65mph and it's gonna rip the hell out of your bodywork, and possibly screw up your drivetrain as well. ReGROOVED is ok on the drives, that's just cutting new tread grooves into the existing tire (they're designed for that, they will say REGROOVABLE on the sidewall).

Tires will run you north of $300 EACH for the cheap ones, and the big names will cost more, so make sure you get decent tires on it or else you're looking at $2k minimum by the time they're mounted and balanced.

NO rust, if possible. If not, get one with as little as possible. And you don't want any on frame or structural steel members. A little surface rust on the body, bumpers, etc is ok since that can be removed pretty easily. If it's gonna take more than a few hours work to remedy, pass on it. Follow new2skool's advice in his last post for where and how to look for it, I can't think of anything to add to that.

When you find one that looks good to you, and you think it will suit your purposes.... crawl all over it, check for everything that was mentioned previously.... start it up, make sure it's not slinging fluids everywhere, take it out for a test run, wind it up and see how it responds at highway speeds while looking for abnormal operating conditions (higher than expected engine or trans temperature, or oil temperature if you have a gauge for that, lower than expected air pressure or unable to hold air pressure while running. Personally if there are any issues with the air system on an air brake bus I would run away from it at speed. But by and large air brakes are pretty reliable, I've not seen too many faults in that system during my time as a tractor trailer driver.

Pay attention to your water temperature.... anything over about 225 is certain death for a diesel engine. You ideally want it to stay at 200 or below. Oil temp can run a little higher and not hurt anything.... trans temperature will go up when climbing hills, keep an eye on it and if it starts going too high, pull over and let it cool. Not sure of a specific number but anything more than about 2/3 of the gauge sweep is probably too much.

I can't really thing of anything more to add that hasn't already been said either by myself or others.... good luck, and remember that the right bus has a way of finding you sooner or later, if your search proves less than fruitful.
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Old 11-22-2016, 01:57 PM   #8
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Year: 1972
Just Bought Our Scoolie

Hey Everyone,
we are very new to this, have checked out a couple of buses.
And have now just purchased ours..

It's a 1972 International with a raised roof.

Hopefully we can get alot of advice from everyone one here. ..

We are thinking that it will take us about a year to get it to what we want.

We've name the bus ... THE WANDERING DRAGON
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:26 AM   #9
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Congratulations!
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:32 AM   #10
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Year: 1998
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
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Good name and congrats welcome to the skoolie life.
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