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Old 10-18-2017, 08:38 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 21
Chassis: GMC Bluebird
Engine: Cat 3126
Got a bus, finally!

So we picked up a bus after months of looking! 1999 GMC Bluebird 38ft front engine 3126 cat with a 545 allison transmission. A little rust since its a New England bus. We paid $2500 for it and they put on a hitch and removed all the seats for us (hope that was a good price). It was serviced by the same school bus fleet for its life till now and last inspected/used this spring but parked for the past 5-6 months. So the issues it has, very slow going up long grades and hills, its like the power just drops and I inch up at 30-40mph (does it need a new tranny or is it just what you expect from an older bus?). The ABS light goes on and off intermittently? The speedometer and tachometer do not work? The steering isn't tight but i think that normal? So any tips on these issues? Also we plan on painting and treating the rust this weekend, any tips on paint etc.? Thanks again and we will be posting some pics soon!!!
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:58 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 146
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 70
As far as speed I would say that's pretty normal going up a grade you are slightly faster then the fully loaded semi's trucks but not much.

As far as getting a good deal I would honestly say no, not with a 545 trans and cat engine and rust. Then to top that off you have ABS and dash problems, I would have had the bus barn look into those issues vs ripping out the seat and installing a hitch (besides that is a skoolie right of passage removing seats)

I feel bad if you need to go to CAT or a dealer for parts to fix that ABS and dash problems.

Not to rain on your parade, best of luck and happy trails!
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:29 PM   #3
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Location: Ohio
Posts: 75
Sounds like you got an old bus with low geared rear end and slow top speed and a reliable, but crappy 3 speed auto. Build it the way you want and take the slow back roads through life.
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:51 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 11,616
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
The at545 isn't a good transmission in a full size bus. Especially in the mountains. Add in the Cat motor and rust, and I'd say its probably the kind of bus most would want to skip.
That said- its better than my first bus. A thomas gasser. Yuck!
Enjoy the build, and post lots of pics!
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:49 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 209
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
ignore the negativity about the cat motors as almost all the posters never owned one. talk to all the old truckers and ask what is the best for power and reliability and the answer is always cat. so ignore them as i have never had trouble getting a million miles out of them. the only engines that come close now are the 60 series detroit which is a rare one in a bus and Cummings. if i ever change engines i will use a mack next time as it will fit in most buses and is dependable also. one last note Bonneville is on my schedule in a couple of years as i had it up to 85 mph before backing off on the flats so ill have fun passing the combines on the highway
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:04 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 209
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
and dont go to cat for a abs as that would be a gmc issue cat dont make brakes just engines and every truck dealer has a cat engine mechanic so you dont have to go to cat look at the signs on kw volvo freightliner and all the others as cat showed up in most trucks now you probably realize that this site is not always got the best of info so good luck and wear tall rubber boots
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:08 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 371
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
and dont go to cat for a abs as that would be a gmc issue cat dont make brakes just engines and every truck dealer has a cat engine mechanic so you dont have to go to cat look at the signs on kw volvo freightliner and all the others as cat showed up in most trucks now you probably realize that this site is not always got the best of info so good luck and wear tall rubber boots
I have never heard anyone on this site complain about the performance of CAT engines.

The criticism is always two-fold:

1. They cannot be in-framed", which matters for DIY mechanics

2. Parts prices are high.

There is no global "hate" on CAT here, merely an acknowledgment that our priorities might vary from those of a full-service workshop.
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:17 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 209
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
I have never heard anyone on this site complain about the performance of CAT engines.

The criticism is always two-fold:

1. They cannot be in-framed", which matters for DIY mechanics

2. Parts prices are high.

There is no global "hate" on CAT here, merely an acknowledgment that our priorities might vary from those of a full-service workshop.
do you have a cat?
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:19 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 209
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: formerly 71 now 2 or 4
brb forgot my boots
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:23 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 371
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
do you have a cat?
Do I need one to be able to read and distill the balance of comments?

You gave the impression that people here are "anti-CAT". I've seen no evidence of this, so maybe you could share some.
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