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Old 10-23-2015, 09:31 PM   #1
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Red face Hello all! Newbie from Il

Hello all!

I'm from northern Illinois and am just about to start this journey at the good age of 23. I'm just about to find and purchase my first bus here. My question for everyone is what would you have done differently regarding the purchase of you bus. Or any advise on what I should be a stickler about vs something I can work with.


Cheers!
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Old 10-23-2015, 10:04 PM   #2
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Location: Farmington, IL
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Year: 1990
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Welcome. I am also from Illinois. Busses here suck (because of our salty winter roads). Look to the south or west for one.
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:49 AM   #3
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Chassis: Freightliner HDX
Engine: CAT 3126B250
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I bought my bus from Illinois since it was the closest I could find. There was a lot more rust than I expected.

What would I have done differently?

- Take more time inspecting the bus you want to buy. Be picky. If something doesn't feel right, WALK AWAY. There are more buses out there.

- Unless you are an experienced bus mechanic, there is no such thing as a "small electrical issue." Again, do not compromise too much just to get a bus home.

- Shop for your bus when it isn't -20 degrees outside.
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Old 10-24-2015, 02:14 AM   #4
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Oh I did t even think about that!! Thank you! I'm currently looking one out from Cleveland, Oh. I dont even know of that is far enough out.
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Old 10-24-2015, 02:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by RHOMBUS View Post
I bought my bus from Illinois since it was the closest I could find. There was a lot more rust than I expected.

What would I have done differently?

- Take more time inspecting the bus you want to buy. Be picky. If something doesn't feel right, WALK AWAY. There are more buses out there.

- Unless you are an experienced bus mechanic, there is no such thing as a "small electrical issue." Again, do not compromise too much just to get a bus home.

- Shop for your bus when it isn't -20 degrees outside.
Thanks RHOMBUS ! I found a lot of "50" international Thomas's to pick from, but like you said there is no such thing as a "small" problem, do you think a 2000 fleet, 150,000k mi ish starting at 2,000k has some 'major' problems?
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cruzin View Post
Oh I did t even think about that!! Thank you! I'm currently looking one out from Cleveland, Oh. I dont even know of that is far enough out.
Ohio and Michigan are two of the WORST states to buy a buy from. Michigan may be the worst.
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Old 10-24-2015, 09:45 AM   #7
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Cruzin, the price makes me suspicious, but only because I probably bought my bus from a reseller that marked it up instead of closer to the source. The price may not be so bad, but definitely test drive them. You want to have someone with you as well to look for smoke from the exhaust and listen to / feel the transmission shift. Operate every single control and switch and inspect all of the lighting. A burned out bulb might be more than just the bulb. I had one that was rusted into the socket, causing a short that fed back through one of the main fuse boxes and blew diodes on a circuit board. So that means, headlights on, test blinkers and brakes with the headlights on.

Batteries: if they are dead and the bus needs to be jumped, it might be okay, and it might not be. If the bus needs to be jumped to start it, pop the caps off the batteries and see if there is water in them. Then take a close look at the plates to make sure they aren't bent or warped, or even worse, fused together. Mine were, but I didn't find out until 300 miles down the road when the entire electrical system died a slow death with no blinkers, fading headlights, no brake lights and an unresponsive transmission at 10pm on a Sunday.

As for the mileage, make sure the odometer is actually working. 150k sounds like it's in the right ballpark for the year. Mine is a 2002 with 136k or so. These diesels, if properly maintained, will be just fine up to 400,000 miles so I've heard. Again though, if properly maintained.

If you can find one with a Cummins engine, give that one more points towards your selection (so I've heard.) Mine has a CAT, my buddy's has a Cummins. The Cummins made it home, the CAT didn't, but it really wasn't the engine's fault.

The more thorough you get with your inspection, the better it will be for you. Bring a fuse tester.

Check those tires. Mine had great tread life remaining.

Bring bungie cords, like 10 or more. If the door air system isn't doing so well, you'll want to strap them closed while you drive it home. Again, hopefully not in -20 degree weather.

And, based on the issues I'm dealing with in my shop right now with replacing the radiator, make sure your radiator isn't crumbling.

Many more things, of course. Rust is expected, especially around the wheel wells. Bring a buddy and a chase vehicle, map your route in advance and try to travel during the day and during business hours (maybe not in rush hour traffic), especially if this will be your first heavy vehicle to operate.

My bus is here:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/se...hdx-11112.html

if you want to see some of what I've had to deal with so far. And I still think I did "okay" overall, but my initial cost was $6,000.

I should also say: I am by NO MEANS and expert at all. I've just suffered enough to be able to provide some advice starting out. I'm not a trained mechanic, electrician, carpenter or anything. I'm a tinkerer at most, and a hard-headed one at that. This is my first project of this magnitude ever in my life.
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Old 10-25-2015, 01:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cruzin View Post
Hello all!

I'm from northern Illinois and am just about to start this journey at the good age of 23. I'm just about to find and purchase my first bus here. My question for everyone is what would you have done differently regarding the purchase of you bus. Or any advise on what I should be a stickler about vs something I can work with.


Cheers!
Where in Ill are you, I grew up in farm country between Freeport & Lena went to Freeport schools, Yes our mascot was a Pretzel how fearsome is that.:face palm:
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