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Old 09-05-2018, 12:41 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Cool Hi from NJ, full-time living/Do I buy this bus?

Hello,

I've been lurking to get tips from the site, but I haven't posted yet. My partner and I just moved back from Japan after 2 years and are planning to live full-time in a skoolie and travel the US. I'm 24 and have minimal experience in... any of this haha But I'm excited to get started and hopefully a fast learner.

After scouring the local yards and craigslist, we found one bus near us that was already started to be converted. It's a 2003 International Bus with a t444e engine, air brakes, 6' 3" interior height, school maintained until 2 years ago, not tooooo much rust, and 109K miles. The seller pulled the seats, treated the metal floor, and pulled the ceiling panels already.

However, they're not sure what kind of transmission it has and there are holes in the floor cut out where the rust was too bad, which they were planning to fix.

They're asking for $5000, does this seem like a good deal? I've read the t444e engine is not good for 'heavy loads' and the floor might cost a bit to repair?

I look forward to combing through the rest of the forums
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Old 09-05-2018, 12:53 PM   #2
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
5 grand should get you a bus with solid floors and a straight six engine.
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:13 PM   #3
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Year: 2002
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13 years in school bus service and only 109k miles?

I would question if the dash cluster has been replaced. That is pretty common on Internationals.

Verify what transmission it has. If it has the AT545, I would run away. There are plenty of low rust, good condition T444e/AT545 equipped buses out there for less than half that price.

If you intend to travel quite a bit, I would recommend holding out for a higher spec bus.
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Old 09-05-2018, 01:39 PM   #4
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If the floor has been treated and the rust isn't bad, just a couple coats of rustoleum and build your floor up from there. I wouldn't sweat that as much as rust in other places which you didn't elaborate on.

The 444E is a good motor but its not as powerful as the big inline 6 engines. I've travelled the country with a T444E and I made it to the top of every hill I started... but the T444E and AAT545 combo is probably the lowest tier drivetrain anyone should ever be OK with.

For that price I'd be wondering what awesome features it has. Dual air conditioning? Under carriage storage? Brand new tires? Diesel pony motor? There needs to be a Yes to at least 2 of those things to command a premium price.
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:18 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Good to know, thank you! I'll pass on that one then, and look for a better engine or cheaper price!
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:59 PM   #6
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Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
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Year: 1996
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Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
I have a T444E with an AT 545 and it won't win no races, but will always get you there. Reliability is awesome. The price is way too high for that bus though. I paid 1/2 what you did for mine.
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Old 09-05-2018, 08:06 PM   #7
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Engine: Cat 3126
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With lockup TC you get even better reliability as there isn't all that excess heat being created at highways speeds.
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:11 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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What are the last 8 digits of the VIN? I know a guy that might be able to look up the trans it was built with.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by More Power View Post
What are the last 8 digits of the VIN? I know a guy that might be able to look up the trans it was built with.
As far as I know, the online vin decoders will not give transmission info for buses.

If you contact the bus manufacturer with the body number (Bluebird) or the vin
(International) they will provide you with the details of the bus build.

My local Bluebird dealer even gave me detailed instructions on how to remove the interlock wiring and bypass the relay to avoid any future issues.

Nice folks.
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:54 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
As far as I know, the online vin decoders will not give transmission info for buses.

If you contact the bus manufacturer with the body number (Bluebird) or the vin
(International) they will provide you with the details of the bus build.

My local Bluebird dealer even gave me detailed instructions on how to remove the interlock wiring and bypass the relay to avoid any future issues.

Nice folks.
Correct, but looking up is different than decoding. Offer still stands.
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