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Old 07-22-2018, 02:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aileendc88 View Post
Sorry for the late replies, just got back from a camping trip.

@fadderall Thanks for the advice! That is pretty simple to follow. We are looking more for a conventional bus as we would like to take it to some places that are a bit off road, nothing crazy though. We have also been to a couple of tiny house festivals/events and seen a ton of bus conversions. It's what finally tipped the scale for us. But that is a good idea to go to dealers and mine them for info. We are familiar with some of those sites but will check the others out. Thanks!

@Dapplecreek Thanks for the note, but we are looking for a smaller bus. That is just too much bus for us lol.

@magnakansas Thanks for the link! That is longer than we are looking for and we would rather not do a manual. But we weren't familiar with that site so will poke around.

We are heading out to meet someone in South San Jose who said we can rent some land to store/work on our bus. Hopefully, it works out so when we get the bus we can get started!

Thanks!
My pleasure. Definitely go and drive or at least ride in them too. You might be surprised at the difference in noise levels.

Good luck on that land and your build. Cant wait to see what you get!
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Old 07-22-2018, 06:30 PM   #12
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: San Jose, CA
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Found Some Land!

We got some good news. We found someone who is about 25-30 minutes from us willing to let us store/work on the bus on some extra property he has that is gated, with cameras, and has power, for $300 a month. That was one of our biggest hurdles to getting started, so happy we found some space

Now we need a bus

Looked at some of the links everyone shared and couldn't find our one yet. Still trying to decipher all the lango. Will keep looking.
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Old 07-22-2018, 09:17 PM   #13
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Sum it Up

Hi again!

To summarize what we have been told/read:

1. Go for pre 2004 buses. From what we read it has something do with emissions and reliability of the buses themselves.

2. With that in mind we also found most people recommending a cummings or dt466 engine. BUT to get the larger engines, which are rare on the smaller buses we want.

3. For auto transmissions, Allison is the way to go though we are not sure WHICH model is good?

4. One key factor is to check for rust on the body

5. Some basic for bus types:
Dog nose = more noise, some heat in cab, easier access, lose some interior/under bus space <--- *We are leaning this way*
Flat nose - FE = lots of heat in cab, retain some interior space, weird turning radius, lose some under bus space
Flat nose - BE = hardest to access for work, more under bus space, quietest, most interior space, some restrictions for space in rear of bus

6. Brand of buses to look for: Frieghtliner, International, Blue Bird

7. Mileage isnt too big a deal but should stay under 250 k if possible.

We posted some examples of what we were looking at to this thread already but those buses are no longer available. Here are a couple at different price ranges we found. Was wondering if we could get some direction on these. Our trigger finger is getting itchy but want to make the best long term decision.

https://www.commercialtrucktrader.co...ran--113381636

https://www.commercialtrucktrader.co...er--5000182955

https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2139320

What do you say guys, does this all sound accurate? Please feel free to school us. This is Ryan BTW. Wife got tired of me talking through her and I still need to create an account for the site lol. Thank you all so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

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Old 07-22-2018, 09:24 PM   #14
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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In defense of FE and the heat issue. I just drove my 37' 2600 miles from Seattle to Atl. a month ago. I don't remember any time during the trip that it was hot from the engine compartment, even on the hill where it hit 235. I have no a/c, only dual, dual speed fans mounted mid windshield and the slider side window and was comfortable the whole way.

I'd rather have a Thomas over a BlueBird for ease of disassembly, when both have the same drivetrain (5.9/545).
As far as tranny's go, AIUI, without explaining why on each one, the bottom of the line is the 545, then the 1000/2000 and 643 fall into line and then the 3060 which may be 5 or 6 speed. Allison is the way to go because they are all made by Allison, not all are good for every application.

Of your 3 examples, the first one obviously is grossly over priced as compared to the other 2. The second looks nice but need to know tranny and check for rust from Pa. The 3rd is from Wa. where I've heard good things about rust not being an issue on PNW buses. It ends tomorrow. Call and find out what tranny. Are you prepared to travel?
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Old 07-23-2018, 12:37 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
In defense of FE and the heat issue. I just drove my 37' 2600 miles from Seattle to Atl. a month ago. I don't remember any time during the trip that it was hot from the engine compartment, even on the hill where it hit 235. I have no a/c, only dual, dual speed fans mounted mid windshield and the slider side window and was comfortable the whole way.

I'd rather have a Thomas over a BlueBird for ease of disassembly, when both have the same drivetrain (5.9/545).
As far as tranny's go, AIUI, without explaining why on each one, the bottom of the line is the 545, then the 1000/2000 and 643 fall into line and then the 3060 which may be 5 or 6 speed. Allison is the way to go because they are all made by Allison, not all are good for every application.

Of your 3 examples, the first one obviously is grossly over priced as compared to the other 2. The second looks nice but need to know tranny and check for rust from Pa. The 3rd is from Wa. where I've heard good things about rust not being an issue on PNW buses. It ends tomorrow. Call and find out what tranny. Are you prepared to travel?
Good to know. We were originally considering a flat nose FE bus but decided against it after hearing about the heat and that they dont make smaller buses with flat noses.

Ya, we figured the first one was over priced but I hadn't seen that brand before and it had really low mileage, in great condition, so thought that was why.

WA is probably as far as we are willing to travel. We are open to shipping the bus as well. But for that one, mileage is over 250 k and there seems to be some rust on it. Is that a problem or should we not worry too much about that? Like how much/where is some rust OK and is there a bottom line on miles? I read a lot of conflicting things.
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Old 07-23-2018, 01:32 AM   #16
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Engine: DT466/3060
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If it was properly maintained most of these motors are 500k miles motors between rebuilds. Mine had 248k and I immediately put another 3k on it over 56 hours of driving. I know mine has many more miles than I need to worry about. Biggest rust areas are going to be the floors. Side rust is not bad as long as it isn't cancerous through the metal. Call and talk to the sellers and ask for better pics of areas you are concerned about. They'll usually accommodate you.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:35 AM   #17
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By the time a school bus reaches 300-350k its pretty beat. Unless its a Crown.

Most have plenty of blowby well before that.

OP- if you find a nice, low hour Cat 3126 that's been taken care of they make a GREAT engine for a short bus.
I just got one with 63k miles and 3300 hours!
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Old 07-23-2018, 10:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
By the time a school bus reaches 300-350k its pretty beat. Unless its a Crown.

Most have plenty of blowby well before that.

OP- if you find a nice, low hour Cat 3126 that's been taken care of they make a GREAT engine for a short bus.
I just got one with 63k miles and 3300 hours!
I would agree with CB.

School bus service is considered "severe duty". IIRC: the B50 spec on the DT466 in severe duty is 350k miles. The B50 on the 5.9 in standard duty is only 250k miles.

When I was bus shopping I looked for, and found, a reasonably priced bus with under 200k miles.
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Old 07-23-2018, 10:30 AM   #19
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Regarding RE buses being the hardest to work on.....

I would disagree. I have far easier access to the engine in my RE than the FE's that I have worked on.

Conventional buses generally offer the best access.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:50 PM   #20
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Thanks a lot for the feedback o1marc, EastCoastCB, PNW_Steve

Will keep that in mind as we keep looking. We don't mind spending a bit more on the bus to get something with lower miles in good condition. We are not thinking about doing this again in the future.

Want to make our dream bus and keep it lol.
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