Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-29-2016, 11:59 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Medford, OR
Posts: 21
New guy who enjoys planning and investigating.

I'm just getting started in this whole process. My impetus in doing this is that my wife is an Illinois native and I am an Oregon native and we live in Oregon and we drive to Illinois A LOT! It's a three day drive and we spend a small fortune on hotels and plus our travel vehicle is a Toyota Corolla. Did I mention three children?

My wife and I have talked for years about retiring into a bus and travelling the country. So, I said why not get started earlier?

So a bus conversion for the ~4 yearly trips to IL would be awesome as well as the ~6 other yearly camping trips we take to various campgrounds and road trips and also to the dunes (would be hauling trailers full of ATVs or friends travel trailers and toy haulers).

Being the sort of person I am, I am beginning the research process now even though initial purchase will be a minimum of 6 months down the road, if not a year or more. I am somewhat skilled in construction, wiring, plumbing, etc, and my father does sheet metal work for a living so that's bound to get done right when I do a roof raise. No problem working on engines and whatnot either.

Here are some things I'm thinking about:
1. What bus? Looking for a pusher, 40 foot, and with the best available engine and transmission. Seems from all I've read that the DT466 is about the best bet, but finding the right combination of bus configuration and engine can be hard, especially for a reasonable price. Any tips?

2. Where to buy? Found a nice Thomas on Ebay but not the engine I'm looking for. Lots of places sell buses, but really they're resale, with markup. The best prices seem to be found at individual school district sales and auctions, but finding those is hit or miss. I doubt many of you have bought more than a couple buses, but what is the consensus on the best place to get the right one for the right price?

I'm trained as an engineer, so my focus is getting things right on the front end and not making unforced errors, learning from others' mistakes and learning from the wisdom of those who have gone before.

Thanks
WiredForStereo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 05:01 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Scooternj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: EHT New Jersey
Posts: 1,134
Year: 2003
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International 3000RE
Engine: T444E/AT545
Rated Cap: 75
Avoid Rust Belt and First Student buses. The former because of the condition of the cancer they have, the latter because they run their buses into the ground.

Look for West Coast/Rocky Mountain/Southwest area buses. More likely than not, they'll have the best options for what you're looking for. And the best places to look, outside of the local district auctions, are GovDeals and PublicSurplus dot coms.

My personal preference on REs is Amtran/International RE3000-series. Full size radiator, lots of fresh air cooling, and ease of access to the engine block (2 large doors on either side). Also, don't throw out the T444E. It may have a few less ponies than 466, but its a pretty rock solid power plant.
__________________
Hey! That's not an RV, that's a school bus.
Well thank you for noticing, Captain Obvious

Captain Obvious on deviantArt
Scooternj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 01:41 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Medford, OR
Posts: 21
First Student runs the buses around here, so that's out. And my mother drives for them and confirmed that they run them into the ground.
WiredForStereo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 02:04 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 5,071
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiredForStereo View Post
First Student runs the buses around here, so that's out. And my mother drives for them and confirmed that they run them into the ground.

first student and V.A.T. both run the busses into the ground... unfortunately the BEST time to find used busses fresh out of service is in the spring.. many schools at that time are releasing old busses at the end of the school year to prepare for any new units they have coming in...

uoi may get lucky and find schools getting rid of some now.. but many are already at the auction sites by now like publicsurplus and govdeals.. bus dealers pick them up a lot in the late summer as they will fix them, mark them u and sell them to secondary schools or churches that often look for busses in the fall...

there are alot of good busses on the market still so dont get too discouraged your bus is probably out there.. be willing to go far to get it if need-be..
-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 02:05 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Florence Oregon
Posts: 11
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: RE 35'
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 72 passenger
I'm thinking of getting one from first student in Oregon, given the state's inspection of these buses, how are they running them into the ground? Not defending first student at all, just asking so I can look closer at the bus I purchasing to make sure it hasn't been run into the ground. Are we talking about deferred maintenance? Longer time between oil changes? What do I look for?
steveningham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 02:16 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 5,071
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the first student busses I see here in ohio often are at the BARE minimum to have passed inspection for that year.. since inspection is yearly they can take those busses that final year to below inspection limits and then sell them..

someone once told me that they will change any good tires out for other busses that have bad tires.. (bad ones end up on the selling bus).. that last year they wont do any maintainenance on it.. just run it... ive seen lots with dings and dents and bad tires.. beyond that I have no idea how they actually run since I havent looked at any close enough to buy them..

Ohio is a pretty stickler state on inspections so I know some of the running-busses just barely make it... first student knows thats a "final-year" bus and has no plans to keep it longer.. therefore no more maintenance..

each location is different... im going on what ive seen of them in ohio in the past... theres a reason columbus ohio ditched first student in 2013 and bought 400 Brand new IC busses .... the track record wasnt good..

-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 04:06 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 494
Year: 1987
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: IH
Engine: IH 9 Liter
Rated Cap: 66 + driver
Depending on the area, contract, and management, some areas may not skimp as mush as others, but First Student is a For-Profit venture, and some areas may not have much (if any) incentive to keep up stringent maintenance on their buses.

I have a couple friends (brothers) who have a trucking company ... one brother runs new trucks (every 3 years or so) and they do full DOT inspections on them every Saturday. He tells his drivers when the 3 years (or so) is up, to go pick out whatever truck they want to drive for the next 3 years - no strings attached, no price limit. He hauls exclusively "High Value" freight, so he makes very good money at it, and his trucks *VERY* rarely break down and even more rarely (virtually never) fail an inspection. Steer tires come off at 8/32 tread and drive tires around 6/32. He can't afford for trucks to sit and who wants a $10 Million load being hauled to a shop by a wrecker? So his trucks need to be reliable and in good shape. He has every incentive (and money) to make sure his trucks are in excellent condition. *Extra Perk* it keeps his drivers happy too.
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 04:35 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Kansas
Posts: 495
Year: 2000
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: Your mom +1
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
they will change any good tires out for other busses that have bad tires.. (bad ones end up on the selling bus).. that last year they wont do any maintainenance on it.. just run it...
I was told basically this same story by a driver that works for them. One is an accident, two is a coincidence, three is... something, something..
slaughridge85 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 04:39 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: MD near DC
Posts: 528
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughridge85 View Post
I was told basically this same story by a driver that works for them. One is an accident, two is a coincidence, three is... something, something..
The James Bond quote is "The first time is happenstance. The second is coincidence. The third time is enemy action." I'd stay away.

I walked through a lot full of First Student Stuff one drizzly Feb morning and if I hadn't been scared by the sad sack condition of the rolling stock, I would have been terminally put off by the attitude of the people there.
dan-fox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2016, 05:51 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Jolly Roger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: North carolina
Posts: 602
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford
Engine: Detroit 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
To me you need to look for a mountain bus with a wheelchair lift and work from there.
I found mine directly from my local school district before anything went to auction.
Search around the area that you want to play in and the area you want to live in and everything between there.
I mucked up and ended up with a flatland bus but very clean.
The Jolly Roger runs great for what it was designed for. And well maintained from the local school system.
Never hit auction.
Me personally I would start talking to the school districts all along the path you would like to run cause They are running the hills or interstates then they are already geared/powered for it.
Jolly Roger is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.