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Old 04-17-2019, 05:24 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Clewiston FL
Posts: 20
New!! Prospecting skoolies!!

Hey yall!

Names justin. Looking at getting myself into a skoolie project.

Going to look at an 11 window vista this weekend. 1997 T444e/at545. 75,000 miles. The one imaged.

Interested in converting it into a small camper with a dovetailed flat bed. To tow my mud truck around. I would also like to pull my trailer with another jeep or tow a 30' camper. Similar to one pictured.

Would the vista be suitable? Or will I be better off with another engine tranny combo?
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:28 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 5,748
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
If you plan on any towing I would avoid the AT545 like the plague. It has no locking torque converter, so it's always working off the fluid. Extreme duty will over heat it. It won't help slow you down on down grades. I would verify that mileage, it is common for buses to have issues and the dashes replaced. Your bus should have closer to 210K. If it's correct mileage that's 2 holy grails this week. Go to the UserCP in the upper left and fill out your profile so can better assist in answering your questions.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:13 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Clewiston FL
Posts: 20
Well I dont have much to put into about me, as I dont have a bus yet. Working on it. However. I am down in south Florida. Really the only buses I see are at545 equipped. Occassionaly see an md3060. But they ask a pretty penny for them. 6k+

As far as the vista mileage. I was told the bus was a back up bus from a private school. So could be accurate.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:18 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 4,200
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
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I have to agree with Marc.

If you are carrying any sort of load I would avoid the 545 and look for buses with the MD3060, MT643 or 2000 series.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:18 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 17,409
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
I'm not a fan of the Vistas. They ride rough as heck.
Not Thomas' best effort.
I've driven one and man was the ride jarring. It was a 35 footer.
That's a low headroom budget model with the lowest-spec drivetrain and its a full size bus. Look for something more substantial even if you have to travel to obtain it.
My 2 cents.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:51 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Greater Boston
Posts: 416
If you're going to be towing with it, I'd look for one with a full-size dognose as well, just for better cooling / not trying to stuff the engine partially inside the bus.

You can pay the premium for a bus with a 3060, or you can pay for the rebuild of the AT545. Either way, your wallet will get lighter.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:03 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Clewiston FL
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So full nose it will be. Avoiding the at545.

Future bus will definitely be used for towing.
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Old 04-17-2019, 09:08 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 39
half of the buses I have found recently are in or around FL.

Do some research, and set a reasonable search radius and you will end up with a nice bus.

Good luck.
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Old 04-18-2019, 04:55 AM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 17,409
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Fl is not a great place to look for a bus. Low spec stuff for top dollar here.

Our schools are among the poorest in the nation and our buses reflect that.
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Old 04-18-2019, 05:56 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Clewiston FL
Posts: 20
I have been noticing that. Are there any particular states that have a better selection for buses, minimal rust?
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