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Old 05-04-2016, 09:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Indiana
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New to the skoolie

Hi everyone!

So, I am Jalen. Currently live Indianapolis, Indiana with my 4 huskies and cat. I've been looking at downsizing my costs and housing. Paying way too much money in rent and lease will be up in Feb 17... So, I figured what could go better than to convert a bus into a living quarters. The plan is to do this and over the next year or so save more money to buy land to build a home. So, this plan for my first bus will have to be very budget friendly!

I am new to this whole thing and have a lot of enthusiasm. But I would very much appreciate everyone's input on what I should look out for, ideas, certain types of buses to steer clear of?

thanks and look forward to getting to know everyone
Jalen
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:16 PM   #2
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Location: Danglebury, Tejas
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 72 passenger
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Originally Posted by jalmat View Post
Hi everyone!

So, I am Jalen. Currently live Indianapolis, Indiana with my 4 huskies and cat. I've been looking at downsizing my costs and housing. Paying way too much money in rent and lease will be up in Feb 17... So, I figured what could go better than to convert a bus into a living quarters. The plan is to do this and over the next year or so save more money to buy land to build a home. So, this plan for my first bus will have to be very budget friendly!

I am new to this whole thing and have a lot of enthusiasm. But I would very much appreciate everyone's input on what I should look out for, ideas, certain types of buses to steer clear of?

thanks and look forward to getting to know everyone
Jalen
Welcome! Lots of great talent here, and a deep pool of resources for you to tap.

Your goal to "Go Galt" is admirable. Dunno quite how you're gonna fit all the dogs in, but hey...

Start looking for a bus asap. We are about to be in the buying season as schools cycle out their old inventory. Its all about supply and demand, so hit the market when there is a glut of inventory.

As to what kind of bus to get, everyone knows a DT466 powerplant in a BlueBird is the best. (Oh my, that'll get some discussion going! Lol)

Seriously however, just like the Ford/Dodge/Chevy wars, skoolies are as unique as their owners. Hang around, take notes, and ask questions. Eventually you'll find a combo of parts that meet your individual needs. Then the fun starts!

FYI: This is a really neat bunch of old farts who love to talk buses.

Welcome!
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:01 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response,

I am really excited. I have been browsing pictures, sale posts, and these forums for awhile. I came across a 1992 International DT 466E engine & an Allison automatic transmission. 195k miles and for a neg. $1500. I am going to contact them tomorrow to inquire more about it! Anything I should be aware of? Sound like a deal or ?

I have been finding everyone's post so full of information and like any great hobby/lifestyle there is so much to talk about!
As for the dogs, I have been looking at moving the plans around to accommodate them properly.
Thanks again!
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:30 AM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Danglebury, Tejas
Posts: 310
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 72 passenger
There are a million ways to buy a bus, but only one that counts: the way YOU do it.

Others who have far more experience will chime-in here, but generally speaking I think anything wih a DT466 is a good starting point. They are huge, noisey, and knuckle-busters to work on, but they can be rebuilt while still in the frame of the bus. The design uses a wet sleeve arrangement, so if something goes kaput, you can pull the liner, piston, etc and replace it without a trip to the machine shop. Same for rod and crank bearings. A complete in-frame engine overhaul kit from a quality vendor is about $1200. Tractor-pullers LOVE this engine, routinely pulling a couple of THOUSAND horsepower out of a fairly stock block with staged turbos producing in excess of 150 psi of boost. The abuse these engines can take is the stuff of legend, and the engine is referred to in many circles as "The Legend". The basic block has been in production for 40+ years with only minor changes and updates. Parts are (literally) everywhere as the engine has been used in medium trucks, generators, farm equipment, dump trucks, school busses.... Many technical schools use the DT as their demonstration engines for their students.

The down-side is the complexity of the DT466E Injection system. The "E" is fly-by-wire (no mechanical throttle cable between the pedal and inj pump/rack!) and uses high pressure engine oil controlled by a computer to fire the injectors at the right moment for the correct duration. When it works, its an awesome arrangement. When it breaks, you're gonna be walking and you will need access to a laptop and $$$ software to diagnose and fix it. Parts are not cheap. A new high pressure oil pump will set you back almost a grand, and each injector (there are 6) is about $300 plus seals.

I'm finding the cost of initial purchase isnt really meaningful in the grand scheme of things. Maintaining any bus is where the real costs come into play. The DT466E needs 7.5 gallons of quality oil at each change ($150) and a filter that holds more than your average import ($35). The transmission/converter needs 4.5 gals of Syntrans 295 ($300!!!!) The rear-end takes 5 gals of GL5 ($70). And then there are tires: plan on spending $300 each for CHEAP tires!

In the end I think you'll find a huge satisfaction in rumbling down the road while all the retired millionaires in their Prevost coaches look down their noses at you like some dirty hippie. But you will have BUILT your rolling mountain of custom iron while they BOUGHT a carbon-copy of what everyone else has. So stick a few vinyl flowers on the side of your hood, put on your 60's love beads, and flash 'em a peace sign as they blow past you in disdain. You'll have a skoolie, and thats a feeling they will never "get".
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:53 AM   #5
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,171
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
The 92 won't have an "E" it will just be a regular DT466 like the one in my 92.
I'd heartily recommend the DT466. GREAT engine.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:09 AM   #6
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Location: Danglebury, Tejas
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Year: 1999
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The 92 won't have an "E" it will just be a regular DT466 like the one in my 92.
I'd heartily recommend the DT466. GREAT engine.
Good point!

In that case your injector cost goes to $60 each, and basic diagnostics can be accomplished with the business end of a wrench and a few ounces of good ol' common sense. Thats a GREAT motor. (And EMP-proof too!)
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:15 AM   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
The 92 won't have an "E" it will just be a regular DT466 like the one in my 92.
I'd heartily recommend the DT466. GREAT engine.
Obviously as a new bus owner you're not going to have any difficulty in finding things to spend money on.

CB, I was wondering when someone was going to catch the "E" issue.
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:09 AM   #8
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Thanks guys

Completely insightful. Those people still haven't gotten back to me. Tomorrow I'm looking at an 89 ford 6 cyclinder diesel with auto trains. Not sure what trains it has in it. But it's sitting at 134k miles. Nice looking clean bus. Fair price. Well maintained with maintenance records.
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