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Old 04-02-2019, 03:18 PM   #1
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Newbie from NC pricing buses

Looking for a bus that is under 30' bumper to bumper, having a hard time finding something decent, seems like everyone here finds amazing deals, maybe I haven't been looking long enough. Looking for opinions on what I have found, what I should go look at, and what isn't worth the time. Everyone says they have good tires.

1998 International 3600, Dt466E, AT545, 140k, maintenance records, $4k

1990 Bluebird TC/2000 FE, cummins 5.9, AT545, 80k miles, rebuilt transmission, 30' bumper to bumper, $4k (delivered)

2001 GMC 3500 cutaway, 6.5lT (I know...I know), 4L80, 90k miles $5.5k

2004 Thomas, C7, Allison 2000, FE flatnose, 9000hrs, odo shows 40k, $5k

Thanks to everyone, looks like a great forum here.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:10 PM   #2
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Iím sure youíll get more experienced folks responding. Weíre relatively new to this world. Ours looks very similar to the 2004 Thomas youíve listed. We love it. All the gurus say to stay away from anything newer than 2004...emissions & overall quality drops with the more recent stuff. Guessing the odometer is wrong at 40K with 9000 hrs! We got ours out of Washington because that seems to be a hotbed for solid, no rust busses. We spent $4K on ours, more than some would pay but feel great about it.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:13 PM   #3
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You don't check tires by how much tread or how new they look. Look for a date code on the tire to see how old they are. Some may be so old they are ready to come apart, but look good with lots of tread left.
I can almost guarantee you the mileage listed on all your buses are not accurate. I would bet everyone has had the dash replaced. I personally will never own a bus with an AT545.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:41 PM   #4
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You don't check tires by how much tread or how new they look. Look for a date code on the tire to see how old they are. Some may be so old they are ready to come apart, but look good with lots of tread left.
I can almost guarantee you the mileage listed on all your buses are not accurate. I would bet everyone has had the dash replaced. I personally will never own a bus with an AT545.
Very familiar with tires and DOT date codes, will check everything out, my statement was more to show it is a variable I cannot attest to, other then the sellers starements.
Familiar with the AT545 hatred, sounds like a 643 swap is pretty straight forward....no big, heavy hauls are planned for the immediate future, so I would just keep my eyes open for a swap in the future.

Opinions on prices, or other details, issues a newbie to the skoolie world might overlook?
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:59 PM   #5
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Where are you at in NC.
My local NC school district has some up for sale and there is a huge bus barn in between Raleigh/Durham and Winston Salem.
I found mine at a bus barn and NC makes them keep strict maintenance records.
Don't know for a fact? But I doubt the Charlotte,mecklenburg area buses have the 545?
One because of the interstate travel in between off ramps and two because of the hills.
I have always had good luck with stopping by the bus barns,pulling right up to the mechanics bays and walking in like you have been there before.
Either look for the older mechanic or ask the first one you see which one the boss man is.
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Old 04-02-2019, 05:44 PM   #6
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There are multiple threads on here about the AT545 transmissions. They aren't built in a way to allow you to use the engine to slow down in the mountains. Not having that can be a hairy ride to the bottom if your brakes fade from too much use.


On flat-and-level you just have to watch out for extra heat in the 545s over the other transmissions.


Please look up the collective wisdom on here about the various transmissions....
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Old 04-02-2019, 05:59 PM   #7
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If you buy a NC bus set aside money to regear it. Most of the buses there are geared/limited to 45-50 mph.
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:51 PM   #8
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Everything has pros and cons, but none of the listings look particularly promising. Unless there is some reason you absolutely must start now, keep looking.
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Old 04-03-2019, 04:39 PM   #9
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Don't know for sure but I am thinking the newer ones with computer control may only be speed limited in the computer and not geared for a specific speed range like the older mechanical buses.
I have heard the mechanics talk about when they accept new buses driven down hear at interstate speeds they have to re-set the speed for activity or route bus.
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Old 04-03-2019, 04:54 PM   #10
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http://www.skoolie.net/forums/editpo...tpost&p=317799
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
Don't know for sure but I am thinking the newer ones with computer control may only be speed limited in the computer and not geared for a specific speed range like the older mechanical buses.
I have heard the mechanics talk about when they accept new buses driven down hear at interstate speeds they have to re-set the speed for activity or route bus.
While governed in the computer the gearing will still limit the top speed.
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Old 04-03-2019, 05:03 PM   #11
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http://www.skoolie.net/forums/editpo...tpost&p=317799


While governed in the computer the gearing will still limit the top speed.
Yes sir you are correct.
But ever since they went to a computerized version they are driving them hear into my county on the interstates at interstate speed and turning them down to county specified speed in the computer.
So obviously it isn't the gearing holding the newer NC buses back like they did with my 86 NC bus.
Is what I was really trying to say
Take your time,read,read,red,learn before you spend the money.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:02 PM   #12
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I think they order them geared low since they aren't intended for highway speeds.
Unless they're trip buses.
We should find out!
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:43 PM   #13
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I think they order them geared low since they aren't intended for highway speeds.
Unless they're trip buses.
We should find out!
They are geared low, for example mine maxes out at 60MPH at 2700RPM on a good day.


However they are also computer limited, just ask them at the district to remove the limits which usually are set 45 or 50 (in the buses I checked out at least).


I looked at buses in the following counties which all offered to remove the speed limits in the computer:


Union
Forsyth
Morre
Transylvania
Union
Haywood
Jackson
Henderson


I got mine in Union, and took them all of 10 minutes and a test drive to remove the 45MPH limit. I would suggest making sure prior to purchase they are able to, just to be on the safe side.


I assume you're on their website, generally they are able to answer any questions via the phone number listed on each bus entry.



All this being said, every single darn one I saw and even the one I ended up buying has the AT545 slip-o-matic.
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:02 PM   #14
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They are geared low, for example mine maxes out at 60MPH at 2700RPM on a good day.


However they are also computer limited, just ask them at the district to remove the limits which usually are set 45 or 50 (in the buses I checked out at least).


I looked at buses in the following counties which all offered to remove the speed limits in the computer:


Union
Forsyth
Morre
Transylvania
Union
Haywood
Jackson
Henderson


I got mine in Union, and took them all of 10 minutes and a test drive to remove the 45MPH limit. I would suggest making sure prior to purchase they are able to, just to be on the safe side.


I assume you're on their website, generally they are able to answer any questions via the phone number listed on each bus entry.



All this being said, every single darn one I saw and even the one I ended up buying has the AT545 slip-o-matic.
Even if they remove the electronic limiter if the gearing is LOW its pretty miserable for most of us.
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:57 PM   #15
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1990 Bluebird TC/2000 FE, cummins 5.9, AT545, 80k miles, rebuilt transmission, 30' bumper to bumper, $4k (delivered)

I like this one, if it has an e-door on the driver's side.


The bus I was looking for - saw one in SoCal for $10,000...but got the TC-1000 FE instead.


The TC-2000 will have better off-road clearance than my TC-1000, good space inside for the length.


The motor will easily convert to veggie oil, whereas my late-1999/2000 model year won't.
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:33 PM   #16
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My father was a NC public school bus garage mechanic and I can tell you what he told me. NC public school bus garage services all buses before putting it up for market unless it has a bad engine or tranny. Any bus with potential bad engine or tranny will not be serviced and it will be informed in the sale. Price vary depending on condition of bus so if it is $4,000-6,000 then thatís because bus has good tires and is in better condition than that going at $2,000 (most likely due to tires almost bald or so). And yes it is easy to obtain maintenance record.

Iíd go for activity bus as its set at 55-60 while most are at 45-55.

Good buses usually sell faster it can be hard to get them. School is closing soon so now would be good time to start inquire around to get a feeling what they think might hit the market this summer. Its easy to tell if you will expect it to be in $3,000-4,000 range by looking at it now and do a research if it is something you want to buy or not. Then bus should hit the market in July or August when schools get new buses and put old one up for sale.

I wanted the bus that was 60 ft with wheelchair lifter but the damn bank took one day longer to get my fund available and the bus was sold before I could get my cash out.. it was sold for 3,000 and there was no other wheelchair lifter available so I settled on 28í one for $1500 from other state.

Good luck!
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
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My father was a NC public school bus garage mechanic and I can tell you what he told me. NC public school bus garage services all buses before putting it up for market unless it has a bad engine or tranny. Any bus with potential bad engine or tranny will not be serviced and it will be informed in the sale. Price vary depending on condition of bus so if it is $4,000-6,000 then that’s because bus has good tires and is in better condition than that going at $2,000 (most likely due to tires almost bald or so). And yes it is easy to obtain maintenance record.

I’d go for activity bus as its set at 55-60 while most are at 45-55.

Good buses usually sell faster it can be hard to get them. School is closing soon so now would be good time to start inquire around to get a feeling what they think might hit the market this summer. Its easy to tell if you will expect it to be in $3,000-4,000 range by looking at it now and do a research if it is something you want to buy or not. Then bus should hit the market in July or August when schools get new buses and put old one up for sale.

I wanted the bus that was 60 ft with wheelchair lifter but the damn bank took one day longer to get my fund available and the bus was sold before I could get my cash out.. it was sold for 3,000 and there was no other wheelchair lifter available so I settled on 28’ one for $1500 from other state.

Good luck!
60', really? I would look out west and find the same buses in better shape with no rust for half those prices.
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:54 PM   #18
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60', really? I would look out west and find the same buses in better shape with no rust for half those prices.
Depend on how you look at it. As I said, all buses are serviced before putting up for sale. Thatís fresh oil, coolant, tranny fluid, filters, and with good threads on tires.

VS

Cost of bus out of state, airfare cost, fuel cost, then have to service your bus when get it home.
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wkheathjr View Post
My father was a NC public school bus garage mechanic and I can tell you what he told me. NC public school bus garage services all buses before putting it up for market unless it has a bad engine or tranny. Any bus with potential bad engine or tranny will not be serviced and it will be informed in the sale. Price vary depending on condition of bus so if it is $4,000-6,000 then thatís because bus has good tires and is in better condition than that going at $2,000 (most likely due to tires almost bald or so). And yes it is easy to obtain maintenance record.

Iíd go for activity bus as its set at 55-60 while most are at 45-55.

Good buses usually sell faster it can be hard to get them. School is closing soon so now would be good time to start inquire around to get a feeling what they think might hit the market this summer. Its easy to tell if you will expect it to be in $3,000-4,000 range by looking at it now and do a research if it is something you want to buy or not. Then bus should hit the market in July or August when schools get new buses and put old one up for sale.

I wanted the bus that was 60 ft with wheelchair lifter but the damn bank took one day longer to get my fund available and the bus was sold before I could get my cash out.. it was sold for 3,000 and there was no other wheelchair lifter available so I settled on 28í one for $1500 from other state.

Good luck!
You won't find any 60 footers.
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:27 PM   #20
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Depend on how you look at it. As I said, all buses are serviced before putting up for sale. Thatís fresh oil, coolant, tranny fluid, filters, and with good threads on tires.

VS

Cost of bus out of state, airfare cost, fuel cost, then have to service your bus when get it home.
Factor in regearing if interstate travel is in the plans.
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