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Old 09-06-2016, 08:45 PM   #1
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Newbie with questions

Hello and thanks for your help-I am thinking about buying a 1988 Thomas RE (cat3208 engine and a MT643 transmission) bus with 162,000 miles and 13,000 hours. It is 30 feet long. The seats have been removed and I would be driving it from AZ to OR immediately after purchase. The price is $3,000.00
I would like to know what the community has to say on this as it is going to be my live in home to see the country in.
Thanks again
Darren
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:12 PM   #2
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Year: 1987
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Engine: IH 9 Liter
Rated Cap: 66 + driver
The 3208 Cat engine is ... Meh. Not bad, not great. An aging engine that you can only get parts for at a Cat dealer (at a premium price). Personally, I'd pass and look for an IH or Cummins engine which are much easier to find parts for.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:55 PM   #3
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
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I've heard that 3208's dont like long highways but that's just what I've heard. No experience with them.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:02 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2016
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Year: 1987
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Fellow I worked for had a couple of 'em in Ford box trucks. We ran 'em about 200 miles/day. Decent power for relatively flat roads, but one liked to go through rear seals regularly (and dumped quite a bit of oil when it failed). I forget what happened to the other, but it was replaced with a gas engine.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:33 PM   #5
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Thank you all so much for your reply sand input, I decided to wait for a different bus.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:52 PM   #6
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Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Darren,

Good to hear your decision to wait.

I was just about to book a greyhound ticket to PA to get a great bus when i decided to wait... and then exactly what i wanted and more came my way within a week. Plenty of bus, the right one will be by asap, keep the faith.
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Old 09-11-2016, 02:23 AM   #7
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 25
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: Gensis
Oregon here, check out publicauctions website. We bought our 30 footer in Seattle from the school district for 3k and drive it home. Better options closer to home plus you can get some of the maintenance history.
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:54 AM   #8
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Thanks for that, did you mean publicsurplus auctions?
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Old 09-11-2016, 04:18 PM   #9
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 787
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Darren,

I have the 40' version of your bus and LOVE IT!!!!!!! Look at my thread "Heavy Fuel". I intentionally went with a Cat engine. Yes, some don't like the Cat for various reasons, but I LOVE the Cat. Had three 3406B Cat engines that went well over 1 MILLION miles. Back in the day my '88 International 9200 had 1.3 MILLION miles WITHOUT a major rebuild. Did a cylinder head rebuild at 650K and she just kept on going. The other two I did a head rebuild at 800K and they went 1.2 million before I went belly up when Whirlpool left Indiana (another story for another time). Those engines went through hell and back more times than I can count. LOVE my Cat engines!!!! Put Prolong Engine treatment in the engine oil, Marvel Mystery Oil and Lucas in the fuel tank and PRESTO you now have a Cat that will go an easy one million miles. Change engine oil every month/10K miles and relax as the miles go by. I'm doing this with Heavy Fuel and her 3208 Cat engine as well. They replaced the engine with a Cat certified engine at 150K in California, so I now have a one million mile engine ready to run with. I know others on the site hate Cat (my pity to them), but when taken care of properly, they will last longer than the rest of the bus. Wife and I took nearly three years to find Heavy, but we're very grateful we did!

Hope this helps.

M
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Old 09-11-2016, 04:42 PM   #10
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Year: 1946
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PSA: For those of you new to Skoolie.net...you will NOT find the above referenced material under "Cat Videos" on YouTube.
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