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Old 01-27-2018, 05:38 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Cleburne, Texasa
Posts: 107
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126B
Rated Cap: 20800
Ready to pull the trigger!

After several years we are ready to purchase our first bus! After much searching we found what appears to be a great one about 2 hours from us.

1999 THOMAS flat nose
84 small child passenger
Cat 3126B Diesel rear pusher
Allison automatic transmission with overdrive.
Tires are 95%.
Pictures do not show any body damage and as a Texas bus, no exterior rust.
Government maintained since new. (Insert jokes here!)
Per seller starts and runs perfect.
Asking price $5,000

But then I seemed to recall something about Cat powertrains on the forum and went looking. Oil leakers, 3126 is underpowered, very expensive to maintain and work on, etc...

Is it even worth our time to go look at? Opinions from y’all would be appreciated.
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Old 01-27-2018, 05:51 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
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Year: 1999
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Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzyman View Post
After several years we are ready to purchase our first bus! After much searching we found what appears to be a great one about 2 hours from us.

1999 THOMAS flat nose
84 small child passenger
Cat 3126B Diesel rear pusher
Allison automatic transmission with overdrive.
Tires are 95%.
Pictures do not show any body damage and as a Texas bus, no exterior rust.
Government maintained since new. (Insert jokes here!)
Per seller starts and runs perfect.
Asking price $5,000

But then I seemed to recall something about Cat powertrains on the forum and went looking. Oil leakers, 3126 is underpowered, very expensive to maintain and work on, etc...

Is it even worth our time to go look at? Opinions from y’all would be appreciated.
Plenty of people are happily running around with CAT engines.

Check the mileage and the hours, and look closely for oil-leaks. Be suspicious if it looks like it has been steam-cleaned.

For extra peace of mind, have a diesel mechanic run a few basic checks.

If the engine is good, the chances are it will stay good for a long time. If it breaks it will cost more to fix than Navistar of Cummins.

It sounds like a nice bus and if those tires are that good, and not more than a couple of years old, or so, then the price isn't too outrageous either.
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:31 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Oberlin, Kansas
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Year: 1989
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Dizzy,

I drove a 2001 Thomas. Same set up. LOVED it! The 3126 is a good engine so long as you maintain it well. She did have a tendency to leak oil, but not that much. She did use oil (not burn it, but it did seep out the seams from time to time) every fourth or fifth day of heavy use (regular route, field trip, regular route, then to the garage for the night).

$5K is in line with retail expectations for that bus. A little high, but not out of line.

My two cents....

M
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:40 PM   #4
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Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 2,327
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
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The CAT engines have a reputation for leaking oil.

But so do Cummins, and so do Navistar.

If you touched the bottom of any random skoolie you'll draw back an oily hand.

Similarly, there are a million buses driving around with a motor people here will call "underpowered". THe engines in both my short and long buses are frequently called underpowered. Underpowered by what standard? Compared to something with more power? My buses didn't get a combine 400k miles sitting in a parking lot.

$5k from a dealer seems in line with dealer prices. It's more than you'd pay at auction obviously. I assume it doesn't have air conditioning at that price!

As far as parts go, CAT specific parts cost more. Most of your regular maintenance stuff will be comparable. The big ticket items might be more expensive.
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:55 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Cleburne, Texasa
Posts: 107
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126B
Rated Cap: 20800
Thanks Steve for the encouraging words and accompanying advice, I will follow through with it.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:01 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Cleburne, Texasa
Posts: 107
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126B
Rated Cap: 20800
M1031A1 and Brokedown,
Thanks to both of you, common sense replies.
It does have AC, 4 units in fact! One in the drivers area, one in the back and two on the sides!
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:10 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Cleburne, Texasa
Posts: 107
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126B
Rated Cap: 20800
https://images.craigslist.org/00I0I_...0r_600x450.jpg

Hope I did this right, shows 3 of the 4 AC units.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:11 PM   #8
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Location: Frisco, Texas
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Year: 1998
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Chassis: International 3800
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How's the mileage? Almost new tires and the a.c. makes it sound pretty appealing. I'm looking for a 9-10 window like that
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:12 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Cleburne, Texasa
Posts: 107
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas MVP
Engine: Cat 3126B
Rated Cap: 20800
Looks like it worked, here is an outside shot. Plan on driving down Monday to look at it.

https://images.craigslist.org/00606_...zV_600x450.jpg
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:22 PM   #10
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Frisco, Texas
Posts: 804
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: Dt466e
Rated Cap: 71
Good looking bus! Do all buses have the entry door angled in like that, or just Thomas? Or is the bus body just wider than the frame? First time I've noticed it.

Wish you luck in your purchase!
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