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Old 03-21-2017, 08:39 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Sarasota
Posts: 68
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800 7.3L
Unfortunately, yes, and as John mentioned, it's a bit more than auction but for my current situation; I think the price is just about right considering I was going to pay close to 10k with BGA before I did research. I figure if I were to wait around for something on auction, buy it without having the chance to drive it or nitpick, have to fly to the destination and spend gas to drive it back, potentially deal with rust, etc. I think 4500 isn't that bad to have the peace of mind. I just hope that the power steering or oil isn't a problem. Who knows, maybe the one on Friday will be perfect. Fingers crossed.

I wish I had time to wait, and for my skoolie project I'll certainly go to the auctions, but for getting the business up and running, I can't wait around a month or more to try and save a grand.

You all have been awesome with the quick responses and I appreciate your help so far. I'll be in touch after I go back and will let you know how it goes between the three.

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Old 03-22-2017, 03:47 AM   #12
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 6,296
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Small oil leaks are common on many diesels however they usually don't show up on short rides..
I can drive either of mine on a short ride and never notice any oil on the ground, oil is thicker when cold.. it wasn't that hot here today in Tampa to have thin oil right away so that oil leak might concern me , was that a 444e also?

If a bus requires power steering fluid then there's likely a leak there somewhere as you should never need to add fluid.

Shopping retail gives you the advantage of crawling around many busses but like EC said you'll pay more.

Unless this is a high gear project take your time ..

Christopher
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:02 AM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,546
Since it appears you are sort of stuck on purchasing something local I think you will end up paying for the privilege of not traveling further afield.

I am not saying you won't find a good bus but you will be paying more than what they are worth by doing so.

Rust--if it has any, walk away. It is a never ending battle that just gets more expensive as time goes by.

Leaks--if it has any, walk away. Leaks are a good indication of poor preventative maintenance programs. Green leaks are coolant which could indicate a bad radiator (over $1K to repair), hoses that are getting ready to fail, loose clamps, or a crack in the block. Red leaks are from the transmission which could indicate seals failing, a torque convertor getting ready to spew, or loose cooler lines. Black leaks are from the engine which could indicate anything from valve cover or oil pan gaskets that need replacing to a cracked block. Black could also indicate a fuel leak which could be something simple like a fuel return hose that was failing to a failing injection pump.

Tires--since you are wanting to get your conversion done quickly and want to be on the road ASAP, make sure the tires are of a recent vintage without any visible cracks, cuts, or bulges in the side walls and that there is decent tread on the tires. If you are purchasing from a dealer with a lot of buses of a similar size bargain for the best set of tires on the lot. Six new tires is going to cost upwards of $3K for "cheap" Chinese knock off tires. Name brand tires will cost a whole lot more.

Driving--if the bus doesn't track straight, if the steering doesn't turn smoothly from lock to lock, if the steering doesn't return to center while driving down the road you need to walk away and find another bus. Broken springs, cracked or broken frames, worn out steering components, worn out king pins, tires that are ready to come apart, etc. are all items that can cause issues with driving straight down the road. Walk away if the bus doesn't drive straight. And don't buy the "we'll put some fluid into the power steering to make it stop growling" pitch. If it is low on power steering fluid it might be a good idea to know why it was low to start with.

Engine--if the bus engine is warm when you show up come back another day to see what it takes to get started when it is cold. Booster batteries, starting fluid, and other aids to starting might be required to get the bus started. Hard starting can be a result of low batteries, inoperative glow plug/pre-heaters, a worn out starter, or a worn out engine. Knowing if it is a simple problem or an expensive problem will determine if you walk away or not. When running the engine should idle smoothly, it should rev up easily and return to idle quickly. The throttle should move through the full range of the throttle without any binding or stiffness. While driving it should respond to throttle inputs without any hesitations.

Transmission--the fluid needs to be cherry pink and smell fresh. If it is any other color or if it has a sort of caramel flavor to the smell you need to walk away. It should shift from forward to reverse without any hesitation and go into gear with a solid chunk. If it doesn't, walk away. When running down the road it should upshift easily and down shift when the throttle is put to the floor. When you come to a stop if should downshift into low gear before you come to a complete stop. If not, walk away.

You will be paying high retail prices. Don't be shy about getting the best one they have for the lowest price possible. Just because the asking price is "set" a handful of cash can speak volumes.

Good luck and happy trails to you.
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Old 03-22-2017, 10:01 AM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Sarasota
Posts: 68
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800 7.3L
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Small oil leaks are common on many diesels however they usually don't show up on short rides..
I can drive either of mine on a short ride and never notice any oil on the ground, oil is thicker when cold.. it wasn't that hot here today in Tampa to have thin oil right away so that oil leak might concern me , was that a 444e also?

If a bus requires power steering fluid then there's likely a leak there somewhere as you should never need to add fluid.

Shopping retail gives you the advantage of crawling around many busses but like EC said you'll pay more.

Unless this is a high gear project take your time ..

Christopher
Christopher,

I didn't notice any thin oil coming out or on the ground, which was nice, but from the picture I posted, it looks like it's all over the hoses and under it. Without knowing about engines, I wasn't sure if that was a problem. It sounded louder than the other one too which made me think it was working harder. It's a T444E

I'm leaning more toward that one, even though it has higher miles, because the 02 had gauges that weren't working properly and I don't want to deal with that or the rock chips on the windshield.
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Old 03-22-2017, 10:12 AM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Sarasota
Posts: 68
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800 7.3L
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Since it appears you are sort of stuck on purchasing something local I think you will end up paying for the privilege of not traveling further afield.

I am not saying you won't find a good bus but you will be paying more than what they are worth by doing so.

Rust--if it has any, walk away. It is a never ending battle that just gets more expensive as time goes by.

Leaks--if it has any, walk away. Leaks are a good indication of poor preventative maintenance programs. Green leaks are coolant which could indicate a bad radiator (over $1K to repair), hoses that are getting ready to fail, loose clamps, or a crack in the block. Red leaks are from the transmission which could indicate seals failing, a torque convertor getting ready to spew, or loose cooler lines. Black leaks are from the engine which could indicate anything from valve cover or oil pan gaskets that need replacing to a cracked block. Black could also indicate a fuel leak which could be something simple like a fuel return hose that was failing to a failing injection pump.

Tires--since you are wanting to get your conversion done quickly and want to be on the road ASAP, make sure the tires are of a recent vintage without any visible cracks, cuts, or bulges in the side walls and that there is decent tread on the tires. If you are purchasing from a dealer with a lot of buses of a similar size bargain for the best set of tires on the lot. Six new tires is going to cost upwards of $3K for "cheap" Chinese knock off tires. Name brand tires will cost a whole lot more.

Driving--if the bus doesn't track straight, if the steering doesn't turn smoothly from lock to lock, if the steering doesn't return to center while driving down the road you need to walk away and find another bus. Broken springs, cracked or broken frames, worn out steering components, worn out king pins, tires that are ready to come apart, etc. are all items that can cause issues with driving straight down the road. Walk away if the bus doesn't drive straight. And don't buy the "we'll put some fluid into the power steering to make it stop growling" pitch. If it is low on power steering fluid it might be a good idea to know why it was low to start with.

Engine--if the bus engine is warm when you show up come back another day to see what it takes to get started when it is cold. Booster batteries, starting fluid, and other aids to starting might be required to get the bus started. Hard starting can be a result of low batteries, inoperative glow plug/pre-heaters, a worn out starter, or a worn out engine. Knowing if it is a simple problem or an expensive problem will determine if you walk away or not. When running the engine should idle smoothly, it should rev up easily and return to idle quickly. The throttle should move through the full range of the throttle without any binding or stiffness. While driving it should respond to throttle inputs without any hesitations.

Transmission--the fluid needs to be cherry pink and smell fresh. If it is any other color or if it has a sort of caramel flavor to the smell you need to walk away. It should shift from forward to reverse without any hesitation and go into gear with a solid chunk. If it doesn't, walk away. When running down the road it should upshift easily and down shift when the throttle is put to the floor. When you come to a stop if should downshift into low gear before you come to a complete stop. If not, walk away.

You will be paying high retail prices. Don't be shy about getting the best one they have for the lowest price possible. Just because the asking price is "set" a handful of cash can speak volumes.

Good luck and happy trails to you.
Thank you so much for this detailed information. I'm going to print it out and have it with me when I go back to check out the new one that's being delivered on Friday. The great thing about the ones in Tampa are there is zero rust on them as opposed to BGA which had rust all on the bottom and then they quoted me about $1,000 to fix body rust and would take a couple of weeks and would leave it a primer color.


In regards to the price; he said $4,500 for either one but I'm thinking I should have them also include removing the wheelchair lift, seats, and floor too. BGA wants $600 to do those three which isn't a bad price in my opinion considering the videos I have seen and the threads that I have read about performing those three tasks. That also included patching up the holes left and putting rust converter on the floor.

Although I'm not sure if that would be the price if I didn't buy the overpriced bus to begin with and just brought them a different one and wanted the work done
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:50 AM   #16
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 4,410
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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If you were buying a used car would you still buy it if the dealer had to do work to get it out the door? On the other hand I understand your sense of urgency and the safety of buying something close to you.

Also consider the value of the wheelchair lift. They resell those. I'm just saying make a deal, rather than giving the lift away for free while paying for seat removal and a painted floor.

Good luck.
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Old 03-22-2017, 01:11 PM   #17
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,412
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
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I'll remove your seats, lift, and floor for $400. Including a gallon of rustoleum.
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Old 03-22-2017, 01:15 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Sarasota
Posts: 68
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800 7.3L
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I'll remove your seats, lift, and floor for $400. Including a gallon of rustoleum.
I'll see if he'll throw that service in, otherwise it's a deal
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Old 03-22-2017, 02:40 PM   #19
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 6,296
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
navistar guages freezing up is a real common issue.. typically its usually bad solder joints on the Gauge board.. that can usually be fixed easy and cheap..

T-444E's when cold are Louder.. if a bus was brouight from a cold weather location it may have an Exhaust Backpressure valve which will make it louder till it warms up as well..

so bus #1 may have been partially warmed up and bus 2 cold..

on the left side of the gauges is a row of idiot lights. when you turn the key to ON (but not engage the starter).. you whould see the 'WARN ENGINE' LIGHT (YELLOW) Come on for sa few seconds and then go off after the bus is running..

if you Never see that light come on when first starting, be weary that someone took the bulb out...

a failed ICP or IPR sensor will make the engine Louder but will turn that light on..

444E's can have a tendency to run hot if on the highway in warm weather for extended periods of time... I drove my 444E over here to orland (where its 86 degrees).. from st pete.. my engine fan was spinning hard alot of the time i was on route 4 at 65 MPH with the A/C on. before i fixed the fan i wouldve been overheated and having to slow down or shut down..

444E's suffer from somewhat undersized split radiators and often bad fan clutches.. if I was buying at a dealer price id want to make sure the cooling system is working as advertised.. and you wont find that out till you run it on the highway on a fairly warm day..

-Christopher
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:17 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Sarasota
Posts: 68
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 3800 7.3L
I'll keep an eye out for those lights and just watched a 30 min video on diesel engines so I know a bit more of what I should be looking for in regards to the power steering and all.

I took video yesterday of the two actually. Here are the links to show the 02 that had a couple windshield chips, power steering tightness, and gauges. The other video is of the 99 that had oil caked on but I didn't see constant leaking so who knows. I'm praying that the one on Friday is a big time win.

2002 T444E Gauges and Windshield

1999 T444E Oil
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