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Old 08-23-2018, 05:03 PM   #1
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Uncertain Buyer

I know next to nothing about engines or any of the mechanical aspects of ownership, but I do know that I really would like to own a school bus.

Father of 3 young kids who would love to get the whole family out and road tripping.

I am looking at a purchasing this vehicle (https://truckcentercompanies.com/gt/...onal-3000-3000). The link looks to be from a previous transaction. I am looking to buy off of a Craigslist seller. 1996 International 3000 53 passenger 444E Auto 4 Speed Allison 225k miles. I am not sure I even know what I just typed.

I am concerned about maintenance costs and how many hours/miles are left in the bus I am looking at. Also, any feedback you could provide on if its a good value or not at $3.5k.

I am a commercial roofer who knows a thing or two about waterproofing, so please lob any waterproofing concerns at me and I will take a stab at answering as a reciprocation.

Thanks in advance.

Look forward to sharing information.
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:18 PM   #2
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Location: topeka kansas
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Year: 1954
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Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
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Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
dig in

Read more about licensing, insurance, and defeats......... kind of sink into it all... then think a while about it, roll it over in your head. spend a month getting into it, then ask again. you will have a better idea for your self.

would help us out here sometimes to let us know where you are operating from, some here can give more guidance than I.

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Old 08-24-2018, 11:23 PM   #3
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Location: N.C.
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: DT466E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahook View Post
I know next to nothing about engines or any of the mechanical aspects of ownership, but I do know that I really would like to own a school bus.

Father of 3 young kids who would love to get the whole family out and road tripping.

I am a commercial roofer who knows a thing or two about waterproofing, so please lob any waterproofing concerns at me and I will take a stab at answering as a reciprocation.

Thanks in advance.

Look forward to sharing information.
This might not be what you want to hear, but.....read, read, and read some more. Use the Search feature for this site, ask things like "what's the best engine", "what's the best transmission", etc. You'll find that everyone here comes to a general consensus about the best handful of motors, best handful of trannys, which ones to avoid, what to look for if you *think* you've found the bus of your dreams, etc.

I looked for 18 months for just what I wanted.....in that time I learned SOOOOO much about what makes a good bus, and a good buy. Every single thing you could ever want to know about buses can be found on this site somewhere.....it and the people here are an invaluable resource.


Welcome, and good luck.
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Old 08-25-2018, 08:10 AM   #4
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Location: St Petersburg, FL
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
That bus is pending sale so back to the hunt?
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:13 AM   #5
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,549
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahook View Post
. . . 1996 International 3000 53 passenger 444E Auto 4 Speed Allison 225k miles. I am not sure I even know what I just typed.

I am concerned about maintenance costs and how many hours/miles are left in the bus I am looking at. Also, any feedback you could provide on if its a good value or not at $3.5k.

International, up to around 2004, would be an excellent choice. The T444 engines have excellent reputations and parts availability. The DT466 engines produce *MUCH* more power and will be a better option for much highway cruising. Avoid the "MaxxForce" engines like the plague. They had numerous (and very expensive) emissions hardware problems. The V365 engines (similar to the Ford 6.0) were also not without problems, so most people avoid these too.


The "Allison 4-speed" behind the T444E suggests it's the AT545 transmission. Great choice for stop-and-go school bus use, not so much for a highway cruiser. This transmission lacks overdrive, and lacks a "locking" torque converter, which in turn generates more heat when ascending hills or pulling heavy loads. Too much heat is murder on a transmission. Most people prefer to avoid this transmission for this reason. Also, *CHECK THE REAR-END GEAR RATIO!* This *WILL* determine your highway top speed! Get the VIN and call an IH dealer if necessary. Having said this, knowing is half the battle. Choose wisely.


You'll also want to consider two other factors - brakes and GVWR. Since I don't know where you live (and, just as importantly, where you plan to register the vehicle/maintain your driver's license), some states absolutely require special licensing for a GVWR above 26,000. Others do not, provided it's titled/registered as an RV/motorhome (or "House Car", in some states). And brakes - this really is more of a personal choice as opposed to "one is better than the other". Both do the job of stopping the bus. Air brakes, in my opinion, have much better parking "holding power" than typical hydraulic brake buses do (typically a driveshaft brake on these). Air brakes take a little getting used to, don't expect these to have much pedal travel. Hydraulic brakes work like the ones in cars, so it takes very little getting used to, and other than the size of the parts being bigger, are otherwise very similar to your personal car. Hydraulic brakes in buses will have a motor/pump which will activate whenever you use the brakes with the engine off - there is *NO WAY* your foot can generate enough pressure to stop the bus without this power assist. Again, knowing is half the battle. Make an informed choice.


Check *ANY* bus for rust. Look underneath, behind the wheels, etc. $3500 wouldn't be out of line for a bus with a big engine, overdrive transmission, air brakes, and highway gearing. This bus lacks those, so I'd expect to see a value around $1500-2000 (at an auction). New tires would be around $1500, so if it has new tires (NOT re-treads), you could justify a higher price.
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