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Old 01-16-2017, 07:32 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 18
Yet another newbie

Hello everyone,

I'm Jukes, currently living in NC. I've been lurking on this site for a few months now and have decided to take the plunge and buy a bus. I'm looking to make it my full time home while I travel the US and Canada for at least a year. I'm giving myself three years to get it transformed into my home on wheels. By then my contract with my current job will be done and I can hit the road full time.

I was poking around GovDeals and found a bus in TN. from what I have read on this forum I think it's a good bus, but I want to ask first before jumping feet first and getting myself a lemon because there are some things about it that make me wonder.

Hopefully the image shows. It's a 2000 Thomas model 138. The engine is a Cummins V6 (did not state if it's an 8.3). Transmission is Allison automatic (again did not state if it's MT643, MD3060, etc). Was used as an activity bus. Says the motor is 2 years old (should that make me happy or cause me to pause?). And it's at about 92,000miles (is that because the motor was rebuilt?). Makes no mention of the tire quality. Removed from service August of last year, so it's unfortunately been sitting around for a few months. It sounds like it has potential to be a good bus but there are a few things about it that strike me as red flags. But I don't know anything about buses other than what I've learned on this forum. The bid ends in 24hrs (8am ish 17Jan). I just saw it today when I widened my search radius.

Any thoughts? Should I run away from this bus or give it my first attempt at bidding?


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Old 01-16-2017, 07:35 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 6,302
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
thjey posted the VIN, thomas is still in business you mAy be able to take that VIN and call thomas / see if they can give you info on the engine / trans that was installed when it was built..

-Christopher
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Old 01-16-2017, 08:56 AM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 151
The bus has some very positive things going for it. The activity buses are most often higher geared and will travel well at 60 MPH+, it is a Cummins, it looks like it is a high roof.
Funny they list it as a V6, I would bet it is a inline 6, don't know of any V6 Cummins that were used in a Bus during that time frame.
Pictures look good. If you can, go inspect the bus in person, check for rust, talk to the fleet Manager/Mechanics and see if they can tell you anything about it.
I would guess that being an activity bus it would have the larger 8.3L and an OD trans, but you need to call or go see it to be sure. Then, check for rust and if it all seems good, go for it. Just be aware, if it is as good as it looks, the price may get pretty high. Its a great combo and sought after. Good Luck.
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Old 01-16-2017, 12:03 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldmopars View Post
The bus has some very positive things going for it. The activity buses are most often higher geared and will travel well at 60 MPH+, it is a Cummins, it looks like it is a high roof.
Funny they list it as a V6, I would bet it is a inline 6, don't know of any V6 Cummins that were used in a Bus during that time frame.
Pictures look good. If you can, go inspect the bus in person, check for rust, talk to the fleet Manager/Mechanics and see if they can tell you anything about it.
I would guess that being an activity bus it would have the larger 8.3L and an OD trans, but you need to call or go see it to be sure. Then, check for rust and if it all seems good, go for it. Just be aware, if it is as good as it looks, the price may get pretty high. Its a great combo and sought after. Good Luck.


Thank you both for commenting. I did some more research and spoke to the school admin who has access to the bus.

The bus is currently located in TN and was purchased by them from a school in NY. Rust was an issue but was repaired and passed its most recent inspection. I'm having pics sent to me of the undercarriage (I'm five hrs away from the bus).

The engine was/is a Cummins 8.3 L. It was rebuilt 2 years ago with 10,000miles on the new engine and a total of 92,000 on the vehicle.

Hoping to get more info tomorrow. The bid ends at 8pm tomorrow.

Bus is being sold because the school only has one bus driver and no longer has a need for two buses.


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Old 01-16-2017, 05:58 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,546
It looks like a pretty nice bus.

I am not a big fan of spoke wheels due to the limitations you have in regards to changing wheel size. 10-hole wheels can swap out relatively easily to get taller tires. With spoke wheels you are limited to whatever you can get to fit onto the rim.

On the other hand, you can service wheel ends with hand tools if you have spoke wheels. You may need a long bar to get things loosened the first time but it isn't like trying to break free 10-hole lug nuts.

The age suggests it most likely has an MD3060 transmission but they still had the MT600 series available so it may not have the OD transmission.

The fact it came from NY and "has had the rust repaired" concerns me a little. Rust is never fully repaired. It is a cancer that you can beat back but it always comes back.

I would stay in the bidding and stop at $3K. If you think it may take one more bid to win it I would go to $3,500.00 but no more.

Good luck.
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Old 01-16-2017, 06:30 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
It looks like a pretty nice bus.

I am not a big fan of spoke wheels due to the limitations you have in regards to changing wheel size. 10-hole wheels can swap out relatively easily to get taller tires. With spoke wheels you are limited to whatever you can get to fit onto the rim.

On the other hand, you can service wheel ends with hand tools if you have spoke wheels. You may need a long bar to get things loosened the first time but it isn't like trying to break free 10-hole lug nuts.

The age suggests it most likely has an MD3060 transmission but they still had the MT600 series available so it may not have the OD transmission.

The fact it came from NY and "has had the rust repaired" concerns me a little. Rust is never fully repaired. It is a cancer that you can beat back but it always comes back.

I would stay in the bidding and stop at $3K. If you think it may take one more bid to win it I would go to $3,500.00 but no more.

Good luck.


Definitely appreciate the feedback. Rust concerns me as well. I'm hoping to get a better sense of the situation from the pics I get tomorrow. I wish I could see it in person, but I can't get away from work tomorrow.

Thank you for the bidding suggestion. I will keep that in mind if i join the fun tomorrow.


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Old 01-16-2017, 10:41 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 6,302
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I have spoke dayton wheels on the DEV, they are just fine.. they are standard width rims and fit the Uniroyal 11R22.5 tires just fine... no worries... no issues..

-Christopher
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Old 01-17-2017, 07:13 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I have spoke dayton wheels on the DEV, they are just fine.. they are standard width rims and fit the Uniroyal 11R22.5 tires just fine... no worries... no issues..

-Christopher


Good to know, I appreciate the info. Thanks!

-Jukes


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Old 01-17-2017, 03:50 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 18
Got a batch of photos of the undercarriage. Kind of bummed out. Looks like it will need a lot of love to stop the rust from spreading.




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Old 01-17-2017, 03:51 PM   #10
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,430
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Not the worst I've seen, but yeah nothing under there would excite me at all, either.
IDK, I'd wanna see more... But if its got a NEW 8.3 and its savable with a LOT of elbow grease and POR-15, it COULD be worth it.
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