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Old 12-03-2007, 12:54 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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1986 GMC School Bus

Can anyone advise on this model if bus? opinions, cautions, pros and cons, availability of spares etc
It has something like a 7.? diesel, auto transmission

I posted in classifieds also, I eager to get some good insight as I plan to travel to see one on Friday

The guy is asking $2500, 170K miles, looks clean, seats removed and some minor upgrades but still not RV status.

This will be used for long haul travel across the US. I do have a mechanic coming with me but I want the reality check before I jump.

Help appreciated!
Cheers
Alan
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Old 12-03-2007, 07:19 PM   #2
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Re: 1986 GMC School Bus

In a 1986 GMC I would expect to see an 8.2 liter Detroit if it had a diesel. 1986 should be new enough to have the changes made on it to be reliable. I do not own one, but it seems to me that everyone that does is happy enough with the performance, reliability, and mileage of the engine. Heck, Detroit Diesel called it the "fuel pincher." It was widely used so parts and competent mechanics (should the need arise) should not be difficult to find. Just remember that it is no longer produced so like many of our engines the local NAPA or Carquest might not necessarily have parts on hand.

The trans is most likely an Allison AT545. You can search and read about the differences between it and the MT643, but suffice it to say that either one will be fine.

Check the bus over real well. Rust is the enemy. Look for service records. Take it for a test drive and make sure it runs at speeds you are happy with. Then offer him less than $2500, sign some paperwork, and drive it home if you like it.
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:19 PM   #3
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Re: 1986 GMC School Bus

Thanks, this is not what they class as a "screamer throaway "is it?
I live on a boat and been around them for a few years so I know some older detroits were sleeveless
I'm waiting on the seller getting back to me, maybe naive or NOT but he said a 7. and it only does 55mph (governed??)

The bus looks good and has no fear with a mechanic viewing it. Rust was very minimal, the photos show a pretty good hull (er I mean body)

No spare tire or jack is this common??

No service history records, says he bought from a dealer which came straight from School use in VA.

In a worse case scenario say engine duff or transmission, what am I looking at ball park to repair such or replace. Any guestimates will be fine. Just so I have a threshold budget.

Any other advice welcome

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Old 12-03-2007, 09:26 PM   #4
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Re: 1986 GMC School Bus

No spare or jack is common.

55 would get really old really fast

Replacement costs on the engine and tranny are going to have you shopping for a new bus unless you just throw a $400 junkyard AT545 in it.

It is not a sleeved engine so it is a bit of a "throwaway" but most of us have "throwaways." Even if I had a sleeved engine I probably wouldn't do a rebuild unless I had the guys in the diesel department at school do it. I would still do lots of thinking about that one.
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:32 PM   #5
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Re: 1986 GMC School Bus

Yeah it seems the price of these buses is the engine and trans.

Guess I need to get Sams Club RV tow service etc just in case.

I know diesels chug along for a long time if you feed them well. But I am planning on a good few thousand miles in the future.
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