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Old 02-07-2019, 12:36 PM   #1
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Smile Advice needed on first bus purchase

Hey guys,

Brand new user here, so apologies if this isn't the right thread to be asking this. I have my eye on a converted short bus on Craigslist and was wondering if anyone could give me advice as to a fair price or if this is something I should avoid altogether. Also if anyone could suggest important questions to ask the owner that may be helpful for this specific model:


--1998 Chevy 3500
--225,000 miles
--diesel, automatic, 8 cylinder, rwd
--Used by a school district up until 2017 and owner has all maintencene records since when it was new
Nicely converted



I've read a couple other threads on here that had mixed reviews for 6.5L 3500 engines, but being the complete novice that I am, I wasn't sure if this engine differs in quality based off of other factors such as year. The main concern that I gathered was overheating, which I think may not be too much of an issue for me as I will be driving it minimally in a flat area with mild weather. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:01 PM   #2
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
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Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
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Someone asked about the 6.5 the other day and Josh described the engine perfectly... "Boring"

They are low powered, economical and reliable.

IIRC: there were a couple of years that had some injection pump issues that are somewhat easy to resolve by upgrading to a later model pump. I bet Cowlitz or Christopher can tell you more about that.

Have you ever worked on a v8 powered van? I have owned a couple and after the last one I decided "never again". I just don't like working on them and neither does my favorite mechanic.

I loved driving them. The E450 Thomas 6 window I had turned tighter and rode better than my pickup. I just didn't like working on it.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:15 PM   #3
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the 6.5 has many problems - one of them is a problem with the air intake leaking - a tiny bit of dust leaks and it takes out cylinder #8 - that happened to my 6.5 in a light duty 3/4 ton pickup - my son was a mechanic in GM dealerships for 20 years, an assistant shop foreman when he started his own successful business, told me that was a common problem with the 6.5 - I drive a HD 3/4 ton now, visually a twin of the diesel, but heavier, and I get at least as good gas mileage, better acceleration and a bit better pulling power on the mountain passes with my 350 cu/i as I did with the 6.5 - the 6.6 is a much better, more reliable motor than the 6.5 ( coming from the 2nd generation of a 3 generation family of chevy fans - lol )
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:26 PM   #4
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Year: 2002
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Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
No doubt the Duramax 6.6 is a word apart from the 6.5.

The 6.5 is seriously underpowered compared to the modern generation of light/medium duty diesels.
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:47 PM   #5
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Hey guys,

Thanks for the replys! I'll ask the seller about the air intake and injection pump, and look over the maintenance records. If everything checks out, would you consider $15,000 to be in the ballpark of a fair price, taking into account that its already converted? Thanks again
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Old 02-08-2019, 04:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesserjoe View Post
Hey guys,

Thanks for the replys! I'll ask the seller about the air intake and injection pump, and look over the maintenance records. If everything checks out, would you consider $15,000 to be in the ballpark of a fair price, taking into account that its already converted? Thanks again
That's a $3500-$4500 bus , so ask yourself how much the conversion is worth. 15 k for a van with 225k doesn't sound like a great deal to me.
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:23 AM   #7
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Way too much money!
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:32 AM   #8
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Year: 2002
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Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
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Conversions vary in level of finish and quality from tin tent to Taj Mahal and everything in between.

It is really tough to gauge value without more information/pictures.
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