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Old 02-08-2018, 04:54 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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If it has 340,000 mi what would you bid?

I know they say these engines go over 500,000 miles, but how many more? I want it to last!
Is the BS body style the tall one? I was wondering what people would bid...

1995 BLUE BIRD 84 Passenger Body Style: BS
Cummins 8.3 C Series Allison MT643
Mileage: 339923
There is no rust!
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Old 02-08-2018, 05:02 PM   #2
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I would want to see the maintenance records on it.
That will tell you if it has been well maintained or poor maintenance and any parts that have been replaced along the way.
It might have already been rebuilt 100,000 miles ago?
Or you can ask the seller to do a fluid (oil,tranny and cool to)analysis sample and let you see the reports.
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Old 02-08-2018, 05:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by matengi9 View Post
I know they say these engines go over 500,000 miles, but how many more? I want it to last!
Is the BS body style the tall one? I was wondering what people would bid...

1995 BLUE BIRD 84 Passenger Body Style: BS
Cummins 8.3 C Series Allison MT643
Mileage: 339923
There is no rust!
They generally don't go over 500k miles. They generally never get anywhere near that number of miles. While it is correct that the engine you are looking at has a B50 of 500k miles, that is for a standard-duty engine. Use in a school bus is usually considered to be severe-duty, and the mileages are lower.

That said, the Cummins 8.3 mechanical (C-Series) is one of the best, and it can be re-built without removing it from the bus. If you are handy, have the tools and are prepared to buy or source the shop manual, you can rebuild it for around $2000. At 340k it may, or may not, need this work done sooner rather than later.

Checking the blow-by and smoke from the exhaust will tell you quite a lot. That bus has a great drive-train, but only if it's in good condition.

I wouldn't want to pay more than $2000 for it. Unfortunately, it's likely to go for more but you might be lucky. My reasoning would be that it's right up there on mileage. If I had to spend $2k to $3k to get it fit for the next 10 years, my total outlay would then be around 4 to 5k ... a decent price for that bus in top condition.
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Old 02-08-2018, 05:19 PM   #4
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Ok, thank you.

Also, is there a place to check the heights of the buses based on the body type? I searched all over the bluebird website and couldn't find it - not sure if the other manufacturers have that either?
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Old 02-08-2018, 05:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by matengi9 View Post
Ok, thank you.

Also, is there a place to check the heights of the buses based on the body type? I searched all over the bluebird website and couldn't find it - not sure if the other manufacturers have that either?
Generally no. Thomas code the ceiling height into the VIN#, so a VIN search will usually tell you, but the others don't.

The Blue Bird Vantage site gives basic build data. The newer the bus the more useful that site is. Often the ceiling height is there, but often not. It also gives info like the serial number of the transmission and the Allison site will then tell you the specifics.

As for the others ... call a dealer with the VIN, or use the contact form on the manufacturers website to ask them. Thomas are good at replying but I don't know about the others.
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Old 02-09-2018, 11:48 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, the contact says the transport div of the school dept (Tucson) 'is too busy' to send maintenance records for this auction, so i guess none of the 7 bidders has seen them...
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Old 02-09-2018, 12:00 PM   #7
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I would be very cautious about purchasing a bus from AZ with those kinds of miles. Historically AZ has had pretty good buses. But over the last 5-10 years they have had some major funding issues requiring them to keep buses considerably longer than they have in the past.

It also means they haven't spent the $$$ necessary to keep everything running well. It hasn't been that long ago that an AZ BB AA RE bus left the rear end of the bus as it went down the street. There has to be some very serious maintenance and driver daily inspection lapses that would allow a rear end to drop off.

In most calculations school bus duty is only second to garbage truck service for severe duty. It isn't that when they are running that they work that hard. It is the number of on/off cycles that kill them. It also doesn't help that the short duration of each cycle can mean the engine does not get up to proper operating temperatures. This sort of duty cycle exacerbates the issues in regards to emissions equipment since most of them rely on hot engines to make them work properly. Short answer, for every school bus mile it is considered to be 2x of normal service duty miles.

A BB of that age would be a low roof if the inside of the windows have two buttons and a high roof would have three buttons holding the windows to the window posts. Outside you can visually see the difference between 9" and 12" windows by where the top line of the windows are in relation to the driver's side window and the top of the service door. 9" equals the top of the driver's side window and the top of the service door and 12" line up above them.

Unless you can figure out if any major work has been done to the bus I would not pay more than $3.5K for a bus of that age with those kinds of miles, particularly one with the MT643 transmission.
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Old 02-09-2018, 12:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
I would be very cautious about purchasing a bus from AZ with those kinds of miles. Historically AZ has had pretty good buses. But over the last 5-10 years they have had some major funding issues requiring them to keep buses considerably longer than they have in the past.

It also means they haven't spent the $$$ necessary to keep everything running well. It hasn't been that long ago that an AZ BB AA RE bus left the rear end of the bus as it went down the street. There has to be some very serious maintenance and driver daily inspection lapses that would allow a rear end to drop off.

In most calculations school bus duty is only second to garbage truck service for severe duty. It isn't that when they are running that they work that hard. It is the number of on/off cycles that kill them. It also doesn't help that the short duration of each cycle can mean the engine does not get up to proper operating temperatures. This sort of duty cycle exacerbates the issues in regards to emissions equipment since most of them rely on hot engines to make them work properly. Short answer, for every school bus mile it is considered to be 2x of normal service duty miles.

A BB of that age would be a low roof if the inside of the windows have two buttons and a high roof would have three buttons holding the windows to the window posts. Outside you can visually see the difference between 9" and 12" windows by where the top line of the windows are in relation to the driver's side window and the top of the service door. 9" equals the top of the driver's side window and the top of the service door and 12" line up above them.

Unless you can figure out if any major work has been done to the bus I would not pay more than $3.5K for a bus of that age with those kinds of miles, particularly one with the MT643 transmission.
Thanks for the advice!
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Old 02-09-2018, 01:10 PM   #9
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Seen a lot of buses at auctions in AZ with high miles and high hours, so I'd imagine Cowlitz is right on with his assessment.
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Old 02-09-2018, 06:00 PM   #10
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In my opinion an 8.3 with340k on the clock without having had major work and being in a school bus is on the edge of being very problematic.
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