View Poll Results: Is this Bluebird All American a good purchase?
Yes 3 60.00%
No 1 20.00%
Other (Please specify) 1 20.00%
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:28 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Question Is this Bluebird All American a good purchase?

Hey folks! I'd please like your advice on a vehicle we've found that seems to meet all our needs (full-time skoolie conversion for a family of three to tour the US and eventually Europe).

It's a Bluebird All American from 2000, (looks to have the extra height inside though they don't specify - just a guess based on the height difference between driver and passenger window heights? I'm 6ft so we need that extra!), 84 seats (what would this be in terms of actual internal usable foot length?), Diesel 8.3 Cummins with an Allison B500 Transmission and 260,000 miles on the clock, for $10k up near Seattle.

What sort of information should we look to obtain from the seller before deciding if it is a wise purchase, besides the Maintenance Record? We'd also find and hire a local mechanic up there to do a full check over of the vehicle for us and provide a report (we're based down in California and can't make the trip until we know we're buying).

I've made an imgur gallery of the photos so you can eyeball 'em and I'll try to embed them all straight in to the post too

Thank you for the advice, Dakota and I really really appreciate it!
















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Old 11-10-2019, 08:05 AM   #2
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Yes that's a really top of the line bus. You'll not find many nicer. The price is high, but its probably a reseller.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Yes that's a really top of the line bus. You'll not find many nicer. The price is high, but its probably a reseller.

Pretty sure that is the Bluebird dealer for Washington State. VERY clean bus, cleaner than mine and better tires. I'm guessing a bus like that would be 7-8k at auction but if you absolutely need a bus immediately then dealers are your main option.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:04 AM   #4
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That bus is essentially rust-free. Since there'd be no opportunity to weld over any giant holes in the floor, I'd give it a hard pass.

All seriousness aside, that's an absolutely fantastic bus for a skoolie: high ceiling (which comes with larger-than-normal windows), underbody storage, great engine etc. etc. But $10K is really steep.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:12 AM   #5
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Def a nice setup there. But not quite 10k nice, at the most it's worth $7,500....
Check the date code on the tires make sure they aren't old. I've seen man with loads of tread and 8-12 years old... Mine has some great looking tread but are 8-9 years old which is a bit too old to trust for serious adventures. Def a plus with the powertrain setup.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:36 AM   #6
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Nice looking bus!

Maybe I am a little biased
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:01 PM   #7
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Pretty sure that is the Bluebird dealer for Washington State. VERY clean bus, cleaner than mine and better tires. I'm guessing a bus like that would be 7-8k at auction but if you absolutely need a bus immediately then dealers are your main option.
I've got a friend who bought one of the Renton WA buses on GovDeals. Nicer than this one even, and they went for 4k.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:15 PM   #8
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Estimates of $7-$8k would make that the most expensive purchase price for a bus offered here. Is it really THE Holy Grail? 20 years old, high mileage. If you're not in a hurry, Beaverton is auctioning off more buses in the spring. I just paid $1650 for a 2005 , 40' Thomas. There are plenty of nice buses available for less than $4K out there.
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Old 11-10-2019, 02:06 PM   #9
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Pros: Good engine. Looks to be high-ceiling. Underbelly storage. Decent tires. Air brakes. Relatively rust free (that I can see).



Cons: Mileage a bit high. No A/C (that I see). Windows not tinted (this helps greatly with summer heat). Asking price very high.


Unknowns: Fuel tank capacity. Is it actually a B500 Allison transmission? (Did school buses come with these transmissions?) What work has the seller done on this bus, if any? Any recent major engine work? (A recent overhaul might justify a higher asking price.) Gear ratio/top speed? (Was this set up for highway cruising?)


As others have stated, a similar bus can be had through an auction for a lot less money, so ultimately you have to decide if the extra dealer/seller convenience is worth the extra price. I'd haggle a bit, see if the seller will add some value to the bus (seat removal? Paint? RV title conversion? Delivery?) for the price.
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Old 11-10-2019, 02:16 PM   #10
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It is near identical to my 2002.

I bought mine on Govdeals.com for $3450. It had a bit over 170k miles and custom "bodywork" on the rear cap

I am definitely biased but I do think that an A3RE with the 8.3 & MD-3060 is among the most desirable school buses short of a Gillig Or Crown.

Just my $0.02

Edit: JohnBaptist.... The best thing about Crowns and Gilligan's is that they could be had with two stroke Detroit's
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Old 11-10-2019, 02:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
Pros: Good engine. Looks to be high-ceiling. Underbelly storage. Decent tires. Air brakes. Relatively rust free (that I can see).



Cons: Mileage a bit high. No A/C (that I see). Windows not tinted (this helps greatly with summer heat). Asking price very high.


Unknowns: Fuel tank capacity. Is it actually a B500 Allison transmission? (Did school buses come with these transmissions?) What work has the seller done on this bus, if any? Any recent major engine work? (A recent overhaul might justify a higher asking price.) Gear ratio/top speed? (Was this set up for highway cruising?)


As others have stated, a similar bus can be had through an auction for a lot less money, so ultimately you have to decide if the extra dealer/seller convenience is worth the extra price. I'd haggle a bit, see if the seller will add some value to the bus (seat removal? Paint? RV title conversion? Delivery?) for the price.
The B in B500 designates it as a Bus specific trans. That's a new one on me.
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:07 PM   #12
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The B in B500 designates it as a Bus specific trans. That's a new one on me.
You learn something new every day

Allison 's "5th generation" transmissions have a prefix that indicate application. TC for truck, B for bus etc.

That really makes me wonder about our schools today....... The only B series Allison that I have seen firsthand was in a garage truck.... I didn't check to see if there were any students in back.....
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Old 11-10-2019, 03:13 PM   #13
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Good B500 Info

https://www.allisontransmission.com/....pdf?sfvrsn=13
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Estimates of $7-$8k would make that the most expensive purchase price for a bus offered here. Is it really THE Holy Grail? 20 years old, high mileage. If you're not in a hurry, Beaverton is auctioning off more buses in the spring. I just paid $1650 for a 2005 , 40' Thomas. There are plenty of nice buses available for less than $4K out there.
No one's bus prices are higher than BGA.
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:57 PM   #15
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Still a great bus.Yeah, the price might be a bit high, but is probably less than someone who buys a bus for $2k then replaces the transmission, or has something so rusty it's junk.

It's all predicted on drive-train health. One would need to correlate the maintenance records with equipment manufacturers' recommended maintenance items. Then you could figure out how much run time you get before expensive items are due. Things like heads, bearings, piston and liners.
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Old 11-11-2019, 10:01 AM   #16
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Also that one has minimal understorage which also detracts from the value somewhat.
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Old 11-16-2019, 04:42 PM   #17
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yours looks great, I have a 98 and looks very similar... Love it I converted mine and I am living in it full time... very nice
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:07 PM   #18
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Value

One question you should ask is if it has an hour meter on it so you can tell how many of those miles that it shows are around town or highway miles. My 1996 All American has 320,000 miles on it but only 9000 hours on the motor which basically says the average speed for the life of the vehicle has been 45 mph which means itís mostly highway miles. Major engine work is not required till 14,000 hours on the 8.3 cummins. Would be nice to know horsepower rating and differential ratio as well.
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