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Old 08-10-2019, 11:09 AM   #1
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Miles too low?

Hello everyone!
Iím interested in purchasing my first skoolie. Itís a 97 Thomas built International 3800/T444E short handicap bus. The bus looks in great shape. My only reservation is the bus only has 13k miles on it. What are your guys thoughts on a older bus that has very low miles. Is this thing going to have issues from not being exercised enough?
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:17 AM   #2
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There's no way that's accurate mileage for a bus that age. 500 miles a year for 22 years? Not gonna happen.

It's very likely that the dashboard cluster (including the odometer) was replaced 13 thousand miles ago. (If it was a spare bus, it might have only seen that much over the past 3-5 years.) Ask for the service records to see if you can get the true mileage - the gauge cluster failing isn't a sign of anything in particular, it just happens with age - but you don't know how many miles the bus has on it.
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:21 AM   #3
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Welcome,

Your concern is valid. A bus of that age with only 13k miles is hard to believe.

Instrument cluster failures are fairly common on these buses. When they are replaced the odometer starts at 0 again.

Likely that is what you are looking at.
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:22 AM   #4
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That’s good information! The person advertising the bus is claiming 13K original miles!! I think I’ll need to ask some more questions. Thanks for the heads up Mark
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:37 AM   #5
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Thatís good information! The person advertising the bus is claiming 13K original miles!! I think Iíll need to ask some more questions. Thanks for the heads up Mark
That's because idiots believe what they see on the dash. Dash failure is one of the most common failures on a bus. I'd say 75% of buses out there have had dash replacements with no odometer correction. A 22 year old bus with only 13k on it should be in pretty mint condition.
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:43 AM   #6
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There ARE low mile buses out there.
I've got two at my friends property with less than 100k on them.

But dash failure is much more common and very likely.
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:48 AM   #7
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There ARE low mile buses out there.
I've got two at my friends property with less than 100k on them.

But dash failure is much more common and very likely.
Ya, but it ain't low like 13k. There was another recently here claiming 20k, I'm just not believing it.
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Old 08-10-2019, 12:27 PM   #8
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Ya, but it ain't low like 13k. There was another recently here claiming 20k, I'm just not believing it.
I am skeptical.
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:05 PM   #9
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An engine oil analysis is cheap, reveals a lot.
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Old 08-10-2019, 03:35 PM   #10
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First, reserve / spare buses don't usually accumulate a ton of miles.

Secondly, this is / was obviously a special needs bus, and as such, routes often are not nearly as long.

Thirdly, if it was not owned by a county or district, but a private school, 13k could very well be accurate. I would still ask for service records to verify, but if it were, for instance, a spare or activity bus for a special needs school, it would certainly not have been used much. So it's not entirely impossible that this is legit.

If there is a way of looking up recalls on the particular model, that could be your clue to determining true mileage, as the mileage is usually recorded when recalls are done.

Look at the rubber cover on the brake pedal. That will be a giveaway. If it is extremely worn, that's a sign the cluster may have replaced. You might also check to see if there is a way to read engine run hours from the ECM, if applicable.
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