View Poll Results: How would you buy this bus?
I would get it towed home. 0 0%
I'd drive with no insurance or license. 0 0%
I'd get insurance but not worry about the license. 2 50.00%
I'd get insurance, and a CDL. Or a friend. Don't risk it. 2 50.00%
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-26-2016, 10:16 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 60
Year: 2003
Chassis: Ford E350 with Girardin body
Engine: 7.3L Diesel
Smile Purchasing in Indianapolis ... any help appreciated!

Hello everyone!

So I am about ready to pull the trigger on a bus in Indianapolis. It is a flat-nosed, 9 row Bluebird TC2000. 130k miles. 5 speed at545. 5.9 cummins with a p pump. Middle side door for the ramp. I just wish it was closer, and not across the border, but whatever. It's an 8 hour drive back to me in Hamilton, Ontario. I will bus there for $150. Gas back, about $300? Bus: $3900 asking.

Is there anyone in the Indianapolis area (I think the bus is in Camby, just south), I would be happy to meetup and buy you a drink and would appreciate anyone knowledgeable to come take a look at the bus before I drop my cash on it. Will be passing through Michigan as well. Maybe if someone knows a good place to check out for conversion parts / supplies on my route I will stop there too!

Basically, I'm shopping around for insurance and having issues. I think I am making the mistake of saying its a bus. I try to let them know its now a large truck / van that happens to look like a school bus...but so far I have only 1 quote for $400/month for a 'commercial vehicle under modification'. And they need 2 months up front + $1500 cancellation fee so I can't use this for 1 week to drive it home, convert/retitle it and then look for a cheaper policy. At least it dropped to $200/month once it is fully converted.

The other issue is I have a class G (no CDL / B/ E license) but this may be fine. At worst, it's a gray area as far as I understand? The bus is privately owned and isn't carrying passengers. I heard I can retitle it as a van in Indiana but it takes 2-4 weeks - might be time prohibitive. I also can't remove the seats because the bus needs to be unmodified to meet customs import requirements. Maybe there is someone here who can help me drive it across the border (the scariest spot for me) for some compensation

I appreciate all input and advice!
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:29 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Note...the Allison AT 545 is a four speed...not five.
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:11 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 60
Year: 2003
Chassis: Ford E350 with Girardin body
Engine: 7.3L Diesel
Ah, thank you for that correction!
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Old 11-02-2016, 11:38 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 60
Year: 2003
Chassis: Ford E350 with Girardin body
Engine: 7.3L Diesel
I have a reasonable insurance policy quote for $585/yr now. Problem is, that is for a converted school bus, and mine is...not quite there yet. I'm going to see what can be worked out. They want 2 pictures of the inside and outside. Is it awful that I have considered sending pictures of a different bus? Just so I can get this bus into Canada and ACTUALLY convert it. Unfortunately, it has to be stock when being declared for import into Canada, else I'd consider doing work in Indiana to meet the minimum RV requirements, THEN drive it home.

Here are some pictures of the bus!
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Old 11-02-2016, 12:02 PM   #5
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,967
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Looks like a decent bus... big thing is to get some pics of the under carriage looking for rust.. the outer part of the body looks good esp for a northern bus..

the AT545 transmission is OK in a smaller bus like that on mostly flat ground.. but if you plan to take that bus through alot of mountains you may want to consider a different bus with a more updated transmission..

cant go wrong with a Cummins in my book , the 5.9 should do OK in a smaller bus like that too as far as power.. it wont be a speed demon but its a School bus..

do they know what the rear gears are? sone busses have very low ratio rear gears whiuch makes them only go up to 45-50 MPH... others are geared properly for highway use..

it has 2 Nice Trans/AIR Air conditioners in it!

-Christopher
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Old 11-02-2016, 01:52 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 60
Year: 2003
Chassis: Ford E350 with Girardin body
Engine: 7.3L Diesel
I agree about the AT545 but have not found a bus with a better tranny in a similar package as this bus (shorter side, flat nose, rear access door)...only one Thomas that was more expensive, and seemed to have inconsistencies between what Thomas says is in there, and what the seller assures me is in there...so I shied away.

I hope to recoup some costs by possibly selling the ACs (or using them, maybe even just 1, of course), seats ($10 ea), and the wheelchair ramp.

I agree...I hear the 5.9 is reliable - albeit slow. I can live with slowness. It's safer..and more scenic. As long as it CAN climb mountains - just slowly - I'm happy. I do plan to visit the Rockies one day. I also hear parts are easier to find.

I don't know what the gears are. How do I find out? The seller probably doesn't know but he can provide the VIN, or pictures. I will see if I can get pictures of the underside.

Thanks for the input Chris!
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:00 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,967
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
with the VIN, bluebird might be able to help with what was installed since they are still in business..

AT545 - ive run my 2 AT545's over the smokies.. (up to 3200 feet).. and over Monteagle without issue.. I just have not attempted the rockies... though there are some that do without issue. a good transmission cooler and lots of patience can go a long way into a succesful up and Down the rockies.. going very slow as to not heat up the brakes helps on the way down..

A/C units - they dont seem to have much value.. as a shop likely wont help with used A/C parts and many people dont have the knowledge to properly re-use them.. but it surely doesnt hurt to try and sell them as long as you arent looking to get crazy money you might have success...

I always suggest keeping one for the road... but few here do - they often prefer to rough it on the road with a genny and a camper unit as a way to save the space taken up by the road A/C indoor evaporators.. me personally? its 2016 and I like to ride cool..

someone else can chime in about prices... they are all over the place.. one of my busses I proibably over-paid a bit for but its gone nearly 10,000 miles this summer / fall without issue.. and the other I got a great deal on.. and it too has thus far been reliable.. (2000 miles since september)..

-Christopher
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Old 11-02-2016, 06:29 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 859
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: TE 444
Rated Cap: 12
IN the US, you will have no problem driving the bus with a normal drivers license, just paint over anywhere is says School bus and tape over the flashing school bus lights, not sure what the law is in Canada though. keep the AC units, they literally have no value and around here it is hard to give away school bus seats. wish I had found one like that one, but mine is good
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