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Old 06-18-2016, 11:21 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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So I'm going to look at a bus...

Bus is a 01 Freightliner w/Cat 7.2l motor. It seems as if few here care for the Cat motors but that's what's in the bus. Motor has just under 150k miles. So my questions are what should I look for as far as the motor is concerned? And what transmission do I want w/this motor? The pictures I've seen of the bus look ok to pretty good (very little rust, straight metal, decent steering and excellent rear tires). I've asked the seller (private party) about hours, transmission and brakes. Their answers were -don't know, it has a clutch and they work-so I'm driving down (5 hours roundtrip) on faith. How many hours should a 150k mile bus from a rural school district have? Price is $3500 so I'm not expecting perfection-Current owners bought the bus about 16 months ago from a local school district. Any and all advice gratefully accepted but mostly I need direction on motor and transmission-what are the trouble signs ? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-18-2016, 11:53 PM   #2
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Good luck!

Where are you located and where is the bus? The reason i ask is sometimes one of us memeners are closer and can take a look for you if needed.
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Old 06-19-2016, 02:10 AM   #3
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I don't "Dislike" Cat motors, I'll drive one as happily as any other and for the most part they are fairly close in reliability. The thing is parts ... things like filters and belts aren't too hard to come by, but pretty much anything else will come from a CAT dealer, with correspondingly higher prices and more limited availability. Cummins and IH parts are fairly common and can almost be bought at the corner drugstore, so to speak.
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Old 06-19-2016, 07:06 AM   #4
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As Brad said, the reason Cat gets a bad rap around here is alot of us are shade-tree mechanics and Cat parts are spendy.

Things I look at:

Case Of Beer... Or C.O.B... Coolant, Oil, Belts. No coolant leaks, no oil leaks, oil level, belts but loose, cracked or frayed.

Pull the oil dipstick... Is it honey or black tar or coffee? Take a sniff, does it smell of diesel fuel in the oil pan?

Underside of engine and transmission... Is it caked with dry oil mixed with road grime? A little coating of oil is normal but if you can break off chunks with a putty knife that's no good.

If it has a clutch then it's not an automatic... So basically just can you drive it and is it geared high enough for your expectations.

If air brakes, start it up, let it build pressure, listen for leaks. There's a whole air brake test procedure but basically as long as you can't hear air escaping. Brake pad linings need to have a measurable amount of wear remaining.

Tires... Basically tread depth, uneven wear, cuts, bulges, visible cords, separation of tread from sidewall.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:30 AM   #5
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To the tires I would add...check the date stamp. They can look ok but if they are ten years old, they are becoming a hazard. This happens a lot on school buses for some reason. The ones on mine had plenty of tread and minimal cracking but were 36 years old!
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Old 06-19-2016, 10:54 AM   #6
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Hi,

Before a ourchase i invite the Universe to share any helpful information.
This sometimes comes as a gut feeling, sometimes as a red flag (sellers story changes each time they tell it) and sometimes it's like jumping into a lake; i am excited and uncertain, but on my way in.

Again good luck!
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:54 PM   #7
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Location

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carytowncat View Post
Good luck!

Where are you located and where is the bus? The reason i ask is sometimes one of us memeners are closer and can take a look for you if needed.
I'm just outside of Richmond-bus is in Roanoke Rapids NC-Right now I'm on the books for a look Thursday-If I don't-buy the bus will be on Craigslist by the weekend. The current owners are in-laws of a good friend (I was his best man) so I'm pretty sure it'll still be there but I am calling Wednesday night!
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:57 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks

Thanks to everyone for their input-I'll be travelling on Thursday so if anyone has any more advice don't hesitate! I'll post back after the viewing (sounds like a funeral!).
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Old 06-19-2016, 11:31 PM   #9
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Yes the funeral is a metaphor for the deat of an old life before the bus. life after bus is ....
Hey BB and AB (time before bus/ time after bus)

. Cool, and again good luck!
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Old 06-23-2016, 04:37 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I went-I looked-I drove and I came home empty handed.

I've been looking/thinking about this for a while but this is the first bus I looked at w/cash in my pocket (the others were all auctions or dealers-so I didn't feel too bad kicking tires). Bus was better than I expected in the drivetrain but the steering was wonky and the bus smelled a bit-moldy or musty and a little wet dog thrown in. It was going to need 4 tires to drive home-they looked good in the pictures but were older recaps in person. The floor and frame looked good from underneath but there were obvious rust issues on the top of the floor. The bus has been sitting (rolling storage) for about 16 months and I'd guess the roof was leaking before the school system let it go. I told myself not to buy the first bus I looked at unless it was exactly what I wanted-so I passed on this one.Current owners are good people and I expect the bus will be on Craigslist in the next week or so (probably Norfolk Va ) so if anyone wants more info from me then let me know and I'll tell all. Thanks for the help/advice and encouragement and I hope that next time I'll be able to post some pictures of my new bus!
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