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Old 08-05-2015, 01:31 PM   #1
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So you want to buy a bus. Get edjumacated FIRST!!!!

You want to buy a bus? So did we. Before you buy something and come here complaining that it only goes 49mph and you want to go 80, figure it out beforehand. Without singling anyone out, it is getting annoying reading posts every week with someone whining about something they thought would be different.

Rules in bus buying.

1. Understand that you are buying a school bus, not a $400,000 MCI motor coach. Price before conversion.

2. Many of the buses being auctioned off are at the end of their useful life. Choose carefully or you will pay dearly.

3. Know your budget and what it costs to pick up a bus from 2000 miles away. If you find a bus 20 miles away and it is $500 more than a bus 1500 miles away and 149 miles from the closest airport, it is a steal. Don't be a pennywise, pound foolish, tightwad cheapskate and complain about your purchase after the fact. If you are a tightwad, embrace it but don't come here and cry about it.

4. Tires are very expensive. Understand that a bus with good rubber costing $500 more than the same bus with bad rubber is a steal.

5. Rust. IT NEVER SLEEPS!!! Avoid like the plague. Unless you are buying to part it out, I don't see the benefit of buy a bus with rust. I am talking about body cancer not some mild surface rust.

6. Speed. FORGETABOUTIT!!! See Rule 1. There are exceptions to this rule. Cubes, transmission and ratio. If you want a GO FAST BUS, buy a bus with a Cummins 8.3 engine, a MT643 or MD3060 transmission and a 4.10 rearend. End of discussion. I know that some will mention a DT466 engine but the highest HP I have ever seen is a 210hp and the 8.3 engines I have seen are 250. It is best to buy a bus with what you need or want than trying to change it afterwards.

7. Front or rear engine. Your preference. Are you going to haul bikes, canoes, motorcycles, etc? You might want a front engine bus but the are noisier and hotter for the driver. Rear engine is much more quite.

I have more rules but need to run right now. Feel free to add more if you want.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:31 PM   #2
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Looks like we are off to a great start with solid advice. To all the noobs looking for a bus, pay attention and learn.

PLEASE DO NOT CLUTTER THIS THREAD WITH QUESTIONS.




Reserved for more knowledge.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:56 PM   #3
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I agree with all that except the 8.3 vs 466 thing. There are many 466 out there with more than 210hp.
But I like this thread, you did a pretty good job putting that list together. It does get redundant sometimes with new threads that all ask the same questions.


I'll add that if you plan of driving in the mountains, you may want a retarder. Especially out west.

And ALWAYS figure out who will insure a bus for you before buying one. ALWAYS have a very definite place to store or park a bus.
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:33 PM   #4
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And find out beforehand how fussy your state/provincial Motor Vehicle Agency is going to be to flip the title and registration.
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:47 PM   #5
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Also check to see if your state has a one-way-trip temporary tag like Texas does. For $5 in Texas you're legal to get home.

Have the VIN ready for the insurance company to pre-plan insurance. My agent in Katy, TX is very accustomed to us having off-the-wall vehicles so he's more willing than most to help us out.

Once you get your bus, SERVICE IT!!!!! BEFORE YOU GO HOME SERVICE IT!!!!!! When was the last time the oil was changed? Can YOU verify this? If not, the change the oil, check the transmission fluid, coolant, et.al. Also check the D.O.T. dates on the tires. ANYTHING over nine years old is considered a traffic hazard by most trucking companies. If you can't change the tires plan on going slower than you anticipated to get home safely. Higher speeds = higher tire temperatures = BLOW OUT. I kept my bus below 50 mph to save the engine, but the tires were borderline and another reason to go slow coming home.

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Old 08-05-2015, 06:49 PM   #6
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The Cummins 8.3 mechanical will have more torque to HP ratio than a DT466.

More torque = More power in big heavy pieces of iron.

In the Mechanical factory set engines available in school buses, The 8.3 Cummins will always have more power than a DT466.
Now in newer electronic versions of the same engines, DT466 engines come 300hp and beyond. However you can also get 400hp in a electronic Cummins 8.3.

Hard to argue raw cubic inches and stroke length.

For the record I like both engines. Furthermore, both engines are extremely reliable, and built with wet sleeves, making them rebuildable in the bus, without having to remove them.

Side by side, one almost looks like the others big brother.

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Old 08-05-2015, 09:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal View Post
You want to buy a bus? So did we. Before you buy something and come here complaining that it only goes 49mph and you want to go 80, figure it out beforehand. Without singling anyone out, it is getting annoying reading posts every week with someone whining about something they thought would be different.

Rules in bus buying.

1. Understand that you are buying a school bus, not a $400,000 MCI motor coach. Price before conversion.

2. Many of the buses being auctioned off are at the end of their useful life. Choose carefully or you will pay dearly.

3. Know your budget and what it costs to pick up a bus from 2000 miles away. If you find a bus 20 miles away and it is $500 more than a bus 1500 miles away and 149 miles from the closest airport, it is a steal. Don't be a pennywise, pound foolish, tightwad cheapskate and complain about your purchase after the fact. If you are a tightwad, embrace it but don't come here and cry about it.

4. Tires are very expensive. Understand that a bus with good rubber costing $500 more than the same bus with bad rubber is a steal.

5. Rust. IT NEVER SLEEPS!!! Avoid like the plague. Unless you are buying to part it out, I don't see the benefit of buy a bus with rust. I am talking about body cancer not some mild surface rust.

6. Speed. FORGETABOUTIT!!! See Rule 1. There are exceptions to this rule. Cubes, transmission and ratio. If you want a GO FAST BUS, buy a bus with a Cummins 8.3 engine, a MT643 or MD3060 transmission and a 4.10 rearend. End of discussion. I know that some will mention a DT466 engine but the highest HP I have ever seen is a 210hp and the 8.3 engines I have seen are 250. It is best to buy a bus with what you need or want than trying to change it afterwards.

7. Front or rear engine. Your preference. Are you going to haul bikes, canoes, motorcycles, etc? You might want a front engine bus but the are noisier and hotter for the driver. Rear engine is much more quite.

I have more rules but need to run right now. Feel free to add more if you want.
Great advice and thank you for posting. I have been struggling with the price of the bus we are interested in but it has everything I want.
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Old 08-06-2015, 07:53 AM   #8
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great thread crazycal!
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:04 AM   #9
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Before doing your floor plan and starting to build it...get under your bus for awhile and look at what is in the way, BEFORE hand a rear engine bus can not be plumbed the same as a front engine if bathroom area is in say the rear


Consider where you plan to go and even your yard/driveway before selection, I had to go with a front engine bus due to the slope of our driveway and the places we go have lots of steep in and outs, rear engine and conventionally MH's get high centered alot
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:28 AM   #10
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Before doing your floor plan and starting to build it...get under your bus for awhile and look at what is in the way, BEFORE hand a rear engine bus can not be plumbed the same as a front engine if bathroom area is in say the rear
Agreed. I'm already looking to have to change where I put my kitchen sink or at least the drain pipe because, as it stands now, it's over the fuel fill.

And this has been mentioned previously in a numerous build threads- Lay out your floor plan with tape and cardboard, or even just sidewalk chalk and see how it holds up when scaled up to 1:1
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
Before doing your floor plan and starting to build it...get under your bus for awhile and look at what is in the way, BEFORE hand a rear engine bus can not be plumbed the same as a front engine if bathroom area is in say the rear


Consider where you plan to go and even your yard/driveway before selection, I had to go with a front engine bus due to the slope of our driveway and the places we go have lots of steep in and outs, rear engine and conventionally MH's get high centered alot
This makes me think of the many threads involving "theoretical buses".
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Old 08-06-2015, 11:46 AM   #12
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If you see this in your thread with silly questions, know that you are giving more than one person a headache.



Yes many of us have said that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. This isn't true. We were being nice and didn't want to make you feel bad. If you post about a bus you found with a price and NO DETAILS and ask if that is a good deal, we will send Smitty to your house to work you over. And we will watch and enjoy it.


If you are asking questions about a particular bus, PROVIDE DETAILS, AS MANY AS YOU CAN, or we will send Smitty after you. Hi Smitty, where you been?
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Old 08-06-2015, 05:12 PM   #13
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My advice is stay away from 350 small block engines. They aren't built to take the heavy load and you will be replacing the camshaft every 30 000 miles. This goes for rv's too. You will get better fuel mileage, durabilty and performance from a big block or a diesel.
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Old 08-06-2015, 07:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal View Post
If you see this in your thread with silly questions, know that you are giving more than one person a headache.



Yes many of us have said that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. This isn't true. We were being nice and didn't want to make you feel bad. If you post about a bus you found with a price and NO DETAILS and ask if that is a good deal, we will send Smitty to your house to work you over. And we will watch and enjoy it.


If you are asking questions about a particular bus, PROVIDE DETAILS, AS MANY AS YOU CAN, or we will send Smitty after you. Hi Smitty, where you been?
Damn it man, that's funny!
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:30 AM   #15
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good thread
maybe this link can be added to the "Everything a Noob Needs to Know About Skoolies" thread...if I can find that thread
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:52 AM   #16
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good thread
maybe this link can be added to the "Everything a Noob Needs to Know About Skoolies" thread...if I can find that thread
True, one of us needs to step up and take the time to assemble such a thread.

I have made a few tech "How To" threads in the past, but never got around to having them made a sticky.

Without a thread being made a sticky, in time it will become buried beneath all the new posts in that section.

This is part of why I feel starting new threads should be restricted. This site has far to many duplicate new threads started everyday.

For the newbies:

If you have a question, I guarantee someone before you had the same question. Therefore if you search on Google, you will find other threads where people have asked that question, and it has already been answered by multiple people.

So not only do you save us seasoned members a head ache, but you get your answer right away, and more than one answer. Many times it was a complete discussion, meaning better results and knowledge.



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Old 08-07-2015, 08:21 PM   #17
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I should make a check list

After this thread is good and long....and find the boly grail of buses!
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:38 PM   #18
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. . . If you post about a bus you found with a price and NO DETAILS and ask if that is a good deal, we will send Smitty to your house to work you over. And we will watch and enjoy it.


If you are asking questions about a particular bus, PROVIDE DETAILS, AS MANY AS YOU CAN, or we will send Smitty after you. Hi Smitty, where you been?
Wait, you know how to get hold of Smitty? . . . . I thought he drove off into the sunset, literally, in Neon Moon.
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Old 08-12-2015, 01:58 AM   #19
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Wait, you know how to get hold of Smitty? . . . . I thought he drove off into the sunset, literally, in Neon Moon.
Nope, he is like the wind in the night. We use this to get a hold of him.

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Old 08-19-2015, 10:05 PM   #20
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8 - Check your local zoning and home owner association rules regarding parking your bus at home. The Powers That Be can make your life miserable if you break the rules.

If you're planning to full-time in your bus, be aware that you can't just park anywhere you want. A big old bus suddenly showing up in a neighborhood or parking lot will attract attention in a hurry and that attention usually means you'll be moving on.
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