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Old 11-01-2017, 09:18 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Conneaut, Ohio
Posts: 180
Year: 2004
Chassis: International CE 300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71 passenger / 12 window
What do you think about this bus?

Looked at one today at an auction lot. Here are the specs as far as I can tell:

2007 Thomas (does that make it an EPA/emissions control nightmare? It was built in June 2006 as a 2007 model.)
Front engine (Cummins 5.9 ISB215)
Allison AD2500 transmission (I know nothing about this transmission, but the shifter showed RN(D)D321)
Couldn't figure out mileage - batteries were dead and odometer is digital
Full size
Seating for 8 plus driver (it was spec'd as a handicap transport bus)
Handicap lift doesn't work
Two overhead climate control units (looked like air conditioners, working condition unknown)
High headroom
Owner's manual appears to be included
Spent its life in western New York, so the usual rust (nothing LOOKED major when I checked the undercarriage, but who knows if looks are deceiving...)
Coach windows
Seat belts
Bus is already painted white due to not having been an actual school bus
All tires look to be at least in "fair" condition with no visible dry-rot and seemingly decent tread depth, with DOT date codes showing 0214 through 2814
No apparent evidence of water leaks

It was driven to the auction lot under its own power but the condition sheet states "dead batteries"

It's being auctioned off because it didn't pass the NY State safety inspection in February 2017, though the desk guy at the auction house didn't know why, beyond the inoperable handicap lift.

I don't know what it'll go for at auction. The company wants $2,500. The desk guy said that it had been offered at their last auction and the highest bid was $1,750... they didn't sell. He said that when vehicles stay around for a while, sellers start to break down and accept lower amounts of money... but the truth is that we really don't know what it'd sell for. We know they'd take $2,500. We have reason to believe they won't take $1,750.

I know that the mileage will be a variable... but beyond that, any thoughts? (I know that a lot of y'all don't like rust. Okay, fine, but have you heard horror stories of buses rusting out while on the road? I don't have much money and I don't know yet how long I will want to keep a bus once I get it. If I love having one, I can always "trade up" to something nicer later on. If it sits around after a while like my RV did, I'm not going to have to take a huge bath on the sale of the bus like I did with the sale of my RV. At least that's how I feel right now.)
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:27 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Conneaut, Ohio
Posts: 180
Year: 2004
Chassis: International CE 300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71 passenger / 12 window
Pictures here:

Vehicle | Detail | Greater Erie Auto Auction

It has air brakes - forgot to mention that.
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:34 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
I'm betting they'd take $2000.

Even at a bit more, the real question is "Does it meet your requirements?"

If it does, then it's worth it. Once you get into fixing it the way you want, the purchase price will be long forgotten.

Also, auctions are variable. It depends who is there. It may go for over $2500. If you can get hold of the seller, try a $2k offer before the auction. Auction fees would still apply.
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:55 PM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Conneaut, Ohio
Posts: 180
Year: 2004
Chassis: International CE 300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71 passenger / 12 window
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
I'm betting they'd take $2000.

Even at a bit more, the real question is "Does it meet your requirements?"
From my aforestated list, yes it does... assuming the mileage is low enough and the transmission is held in high enough esteem, and it's in good enough operating condition (which I guess an auction house wouldn't be able to tell). It's tall enough, it's already set for a good amount of seating, and the side entrance door provided by the fact that it's a handicap bus could free up the rear for me to do something else with it in the future, such as tow a trailer or add a rear carrier for the generator.

It's big, but not huge. Looks like 35 feet or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
If it does, then it's worth it. Once you get into fixing it the way you want, the purchase price will be long forgotten.
I really don't intend to do much. One king size bed, bathroom fixtures such as tub, toilet and sink, and something simple for cooking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
Also, auctions are variable. It depends who is there. It may go for over $2500. If you can get hold of the seller, try a $2k offer before the auction. Auction fees would still apply.
Is that kosher? As in, would anyone frown upon it?

I do intend to contact them to figure out why that bus was retired... so maybe I could make an offer.
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Old 11-01-2017, 10:04 PM   #5
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
From my aforestated list, yes it does... assuming the mileage is low enough and the transmission is held in high enough esteem, and it's in good enough operating condition (which I guess an auction house wouldn't be able to tell). It's tall enough, it's already set for a good amount of seating, and the side entrance door provided by the fact that it's a handicap bus could free up the rear for me to do something else with it in the future, such as tow a trailer or add a rear carrier for the generator.

It's big, but not huge. Looks like 35 feet or so.



I really don't intend to do much. One king size bed, bathroom fixtures such as tub, toilet and sink, and something simple for cooking.



Is that kosher? As in, would anyone frown upon it?

I do intend to contact them to figure out why that bus was retired... so maybe I could make an offer.
The transmission is a good one.

Do you really care if anyone "frowns" on it? Seller wants to sell, buyer wants to buy, auction house wants the fees.

If you all agree, who is harmed? The worst they can say is "No".
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Old 11-01-2017, 10:17 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Greater Houston, Tx.
Posts: 573
I gotta say that if it fills your needs, and you can get it for an amt. you're happy with, Go for it. What you end up, on the interior, should only matter to you. I have found that most, on this sight, are happy to see people do their bus however they choose. To enjoy your bus, just get 'er done, and be happy.
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:15 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Conneaut, Ohio
Posts: 180
Year: 2004
Chassis: International CE 300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71 passenger / 12 window
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
The transmission is a good one.
Do you really care if anyone "frowns" on it? Seller wants to sell, buyer wants to buy, auction house wants the fees.

If you all agree, who is harmed? The worst they can say is "No".[/QUOTE]

I don't care if anyone outside of the transaction frowns upon it. But would it be kosher for an auction? I'd essentially be preventing others from having the chance to bid on the bus.

I suppose another question I should ask is this: How would I know if the bus has undesirable emissions control stuff on it? (I didn't notice a DEF filler hole, if that helps...)
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:19 PM   #8
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
Do you really care if anyone "frowns" on it? Seller wants to sell, buyer wants to buy, auction house wants the fees.

If you all agree, who is harmed? The worst they can say is "No".
I don't care if anyone outside of the transaction frowns upon it. But would it be kosher for an auction? I'd essentially be preventing others from having the chance to bid on the bus.

I suppose another question I should ask is this: How would I know if the bus has undesirable emissions control stuff on it? (I didn't notice a DEF filler hole, if that helps...)[/QUOTE]

The auction house is an agent for the seller. They don't have an opinion, just a right to their contractual fees.

Other auction goers aren't bothered about your feelings when they are bidding against you
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Old 11-02-2017, 12:42 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 228
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: AARE 3903
Engine: Cummins 8.3L 12v
Rated Cap: 78
What do you think about this bus?

Itís a great looking bus, but IMHO thereís a lot of red flags there.

- NY buses seem to have some of the worst rust Iíve seen. Rust can be mostly a cosmetic thing. Or it can cause the frame to brake the next time you hit a big pothole, and the bus is basically scrap. Having owned / worked on rusty old cars when I lived in the northeast, the more likely problem is that repairs that should be small jobs become much bigger jobs because things donít come apart like they should. Bolts are seized and snap off, and thereís not enough good material there to repair, so now youíre replacing a whole major component instead of a cheap part. That sort of thing. If you have the time, inclination and the skills, itís usually all stuff you can deal with. If not, it can quickly become a money pit. Or you could get lucky. But with rust the odds are not usually in your favor.

- Failed state safety inspection. Iíd say that is a pretty bad sign. If it was something minor they probably just would have fixed it. Since they didnít, it was likely deemed not worth the cost of fixing.

- Dead battery. Not a big deal in of itself, but bear in mind the standard auction language of driven to the lot means almost nothing. The transmission could be hosed, engine could have major issues, all they are saying is it was capable of moving under its own power. You are buying as-is and taking on all that risk yourself.



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Old 11-02-2017, 09:12 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Conneaut, Ohio
Posts: 180
Year: 2004
Chassis: International CE 300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 71 passenger / 12 window
Quote:
Originally Posted by miscrms View Post
Itís a great looking bus, but IMHO thereís a lot of red flags there.

- NY buses seem to have some of the worst rust Iíve seen. Rust can be mostly a cosmetic thing. Or it can cause the frame to brake the next time you hit a big pothole, and the bus is basically scrap.
I know that rust is quite a variable in any equation. I examined everything and didn't see major rust. I would define "major rust" as what I saw when someone who wanted to buy my minivan this summer put it up on a lift. (Like a moron, I didn't examine it thoroughly when I bought it in January in the middle of a snowstorm. I knew that those sellers seemed too anxious to get rid of it. It seemed to run and drive fine, though on certain bumps it did feel as though the body momentarily leapt off of the frame in the back. Turns out - that's exactly what was happening! Yet, it had no rust on the door bottoms or hatch bottom. I figured that usually those are the second things to go, after the rockers, when rust gets bad.) Really rusty metal starts to deform and look like it's coming apart in layers. I didn't see that with this bus. Does that mean there's no significant rust? Not at all. I don't know everything there is to know about rust.

But what I do know is that I don't have the time nor the desire to spend the money to make a trip to a place like Phoenix where I could get a zero-rust bus. (After all, those zero-rust buses seem to have really high mileage. If I'm going to pick my poison, I'll stay away from mechanical nightmares.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by miscrms View Post
- Failed state safety inspection. Iíd say that is a pretty bad sign. If it was something minor they probably just would have fixed it. Since they didnít, it was likely deemed not worth the cost of fixing.
The guy at the auction house said that it failed inspection because of the nonfunctional wheelchair lift. The seller wanted to offload it because the cost of replacing the busted components of the wheelchair lift (he specifically mentioned the motor) was deemed too high for that bus. So, you're right, but it may not be anything beyond that lift. I'm sure that any state would fail a bus for safety when it's set up as a handicapped person hauler, and the wheelchair lift doesn't work. I know that NY State is REALLY lenient with rust, on passenger vehicles. If it is assumed that a bus is held to comparative standards, I highly doubt that it would have failed safety for rust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by miscrms View Post
- Dead battery. Not a big deal in of itself, but bear in mind the standard auction language of driven to the lot means almost nothing. The transmission could be hosed, engine could have major issues, all they are saying is it was capable of moving under its own power. You are buying as-is and taking on all that risk yourself.
I know... and I recognize that there'd be risk. But if this bus was operated in western NY (which the registration sticker and body decals suggest), it would be at bare minimum 30 miles to get from any location in western NY to where that auction house was located. My guess is that if it had really bad mechanical issues, that 30-mile trip would have been difficult if not impossible. (I could be wrong. People have all kinds of ways of covering this stuff up. Maybe it was towed to a place only a few miles away and then driven to the lot, limping under its own power.)

Plus, it came with a condition report, which made no mention of mechanical problems beyond the dead batteries. Does that mean that the report is necessarily 100% complete and honest? No, this stuff can never be trusted completely. But, you can get a bad vehicle from anyone, and you can get a good vehicle from anyone. My first car was the second most expensive car I've ever owned, and the first day I took it out, it blew its starter and had to be towed home. And, I've bought really cheap cars from private sellers that gave me next to no trouble for as long as I had them. I bought a brand-new Subaru in 2009 which always had a loose driver's seat (they said there was nothing wrong with it... okay, yeah right)... and a $490 Cadillac that gave me almost 20,000 trouble-free miles (save for having to get a new muffler) before I sold it for $700. Nobody ever gives you any guarantees that are worth much.

And for me, it's a risk because I have never owned a bus. I'm not the type to "luck out" on my first trigger-pull. I'm sure that whatever bus I choose, there will be something wrong with it or something I don't like about it which at some later time will make me say "if I'd only known then what I know now"... but that's how we all learn. There's only so much that people can tell you online. If I get a cheap bus and decide that I really like "bus life", I might just offload it at some point and get something a bit nicer. I just feel better about buying a $2,000 bus than a $10,000+ motorhome. They can both break down and cost lots of money to fix, but at least if I had to scrap the bus, I could probably get that two grand back. I couldn't get even that for scrapping the more expensive motorhome.
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