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Old 06-02-2016, 05:05 AM   #41
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Gearing is exactly why I walked away from mine.
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:36 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by jake_blue View Post
Gearing is exactly why I walked away from mine.
Whenever I bid on a bus, one of the few questions I ask EVERY time is "what's the rear axle ratio?"
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Old 06-02-2016, 08:09 AM   #43
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And that's one of the reasons I'm not big on auctions as a source for buses. If the used bus dealer doesn't know how to find out the information with access to manufacturer build information, how confident can a buyer be that an auction seller isn't just making stuff up to push the auction through... And once you find out it was wrong or misleading then it's either too late or a huge PitA to try to get your money back. And as the OP said to launch this thread, it's also easy to confuse details between auction listings. I think last year someone posted about accidentally bidding on and winning two different listings. All that to say that yes there may be deals out there at auctions but please PLEASE know what you're doing and know what you are getting. And as disappointed as I am about not getting the bus I was looking at I'd rather be disappointed than saddled with a bus I can't use or that will cost me twice what I wanted to spend in mods to make it what I wanted in the first place.
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Old 06-02-2016, 08:29 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by jake_blue View Post
And that's one of the reasons I'm not big on auctions as a source for buses. If the used bus dealer doesn't know how to find out the information with access to manufacturer build information, how confident can a buyer be that an auction seller isn't just making stuff up to push the auction through... And once you find out it was wrong or misleading then it's either too late or a huge PitA to try to get your money back. And as the OP said to launch this thread, it's also easy to confuse details between auction listings. I think last year someone posted about accidentally bidding on and winning two different listings. All that to say that yes there may be deals out there at auctions but please PLEASE know what you're doing and know what you are getting. And as disappointed as I am about not getting the bus I was looking at I'd rather be disappointed than saddled with a bus I can't use or that will cost me twice what I wanted to spend in mods to make it what I wanted in the first place.
Its not real hard to figure out what to look for.
You will pay 2-3x as much to buy the exact same bus from a dealer than you can buy at an auction. Dealers really DON'T do much other than buy up all the buses and play middleman. A dealer is MUCH more likely to lie to you than a secretary at the school board.
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Old 06-02-2016, 08:35 AM   #45
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if you can find out where a bus came from, the fleet managers are often more than willing to talk about it..

I do all correspondence in email for any vehicle I buy... if I asked the rear gear ratio and they say "4.78" in an email and I get a bus that has a "5.31" i have a pretty damn good case against their reputation and possibly legally.. if a dealer lies to you on the phone or in person.. not much you can do..

obviously the best is if the busses are somewhat close to you and are allowed ot be inspected so you can crawl under and get the info off of the tags.. or perhaps see what the schools it came from were to try and contact them...

if they are a manufacturer still in business i thought I read somewhere someone that contacted blue bird or thomas and was able to find out what the bus had by the VIN.. (manufacturer has records on what was put on the bus.. the line card)..

-Christopher
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:57 AM   #46
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With any auction, you should obviously try and fill as many blanks as possible, but the risk of some auctions simply are that information is limited. On the same token, those buses tend to go at auction cheaper as a result, due to higher risk.

Doing some research, which is pretty limited on this Thomas, this black surround headlight saftliner was designed to compete with Crowns and Gilligs. They even offered a "WestCoasterER" option that installed the detroit 6v92 engine in it. So, I think it's hit or miss on what gearing this bus has. End of day, it's a 3500 bus...I figured I can't lose. The bus has to at least pull 4500 via craigslist (if not more), which will likely be near break even post transportation/registration/titling costs, so that I can resell it.

That said...I'm not sure I care what gearing it has. Numerically higher gearing would make it pull a trailer a bit better, and if its 55 on the highway so be it. My former Class A I never took above 60 and I did back and forth cross country trips with it. Frankly, I am exhausted doing interstate highway travel anymore, as the country just blows by you. I'm interested in a bit more secondary road travel, even at the slight expense of mpg. RV'ing should really be about the ride, not so much point to point travel. You can do point to point traveling via airplane.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:03 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by RC000E View Post
With any auction, you should obviously try and fill as many blanks as possible, but the risk of some auctions simply are that information is limited. On the same token, those buses tend to go at auction cheaper as a result, due to higher risk.

Doing some research, which is pretty limited on this Thomas, this black surround headlight saftliner was designed to compete with Crowns and Gilligs. They even offered a "WestCoasterER" option that installed the detroit 6v92 engine in it. So, I think it's hit or miss on what gearing this bus has. End of day, it's a 3500 bus...I figured I can't lose. The bus has to at least pull 4500 via craigslist (if not more), which will likely be near break even post transportation/registration/titling costs, so that I can resell it.

That said...I'm not sure I care what gearing it has. Numerically higher gearing would make it pull a trailer a bit better, and if its 55 on the highway so be it. My former Class A I never took above 60 and I did back and forth cross country trips with it. Frankly, I am exhausted doing interstate highway travel anymore, as the country just blows by you. I'm interested in a bit more secondary road travel, even at the slight expense of mpg. RV'ing should really be about the ride, not so much point to point travel. You can do point to point traveling via airplane.
That's the spirit, man!
I know people who go coast to coast @ 55mph in buses.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:33 AM   #48
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Yeah, my true intent is to somewhat micro explore the west, so given the terrain, hill climbs, etc, having a bit of extra torque multiplication via diff is fine with me. I've literally blanketed the Appalachians every which way I could dissect it, so I would like to do the western states. I believe most people often plan for the extremes, versus the mean average. I've traveled this country pretty extensively, major cities, all the major highways, via car, via train, via motorhome. I'm at the point now that i just really want to SEE some states, off the highway. Granted I have to get from the east to the west but, I'm cool with 55mph. Less passing necessary, easier driving, safer, a myriad of reasons.

If you have to do 70-75mph in a motorhome, then the old life routine must be waiting for you to get back to the grind, so you're in a hurry...what kind of vacation is that...lol. Truckers see the country at 70mph, RV is supposed to be about recreation.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:40 AM   #49
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I much prefer driving the backroads. It is one of the reasons I am building an RV...to see what's out there off the beaten track. But...I am also a believer in appropriate gearing because there will be times when you will almost certainly HAVE to take an Interstate or expressway. And given the average speed limits these days, anyone going too slow on them is a hazard and likely to get ticketed. The other side of appropriate gearing is being able to make reasonable speed without stressing the engine and wasting fuel. Many of the newer units are capable of getting along just fine for those limited but necessary stretches at reasonable highway speeds, but some just cannot be safely driven on any modern highway.

Mine for example.

Given that it was built before the US Interstate system even began construction, it was geared "appropriately for it's day". Top speed...40 - 45 MPH. That will get you killed just about anywhere today, so I really had no choice but to upgrade the engine & gearing...which also necessitates upgrading the handling & brakes.

My point is simply to make sure before buying any rig that you will actually be able to use it for YOUR intended purposes. That is what makes it vital to know up front what the gearing, top speed and RPM's are over the road. From there, at least you will be informed as to whether and buy and drive as is...or be prepared to modify as needed.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:43 PM   #50
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On my bus:

I called Thomas to get some VIN specific details. They said my bus has spring front suspension and air ride rear. Allison MD3060 transmission with city gearing in the 5.xx range. So...we'll see. I need to call Allison for more specific info they said.
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