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Old 05-29-2019, 08:25 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Would you drive cross country for a bus

So I live in Oregon, and Iím looking for a pre 2004, 4-5 window, dognose bus with a mountain ready transmission ie. Anything but the Allison 454. I donít see these coming up on the surplus sights very frequently, and the few I have seen are in Virginia or someplace equally far. I know that there are lots of mountain school districts that are closer, but I canít really wait forever. I want to hit the road by early September. Should I be bidding on faraway busses? Itís hard to win them at prices within my budget when I have to add plane tickets and diesel costs, and missed work to my purchase price. And, I obviously canít do an in-person inspection. I guess Iím wondering how often busses like the ones Iím after come up. Will the increase as school lets out?
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:32 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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my 11 window w/ at545 rocked the cascades all summer did crater lake, logging road boondocking, everything - no problems at all.

yes there are def. better Trans's out there, but I figured i'd share just in case it was helpful.


just put a trans temp sensor in if you do go that route, and don't be afraid to drop it into 3 for a grade.


also, I found searchtempest.com to be very helpful in my bus search, just does all craigslist sites within a specified area in one list.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:30 AM   #3
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If the price is low enough, but for a bus that small the 545 would work fine - I'd be more concerned about the rear end gearing.

Being close to the mountainous region though, you should have to travel too far to find something other than a 545.
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:08 AM   #4
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I'm looking at a 1,200 mile trip, one-way. (Being in the rust belt doesn't help, I'm wary of anything within 500 miles.)

There's not that much out there, especially when the lower-spec engines usually work
fine for the shorter buses.

Even then, I haven't found much (of anything) in short buses lately.
I have a theory that with the T444 going out of production around 2004, many districts either switched to full-size buses, or the cutaway vans to avoid the emission controls on the engines - which is why there's a TON of cheap VT365s out there. (But they're VT365, which no one wants.) Now we're at the point where they're all starting to age out en mass.
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Old 05-30-2019, 04:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Tawdbb View Post
So I live in Oregon, and Iím looking for a pre 2004, 4-5 window, dognose bus with a mountain ready transmission ie. Anything but the Allison 454. I donít see these coming up on the surplus sights very frequently, and the few I have seen are in Virginia or someplace equally far. I know that there are lots of mountain school districts that are closer, but I canít really wait forever. I want to hit the road by early September. Should I be bidding on faraway busses? Itís hard to win them at prices within my budget when I have to add plane tickets and diesel costs, and missed work to my purchase price. And, I obviously canít do an in-person inspection. I guess Iím wondering how often busses like the ones Iím after come up. Will the increase as school lets out?
Oregon is a really great place to bus shop. If you buy one in VA you'll be getting less quality, IMO.
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Old 05-30-2019, 06:47 AM   #6
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... I haven't found much (of anything) in short buses lately.

Nor have I. Been wanting one of those 5- or 6-window shorties as an SUV replacement. I'm slowly resigning myself to the concept that the money'd bus flippers will get any that come up (already out bid four times).
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:44 AM   #7
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Oregon is where some really nice busses live.. I travelled across the country TO oregon last summer to drive a 40 year old gasser with an AT540 back to ohio... more desirable drivetrains are going to command higher prices.. but in general as marky mentioned ALL busses are going for a premium with the tiny-home movement in full swing..
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Old 05-30-2019, 08:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_In_MA View Post
I'm looking at a 1,200 mile trip, one-way. (Being in the rust belt doesn't help, I'm wary of anything within 500 miles.)

There's not that much out there, especially when the lower-spec engines usually work
fine for the shorter buses.

Even then, I haven't found much (of anything) in short buses lately.
I have a theory that with the T444 going out of production around 2004, many districts either switched to full-size buses, or the cutaway vans to avoid the emission controls on the engines - which is why there's a TON of cheap VT365s out there. (But they're VT365, which no one wants.) Now we're at the point where they're all starting to age out en mass.

the VT365 isnt as bad as its ford counter-part.. an EGR cooler and oil cooler update and they will run for a good long time.. most people want something cheap to just hop in and drive forever... the VT365 takes a bit of updating when you first get it.. and it requires you to be more vigilant about never getting it hot and keeping the fluids maintained correctly.. like any of the other Diesel V8s.. in a full sized bus the VT365 is going to struggle on the big hills.. thats where you start running up coolant and oil temperatures.. oil temp on the VT365 is what destroys them.. a less efficient oil cooler.. a fully loaded skoolie pulling a long grade foot to the floor.. coolant temp hanging in there at 215-220 (warm but OK )... no oil temp gauge... older engine = more blow by means higher crankcase temps.. next thing you know the oil temp is off the scale and ruins the engine...



the real sparse time for busses is going to come when everything out there is in that 07-10 range for used busses... the first years of full on emissions.. and before the cummins 6.7 stuff starts showing up on the market.. some of that stuff is already starting to show up and gets bid up in price because they are "newer" busses with "newer" features..
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:49 PM   #9
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Nor have I. Been wanting one of those 5- or 6-window shorties as an SUV replacement. I'm slowly resigning myself to the concept that the money'd bus flippers will get any that come up (already out bid four times).
They probably build/sell 100 regular full length buses for every one shorty.
BUT- the short buses go for MUCH cheaper when they do pop up. As long as they don't pop up at a dealership. I've probably bid on a dozen shorties since buying this lifted 5 window monster. I could have won most of em if I'd been serious.
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:54 PM   #10
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I’ve been watching govdeals.com and publicaurplus.com for about 2 months now. Seen three busses that match my description. All have sold for more than 5k, am I looking at the wrong sites?
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