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Old 11-11-2017, 11:39 PM   #1
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First Baby Steps -- Input Welcome

We're super newbies trying to sort through getting a bus with some character and not wanting to inherit some major unpleasantness. This is a 1992 Bluebird, AT 545, Cummins 5.9 eng, 277,000 miles, with under-storage on both sides, 32 ft, GW 32,000. One issue: all gauges blink in/out periodically when going over a bump. Sounds like loose grounding wire but maybe more??? Price:$3,500.

Just researched the discussion on the AT545 and driving hills. We're West Coast, so it's a consideration.

We're ON the schoolie train, no doubt, but, as I've read here, good to start with the right bones. Thanks much for any input!
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Old 11-11-2017, 11:53 PM   #2
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We're super newbies trying to sort through getting a bus with some character and not wanting to inherit some major unpleasantness. This is a 1992 Bluebird, AT 545, Cummins 5.9 eng, 277,000 miles, with under-storage on both sides, 32 ft, GW 32,000. One issue: all gauges blink in/out periodically when going over a bump. Sounds like loose grounding wire but maybe more??? Price:$3,500.

Just researched the discussion on the AT545 and driving hills. We're West Coast, so it's a consideration.

We're ON the schoolie train, no doubt, but, as I've read here, good to start with the right bones. Thanks much for any input!
Welcome.

Did you buy it, or are you thinking of buying it?

If you are thinking about buying it, it sounds expensive and I'd pass at that price ... maybe if all six tires were brand new ...

Take a look at comparable buses, for $3500 I'd be wanting a better engine, and certainly a better transmission.

If you bought it already ... well you'll soon find that the purchase price isn't the be all and end all, and have fun converting it. The engine will get you over the Sierras, eventually, just take it easy on the downgrades because the transmission won't be helping much.
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Old 11-12-2017, 12:51 AM   #3
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Thanks much. Good input. We didn't buy it, just went and looked today. I'm guessing buses cost different amounts depending upon the part of the country too? We're in Southern OR and buses are quite the hot commodity.

When you say better better engine and better transmission, any specifics you can suggest?

Grateful for the wisdom and experience!
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Old 11-12-2017, 01:01 AM   #4
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Location: Owasso, OK
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Thanks much. Good input. We didn't buy it, just went and looked today. I'm guessing buses cost different amounts depending upon the part of the country too? We're in Southern OR and buses are quite the hot commodity.

When you say better better engine and better transmission, any specifics you can suggest?

Grateful for the wisdom and experience!
School buses generally run urban/semi-urban routes with frequent stops. RVs travel highways and over mountains.

Better engines include the Navistar DT466 and Cummins 8.3L Better gearboxes are anything that is not the AT545. That trans. is great for engines under 200 hp, and when you don't need either lock-up torque converter, or overdrive.

If you buy a bus with an engine tuned for more power, it will have a better transmission.

Most of the buses used for activities by schools will have a better drivetrain for highway use. They are not as common as regular route buses, but there are plenty out there.

There is nothing wrong with the 5.9 and AT545, but in a full length bus it will be painfully slow uphill, and not helpful downhill. It's likely to have a fairly high final drive ratio too, which helps when the top speed on your route is 40 mph, but will struggle to top 55 mph on the highway.
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Old 11-12-2017, 01:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by WowWow View Post
Thanks much. Good input. We didn't buy it, just went and looked today. I'm guessing buses cost different amounts depending upon the part of the country too? We're in Southern OR and buses are quite the hot commodity.

When you say better better engine and better transmission, any specifics you can suggest?

Grateful for the wisdom and experience!
Some amazing deals on RE buses with 8.3's in WA.
for about what you're gona pay for that low spec, cheap model bluebird you could buy a NICE All American by using one of the auction sites.
Some nice stuff on GD and PS if you look frequently.
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Old 11-12-2017, 09:49 AM   #6
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Location: Owasso, OK
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Some amazing deals on RE buses with 8.3's in WA.
for about what you're gona pay for that low spec, cheap model bluebird you could buy a NICE All American by using one of the auction sites.
Some nice stuff on GD and PS if you look frequently.
Both those WA buses hit $5000 plus auction fees and taxes the other day. They went quite high, but still a bargain compared to $3500 for the bus in this thread.

I watched them fairly closely, but it would have cost me at least $750 to get one home, so you have to bear that in mind too.
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:43 AM   #7
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Both those WA buses hit $5000 plus auction fees and taxes the other day. They went quite high, but still a bargain compared to $3500 for the bus in this thread.

I watched them fairly closely, but it would have cost me at least $750 to get one home, so you have to bear that in mind too.
A friend of mine bought a Renton WA bus. RE with mechanical 8.3 and 3060 trans. MINTY condition, with ALL the bells and whistles. Was less than 5 grand out the door. Its as nice a bus as can be had. Dealers try to get twenty g's for such buses.
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Old 11-12-2017, 03:21 PM   #8
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Thanks, All. Juicy and way helpful information. Really grateful. Taking notes! More to come.
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