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Old 06-09-2021, 05:36 PM   #1
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To be or not to be?

Hey there! I have a chance to look at and put a deposit in on a bus in a couple of days and I'd like to see if anyone here has used such a short bus for conversions. Just looking to take it camping and such.

2009 Chevy 3500 Collins Body 200k miles.

Duramax 6.6L diesel engine. 4L85E trans. New transmission lines, new oil pan, flushed fluids, all with OEM parts.

New front tires, passable rear tires.

Most of the seats are already out and the seller is willing to remove all of them no charge.

It's not a rust free southern vehicle but it looks pretty good. Frame picture attached.

New tow hitch installed on it, 14000lbs towing capacity.

The kicker is the asking price is $7,500 and it's pretty firm but there is some room for negotiation.

Can anyone suggest anything specific to look for when we do look at it, or if the asking price is reasonable or what a good starting offer would be? I do a lot of small engine and auto work but diesel is out of my wheelhouse.

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Old 06-09-2021, 05:37 PM   #2
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:06 PM   #3
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
IMO that is too mush for anything with rust. But them prices have gone through the roof this year.


Those new parts make me think they were suffering from corrosion? Not your everyday replacement items.


What does the floor look like around the wheel wells especially. What will it look like when you pull up the plywood flooring? Do any windows or anything else leak?


Then you got modern diesel emissions stuff that costs money to keep up with. But they say that is a good motor.
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:42 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 612
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
I agree, the price seems very steep for a 200K mile vehicle, especially a short one.

The tranny needing to have new hoses and flush may just be preventive due to something small, but it could also be because there a gremlins lurking.

Everyone with a bus seems to think they are now made of gold. Yes, it's a 2009, but as previously mentioned, there's a lot of electronics and emissions to maintain and the need for scanning tools and the ability to adjust or replace electronics. In other words, it's not you Dad's Oldsmobile.

Also, like boats, air planes, etc., "school bus" automatically adds cost and complexity to things. A cut-away van like the one you're looking at is more just a regular van, but the electrical safety wiring and systems for the "school" part of it is all mixed in.

Have you considered something like a FedEx step van or a U-Haul box truck? Good to have options.
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Simplicity View Post
I agree, the price seems very steep for a 200K mile vehicle, especially a short one.

The tranny needing to have new hoses and flush may just be preventive due to something small, but it could also be because there a gremlins lurking.

Everyone with a bus seems to think they are now made of gold. Yes, it's a 2009, but as previously mentioned, there's a lot of electronics and emissions to maintain and the need for scanning tools and the ability to adjust or replace electronics. In other words, it's not you Dad's Oldsmobile.

Also, like boats, air planes, etc., "school bus" automatically adds cost and complexity to things. A cut-away van like the one you're looking at is more just a regular van, but the electrical safety wiring and systems for the "school" part of it is all mixed in.

Have you considered something like a FedEx step van or a U-Haul box truck? Good to have options.
I am also thinking of a box truck as a camper, I do think that might be a good option. I think the bus already has a lot done already that we'd do to it. I do need to research more into the diesel emissions. It's currently registered as a personal van so that can help since it's no longer commercial.
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:34 PM   #6
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I agree it seems like a steep price, something around 5000 seems more reasonable to me. But I'll have to take a look at it and see. I don't know anything about the emissions so I'll have to research.

We're in Upstate NY so rust is inevitable. If we got a southern vehicle it'd be rusty in 1 season. I'll report back how rusty it actually is
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Old 06-10-2021, 04:02 PM   #7
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 612
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
Starting out with rust is different from starting out with no rust.

1) You can apply rust prevention to an already clean bus.

2) You don't have to do all the work to derust/repair a rusty bus.
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Old 06-10-2021, 04:40 PM   #8
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Join Date: Feb 2019
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30~Chevy cutaway
Engine: 5.7/350 Chevy Vortec
Rated Cap: Just me and my "stuff"?
x 100 on rust.
Don't buy a rusty bus, unless you're looking to do a quickie conversion and only keep a few short years.
Good luck...
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