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Old 01-31-2016, 12:32 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 11
1998 Int 6 Window: Buy or Not?

Hey everyone. My girlfriend and I are going to be converting a short bus into an RV this spring/summer and would like your input. Should we buy this bus? We are still learning about what to look for in a bus, and what we should be wary of. Any input would be much appreciated.

3000 Series 3800
T444E engine
Air brakes
Wheelchair lift
195236 miles
6 windows
Vin: 1HVBBABL4WH529939
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Old 01-31-2016, 04:52 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 1,261
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
From what I see, I'd say get a Carfax report on it. I didn't see the stairwell and what rust I saw underneath - well, where was her home?

Try Midwest Transit for further options. I bought an 03 84 passenger Thomas HDX from them with 128K on the clock for $8K. All 6 tires were almost brand new, which accounts for a lot, considering how much truck tires cost.
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Old 02-01-2016, 12:26 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Posts: 1,693
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
Neat bus! It's rare to see air suspension on the short buses and wheels appear to be in phenomenal shape. Check the wheel wells, stairs and back door for rust. If these three spots are in good form then the chances are slim that you'll have any substantial rust to deal with.

Around here you won't find a used vehicle without undercarriage rust. As long as it hasn't eaten through anything you can clean it up with some elbow grease and paint.
My build page: Armageddon - The Smell of Airborne Rust
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:19 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,605
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
Check that rear axle ratio stamped on the plate up front. that will determine your highway speed. my Bluebird has 4.7 rear end and does 67. lower is better (faster)

going slower than you expect sucks
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:23 PM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 11
Thanks for the input everyone!
great notes on where the rust "canaries" are - rust on the door and stairwell was a big piece of why we rejected a very similar '03 on the same lot.

@CaptSquid - Thanks for the midwest suggestion - unfortunately, all their current inventory busses are too big for what we're planning
We're in western PA - so as @Jatzy mentioned - lots of salt = undercarriage rust. I uploaded a picture of the stairwell to the original gallery, and the best picture I have of the interior wheel wells. Or did you both mean the exterior portion of the wheel wells? No close up pictures there, but to the best of my memory, they looked pretty good.

Thanks @turf for the tip on where to find the rear axel ratio - we've been wondering about that. We have some concerns about the T444e (vs DT466 or DT360) in terms of power, since we're planning to drive this over mountains, but our current thinking is that if the T444e is used (sometimes) in full size buses, we should be OK with it in a half bus as long as we're smart about the build out.
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Old 02-04-2016, 05:49 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,198
The T444E engine is a great engine with a lot of potential.

No it won't climb a hill as well at a DT360 or DT466 but it will move that little bus down the road right smartly.

Gearing is going to determine how smartly that is. I have seen buses with that power package with top speeds as low as 47 MPH and in excess of 65 MPH. The most common gearing will allow for cruising at 60 MPH.

The mileage is starting to get to the top end of what I would consider. But it should still be good for another 50-100K miles.

For the price and condition the price looks very reasonable.
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:08 PM   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 937
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: TE 444
Rated Cap: 12
I have a slightly longer short bus with air ride and a DT 466 for sale, already swapped the rear end to a 4.10
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Old 02-24-2016, 04:42 PM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 11
What do you guys think of this one?

What do you guys think about this one?

1991 Chevy Diesel, not much info but it's a great looking bus and seems to have really low miles and no visible rust (makes sense for where it is).
We've emailed and not gotten a response yet, but would like to know your thoughts
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