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Old 06-27-2019, 10:24 AM   #1
stephaniempepper's Avatar
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Mansfield, Texas
Posts: 19
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Liter 12 Valve
Advice Needed on School Bus Purchase!

Hi all!

Well we are back at it again looking to purchase a school bus on auction and we have been looking at Bluebirds mostly but the following bus popped up and we don't know much about Internationals. Any advice / help would be greatly appreciated!!

Year: 1998
Model: 300 / 84 PASSENGER
Mileage: 191427
Running Condition: RUNNING WHEN PARKED
Transmission: ALLISON
Body Style: BUS
Brakes: AIR


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Old 06-27-2019, 10:51 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Foot of the siskiyou mountains Oregon.
Posts: 222
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas / international
Chassis: International
Engine: Dt 360/ spicer 5 speed
Rated Cap: 42
Bluebird is just the coach/body builder..much like Thomas, Wayne, crown, gillig ect. Most skoolies are built on the chassis of mainstream manufacturers like gmc, Ford, and international. that being said, I love many of the international skoolies out there and think they have some of the best drivetrains available..however, although the 7.3 is great in pickup trucks, it is not one of my favorite bus engines. They are alright and fall in the middle ground of diesel engines in my opinion. The Dt series would be what you want from internationall (dt466) also, the transmission model would be more of a deal breaker for me. Many the 7.3's I see come coupled with the Alison 545,not a great tranny to start with if you can help it. Just my two cents
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:08 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 2,704
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
IDK, but these guys seem to know a lot about that engine

I ran the VIN, but there’s no info on the tranny. I also saw the pics for the auction. Pretty scant info. I’d never buy a bus sight unseen.
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Old 06-27-2019, 03:47 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 18,321
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the engine in that redpower artical is a 1988 which is an IDI... this is a T-444E which is a whole different engine.. its a very reliable powerplant but doesnt have a lot of power if you are going to be pulling hills.. many of these were paired with AT545 transmissions which wont suit well for a heavy bus over the mountains..

you can call a navistar dealer and ask them what transmission and rear gears are in a bus if you have the VIN
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:54 AM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Virginia
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Originally Posted by stephaniempepper View Post
Year: 1998
Model: 300 / 84 PASSENGER
Mileage: 191427
Running Condition: RUNNING WHEN PARKED
Transmission: ALLISON
Body Style: BUS
Brakes: AIR
This looks much like typical listing format for the Public Surplus site. Having had a previous bad experience with buying an online auction vehicle sight unseen apart from pictures (not a smart thing to do), I would definitely practice diligence and see it in person, hear it run and see it move if possible. At the very least, look at the fluids, and who knows, maybe you'll get lucky enough to see service records.

I've found that the following can apply in translating these listings.

Running when parked can mean a plethora of things, including "hasn't been started since parked a year or two ago", "won't start now", or "ran good when it was parked, but we can't figure out why it won't start or keeps stalling now". "Fair to good" can mean half-worn, and it could mean "barely passes required roadworthiness inspections".

Then again, "won't start" could be as simple as batteries. Simple coolant hose leaks have been misdiagnosed as much bigger problems. Auctions are always a gamble. You takes your pick, you pays your money, and you takes your chances. Assume nothing.

Don't take this as a poo-poo, ooga-booga statement. There are plenty of government auction vehicles that are perfectly good, or maybe need a slight amount of TLC / maintenance. Bottom line, it pays to inspect in person, so much the better if you can befriend someone who knows what to look for (better yet, an appropriately qualified mechanic) and bring them along to spot less obvious issues looming, because they, too, become the property of the high bidder once the listing closes (unless obvious fraud or misrepresentation can be proven).

Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
the engine in that redpower artical is a 1988 which is an IDI... this is a T-444E which is a whole different engine..
Keep in mind, CK (and I'm sure you know this, but I'm going to say it anyway for the benefit of others), OP is likely quoting the information from an auction listing... A listing for a front-drive Impala police car I bought on Public Surplus showed a V8 engine (bogus, as the front-drivers got 3.8 and 3.9 V6s), but then, it also stated "Runs good - was turned in for newer vehicle".

Trusting that statement got me a clapped-out, poorly maintained engine with most of the #3 rod bearing stuck to a magnetic drain plug or laying in the oil pan, which turned an $1180 car into a $2980 car in a hurry (only because I found a low-mile engine at a salvage yard that installed it 'for a few dollars more' -- it could have been MUCH worse). The selling agency only revealed that the car had 'upper engine noise' or 'could be a wrist pin' once I had placed my bid and it was too late to back out. So good call on correcting bogus info, but inaccurate info also shows the selling agency has a 'close-enough', 'whatever', point of view, which in my experience, might not speak well for maintenance.

As for the OP, I stand by my statement that seeing is believing. I certainly don't want to talk you out of a bus that could be perfectly fine, but I don't want to see you get blindsided with something that will cost you $10 a mile to tow it home either.
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Old 07-02-2019, 06:03 AM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,714
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
I've gotten nothing but smashing deals on Public Surplus.
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7.3, allison transmission, international

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