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Old 04-05-2024, 02:35 PM   #1
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Advice needed to buy a bus

Hi everyone, I’m looking to buy a 2001 Thomas Cat 3126 7.2L with a MD3060 engine. Has 171k mileage.

They are asking for $8k, after taking it to a DOT inspection it didn’t pass because of oil leaks.

Repairs are: leak at oil pan gasket, remove and replace valve cover breather and oil fill cap. Remove and reseal front cover.

The shop is saying $5k to fix the oil leak.

What do you all think is a fair asking price with consideration I need to pay for these repairs?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-05-2024, 02:58 PM   #2
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Hard Pass. To give you an idea. I bought my bus last year for $3500, no oil leaks.

I think at a minimum your engine needs to be in decent shape as all the other stuff is going to need maintenance and repair like king pins, shocks, air brake service, roof leak repair, etc.

You don't want to buy a base for $8k which is high for a bus with oil leaking issues. If the bus was 1-2k for that oil leak then maybe.

In todays economy with inflation you can still find buses for 3-5k with a good working engine without oil leaks.
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Old 04-05-2024, 03:07 PM   #3
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A simple rule of thumb when fixing oil leaks is to start at the top.
The oil pan will be covered in oil if the valve cover is leaking.
Step one would be to clean the engine and drive it for a while, and then it should be obvious what is leaking.
It must be a pretty good leak if it failed a DOT inspection.
It's also important to check the blow-by tube for oil venting.
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Old 04-05-2024, 03:18 PM   #4
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5 grand to seal an oil leak!

INSANE !!!!

Get a 5 grand reduction on the price and fix the oil leak yourself !

Oh, and if you can’t fix it yourself i hope you have deep pockets.

The skoolie journey, part of it is, doing repairs yourself.
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Old 04-05-2024, 04:13 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the advice and tips. I know I am going to learn a lot in this skoolie journey and yes it will cost a pretty penny. I'm definitely new to everything and want to be smart about these investments.

I think the plan is going to ask between $1k-2K and if they don't budge, just move on to keep shopping around.
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Old 04-05-2024, 04:49 PM   #6
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Price is WAY too high. And ya, don't get into this life if you're not ready to dive head first into doing your own repairs. Other than maybe swapping out your engine, there isn't much you can't do with a decent set of tools. (Few hondo would cover most needs). An oil leak would be a relatively easy one. Ya. If you can kick em down to a couple grand, I would say it's worth considering IF you are willing to do the repairs yourself. Like others have said, skoolies are pretty affordable even now. Often times you can buy one that has been decommissioned by the school system and auctioned off recently. These things are decommissioned all the time. The closer you get to win the school owned and ran them the better. Things start to get sketchy when you buy from someone who bought it from someone. For $8,000 I would say you could find a pretty decent bus if you're willing to travel to pick it up. Mind you you are looking at thousands in general maintenance upgrades and updates before you can even consider your build if you have any sense about you. These are big rigs and nothing on them is cheap and you're a fool if you don't stay all over the maintenance. You will find yourself on the side of a highway somewhere scrambling for thousands of dollars for repairs and wrecker tow trucks before the highway departments have your vehicle towed. I know this is a long thing but I've made all these mistakes myself. Good luck!
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Old 04-05-2024, 05:05 PM   #7
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valve cover is easy enough.
oil pan if the engine has to be jacked up can be time consuming and other things have to come loose and the front cover is an entire seperate time consuming parts come off just to access it issue.
could fix the valve cover clean everything and have them put dye in the oil and run it and check for leaks before you agree to front cover and oil pan.
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Old 04-05-2024, 07:07 PM   #8
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Wear your eyes out here researching buses.

Ask all the questions you want, this isn't facebook, you'll get a wide variety of opinions and perspectives.

I don't know where you are, but I'd highly recommend looking up Seth Owens in Tallapoosa, GA on facebook. Good guy and re-selling buses is his business. His prices are typically less than $8k and if you know what you want, ha can find a nice rust-free one for you.
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Old 04-05-2024, 07:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by La Camioneta View Post
Wear your eyes out here researching buses.

Ask all the questions you want, this isn't facebook, you'll get a wide variety of opinions and perspectives.

I don't know where you are, but I'd highly recommend looking up Seth Owens in Tallapoosa, GA on facebook. Good guy and re-selling buses is his business. His prices are typically less than $8k and if you know what you want, ha can find a nice rust-free one for you.

seth charges a little more than others do but his busses seem to be really solid and he discloses anything wrong with them...
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Old 04-05-2024, 07:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
seth charges a little more than others do but his busses seem to be really solid and he discloses anything wrong with them...
OP seems to be a noob. Probably best to pay a slight premium for a pro's expertise rather than get bit from the get-go with some avoidable mechanical defect.

Buying your bus is the cheapest part of the adventure by far anyway.
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Old 04-05-2024, 10:45 PM   #11
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Great idea! thank you and I appreciate everyones input and shared experiences. I will check out Seth as well.
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Old 04-05-2024, 11:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by La Camioneta View Post
Wear your eyes out here researching buses.

Ask all the questions you want, this isn't facebook, you'll get a wide variety of opinions and perspectives.

I don't know where you are, but I'd highly recommend looking up Seth Owens in Tallapoosa, GA on facebook. Good guy and re-selling buses is his business. His prices are typically less than $8k and if you know what you want, ha can find a nice rust-free one for you.

I'm currently in CA but moving to FL by late summer to buy and build out a skoolie.
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Old 04-10-2024, 05:06 PM   #13
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Just don't keep voting democrat then.
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Old 04-10-2024, 05:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Seadragon View Post
I'm currently in CA but moving to FL by late summer to buy and build out a skoolie.
Moving to buy and build ???

Dang, I just did it the other way, built out and moved OUT of Florida!

Too crowded and getting too dang expensive to survive!
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Old 04-10-2024, 07:02 PM   #15
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I am a fan of that engine/tranny combination as I have that on my bus. But I don’t leak oil at 195k

☮️Dave
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Old 04-10-2024, 08:15 PM   #16
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Texas or florida would work for me.. just not california!
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Old 04-11-2024, 06:46 AM   #17
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How seller's come up with $8000. on higher mileage bus prices surprises me.A 2000 t0 2003 Bluebird 3126 Freightliner chassis with 86,000 miles here and currently passing DOT is a $4900 bus.Also passing current DOT 126,000 miles is a $3900 bus.
Thomas with 3126 Cat go about same.
If they have a cummins motor just slightly higher.
These are country route buses/no stop and go in town.
Many cheaper but they all bring what a low mile engine would be worth.
Sorry for the snow,these were taken out of service during Easter School breaak and we had a snow storm for a week.
All the snow is gone now.Minnesota
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Old 04-11-2024, 10:24 AM   #18
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For sure, I have family there who I can stay with during build. Then planning to hit the road afterwards. Still way more affordable than the part of CA I'm in.
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Old 04-11-2024, 10:34 AM   #19
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Thanks again for everyones advice, it was a no thank you on that oil leaked bus.

What are your thoughts on this one?

"Up for sale is a 2006 International 4300 CE school bus - NO DPF, NO DEF. This bus has a new remanufactured DT466 engine. Lots of new parts too. New turbo, New alternator, New air compressor. This bus is really in nice condition and will work great for a private school, local club, or church bus. It has 312k miles on it and has been well maintained over the years. We spent over $20k for engine and waited so long for parts we ended up having to get another newer bus in mean time. We do not need 2 buses.
Just looking to recoup some of our loss.

Asking $10595.00 or best offer"

I asked if they worked on the trans at all with having 312K miles on it. They said they replaced seals, filter, new fuel.
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Old 04-11-2024, 10:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve rustad View Post
How seller's come up with $8000. on higher mileage bus prices surprises me.A 2000 t0 2003 Bluebird 3126 Freightliner chassis with 86,000 miles here and currently passing DOT is a $4900 bus.Also passing current DOT 126,000 miles is a $3900 bus.
Thomas with 3126 Cat go about same.
If they have a cummins motor just slightly higher.
These are country route buses/no stop and go in town.
Many cheaper but they all bring what a low mile engine would be worth.
Sorry for the snow,these were taken out of service during Easter School breaak and we had a snow storm for a week.
All the snow is gone now.Minnesota
Totally agree with you, seems like most people are high balling or think they are worth more than they are.
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