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Old 06-14-2020, 04:51 PM   #1
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Any red flags on this bus? /How do i get this home?

Hey Guys, long time lurker and i think ive finally decided on trying to win a bid on PublicSurplus. it's a 35 ft dt466e/MD3060 Combo. Super clean, no rust.

Anything jump out at you on this bus? Should I pull the trigger? There is another one just like it for 1k more and they seem exactly the same to me.

https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2577976

Im so new here... I really want to get started on a conversion and think this is a great bus He said it's been driven weekly up until last week. Has all service records.

I live in Charleston, so this is 1700 miles away from me. What would some experienced skoolie people do do get a bus home from that far away? Drive it to Denver and have it serviced? then drive it home? Also recs on insurance/plates?

Thank you for all the wisdom yall have! im ready for the skoolie life!
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Old 06-14-2020, 06:10 PM   #2
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Hey Guys, long time lurker and i think ive finally decided on trying to win a bid on PublicSurplus. it's a 35 ft dt466e/MD3060 Combo. Super clean, no rust.

Anything jump out at you on this bus? Should I pull the trigger? There is another one just like it for 1k more and they seem exactly the same to me.

https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2577976

Im so new here... I really want to get started on a conversion and think this is a great bus He said it's been driven weekly up until last week. Has all service records.

I live in Charleston, so this is 1700 miles away from me. What would some experienced skoolie people do do get a bus home from that far away? Drive it to Denver and have it serviced? then drive it home? Also recs on insurance/plates?

Thank you for all the wisdom yall have! im ready for the skoolie life!
That's a MOUNTAIN bus. A kEEper. I'd definitely get it if you're willing to pay a little more to get it. Those go for a little more. 3-5 grand usually.
Top notch stuff. I got a CO bus they take good care of them. Get the oil and lube job at a truckstop and hit the road.
That bus is top of the line EVERYTHING. If I had a way to get it for FL without me leaving the state I'd have already bid on it myself.
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Old 06-14-2020, 07:16 PM   #3
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Thanks man, that’s just the encouragement I needed!
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Old 06-14-2020, 08:02 PM   #4
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Buses like that are getting harder to come by and don't pop up often. Its a unicorn!
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Old 06-14-2020, 08:56 PM   #5
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Eagle County's on the dry side of the state -- no salt there, they toss sand and gravel on the county roads -- ground waters too precious to pollute with salt water run-off.
It'll be able to run on the interstate too since the HS's not really in town...

(I used to work at HAATS, very near there...)
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Old 06-14-2020, 09:02 PM   #6
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Eagle County's on the dry side of the state -- no salt there, they toss sand and gravel on the county roads -- ground waters too precious to pollute with salt water run-off.
It'll be able to run on the interstate too since the HS's not really in town...

(I used to work at HAATS, very near there...)
Eagle buses are NICE. Its a mountain field trip bus!
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Old 06-15-2020, 05:55 AM   #7
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That bus was spe'c'ed out as a trip bus since it has skirt mounted luggage compartments and overhead parcel racks. A nice addition to a trip bus is the rear air ride suspension. And for the times when it is snowing, it has OnSpot drop chains so you don't have to get out to install traction chains--just a touch of a button on the dash board drops or raises the chains when you need them.



Since it is a trip bus from a school in CO I would suggest the engine is a DT466 of at least 250 HP. It may even be as much as 285. Since it is a 2000 model bus it is also most likely paired to an Allison MD3060 with at least five gears with 5th being an OD gear with the final gearing allowing that bus to fly down the highway at highway speed.



Because it is a CO bus it has an auxiliary braking system and this bus has a Telma unit. The Telma unit is the best as it is silent (no barking exhaust from a Jake brake), the only heat it develops dissipates by itself through the finned rotor of the Telma unit, and Telma units work really well.


Another benefit of a CO bus is it has basically no rust.


The only red flag is it will not go cheap. The bus is a real unicorn and highly desired by just about everyone in the secondary market. Private schools looking for a trip bus. Churches looking for a trip bus. Convertors looking for a bus to convert to take on trips.



Somehow I don't think the odometer is correct for the hour meter. Most school buses have hour meters that work out to an average speed of about 25-30 MPH. I would think a trip bus would have racked up a lot more miles per hour on the clock than 9 MPH. At 20-years old I would have expected to see something more like 300,000 miles, perhaps even 400,000 miles on a trip bus. At 400,000 miles that hour meter would be closer to 42 MPH. If the odometer has gone around at those hours it would be almost 115 MPH.


So if there is any red flags it would be the hour meter is way too many hours for the number of miles shown.
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Old 06-15-2020, 05:58 AM   #8
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Yeah but the gauges being wrong on a navistar isn't much of a red flag. I've never seen one with original, unmolested gauges.
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Old 06-16-2020, 05:46 PM   #9
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Thanks for all this useful info. I come to you guys defeated... I really wanted one of these buses. (I even called the shop and talked to them and they said one of these buses and a new engine with only 12k miles on it)

I was ready to spend a good amount on it because it fit my needs perfectly and frankly I’m tired of looking for a bus and want to get started.

I will say the bidding war was brutal, there was three of the “unicorn” buses and they all went for above $8,500 (That was my max I was willing to pay)

I feel so drained. I really wanted this bus. But who is paying 9k for a 20 year old bus? At an auction, not a dealer....

Has anyone else felt this? What helped you get back in the horse?
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Old 06-16-2020, 05:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by shaughntillman View Post
Thanks for all this useful info. I come to you guys defeated... I really wanted one of these buses. (I even called the shop and talked to them and they said one of these buses and a new engine with only 12k miles on it)

I was ready to spend a good amount on it because it fit my needs perfectly and frankly I’m tired of looking for a bus and want to get started.

I will say the bidding war was brutal, there was three of the “unicorn” buses and they all went for above $8,500 (That was my max I was willing to pay)

I feel so drained. I really wanted this bus. But who is paying 9k for a 20 year old bus? At an auction, not a dealer....

Has anyone else felt this? What helped you get back in the horse?
I bid on an Eagle CO mountain bus a few years ago. Went for big bucks even then. Hell, I'm proud of ya for coming out swingin with a bid like $8500. You fought to win, and lost. Whoever paid more than $5000 paid too much, IMO. Its cool but not $8500 at auction cool!
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Old 06-16-2020, 10:40 PM   #11
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So funny story, the lady who outbid me on this bus today, wants to sell me another bus she recently bought.

I need your all’s unbiased opinions here, It seems like she has a great bus she wants to sell me but seems kind of fishy that she just bought this bus because she says “better gas mileage, tinted windows, and air suspension” ... I’m going to post my convo below. Please give me your wisdom here. Thanks!

Lady:
We bought a bus after losing out on the bus really needed. This bus is almost exactly what we wanted minus tinted windows and lower gas mileage. We are full timing going back and forth across country from Alabama to Washington State so we were happy to find what we needed today. Sorry about the auction ��. We know what it’s like to miss out on the bus you had your heart set on. Anyway, we are now selling our current bus and wanted to give you the chance to buy before we list it.

It’s a 1995 Thomas Built International 3800 Conventional/Dog-nose.

International DT466 210 HP / 605 lbf/ft fully mechanical engine
Allison MT643 transmission

160,618 miles
7811 hours
Air brakes
78" floor to ceiling (77" with flooring)
Spot snow chains

Me:
I understand. There is no hard feelings. �� Im curious why do you want this one? The 3060 transmission?

Lady:
A little bit better gas mileage. Which is important to us because we travel full time.

Me:
We are wanting to travel full time as well. When did you buy the one you have? Where did you buy it from?
Is is clean/rust free?
Did you already start to demo it?

Lady:
Bought it in March in Washington State and picked it up last month due to COVID. It has some minor surface rust on the frame.
Yes, demo started. About 20hrs into it. All seats removed and most ceiling screws removed.

Me:
What’s the price you’d like for it? And do you mind sending over some pics?

Lady:
6,000. Changed oil and filter in Washington before we brought it home.

Me:
And there is no issues with it? Service records?
We are interested, But I hope you understand me being cautious not buying it straight from the school district. The only reason you chose to not keep this one and get the other is a little better gas mileage?

Lady:
Gas mileage and tinted windows. The one from today also has air suspension which is a bonus but wasn’t a must have.

No service records. But we talked personally with George, the mechanic from the school district who informed us it was well taken care of. My dad sold fire trucks for 30 years and said it looks like it was taken care of. No major issues. It does have a small leak in the modulator cover and bottom of the bell housing on the transmission.


And now your all caught up? Any thoughts? Thanks so much!
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Old 06-17-2020, 03:18 AM   #12
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Knowing which district in WA state it was in service would be helpful. Some have surplus buses that are in nearly new condition. Others are so beat up they aren't worth driving home.


Without photos and more information about leaks would keep me from making a bid on the bus. At $6,000.00 I think the price is about 2x what I would pay.
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Old 06-17-2020, 05:57 AM   #13
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I'd leave that lady with her buses. Sounds like a flipper to me.
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:18 AM   #14
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For a lot of hwy use the 3060 will be a significant difference.
The 643 is also a heavy duty transmission w/lockup converter but no over-drive.
The o/d will give you a 25% to 30% reduction in rpms for a given speed. That's improved mpg and less wear on the engine -- or, you can drive faster.

The Eagle bus probably also had a/c

No reason to assume she's an evil bus flipper yet...

Knowing how long and distasteful the demo has been on my bus I'd like my time to be worth something too -- BUT I know it's not -- that's not how that works.

But I will say from my time on this forum and looking at similar buses for sale -- her bus is a ~$2500.+ bus all day long plus whatever the value of demo and oil-change are worth to you... And the proximity of where the bus is to you.

If you think she is a flipper -- ask her what she's gonna sell the bus you didn't get for? If she hasn't picked it up yet she has nothing into it yet...

I will add -- don't buy any bus in desperation -- if you're in desperation to hide in a box on wheels, buy a box truck. You'll always be able to sell a box truck for close to what you bought it for if you don't break it... and hold out for the right deal on the right bus...

I know I'm alone in the Skoolie crowd when I say for over $5000 I'd be looking at box-trucks -- I wouldn't even consider a school bus once we're talking paying thousands...
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:08 AM   #15
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For a lot of hwy use the 3060 will be a significant difference.
The 643 is also a heavy duty transmission w/lockup converter but no over-drive.
The o/d will give you a 25% to 30% reduction in rpms for a given speed. That's improved mpg and less wear on the engine -- or, you can drive faster.

The Eagle bus probably also had a/c

No reason to assume she's an evil bus flipper yet...

Knowing how long and distasteful the demo has been on my bus I'd like my time to be worth something too -- BUT I know it's not -- that's not how that works.

But I will say from my time on this forum and looking at similar buses for sale -- her bus is a ~$2500.+ bus all day long plus whatever the value of demo and oil-change are worth to you... And the proximity of where the bus is to you.

If you think she is a flipper -- ask her what she's gonna sell the bus you didn't get for? If she hasn't picked it up yet she has nothing into it yet...

I will add -- don't buy any bus in desperation -- if you're in desperation to hide in a box on wheels, buy a box truck. You'll always be able to sell a box truck for close to what you bought it for if you don't break it... and hold out for the right deal on the right bus...

I know I'm alone in the Skoolie crowd when I say for over $5000 I'd be looking at box-trucks -- I wouldn't even consider a school bus once we're talking paying thousands...
Yes and no. Properly geared, the highway mpg's should be the same on a given bus regardless of the transmission. Unless its a 545. The OD means nothing it its geared at 6.50.
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:35 AM   #16
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Yes and no. Properly geared, the highway mpg's should be the same on a given bus regardless of the transmission. Unless its a 545. The OD means nothing it its geared at 6.50.
Umm? More precisely for any given bus the o/d gear will reduce rpm at a given speed by 25% to 30% (o/d gears vary in ratio also)

You need the overall gear ratio to compare different buses.

The 643 is a 1:1 ratio in 4th.

The 3060 can have an o/d anywhere from .75 to .60 (and potential to unlock 6th gear o/d)

I haven't seen any full size buses with axle ratios lower than ~5:1
Your shorty is the only bus I've heard of with a 3.xx :1 ratio!

BUT -- you've looked at 100's more buses than me...
(I'm more of a truck person that now owns a bus...)

I'd say given two otherwise, identical buses (or trucks) if one had a 3060 and the other a 643. And I was gonna drive it full time and x-country the 3060 is easily worth $1000 more to me for the greater gear ratio spread -- it's a serious otr truck transmission.
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:48 AM   #17
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Those were nice buses but 8500 for a conventional is just brutal. Unfortunately people are increasingly aware of where the good buses are at and/or the dealers are willing to pay that kind of money because they know they can turn them around for 15g on their lot.



Check facebook marketplace. I scored my bus for $4k last summer and if it had been on Govdeals or Public Surplus it would have gone for twice that (even factoring in the dented in rear roof cap!). I think at this point too many people focus on the popular auction sites so bidding just gets out of hand.
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:52 AM   #18
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Umm? More precisely for any given bus the o/d gear will reduce rpm at a given speed by 25% to 30% (o/d gears vary in ratio also)

You need the overall gear ratio to compare different buses.

The 643 is a 1:1 ratio in 4th.

The 3060 can have an o/d anywhere from .75 to .60 (and potential to unlock 6th gear o/d)

I haven't seen any full size buses with axle ratios lower than ~5:1
Your shorty is the only bus I've heard of with a 3.xx :1 ratio!

BUT -- you've looked at 100's more buses than me...
(I'm more of a truck person that now owns a bus...)

I'd say given two otherwise, identical buses (or trucks) if one had a 3060 and the other a 643. And I was gonna drive it full time and x-country the 3060 is easily worth $1000 more to me for the greater gear ratio spread -- it's a serious otr truck transmission.
Two identical buses, both geared for highway speed, will have identical mpg's. The OD doesnt' mean its going to be spinning any lower. Unless the gear ratios are the same. But a 1:1 running in its sweet spot on the highway isn't going to do any less mpg than an od doing the same thing.
all things equal the 3060 gets you an exta ratio in the gear shifting, and better take off from a stop.

I've seen a ton of buses with low gears in the rear. Most RE's with OD have something in the 5-6 range.
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:29 PM   #19
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I have bought and sold a lot of buses over the years. The vast majority of buses with the MT640 or HT740 had gear ratios in the 4.10-5.34 range. With the 4.10 gearing the engine RPM at 70 MPH is going to be in the 2,400-2,500 RPM range.



I have actually demo'ed a Thomas RE with the 3126 with the MD3060 that was so slow geared that even in 5th OD the top speed was 57 MPH. The rear gear ratio was 6.16 with an effective final gear ratio o 4.62. It got to the top speed and climbed hills like a scalded cat.



The only advantage an OD bus will have is it gives you one or two more gears on the top which will allow you to have more stump pulling type gears so you can move from a stop or climb hills quickly.



A bus with a MT643 with final drive gearing of 4.24 will be able to cruise at 65 MPH at a lower RPM in direct drive than an identical bus with the same engine with the same HP rating with an MD3060 with 6th locked out with final drive gearing of 6.16.


I think the lady is trying to sell you a pig in a poke and I would be very cautious about her bus unless you could get it for under $3,000.00.
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Old 06-17-2020, 08:58 PM   #20
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Thank you guys for all this info. im learning a ton. I passed on her bus. i'll find another unicorn bus. (466 with 3060)

I'll be here, patiently waiting.

You guys rock!
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