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Old 11-19-2020, 03:43 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Bidding on a bus without knowing about the rust...

Title says it all.


I'm looking at a bus currently in auction on the east coast nearby.


Unfortunately there are no photos of the undercarriage. No signs of rust on the sides or the front, but the back bumper looks a bit pocked.


So far the price is low. I'm wondering how much rust abatement has cost y'all in terms of leaf springs or replacing panels in the undercarriage. I'm bracing for the worst and already placed a bid.



Still trying to figure out how high I should place my bid, but it's a Chevy Express 3500 with 140k miles and consistent maintenance records, still running and all in all seems like it's in great condition.


Any input appreciate. Thanks so much!
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Old 11-19-2020, 03:53 PM   #2
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I've seen other bus owners who end up with negative equity in their bus after repairs and conversion. If the bus needs extensive repairs after you buy it (presumably for a steal), your money is gone.

Buy something you know is a good deal, without the unknowns. Then your effort will all be in the conversion, and not just investing more dollars to get to square zero.
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Old 11-19-2020, 03:54 PM   #3
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Bid on nothing without seeing in person. I once bid $1200 on an ex-police car listed as "RUNS GOOD - WAS TURNED IN FOR NEW VEHICLE". When I arrived for pickup, it made more noise than a diesel and most of the #3 rod bearing was stuck to a magnetic drain plug. My $1200 car became a $3000 car quick, and that was getting a smoking deal on engine replacement.

See it in person and hear it run, verify that it moves and stops first. If not possible, find someone local to it that can. Is the bus in Virginia? If so, PM me, I may be able to take a peek for you.
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Old 11-19-2020, 04:11 PM   #4
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Check out my build thread for a lot of reasons not to buy an east coast bus. Just being a Northeast bus means it will probably be badly rusted; a pock-marked bumper pretty much guarantees it. Don't buy without at least seeing pics of the underside.
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Old 11-19-2020, 04:18 PM   #5
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Kudos to some amazing people on this Forum. You are very generous Cheese. If nothing else, I appreciate what you do for those on here.
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Found my Bus at AAAbus in Phx!
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Old 11-19-2020, 04:45 PM   #6
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For me the tell-tale place for gauging the extent of rust is the entry steps. Years of kids in snowy boots stomping all that wetness in the stairwell where it sits and saturates is a pretty good sign of what to expect in the less conspicuous or hard-to-see or unphotographed places. If the seams of the stairwell are rusty, there's bound to be rust pretty much everywhere else. I occasionally browse Midwest Transit website and am amazed the difference in condition between a Whitestown bus and a Kankakee bus and they're less than 200 miles apart but Kankakee buses are total rust-buckets! Not that I recommend Whitestown buses either, Central Indiana also gets its fair share of snow so any local buses are going to be rust-belt certified!
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Old 11-19-2020, 05:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sehnsucht View Post
For me the tell-tale place for gauging the extent of rust is the entry steps. Years of kids in snowy boots stomping all that wetness in the stairwell where it sits and saturates is a pretty good sign of what to expect in the less conspicuous or hard-to-see or unphotographed places. If the seams of the stairwell are rusty, there's bound to be rust pretty much everywhere else.
On the other hand, my rusty catastrophe had a like-new step well without a hint of rust. Turns out this is because it was replaced at some point, the original one having completely rusted out.
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Old 11-19-2020, 05:20 PM   #8
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You don’t know enough about it if you don’t visit in person.

Never buy a vehicle sight unseen or in the dark
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:58 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks for being my choir of reason, folks!


Curious about those who've gotten their buses at auction-- how many details were left in the dark, either strategically or sheerly out of ignorance, along the lines of Cheese's ordeal.



I've been finding it really hard to get good answers out of transportation super's in various school districts I've been talking to, and they never wanna tell you what's on those maintenance records!
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:06 PM   #10
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The turbo was going bad on mine and they cleared the codes. That was at Student Transportation of America in Riverside, CA
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novice View Post
Curious about those who've gotten their buses at auction-- how many details were left in the dark, either strategically or sheerly out of ignorance, along the lines of Cheese's ordeal.

I've been finding it really hard to get good answers out of transportation super's in various school districts I've been talking to, and they never wanna tell you what's on those maintenance records!
Well, to be perfectly fair, it's quite likely that one maintenance department is responsible for every fleet vehicle in a district, that includes administrative cars, police cars, social services cars, dump trucks, vans, maintenance trucks, buses, ambulances, the whole gamut. Who here can say they remember every last thing they ever did in their job? Most people can't remember what they had for lunch last Tuesday or what they worked on afterward unless they made detailed notes.

So it's not likely that a paper pusher in the office will necessarily remember or know anything anyway, even if they might have heard something. Not to mention they may have fifteen people calling a day with the same questions about different vehicles being auctioned. Even if you talk to a mechanic that actually made or recommended a repair that was not made, they may or may not remember which vehicle. That's why it's best to check in person or have someone local do it for you.
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Old 11-19-2020, 10:10 PM   #12
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If you ain't looked at it--well then ya pays ya money an ya takes ya chances. Are you feeling lucky?
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Old 11-20-2020, 12:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
Are you feeling lucky?
Jack
*CLINT EASTWOOD VOICE*
Yeah... the question you should be asking yourself is, "Do I feel lucky?"

Well, DO ya?... PUNK?!
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Old 11-20-2020, 11:26 AM   #14
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Hopefully you, (OP), got the message now, that buying almost anything "sight unseen" is a potential recipe for disaster.

The only one to be blamed if a "blind" purchase goes bad after the fact, is the buyer. Never trust the seller alone to give a totally honest evaluation of anything. After all they're trying to unload it, and most likely don't care what happens to the goods after they have your money.

As always, with every purchase its 110%: "BUYER~BEWARE"...
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Old 11-20-2020, 07:32 PM   #15
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I guess I've been lucky. I bought two busses sight unseen, flown in and drove home over 1000 miles each with no issues. The second had a rebuilt 7.3 with 12K on it which I found out about after picking it up. Has me thinking about shopping for another, but 3rd time's the charm- or strike 3 and your out?? Auctions are definitely a gamble.
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:32 AM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I suppose I'm willing to pay $1500 for a hard-earned lesson-- I got all of my unemployment money for the pandemic at once in a lump sum, don't have a mortgage and haven't had rent (living at a friend's house they own outright for the bulk of lockdown) so I was feeling lucky in as much as buying something to work on right now would feel like generally low stakes and be a welcome way to pass the time.

In the end, the bus sold for well outside my highest bid for a sight unseen ($4k!). Keeping eyes on the SW for some rust-free rigs. Fingers crossed!
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Old 11-25-2020, 04:30 PM   #17
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Arizona...

Call Sarah at Canyon State Bus in Glendale. She has a couple gas engine short busses available. Rust free. I recently bought two Girardin busses and couldnít be happier with them.
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Old 11-26-2020, 03:28 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Auction busses.

I bought 2 auction busses from the Beaverton, Oregon school district and both were in nearly new condition. I would only buy a bus from an area that does not use salt on roads, or is near salt water. Both will guarantee rust and there is no need to deal with that. Best if the school district maintains their own busses rather than a private company, and best to find 'wealthy' area districts which usually have plenty of maintenance dollars. Another way to find an outstanding bus, is to locate one in a State that is decertifying them for emission purposes. Oregon, California, and I believe Washington are doing this. On the flip side if you live in say California, they will not allow you to register it in their State. Oregon and Wa. will register. Their are plenty of pit falls so tread carefully.
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Old 11-27-2020, 01:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novice View Post
Title says it all.


I'm looking at a bus currently in auction on the east coast nearby.


Unfortunately there are no photos of the undercarriage. No signs of rust on the sides or the front, but the back bumper looks a bit pocked.


So far the price is low. I'm wondering how much rust abatement has cost y'all in terms of leaf springs or replacing panels in the undercarriage. I'm bracing for the worst and already placed a bid.



Still trying to figure out how high I should place my bid, but it's a Chevy Express 3500 with 140k miles and consistent maintenance records, still running and all in all seems like it's in great condition.


Any input appreciate. Thanks so much!
If it's nearby, why not go see it? Just wondering. Good luck!
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:01 AM   #20
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Nearby is a relative term in some cases.
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