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Old 12-13-2017, 04:04 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Buying a short bus - 2004 Thomas

I've learned a lot from lurking here, now it's time for me to actually make some moves.

I'm going to check out a bus tomorrow that seems to tick all the boxes for me:
2004 Thomas, 5-window w/ dualie
6.0 Turbo diesel
137k miles
Acoustic ceiling
Roof hatch
Front and rear ac

It's at the absolute top of my budget, 10k, but seems to be perfect. The dealer also takes care of removing the school bus lettering, swapping out the overhead light gels from red to amber, and disabling the stop sign per California law.

Is there anything I'm missing here? Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:12 PM   #2
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Man, thats a LOT of dough!
And the 6.0 is not a preferable engine unless you have deep pockets and like working on complicated things in cramped spaces.
just my 2 cents.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:22 PM   #3
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Sounds mighty high to me too. The low miles are the only real plus I see.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:53 PM   #4
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There was a 2005 E450 Cutaway with 137k miles & 6.0 for sale up here a while back for less than $5k.

I almost bought it. I was going to make a 5th wheel hauler out of it. Wife was not entirely enthused as we have two unfinished buses here already....

I can check and see if it is still available if you like.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Man, thats a LOT of dough!
And the 6.0 is not a preferable engine unless you have deep pockets and like working on complicated things in cramped spaces.
just my 2 cents.
Would you care to elaborate? Is the 6.0 really that much more expensive to maintain?
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
There was a 2005 E450 Cutaway with 137k miles & 6.0 for sale up here a while back for less than $5k.

I almost bought it. I was going to make a 5th wheel hauler out of it. Wife was not entirely enthused as we have two unfinished buses here already....

I can check and see if it is still available if you like.
That would be great, thanks!

Keeping in mind I'm in Los Angeles... things are expensive down here!
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:58 PM   #7
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That would be great, thanks!

Keeping in mind I'm in Los Angeles... things are expensive down here!
Funny, one of the buses in my yard is a 2005 Thomas 5 window w/ 125k miles & 6.0 diesel. It is headed for Irvine when I get done with it.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:06 PM   #8
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Sounds mighty high to me too. The low miles are the only real plus I see.
Low miles on 6.0's are common. They're problematic and are often sold well before they're timed out for removal.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:06 PM   #9
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10 k seems really high for a cutaaway bus.
the 6.0 diesel from ford had a host of issues with head bolt stretch, EGR cooler, oil cooler, etc. esp in 2004 and into mid 2005..

to bulletproof it and make it an extremely reliable engine. requires removing the heads and a couple grand worth of parts.. that one is low miles and may ifits been maintained meticulously you wont have issues with it.. im pretty adventurous when it comes to engines. but the 2004 6.0 diesel ford is not one id jump right into... you can read about 2004 powerstroke 6.0 issues on many a diesel website..

at the very least i wouldnt pay anywhere even close to 10k for a bus in that year with that engine.. even in california..
-Christopher
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:08 PM   #10
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Would you care to elaborate? Is the 6.0 really that much more expensive to maintain?
IS it a navistar 6.0 or a powerstroke 6.0.

Do some searching and you'll find some real nightmares folks have had with those engines.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:25 PM   #11
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IS it a navistar 6.0 or a powerstroke 6.0.

Do some searching and you'll find some real nightmares folks have had with those engines.
Not sure about that... I was told it was 6.0 Turbo diesel. I'll have to check on specifics, but if folks are really having that many problems with it I think I'll find something else. Would a 7.3 with more miles be preferable?
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:30 PM   #12
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Not sure about that... I was told it was 6.0 Turbo diesel. I'll have to check on specifics, but if folks are really having that many problems with it I think I'll find something else. Would a 7.3 with more miles be preferable?
6.0 turbo diesel is the engine TYPE.
The ford and navistar 6.0's are the same, but fords have some differences.
Both engines require EXPENSIVE repairs when they fail. And in a van chassis they're a nightmare to work on.

As long as the 7.3 is in good shape, then by all means I'd much rather go that route. Still not fun to work on any engine in a van chassis. Even the little v6 in my dodge.

The best engines put into newer shorties in my opinion are the GM 6.0 GASOLINE engines. They're tough, powerful, and hold up to lots of abuse.
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:48 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info.

So what I'm hearing is regardless of navistar or powerstroke etc, a 6.0 in a Thomas is something to be avoided.

The guy I talked to, who has converted a few buses already, seemed to recommend this particular bus very highly. He wasn't pressuring me, though, and there were many more expensive options. Seemed honestly enthused. I wonder if he just hasn't had to repair his engine?

Regardless I am extremely thankful for any guidance!
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Old 12-13-2017, 05:54 PM   #14
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Dealers get these 6.0's for cheap and sell them for high dollar as low mileage "bargains".
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Old 12-13-2017, 09:24 PM   #15
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I found another one nearby, this one is a 2001 Chevy Blue Bird with 6.5L. It's half the price but double the miles ($5000/260k).

I'm a little wary of the mileage, but I could put a few thousand aside for repairs. What do you think?
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:55 PM   #16
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Aim higher. Wait for a better bus, unless you're in a hurry.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:07 AM   #17
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I got a 2002 E450 Thomas 5 Window Handicap in July from Craigslist in Temecula for less than that with less miles. Paid top dollar and was not perfect but needed it NOW and was not gonna miss another one. Almost bit the bullet n bought the 6.NO but thankfully this one appeared. Missed an '01 through the auctions by a month that went for under 2.
Found a 7.3 like mine but a 2000 last month for 5 on CL last month. Keep looking and you'll find a good one.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:06 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phirewall View Post
I've learned a lot from lurking here, now it's time for me to actually make some moves.

I'm going to check out a bus tomorrow that seems to tick all the boxes for me:
2004 Thomas, 5-window w/ dualie
6.0 Turbo diesel
137k miles
Acoustic ceiling
Roof hatch
Front and rear ac

It's at the absolute top of my budget, 10k, but seems to be perfect. The dealer also takes care of removing the school bus lettering, swapping out the overhead light gels from red to amber, and disabling the stop sign per California law.

Is there anything I'm missing here? Any help is greatly appreciated!
I'm following this, Robin. Good luck, dear.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
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