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Old 12-19-2019, 07:47 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
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Buying out of state...

Hi!
So when buying off public surplus and itís out of state. How do you guys make sure itís reliable enough to get back home?
Do you call a local mechanic to the bus to go check it out? Currently in Oregon and found a couple in Cali and ARizona but unsure how to go about getting it looked at.
Iím ready to buy but a little skeptical about buying off auctions (but such good deals). This my first bus purchase so Iím not sure what to expect!
Thanks ahead of time

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Old 12-19-2019, 08:05 PM   #2
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What I did - living in GA and purchased in WV - was call the respective bus barn and talk to one of the techs there, or preferably the manager. In my case, I told them my travel plans and my concern about reliability getting it home. They assured me they felt it was good mechanical condition and why it was being sold (basically they got a bunch of new automatics and now they couldn't get these ol' grannies to drive the manuals any more!). I also asked about getting the service history for it, they were more than happy to give it - I got a 3" thick folder of stuff going back to "Day One", including a thick fan-fold printout from IH with hundreds of part numbers for everything the bus had!


Sale and payment went smoothly enough and day of pickup I arrive, bus had been started & warmed up (not what I wanted, I prefer a cold pretrip so I can check fluids, coolant, etc.), it fired right up and made the 300-ish mile trip home with no issues. Aside from conversion related work, the only "mechanical" thing I've done so far is replace the batteries.
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Old 12-19-2019, 08:10 PM   #3
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I was looking at a bus in Texas. I live in Wisconsin. I did a little research and found a family owned truck repair shop nearby. They were awesome! They said they would charge me $220 to send a mechanic out to the site. Then after they looked at the bus they actually lowered their price because they said it was close to their shop and only took them about 45 minutes. I tried to get someone to go look at a bus in New Mexico and again in another place. The shops I contacted in those cases were not interested and the one that said they might consider it wanted $500.
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Old 12-19-2019, 08:47 PM   #4
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The cost of a flight and hotel room to check out a bus could easily be eaten up in repairs to the wrong bus purchase. Unless buying from an area that has a reputation of rust free buses, it pays to check one out. As mentioned, buying buses recently retired, most often due to age, not mileage or condition, from a school district usually is a good bet. They are very open to revealing everything they know about the bus.
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:04 PM   #5
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One advantage of buying through the 2 auction sites is that you (usually) still get the chance for an in-person inspection before actually taking possession of the bus (well, any asset, really). Sure, you may have to make payment first but you have the possibility of recourse if "Item Not As Described". Sometimes you can get a seller to fix things (within reason) to complete your sale, other times you just need to cancel the sale and try again. Better to lose travel expenses than end up with a lemon.


Better is to do an inspection prior to bidding but in many cases this isn't possible/economical (as was in my case) so I sorta bought "sight-unseen" but having talked to the shop beforehand and having a few pictures gave me enough security to bid anyway.
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
One advantage of buying through the 2 auction sites is that you (usually) still get the chance for an in-person inspection before actually taking possession of the bus (well, any asset, really). Sure, you may have to make payment first but you have the possibility of recourse if "Item Not As Described". Sometimes you can get a seller to fix things (within reason) to complete your sale, other times you just need to cancel the sale and try again. Better to lose travel expenses than end up with a lemon.


Better is to do an inspection prior to bidding but in many cases this isn't possible/economical (as was in my case) so I sorta bought "sight-unseen" but having talked to the shop beforehand and having a few pictures gave me enough security to bid anyway.
Oh thatís is a relief to hear. I thought if I was to win the bid there was no going back. Thank you for the info!
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makailalynn View Post
Oh thatís is a relief to hear. I thought if I was to win the bid there was no going back. Thank you for the info!
Technically your bid is binding with your agreement with the auction site. It's up to the seller whether they want to cancel the transaction. Here again is why I deal with the retired school buses, because they are being listed in an auction, they are actually being sold by the school or county. In my case, I flew from Atl, to OKC only to find my very first entry into bus ownership was in a POS and was going to pay for buying site unseen. I had budgeted enough for the project that the price of this bus could be throw away learning experience money. When I brought the bus back from the corner I made it to and went to go plead my "not as described" defense. I only wanted my purchase price back, I would eat the auctions fees. Surprisingly he was more than happy to refund every penny, no questions asked. I got lucky, but now I'm stuck in OKC and need a way home. I saw Cadillac Kid Chris was finishing up a job in Tx, and was heading through OKC in Red Bird and could give me a lift. So my first negative experience turned into a great positive. I wouldn't expect that kind of refund on every deal. To me, it all goes back to these things being maintained to keep our children safe. Buy from the school.
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Old 12-20-2019, 03:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makailalynn View Post
Hi!
So when buying off public surplus and itís out of state. How do you guys make sure itís reliable enough to get back home?
Do you call a local mechanic to the bus to go check it out? Currently in Oregon and found a couple in Cali and ARizona but unsure how to go about getting it looked at.
Iím ready to buy but a little skeptical about buying off auctions (but such good deals). This my first bus purchase so Iím not sure what to expect!
Thanks ahead of time
auction buses are so much cheaper I just figure if it breaks badly enough I'll have it hauled to the nearest scrapper and try again.
Buses sold BY schools are in as good a shape as they get usually. An individual isn't going to put the maintenance in that a school does. They usually list any major issues.
Ask some of the older members about any prospective buses and you'll get a feel for it. Also- call the schools listing any buses you like and ask to speak to someone who knows them.
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Old 12-20-2019, 06:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makailalynn View Post
Oh thatís is a relief to hear. I thought if I was to win the bid there was no going back. Thank you for the info!

I will fair warn you, though. Do your inspection *BEFORE* you sign *ANYTHING* (especially anything transferring ownership), as once the paperwork is done, IT IS YOURS.


Should you have to back out of a sale because "Not As Advertised", the burden of proof is on you. Thankfully it's not common and most of those who encountered a "Not As Described" situation have had good resolutions from the sellers (as noted, school districts are not in the business of profiting from used vehicle sales, they are in the business of moving kids safely and efficiently and usually just want the auction sales to get said buses out of their way). This is why many sales may list the buses en masse as "scrap", "junk", "Inoperative", "Condition unknown" and whatever else even though some of the buses are still driveable (or easily made so) and may have plenty of life left in them.
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Old 12-29-2019, 04:40 PM   #10
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I buy quite a bit from online auctions, originally only gov. However, recently, some of the gov sites are listing private persons stuff. Not sure how that works, but with the gov backing I did get my money back on a poor seller. I won three milling machines site unseen, pictures only. They were pictured inside a building hooked up, possibly in use. When I got there three days after winning, they had been drug outside by chain, left in the rain and one had tipped over. So, no, not good. Called and got my money back.

Now, I just won a bus on Friday and the ad says, non-operational, however, they include a video of the bus driving and everything working as it should. In this case, they are covering the butts and anyone winning must realize they are taking a shot in the dark. Where is as is, etc.

But that gets you the big price break. For some great deals, you have to go out on a limb.

Certifications and inspections to make roadworthy are expensive. The owners just want them gone and move on to there new buses.

Ill let you know if I have to abandon my recent purchase for scrap as already posted, LOL.

Should post my route for possible turnoffs where members have drop off (field) locations. Again, LOL.

Never know,

BaconFarms
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Old 12-29-2019, 05:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaconFarms View Post
I buy quite a bit from online auctions, originally only gov. However, recently, some of the gov sites are listing private persons stuff. Not sure how that works, but with the gov backing I did get my money back on a poor seller. I won three milling machines site unseen, pictures only. They were pictured inside a building hooked up, possibly in use. When I got there three days after winning, they had been drug outside by chain, left in the rain and one had tipped over. So, no, not good. Called and got my money back.

Now, I just won a bus on Friday and the ad says, non-operational, however, they include a video of the bus driving and everything working as it should. In this case, they are covering the butts and anyone winning must realize they are taking a shot in the dark. Where is as is, etc.

But that gets you the big price break. For some great deals, you have to go out on a limb.

Certifications and inspections to make roadworthy are expensive. The owners just want them gone and move on to there new buses.

Ill let you know if I have to abandon my recent purchase for scrap as already posted, LOL.

Should post my route for possible turnoffs where members have drop off (field) locations. Again, LOL.

Never know,

BaconFarms

Govdeals.com is not associated with the Government in any capacity. It is a private outlet that allows the government agencies, and anyone else, to list items for auction.
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Old 12-29-2019, 05:14 PM   #12
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There's GovDeals- then there's AuctionDeals.
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Old 12-29-2019, 08:25 PM   #13
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I've been in the government surplus business since '99. I contact the chief mechanic about the vehicle before making any bids. I also ask that person if there is anything outstanding on the vehicle history I may need to be aware of. When I bought HF, the chief mechanic let me know the engine had been replaced for $12K three years prior. That was the incentive to get HF right then and there. I know school bus departments all over the US as a result of my business. The phone call and some friendly notes of various buses and other topics usually sets the tone for good data mining on auction buses. Talk to the maintenance department chiefs. Usually they are happy to share their experiences with potential individual buyers.


Good luck!


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