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Old 09-14-2018, 11:12 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 23
Unhappy Choked on 1st auction

Complete newbie saw a 2002 Blue Bird CS 8.3ISC 300 with an Allison B400R on public surplus. High mileage 616,757 . Called and got to talk to their mechanic who had jumpstarted it recently, said started right up but had been mainly sitting for 2 years. Rotated out on schedule, had good maintenance. Bid once and choked, sold for 1425.00!!! Yreka CA was only a 6 hour drive. I am looking for a mid size bus to convert and live in for next 2 years. Need high ceiling! I am 6 ft but plan to give to 6'5" son eventually. Did I miss a good deal? Want to give me advice on auctions/bidding. I do not want to drive clear across the country to get a bus, have too many beasties at home to leave to a pet sitter for too long. I am still kicking my self!!!
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:20 AM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 493
Year: 1993
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E350
Engine: 7.3 IDI
Rated Cap: 14
600K miles... if there were no service records of an engine/trans overhaul, suspension/brake work, etc... I would have passed.

Can find better with less miles on it for similar prices.
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:56 AM   #3
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,030
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
I don't know where you're finding better than that for that money and fewer miles. The mileage would be a concern, but not a deal breaker if it was maintained properly. Ya, you missed a good deal.
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:12 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 23

Had opportunity while talking to their mechanic, will remember to ask more questions on prior work done. He seemed positive about the bus, I still think I missed a deal......
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:30 PM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Personally, I would pass on anything with that many miles. Even if the engine was rebuilt within the last hundred thousand or so...everything else is still high mileage. Trans, axles, bushings, brakes...everything.

Sooner or later...everything wears out and that one has to have a lot that is getting close to its' limits.

That said...I have seen buses with about a million miles that were rock solid, but they are beyond unicorn status.
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:37 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,950
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
I've seen trucks with 2 million+ miles on them, but I can just about assure that engine/trans/rear overhauls had been done somewhere within that time. And yes, even with major components having been overhauled, that still leaves a high-mileage rest-of-the-vehicle. Some will still have a lot of life left in them, while others will be ready for the scrap yard.
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Old 09-14-2018, 06:16 PM   #7
Almost There
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Just south of Dallas.
Posts: 98
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: 40' MVP-ER
Engine: Cat 3126
From what I've learned by my recent crash course as far as ceiling heights go, and PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong!!!

Bluebirds are hard to find in a 78" ceiling...

Thomas's are easy to find with a 78" ceiling. ONE way to tell is the hump just aft of the drivers section. If it goes up 78", down 73".
Another way is pax window belt is set higher than the drivers window.

The AmTran/IC RE 300 Genesis Not in that order but will send you down the right trail,lol. (Name and manufacturer changed a few times) ALL have 78" headroom and are arguably the best looking cab over skoolie.

Yes 600k+ is a bunch. Less mileages are easy to find also. Plus I don't want to rely on something that high mileage. (I WAS looking at transits with typically 500K at retirement)
It has taken me three+ months to find mine. I lost some bids that now I'm glad I did!!!

Good luck and keep us posted. And be patient.

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Old 09-15-2018, 10:04 AM   #8
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 23
Thank you!

Good information on heights!! Thank you Shay!
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:11 AM   #9
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Manitou Springs, CO
Posts: 215
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger
I'd much rather miss a good deal than take a risk on something I am not educated on. Good deals come by every once in a while. Once your cash is gone, there's no getting it back.
Please check out my blog-
Follow the (lack of) progress on the Karr Family Kamping Bus Blog
Here is my woefully inadequate build thread:
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Old 09-26-2018, 04:14 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,198
600+K miles on a school bus, particularly an eastern built bus, is going to be pretty tired. Even if the engine and transmission had been rebuilt/replaced along the way, but as Tango wrote earlier everything else would be pretty tired.

Back in the day when Crown and Gillig offered frame rails of 150,000 PSI steel a school bus with 600K miles would still be in pretty decent shape if proper maintenance had been done on it. I have seen many CA built buses with close to a million miles that still were in good shape and could still get down the road and back without any problems.

But today the "heavy duty" buses have 50,000 PSI steel. I drove a lot of miles on Crown and Gillig buses before I drove a brand new BB AA RE 14-row with a 285 HP Cat 3208T in it. I had the varsity football team on the bus with the luggage compartments crammed full of their junk and plunder. In other words I was loaded about as heavy as the bus would ever get. I had to stop at the top of the driveway leaving the school parking lot. With our old buses we were told not to stop so we wouldn't have to slip the clutch to get going again. When I went to go I mashed the throttle. I could literally feel, see, and hear the body as it twisted as we got started. It was not a sensation I have ever had in a Crown or Gillig.

That story is just to let you know that a BB with that many miles would be pretty well worn out. The CS models had half as many roof bows as the school buses because of the transit style slider windows they had. I would guess with a 300 HP engine and half the framing that bus was probably pretty limber after more than 20-years of service.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:29 AM   #11
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 3
I would avoid a bus with that many miles... and i would advise you get a bus from a "dry" state or one that does not use road salt in winters, even if it means traveling to get it. Rust compromised buses equal a lot of time,effort, money and misery to deal with. Better to buy the best solid bus you can manage to afford to begin with. Converting a bus is a BIG job and you have enough work without dealing with rust. Good luck with your quest!
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Old 09-27-2018, 09:58 PM   #12
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 50
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: 8.3L Cummins Turbo
Rated Cap: 80
Altitude above you and runway behind you, they're both worth the same. I wouldn't purchase a bus with that many miles unless it was a coach. It was a learning experience. You will find your bus. It took me two months to find mine.
1992 Blue Bird All American
8.3 L Cummins
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