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Old 02-13-2006, 03:46 AM   #1
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How's This Transit Bus?

1997 40ft Flxible Bus. 230,000 miles, good condition, runs, no rust, under $600. Brakes and tires all over 50%. 6V71 Detroit Engine, V731 Allison Transmission. Have all service records. And close to home.

I am looking for a cheep bare bones shell, what do you think about this?

Main question is will it be able to run on the highway. I have heard some people say that they will do 70, others say way less, which is it?

I love the size and price, but could be too good to be true...
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Old 02-13-2006, 06:21 AM   #2
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That sounds like a good bargain. The motor is worth 10 times the asking price for the bus.

I'm tempted by a transit bus......but i'd prefer a coach next time around

let me know if you decide to pass on that bus, i just might go pick it up.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (who will watch the watchmen?)
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Old 02-13-2006, 12:26 PM   #3
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lapeer20m, Sorry, I should have included this link in the orignal post. You'll see there's more wherre that came from... ... &catid=402

Also, how's the WVO going on your bus? I just made a great HD collection/filter pump for my Diesel Rabbit and bus, when I buy one. I will probably be picking your brain soon on greasy matters.

Thanks for the input. Joe
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Old 02-13-2006, 01:51 PM   #4
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I dont see the bus on that list, but $600 for a 97 seems too good to be true to me.
My Old Bus :(
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:15 PM   #5
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Some of those prices are amazing. Hold me back from buying a Flxible...
View my 1972 Ward: Topic from the Build : The Picture Gallery
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:56 PM   #6
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shoot, hold me back from buying a helicopter. Did anyone see that crappy 80's movie where the guy had a heli built into a semi?? What was that movie??

I love that site though too. lots to concider.
'89 Ford 370-2V Wayne - Sold :(

Plotting the next project now. Looking for a clean diesel pusher with low rust/miles. Identical plans with plumming and biodiesel added :)
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Old 02-15-2006, 12:36 AM   #7
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One thing about a bus advertised as a 1997 with a 6v71. Detroit Diesel quit making the 6v71 as well as all the other on highway two strokes in the early 1990s. Since it said it is a 1997 it is probably an older bus that was remanfactured in 1997. I would not have a problem buying a remanfactured bus though I personally would not like to have a DD 2 stroke engine in my bus. They are increasingly becoming harder to find a competent mechanic to work on them and they are not easy on fuel. The other problem with them is they have been fooled around with on most buses to meet emission requirements. If it is a DDEC engine you can forget getting a dealer to up the HP because of the emission crap. Lots of people with transits have run into this.

Another concern about the Flx Metro is it is a "V" drive bus. The engine sits in the back sideways. With a "V" drive bus you have only one transmission choice the V730/731. The V730 is a good transmission closly related to the HT740 however it is a 3 speed instead of a 4. Since most Flx Metros were run in the city they have city gearing and with a 3 speed tranny they will not get much over 60mph. Of course you can change out the rearend gears but that ain't cheap. Since it is a "V" drive you need a "V" drive rear end. They are over $2000 new and used highway gears are nearly impossible to find.

Another issue with the V730/731 is it is rated to handle a max of 277HP so even if you replace the engien with an MUI model and rebuild it to run 350HP you might have problems. I know of several people that are running 350HP 6v92TAs with a V730 and so far no problems but who knows.

Another quick bit of info about the V series tranny is the V730 is the mechanical version and the V731 is the electronic version (ATEC). You can tell which version the bus has by the shifter. If it has a push button pad for the gear selector it is obviously a V731.

I have been researching different types of buses for the past two years now and have decided to get a skoolie. I like transits for the price but for me a skoolie is the right thing. It is hard to find a transit with less than 500k miles that is ready to go 100k more. Most transit districts dump their buses when the mileage gets too high and the bus is too old. They also let them go with the wost tires they have laying around. It can also be very hard to find out how many miles the engine and tranny have since the last rebuild. A detroit two stroke in a transit will not last much over 250k miles. Also if a transit comes from the rust belt it is probably going to be a rust bucket since they spend so many hours on the roads.

All the drivers I have ever talked with say they love the way the Flx Metros ride and drive and wish they could still drive them. They are supposed to have the cadillac ride of buses.

If I was goign to get a transit it would be a Gillig Phantom. They have the same drive train as the highway coaches. Typically a 6v92 coupled to an HT740. Some of the newer model even have a Cummins L10, 8.3, or a Detroit series 50. I would love to have one with one of those 4 stroke engines. Since the Gilligs are a "T" drive getting rear end gears is not a problem and not as much $$$. Replacing the engine is also not as big of a problem since it is not a "V" drive you can replace it with a right hand turning truck engine. Drivers say that the Phantom does not ride as well as the Metro but it is still a good bus.

One last thing about transits is they usually come with "transit tires" on them. These tires are great for stop and go city driving but they have a max speed rating of 55MPH in most cases. The tread tends to come off if you drive them over the rated speed for very long.

In the end I decided to get a RE Thomas. I don't have the money to replace tires and air bags and anythign else that may be wore out. I want to spend my money on geting it converted and taking my family on the road to see the country.

Sorry for the long post, I hope this is helpful to somebody. As you can all tell I am no professional writer.
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Old 02-15-2006, 12:50 AM   #8
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Sorry for the confusion, wishfull thinking I guess, the bus is an '87, not a '97. Anyway, I comitted to buy the bus.

I am a little worried that I may have jumped the gun on this bus. The price is low and right in my budget, and the size of the bus is perfect for my needs, but I am woried that the age of the bus and it's city gearing may be a big problem. I never take my 33 foot gas RV above 60 mph and while that can be anoying to the people behind me, I think it is just the safe way to travel. SO question is, If I run this bus at 55mph all day long am I going to be causing extra dammage to the rear end and transmission?

I will know a lot more when I go pick the bus up Thursday and talk the the mechanics that have been taking care of it. I also get the maintnance reccords too.

Thanks for the info...
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Old 02-15-2006, 03:13 PM   #9
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If you don't mind going slow it will be fine. The two stroke engines love to run right at the governor all day long so it should be happy. You just don't every want to lug a two stroke. Since it most likely has city gearing you will probably not have too much a problem with hills on the highway. The drivetrain on a Flx Metro is very similar to the RTS. You can join the RTS group on Yahoo to get some good info about the transmission and engine. One of the guys there is a bus mechanic and knows the "V" drive very well. Some of the members of that group get a little cranky if you talk about anything but an RTS but the majority will help you.

I wish every board was as friendly and helpful as this one. If it needs new rubber look for places that do lots of truck tires. Lots of people get used tires for a lot less than new and they have plenty of thead left.

A good place for transit parts is Nimco Bus ( in NJ. They scrap a lot of transits and have tons of parts. The most common problem with any transit is the leveling system. If it has sat for a while you might have some issues. They are not complicated or hard to work on. In fact I wish my skoolie had air bags. You can build a really cool leveling system for when you are parked.
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Old 02-15-2006, 08:24 PM   #10
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Thanks again for the info, Busone. I am picking up the bus tomorrow afternoon and I will give a full report when/if I get it home.

I hope I will be welcome here at skoolies. I know I have a transit bus, but I like you guys' attitudes toward living on wheels. I have been a member of now for over a year and there are some great skilled and informed people on there, however, there are not many that are willing to get there hands dirty and think outside the box. So I would rather team up with you all if that's cool with everyone!

Thanks again, Joe
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