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Old 01-26-2023, 08:09 AM   #1
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Red face Inspection advice and oppion of a 2004 Blue bird AJD bus im viewing next week?

Hi there Im new to the forum and know little about buses but I plan to learn as I go, first though I need to buy one. Next week ill be viewing a 2004 Bluebird with very low milage so a little advice would go along way.

This is the sellers Description
Year: 2004
Make: Bluebird
Model: AJD
Body: BU
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Transmission: Automatic
Vehicle Mileage: 50,833
Passengers: 48
Luggage: none
Brakes: hydraulic
Asking for $8900 Canadian

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First question
The bus is marked down as a 2004 Bluebird AJD but ive done a good search and cant find anything under that name. If anyone could have a look at the pictures provided and tyr and identify this bus for me and if so what is this type of bus like?

2nd question
The Bus is part of a fleet of city tour buses and I have inquired about why the bus has so low milage for a vehicle that is almost 20 years old. He replied We bought the company 2yrs ago and it came with it.
Im not sure when they bought the bus. During the 6yrs I worked for the company it didnt roll very often.
The buses safety ran out in November last year.

So with this bus sitting for most of its life I was wondering if there was any extra parts of the bus I should make sure to inspect?

Final question.
If the Millage is legit, it runs good and its not to rusty do you reckon this bus will make a great conversion and get me over to the west coast?

Thanks for reading this and any advice would be very helpful indeed

John Megson

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Old 01-26-2023, 08:35 AM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Jax Beach, FL
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000 28ft
Engine: Cummins ISB 5.9 24v, MD3060
Rated Cap: 14
Thats a BlueBird TC2000. You can tell by the shape of the grill and the headlights. Its a great platform for a conversion.



The probable bad: I have never seen one that didn't have a bad Odometer at some point. My first one failed around 70k miles and the school district replaced it. I'm at 120k and the second one is failing now. If its really a 2004 with a 24v cummins, it has an ECU. You can plug in the code reader and check the miles/ hours on the engine computer. In my case, that had been replaced too, so good thing i had documentation.


The potential good: By 2004 they had phased out the undesirable AT545 transmission in favor of Allison 3000 or Allison 2000 transmissions. Both of those are very solid on this bus.



If its been sitting a while, you may want to have a DOT inspection done. There could be a lot of parts behind on maintenance. If its not too far out of safety, then everything might be perfect. Check all the seals on the axles for leaks, check all the oils, check the brake pad thickness.
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Old 01-26-2023, 08:49 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply. With the advice you've given it seems like it would be a good idea to find a mechanic to come and have a quick look over it on his lunch break for a few bucks, hopefully he can bring a computer to plug in.
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Old 01-26-2023, 09:05 AM   #4
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Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
What to Expect When Inspecting

Welcome to skoolie.net. Lots of knowledgeable folks here, very helpful.

As fo4imtippin wrote, the dash odometers are not expected to be accurate. Use a code reader. Often, the Hours meter can provide more insight than milage.

Check out this thread by Cheese_Wagon:
hours-vs-miles-or-average-mph-and-why-it-is-important

With retired buses, the service location and wear & tear are more meaningful than the original production statistics. Time, weather, road conditions, maintenance quality, frequency of use, etc will greatly impact your overall investment.

A good thread regarding Canadian fleets, by Teknomad:
canada-is-a-rust-bucket
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Old 01-26-2023, 10:23 AM   #5
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Thanks for those links there very useful.

Yeah saddly buying a bus in canada is not ideal for the rust issue but I dont think it will be possible for me in my situation to get a bus any other way.
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Old 01-26-2023, 11:04 AM   #6
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Location: Virginia
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Year: 1971
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
I agree with what has already been said. My only comment and this is just my personal preferences, is that it is a front engine, which makes more noise for the driver, and more heat. as well as more trouble to get a front passenger seat in place if that is desired.



2004 is about the last year before egr, and other emissions come into play, but yet new enough that it can be reliable, or at least made reliable, and have support if stuck on the road.
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Old 01-26-2023, 04:25 PM   #7
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Year: 2003
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Chassis: CE 300
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I personally wouldn't want to be driving around in a full-size bus with hydraulic brakes. When air brakes fail, your bus stops; when hydraulic brakes fail, your bus doesn't stop. I imagine hydraulic brakes are reliable enough when they're regularly inspected and maintained by experienced mechanics, but skooliers don't always keep up with that kind of stuff.
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Old 01-26-2023, 05:23 PM   #8
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Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
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I would imagine it does have a parking brake that would at least slow it down. I must say I am tired of fixing my hydrualic brakes, and am planning to convert to air. Have some axles with air brakes that would be an easy retrofit. Spring hangers are in the right place to make them bolt on. Of there is all the little stuff.
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Old 01-27-2023, 06:36 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the advice guys. I've organised a viewing so I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old 01-28-2023, 08:32 AM   #10
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Location: Columbus Ohio
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I own busses with both air and hydraulic.. hydraulic brakes drive like a car you are familiar with.. the pedal feel, the fact they are disc, the stopping power is good... the parking brake is just that a parking brake.. if you lost ALL braking capability (highly unlikely as the front and rear systems are separate so losing both is something that really in real world doesnt happen).. the power assist is electrically backed up so if the engine stalls the power brakes do work..



air brakes have a much different pedal feel.. I personally like the fact on air brakes the parking brake is the full extend of the rear drums.. so it will hold the bus in much more incline than the paltry park brake on hydraulic (which is just a tiny drum on the back of the trans)...



air brakes anret bad to work on... they require a little more maintenance like drainingthe air tanks, maintaining the air dryer and the air dryer heater which is easy to do if you have any mechanical knowledge (which you should learn to own any bus)..



like others have said, loss of air pressure results in the rear brakes applying rather than releasing...



driving them both my personal preference in a full size bus is air and in a lighter weight shorty is hydraulic..


personally i dont like flat nose front engine busses as much due to engine noise and heat.. both can be mitigated.. you can insulate the doghouse for sound and heat as well as install a good road A/C system for the heat... you do have to somewhat climb over the doghouse to get into the seat so if you are a bigger person that might make it a little more difficult...



the TC2000 is a proven workhorse of a bus and built well.. the cummins 5.9 engine in it has a huge community behind it as well as many aftermarket parts for it.. this engine was used in Many trucks from dodge pickups to box trucks, school busses, and the list goes on.. lots of parts all over the place if tyou break something..
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