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Old 09-15-2020, 02:58 AM   #1
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Looking for advice on short bus listing

Hi there! I'm incredibly new to this skoolie thing, but have always wanted to convert one myself. Recently, i've found what I believe to be a Thomas Minotaur. In the listing, it only specifies that it's a 6.5L diesel, and it looks to be a GMC. It has 240k miles on it, most of the insides ripped out (current owner wanted to convert into a home but doesn't have time anymore), and three error codes (P0380,P0758,P011. I've looked up the codes, but what it seems is that it specifies that the error is somewhere within the system the code specifies, however entirely i'm unsure if this bus would be too much of a money dump or just not worth my time at all. It's currently listed for $2,500. Let me know your thoughts! I appreciate your time! Thanks!
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Old 09-15-2020, 04:15 AM   #2
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You don't mention the model year, but later GM van-based chassis have been known to have wiring gremlins that will spike trouble codes. The Pxxxx code series, however, indicates a 1996-year-model or later.

P0380 indicates Glow Plug Control, a fairly common problem on 6.2 and 6.5L diesels.

P0758 indicates transmission shift control solenoid. This could indicate the transmission has been worked hard and overheated, or even worn out. None of which are good. And then again, it could just be a bad solenoid or loose solenoid wiring. In any case, the pan has to come off, which means draining the fluid. And GM is not known for transmission longevity in this year model range, either. 240k is pushing it for a factory GM transmission, even for highway miles.

I'm not sure of what you typed for the third code - there is no P011, but there is a P0118, which indicates trouble with the engine coolant temperature sensor or its wiring. In the future, remember that unintended smiley codes can occur by using parentheses too close to what you typed, making it hard to decipher what was typed.

My advice - research all possible causes of your trouble codes and if they can trace back to the Body Control Module, Powertrain Control Module, Airbag Control Module, or anything indicating power loss to any circuit, I would walk away. Ditto if major engine or transmission repair is needed -- possible with the solenoid code.

It could be a simple fuse... but if not, any of those things I mentioned could top $1000 to diagnose, and even more to fix. I certainly wouldn't pay $2500 for it with the transmission being a likely question mark. $1000, maybe. Just my $0.02.
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Old 09-15-2020, 04:45 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
You don't mention the model year, but later GM van-based chassis have been known to have wiring gremlins that will spike trouble codes. The Pxxxx code series, however, indicates a 1996-year-model or later.

P0380 indicates Glow Plug Control, a fairly common problem on 6.2 and 6.5L diesels.

P0758 indicates transmission shift control solenoid. This could indicate the transmission has been worked hard and overheated, or even worn out. None of which are good. And then again, it could just a bad solenoid or loose solenoid wiring. In any case, the pan has to come off, which means draining the fluid. And GM is not known for transmission longevity in this year model range, either. 240k is pushing it for a factory GM transmission, even for highway miles.

I'm not sure of what you typed for the third code - there is no P011, but there is a P0118, which indicates trouble with the engine coolant temperature sensor or its wiring. In the future, remember that unintended smiley codes can occur by using parentheses too close to what you typed, making it hard to decipher what was typed.

My advice - research all possible causes of your trouble codes and if they can trace back to the Body Control Module, Powertrain Control Module, Airbag Control Module, or anything indicating power loss to any circuit, I would walk away. Ditto if major engine or transmission repair is needed -- possible with the solenoid code.

It could be a simple fuse... but if not, any of those things I mentioned could top $1000 to diagnose, and even more to fix. I certainly wouldn't pay $2500 for it with the transmission being a likely question mark. $1000, maybe. Just my $0.02.
First off, thank you so much for your input especially so quickly, you have helped tremendously and I really appreciate it. A bit redundant to mention now but itís a 2002, haha. I think Iíll stay away from the bus.

I wanted to ask, do you know of any reliable sources of which I can look for buses that are being sold that I can use for a conversion? I was looking into various makes and models, still researching but so far have learned that if I were to go the Ford route, that 7.3L duallys are the best within the 1998-2003 year range.

If not thatís totally fine, like I said I appreciate your time a bunch!
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:07 AM   #4
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Actually, I know where over 100 are for sale, but they are pretty much all larger chassis, 2+ ton. I think there may be one smaller van-based one but it is a 2012 and likely the 6.0 PowerJoke diesel, which you DO NOT want. They also have a couple larger Navistar buses with VT365s which are the same thing. Most others are T444 (E), Cat 3126, etc. PM me if you are interested... They're located 8n Central Virginia.
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Old 09-15-2020, 08:21 PM   #5
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Actually, I know where over 100 are for sale, but they are pretty much all larger chassis, 2+ ton. I think there may be one smaller van-based one but it is a 2012 and likely the 6.0 PowerJoke diesel, which you DO NOT want. They also have a couple larger Navistar buses with VT365s which are the same thing. Most others are T444 (E), Cat 3126, etc. PM me if you are interested... They're located 8n Central Virginia.
Wow, I'd be lying if I said I'm not a little lost with all the choices there are and considerations to have. I had originally thought getting a short bus would be a better option for my application but I guess im still unsure. If you don't mind, in your opinion, what would be the best option for me ( van or bus, or even which van/bus)? I'm on my own, not looking for the most amount of space out there but something somewhat comfortable, and reliable, I don't have a huge budget but I also am not looking for the most luxurious living (at least from the get go .I have a budget of around 4-5k). I also have a motorcycle I would prefer to have with me wherever I go (I figured a bus with a wheelchair lift would be the best to store the bike inside the bus, the bike is about 300lbs). I'm also in washington if that helps (not too many hill climbs but there are some especially down south). Any help is appreciated, you've been a huge help. Thank you so much
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:51 AM   #6
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Don't feel bad that you feel lost, you're in uncharted territory for most people. And none of us here would know what we know without prior experience and a few mistakes and good ideas here and there from others on the site. That's what makes skoolie-net such a good community, though some here are not as friendly as others...

I PM'd you a copy-and-paste of a primer I've given a few others on here who weren't sure where to start... Take a look, you really want to make sure you get the right bus for your needs. It's pretty costly and time-consuming to get the wrong size bus or wrong mechanical setup and have to change it to suit your needs. As I state in the PM / post, choose wisely.

In all honesty, the transmission is my only real concern with the '02 you mentioned, the glow plug controller is usually a pretty cheap fix, as is the coolant temp sensor. But either could be related to a more expensive problem as yet unknown, and with the mileage, the transmission is definitely a concern if it hasn't been rebuilt or replaced. Definitely think the price is too high for the miles.
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