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Old 12-25-2020, 09:35 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 17
Looking for conversion help in Maryland

My partner and I are currently looking at a 2009 international and want someone with some bus knowledge to help us decide if it’s a good fit for us and worth the money they’re asking.
We are in the process of just securing our budget and a place to park right now so that should be finalized by the end of next week.
Our goal is to have our bus completed by August when our lease is up. We are thinking we will probably have to do most of the work ourselves simply because our budget is pretty limited, but we were hoping to get someone to gut and possibly shell it for us if it is relatively affordable. Any resources are greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-25-2020, 09:45 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
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Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
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Welcome and Merry Christmas! Until you find someone local, you could share all the bus details here and get some pretty helpful preliminary information...is it a fair price, is the engine/tranny combination a desirable or worrisome driveline, other things to look for. Another new member just did that and got some quick preliminary feedback that might be worth reading... https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/4...ing-34219.html
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Old 12-25-2020, 09:56 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Welcome and Merry Christmas! Until you find someone local, you could share all the bus details here and get some pretty helpful preliminary information...is it a fair price, is the engine/tranny combination a desirable or worrisome driveline, other things to look for. Another new member just did that and got some quick preliminary feedback that might be worth reading... https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/4...ing-34219.html
Thank you for that advice! Here is the info we currently have on the bus:

2009 International Maxxforce turbo diesel engine.
200HP Allison Transmission
Air to Air Brakes
Heated Mirrors and driver seat
Noise suppression switch
Cruise control
Child check monitor
65 Gallon fuel tank
Disc wheels 265/75R22.5

We are hoping to take a look at it this week.
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Old 12-25-2020, 11:02 PM   #4
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Well...all of my personal experience is with other engines. But I'm guessing, based on what I've read here and elsewhere, that you're going to get some pretty knowledgeable cautions to avoid the later (post 2004 or so, maybe?) Maxxforce engines. At this point, I'll tiptoe away and wait for the folks who actually know about that engine and tranny (waiting to see if that's the AT545?). I'll be over here, standing in the wings. Sorry!


EDIT: It might help, too, if you share a bit about what you're looking for...and you'll get some good ideas and things to look for...and to avoid. For example, "we want a 32-35 foot, rear-engine diesel with a mid-mount (not rear corner) wheelchair lift...". Or whatever's on your list. Some buses have higher ceilings than others, which may or may not be important depending upon whether you plan a roof raise or not. And - of course - how much do you want to spend up front?


EDIT to add an option: If we were looking for another bus right now (we're not...we have 5!), I might be really interested in one of these being sold in Florida. They have a bunch, with different auction end dates, and I'm guessing they'll go in the $4000-4500 range. https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...2&acctid=19886
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Old 12-26-2020, 06:45 AM   #5
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Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjacks47 View Post
My partner and I are currently looking at a 2009 international and want someone with some bus knowledge to help us decide if it’s a good fit for us and worth the money they’re asking.
We are in the process of just securing our budget and a place to park right now so that should be finalized by the end of next week.
Our goal is to have our bus completed by August when our lease is up. We are thinking we will probably have to do most of the work ourselves simply because our budget is pretty limited, but we were hoping to get someone to gut and possibly shell it for us if it is relatively affordable. Any resources are greatly appreciated!
You would probably not want this bus even if it were free. The scuttlebutt around here is that engines from 2004 or later are bad (with very few exceptions) because of emissions-control systems that started going into diesels that year. The "MaxxForce" engines might be the worst of all - Navistar (aka International) got so bad at making engines they had to stop altogether, so their buses now come with Cummins engines.

What do you mean by "shell it"? Gutting the bus is easy (especially with two people) and is something you should be able to do with ordinary tools like ratchet wrenches and a circular saw (you might need an angle grinder and an air hammer with compressor as well, but these aren't super-expensive and they're things you'll probably need elsewhere as well).
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:15 AM   #6
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Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
Where in Maryland are you? We are often near Frederick.

The Maxxforce engines are not well though of because of emissions equipment giving a lot of trouble. So if you get this bus you should educate yourself with what is needed to keep these working well to avoid some serious issues. Just Google maxxforce. My suggestion is look up info on keeping them going and stay away from the gloom and doom crowd.

Generally the pre 2004 busses are favored because they do not have emissions equipment like egr and dpf. Egr is exhaust gas recirculation. Dpf is diesel particulate filter, basically a filter on you exhaust pipe. It is supposed to self clean by burning the soot trapped in it every so often. You mist likely will also have def, diesel exhaust fluid, and separate tank near the fuel tank to fill. I call it pee in a bottle. It is urea based.
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:26 AM   #7
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avoid anything called "maxxforce".
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:40 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
Well...all of my personal experience is with other engines. But I'm guessing, based on what I've read here and elsewhere, that you're going to get some pretty knowledgeable cautions to avoid the later (post 2004 or so, maybe?) Maxxforce engines. At this point, I'll tiptoe away and wait for the folks who actually know about that engine and tranny (waiting to see if that's the AT545?). I'll be over here, standing in the wings. Sorry!


EDIT: It might help, too, if you share a bit about what you're looking for...and you'll get some good ideas and things to look for...and to avoid. For example, "we want a 32-35 foot, rear-engine diesel with a mid-mount (not rear corner) wheelchair lift...". Or whatever's on your list. Some buses have higher ceilings than others, which may or may not be important depending upon whether you plan a roof raise or not. And - of course - how much do you want to spend up front?


EDIT to add an option: If we were looking for another bus right now (we're not...we have 5!), I might be really interested in one of these being sold in Florida. They have a bunch, with different auction end dates, and I'm guessing they'll go in the $4000-4500 range. https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...2&acctid=19886
Got it! Thank you for the bus link. I’m reading some of the other replies and thinking we should reconsider this bus. We are looking for something that’s 26-30 feet long, doesn’t have to be too high inside, no roof raise, we are both relatively short. We aren’t too picky on any lifts on the bus and I’d like it to have a “nose” not a flat front.
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:42 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thank you! We did read that we should aim for 1990-2004, but we were trying to be a little more open. Seeing the overall consensus and feedback, we will stick with that range.
Shelling by just gutting the bus (seats, ceiling and floors) and framing for insulation. We will be working full time while trying to convert our bus until our lease is up so any extra help would be great, even if it’s minimal.
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:43 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
avoid anything called "maxxforce".
Thank you!
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:45 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Maryland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
Where in Maryland are you? We are often near Frederick.

The Maxxforce engines are not well though of because of emissions equipment giving a lot of trouble. So if you get this bus you should educate yourself with what is needed to keep these working well to avoid some serious issues. Just Google maxxforce. My suggestion is look up info on keeping them going and stay away from the gloom and doom crowd.

Generally the pre 2004 busses are favored because they do not have emissions equipment like egr and dpf. Egr is exhaust gas recirculation. Dpf is diesel particulate filter, basically a filter on you exhaust pipe. It is supposed to self clean by burning the soot trapped in it every so often. You mist likely will also have def, diesel exhaust fluid, and separate tank near the fuel tank to fill. I call it pee in a bottle. It is urea based.
Thank you for the info! We will probably look for another bus that’s pre 2004. We are located in college park. If you know of anyone with any affordable, additional land/garage space to work on the bus, please point them our way!
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Old 12-26-2020, 09:29 AM   #12
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Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 619
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjacks47 View Post
Got it! Thank you for the bus link. I’m reading some of the other replies and thinking we should reconsider this bus. We are looking for something that’s 26-30 feet long, doesn’t have to be too high inside, no roof raise, we are both relatively short. We aren’t too picky on any lifts on the bus and I’d like it to have a “nose” not a flat front.

This is helpful! A shorty, dog nose... those are great, but it does narrow your field a bit (at least among what's currently listed on the sites we buy through). Here's an option, as an example. I personally had no issues with the one (not very well regarded) Cat C7 engine we've had, but this bus might be at half life at 200,000 miles. I know nothing about that tranny, though... Anyway, here's a link just to show you an example - is this the size you're looking for?



https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2700265
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Old 12-26-2020, 09:39 AM   #13
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Posts: 14,687
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
which maxxforce engine? the maaxxforce DT (inline 6 7.6 liter)from 07-09 isnt bad...



the Maxxfroce 7 V8 diesel (6.4 liter) from 07-10 is pretty terrible.. terrible in a way thats hard to even bulletproof unless you rebuild it as the pistons were very prone to cracking.. many times in a way that resulted in complete destruction of the block..

the only way to prevent the issue was to completely rebuild the engine before it blows up with Mahle 2011+ Pistons.. and of course the usual oil cooler / EGR cooler updates with aftermarket.. and may as well ARP stud it too.. alas an expensive endeavor unless you can rbeuild engines in yoyur garage..
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Old 12-26-2020, 10:15 AM   #14
Skoolie
 
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Chassis: International/IC Bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 78
2 recommendations for places to shop:

Colonial Auto Auction in Upper Marlboro MD
Sonny Merryman in VA and a couple other locations

We bought our bus from colonial and they have a bunch of Prince Frederick and Fairfax County buses. They advertise on Facebook marketplace.

Stick to pre-04 buses as mentioned. The 2000-2004 internationals are usually good buys. DT466 and T444 engines are good. Cummins as well. Best case scenario for transmissions is one with a “touch pad” or “push button” shifter. That indicates a MD3060. Id normally tell you to away from anything with an AT545 trans but it may be your only option in the short buses as the better trans options are harder to find in short buses.
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Old 12-26-2020, 10:29 AM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Maryland
Posts: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
This is helpful! A shorty, dog nose... those are great, but it does narrow your field a bit (at least among what's currently listed on the sites we buy through). Here's an option, as an example. I personally had no issues with the one (not very well regarded) Cat C7 engine we've had, but this bus might be at half life at 200,000 miles. I know nothing about that tranny, though... Anyway, here's a link just to show you an example - is this the size you're looking for?



https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2700265
Yes, that size is perfect! Most of them that we’ve liked have about 7 windows.
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Old 12-26-2020, 10:30 AM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamRod4 View Post
2 recommendations for places to shop:

Colonial Auto Auction in Upper Marlboro MD
Sonny Merryman in VA and a couple other locations

We bought our bus from colonial and they have a bunch of Prince Frederick and Fairfax County buses. They advertise on Facebook marketplace.

Stick to pre-04 buses as mentioned. The 2000-2004 internationals are usually good buys. DT466 and T444 engines are good. Cummins as well. Best case scenario for transmissions is one with a “touch pad” or “push button” shifter. That indicates a MD3060. Id normally tell you to away from anything with an AT545 trans but it may be your only option in the short buses as the better trans options are harder to find in short buses.
This is very helpful, thank you! Upper Marlboro is so close so it would be great if we could find something there.
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Old 12-26-2020, 11:09 AM   #17
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Engine: 345 international V-8
Brandywine bus and truck, in Brandywine MD


A bit further away M&M in Ruckersville VA
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Old 12-26-2020, 11:35 AM   #18
Bus Nut
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjacks47 View Post
Yes, that size is perfect! Most of them that we’ve liked have about 7 windows.

If you're open to a flat front, rear engine (which, personally, we like...even though the dog nose is cool) then there are a bunch of these desert buses available for about $7000. Those are from dealer/resellers, so they won't be as cheap as an auction bus...usually...but they do generally have new batteries and really good tires and you can pick from multiple options and get the one you like best. These are newer than you might be looking, which has pros and cons. We lean towards the older buses, ourselves, but these are pretty nice and clean and could make a good platform. It's hard to tell, but this is not a 40-foot bus. I think they're about 32?

Screen Shot 2020-12-26 at 10.30.39 AM.png
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Old 12-31-2020, 05:25 AM   #19
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Rated Cap: 87, says Gillig...
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjacks47 View Post
This is very helpful, thank you! Upper Marlboro is so close so it would be great if we could find something there.
I live about an hour from you in the big city of Hughesville, MD. I am 15 minutes from Brandywine and less than an hour from Upper Marlboro.

I am not the guy you are looking for to do the demo and prep, but I am not far and I am willing to help in any other ways I can.

We looked around locally to find a bus but ended up buying ours (build thread here) from a guy 3000 miles away in Northern CA. It was a long cold and exciting ride home (read about it here)...

Welcome to the forum. If you need help locally or want to check out Comfort Eagle, just send me a PM.

Rick
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Old 12-31-2020, 05:54 AM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Maryland
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Thank you! Your bus is huge! Excited to read about your drive home, hopefully it will give us some more ideas of where we can look for buses without feeling discouraged about the drive home.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfortEagle View Post
I live about an hour from you in the big city of Hughesville, MD. I am 15 minutes from Brandywine and less than an hour from Upper Marlboro.

I am not the guy you are looking for to do the demo and prep, but I am not far and I am willing to help in any other ways I can.

We looked around locally to find a bus but ended up buying ours (build thread here) from a guy 3000 miles away in Northern CA. It was a long cold and exciting ride home (read about it here)...

Welcome to the forum. If you need help locally or want to check out Comfort Eagle, just send me a PM.

Rick
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