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Old 07-25-2011, 02:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 19
Newb: Want your thoughts/sugg b4 I take the plunge...

I'll start with the intended usage...
Recent addition to our family pushes us out of using an 8 Pass minivan for going on trips. I need something we can use on occasion that will carry at least 9 people.
My wishlist is (a)something that won't break down on me while we're travelling a few hundred miles from home (b)no CDL (c)more room to spread out than a 15 pass van would be nice. (d) a fixer that could turn into my DIY RV project might be cool too.

So... being that I can afford to buy some decked out Sprinter, I've started seaching for low cost alternatives and evnetually came across this board.
I'm currently thinking about trying to get some sort of used Shuttle bus. At present I've only been looking at Diesels (7.3s) since if I'm going to get a high mileage van it better work for another 100K miles+ in my book. I've been leaning away from mini school buses (let me know if there are opinions that say I should be considering that).
I do live in lower NY state, so I may be weatherizing a bit and thought the school bus tin can might be a bit less practicle than the fiberglass shuttles.

I've seen a few vehicles out there in the $3-4K range. Some would need me to add seats others have up to 10. I do'nt have a need for wheelchair lift, so I think I'll have plenty of space to work with.

An added bonus for me would be to conceptually think about adding a small bathroom/dinette if possible. I believe one conversion here called SPED has an example of such. Anyhting to cut down on rest stop breaks seems liek a good concept in my mind.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Especially ones that relate to what to watch out for when buying a E-350 7.3 Diesel with 150-200K miles on it.

~ Thanks.
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Old 07-28-2011, 04:21 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: from: Prescott, AZ currently: Denver, CO
Posts: 469
Year: 1992
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: All American RE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Re: Newb: Want your thoughts/sugg b4 I take the plunge...

Sounds like you have a pretty good plan going.

My only thought is.... build it as economical as you can/want and put the rest of the money in the fuel tank. Get out there and show the family the sights.

I know not much help.
Bluebird All American RE: Great White Buffalo (gone but not forgotten)
Our build thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10065
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:06 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 19
Re: Newb: Want your thoughts/sugg b4 I take the plunge...

Perhaps I can throw a different question in here as well.

I visited a company yestetday that sells used school buses.
What they had was all over 200K milrs and needed more work than it was worth.
I was told thar school buses havent had 7.3's in years. The guy said that all of his were 6.3s and all had upgraded/fixed engines. He said something about known issues with the #8 cylinder (or mabye it was the fuel injector)?
Does anyone knoe more about typical issues with both the 6 and 7s and stuff i should watch out for?

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Old 07-29-2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Buffalo, New York
Posts: 190
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird, Model 3800
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 42
Re: Newb: Want your thoughts/sugg b4 I take the plunge...

These guys are out near Herkimer:
Don Brown Bus Sales - School Bus Inventory

I bought my bus from them, and they delivered it. Before it left, they threw in a new starter and a full tank of diesel. I was able to work with a sales guy there who actually went out to the bus and got me info by climbing under it. They also did the initial inspection right there too.

From what I can tell, they seem a bit more pricey than Craigslist or some of the auctions (and the wonderful finds I hear -other- people getting), but I was able to lock in a manual transmission (which was important for me), and they have plenty of the T444E & the DT466E engines in there just now ...
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