I found two Carpenter '92 Ford 71 passenger cummins 5.9 three speed auto buses for sale locally. Price is within my budget of around $2200 so I went and had a look, test drive yesterday.
Both had close to 140K miles and seemed to be clean, rust free. The one I was able to drive (bus # 1) seemed very underpowered. Sluggish getting to speed and had a tough time doing 60 mph. Really slowed down on slight uphill grades also. I am wondering if this is normal?
Bus #2 was in better shape cosmetically but would not start due to dead batteries. It also had some tire cracking on the rears where bus #1 had what looked like new tires.
Both had air brakes however, bus #1 took a long time to get to pressure for the alarm to go off.
I was mostly disappointed in the "underpowered" area. The ride was horrible also. Perhaps removing a leaf or two from the springs might soften it...
Next option is a '94 Blue Bird with a 7.3l auto. Seller says it has a little over 100K miles. Priced at $2400, a little over budget but may make an offer if it is a better bus. I've yet to go have a look at this one.
My ultimate question is regarding the choice of chassis, drivetrains. I don't need it to run more than 70 mph but I would like for it to have enough power to merge. 5.9 cummins, 7.3l or ??? Whats the suggested power?
I'm located in north Texas so, anyone selling near hear please contact me.
Glad to have found this forum and hopefully I can contribute useful info in the future.