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Old 05-13-2020, 12:39 PM   #1
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Seeking bus, opinions please?

Hi all,

Just to summarize, I’m looking for an 8 window bus with a wheelchair lift to travel part-time throughout the year. Include highways and mountains please!

North Carolina Surplus Bus List has a few listings for 1998 54 pass lift Navistar DT466 Tho Body. My novice interpretation is that this is probably an 8 window, wheelchair lift, Navistar chassis? DT466 engine (good) Thomas body. Mileages 220,000-240,000 for $3500, one at 290,000 miles is $3,000.

There is also a 2004 54 lift International T444E, 310,800 miles for $4000.

Many thanks for your thoughts and opinions!

Barbara

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Old 05-13-2020, 04:30 PM   #2
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those mileages are a little high and so are those prices.
and you definitely have to be careful buying an NC bus because unless its an activity bus it is almost definitely governed and rear end geared for 49mph regardless of the motor.
not really rust issues and you would definitely need to verify transmission but i dont remember what year they quit making the 545 but NC loved them and the rear end gearing.
i would also ask what horsepower is there specific built 466 rating at probably 175 to 200.
the state takes care of there buses but they by them brand new specific county purpose built low horsepower usually the cheapest tranny for the job and 6.50 rear end gears for limiting speed.
might just try calling and talking to them?
i have been into several different county bus barns to talk to the mechanics including the states main bus barn 4 hours away from me and they have all always been friendly and full of knowledge to share.
good luck
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Old 05-13-2020, 06:53 PM   #3
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those mileages are a little high and so are those prices.
Jolly Roger, thank you for your feedback and suggestions. Iíve just started looking, and Iím not in a hurry. I will call on a couple of them and continue my education. Since Iím starting from zero, all info is good info!

Barbara
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Old 05-13-2020, 07:24 PM   #4
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:00 AM   #5
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Thanks Johnny, I think that should be my #1 priority to remember. Maybe ceiling screws and not rivets is #2!

Barbara
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:02 AM   #6
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1 no rust
2 desirable drivetrain
3 high headroom
4 tire condition

screws vs rivets is pretty trivial, IMO.
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:38 AM   #7
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1 no rust
2 desirable drivetrain
3 high headroom
4 tire condition

screws vs rivets is pretty trivial, IMO.
Thanks! I agree on all points, nice to know Iím heading the right direction here. I still donít understand about drive train, I know it relates to highway speed and mountains. What questions should I ask?

Re: rivets, I have the upper body strength you would expect of ďwomen of a certain ageĒ, despite the gym! I donít want to throw in the towel when I hit the ceiling, so to speak!
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Old 05-14-2020, 02:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caplansail View Post
Thanks! I agree on all points, nice to know Iím heading the right direction here. I still donít understand about drive train, I know it relates to highway speed and mountains. What questions should I ask?

Re: rivets, I have the upper body strength you would expect of ďwomen of a certain ageĒ, despite the gym! I donít want to throw in the towel when I hit the ceiling, so to speak!
Channel your inner Rosie the Riveter!
You got this

I still have a WWII sheetmetal workers surplus drill my dad picked up...
I love that drill specially designed for smaller hands, and being the size of a 1/4" drill with the power of a 3/8" drill !

This is getting ahead of your getting a bus a little bit but...
One advantage of (quality) air tools is that they are lighter in weight than their electrical counterparts.
Consider the Makita or Dewalt 9.6v cordless tools.
I love my old Makita's for being compact and lightweight.
Sure the 18v tools are the new standard and work very well -- they also weigh a lot more...
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Old 05-14-2020, 04:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caplansail View Post
Thanks! I agree on all points, nice to know Iím heading the right direction here. I still donít understand about drive train, I know it relates to highway speed and mountains. What questions should I ask?

Re: rivets, I have the upper body strength you would expect of ďwomen of a certain ageĒ, despite the gym! I donít want to throw in the towel when I hit the ceiling, so to speak!
If you get a riveted ceiling, you will need a compressor and an air hammer. I did one of my rows of rivets with a crowbar and a mallet and it was so physically brutal that I (a 6' man who works out regularly) considered abandoning my bus since there was no paperwork anywhere connecting it to me. Then I did one row of rivets with a mallet, punch and chisel and that made me consider setting fire to my bus after abandoning it.

Today - a year later - I took out a row of rivets with an air hammer and it was almost pleasant, comparatively speaking. I don't blame you for prioritizing a screwed-in ceiling, although I think those can be trouble, too, if they're rusted.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:17 PM   #10
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If you get a riveted ceiling, you will need a compressor and an air hammer. I did one of my rows of rivets with a crowbar and a mallet and it was so physically brutal that I (a 6' man who works out regularly) considered abandoning my bus since there was no paperwork anywhere connecting it to me. Then I did one row of rivets with a mallet, punch and chisel and that made me consider setting fire to my bus after abandoning it.

Today - a year later - I took out a row of rivets with an air hammer and it was almost pleasant, comparatively speaking. I don't blame you for prioritizing a screwed-in ceiling, although I think those can be trouble, too, if they're rusted.
You don't have anything approaching a proper air compressor for the job or you'd be done with all those rivets in like an hour.
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Old 12-21-2021, 02:00 PM   #11
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Question NC Bus Governing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
those mileages are a little high and so are those prices.
and you definitely have to be careful buying an NC bus because unless its an activity bus it is almost definitely governed and rear end geared for 49mph regardless of the motor...

the state takes care of there buses but they by them brand new specific county purpose built low horsepower usually the cheapest tranny for the job and 6.50 rear end gears for limiting speed.
Hi Jolly Roger, I live in Mooresville. Looking to buy a bus to build a racecar hauler. I was excited to find the NC County busses for sale spreadsheet until I saw your post (quoted below). Was wondering if you could elaborate a little further. I will be doing long hauls and would really like to be able to do 65-70 mph.

Do you know what kind of governor used and how easy it is to defeat? I'm looking at late 90s buses with the DT466 and 45-50 mph limit seems harsh.

Do you think most of them came with the 6.50 rear gear? I've swapped rear axles but in much smaller trucks. A bus doesn't sound fun and I can't imagine the axle would be cheap.

Do you think it'd be better to look at buses from other states without speed governors (VA, SC, GA, TN, FL, etc) or possible to find what I want in NC (are Activity Buses around or mostly for School)?

Also concerned about the 545 trans for those long hauls, I've heard of people putting coolers on them.

Thanks so much!
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Old 12-21-2021, 05:54 PM   #12
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A quick note, on the rearend gearing you would just change the third member not the whole axle. Makes it much easier. I have 2 friends who built toy haulers and have gone cross country with the 545 trans. Both added coolers, and have not had any trouble yet.
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Old 12-21-2021, 07:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete_bruschi_racing View Post
Hi Jolly Roger, I live in Mooresville. Looking to buy a bus to build a racecar hauler. I was excited to find the NC County busses for sale spreadsheet until I saw your post (quoted below). Was wondering if you could elaborate a little further. I will be doing long hauls and would really like to be able to do 65-70 mph.

Do you know what kind of governor used and how easy it is to defeat? I'm looking at late 90s buses with the DT466 and 45-50 mph limit seems harsh.

Do you think most of them came with the 6.50 rear gear? I've swapped rear axles but in much smaller trucks. A bus doesn't sound fun and I can't imagine the axle would be cheap.

Do you think it'd be better to look at buses from other states without speed governors (VA, SC, GA, TN, FL, etc) or possible to find what I want in NC (are Activity Buses around or mostly for School)?

Also concerned about the 545 trans for those long hauls, I've heard of people putting coolers on them.

Thanks so much!
Florida sucks for bus shopping.
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Old 12-22-2021, 03:07 PM   #14
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the rear end swap is just the pumpkin and is not that bad with a good jack and an extra hand.
the type of governor really depends on the motor.
you live closer than i to a big bus barn aroung graham/mebane that i stopped at when i was working in the area several years ago and they had no problems talking to me.
but i was driving a full service truck for equipment repair and pulled right up in the garage/yard like i belonged there.
maybe talk to them about activity busses?
its been along time since i lived around a city so i cant remember if the busses that use the interstate actually run interstate speeds.
dont hurt to ask.
i think all the computer busses are governed in the computer.
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Old 12-22-2021, 05:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete_bruschi_racing View Post
Hi Jolly Roger, I live in Mooresville. Looking to buy a bus to build a racecar hauler. I was excited to find the NC County busses for sale spreadsheet until I saw your post (quoted below). Was wondering if you could elaborate a little further. I will be doing long hauls and would really like to be able to do 65-70 mph.

Do you know what kind of governor used and how easy it is to defeat? I'm looking at late 90s buses with the DT466 and 45-50 mph limit seems harsh.

Do you think most of them came with the 6.50 rear gear? I've swapped rear axles but in much smaller trucks. A bus doesn't sound fun and I can't imagine the axle would be cheap.

Do you think it'd be better to look at buses from other states without speed governors (VA, SC, GA, TN, FL, etc) or possible to find what I want in NC (are Activity Buses around or mostly for School)?

Also concerned about the 545 trans for those long hauls, I've heard of people putting coolers on them.

Thanks so much!
For your intended purpose, I would not buy a bus with an AT545, you'd regret it later. The axles have nothing to do with the gearing. A gear change (ring and pinion) is no different than on a car, just everything is bigger and heavier. DT466/AT545 was not a common combination, usually the DT would have a better trans. The long haul is not the issue with the 545, it has no locking torqque converter, so in extreme conditions it over heats the fluid. It doesn't create any useable backpressure to slow you on down grades, and burns up on up grades.
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