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Old 03-30-2022, 11:11 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2022
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Question Too Much Rust?

Hello all!

I'm finally ready to buy a bus! I have my eye on one that is perfect for me, except I don't know how much rust is "acceptable" and what's "too much". If I could please get some opinions and feedback on the amount of rust I would appreciate it so much.

It's a 1997 Blue Bird Mini Bird 6.5L diesel with 85.3k miles on it, listed for $6k

It lived its life in Oklahoma as a church bus and now resides in south central TX.
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Old 03-30-2022, 01:27 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Rust on framing and other components is not an issue. Rust that has penetrated underbody crossbar framing members or degraded brackets and clamps is very problematic.

Can't tell from the pics what condition the u-shaped crossbars supporting the flooring look like. Check especially at the outboard ends to see if there is any sagging of the metal members due to rust damage.

You can also look to see if the body is sagging around the rear axle by looking for bending of the floor (concave floor) right straight down the center aisle.
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Old 03-30-2022, 01:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
Rust on framing and other components is not an issue. Rust that has penetrated underbody crossbar framing members or degraded brackets and clamps is very problematic.

Can't tell from the pics what condition the u-shaped crossbars supporting the flooring look like. Check especially at the outboard ends to see if there is any sagging of the metal members due to rust damage.

You can also look to see if the body is sagging around the rear axle by looking for bending of the floor (concave floor) right straight down the center aisle.

I have a video of the underside also but itís not letting my upload it here. The bus is 2 hours from me, but I looked at it this past weekend. I do recall one part of the floor (about 8-10 inches in size) near the center aisle in the front where the seating starts that sagged a bit when stepped on. Is it safe to assume thatís rusted through then?
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Old 03-30-2022, 08:18 PM   #4
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Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 6,783
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by SherbetTheShorty View Post
I have a video of the underside also but itís not letting my upload it here. The bus is 2 hours from me, but I looked at it this past weekend. I do recall one part of the floor (about 8-10 inches in size) near the center aisle in the front where the seating starts that sagged a bit when stepped on. Is it safe to assume thatís rusted through then?
Yeah, around the driver's seat is a notorious spot for bad rust. As Rucker said, the rust on the chassis is not a big deal in and of itself, but rust like what you have is a sign that you almost certainly have bad rust going on in the body (the part of the bus above the chassis rails, which includes the floor).

Check out my build thread to see what bad rust can involve. If you're handy with a welder and have access to inexpensive sheet metal, a rusty bus can be a good time. If you don't want to get into fabrication (which will take extra time and money no matter what your skill set), look for a non-rusty bus.
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Old 03-31-2022, 06:30 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Central PA
Posts: 347
Year: 2002
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International/IC Bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 78
From what I see, it still looks very solid. Surface rust is not an issue. Rot is an issue. I don't see any rot on the frame rails in these pics. I live in PA, work on cars regularly, and know metal fairly well and nothing in those pics scare me. I've seen some extremely rotten car and truck frames living in the rust belt. Like this:





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