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Old 12-09-2017, 10:13 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Which Bus to Buy? Getting Closer to Decision!

Hi Guys, after much research I'm giving a serious look to the Thomas HDX with the CAT C7. I am still busy working on my credit and plan to finance a nicer bus and probably from one of the big bus dealerships like National Bus Sales or American Bus Sales. Where I am at currently is narrowing down the choices to what suites my needs. I found this 2008 HDX at American Bus and spoke with a salesman on the phone yesterday. Unfortunately they are in OK and I am in Arizona. Still, this bus has just 103K miles and has cruise control which I really like on top of all the other features it has which in my limited knowledge so far, seem to be good.

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Old 12-09-2017, 11:10 AM   #2
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I wouldn't waste my money on a bus above 2007 because that's when they began coming with all sorts of emissions headaches. There's a reason the school district dumped it at only 10 years old.

Mine is an '01 IH with the T444 engine. None of that emissions nonsense to worry about.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:51 AM   #3
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Why buy newer? Newer just means more problems.
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:22 PM   #4
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You might want to try Midwest Transit, of AAA Bus Sales (AZ) for well prepped buses at better prices than National Bus will quote.

National Bus is just down the road from here. They are, for the most part, a dealership that stocks newer buses that they sell directly to schools. They are not cheap.

Both the two I mentioned have a good reputation for decent buses at better prices.

The best value seems to be in buses from 1990 to 1999, more or less. That's where the bargains are, but that is also where the trouble is to be found. If you want a bus that has been checked and prepped, a dealer is not a bad option. You will, of course, pay more.
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Old 12-09-2017, 01:44 PM   #5
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I would also stay away from the newer emissions controlled engines.
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Old 12-09-2017, 02:24 PM   #6
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This is exactly why I come to these great forums :::

Thank you all so much for saving me emission related nightmares! I know a little about this from a non bus related topic, my 2005 Ford Super Duty 6.0L engine... Another story for another time ::

So here's what I am thinking I have determined for myself. For one thing, the straight 6 engine whether CAT or Cummins. The long flat faced bus because I need all the room I can get. Air brakes because I have learned they are much safer & finally that I like the the dealership plan because I want financing and a power train warranty which some charge extra for but I'm ok with that within reason.

That being said, I will see what's out there in the 2007 or older range.

Also to Twigg, I have desktop icons set for both AAA and Midwest and check them regularly. I also found an Arizona dealer called Canyon State.
I need to get over to an AZ dealership and start kicking some actual tires and take a drive as I have yet to get behind the wheel of a full sized bus..
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertMax View Post
Thank you all so much for saving me emission related nightmares! I know a little about this from a non bus related topic, my 2005 Ford Super Duty 6.0L engine... Another story for another time ::

So here's what I am thinking I have determined for myself. For one thing, the straight 6 engine whether CAT or Cummins. The long flat faced bus because I need all the room I can get. Air brakes because I have learned they are much safer & finally that I like the the dealership plan because I want financing and a power train warranty which some charge extra for but I'm ok with that within reason.

That being said, I will see what's out there in the 2007 or older range.

Also to Twigg, I have desktop icons set for both AAA and Midwest and check them regularly. I also found an Arizona dealer called Canyon State.
I need to get over to an AZ dealership and start kicking some actual tires and take a drive as I have yet to get behind the wheel of a full sized bus..
Also, while AAA do not publish prices on their site, they do put their buses on Phoenix Craigslist, and they are negotiable.
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Old 12-09-2017, 06:33 PM   #8
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Hey I noticed no prices and that is very good information... thanks, M
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:36 PM   #9
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I bought my 2003 HDX from Midwest Transit for a paltry(?) $8K. It was clean and ran like a champ for my trip from Kankakee, IL to Billings, MT.
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:54 PM   #10
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Yes, I am sure that the HDX like yours is what I want. I like the insect-like outer mirrors because they seem to be a good upgrade I noticed on buses from way back. They look like they offer the best side rear views. When did they begin those mirrors? Perhaps about 2001??
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:47 PM   #11
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Go for a pre-05 Cummins or International with lots of HP and overdrive. You won't be sorry.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:14 AM   #12
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Great! Thanks... I will look at those..
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:34 AM   #13
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most all of your electronic engines.. which started in the mid 90s will have cruise control.. you may have to enable it with a scan tool but its there.. international put cruise control buttons on all DT-466E and T-444E's starting with 97 models if i remember right. so if cruise is the main reason for a newer bus you can stay pre-emissions and still have that feature.. (and yeah I LOVE the cruise feature)..

if you are goping to go with an 07/08 and up Bus then I would suggest Learning lots about engine computer controls and such so you can detect emission isues before they shut you down on the highway. and buy a scan tool for your particular bus..

I realize the allure of a newer bus in the fact you have more feature, generally less rust, more comforts like power heated mirrors, Air-conditioning, etc.. however as ECCB mentioned you can find pre-emissions busses with many comforts.. my red one is an 00 with power heated mirrors, cruise, air-ride, air-seat, and Air-conditioning. (I added overdrive trans )

EC's 04 is a high Horsepower reliable DT-466 with A/C, cruise, and overdrive. and no rust.

you just have to be patient wither on auctions or if you prefer the convenience of a dealer, looking for the right bus.. any reputable dealer will be more than happy to take plenty of pictures and provice computer scans for you for any bus you might be interested in.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
You might want to try Midwest Transit, of AAA Bus Sales (AZ) for well prepped buses at better prices than National Bus will quote.

National Bus is just down the road from here. They are, for the most part, a dealership that stocks newer buses that they sell directly to schools. They are not cheap.

Both the two I mentioned have a good reputation for decent buses at better prices.

The best value seems to be in buses from 1990 to 1999, more or less. That's where the bargains are, but that is also where the trouble is to be found. If you want a bus that has been checked and prepped, a dealer is not a bad option. You will, of course, pay more.
Don brown bus sales in New york gets quite a few busses directly traded in from schools.. again, any dealer should be more than willing take pictures all around a bus for signs of rust, and provide honest mechanical reports..

and of course dealer prices for busses are just like cars.. you can wheel and deal to get extras tossed in, bad tires replaced, work performed, price reduction, etc.. commercial vehicle deals often get neogitiated harder than consumer deals..

-Christopher
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