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Old 07-17-2018, 10:45 PM   #1
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First Bus Advice!

I found a 1995 GMC blue bird school bus, about 37 feet long with a 3116 Cat engine and Allison transmission with 150k on it. The engine was recently rebuilt because of a school district required it. We found it for $5000. Originally from the south west, no penetrarting rust...everything else looks really good. I fell like everything seems pretty good but I'm just looking for any information that others might have that I might be missing. First bus purchase and want to make sure I do it right!
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:19 AM   #2
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That's a lot of dough for that bus.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:04 AM   #3
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Way too pricey for what it is.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:23 AM   #4
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So much money
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:23 PM   #5
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Could buy three of them for that price.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:35 PM   #6
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Bus price

I realize that in some areas I might be able to find this bus cheaper. But for the buses available within a 15 hour or so drive of where I am in the Pacific Northwest I'm not finding anything cheaper that comes close to mileage and condition. Maybe if I committed to driving across the country to an auction I might gamble and find a cheaper one. But I'm not willing to gamble and spend a thousand dollars to travel across the country to see a bus that might be better or might not be. I think for the area of the country I'm in the bus price is fair. I was mostly hoping someone could help me out with any mechanical issues I might watch out for or some other underlying issue I haven't thought of. My distance to travel for a school bus is limited and my time is also running a little low. I just want to drive away with a decent bus even if it is $5000. Any other thoughts? Or is there a mechanical reason the bus isnt worth $5000?
Thanks again!
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:38 PM   #7
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PNW is the mecca for good clean buses man.

You can do much better for 5 g's. Maybe not TODAY. But look around, check the auctions.
My buddy got a 99 BBAA in OR with low miles, all decked out with all the goodies, top of the line bus and he paid $4000 out the door with auction fees.

The GMC you're looking at is a $2000 bus in good running order.
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:44 PM   #8
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I've seen many good deals coming from the PNW. Does your bus have a Allison 545? It would be important to know that. I paid $3500 for my bus out of Butte.Mt. I paid extra to get the bigger engine, trans, cruise control, etc.

I also question the mileage on a bus that old. If in fact it had that low of mileage, why did it need rebuild? School district required it? Why, because it was blown up? Certainly not a mileage or age requirement. That is not a motor that should have needed a rebuild before 150k.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:26 PM   #9
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The bus does have an Allison Transmission although I'm not sure which one. I have a lot of experience with different vehicles but not as much with bigger diesels. From what I could see the engine was in very good shape. I didnt see anything that made me question a rebuild. No oil leaks anywhere on the engine. Oil looked fine and smelled normal. Transmission fluid was a good color and consistency. Engine looked tight and dry and sounded good. Some of the reading I did on the 3116 said that they typically required a rebuild as a fleet vehicle every 150 to 200k miles. So I really didnt grill them too hard about why it was rebuilt.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:26 PM   #10
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Seems pricey in a way. Do not know what engine issues it had but to replace that engine is 11 -12 g's alone with no installation. They are good engines and I have one but with a standard transmission. The last of the mechanicals but a good one. Also 6 cyl which is far better than a v8 build wise.
Talk him down. I bet it sits for a while before someone pays his price.
Find out the tranny type too before buying, wouldn't want a 545 in that bus.



Good luck,


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Old 07-18-2018, 02:28 PM   #11
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I can almost promise you its a 545.
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Old 07-18-2018, 02:32 PM   #12
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Harlow's has some decent looking buses:

https://www.goharlows.com/default.as...fAmtRange=0-10

https://www.goharlows.com/default.as...OwnedInventory DT466 & MD3060 for $2k
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Old 07-28-2018, 05:02 PM   #13
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Don't listen to all the naysayers, school districts by law have to maintain their buses until they reach a certain milage, then they are retired,. I bought a 1990 bluebird with 202k miles, they rebuilt the cat motor when it had 189k. It runs like a top, purrs right along. I had plenty of people tell me I was paying too much for it, but it was local to me, it runs great, and I have been living in it full time for over a year now. Sure, there are challenges, but I have no regrets. BTW, I entered several auctions while looking for a bus, and they all went from reasonable, 3 to 4 thousand, to ridiculous, 7 to 8 thousand, in seconds it seemed. In the end if you find a bus that makes you happy, that is all that matters.
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Old 07-28-2018, 05:18 PM   #14
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Wait a couple of weeks, then check out publicsurplus.com

School Districts in WA usually make their new bus purchases and auction off the retired ones mid to late August.

5K seems pretty spendy.
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:30 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by curtice99 View Post
Don't listen to all the naysayers, school districts by law have to maintain their buses until they reach a certain milage, then they are retired,. I bought a 1990 bluebird with 202k miles, they rebuilt the cat motor when it had 189k. It runs like a top, purrs right along. I had plenty of people tell me I was paying too much for it, but it was local to me, it runs great, and I have been living in it full time for over a year now. Sure, there are challenges, but I have no regrets. BTW, I entered several auctions while looking for a bus, and they all went from reasonable, 3 to 4 thousand, to ridiculous, 7 to 8 thousand, in seconds it seemed. In the end if you find a bus that makes you happy, that is all that matters.
Law requires maintenance but not engine overhauls. ran a fleet of mid sized Freight Shakers older ones had 3116 cat newer ones had 3126 or MBE's I can remember actually overhauling one (cracked head put coolant in oil) all had over 325,000 miles on them and a few had 500,000 on original short blocks.If an overhaul was required at 150 to 200,000 miles a fleet would be better off with gas engines and as you can see that is not the case Gene
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:32 PM   #16
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By the way it is not uncommon for a bus close to retirement sit in the yard rather than the operator make a large investment in it. Gene
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Don't listen to all the naysayers, school districts by law have to maintain their buses until they reach a certain mileage, then they are retired.

Sorta true. Not all school districts are rigidly required to maintain each and every bus religiously until X age or Y mileage. The vast majority have some flexibility in that "if bus so-and-so is 19 years old and 188K miles, we're not going to spend 15K on an engine rebuild, just to retire it next year" (assuming a 20 year, 200K mile life span). Some states have no age/mileage limit, so if it's in good condition otherwise, they may spend the dough to keep it going.
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:59 AM   #18
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Good Price!!

If you have proof of the engine rebuild it is an excellent buy!
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:59 AM   #19
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The engine and transmission combo in this bus is the best, especially for traveling in the NW. I had read that in 2005 bus companies were required to go electrical. It is recommended to avoid this year. What do you think?

Tomthe original poster...this bus is a better value. That engine is the most desirable with this tranny. Go get it!
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:00 AM   #20
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Buy this $2,000 Bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
The engine and transmission combo in this bus is the best, especially for traveling in the NW. I had read that in 2005 bus companies were required to go electrical. It is recommended to avoid this year. What do you think?

Tomthe original poster...this bus is a better value. That engine is the most desirable with this tranny. Go get it!9
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