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Old 01-28-2016, 03:08 PM   #1
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Fully loaded.

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/cto/5414462569.html

Would something like this (with solar panels, batteries and such) actually be cheaper to assemble on your own? Maybe this is a better deal simply because power would not be something I would have to deal with.

"1986 International school bus built by Carpenter coach works. This bus is powered by a International 7.8 liter 6 cylinder turbo diesel with a manual transmission. The bus has less than 90k miles on it."

I'm so tempted. Seems good from my research, I'd love done second opinions.
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Old 01-28-2016, 03:18 PM   #2
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I have seen some oddly spe'c'ed buses over the years. I can truthfully say I have never seen a bus with a lift door on the driver's side of the bus before. One has to imagine it must have been spe'c'ed to load and unload on one way streets somewhere in an urban setting.

It would appear that it is a CA spe'c bus (4-way and not 8-way overhead lights). I would imagine then it most likely saw service in the Bay area since that is about the only city in CA I know of where there would be an abundance of one way streets.

The bus looks to be in pretty good condition with some nice upgrades and a good power package.

But even considering the solar set up, the gen set, and the paint job I think the asking price is about 2x of what it should be. That is an S-series IHC and the oldest would be about 1979 and the newest would be about 1989. And unless the engine is brand new it just isn't worth more than about $6K.
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Old 01-28-2016, 04:28 PM   #3
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I have seen some oddly spe'c'ed buses over the years. I can truthfully say I have never seen a bus with a lift door on the driver's side of the bus before. One has to imagine it must have been spe'c'ed to load and unload on one way streets somewhere in an urban setting.

It would appear that it is a CA spe'c bus (4-way and not 8-way overhead lights). I would imagine then it most likely saw service in the Bay area since that is about the only city in CA I know of where there would be an abundance of one way streets.

The bus looks to be in pretty good condition with some nice upgrades and a good power package.

But even considering the solar set up, the gen set, and the paint job I think the asking price is about 2x of what it should be. That is an S-series IHC and the oldest would be about 1979 and the newest would be about 1989. And unless the engine is brand new it just isn't worth more than about $6K.
Very insightful! You're like a detective using visual clues to unravel the history of the bus. I'm pretty impressed.

Apparently a 1986. Naturally, he says he has 20k worth of recipets of what went into it. And says the "engine is original and in excellent condition".
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Old 02-03-2016, 02:46 PM   #4
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And unless the engine is brand new it just isn't worth more than about $6K.
If I could get this bus for $6k do you think it would be worth it? My research shows carpenters to be decent buses, should the original engine be considered a perk or detriment?

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/cto/5414462569.html
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:13 PM   #5
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$6k would be a real good price. There's been alot of money spent on top of the worth of the bus. If its more, you could always earn extra money powering a small village! (Unless you plan on running an oven-blender-pool heater-and both AC's--at the same time. )
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Old 02-04-2016, 08:22 AM   #6
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Naturally, he says he has 20k worth of recipets of what went into it. And says the "engine is original and in excellent condition".
Just because he has 20k of parts into it doesn't mean he'll ever recoup that. As everyone knows all cars, trucks, rv's, etc depreciate every year. The thing to look at is how all the electrical was designed and installed. If it was done correctly and professionally then that adds a little value because you're starting with one of the major systems already installed (properly hopefully) which saves you lots of time and $$$. The overall bus itself is not value added though. You'll still have all the normal maintenance and wear items, age related issues, etc. I would go for it if you can get it for a good price and the mechanical systems all check out.
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:48 AM   #7
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I'm not sure what all of the solar stuff is worth. But the age of it all would be a big factor in it. I'd say the bare bus is 1-3 grand. That generator is probably worth another 1000. It doesn't look like they've done anything to the interior, so that's not worth much. If the AC works then you can add some more. Cowlitz is probably close at 6000.

Barring no problems with it, I'd say the engine is a good option. The owner doesn't know what they have though because there is no 7.8L international engine. Odds are it's a 466, and based off the size of the turbo, it's a lower hp unit. Could also be a dt360 but from the pictures it looks like a 466. See if you can figure out what trans it has, that might be a plus also.

What's your plans for it? Full time skoolie, travel the continent, or just the weekend get away? That'll determine if it's for you or not.
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:59 PM   #8
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Manual transmission, 466 engine.

Eventually it will be my parked home while I build my house, only to be driven for the occasional weekender. But in the mean time I'd love to get a few glorious roadtrips out of it.

It has all sorts of records and has been kept with the school districts buses which, for insurance reasons, are serviced regularly.

We are negotiating now and I'm really nervous about if this is a good decision. Does anyone know a good mechanic in the Sacramento area with a familiarity with school buses?
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Old 02-06-2016, 11:30 PM   #9
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I have a 1992 with 4 way lights.

Is the bus registered commercially? If so, you will need a Class B with air brake and manual trans endorsement.
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Old 02-06-2016, 11:36 PM   #10
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And a passenger endorsement.
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:42 PM   #11
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The man selling the bus reassured me that the way it's registered does not require a class B.
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:48 PM   #12
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I have a 1992 with 4 way lights.

Is the bus registered commercially? If so, you will need a Class B with air brake and manual trans endorsement.
Not necessarily! Check YOUR state's requirements. Not every state requires a Class B with P endorsement, especially if you've converted it to an RV.
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:56 PM   #13
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Not necessarily! Check YOUR state's requirements. Not every state requires a Class B with P endorsement, especially if you've converted it to an RV.
Not if registered as an RV. That's why I said to check how it's registered. If not an RV, definitely as I posted. Bus is in Manteca, which means LARD in Spanish. That's is CA. I assume the OP is in CA but lists location as West Coast.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:06 PM   #14
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They STILL need to check the DMV for the requirements.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:47 PM   #15
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No you don't. In CALIFORNIA, if it's registered as commercial, you need a class b with the proper endorsements. If it is registered as a RV, a regular license is fine. If going somewhere else, you need to figure that out in your state.
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Old 02-09-2016, 05:10 PM   #16
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The story goes this bus has been owned by a non-profit that has used it as a mobile class room and part of their agreement when the bus was first purchased from the school district was that it would be housed and maintained on the district lot. So the bus comes with lots of maintenance records, has been regularly taken care of and is apparently in rather good shape. So I looked through Manteca school district to find the specific lot, cross referenced that with the head mechanic, found his number and called him up earning all sorts of info on the bus. He said it was recalled because of the welding but that it runs fine. Been started recently. Gets 4-6 MPG. He would replace the tires but doesn't think we'd need to before driving it home.

As for the welding, I'm wondering if it would be worth getting this bus for really cheap and getting some help from my welder friend trying to make it more structurally sound or make some modifications that keep its issues in mind. The mechanic had a sense of humor about it, said it's not a problem unless you roll it over, but "It looked like Ray Charles did all the welding".

Should I let this one go? It's a huge red flag. . . but I feel like any bus I could afford is going to have some sort of setback.
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Old 02-09-2016, 06:10 PM   #17
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Carpenter School Bus Advisory
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Old 02-09-2016, 09:24 PM   #18
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Yeah, I'm familiar.
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Old 02-09-2016, 10:22 PM   #19
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What happens when you buy it then sell it down the road and the new owner crushes his family of 12 when he rolls it. Where do you fit into the liability pie?
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:56 PM   #20
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The liability would pretty much be the manufacturer's since its a known issue and its documented. I mean, I've never heard of someone being sued for selling a used Pinto, and they have documented fire problems.
That said, I wouldn't want a bus that I could verify ahead of time was welded together like crap from the factory.
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