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Old 03-24-2021, 10:41 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 4
WANTED: Medium C Bus in PNW

First post! What a cool site!

After months of lurking and researching on the website, not to mention seeing a half-dozen buses in person and kicking a few tires, I have narrowed down what I need in a school bus for my first-time conversion project this summer. The concept is to build a mobile movie studio for full-time life that can handle some off-grid time along gravel roads. I am in the Seattle area, specifically Maple Valley, so I've got plenty of room to get my hands dirty. All I need now is a bus. Here's what I'm looking for:


Must haves:

Type C bus
Anywhere from 1990 to 2003
Between 8 and 10 windows
Little to no rust
Located in the Pacific Northwest


Very nice to haves:

DT466 engine and MT643 transmission
Less than 200k miles
Less than 8000 hours
Less than $5000


My list is partly inspired by a previous post, so thank you for getting me started: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f14/s...pnw-22532.html

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Old 03-24-2021, 11:30 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 4
Forgot to mention this in the original posting, but I would also prefer a high-ceiling bus
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Old 03-25-2021, 12:33 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 785
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly View Post
First post! What a cool site!

After months of lurking and researching on the website, not to mention seeing a half-dozen buses in person and kicking a few tires, I have narrowed down what I need in a school bus for my first-time conversion project this summer. The concept is to build a mobile movie studio for full-time life that can handle some off-grid time along gravel roads. I am in the Seattle area, specifically Maple Valley, so I've got plenty of room to get my hands dirty. All I need now is a bus. Here's what I'm looking for:


Must haves:

Type C bus
Anywhere from 1990 to 2003
Between 8 and 10 windows
Little to no rust
Located in the Pacific Northwest


Very nice to haves:

DT466 engine and MT643 transmission
Less than 200k miles
Less than 8000 hours
Less than $5000


My list is partly inspired by a previous post, so thank you for getting me started: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f14/s...pnw-22532.html
Hi Neighbor. I'm in Auburn, just down the road.

I can't comment on the engine. Per the transmission, I have the MT643, and there are some things to know. While an all mechanical transmission, there is a known issue with the ones with an electrical modulator. I'm dealing with that as I write this. It also has a pretty wide gear range due to having only 4 gears. Yet, when working properly and knowing how to drive to take care of the engine and tranny, it's a workhorse.

While the Allison 1000/2000/3000 series are electronic, they also have 5+ gears and good reputations.

As you get closer to the 2003 in model year, you get closer to having emissions. Since the early 2000s were when they were just starting to add emissions, they were not necessarily the best. In many ways, it's just gotten worse over time. So, it's good you're looking in earlier model years.

I found my bus on Craigslist (Catholic High School in Burien) for $2,300, yet I didn't know then what I know now and would probably have passed. But, she's mine and I keep moving forward.

We're a pretty target rich environment considering we are a major metro area. Even though we get a lot of rain, we don't have salted roads. My bus has lived its whole life here and had hardly any rust to speak of. Not sure about over the mountains.

That's about it. Nice to have a fellow skoolie so close. I'll PM you my contact info if you want to get in touch.
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Old 03-26-2021, 03:18 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 4
Hi Neighbor! It's great to know I have an expert just down the road.


Thanks for the information about the transmissions; I'm definitely open to the Allision 1000/2000/3000 series as I've heard good things about them, but I didn't know the gearing details or electronic/mechanical differences until now.


The model years I'm looking at are definitely driven by emissions considerations. From what I understand, the older the bus, the more likely I am to eventually learn how to fix things myself, hopefully less often too, as it's a more proven design.


Right now I've got a craigslist alert for school buses in the Seattle/Tacoma area, but I may expand that into more parts of Western Washington so I don't miss anything nearby. I've also been checking the GovDeals and PublicSurplus websites but it's been pretty slim pickings - most of the buses there seem to be a hair past the 2004 date I've got into my head. Then again, it certainly didn't hurt to see buses I wasn't sure about through there. That's helped me narrow down the search to what I have here.


I'm so happy you've replied. I'll reply to your PM with my contact info as well.
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Old 05-31-2021, 04:31 PM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 410
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Crown Super Coach
Chassis: Built on a Crown Chassis
Engine: 300HP BIG CAM TURBO 855
Rated Cap: 78
You don't need to narrow the search. But you do need to have more money.
The market is insane right now. Two years ago your request was reasonable. Today? Seriously. Forget about it you are looking for a unicorn
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