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Old 02-12-2021, 12:13 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 11
Year: 1998
Engine: 3800, INTL, DT466E
Question Am I over my head with this bus?

Im brand new to this life and I need advice.
Iím looking at buying an International Thomas 3800 DT466E with 227408 miles and 10857 hours. Donít know the age yet but body seems pretty solid with minimal rust, air brakes and decent tires, looks like a 20-24 footer, undercarriage looked decent but didnít get a chance to really look. I just want some advice from everyone if Iím getting a bad deal regarding the hours and the seller wants me to come with my own offer price wise... what should I consider? Looking forward to any and all advice and being part of this community!

Alex

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Old 02-12-2021, 12:28 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site X/N.
What year is it?

"Minimal" rust? Be extremely careful there, as real rust/rot is usually found under the flooring that typically traps moisture that causes rot.
It is difficult to see the real/true state of body condition without a down and dirty undercarriage inspection of the flooring and sub structures that hold the body together.

Good luck and post pics if you go ahead with this bus buy...
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Old 02-12-2021, 12:35 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Year: 1998
Engine: 3800, INTL, DT466E
Hi Pete,
It was just a cursory glance since I couldn’t get under to check for deeper rust, just had knee surgery. The body looked pretty clean from any signs of rust though. As for the year I have to wait for the info since the owner doesn’t know. I’ll have to double check the flooring but nothing seemed like it moved or pitted with my 220 lbs walking on it.
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Old 02-12-2021, 12:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by XanderNic View Post
Hi Pete,
It was just a cursory glance since I couldn’t get under to check for deeper rust, just had knee surgery. The body looked pretty clean from any signs of rust though. As for the year I have to wait for the info since the owner doesn’t know. I’ll have to double check the flooring but nothing seemed like it moved or pitted with my 220 lbs walking on it.
Here's what my bus looked like after I got the seats and plywood out. The floor felt rock-solid when I walked on it, no sagging or soft spots at all - that's not going to tell you whether it's badly rusted or not.
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Old 02-12-2021, 01:14 PM   #5
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Musigenesis,
��
Jeez... that’s terrifying.
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Old 02-12-2021, 01:20 PM   #6
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Musigenesis,
��
Jeez... that’s terrifying.
Well, it was easy to fix - just a little Bondo.
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Old 02-12-2021, 01:21 PM   #7
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Get a large awl, a chipping hammer, and a creeper, get underneath the bus and poke every inch of anything that looks rusty. Then understand that the floor pan will be rotted through above the frame rail. Depending on the condition of the bus I would guess around $3500-4500.
I found theses all along my frame rails....
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Old 02-12-2021, 01:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ISAF2009 View Post
Get a large awl, a chipping hammer, and a creeper, get underneath the bus and poke every inch of anything that looks rusty. Then understand that the floor pan will be rotted through above the frame rail. Depending on the condition of the bus I would guess around $3500-4500.

35-4500
That seems reasonable.
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Old 02-12-2021, 01:46 PM   #9
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Sweet.
Gives me a reason to buy more tools and accessories lol
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Old 02-12-2021, 03:46 PM   #10
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where are you at in NC and where is the bus at?
i am in NC if the location works out i might be able to meet and help.
i bought my 60 passenger bus from my local bus barn for 2800$
almost all NC buses from the schools almost always have the 545 tranny and the 6 range of gearing unless you look up around the mountain and heavy interstate bus travel areas.
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Old 02-12-2021, 05:05 PM   #11
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Did you end up sticking with this build or start over with a new bus? Your pics make me scared to pull my floor now.
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Old 02-12-2021, 05:08 PM   #12
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Did you end up sticking with this build or start over with a new bus? Your pics make me scared to pull my floor now.
Fixed it, lots of work
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Old 02-12-2021, 05:49 PM   #13
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if you already own then find the problems and move forward.
never backwards?
we can help with whatever you find and ideas of how to address whatever issue with your skill level and possibly take you out of your skill level and help teach you and give you more confidence in what you can do yourself.
scared to pull the rubber flooring because what might be underneath?
what is underneath is what needs to be addressed before a new start with a fresh platform.
you dont think you haave the skills yet? wait until you pull this off yourself.
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Old 02-12-2021, 06:14 PM   #14
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Did you end up sticking with this build or start over with a new bus? Your pics make me scared to pull my floor now.
I assume this was meant for me.

Yes, I did keep the bus and it's feeling much better now. The repair let me do some unusual stuff like a dropped kitchen floor and a tub that extends below the floor; this got me out of needing to do a roof raise, so it wasn't a total loss. I also wanted to learn how to fabricate and there's no better opportunity for that than a rusty bus. Check out my build thread for more details.

Pull your floor, it's extremely unlikely that you'll find anything as bad as mine was.
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Old 02-12-2021, 06:37 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 11
Year: 1998
Engine: 3800, INTL, DT466E
Thanks yíall. Once I get more info back from the church about the year and maintenance Iíll update. Iím hoping it works out! Maybe this time next week Iíll be a new owner!
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Old 02-14-2021, 08:15 AM   #16
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Musigenesis,
Yes the previous comment was for you. Thanks for the ideas. I love the drop tub idea. I am trying to avoid a roof raise on my first conversions and intend to use it for a year, if the family enjoys it I will buy a 2nd and raise the roof on that one.
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Old 02-18-2021, 01:09 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Officially bought the bus! Need to take it to get it inspected but should be good to go.
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Old 02-18-2021, 09:39 PM   #18
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Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
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Let me make sure I'm understanding what you just posted.

You "officially" bought the bus, but you still need to go get it inspected.

Does that mean you bought the bus based on the outcome of the inspection, or you literally bought the bus and are going to get it inspected to see what kind of hole you may have dug yourself into?

If you have not literally bought the bus, and it turns out you don't buy it, here's my input for your next bus.

1) Where has it lived it's life. Salt states = rust.
2) Do they have maintenance records?
3) Paying for a mechanic to inspect it, lift it off the ground with some good light to see the underbelly of the beast.
4) Gearing, speed and rpms. Can it cruise at highway speeds at 2,000 rpm?
5) Transmission shifting properly
6) Cruise control for those long driving days
7) Tire life...these are expensive, and generally you need 6!

I made my buying mistakes on #4 & 5, was able to turn on the cruise via the ECM and my tire tread was awesome. I always joked I bought the tires and the bus was free.

I bought my bus for $2,300 with 187K miles. It lived in Seattle it's whole life as a true school bus, so I had records from the 2nd school owner.

I paid $2,500 to change the rear end for cruising at 60mph and 2k rpm.

My tranny, hopefully after a bit more testing, might need a new modulator ($200) and an easy job.

So, I count myself lucky.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-19-2021, 03:44 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 11
Year: 1998
Engine: 3800, INTL, DT466E
Just need to get a state inspection for the registration. It has records of maintenance and last state inspection as well. Engine runs but the only thing it needs is the ECM to be fixed as it turns off, past records indicated it and last mechanic report said same thing.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:24 PM   #20
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Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
Since you're going to have to have the ECM worked on, are there any parameters you're going to have changed?
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