I did it I did it I finally did it!
As some of you here may know, I been searching for a bus for months now. My lease is up at the end of April, and I'm sick of paying rent. I've traveled a whole lot in my life, spending years hitchhiking and living out of cars with friends, and I've been missing it. Last year I signed a lease for the first time ever (I'm 28 haha) and while it was nice having my own room and the stability that can afford, I'm over it. So I got to thinking, and realized that with a bus I get the best of both worlds! A little home on the go.
Fast forward to a checking out some buses that were NOT as advertised (and an immense restraint in compulsive buying on my part) to yesterday. I enlisted the help of a friend and we drove 4 hours away to check out a bus. And I loved it. And I bought it. The specs/important info/bonuses are as follows:
- 1997 International 3800 DT466E
- not sure what kind of transmission
- 253,000 miles
- working wheelchair lift
- already gutted!
- already painted flat black!
- governed at 55 mph
- mechanic at school said the bus had 253,000 miles one it, but it had the cluster replaced 39,000 miles ago so that's what it shows
Also, the incredible thing is, the folks who I bought it from got it from a school, so there are maintenance records. They records only go as far back as 2012 (not sure why) but I was told that since it was used to transport children, it had to go through some sort of inspection every 30 days. Not to mention that it was registered in North Carolina, which requires a top-to-bottom inspection annually. The couple purchased this beauty from the school in June of last year, and had it inspected when they registered it themselves in August. It passed everything except the wipes, which they replaced.
I. Am. So. Excited. Now, I know that there are plenty of folks who aren't into the DT466E's cause of all the electrical components. I weighed in everything I've heard about em, but I just couldn't pass this bad baby up. Oh, and I got it for $2,800.
The only down side I can see right now is the entrance door being electric. I'm trying to figure out a layout that would allow me to use the emergency exit or wheelchair lift door as my main entrance. The emergency exit would be unaccessable with the way I'd wanna build a bed, but if I put it off to the back right then I could feasibly use the wheelchair lift door, as long as I rig up a way to get in from the outside.
There are a million and one questions I'm sure I'm going to have, but as for now I've got a few things already I'd like to throw y'alls way.
First, with the governing: seeing as how if I went any faster the gas mileage would just get worse and worse anyway, I'm not tryna fly this thing. Doing 60 mph would be nice, but what I'm more concerned about is the gearing. The guy told me that he had talked to the schools mechanic, who said that technically the governor could be removed, but that the bus is geared for stop and go, so anything faster than 55 pretty much would overheat the engine. He didn't ask the mechanic what the gearing was, and I'm curious myself (although at this point with my knowledge the numbers themselves wouldn't mean anything to me). I noticed on my drive home that the temperature normally stayed at 180 degrees, but after driving up and around the mountains for a while the temp climbed to 210, and probably would have kept climbing had we not started to go down hill...er...mountain. At 55 mph the rpm's are 2,700. Does all this sound like to y'all that I should just avoid mountain driving at all costs?
Second: the wheelchair lift! What a cool invention (humans really are incredible inventors) however I don't need or want it. I've been told you could sell these things, but is there really a market for em? And what would I need to do when I remove it to make it more appeasing to the seller? Any specific ways I should remove the wiring?
Third: how'd I do!?
Y'all have been great so far, and I am forever indebted to this forum. I can't wait to learn as I go and to one day be able to pass the knowledge forward. I've already learned so much about buses (I even knew more than the men selling em at times, haha!). Anyway, that's all the info I can think to vomit up right now. Thanks for bearing with this long and excited intro. I know what y'all are waiting for anyway, so here's the pictures (let's hope I upload them right):
The coupled who sold it to me had used to to start their business - selling patches to mostly bikers. They eventually upgraded to a store and now the bus is mine! Just gotta paint over the stencils.
My favorite creature in the world checking things out
Thing works great
Not the best pictures of the chassis, but barely any rust (other than surface).
I wish he could drive...