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Old 10-11-2020, 10:51 AM   #1
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Need help deciding if this would be worth the money- short bus cutaway and general ad

Me and my wife have been looking for a short bus or maybe box truck for a couple months now. I started out wanting to get the conventional dog nose shorty for many reasons I've read on this site. However, they seem to be pretty rare in my area (MO). I haven't seen any under about 6,000 here or in surrounding states. So I've widened my search to include the cutaway buses.

We're about to go on a trip to Oklahoma and saw a good looking bus for sale close to where we'll be. Here's the description:

2001 Ford Thomas Built Short School Bus

Ford chassis with Powerstroke 7.3 diesel with 162k miles

Great tires

Automatic transmission

Can currently seat 16 plus driver

Has 2 seats removed for cargo

Has 2" receiver hitch installed

Would make good start to a camper conversion.


$5500
--pictures are attached below.

My main question is, is this worth the price? I feel like it's expensive even though it does have low miles. I don't really want to spend more than 4,000 at most on the vehicle itself so I was thinking of asking if they'd take less. If they would take that much, which I kind of doubt based on how much they're asking, would it be worth it then?

-I know that cutaways are harder to work on and I would be doing most work myself, from anyone with experience, are they that much harder to work on?
-I'm also not sure how gas mileage would vary between this and a conventional short bus.
-I have heard that cutaways will be closer the max weight on the rear axle, how significant is this?

I've tried looking at auctions but haven't had very much luck seeing anything, I was wanting to stay around 22 ft and everything I can find is either longer or a shuttle bus.

Thanks in advance to anybody that can help. I really don't want to end up buying something I regret, and there's so much to research about each individual bus.
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:07 AM   #2
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Looks pretty nice... If it's rust free with reasonable miles and no mechanical problems, I'd say it's worth it... 7.3 PS is an excellent engine, much better than the 6.0 POS that replaced it in 2003. Ask if it's possible to view the hours on the engine, however.

I would, however, start off with offering about 4,000 to 4,500 and see what you can get it for.
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:11 AM   #3
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That's what I was thinking about doing. The only thing I've really been worried about with these types of buses is repairs and maintenance. I've seen a lot of people say they would never buy one because it's a pita. But I also see many conversions of them so it makes me wonder if it's really that bad. Do you have any experience with them?
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Old 10-11-2020, 11:16 AM   #4
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Not the shorties. Mine was a 64-passenger. There are members here that have them, though. The big thing is maintenance. If you maintain it well, and it was maintained well before you got it, repairs should be minimal, especially with a 7.3 PS. The 7.3 (PS and IDI) are the stuff of legends. Very durable engine. Ford's transmissions have been known to leave something to be desired in my experience but if they're maintained and not abused, should last awhile.
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Old 10-11-2020, 02:36 PM   #5
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Year: 1995
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Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Id get it. Sure its on the more expensive side, but thats an excellent year/engine/size combination that gets snapped up pretty quickly. The maintenance IS a pain in the ass but I just bring it on to a mechanic and have them do everything.
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Old 10-12-2020, 01:42 PM   #6
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So he said he could do 5,000, no less. I think it still seems pretty good as long as everything looks good. It's about 5 hours away so I want to ask him everything important now. Besides the hours it's been run do you guys have any more advice on what to ask?
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Old 10-21-2020, 05:47 PM   #7
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Undercarriage pictures for rust. Pay attention to the Wheelwell areas and stairs. Any holes than you can haggle the price down some more.
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Old 10-21-2020, 06:07 PM   #8
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Year: 1976
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Excellent engine and ya everything costs more and takes longer but it's worth it in the long run if it has been maintained.
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Old 10-21-2020, 06:11 PM   #9
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I ended up not buying it. Leaking oil, I think the high pressure oil pump. Glow plugs might have needed changed, it didn't want to start at about 45-50 degrees outside. Air filter housing was broken. And needed two new front tires. Hopefully we get one soon.
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Old 10-21-2020, 06:15 PM   #10
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wow, so much for taking someone else's word on something, I see it all the time, one guys maintenance program is just a dream for another. Or something I like to say: something is always lost in translation.
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Old 10-25-2020, 12:53 PM   #11
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I have that exact bus, but an 03 with the 7.3. What I thought was a rear seal leak turned out to be a broken bolt that holds the turbo down. Once you pull the turbo and intake, the entire top of the motor is easily accessed. I shortened the linkage and moved the door mechanism to the right 6" so engine access would be easier. no regrets.IMG_20200617_164043843.jpg
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Old 10-25-2020, 01:08 PM   #12
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From my experience with these, two things will cause operating (starting) issues with these "incomplete chassis Ford's" w/ 7.3's. The Under Valve Cover wire Harness either fails or unplugs itself (google 25 fix) or the IDM gets full of water and shorts out. IDM fail is very common.
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