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Old 05-08-2024, 09:45 PM   #1
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Question of bus value? (tell me not to buy this!!)

Hi.

I am new to Skoolie.net and I am about to buy my first bus. I just want to hear that I am not totally crazy. The bus is a 1999 Ford E450 with the 7.3L turbo diesel with 77,000 miles. It has been well maintained, as it was a fleet vehicle. Tires don't match, but all have good tread. No big rust spots that I found with a look under the frame. Engine starts and does not smoke, and runs smoothly. I drive "like a bus" -- but no weird engine noises or shakes in the suspension. I do not think it would win a drag race with a moped, but hey its a bus. Owner claims it gets 14MPG (Diesel). Brakes work, but again, I would bot pull in front of this thing and slam on the brakes if I were you.

The previous owner of the bus has gutted it and re-modeled it with 2 beds, and some nice cabinetry. Gas stove, sink, 50 gal fresh 50 gal grey tanks, propane instant hot water heater, and a shower. 2 TV's (big whoop) Roof rack over 3/4 of bus, ladder, and rear "bike basket". He seemed to be quite skilled at this type of work, as he owns a civil engineering company and had his workers build the bus. It is re painted green, and its quite a looker. The transmission is not shifting into over drive, but the fluid is clean and i very much suspect that it is an electrical wiring issue, which automotive electronics / mechanics is one of my specialties (I am an electrical / mechanical engineer).

I plan to fix the electrical issues, add 800 watts of solar, remove the rear A/C, put in a mini-split where the rear ac was. Possibly improve the potty.

I have the chance to pick it up for $12K.

Thoughts on this bus?
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Old 05-09-2024, 05:50 AM   #2
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Location: South Carolina
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Year: 1995
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
If she's that finished and is mechanically sound I think that is a decent deal.
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Old 05-09-2024, 07:51 AM   #3
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Yeah thats what I am thinking. That 7.3 is supposed to be a 500000 motor… it def needs some love, but it seems to be a unicorn to me.
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Old 05-10-2024, 07:39 AM   #4
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Year: 1995
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Chassis: International 3800
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badassloumd View Post
Yeah thats what I am thinking. That 7.3 is supposed to be a 500000 motor… it def needs some love, but it seems to be a unicorn to me.
Yeah, and if someone where to start from scratch with a bus that size, they're paying 8-9k just for the body before any work done on engine and interrior. Would be 20k assuming you did all the work yourself, more if you paid someone to do it. So 12k is 8k cheaper than most could do it for.
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Old 05-10-2024, 08:48 AM   #5
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Yeah that's the way I see it. It needs work (Wont go in to Overdrive) but the 7.3 is a solid motor and the trans is well understood. If I got a raw bus, the work needed to gut it, paint it, etc would cost allot. The brakes feel "heavy" on this one, not sure if that is normal, but the brake booster is hydraulic as opposed to vacuum operated, so I am wondering if that is just normal? (In 40 years of working on cars I have never owned one with hydraulic assisted brakes) -- anyway I think this is a good deal and going to be a lot of fun.
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Old 05-10-2024, 11:01 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2023
Location: South Carolina
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Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badassloumd View Post
Yeah that's the way I see it. It needs work (Wont go in to Overdrive) but the 7.3 is a solid motor and the trans is well understood. If I got a raw bus, the work needed to gut it, paint it, etc would cost allot. The brakes feel "heavy" on this one, not sure if that is normal, but the brake booster is hydraulic as opposed to vacuum operated, so I am wondering if that is just normal? (In 40 years of working on cars I have never owned one with hydraulic assisted brakes) -- anyway I think this is a good deal and going to be a lot of fun.
Hydraulic is not as quick to stop on a bus which is why most of them are air brakes. Hydraulics are good still just they do feel different and is natural.

If you are pressing the pedal and it feels really hard to push in, it could be a bad master cylinder, but if it's just more pressure than an air brake that's natural.
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Old 05-16-2024, 12:26 AM   #7
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I have the same bus but a 94. I say go for it. That's a decent price. Mine had the same overdrive issue, turned out to be a sensor, the plug gets loose on it. Cleaned it up and wiggled it back on and works fine.

Good luck.
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Old 05-16-2024, 06:27 AM   #8
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Seems like a good value. I love the 7.3 and have two buses and a truck with that engine. You may have said so, but check that the fit and finish looks good. Usually a sign of how the parts you can't see were built. Test everything and have them explain how to operate it all. Then buy it!
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Old 05-17-2024, 05:45 PM   #9
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badassloumd View Post
Yeah thats what I am thinking. That 7.3 is supposed to be a 500000 motor… it def needs some love, but it seems to be a unicorn to me.
By 350k in a school bus a 7.3 is BEAT.
I had one with 250k and good maintenance. It was ok but there was no way it was going another 250k. Belched out a good bit of oil from the puke tube. That blowby doesn't get better.
There was a forum member who would always argue that his had 350k and he was going to prove it could go 500k. But then he sold it well before hitting that goal.
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