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Old 04-11-2019, 03:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Rovobay View Post
The guy sounds like a middle man. making money on flips. take him out of the equation and save thousands. keep looking. I bought my 29ft midsize bus for $2,094.69. 2004 International with a T444e (7.3l) engine and solid allison 2000 tranny. but in the end the choice is yours. if you like it... welcome
Thanks for the feedback! Based on this whole thread we're gonna say "No" and keep looking.

Your bus looks wicked awesome! Where did you purchase it from?

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Old 04-11-2019, 03:36 PM   #22
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Thanks for your reply! We are not set on either a cutaway or a gas. Been reading through some threads about the benefits of real bus chassis, and it seems clear we would prefer one, but if the price were right maybe we would get a cutaway.

As for diesel/gas were also open, though per the comment below I think we would benefit from gas due to the increased possibilities for repair, though we may lose some durability overall.

So maybe we’ll keep looking- I love the idea of finding a “real bus” for half the price, we just haven’t had that magic moment yet.

You mentioned that gas cutaways are better as you go newer, does this remain true with gas “real buses”, that newer ones are better while older diesels are better?

Thanks again!
School buses largely stopped being ordered with gas engines after an awful event in 1988 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrollton_bus_collision claimed the lives of 26 passengers and the driver of the bus. While there were a few things going on in that accident, there were only minor injuries caused by the crash itself. The fatalities and major injuries were all caused by gasoline.

There are some exceptions. Bluebird for example offered a gas 427 in the TC2000 until 1995 when it was dropped for lack of interest. In the real world, it's rare to find a big bus with a gas motor newer than 1990. What you'll find instead are going to be medium duty options from Cummins, Navistar, CAT, and Detroit Diesel.
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:37 PM   #23
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Thanks for the feedback! Based on this whole thread we're gonna say "No" and keep looking.

Your bus looks wicked awesome! Where did you purchase it from?
Albany School District Oregon. About 70 miles from my house. West Coast buses are sought after for being free of rust issues that plague many other parts of the US. I was searching for 7 months prior to purchase. bought on 4/18/1 almost a year ago. hope to have it ready for some road trips in a few months...
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:51 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
School buses largely stopped being ordered with gas engines after an awful event in 1988 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrollton_bus_collision claimed the lives of 26 passengers and the driver of the bus. While there were a few things going on in that accident, there were only minor injuries caused by the crash itself. The fatalities and major injuries were all caused by gasoline.

There are some exceptions. Bluebird for example offered a gas 427 in the TC2000 until 1995 when it was dropped for lack of interest. In the real world, it's rare to find a big bus with a gas motor newer than 1990. What you'll find instead are going to be medium duty options from Cummins, Navistar, CAT, and Detroit Diesel.
Wow what a sad history. Thank you so much for letting me know about this crash. It makes sense that such a switch (from gas to diesel) would be required.

Also, this site is amazing. I feel like I'm in school for Skoolies. Thank you so much!
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:52 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
School buses largely stopped being ordered with gas engines after an awful event in 1988 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrollton_bus_collision claimed the lives of 26 passengers and the driver of the bus. While there were a few things going on in that accident, there were only minor injuries caused by the crash itself. The fatalities and major injuries were all caused by gasoline.

There are some exceptions. Bluebird for example offered a gas 427 in the TC2000 until 1995 when it was dropped for lack of interest. In the real world, it's rare to find a big bus with a gas motor newer than 1990. What you'll find instead are going to be medium duty options from Cummins, Navistar, CAT, and Detroit Diesel.
366[edit]
The 366 cu in (6.0 L) Big Block V-8 gasoline engine was used only in Chevrolet and GMC medium duty trucks and in school buses. It had a bore and a stroke of 3.935 in 3.76 in (99.9 mm 95.5 mm). This engine was made from the 1960s until the mid-1990s. The 366 used 4 rings on the pistons, as it was designed from the very beginning as a truck engine. The 366 was produced only as a tall-deck engine, with a deck 0.4 in (10 mm) taller than the 396, 402, and 454 short-deck Big Blocks. - to me, with the goal of traveling far north during the winter, the 366 gas V8 and a 5 speed manual or 4 speed locking automatic is a better option than a diesel - the 366 V8 has a good reputation for longevity
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:53 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Rovobay View Post
Albany School District Oregon. About 70 miles from my house. West Coast buses are sought after for being free of rust issues that plague many other parts of the US. I was searching for 7 months prior to purchase. bought on 4/18/1 almost a year ago. hope to have it ready for some road trips in a few months...
So awesome! Congratulations on your build and have a wonderful adventure when the time comes.

We may end up doing the long-distance purchase thing if that's how the cookie crumbles, we shall see! The West Coast has so much going for it
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:54 PM   #27
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366[edit]
The 366 cu in (6.0 L) Big Block V-8 gasoline engine was used only in Chevrolet and GMC medium duty trucks and in school buses. It had a bore and a stroke of 3.935 in 3.76 in (99.9 mm 95.5 mm). This engine was made from the 1960s until the mid-1990s. The 366 used 4 rings on the pistons, as it was designed from the very beginning as a truck engine. The 366 was produced only as a tall-deck engine, with a deck 0.4 in (10 mm) taller than the 396, 402, and 454 short-deck Big Blocks. - to me, with the goal of traveling far north during the winter, the 366 gas V8 and a 5 speed manual or 4 speed locking automatic is a better option than a diesel - the 366 V8 has a good reputation for longevity
Thank you for the tip!!
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Old 04-11-2019, 07:59 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Mamafestation View Post
So awesome! Congratulations on your build and have a wonderful adventure when the time comes.

We may end up doing the long-distance purchase thing if that's how the cookie crumbles, we shall see! The West Coast has so much going for it
My 1990 Crown was purchased directly from a small School District in CA this past January (over 1800 miles away). I was fortunate in finding mine as most of the Crowns are gone. It was posted on Craigslist which is rare as most School Districts use auction sites. Buying from out of state can be complicated enough but more so from that distance. The Vehicle type/weight, engine type, size etc. are all factors that can make it more complicated.

For example, my Bus is 40 foot with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 37400 lbs. Just to be clear, the GVWR is not the unladen or empty weight but the maximum weight the vehicle was designed to carry from the manufacturer. The state of Kansas and about 7 other states require a specific license to drive any vehicle with a GVWR over 26001 (I mentioned this in another post). In Kansas, the license would be called a Non-Commercial Class-B (some states also require a special endorsement if you have air brakes).

I flew out to CA with another forum member (formerly a Trucker) that has a valid CDL. He also happens to live about 3 hours from me and has relatives in the area where I purchased the Bus (ideal situation). I paid for his flight, a couple nights lodging, and to drive the Bus back. Hiring a trucking company with a lowboy would easily cost 3 to 5 times that. There is the risk of breaking down which can be extremely expensive if it has to be towed and/or any major repair be required. Also, CA requires a OTP (one trip permit) which you cannot get online. You have to go to the DMV and wait in line then pay the $22. The fee was not really the issue but having to wait over half a day in line. It was just another thing that put us behind and required extra trips (long story).

Fortunately, my Bus made it home without any issues other than my speedo being off by 15 mph. You will have to determine if it is worth the time, effort, expense, risk etc. in purchasing out of State and especially from that distance. It was worth it for us since we wanted a Crown and they are for the most part tougher and more reliable than their competition. They don't have expensive and complicated electronics (all mechanical injection), little to no rust issues as most of the body sheet metal is aluminum.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:23 PM   #29
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As somebody working on the rust in his northern bus (from the Buffalo area), it would be wise not to underestimate how big a hassle it will be, and how even with great effort on your part the bus will still not have the same remaining life expectancy as a rust-free bus. Purchasing a bus from far away (FL, TX etc.) and transporting it to your home can indeed be a major hassle, but it can be done and overall it will be less of a hassle than dealing with major rust issues.

I bought my beautiful rust bucket because of its proximity and the ability to have it delivered cheaply ($300 from Syracuse to Philly). I don't regret it because I actually enjoy dealing with rust in a weird way and the bus is absolutely perfect in every other respect, but you probably shouldn't resign yourself to a rusty bus just because of your location.

As for the bus you initially posted about: just walk away from that mess, there are plenty of great buses out there.
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Old 04-12-2019, 05:31 AM   #30
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Gas real bus is an oxymoron, these days.
Not really. Propane and gasoline are now very common in new full size buses.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:55 AM   #31
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Not really. Propane and gasoline are now very common in new full size buses.
I recently read that a school district was changing their whole fleet of buses to propane - something to do with being easier to conform to environmental requirements - wished I could remember where I read that - perhaps it was an owner/operator site where I saw that
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:53 AM   #32
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I recently read that a school district was changing their whole fleet of buses to propane - something to do with being easier to conform to environmental requirements - wished I could remember where I read that - perhaps it was an owner/operator site where I saw that
After I bought my bus, I called around to find the original school system that operated it (the mechanic asked me what number it was and when I told him he said "87? Holy ****!") and get any maintenance details they had on it. About an hour later he called back and asked me if I wanted to buy another bus that was nearly new and in great condition (he didn't realize I was doing a skoolie and only one at a time). Turned out to be a propane-powered bus that they were desperate to get rid of.

I wonder how big of a hassle a propane bus would be as far as skoolies are concerned. I assume you can't really operate them off of Blue Rhyno bottles from the grocery store.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:54 AM   #33
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My understanding is that you absolutely could do that if you ran the hose to it however you would find that to be a pretty expensive way of operating.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:57 AM   #34
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My understanding is that you absolutely could do that if you ran the hose to it however you would find that to be a pretty expensive way of operating.
most truck stops and many service stations carry propane for vehicles - just pull up to the pump and fill up
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:42 AM   #35
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Mostly agree with your list, but honestly the GM 6.2/6.5 were good reliable engines. People dog on them because they weren't particularly exciting. A boring engine is a good engine when you're hoping to go half a million miles.

Beyond that, any mechanic shop that has ever seen a Ford F350 won't flinch when they see a cutaway with a Powerstroke 7.3. The whole mechanic familiarity of gas engines thing is mostly a myth outside of weird places like California. I sure wouldn't trade half of my MPG and half of my engine longevity for it!


I owned a 6.5l suburban from the mid 90s and it was the worst vehicle I have ever owned. The injection pump failed and was replaced by GM multiple times. Thankfully at no charge because it was a known weak point, but the work order showed $1700 as the job value). Beyond that I spent hundreds of dollars per month every month I owned it (for about two years in the early 2000s). I know people drive them, but I will never be one of them again. It seemed like everything mechanical was cursed on it.
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:56 AM   #36
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I owned a 6.5l suburban from the mid 90s and it was the worst vehicle I have ever owned. The injection pump failed and was replaced by GM multiple times. Thankfully at no charge because it was a known weak point, but the work order showed $1700 as the job value). Beyond that I spent hundreds of dollars per month every month I owned it (for about two years in the early 2000s). I know people drive them, but I will never be one of them again. It seemed like everything mechanical was cursed on it.
I bought a very clean 94 GMC 3/4Twith a 6.5 in it and thought I had a sweet rig - motor went out of it at about 200 thou km ( 120 k miles ) - learned too late that they had all sorts of problems with that motor - now it's a parts truck that looks better than the truck I drive - lol
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:10 PM   #37
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I think it is smart to pass o the nearby bus. Even the mechanic near the bus may be in cahoots with the "flipper". Get yourself a rust free bus.
Got mine in Tucson, AZ for $2285. Drove to Oregon from Georgia first to look at the exact same bus model, but it was moldy inside, had light surface rust (nothing to really worry about now, but rust is like cancer: once it starts, it grows and is hard to stop). Spent more looking for the right bus than the bus itself costs.
In the end I feel I am 6 months to a year ahead (working alone) in the conversion process, since I have almost nothing in restoration and rust-removal. Just a new paint job from dried up paint that rubs off. Weather is turning that into a 7-month project, instead of 7 days...if I had to restore rust holes, it would be a hobby, not a home to live in today and now...
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:01 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by GWRider View Post
My 1990 Crown was purchased directly from a small School District in CA this past January (over 1800 miles away). I was fortunate in finding mine as most of the Crowns are gone. It was posted on Craigslist which is rare as most School Districts use auction sites. Buying from out of state can be complicated enough but more so from that distance. The Vehicle type/weight, engine type, size etc. are all factors that can make it more complicated.

For example, my Bus is 40 foot with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 37400 lbs. Just to be clear, the GVWR is not the unladen or empty weight but the maximum weight the vehicle was designed to carry from the manufacturer. The state of Kansas and about 7 other states require a specific license to drive any vehicle with a GVWR over 26001 (I mentioned this in another post). In Kansas, the license would be called a Non-Commercial Class-B (some states also require a special endorsement if you have air brakes).

I flew out to CA with another forum member (formerly a Trucker) that has a valid CDL. He also happens to live about 3 hours from me and has relatives in the area where I purchased the Bus (ideal situation). I paid for his flight, a couple nights lodging, and to drive the Bus back. Hiring a trucking company with a lowboy would easily cost 3 to 5 times that. There is the risk of breaking down which can be extremely expensive if it has to be towed and/or any major repair be required. Also, CA requires a OTP (one trip permit) which you cannot get online. You have to go to the DMV and wait in line then pay the $22. The fee was not really the issue but having to wait over half a day in line. It was just another thing that put us behind and required extra trips (long story).

Fortunately, my Bus made it home without any issues other than my speedo being off by 15 mph. You will have to determine if it is worth the time, effort, expense, risk etc. in purchasing out of State and especially from that distance. It was worth it for us since we wanted a Crown and they are for the most part tougher and more reliable than their competition. They don't have expensive and complicated electronics (all mechanical injection), little to no rust issues as most of the body sheet metal is aluminum.

Good luck in your search!
Thank you for this informative story! I'm curious: did the school district require you to have a CDL to drive the bus off the lot? Or did you just need your friend to drive it to be legally protected while driving across the country?

I'm curious because one of the sites we're looking at (https://www.midwesttransit.com/) requires us to have a CDL to test drive and to drive the buses away. My partner and I don't have a CDL but his brother does... so I'm hoping that would allow us to get a bus off the lot.

Thanks for any thoughts on this! Cheers
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:03 PM   #39
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Thank you for this informative story! I'm curious: did the school district require you to have a CDL to drive the bus off the lot? Or did you just need your friend to drive it to be legally protected while driving across the country?

I'm curious because one of the sites we're looking at (https://www.midwesttransit.com/) requires us to have a CDL to test drive and to drive the buses away. My partner and I don't have a CDL but his brother does... so I'm hoping that would allow us to get a bus off the lot.

Thanks for any thoughts on this! Cheers
Midwest wants you to have a cdl?
Tell em to shove off.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:04 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
As somebody working on the rust in his northern bus (from the Buffalo area), it would be wise not to underestimate how big a hassle it will be, and how even with great effort on your part the bus will still not have the same remaining life expectancy as a rust-free bus. Purchasing a bus from far away (FL, TX etc.) and transporting it to your home can indeed be a major hassle, but it can be done and overall it will be less of a hassle than dealing with major rust issues.

I bought my beautiful rust bucket because of its proximity and the ability to have it delivered cheaply ($300 from Syracuse to Philly). I don't regret it because I actually enjoy dealing with rust in a weird way and the bus is absolutely perfect in every other respect, but you probably shouldn't resign yourself to a rusty bus just because of your location.

As for the bus you initially posted about: just walk away from that mess, there are plenty of great buses out there.
This is great advice, and indeed this morning we did walk away from that mess haha. So onward for us! And you may be inspiring us to think outside the Wisco Box. Thanks!
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