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Old 03-22-2018, 03:42 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 1
Can I Do This?

Im currently a mechanical engineering student on my junior year at university. My hopes are to save up enough to make a skoolie after my senior year. The only issue I really see, is that I don't know what Im doing when it comes to engine maintenance. I have a background in woodworking and other similar skills, so I can easily handle the interior, plumbing, electrical, etc. I worry that by buying an old school bus it will have a pretty deteriorated or worn down drivetrain, and I don't know how to service it. Did anyone else have this fear? How did you overcome it? Should I just spend a couple of years trying to work on my car engine first before I decide to tackle this? Is there someone I can take the bus to and have them service it for me? How cost-prohibitive might this be?

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Old 03-22-2018, 03:56 PM   #2
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,401
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
There are plenty of folks here that start out with some limitations on their "skoolie skillset" and learn as they go with good success.

I am not a qualified mechanic by any means but have learned to perform simple maintenance and minor repairs myself.

As far as the condition goes, many school buses remain in route service well beyond 300k miles and are still serviceable. If you look on the auction sites you will see many buses with 150k-200k miles on them that are still in quite good mechanical shape and have lots of life left in them.

Just like buying any other used vehicle, do your due diligence and inspect it to the best of your ability.

I bought mine at auction with a bit over 170k miles on it. It runs and drives great.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2018, 04:47 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Brunswick, GA
Posts: 150
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
I would avoid the $1200 "bargain" bus that has sat unused for the last 15 years in someone's back yard. Be patient, look at lots of them, read these forums, and you'll be much better prepared.
TrailLifeBill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2018, 11:46 AM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: London, UK (Building in Bellingham, WA)
Posts: 31
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins ISB
Sounds like you're already more qualified than many of us here.

The solution to every problem is usually one of two options - Money or Time (or a mix of both). If you've got the time to learn about issues when problems arise you'll be fine. Otherwise ypu need the money.

Do lots of research, buy a solid bus and give yourself a fighting chance.
Follow my bus build at
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Old 03-23-2018, 12:29 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 3,056
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
We all started out here as know-nothing idiot newbies but eventually we've graduated to know-nothing idiot veterans!
Keep up with us and our build!
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