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Old 01-01-2016, 07:29 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
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Hello

Hello all, I have been digesting as much info as I can amnd shopping for a bus with a dt466 or Cummins and Allison 643 but am struggling because my work schedule blows and won't allow me to travel to get a bus. It is likely I will get a bus here if I can find one which is a little tricky because I'm guessing there's not much a need for the better tranny here. My girlfriend and I are saving to quit our jobs and live out of the bus for a year or more. We will do temp jobs here and there but really wanna go backpacking around the west side of the country. I'm hoping to live out of the bus a while. I want to insulate the bus and do a wood burning stove. Other then that I've been purely researching and shopping for the specific drive train with little rust and a 5k spending limit.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:21 PM   #2
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https://grandrapids.craigslist.org/rvs/5295402045.html
I am going to go look at this bus on Tuesday. He said 3500 is lowest he'd go. Needs air bags for rear suspension. Said rust isn't too bad but that's a concern of mine. It'sclose to my home and has the drive train I want I'll be looking to verify the engine and trans, looking for rust, and bringing an oil sample to a mechanic. If anyone has other advice let me know
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Old 01-01-2016, 09:24 PM   #3
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
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Don't forget to check the tires. A half dozen bus tires can get expensive real fast.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:03 PM   #4
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Engine: Cat 3126
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If its FROM Michigan, I'd run away. The rust I've seen on MI buses has been severe.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:12 PM   #5
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Location: Dowdy Lakes, Colorado
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Year: 1989
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I agree, RUN AWAY!!!!! There are much better options at auctions down south. I got my bus from an on-line auction for $2K straight from the school system in California. I called the lead mechanic and talked with him for about 45 minutes about the bus before making up my mind to bid. Talking with the mechanics will help you unlock the vehicle's history fast. From start to finish I spent about 10 days and $3K including purchase price to fly to California from Texas, get her serviced in California, and drive her home - all 1,800 miles in 115* heat in the shade. But I'd do it all over again. This bus is worth it. That one is a rust bucket, maybe even a Bondo-bucket special. I'm VERY suspicious about a bus with laminate flooring left in it. Laminate just sucks in the water and will not let water escape its clutches.

Air bag replacement isn't cheap either. I'd definitely be looking for a more reliable spring ride system to cut your maintenance costs way down.

Do what you want, but if it were me, I'd be looking for a better deal for less money in the South or West.

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Old 01-01-2016, 10:26 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Probably not a bad idea... I would have to take a vacation and that would be hard to time out. I suppose I could consider looking into the price of having a bus delivered
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:47 PM   #7
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Location: Farmington, IL
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: AARE 3903
Engine: Cummins 6CTA 8.3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricW View Post
I would have to take a vacation and that would be hard to time out.
I was in the same pickle, but I got it worked out. Ended up taking two vacation days, ONLY because Colorado DMV is closed on weekends.

Took a night train from IL to Denver on a wednesday night and was back home in IL with my bus Friday morning. If the DMV were open on weekends in Colorado, I wouldn't have had to take time off.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:48 PM   #8
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Well I'll just keep my eyes peeled on govdeals and publicsurplus auctions
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:53 PM   #9
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Year: 1982
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International S1800
Engine: DT466 Trans: MT643
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Air bags aren't that tough a job and cost less than $200 each, usually. If you're going to travel a lot, I think it's the best suspension hands down. IF you're going to be parked more, I'd stick with springs. Unless your air system has 0 leaks (not many skoolies we get our hands on do), your bus will sag over time while it's parked.

Best of luck on your search!
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:54 PM   #10
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But I still wouldn't buy that bus ;)
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:06 PM   #11
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Rust is sort of an eye-of-the-beholder kind of evaluation.

Bad rust as observed by someone from the dry SW where paint bubbling is considered bad rust is not the same as bad rust as observed by someone in MI.

I purchased a used bus in Grand Rapids. I was surprised at how little rust was under the bus. I have actually seen more rust on buses that have seen all of their service life in WA state.

Since you live in MI you should be able to evaluate how bad the rust might be on that bus.

Even if you were able to purchase a bus for less $$$ somewhere else you will need to factor in how much it will cost to get it back home to where you are--travel to where the bus is, meals and lodging there and back, fuel, and the real possibility of a break down.

Personally I think the bus is a pretty good deal as long as rust isn't an issue.

Good luck!
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Old 01-01-2016, 11:18 PM   #12
Skoolie
 
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I'm still going to check it out because its so close
I figure a little rust isn't a major deal breaker
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:43 AM   #13
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
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Take a flashlight and some "crawling under" clothes.
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:47 AM   #14
Skoolie
 
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Any specific areas of concern I should be looking a little more closely for?
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Old 01-02-2016, 01:04 PM   #15
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Check govdeals.com.
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:44 PM   #16
Skoolie
 
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Someone brought to my attention the 40 foot bus may be a struggle on more angled pavement with the back sticking out so much. Anyone have any insight or advice? I won't be driving super frequently but I wanted to do a national parks tour but will probably be parking for weeks at a time before moving to the next town
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:37 PM   #17
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Most 40 footers have about 12' of overhang in the rear which does limit how much grade you can handle without dragging. But then again, most skoolies have quite a bit of ground clearance to begin with so it it can be a wash. They go just about everywhere down in Mexico and the roads there are tough.
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Old 01-03-2016, 06:45 AM   #18
Skoolie
 
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Yeah I was thinking it's only 4 or 5 feet longer than normal and I wasn't sure if it would make much a difference
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:37 AM   #19
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Year: 1946
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There is typically enough overhang that one needs to be constantly aware of both the drag possibility as well as the "swing" which can cause more serious issues. Adding a roller under the rear (like those on the high-end coaches) will hep with drag, but the swing is strictly a matter for the pilot to manage.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:16 PM   #20
Skoolie
 
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I checked out the bus. Quite rusty. What issues would I run into with that? I can post pics in a bit once i figure it out so i can get a 2nd opinion but i know all you folks in the sout will scoff. I think I can get him down. To 2700 and I'm waiting for an oil test. I know I should probably keep looking but it's got a trailer hitch wired for lights, already painted and gutted and has the engine and tranny I want.
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