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Old 12-12-2018, 11:55 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pedricktown, NJ
Posts: 2
Hello from Buses For Sale!

Hi! I'm the webmaster over at I had no idea there was an entire forum dedicated to school bus conversion, but I noticed we had quite a few inbound links coming from this site so I figured I would come over and say hello! I'm not here to spam people with ads by any means, but I would like to be able to help people find a good school bus they can convert. PM me any time, and I'll be dropping by threads where I think I might be able to help out.

By the way, if you've seen our site before (use to be, we've completely redone it. Importantly, it's mobile-friendly now. Direct your praise or criticism my way.

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Old 12-12-2018, 04:51 PM   #2
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 3,032
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
Hi. I checked out your site, and figured since you asked for praise and criticisms I'd go ahead and share my opinions.

First off, when you're listing a bus, it sucks if you say "automatic" or "allison automatic" because it's really no different than saying "yes it has a transmission". We know, it is 99.5% sure to be an automatic and if so it is about 100% sure to be an Allison. You're either wasting space on the page with useless information or even worse frustrating a potential buyer who is looking for a bus with something with a lockup gear or overdrive. The transmission model is clearly marked on the side of the transmission, and if you don't list it, a casual shopper will just assume it's because it's an AT545.

Second, you don't list rear end gearing. This is often printed on the detail tag above the dashboard or directly on the differential. For a skoolie, these two details are often extremely important, just as much as the engine. A lot of buses will have high gears combined with the AT545 and a smaller motor, and for skoolie purposes that's a losing combination. A rear engine DT466 with air conditioning sounds great until you learn it has an AT545 and a 7.10 rear axle!

As you probably know, making your customer's shopping experience easier leads to more sales. Having to send a couple emails to determine if you're immediately uninterested isn't making the customer's experience easier.

Finally, the pricing seems like it's all over the map. I see a number of reasonable deals listed but then i see this: or and nothing in the listing explains why they would cost 4x more than other comparable models.

I hope you find this feedback helpful! Cheers!
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:49 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grayson County, VA
Posts: 1,412
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65
Agree with Brokedown. Skoolie builders are usually concerned with which model of Allison transmission is in the bus and the gearing. Also, length of the bus, the interior height and any other options that stand out such as air brakes and air ride. This is all helpful if you're targeting the skoolie builder market.
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:38 PM   #4
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,700
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Most folks here are spending less than five grand on a bus. The prices of the buses on your site are simply out range for most of us. I like to peruse the oldies while using the restroom in the am, though.
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:39 PM   #5
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 18,141
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
even the classics... 150 grand for a fishbowl????
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:06 PM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Olathe, Kansas
Posts: 220
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: 6-71TA
Rated Cap: 90
More Pics and Video

There is something that sellers need to do more of and that is take more pics or video of the engine and transmission. Specifically, around and under the engine and transmission. There are several dealers that do to some degree but don't go far enough.

As a buyer living in the Midwest, we deal with rust issues, so finding a rust free bus will likely have some of us looking elsewhere like out West or far South etc. This usually means travelling a much longer distance than one would normally do for a vehicle. Obviously, this is cost prohibitive if you have several vehicles to look at. This is why having these pics posted on their website is important for the buyer because it saves them alot of time and expense. It can be frustrating to keep asking the seller to take meaningful pics and send them, so we can eliminate the ones we do not want. Some dealers outright refuse to take undercarriage pics for various reasons. Personally, I have had two well known dealers refuse to go under the bus to take the pics. This is fully understandable if they are wearing business attire but these dealers have a full service shop. It cannot be that difficult to get a service tech to take some pics.

There is a lot one can determine with these undercarriage pics of the drive train. Here are but a few:

1. Fluid leaks (oil or trans etc.) or seepage which can turn into leaks. Many will have some oil seepage unless new or recently rebuilt etc. Usually, seepage is not a big deal but if it looks fairly wet or is streaking from around the main seals or shafts, that is usually not a good sign.

2. A seller claims the engine was rebuilt fairly recently but there are several signs that could say otherwise. Example, no recent paint but excessive gunk or rust covering bolts or fittings that would have had to been removed in order to perform a rebuild or certain types of service.

This actually happened to me recently where the seller claimed the engine was rebuilt according to what the school told him. I had him take several pics and after viewing them I did not believe the engine was rebuilt. It turned out later that was the case, after the seller sent me the maintenance logs the school had given him. According to the logs, only the turbo was replaced and that was about 100,000 miles ago (Turbo life span averages 100K-150K). I don't know if the seller was being dishonest or misread the logs?

3. Seller claims transmission is a Reman or rebuilt. A Reman will have a tag on the side of the transmission and should not look worn or all faded out to where you cannot hardly read it. Another personal experience where seller was telling a half truth. Turns out transmission was a Reman but about 10 or more years ago and who knows how many miles.

4. The brake shoes are visible on some models which helps determine percentage of brake life.
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:25 AM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Pedricktown, NJ
Posts: 2
Thanks for your critiques, folks. It's very helpful to us. As far as price, in the case of brokered buses, that is determined by the seller, and we add a bit on top to cover our costs and make something on the transaction. In particular, the one bus that was pointed out, stock #7080, is a very old listing, and recently we've tried to put more emphasis on making sure people's asking prices are more reasonable before we list them.

I hear your feedback about transmission and axle/diff specs loud and clear. I'll share that with my manager and see if we can revise our practices in that area to make that info clearer, at least for our own on-site buses.

It should also be noted that almost all our prices are negotiable and open to offers. In particular, as far as sub-$5,000 buses, this is one of our most popular options for a cheaper school bus:
Buying, selling and brokering buses
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:42 PM   #8
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 18,141
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
those $3900 busses are perfect example.. perhaps there should be a link to click that would pop open a spreadsheet which shows the bus, type, engine, trans, and even the rating.. most people these days want to browse online and only call a salesperson if something pops up...

I know thats how I am when I lease a brand new car every 2 years.. I dont even contact dealers that dont show inventory with the window sticker of the car... I realize in the B2B word (I own a business) things are done more along the lines of no BS meetings in person or conf calls.. but skoolie buyers are more like regular consumers and are often internet Savvy, so the idea of browsing and searching online first before making a call to a salesperson is the way thats preferred..

when I type in DT466 in the search bar (a preferred engine).. I get several listings saying (we have lots with 466 and 444e)... but nothing that gives the specs of the individual units.. Transmissions and horsepower matter amongst skoolies as these busses are often taken on long haul trips through mountains, many miles at highway speeds, etc.. so while a church or secondary school looking for a route bus may not care that its a 35 ft bus with a 175HP 444E and AT545 (because its in town all the time).. a skoolie might..

im guessing you have a service department that can read the computers on the busses as they come in? or the tags stamped on the busses as far as HP rating, and transmissions and rear gears are often requiring crawling under for a few minutes to look up data..

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