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Old 10-20-2017, 09:00 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3L T444 Navistar Diesel Automatic
I bought my bus!

Hey everyone,

Well I did it, I bought my bus. I live in southern California and I did a ton of research to find the best deal I could.

It turned out that the best deal that I could find was in Phoenix, AZ. So I flew out here yesterday and now I am the proud owner of a beautiful 9 window International. I know that I am totally ignorant of all the lingo but I promise to learn fast.

I purchased it from AAA Bus Sales, LLC. Tony and Joe spent the majority of the day with me, took me on a test drive and generally fed me so much information about busses that I'm still processing everything. They were awesome and incredibly fair in their pricing and service. They ran a full fluid and electrical test and made sure that everything on the bus was working as it should. I was extremely impressed with these guys and would highly recommend them.

So, tomorrow morning, I will be driving back home to southern California. I'm a bit ignorant on the regulations of driving a retired school bus in Cali, but I'm sure that I will learn fast. I guess that will give me something to do while sitting in this moderately crappy hotel room.

Anyways, I'm really excited to start my build and get to meet some great people here.

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Old 10-20-2017, 09:11 PM   #2
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Location: Owasso, OK
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Year: 1999
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Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Many congrats ... Have fun with it.

I'd be interested to hear the prices from AAA. They were very coy when I contacted them and I'm not sure it's worth a 1200 mile journey without an idea of how their prices compare.
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Old 10-21-2017, 06:40 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 66
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Chevy Midbus
Engine: GM 6.5 Turbo Diesel
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Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
Many congrats ... Have fun with it.

I'd be interested to hear the prices from AAA. They were very coy when I contacted them and I'm not sure it's worth a 1200 mile journey without an idea of how their prices compare.
AAA commonly posts their inventory with pricing on Phoenix Craigslist. Their prices are pretty reasonable for a dealer IMO and I've only seen good feedback about them on the forum. I'm in Phoenix and have been meaning to check them out, need to get the bus budget a bit fatter first.

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Old 10-21-2017, 06:53 PM   #4
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Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
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Originally Posted by jordan76 View Post
AAA commonly posts their inventory with pricing on Phoenix Craigslist. Their prices are pretty reasonable for a dealer IMO and I've only seen good feedback about them on the forum. I'm in Phoenix and have been meaning to check them out, need to get the bus budget a bit fatter first.

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Found them, thank you.

They look at least as reasonable as any other dealer, and they have some very nice, rust-free buses.
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Old 10-21-2017, 07:56 PM   #5
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
Found them, thank you.

They look at least as reasonable as any other dealer, and they have some very nice, rust-free buses.
I haven't checked their prices, but if they're even in the ballpark of FL dealer pricing there's nothing "reasonable" about it.
This BGA listing is for a 2002 CE 8 window with 444E. They want twenty grand!!!!
#1778 2004 International CE200 T444E Diesel Auto Air Brakes 8 row@ BGA School Buses, Inc. Hudson, FL
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I haven't checked their prices, but if they're even in the ballpark of FL dealer pricing there's nothing "reasonable" about it.
This BGA listing is for a 2002 CE 8 window with 444E. They want twenty grand!!!!
#1778 2004 International CE200 T444E Diesel Auto Air Brakes 8 row@ BGA School Buses, Inc. Hudson, FL
These are not "Florida Buses".

They are rust free, and this one is typical:

https://phoenix.craigslist.org/cph/c...352802215.html

Their prices are high but the buses seem good. They are too rich for me, I'll take my chances at auction.
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
These are not "Florida Buses".

They are rust free, and this one is typical:

https://phoenix.craigslist.org/cph/c...352802215.html

Their prices are high but the buses seem good. They are too rich for me, I'll take my chances at auction.
Yeah I'm strictly an auction buyer myself.
AAA should list their prices. Seems REALLY sketchy to me when dealers ask you to "inquire".
That CL bus is a STEAL compared to the dealer buses here in FL.
Our dealers sell junk from up north bought for a song for TOP DOLLAR.
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Yeah I'm strictly an auction buyer myself.
AAA should list their prices. Seems REALLY sketchy to me when dealers ask you to "inquire".
That CL bus is a STEAL compared to the dealer buses here in FL.
Our dealers sell junk from up north bought for a song for TOP DOLLAR.
I thought it a fair price from a dealer. I need to save where I can, and at auction that bus should sell for 2/3rds the listed price. Maybe less on a good day. Still, it's a good bus for someone and they have several similar.
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
I thought it a fair price from a dealer. I need to save where I can, and at auction that bus should sell for 2/3rds the listed price. Maybe less on a good day. Still, it's a good bus for someone and they have several similar.
The Renton WA buses were the deals of the season. MECHANICAL 8.3's with 3060's in forty foot RE's with air ride and ALL the bells and whistles. They were four grand each when all was said and done. A friend bought one and they're like new.

But I digress- enough thread jacking lol
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:39 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3L T444 Navistar Diesel Automatic
Well, I made it back home and the bus was perfect. Not one issue over the 5.5 hour drive and I now have a much greater appreciation for big rig drivers.

People just do not pay attention to a big 40,000 lb hunk of yellow steel driving down the freeway. Which is odd.

I don't really want to publicly post what I paid for the bus out of deference to the guys at AAA, but if you are interested send me a pm and I will disseminate it privately.

Tony takes the utmost pride in his vehicles and he told me numerous times that he would never sell a bus, especially to a future skoolie, that wasn't 100% fit for the road.

Absolutely everything works on the bus, all the lights, all the switches and even the wheelchair lift is fully functional.

If it weren't for the faded paint and the dust on the inside you would swear it was new.

Oh, I forgot to mention in my op that I will be starting a YouTube channel soon dedicated to my build and I will make sure to get the link to all of you guys.

I guess that I can say this much about the price that I paid, it was under $6,000.

UPDATE: As far as auctions go, I agree that you can get some great deals. But that's as far as it goes. I decided to go with AAA because after I spoke to Joe over the phone I knew that they would be willing to help me throughout my build.

As they are both doing their own conversions, they have a genuine interest in skoolies and they are just as excited as I am to get started.

I know that I will have a long and fruitful relationship with them and they both assured me that they would be available to answer questions and help with parts as long as I needed them.

To me, having that kind of a resource is invaluable.

Also, I am going to take a ton of pictures of the bus tomorrow and post them here. It is very comparable to the one that EastCoastCB posted.
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:51 PM   #11
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Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
looks like a nice bus!!!

really the only thing that matters is if you feel you got good value.. whatever you paid..

some of us like to play at auctions.. it doesnt work for everyone.. I have 2 busses.. one dealer one auction.. the busses are about equal.. I know how to fix broken stuff.. my dealer bus died on the 1100 mile drive home.. my auction bus didnt.. its a crap shoot wherever you go..

if you have a bus that you like, fit your budget and needs / wants then your purchase is succesful wherever it came from.. phoenix is a good place to get busses from.. lots of [eople know it.. even auction prices go higher for pheonix busses..

what did you get? looks like an amtran / IC of some sort, tinted windows, low height, Air-conditioned it appears..

what motor / trans and such is it?
looks nice!!!
-Christopher
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Old 10-21-2017, 09:48 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Posts: 35
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3L T444 Navistar Diesel Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
looks like a nice bus!!!

really the only thing that matters is if you feel you got good value.. whatever you paid..

some of us like to play at auctions.. it doesnt work for everyone.. I have 2 busses.. one dealer one auction.. the busses are about equal.. I know how to fix broken stuff.. my dealer bus died on the 1100 mile drive home.. my auction bus didnt.. its a crap shoot wherever you go..

if you have a bus that you like, fit your budget and needs / wants then your purchase is succesful wherever it came from.. phoenix is a good place to get busses from.. lots of [eople know it.. even auction prices go higher for pheonix busses..

what did you get? looks like an amtran / IC of some sort, tinted windows, low height, Air-conditioned it appears..

what motor / trans and such is it?
looks nice!!!
-Christopher
I'm way to beat to post all of that info here tonight, but I will definitely post all the specs soon. (I'm 99.9% that I got at least a good deal, but I would like to hear the consensus of this group)

In short it's a 2002 International, Diesel Automatic, Air Ride, but no A/C.

It has a little over 200,000 miles on it, with a rebuilt engine.

Sadly the previous owners put in a sub-par A/C system and it had to be pulled. The wiring is all still in place though. Which is cool.

But I live on the coast anyways and don't really need or like A/C.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:51 PM   #13
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Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikej42 View Post
Hey everyone,

Well I did it, I bought my bus. I live in southern California and I did a ton of research to find the best deal I could.

It turned out that the best deal that I could find was in Phoenix, AZ. So I flew out here yesterday and now I am the proud owner of a beautiful 9 window International. I know that I am totally ignorant of all the lingo but I promise to learn fast.

I purchased it from AAA Bus Sales, LLC. Tony and Joe spent the majority of the day with me, took me on a test drive and generally fed me so much information about busses that I'm still processing everything. They were awesome and incredibly fair in their pricing and service. They ran a full fluid and electrical test and made sure that everything on the bus was working as it should. I was extremely impressed with these guys and would highly recommend them.

So, tomorrow morning, I will be driving back home to southern California. I'm a bit ignorant on the regulations of driving a retired school bus in Cali, but I'm sure that I will learn fast. I guess that will give me something to do while sitting in this moderately crappy hotel room.

Anyways, I'm really excited to start my build and get to meet some great people here.

Attachment 16738
Congrats brother! Cali is the place to bus life it up!! What part of this state are you building her out?

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Old 10-26-2017, 07:50 PM   #14
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 228
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: AARE 3903
Engine: Cummins 8.3L 12v
Rated Cap: 78
Congrats! My experience with AAA has been similar. Prices seem fair, but obviously marked up over auction prices. I've really appreciated their honesty, knowledge and enthusiasm for buses and feel like I learned a lot just walking their lot and talking about the pros and cons of various buses. Being local I'm also feeling like having them as a resource during our build will be invaluable. They've been very helpful already, removing the seats and luggage racks, old roof AC units, and providing us with a better set of stand alone benches for our dinette plus taking care of a few mechanical concerns. Picking up our bus tomorrow (40' yellow BlueBird RE with transit style windows, very similar to the red one) and excited to get started!

Good luck!
Rob
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