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Old 05-22-2020, 03:07 PM   #1
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I think we found the one

We went and looked at a bus yesterday that we are greatly considering purchasing. It is a 2004 International 3800 with a DT466e engine and an Alison MD3060 transmission. They told us it didn't have an EGR and we were skeptical with it being a 2004 so we called International and had them run the vin. International said the motor was produced in 1997 but wasn't put into a bus until it was manufactured in Jan of 2004. So it does not have an EGR. It has 206k miles, which is a little more than I would like, but only 8,650 hours. 38ft dog nose. It is in pretty good condition, has good tires (they even offered us extra tires to take with us), minimal rust, and has underbody storage. It started up immediately and rode great. Even got up to 72 mph on the hwy before the governor kicked in. It was purchased new in 2004 by a local school system in Kentucky and maintained until it was an retired last year. They are asking $4,500 but we are hoping to get it for no more than $3,800. We wanted to spend a little less to purchase a bus but the market for buses is dry right now and we have spoke with auction places and they said they probably won't be getting any to auction this year cause the schools are not able to buy new ones. We have been planning a skoolie build for 2 years now and finally have the money saved up. My boyfriend and I are both laid off at the moment because of the virus so we have all the time in the world to start working on it now. We're looking for others opinions before we take the leap. Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:30 PM   #2
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My 04 had an 03 engine with no egr. One thing to look for are ANY signs the timing cover could be compromised. Look it over REAL well for ANY leaks. Also get it up to full operating temp by driving it and see how it does. Once its up to full temp park it and let it idle a few minutes. Get out and look under the engine. There's a big rubber tube that vents excess combustion gasses. smell for a sweet antifreeze smell. Any burning antifreeze smell is bad. A wee bit of smoke/gases out of that tube is normal. Especially on a higher mile engine. But if white smoke is bellowing out of that tube the engine is likely very tired. The miles/hours on that bus sound pretty average. Even decent I'd say. Under 10k hours is good. Under 250k miles is good.
If you can get the maintenance history find out if it ever had a timing cover replacement or if there have been any TSB's performed. IF so find out if it got the block sealant treatment.
Also- check the dipstick. Look at the oil level and make sure its not sludgy or milky. Also make sure the dipstick and its tube aren't rusty inside. That's a bad sign. Then open the fuel tank and shine a small light in. Look for rust.
That's my advice after having an 04/03 DT466E.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:31 PM   #3
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yeah price is a little high but if they will provide the maitenance records and maybe even the wiring diagrams then you start out with a good motor,tranny combo.
there is always going to be some unforseen rust when you take the floor up but if there is rust or even bubbled paint showing on the exterior then in my mind it isnt worth the money.
just an opinion.
good luck.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BusterMcBlake View Post
We went and looked at a bus yesterday that we are greatly considering purchasing. It is a 2004 International 3800 with a DT466e engine and an Alison MD3060 transmission. They told us it didn't have an EGR and we were skeptical with it being a 2004 so we called International and had them run the vin. International said the motor was produced in 1997 but wasn't put into a bus until it was manufactured in Jan of 2004. So it does not have an EGR. It has 206k miles, which is a little more than I would like, but only 8,650 hours. 38ft dog nose. It is in pretty good condition, has good tires (they even offered us extra tires to take with us), minimal rust, and has underbody storage. It started up immediately and rode great. Even got up to 72 mph on the hwy before the governor kicked in. It was purchased new in 2004 by a local school system in Kentucky and maintained until it was an retired last year. They are asking $4,500 but we are hoping to get it for no more than $3,800. We wanted to spend a little less to purchase a bus but the market for buses is dry right now and we have spoke with auction places and they said they probably won't be getting any to auction this year cause the schools are not able to buy new ones. We have been planning a skoolie build for 2 years now and finally have the money saved up. My boyfriend and I are both laid off at the moment because of the virus so we have all the time in the world to start working on it now. We're looking for others opinions before we take the leap. Any input is greatly appreciated.
I had the understanding that there was a lag between the production of an engine and when it was put into a bus, but I never imagined seven years was possible.

This bus seems good if slightly pricey. You're not going to care down the road about a $700 price difference - too many other things will drain your wallets for that to really matter.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
I had the understanding that there was a lag between the production of an engine and when it was put into a bus, but I never imagined seven years was possible.

This bus seems good if slightly pricey. You're not going to care down the road about a $700 price difference - too many other things will drain your wallets for that to really matter.
Possibly a warranty replacement engine that was never used and had to be cleared out when the T444(E) and VT365 hit the market? Stranger has happened.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
I had the understanding that there was a lag between the production of an engine and when it was put into a bus, but I never imagined seven years was possible.

This bus seems good if slightly pricey. You're not going to care down the road about a $700 price difference - too many other things will drain your wallets for that to really matter.
Well said, the thought of a few dollars more paid to get a decent bus is soon forgotten.
Good luck on the deal.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:29 PM   #7
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A local school district auctioned some buses this spring, and most went around $3500. All needed tires. So $4500 with good tires plus spares seems like a good deal from this perspective.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
My 04 had an 03 engine with no egr. One thing to look for are ANY signs the timing cover could be compromised. Look it over REAL well for ANY leaks. Also get it up to full operating temp by driving it and see how it does. Once its up to full temp park it and let it idle a few minutes. Get out and look under the engine. There's a big rubber tube that vents excess combustion gasses. smell for a sweet antifreeze smell. Any burning antifreeze smell is bad. A wee bit of smoke/gases out of that tube is normal. Especially on a higher mile engine. But if white smoke is bellowing out of that tube the engine is likely very tired. The miles/hours on that bus sound pretty average. Even decent I'd say. Under 10k hours is good. Under 250k miles is good.
If you can get the maintenance history find out if it ever had a timing cover replacement or if there have been any TSB's performed. IF so find out if it got the block sealant treatment.
Also- check the dipstick. Look at the oil level and make sure its not sludgy or milky. Also make sure the dipstick and its tube aren't rusty inside. That's a bad sign. Then open the fuel tank and shine a small light in. Look for rust.
That's my advice after having an 04/03 DT466E.

Thank you so much for the advice. The bus is 2 1/2 hours away so we are planning to drive back on Wednesday and check all this stuff out before trying to negotiate a deal. We are also going to try to call the county bus garage and see if anyone can give us any info on it.
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