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Old 06-12-2016, 01:20 AM   #1
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Question Looking for the perfect bus.

I'm extremely exited about buying and renovating the my own school bus.
But I'm not sure what to look into first.
I obviously know a few things from what I've seen online and in forums but what should I be looking for most in a school bus before buying.
-Which is the best bus? International blue bird thomas cummings.
-Is there a certain amount of miles that you want to be under, or does it not matter as long as everything is in good condition.
-what is the longest and tallest school buses? The ones with the most room.make model year.?

-What type of engine should I look for in a bus, or what should I look for in general when buying.

I know there are auctions that can be found ocasionally I just so happened upon midwesttransit.com what is the best source to buy a bus.

What should my price range be? I've seen some skoolies that ppl bought for 2,000 that look great.

These are alot of questions that I'm sure I can find in forums, but there are so many questions that just branch out to more questions. Its hard to find the right immediate answer.
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Old 06-12-2016, 02:12 AM   #2
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Welcome!

How exciting to be searching.

A lot of my questions began to answer themselves over time and with research revealing information that helped me see what best fit my preferences.

Surely the right bus is out there looking for you too Good luck!
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Old 06-12-2016, 03:06 AM   #3
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When you ask which is the best bus you are going to get Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge answers that may or may not be helpful.

Of the newer buses I think the IC is the best, followed by Thomas, and followed by Blue Bird (I just have never liked Blue Birds).

Of the older buses the class act are Crown and Gillig.

Driven miles and engine hours don't mean a lot as long as the condition is good. A trip bus from a school in MT is going to have 2x to 3x the miles of a route bus but the trip bus miles are going to be easier miles than the route bus miles.

Type 'D' buses have the largest inside space from front to back.

Buses with 12" windows will have the highest headroom.

For all practical purposes you want to be looking to purchase a diesel engine. Inline 6-cylinder engines pull better on hills than V-8 engines and also tend to use less fuel.

As to make of engine you are back to the Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge discussion. The IHC DT360/466/530, the Cummins 5.9/6.7/ISB, and the Cummins 8.3/ISC are usually considered the best engines available.

Cat, Ford of Brazil, Mercedes-Benz, and Detroit can also be found under the hoods of school buses. For the most part they are pretty good engines but parts and service tend to be a lot more expensive and harder to find than IHC and Cummins engines parts and service.

There is no one best source for finding a bus. What you determine best for you may not be at all good for someone else. The folks at Midwest Transit are good people and won't steer you wrong.

As far as pricing is concerned it isn't much different from used cars--the newer the bus, the more options are on the bus, and the larger the bus the higher the price will be. The most expensive buses are going to be the 40' Type 'D' RE buses with big HP, highway gearing, and pass through under the floor luggage compartments. The least expensive buses are going to be the 12/13-row Type 'C' bus since they make about 65% of all school buses built.

Can you still purchase a good bus for $2,000.00--yes you can but not very often. Realistically speaking a good Type 'D' trip bus is going to cost closer to $7K than to $2K.

You may also want to consider purchasing one already converted. There is one that was posted here recently for under $15K that is pretty much turn key ready to go.

The one really important thing to be aware of is don't purchase anything that has any sort of rust problems. They cost a lot to resolve and never ever go completely away.

Good luck and ask whatever questions you need to make your project work for you!
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Old 06-12-2016, 12:07 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for all of the insight. That was so very helpful to narrow my search. Since I want to be prepared as much as possible for what to look into. I really appreciate the feedback. I've also seen a few comments on driver tranes? Know i didnt say that right. But what is this in regards too on a bus.
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Old 06-12-2016, 01:03 PM   #5
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The one really important thing to be aware of is don't purchase anything that has any sort of rust problems. They cost a lot to resolve and never ever go completely away.
Just to tag on to the rust, stay away from buses from the Rust Belt. Yes, you can find one that's just got surface rust, but the older the bus, the higher the chance of more rust issues. Rocky Mountain states, the Southwest and West Coast are going to be your best choices for rust free
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Old 06-12-2016, 01:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Shadowgathering13 View Post
Thanks so much for all of the insight. That was so very helpful to narrow my search. Since I want to be prepared as much as possible for what to look into. I really appreciate the feedback. I've also seen a few comments on driver tranes? Know i didnt say that right. But what is this in regards too on a bus.
When someone refers to the drive train that is usually referring to the engine, transmission, and rear end gearing. It can also include the suspension, axles, and brakes. The power package is another way in which the engine and transmission can be described.

For your purposes, any school bus is going to have an adequate drive train. The thing is, there is adequate which will get the job done and there is WOW! 47 MPH top speed is adequate and will get the job done. 75 MPH top speed is more than adequate and will get the job done much quicker.

The key to happiness down the road is getting the drive train that most closely meets your needs. Spending the extra $$$ up front to get the right drive train in the beginning will save you double or triple the $$$ difference between what will do and what is really wanted. Adding HP to be able to cruise at highway speed is not inexpensive. Changing gears to be able to take advantage of the increased HP is not inexpensive. Higher HP and faster top speed usually requires better stopping power. All of which is not inexpensive or easy. But can be found before you start in the right bus.

Shop around.

Ask questions.

Look farther away.

Be patient.

And always remember, if the "perfect" bus gets away from you there will always be another one down the road.
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Old 06-12-2016, 03:14 PM   #7
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And always remember, if the "perfect" bus gets away from you there will always be another one down the road.
Just hopefully not broken down on the side of that road! Lol
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Old 06-16-2016, 09:58 PM   #8
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So here is another question related to the rust problems. How could you tell it has rust problems if it is not seen. Like, If you dont see it underneath or anywhere else until you pull up the floor boards and seats. Then what do you do if you find it there? is it too late to refuse to pay for the bus, or do you have to write some kind of contract stating that if you find any rust you will return it.
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:29 PM   #9
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So here is another question related to the rust problems. How could you tell it has rust problems if it is not seen. Like, If you dont see it underneath or anywhere else until you pull up the floor boards and seats. Then what do you do if you find it there? is it too late to refuse to pay for the bus, or do you have to write some kind of contract stating that if you find any rust you will return it.
Visible rust usually indicates rust underneath. Looking at the chassis, rust will be pretty evident. Once you buy it, its yours.
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Old 07-24-2016, 06:34 PM   #10
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one more issue

I might have to start another thread for this if so let me know. Me and my significant other have been politely disputing the differences with a tiny bus home an Rv. Besides the price differences what are some of the best reasons you would want to own a Tiny bus home vs. an RV.
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Old 07-24-2016, 07:39 PM   #11
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I might have to start another thread for this if so let me know. Me and my significant other have been politely disputing the differences with a tiny bus home an Rv. Besides the price differences what are some of the best reasons you would want to own a Tiny bus home vs. an RV.



All 27passengers walked away.... Checked out at hospital for bumps & bruises! Some listed in stable condition, no life threatening injuries



http://www.indystar.com/story/sports...tate/82015004/
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Old 07-24-2016, 08:01 PM   #12
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Looking for a bus that's just come out of service. will assist you in the build. Buses are built to be driven 24/7/365. So the less time it's had to sit idle the less the bonded seams will harden, which means less leaks and things accumulating where they shouldn't.
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Old 07-24-2016, 10:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Shadowgathering13 View Post
I might have to start another thread for this if so let me know. Me and my significant other have been politely disputing the differences with a tiny bus home an Rv. Besides the price differences what are some of the best reasons you would want to own a Tiny bus home vs. an RV.
Search Youtube for RV renovations. You will quickly see how poorly the "affordable" ones are made. I actually blame the RV industry. They build overpriced crap that makes owners want to constantly replace or "upgrade". Now, if you consider Marathon or Newell coaches RVs, they're the real deal. But for more than $2 million they oughta be!

Good luck whichever direction you choose!
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Old 07-24-2016, 11:03 PM   #14
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I might have to start another thread for this if so let me know. Me and my significant other have been politely disputing the differences with a tiny bus home an Rv. Besides the price differences what are some of the best reasons you would want to own a Tiny bus home vs. an RV.
Quality quality quality! And safety!
If you build the bus yourself you will know exactly how it goes together, comes apart, and what to fix. You can build it just like you want. My mom keeps asking me to look at a factory built rv instead of taking my time to build our bus... How many motor homes do you see running around with a queen bed in the back, a bunk room with 3 bunks, and an extra large bunk above the driver for 3 more kids? Yeah right plus they are called stick and staples fit a reason!
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[/B]


All 27passengers walked away.... Checked out at hospital for bumps & bruises! Some listed in stable condition, no life threatening injuries



http://www.indystar.com/story/sports...tate/82015004/

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Old 07-24-2016, 11:38 PM   #15
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Search Youtube for RV renovations. You will quickly see how poorly the "affordable" ones are made. I actually blame the RV industry. They build overpriced crap that makes owners want to constantly replace or "upgrade". Now, if you consider Marathon or Newell coaches RVs, they're the real deal. But for more than $2 million they oughta be!

Good luck whichever direction you choose!
Yep it's not unique to America either. Except we have manufacturers trying to legislate self builds out of the equation in Australia.

+1 on the you build it you know every nut bolt pop rivet. You also control the engineered limits of the vehicle. Want to be able to roll it and walk away, fit a roll bar. Haven't as yet seen any factory rv even with a roll bar as an option.
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