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Old 05-05-2017, 12:27 PM   #1
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new Canadian schoolie

hello everyone,

I've been following the Schoolie forum for quite some time,
but have just recently joined. Thrilled to be here and SO close
to getting my first schoolie.
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:43 PM   #2
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Welcome

You don't have to have a bus to be here, but it would make more sense.
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Old 05-06-2017, 09:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Welcome

You don't have to have a bus to be here, but it would make more sense.
hi Robin,
Thanks for the note.
I'm realllly close to actually having my bus.
Couldn't wait any longer to join the forum, was too
excited to start connecting with such inspiring people.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:06 AM   #4
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If you've got a bus in mind, post the link here and let the guys go through it. We don't knowingly bid on buses other people bring for review.
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
If you've got a bus in mind, post the link here and let the guys go through it. We don't knowingly bid on buses other people bring for review.

hi Robin, Thanks.
some details on one bus i'm looking at:
2006 Freightliner
Thomas Body
C7 Caterpillar engine
Approx.. 292,500 kms
--rebuilt motor
--new turbo
--new back springs
it's still in commission - will be until end of June 2017 - so KMs will be over 300 by the time i could get it.
i'm concerned about the mileage on this one.

the other bus:
2002
174000km
International engine 3800 T444E
Bluebird body
V8 diesel
auto trany
hydraulic brakes

comments, advice...???
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:58 PM   #6
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Well, I don't like either of these buses honestly.
The '06 is a bit new, computer controlled and likely has emissions maintenance issues. I don't like the Cat engine, Thomas body or high mileage. Understood it has been rebuilt and is still in service.

The '02 has more average mileage. I like the engine and the Blb body. What wrecks my interest for this bus is the wet (hydraulic) brakes. That is one way to solve the air brake endorsement issue for entry into Canada. I've driven both and I'd prefer to maintain air brakes over hydraulic.

There are those here that would argue any of the choices I've expressed here. They all work, so it's just a matter of preferences. Some systems are reportedly more expensive to maintain than others, or a preference is established based on experience with one type of system.

It's about what you're comfortable with. We like to recommend preferences based on your intended end use for your bus. I've interjected my own opinions which largely reflect the popular opinion of the skoolie masses. It's a fun process, but it's nearly always more work than expected.
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Old 05-09-2017, 05:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shambhala Tinbolle View Post
hi Robin, Thanks.
some details on one bus i'm looking at:
2006 Freightliner
Thomas Body
C7 Caterpillar engine
Approx.. 292,500 kms
--rebuilt motor
--new turbo
--new back springs
it's still in commission - will be until end of June 2017 - so KMs will be over 300 by the time i could get it.
i'm concerned about the mileage on this one.

the other bus:
2002
174000km
International engine 3800 T444E
Bluebird body
V8 diesel
auto trany
hydraulic brakes

comments, advice...???
not a big fan of cats, I like the blue birds, I have t444e and real happy with it.
Buy from the school board, and get one with the Ontario safety check, but it in your name right away, even if your not driving it, and not converted, you can change the title later to a motor home, Ontario safety is good for 36 days, and you don't want to have to do it again.
gbstewart
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Old 05-09-2017, 05:35 PM   #8
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Engine: Cat 3126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shambhala Tinbolle View Post
hi Robin, Thanks.
some details on one bus i'm looking at:
2006 Freightliner
Thomas Body
C7 Caterpillar engine
Approx.. 292,500 kms
--rebuilt motor
--new turbo
--new back springs
it's still in commission - will be until end of June 2017 - so KMs will be over 300 by the time i could get it.
i'm concerned about the mileage on this one.

the other bus:
2002
174000km
International engine 3800 T444E
Bluebird body
V8 diesel
auto trany
hydraulic brakes

comments, advice...???
I'm pretty much in agreement with Robin on this. we seem to have some similar tastes in buses.
Older bus doesn't have as much emissions bs to worry with and will be cheaper to service as its an International.
I'd avoid anything 2005 and up, and anything with a Cat.
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Old 05-09-2017, 06:57 PM   #9
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Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the 444E will be easier to find parts for at reasonable prices since it shares a lot of parts with the ford powerstroke 7.3,

the newer bus will likely have as nicer transmission with overdrive... that 02, anyone's guess.. you should get info on rear gears and the transmission thats in both of them. so you can determine which one will cruise the highway better.

I have a short bus with a 444E and it is great... 444E is a bit underpowered for a Big bus id think.

that 2006 will have some emissions controls on it... and emissions can be costly to repair, the mileage isnt as much of a concern since it says the engine was rebuilt.. how long ago?

-Christopher
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Old 05-10-2017, 10:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Well, I don't like either of these buses honestly.
The '06 is a bit new, computer controlled and likely has emissions maintenance issues. I don't like the Cat engine, Thomas body or high mileage. Understood it has been rebuilt and is still in service.

The '02 has more average mileage. I like the engine and the Blb body. What wrecks my interest for this bus is the wet (hydraulic) brakes. That is one way to solve the air brake endorsement issue for entry into Canada. I've driven both and I'd prefer to maintain air brakes over hydraulic.

There are those here that would argue any of the choices I've expressed here. They all work, so it's just a matter of preferences. Some systems are reportedly more expensive to maintain than others, or a preference is established based on experience with one type of system.

It's about what you're comfortable with. We like to recommend preferences based on your intended end use for your bus. I've interjected my own opinions which largely reflect the popular opinion of the skoolie masses. It's a fun process, but it's nearly always more work than expected.
morning Robin,

Good, I'm with you on the '06. As to the '02, I love the BB body,
and less computer assimilation.
I'm currently as school bus driver, my unit has AB. I quite prefer
them over hydraulic.
The '02 has been well looked after - monthly maintenance - and the
seller will be removing all the seats, stop arm, cross arm, rear & mid
heaters. It drives SO smoothly, and handles well. I get good vibes about
this one.
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Old 05-10-2017, 10:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
the 444E will be easier to find parts for at reasonable prices since it shares a lot of parts with the ford powerstroke 7.3,

the newer bus will likely have as nicer transmission with overdrive... that 02, anyone's guess.. you should get info on rear gears and the transmission thats in both of them. so you can determine which one will cruise the highway better.

I have a short bus with a 444E and it is great... 444E is a bit underpowered for a Big bus id think.

that 2006 will have some emissions controls on it... and emissions can be costly to repair, the mileage isnt as much of a concern since it says the engine was rebuilt.. how long ago?

-Christopher
thanks for your input Christopher.
The '06 engine was rebuilt last year (2016). I'm not liking the VERY
rusted and dented bumpers on that one either. Have a strong sense
to go with the 2002. Partly because of the BB body, but the fact that
parts are more accessible could be a life saver when in travel mode.
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Old 05-10-2017, 11:29 AM   #12
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Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
i know some will differ, but to me i put a *LOT* into vibe and 'energy' that you feel when around something... then again im into metaphysical energy.. nevertheless unless theres a Major mechanical reason not to, then I go with the one that gives me the best vibe..

now on the 444E vs the Cat, I didnt see where you found what transmission is in either.. the 06 almost certainly has a nice lockup overdrive trans... the 02 may very well have the unlocked AT545... depoending on the type of travelling you do thats something id want to verify.. as well as rear gears.. it doesnt do any good to get a supposedly more simplistic bus if it wont go fast enough or have enough power to run the type of travel you want to take it...

rear gears are often stamped on one of the ID plates inside the bus... transmissions are a little more difficult, however if the shift lever is labelled R-N-4-2-1 you have some type of locked and overdrive transmission.. if it says R-N-3-2-1 then you have a non overdrive unit.. if its lucky to be an MT-643 then its locked, otherwise its the AT545..

the 545 isnt a bad transmission, its just not built for speedy travel or running lots of hills... the 444E in Hot weather has a tendency to run warm anyway on the highway.. a locked trans will help that greatly..
-Christopher
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Old 05-10-2017, 11:38 AM   #13
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Goodmorning

If you really want to get rid of the computers choose something pre '98. That said, everything is a trade off. All I'm saying is there are so many buses out there for sale. If you like AB, then the '02 is always going to be almost what you wanted.

Most of these used buses do drive quite nice since most of them had good maintenance. I think it's important to get a bus with all the things you want. This is too much money to have a bus that's almost right, not to mention all the hours of work.

There are so many buses coming on the market at this time of year. Have patience to get one that has the things you like. I see so many people start a conversion only to back out of it later. It's not worth it if it's not the right bus with all the things you want.
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Old 05-11-2017, 11:01 AM   #14
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: ON Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
i know some will differ, but to me i put a *LOT* into vibe and 'energy' that you feel when around something... then again im into metaphysical energy.. nevertheless unless theres a Major mechanical reason not to, then I go with the one that gives me the best vibe..

now on the 444E vs the Cat, I didnt see where you found what transmission is in either.. the 06 almost certainly has a nice lockup overdrive trans... the 02 may very well have the unlocked AT545... depoending on the type of travelling you do thats something id want to verify.. as well as rear gears.. it doesnt do any good to get a supposedly more simplistic bus if it wont go fast enough or have enough power to run the type of travel you want to take it...

rear gears are often stamped on one of the ID plates inside the bus... transmissions are a little more difficult, however if the shift lever is labelled R-N-4-2-1 you have some type of locked and overdrive transmission.. if it says R-N-3-2-1 then you have a non overdrive unit.. if its lucky to be an MT-643 then its locked, otherwise its the AT545..

the 545 isnt a bad transmission, its just not built for speedy travel or running lots of hills... the 444E in Hot weather has a tendency to run warm anyway on the highway.. a locked trans will help that greatly..
-Christopher
hi, just confirmed that the trani is an Allison 4spd.
will know about the rear gears when i get a safety insp.
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Old 05-11-2017, 11:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Goodmorning

.... Most of these used buses do drive quite nice since most of them had good maintenance. I think it's important to get a bus with all the things you want. This is too much money to have a bus that's almost right, not to mention all the hours of work.

There are so many buses coming on the market at this time of year. Have patience to get one that has the things you like. I see so many people start a conversion only to back out of it later. It's not worth it if it's not the right bus with all the things you want.
hi Robin, you make sense. It makes me tired just thinking about all the work I'll be doing - my build design/planning and spreadsheet are adding to that LOL!!
I first saw this '02 unit in Oct 2015 shortly after asking God/the Universe to please help me find a good bus. The preference for air brakes comes from having them on the bus I drive for work (school bus driver), but hydraulic brakes are serviceable in more areas - smaller or rural - by what I'm learning from asking any heavy equipment mechanic I can get on the phone (some of them must think i'm loopy).
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Old 05-11-2017, 03:28 PM   #16
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Hello again. Yeah, it's a long project. Break it up into steps, then break those steps into more steps until it gets manageable. It's actually amazing because at times I stand back and can't believe a portion of the build is done. You'll get good at identifying ways you can save time and energy too. The database and cad programs suck up a lot of time, and then you have to adjust your plans anyway to make things fit so they don't seem that valuable after the fact. My plans are either in my head or on my iPlank.

If you're comfortable with hydraulic brakes on that size vehicle, that may be the way to go. It depends on how much road time you'll be putting in. Other threads have talked about this issue in length because of the ease of working on wet brakes, but information from professional bus industry personnel on this site was that some of these wet brake systems are not at all easy to get parts for. So yes, it's easy to work on wet brakes. Some of those brake parts are not easy to get, which makes wet brakes seem like a bad bet to most of us here. Napa seems to be able to handle any more common bus parts for air brakes. Wet brakes are more of an annomily on a bus.

The suggestion that wet brakes are used primarily in rural areas to me indicates relatively low speed braking, indicating they might not be as effective as a freeway type braking system especially considering mountainous downgrades. I could be wrong on that because I've never driven over the road trucks. I'm guessing the heavy equipment mechanics enjoyed talking to you.

This build process is remarkably similar to building a small residential house, except for the metal skin of the bus, and the curves and lots of windows. I've kept all my windows so I can see all the way around the bus when I'm out in the boonies. These tinted windows are great for watching game. Deer walk within 5' of the bus. No elk yet.

I don't remember where that other thread was about wet brakes. It would be interesting for you to read that instead of listening to me attempt to regurgitate the information. I don't know enough about buses yet, not even this one. I'm hoping some other readers will chip in with the right information about wet brakes.
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