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Old 11-27-2017, 07:00 AM   #21
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They are not scary to you, but there are reasons people pay dealers double the auction price and still don't get a warranty worth anything.

I agree with you, but we are not all the same.

ANYONE can buy a nice bus from an auction. All it takes is common sense and patience.
I bid on at least 50 buses this year and won two. Those two didn't cost me as much as a decent bus from a dealer.
Heck one bus paid for the other, thanks to CL.

On second thought- avoid the auctions, folks... they're horrible! lol
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Old 11-27-2017, 07:50 AM   #22
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we bought ours from a school district in illinois. april to july is the time to buy as the schools retire them then. go to your local school barn and talk to the manager with your plan. if they have anything coming up they will tell you and they have contact with other local managers. if you purchase from them (way cheaper without the middleman) you can get the service records and lots of other info. here you will find lots of disagreement about whats right for you as we are overloaded with armchair quarterbacks that never owned a certain motor or chassis but will try to make you believe they are the diesel god and know everything. (they claim thats what they read so it must be true) so for starters get some tall rubber boots (you just entered the barnyard internet)and read a lot but dont believe until you can verify. if you want to learn about motors go to a class 8 truck shop (think kw,peterbilt or a truckstop mech) as those guys will know way more than this internet. here learn the different types of buses and how people did stuff like raising roofs, INSULATION plumbing and even floor layouts.(i did probably 10 floor plans before i even bought) another 3-4 mods after i started.ps i know that area good as i was a c-w truckload driver in joplin til xpo screwed uo a good company i still drive and with over 40 years in trucking my bus has a catapillar as im retiring in less than 2 (already sold the house) and will be going to Alaska on our first trip. now watch how many feathers i ruffled lol remember this is the internet!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:23 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
we bought ours from a school district in illinois. april to july is the time to buy as the schools retire them then. go to your local school barn and talk to the manager with your plan. if they have anything coming up they will tell you and they have contact with other local managers. if you purchase from them (way cheaper without the middleman) you can get the service records and lots of other info. here you will find lots of disagreement about whats right for you as we are overloaded with armchair quarterbacks that never owned a certain motor or chassis but will try to make you believe they are the diesel god and know everything. (they claim thats what they read so it must be true) so for starters get some tall rubber boots (you just entered the barnyard internet)and read a lot but dont believe until you can verify. if you want to learn about motors go to a class 8 truck shop (think kw,peterbilt or a truckstop mech) as those guys will know way more than this internet. here learn the different types of buses and how people did stuff like raising roofs, INSULATION plumbing and even floor layouts.(i did probably 10 floor plans before i even bought) another 3-4 mods after i started.ps i know that area good as i was a c-w truckload driver in joplin til xpo screwed uo a good company i still drive and with over 40 years in trucking my bus has a catapillar as im retiring in less than 2 (already sold the house) and will be going to Alaska on our first trip. now watch how many feathers i ruffled lol remember this is the internet!!!!!!!!!!!!
The only huge ego'd person like your referring to has been gone for a long time.
I don't know of any "diesel gods" on here, but if you have such a low opinion of the forum maybe you should try Facebook.
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:34 AM   #24
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The only huge ego'd person like your referring to has been gone for a long time.
I don't know of any "diesel gods" on here, but if you have such a low opinion of the forum maybe you should try Facebook.
i very recently was told my motor was junk as it was a cat and he compiled this from other (he said most) of the schoolies here. i had made a comment to a newbie to just ignore the cat negativity as it was just as good when he started on me. i asked if he ever even owned one (no) or had any personal experience with one(no) but he took a survey and thats what the internet said so it must be true. do read my post again as there is good info as i stated but we do have idiots that think they know something about diesels READ AND VERIFY is what i wrote i think he was one of hillarys pollsters
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:37 AM   #25
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why do you assume its the forum? i have a low opinion of some of the people here that i admit and it aint getting any shorter
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:47 AM   #26
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every state and district is different.. for instance i wanted to buy a bus from columbus city schools directly.. however I guess in some past eon there was a transportation director selling perfectly good busses to churches directly and said church would give him an "under the table kickback"... the busses were deemed "unsafe" or "unfeasible to fix".. onl;y to find the bus was fine with a minor repair... churches got 7 or 8 year old busses pretty cheap..

so the policy was made to only sell busses at government auctions..

smaller districts can and do sell direct.. as its easier to control where and how their busses are going vs a large district which has a fleet of 800..

so it definitely doesnt hurt to check out the local bus barns.. there is no hard set rule in many cases.. some STATES do have rules about the maximum age of a bus.. ie tennessee I believe is 17 years..

the WORST that can happen by calling local districts is they say "no.." thats it.. nothing scary about that.. mosrt all distericts have websites and their transporation dept listed on it.. you call or email...

why are auctions scary to some people? simply put - unknown.. many of the people buying busses on here have never been anything but a school-kid in a seat at one time on a bus... the fear of "what if it doesnt start" is a big one for some people.. others it doesnt bother... but for someone with Zero knowledge going in and planning to learn on the fly it is..

I was a "bus-geek" in school.. the kid always in the seat behind the driver.. most kids could care less how the bus operated... until now when they want to make a home or camper or car hauler, etc.. coming here first is a great resource for what bus to buy and places to get it... but yeah I *DO* understand why an auction might be scary to some...

-Christopher
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Old 11-27-2017, 09:00 AM   #27
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There are ego's in here, and like said, they are extremely opinionated for reasons that I don't know why. I find them tolerable usually.

As far as where to buy busses. I bought mine off craigslist already gutted. It had what I wanted at a price that I wanted it at.

Not all districts sell busses via auction. A lot of the ones around here will trade them back in to the dealer when they are replaced. I wouldn't buy anything sight unseen. But that's how I do most things.

My advice is to figure out exactly what your plans are. If you're just going to park it somewhere and live out of it, there's no need for a big engine, highway gears, and air ride suspension. If you plan on being a snowbird and moving north to south and back every year, that requires a different plan. If you want a weekend camper, that also is something totally different.

If you plan on living out of it, I recommend going with as long of a bus that you can stomach. I don't think I've seen any full timers here complain about having too much floor space. If you/your husband are taller, I'd recommend buying one with a higher ceiling.

Whatever you do, research it before you do it. Share the link on here and most people will give you an honest opinion about it. I don't think anyone has ever been undercut by another member on here by sharing the link of a bus they were looking at.
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Old 11-27-2017, 09:08 AM   #28
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You can't, from most school districts. Some colleges sell direct, but most go to auction. By law in some states.

You are getting them directly from the schools, but indirectly, if you see what I mean

Our District sells direct, but by closed bids in July.
When I bought from a school district, it was also through an auction site, but I was able to inspect the bus on the school grounds and speak to the bus barn head mechanic. There were 5, but I was really jazzed about one of the busses in particular. I was enthusiastic about my plans with the barn guy and practically hugged him in my excitement. When the last day of the auction spun up, the other 4 busses went to just above $8,000. Mine stayed around 6,000 or so, and I finally got it at $6,400. I'm pretty sure the bus barn guy steered other potential buyers away from it so I had a better than average chance. I am truly grateful, as she is a big, beautiful girl that will be a great home in the next few years.
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Old 11-27-2017, 09:18 AM   #29
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Quite a few districts will sell direct and there are a number of very real advantages to buying direct as have been noted here.

1. You pay wholesale, not a marked up price (save an average of 50 to 100%)

2. You often have the opportunity to talk with the maintenance techs and can get the "pick of the litter"

3. You can also often get the actual maintenance records for a specific unit which are worth their weight in gold


All in all, definitely worth investigating and or a little traveling. Starting with the very best and most well suited bus for your purposes will more than pay for itself down the line.

And personally, I would not buy anything I had not inspected thoroughly.
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:08 PM   #30
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I'm in an area with lots of small towns, so I might contact the bus barns just to see if they sell directly, or at least if there's any they'll be auctioning off that I can look at. Worst they can say is no right?
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:33 PM   #31
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It's extremely likely you will be redirected to Public Surplus. Not all, but most school districts are selling their buses through PS.

Many private individuals buy buses through PS and other auctions, then resell them on Craigslist and eBay for double or triple the price.
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Old 11-27-2017, 01:34 PM   #32
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In some states the district can sell directly. Others, like WA, require that they sell at auction.

It is definitely worth checking with local districts.
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Old 11-27-2017, 02:00 PM   #33
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It's extremely likely you will be redirected to Public Surplus. Not all, but most school districts are selling their buses through PS.

Many private individuals buy buses through PS and other auctions, then resell them on Craigslist and eBay for double or triple the price.
I'd say its the minority of districts who use PS. A few more use GovDeals, but think of how many districts there are out there. I know hardly any of the FL schools use online auctions. And why would they? They're getting ten grand for running buses at the local auction yard.
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Old 11-27-2017, 02:31 PM   #34
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It must be kind of a location thing. Here many agencies seem to be able to sell through various auction providers. They may very well be using GovDeals more here more too. Since I've been working on my beast I haven't been following the auctions much at all. If I don't look, I won't be tempted. There are occasional buses on GovLiquidation too.

I've never traveled to pick up a bus. There seems to be an adequate supply in this local area.

Note that Oregon has begun using salt on roads.
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:03 PM   #35
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Yeah, you folks on the west coast are in bus heaven.
If you live in FL, you HAVE to travel to get a good deal. Or be extremely lucky.
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Old 11-27-2017, 03:07 PM   #36
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Quote:
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I'm in an area with lots of small towns, so I might contact the bus barns just to see if they sell directly, or at least if there's any they'll be auctioning off that I can look at. Worst they can say is no right?
We decided right off the bat to get a passenger tour bus as we are going to be retiring into ours in just over 2 years. We got a 1998 40' Van Hool off craigslist and haven't been disappointed yet. We do have a van we tow along so we can wagon wheel areas we go to but that's okay with us.

As has been stated, make sure to do your research. If a school bus is what you want, sounds like you have a good start to find one. I'm just saying school buses aren't the only vehicle out there that can be made into a motor home. With ours being a 40' we have a bath and a half, a queen sized bedroom along with a storage bin under that can accommodate a sleeping area as well.

Do your research and you'll be just fine. Can't wait to see what you get.
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:37 PM   #37
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So what I've figured out by calling around my area is that I can have someone contact me when they're auctioning the buses off, so basically I'd have an advantage by being able to go and look at the buses before bidding on them. (I can't afford to drive hundreds of miles to look at a bus I might bid on, unfortunately, and I don't know people who are mechanically inclined enough to know what they're looking at when they check)
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:50 PM   #38
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There are a lot of new people here. They could be left thinking they could buy direct from their local districts rather than suffer through scary auctions, when generally they can't.

It was worth explaining.
It might just be my area? But my local bus barn post through the local school districts website anything and everything up for sale including buses before the sell to the dealers.
I bought mine with the hands on mechanics walking me around the yard telling me what they thought about each bus and walked alway with full wiring diagrams and full maintenance records and the original build sheet and specs since the day they received it to the exact day they sold it to me including they checked tested and replaced 2 air brake cylinder rings because there insurance wouldn't let them sell it otherwise.
One of the most comfortable experiences I have ever had buying a vehicle.
And like talking to me and answering questions when I stop buy for info.
They have never failed me and the only way I have failed them was they asked for me to bring old 223 back to see them every now and then.
I drive my work truck by there almost weekly so it's easier to stop when I am in the area.
But I do owe them a special trip but that means time off of work cause they ain't open on Sunday's.
Good luck on your find.
Maybe what your looking for isn't near you, maybe what your looking for is? I settled for what I have because it was local,right money wise but not the power train for my original intended purpose.
Yeah it's been a great and dependable platform in all aspects at 49-mph top and my wife mentioned this sight to me before purchase but I never looked at it.
My problem.
Love my bus and my build.
Now my biggest expense is diving into powertrain that wasn't straight forward at the bus barn and I didn't know enough to ask.
Lack of me doing the research including this sight left me with what I chose as far as powertrain so I can only complain to me.
From the bus barn mine was ready to haul kids with no questions asked just not what I thought it would? My 86 is rear end and motor governed instead of electronic's/ computer governed?
It drove like a batt outa hell around the yard but I never put it on the road because I wasn't aloud but I wish I woulda said fine you drive down the road.
I bought a great bus from my local school district and the only complaints I have were my own lack of knowledge.
Good luck with your choices.
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Old 11-27-2017, 05:32 PM   #39
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I think that's true for most of us, to one degree or another. The problem is there's always a better bus out there.
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Old 11-27-2017, 06:48 PM   #40
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We decided right off the bat to get a passenger tour bus as we are going to be retiring into ours in just over 2 years. We got a 1998 40' Van Hool off craigslist and haven't been disappointed yet. We do have a van we tow along so we can wagon wheel areas we go to but that's okay with us.

As has been stated, make sure to do your research. If a school bus is what you want, sounds like you have a good start to find one. I'm just saying school buses aren't the only vehicle out there that can be made into a motor home. With ours being a 40' we have a bath and a half, a queen sized bedroom along with a storage bin under that can accommodate a sleeping area as well.

Do your research and you'll be just fine. Can't wait to see what you get.
id love to see that vanhool!!
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