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Old 06-18-2017, 09:44 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 21
Chassis: GMC Bluebird
Engine: Cat 3126
Newbie needing advice/councel

So we had a baby and now after a year have decided to do some traveling by bus. I am usually over cautious which often prevents me from actually pulling the trigger on what may be a good deal. Looking for some sound advice and input from y'all! First off my wife and I are adventurous and are fully prepared for this with the baby. At 3 months old we all went camping on a ferry boat along the Alaska coast so although the Skoolie life will undoubtably come with challenges, we are ready for them. But first we need a bus! We located one that seems great but would love your input as it is a few states away so we can't just show up with a mechanic. The bus is a 35ft 1992 Thomas with a 3116 cat engine, Allison automatic transmission. I am told the engine, transmission and running gear are in excellent shape. Brakes have around 5k on them. Tires have lots of tread. New 4D battery, heavy duty tow hitch used to pull dirt bikes to Mexico the last 5 years. The bus was maintained by a bus mechanic and owned by a former bus driver. It's in great shape and registered as an rv. Title is clean. The bus has about 150k and motor about 85k since the engine broke a crankshaft around 60k. Current owner states the engine was repaired and is in excellent shape. He also states that he is confident in its ability to safely get us from one coast to the other with no issues.

Anything you have to offer as far as the engine and mechanics are concerned would be greatly appreciated. Providing everything checks out what would be a fair offer? It is currently a barebones no frills camp style bus with bunk beds. Any other tips that might keep us from getting stranded somewhere would be great. PS. The current owner might very well be a member of this site so full disclaimer, I am not distrusting your info, we are just extreme newbies looking for some experienced advice and counsel. Hope to pay it forward someday! Thanks everyone

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Old 06-18-2017, 10:18 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
Njsurf73's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,497
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 24v
Rated Cap: 72 pax
First, I wouldn't think anyone would fault you for asking for advice. As far as the 3116 engine... Google it. It has had issues, but many swear by them. Cat in general is just a bit more expensive to fix and maintain... But if it has good maintenance records, and it has that low of milage, it could be a solid power plant.
Here is where you need to decide if you hire a local mechanic to look it over. Lots of stories of those engines going belly up at 100k and lots of stories of them lasting 300k... I figure the early death I'd probably lack of maintenance, and the long life a tribute to regular maintenance.
Don't be afraid to show up, and walk away if you aren't 100% sure it's the right bus.

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Old 06-18-2017, 10:34 PM   #3
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 543
Be aware tires can have lots of tread but can show signs of dry rot.

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Tootalltechie is offline   Reply With Quote

3116 cat, 35ft, 92 thomas, allison, newbie

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