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Old 08-23-2023, 10:16 AM   #1
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Year: 1991
To sell or not to sell???

Hello,

new to this and cannot even figure out where to post questions. Could use some help just navigating this site.

My name is Jenn. Ive owned 'Busty' my 1991 Bluebird for almost 4 years. She just started to have mechanical problems and unfortunately the engine seized. I have now got her at a diesel mechanic in Sacramento, Cali after her dying on my drive from Tucson, Az to Chico, Cali. The quote from mechanic is 20,000 for brand new Cumins engine, no miles on it and 6 month warranty. The bus has sentimental value but I am also not rich. She is already converted and I am aware I could buy a newer bus and convert again for less than 20,000. I have not put this much money into Busty yet and this was my first issue with her and possibly my fault for pushing her too long on the interstate. I lost all oil pressure and lost the engine. I was stranded in Palm Springs and a diesel mechanic there told me it was my air compressor, no knowing enough about my engine, I believed him and was scammed for 5,000. After I went to pick her up because he said she was fixed, the same knocking noise occurred that I experienced when she first broke down 3 weeks prior on the drive and this noise was louder and then the steering quit and she quit. She was towed again to the same yard in Palm Springs and he said it was my #6 piston and that it would be a rebuild that he could do for 10,000. This is when I caught onto the fact that I was possibly being taken advantage of. I paid 4500 to have her towed 2 weeks ago to a mechanic in Sacramento at an actual shop. I really don't know if I should get the new engine. The mechanic says I will get 20-100 thousand miles on the new engine. Or do I sell as is? If anyone has had similar experiences I am open to feedback. Peace!

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Old 08-23-2023, 10:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jennmama View Post
Hello,

new to this and cannot even figure out where to post questions. Could use some help just navigating this site.

My name is Jenn. Ive owned 'Busty' my 1991 Bluebird for almost 4 years. She just started to have mechanical problems and unfortunately the engine seized. I have now got her at a diesel mechanic in Sacramento, Cali after her dying on my drive from Tucson, Az to Chico, Cali. The quote from mechanic is 20,000 for brand new Cumins engine, no miles on it and 6 month warranty. The bus has sentimental value but I am also not rich. She is already converted and I am aware I could buy a newer bus and convert again for less than 20,000. I have not put this much money into Busty yet and this was my first issue with her and possibly my fault for pushing her too long on the interstate. I lost all oil pressure and lost the engine. I was stranded in Palm Springs and a diesel mechanic there told me it was my air compressor, no knowing enough about my engine, I believed him and was scammed for 5,000. After I went to pick her up because he said she was fixed, the same knocking noise occurred that I experienced when she first broke down 3 weeks prior on the drive and this noise was louder and then the steering quit and she quit. She was towed again to the same yard in Palm Springs and he said it was my #6 piston and that it would be a rebuild that he could do for 10,000. This is when I caught onto the fact that I was possibly being taken advantage of. I paid 4500 to have her towed 2 weeks ago to a mechanic in Sacramento at an actual shop. I really don't know if I should get the new engine. The mechanic says I will get 20-100 thousand miles on the new engine. Or do I sell as is? If anyone has had similar experiences I am open to feedback. Peace!
Wow, sad story, sorry to hear about your troubles.

$20 grand on a new motor, me, I would walk away, sell it.

I just rebuilt a motor on my "Milkshake" bus, 2007 DT466. Parts alone were almost 6 grand. I was lucky though because I bartered the labor with a mechanic on another bus I bought for $500 that had a 5.9 cummins with a dead pedal. I thought it was the VP44 pump that was bad, 1,500 for a new pump, problem not solved. So I was in this bus for 2 grand.

Mechanic put a new ECM in the bus, problem solved...so I got my motor rebuild for 2 grand, spent 8 grand in total for parts and labor.
I only considered/ did this because I had bought the bus at auction for $500 bucks, 40', a/c, new tires and 6 speed...so in total this bus with a new motor and all the toys, $8,500.

If you are really in love with the bus and can afford to spend some money, I would look into a good used motor and see if there is a way where you can get a super great deal on the labor...

or..

Take the 20 grand and build a new bus, sell yours or dismantle it for the new build.

No one reply here is going to be great but in the end you got to do what fits your needs and circumstances best..
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Old 08-23-2023, 10:42 AM   #3
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$20k sounds like an "I don't want to do it but I love money" price. I would consider getting other quotes first.
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Old 08-23-2023, 11:10 AM   #4
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Hi,

Thanks for the response. Not sure how to go about getting other quotes when the bus cost so much to tow. Currently it is at diesel mechanic and it was 4500 just to tow it there.
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Old 08-23-2023, 11:13 AM   #5
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Thanks for the response. Sounds like you got a deal. I paid only 1500 for mine and it was pretty much converted and running already. So this is the most money I have put into it at this point. Not even sure how I would go about selling it if the engine is seized? It is not running.
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Old 08-23-2023, 11:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jennmama View Post
Thanks for the response. Sounds like you got a deal. I paid only 1500 for mine and it was pretty much converted and running already. So this is the most money I have put into it at this point. Not even sure how I would go about selling it if the engine is seized? It is not running.
I think selling the bus in this case would more or less equate to stripping it if whatever you can use on your next build, then scrapping the rest in exchange for a couple hundred bucks from the scrappers.
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Old 08-23-2023, 11:22 AM   #7
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I would motor swap because i have too many hours in the detail of my conversion and have the resources to do the swap myself, or do most of the swap. I would buy a donor bus and pull the motor and have it put in my bus. That could be done for less than you already have in after the motor was blown. Gotta find someone to do it for you and there's a whole lot more risk of having flaky help.


I haven't seen your conversion, but if the budget was under $20k then you might just be able to buy a new bus and move what you can over and scrap yours.


in 6 days, threes a whole fleet of perfect "unicorn" buses selling in Bakersfield. I would take a hard look at buying one of them and pulling it up next to your existing bus and moving all your stuff.
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...30&acctid=6835
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Old 08-23-2023, 11:23 AM   #8
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Have you considered a used engine? Putting a new engine in an old vehicle is usually not a financially wise decision, whether it be a '91 Bluebird or a '10 Mitsubishi Endeavor.

Most people are afraid of used engines, but without due reason. I myself have installed used engines in several project vehicles and have saved thousands (if not tens of thousands). Not a single one of them has had an issue.
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Old 08-23-2023, 12:12 PM   #9
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hello,

I did consider a used engine and the only one found by the mechanic so far had 175,000 miles on it. I felt that a new engine with no miles on it was better than used with so many miles on it.
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Old 08-23-2023, 12:14 PM   #10
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Hi,

thanks for the link. I checked it out. One of the buses has over 200,000 miles on it. I would think new motor with no miles would be better than something with 200,000, wouldn't you?
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Old 08-23-2023, 12:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jennmama View Post
hello,

I did consider a used engine and the only one found by the mechanic so far had 175,000 miles on it. I felt that a new engine with no miles on it was better than used with so many miles on it.
I would talk to a new mechanic...no matter how much you trust this guy.
Sometimes matters require a fresh view!

Also, don't discount backyard mechanic shops. Many, many good mechanics can be found there!
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Old 08-23-2023, 02:03 PM   #12
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What engine/features does this have? As that will decided your best course of action. 6bt are pretty common and readily available. 6ct aren't as much, so you might want to rebuild what you have. You might be able to buy an entire bus and swap the drivetrain, we did that for a party bus fleet we serviced after one of theirs threw a rod. The paint job on the bus was worth more then the engine swap, so an engine swap is what we did.

Certain buses are pretty easy to swap so long as you know what you're doing.

Shops don't like used parts because it's normally a losing scenario for them. On used stuff there typically is no warranty, or at the most it's a bull$hit warranty AKA they'll give you another used engine/trans at no charge. Most customers aren't going to pay for a repair bill when it didn't fix it. So then the shop is stuck with a vehicle that doesn't drive and is unsellable, a pissed off customer leaving a bad review, and a mechanic that still needs paid.

No thanks.

Miska, buy yourself some lotto tickets. From personal experience, nearly every time I've installed a used engine or trans it's come back to bite me. From that "good running" dodge 318 that had burned valves, to an np243 that was "low-miles" with an inch+ of chain slap. I can go on for hours. The only one out of dozens in the last decade that worked out was a trans for a miata, and the only reason we did that was because new/reman wasn't available.
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Old 08-23-2023, 02:06 PM   #13
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I'm a truck driver with plenty of mechanic friends I would go to a municiple auction and find a highway truck that hasn't been idled to death and just swap the motor out then part out the truck to recoop my money. But in your case I would probably just get a new bus? Near my house is a all ready converted freighliner bus with zero rust low miles with a benz diesel engine for $18k
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Old 08-23-2023, 02:30 PM   #14
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your mechanic said 20,000$ to rebuild and you might get 60-100,000 out of it???
NO if it worth a rebuild then if taken care of it should out last the bus to a point but 300,000 is nothing unusual for these motors.
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Old 08-23-2023, 03:31 PM   #15
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Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
please pleaase

give me some of your time and telephone me. I own three buses. 1954, 1958 and 1994.


let's talk options

i think I can help

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Old 08-23-2023, 03:56 PM   #16
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My experience with a failed engine wasn't as expensive as yours. My "new Crown" spun a main bearing. It had the Cummins big cam III 300 engine. I concluded that it was cheaper to replace the engine than repair it, since it involved a complete teardown and sending the block to Portland for repair, as well as repair of the crankshaft.
I was able to get a running Big cam I for $3700 and the seller towed my bus to Klamath Falls for $300 more. Since the big cam III had some improvements over the big cam I, all of the bolt-on parts were moved to the replacement engine. I also had the lower end bearings replaced during the swap as the oil pan had to come off anyway. I estimate the HP at about 425 now. My cost for all of the swap was about $12K. That is a lot of dollars, but this was for a 40 ft tandem axle Crown with air ride.
I would call Edwards Truck in Salinas Ca. to see what they would charge to fix your bus. They work on buses and big trucks. It is possible they could be much lower than $20k even with a tow.
They used to work on my "old Crown".
Be glad your not having to fix an airplane, as major overhaul can be $30k for a Cessna 172.

I hope this helps.
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Old 08-23-2023, 04:40 PM   #17
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give me some of your time and telephone me. I own three buses. 1954, 1958 and 1994.


let's talk options

i think I can help

william 7852077600
OP, this guy is legit and you should definitely call him. At this point, you need to be taking advice from people that really know their stuff so you don't get screwed by another mechanic.

BTW I'm not saying that the other people on this thread don't know their stuff - they also do.
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Old 08-23-2023, 04:44 PM   #18
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thank you for all the info. i do feel like people don't understand how much is charged to tow a dead bus. I literally have paid 4500 to get it towed from one mechanic in palm springs to now a different one in sacramento which is still 2 hour drive from where i live. unfortunately the stress of trying to find tows and going from one mechanic to the next is not what i want. I am thinking i should have had it towed closer to me and then done months of research on parts, mechanics etc. i honestly dont know enough about buses and costs to know which route to take but i do know i dont' want a used engine and a scammer mechanic. the mechanic where my bus is currently is charging 250/month storage until i figure out what i want to do. he also said there is a 5,000 "good faith" deposit once i make the decision that i will have to give him. i feel like all fo that is fair i just didn't realize the new engine could cost so much. its brand new at a factory no miles. i feel like that that alone would make the bus run better and longer. my conversion inside doesn't have all the bells and whistles like others do. but the paint job is homemade and so is the flooring and wooden countertop. i dont have alot in it to just swap out to a new bus that i would need to convert which has been what most people seem to suggest. just swap out the inside of my bus to a new used working bus.
any idea on how much a school bus with no working engine even sells for?
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Old 08-23-2023, 05:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennmama View Post
thank you for all the info. i do feel like people don't understand how much is charged to tow a dead bus. I literally have paid 4500 to get it towed from one mechanic in palm springs to now a different one in sacramento which is still 2 hour drive from where i live. unfortunately the stress of trying to find tows and going from one mechanic to the next is not what i want. I am thinking i should have had it towed closer to me and then done months of research on parts, mechanics etc. i honestly dont know enough about buses and costs to know which route to take but i do know i dont' want a used engine and a scammer mechanic. the mechanic where my bus is currently is charging 250/month storage until i figure out what i want to do. he also said there is a 5,000 "good faith" deposit once i make the decision that i will have to give him. i feel like all fo that is fair i just didn't realize the new engine could cost so much. its brand new at a factory no miles. i feel like that that alone would make the bus run better and longer. my conversion inside doesn't have all the bells and whistles like others do. but the paint job is homemade and so is the flooring and wooden countertop. i dont have alot in it to just swap out to a new bus that i would need to convert which has been what most people seem to suggest. just swap out the inside of my bus to a new used working bus.
any idea on how much a school bus with no working engine even sells for?
Out of curiosity, which Cummins engine do you have in your bus?
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Old 08-23-2023, 06:04 PM   #20
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as for what a bus without a running engine sells for, dont know yet but mine is for sale with no bites. I think parting it out and junking the rest might bring at best $2500. Mine is an antique so junking the rest is not really an option plus the interior is above average, with lots of nice woodwork.


Yes towing a bus costs a good bit. Do not tow next time if you can avoid it get a trucker to put it on a lowboy, this often comes out cheaper.


On my bus(1971) I did choose to get another bus as mine had more then just a blown engine, and I wanted newer for better reliability and parts availability. If my new bus where to blow the engine I would replace the engine. The bus (2005) itself is excellent and would be worth spending the money on another engine. That being said the engine is in excellent condition, no smoke, no oil useage, good power. So i think I have a good long term bus.
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