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Old 02-08-2017, 08:46 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 19
1985 Thomas - Yay / Nay

CL: https://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/5991740765.html
1985 Thomas, Rear-Engine 300+k miles (blugh), but $2,000

General thoughts? Other than price? Anyone bought a high mileage bus and drove it more & more?



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Old 02-08-2017, 10:10 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 164
Quote:
Originally Posted by lurk View Post
CL: https://greenville.craigslist.org/cto/5991740765.html
1985 Thomas, Rear-Engine 300+k miles (blugh), but $2,000

General thoughts? Other than price?
Well, it looks clean enough on the outside. Check for rust and see what kind of condition the undercarriage and drive train is in. It might be OK. Hard to say. If you favor a manual transmission, then this may be a point in its favor. See if there is any info about maintenance or rebuilds done.

Cost is surely not everything. The cost of converting a bus can be many times its initial purchase, so getting that solid base is important.
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:24 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Posts: 19
Manual transmission? Looks like automatic from photos, unless that means something else?
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:35 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Mentor, OH
Posts: 38
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Mini Bird (8 window)
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 24 +1
Seems like a good deal. How are the tires? Our bus had 260,000 miles on it when we got it. Made it across country, a little slow, but we made it with no problems. Good luck !
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:43 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Posts: 19
No clue on tires, haven't seen in person or talked to them. What do they run now-a-days? Hundreds of dollars each? Mainly looking around and trying to learn more on what makes a good and bad bus. Also wondered on what kind of mileage to expect out of buses. I know that's a loaded question, but still wonder what lifespan they usually run for before completely dying. Can't read the ID tags on this photo to see the engine or trans it has. We would drive a bus 10+ times a year on 500+ mile trips.
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:10 PM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Greenville,NC
Posts: 36
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: GMC/Gasser
Rated Cap: 54
The mileage would scare me a little. I understand these engines can go a long way... I am a newby but we found a good bus with less the 90000 miles. The hunt is just the begining!
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:02 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,198
I think I could make out on the tag the letters VT. If so, when that bus left the factory it had the Cummins VT555. Which is better known as the Triple Nickel.

There is no way in the world that bus has gone 300K+ miles on a 555. 100K would have been surprising.

If it has been repowered it may have had a Detroit 8.2L, a Cat 1160/3208, an IHC DT466, Cummins 5.9L, or a Cummins 8.3L. Or if they were really adventuresome they might have put in a Cummins L10.

The most common repower choice was the Cat engine because if was an almost bolt in replacement since the Cat was an option from the factory as well.

I would be interested in knowing how the bus has been used over the years. If the bus was purchased brand new by the Y it must have had someone who was birddogging the preventative maintenance or the bus wouldn't have made it this long. If the bus was purchased used from someone else it would be nice to know who it was and for what it was being used. A mine shuttle bus from WY would have close to 200K miles put on in five years. 100K miles by the Y over the rest of the years sounds credible for the rest.

As to how much life is left in the engine about the only way to know for sure is to start it, get it warmed up, take it for a run and run it up and down through the gears to make sure everything is working correctly. And then take an engine oil sample and have it analyzed. That is about the only way in which to make a somewhat educated guess.

Personally, if the bus started from stone cold and ran smoothly and didn't smoke very much I would take the risk at $2K. At $1.5K I would be all over it!

This is a case of if the bus body is good enough the bus is worth it just for the body. A newer bus with a better power package can be purchased later if need be. In the meantime you have a nice bus that is equipped for trips. Translated that means it will have highway gearing and enough HP and torque that it won't slow down to walking speed on every hill.
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:11 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Pensacola and Crystal River, FL
Posts: 554
Year: 1998
Coachwork: AmTran International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar 7.6L
The red tag in the ad says engine: VT-223 or maybe VT-225
Transmission: MT643
(4-speed Allison automatic)
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:22 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
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Location: Winlcok, WA
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VT225 and VT555 are basically the same engine with a different name. Not that calling it by a different name made it a better engine.

The big difference between the V555 and the VT225/VT555 is the V555 is a non-turbo engine and the others have a turbo.
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:30 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 19
Thanks for the good details and tech info, cowlitzcoach! Much appreciated! I have another skoolie I'm watching, hoping to get to go see Friday, but if that falls through you've given me reason to go check this one out I think. I assume the GVWR on this is over the 26k too.... ?
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Old 02-08-2017, 02:35 PM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
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Location: Winlcok, WA
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Most likely.

But why are you concerned about the GVWR?

If it is retitled as an RV you won't need to worry about any CDL requirements including GVWR over 26,001 lbs. As long as you don't have seating for more than 14-passengers and the driver your RV can have a GVWR of 105,500 and all you will need is a regular driver's license. Even if it has air brakes.
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