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Old 01-19-2017, 08:50 AM   #1
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A lot of buses for sale

I drove past Kerlin Bus Sales(Thomas dealer) in Silver Lake, IN yesterday. They have a lot of used buses for sale. Looks to be about 10 acres or so. Looks like all kind of choices. I have nothing in this although, I have bought things from them in the past and have always been treated fairly.

Here is a link to their used bus list.
Used Buses in Indiana | Kerlin Bus Sales

Not much in Silver lake but, Kerlin Ford, Kerlin Tractor, Kerlin Bus and Kerlin trailer sales. And Metzger Trucking at one time largest livestock hauling company in Indiana. They also own "Liberty Belle" landspeed record holder, circle track racing truck, it was seen in Smoky and the Bandit 2.

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Old 01-19-2017, 09:55 AM   #2
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I drove past Kerlin Bus Sales(Thomas dealer) in Silver Lake, IN yesterday. They have a lot of used buses for sale. Looks to be about 10 acres or so. Looks like all kind of choices. I have nothing in this although, I have bought things from them in the past and have always been treated fairly.

Here is a link to their used bus list.
Used Buses in Indiana | Kerlin Bus Sales

Not much in Silver lake but, Kerlin Ford, Kerlin Tractor, Kerlin Bus and Kerlin trailer sales. And Metzger Trucking at one time largest livestock hauling company in Indiana. They also own "Liberty Belle" landspeed record holder, circle track racing truck, it was seen in Smoky and the Bandit 2.

Dick
I enquirered about their Bluebird REs but the sales guy I spoke to claimed that they only had 5.9 ISBs, none of theirs had the 8.3.

Also some of their buses are really overpriced. Not sure how much they negotiate but it would have to be a lot.
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:30 PM   #3
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Also some of their buses are really overpriced. Not sure how much they negotiate but it would have to be a lot.

That's the only thing I remembered about them based on what I saw when I was in the market last year.
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Old 02-11-2017, 05:19 PM   #4
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Is there anyone close to Silver Lake? They have a bus I really like, but being all the way out in Massachusetts I am a bit hesitant to buy it on pictures alone. If you are close and could put eyes on it, I would be eternally grateful.

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Old 02-11-2017, 09:44 PM   #5
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I can run over. You should probably contact them and tell them I'll be coming. If weather is ok next week.
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:58 PM   #6
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I stopped in at Kerlin in mid January to get some warranty work done as I was traveling through the area.
My impression was they were very friendly people and also expensive. My bet is they wouldn't sell crummy buses.
I spoke to one of their sales guys about putting under storage bins on my bus and it was waaay over priced.

You'd be better off to look at any bus before you buy, I flew in to Ohio to get mine without seeing it first. Yes it's rusty underneath and in the engine area. Wouldn't have bought it if I saw it first; I would've just flown home and cut my losses.


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Old 02-11-2017, 10:02 PM   #7
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I can run over. You should probably contact them and tell them I'll be coming. If weather is ok next week.
I have been talking to a salesman, he has a few identical busses, and will let me know which he thinks is the best of the bunch... He thinks one has new tires and new batteries. All have basement storage bins. I expect some rust coming from that area, and if it isn't rotten, I can deal.
I appreciate it, and should hear something Monday. You rock!

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Old 02-11-2017, 10:10 PM   #8
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I stopped in at Kerlin in mid January to get some warranty work done as I was traveling through the area.
My impression was they were very friendly people and also expensive. My bet is they wouldn't sell crummy buses.
I spoke to one of their sales guys about putting under storage bins on my bus and it was waaay over priced.

You'd be better off to look at any bus before you buy, I flew in to Ohio to get mine without seeing it first. Yes it's rusty underneath and in the engine area. Wouldn't have bought it if I saw it first; I would've just flown home and cut my losses.


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I have been looking at busses for a few months, and the prices they have listed are a little on the high side, but they have been pretty negotiable and very strait forward and forthcoming with information both good and bad. They have the exact bus I want, and I don't mind paying a bit of a premium (a couple hundred more than the last one I was following on govdeals) to get it.
I just prefer a non-biased eye look it over. Even if I were closer I would bring someone to point out anything bad or off.


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Old 02-11-2017, 10:15 PM   #9
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Sounds like you're well prepared.
Something you might want to consider is negotiating a price before going there then have a look yourself before finalizing. Who knows, if there's a flaw you might be able to get the price down more then.


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Old 02-11-2017, 11:10 PM   #10
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Sounds like you're well prepared.
Something you might want to consider is negotiating a price before going there then have a look yourself before finalizing. Who knows, if there's a flaw you might be able to get the price down more then.


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Thank you... Like most people I am well prepared when I am sitting here... Put the bus in front of me and I will be handing him my wallet, credit cards, and savings account! Lol
My reason for bringing someone or asking someone lol.
Everyone on the board here has been very helpful. I have been kicking this idea around since highschool... But untill I joined this group I hadn't thought I would ever try it.

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Old 02-12-2017, 08:12 AM   #11
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Ohio Busses are typically in Very good shape mechanically but usually pretty rusty..

not that you cant find a good ohio bus but in Ohio we run road salt and brine at the very thought of snow.. and with the lakes nearby we get alot of frozen roads even when there is no precipitation.. ie frost forms on the road so they have to salt it..

Ohio inspectors are sticklers on making sure schools maintain their busses mechanically.. they will allow small oil leaks or such but mechanical issues will fail a bus.. however as long as they dont put their foot through the floor on inspection they dont seem to fail busses for rust..

if your area of expertise is body work then an ohio bus may be a good fit.. Ohio busses from southwestern or southeastern state will often have decent drivetrains where its hilly.. central and northern ohio not so much as its flat..

you wont likely find Air-Conditioning on many ohio busses.. your heaters and defrosters will work as the inspectors make sure they do.

several people on the forums have noted that Kentucky-run busses are often nice finds.. simply put by one member, in Kentucky they have hills so often buy robust drivetrains.. and in Kentucky when the roads require salt, often the schools close up for the day so the busses dont see heavy salt..

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Old 02-12-2017, 09:56 AM   #12
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Thank you... Like most people I am well prepared when I am sitting here... Put the bus in front of me and I will be handing him my wallet, credit cards, and savings account! Lol
My reason for bringing someone or asking someone lol.
Everyone on the board here has been very helpful. I have been kicking this idea around since highschool... But untill I joined this group I hadn't thought I would ever try it.

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I would be very nervous to fly anywhere and pick up a bus like that and take off home. Should you get stuck out on the road it will cost you considerably. Sure they might warranty a part or two but you will pay cab fares, hotel bill and food.
At least i would crawl under it and give it a good look over. Drive it and then back under with a heat gun on the rear end, brakes, u-joints. Is that exhaust sound or going to break in route. Take along a tool kit of some sorts.
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Old 02-12-2017, 10:40 AM   #13
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I would be very nervous to fly anywhere and pick up a bus like that and take off home. Should you get stuck out on the road it will cost you considerably. Sure they might warranty a part or two but you will pay cab fares, hotel bill and food.
At least i would crawl under it and give it a good look over. Drive it and then back under with a heat gun on the rear end, brakes, u-joints. Is that exhaust sound or going to break in route. Take along a tool kit of some sorts.
I plan on all that but I don't want to have a scenario where I show up and and blindsided by a POS. I want to have a fairly good idea it is at least in decent shape before I show up and give it my final okay

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Old 02-12-2017, 03:04 PM   #14
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I would be very nervous to fly anywhere and pick up a bus like that and take off home. Should you get stuck out on the road it will cost you considerably. Sure they might warranty a part or two but you will pay cab fares, hotel bill and food.
At least i would crawl under it and give it a good look over. Drive it and then back under with a heat gun on the rear end, brakes, u-joints. Is that exhaust sound or going to break in route. Take along a tool kit of some sorts.
With a bus or any vehicle, you could always get stuck out on the road.
I've gotten two buses and a cop car for less than most people pay for a gasser on CL.
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Old 02-12-2017, 04:57 PM   #15
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ive broke down before... yeah it can suck... truly... but you can also try to make it not suck.. by planning ahead as much as possible..

I musrt admit the fact that I can do my work anywhewre I have a laptop and internet definitely played into my decision to drive a bus long distance on its first voyage.. and I played a bit of fast N loose and lost.. as I had Zero tools and broke down in the middle of nowhere georgia... luckily I could at least continue to work as normal until the bus was spinning wheels again...

the second one, instead of flying I rented a one way car.. and packed that sucker full of tools... and then the day I pickjed up the bus I drove it around town quite a bit to get the idea it would be fine...

the first bus, excitement got the best of me.. i hopped in and just started driving! didnt stop to buy tools or supplies, etc.. I stopped to fuel up a few hours later and checked the oil and then drove till I lost air pressure and broke down in BFE...

I would say if you have zero mechanical knowledge then yes its a lot more daunting to go get a bus 1000 miles away...

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Old 02-17-2017, 04:26 PM   #16
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I spent about 3 hours at Kerlin's today. It was in the low to mid 60's and very sunny and for mid-February it's quite rare. I had the day off work and thought wouldn't it be fun to take a 2.5 hour drive each way to look at a bunch of buses? Yes, indeed. Thanks to the OP for letting us know Kerlins lots are full right now. That made the trip worth it.

Being that I grew up in the very NE corner of OH (snow belt region), near the salt mines under Lake Erie and now living in the snow belt area of SW Michigan I was pretty much expecting Great Lakes States specials. You see, with the salt mines under Lake Erie it's really easy and cheap to ship salt via large ships on the Great Lakes. Some areas around the lakes get significantly more snow than other areas but they all use quite a bit of salt that just rots steel. I was glad I had that mentality because I wasn't disappointed. Every bus I looked at had rust. Some were worse than others but all had significantly more than I'd be willing to deal with. I knew I wasn't going to buy a Great Lakes Special but I did want to figure out which models I liked for various reasons. And for that knowledge I am very glad I went. The used bus salesmen weren't there so I got to look at all the buses I wanted with no pressure to "keep moving" or being asked "is this the one?" That was a lot of fun and I learned more of what I am looking for.

I was amazed at their pricing. I would look at a bus that was $12k, then go into one that was $7k and wonder what the difference is. I really couldn't tell you but also I didn't do compression tests on the engines or know any history. They all looked to have about the same amount of rust. Many of them were similar in mileage with large price differences. Some were just under 100k miles while others were closer to 160k. It might have been model year differences too. I then looked at some $4k and $2k buses and again they seemed to be in fairly similar conditions. I am sure they have their own pricing structure and I am sure they have info I don't. I am sure they wheel and deal too and I would think with their lots being near full they probably wheel and deal a bit more freely.

I was also able to look at a specific bus for njsurf73. I took a lot of photos and sent a lot of texts back and forth.

Edit: one last thing. Someone was skeptical that all the Cummins were 5.9s on their lot. I looked in most every engine bay and I only found ISB engines, no 8.3 ISC were found by me today. That makes sense though as there are very few hills in the Warsaw, IN area. Most of their RE buses did have under bus storage though like many of them were activity buses. Southern IN might have some 8.3s due to the hills.

Ahhh, what a good day!
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:36 PM   #17
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I spent about 3 hours at Kerlin's today. It was in the low to mid 60's and very sunny and for mid-February it's quite rare. I had the day off work and thought wouldn't it be fun to take a 2.5 hour drive each way to look at a bunch of buses? Yes, indeed. Thanks to the OP for letting us know Kerlins lots are full right now. That made the trip worth it.

Being that I grew up in the very NE corner of OH (snow belt region), near the salt mines under Lake Erie and now living in the snow belt area of SW Michigan I was pretty much expecting Great Lakes States specials. You see, with the salt mines under Lake Erie it's really easy and cheap to ship salt via large ships on the Great Lakes. Some areas around the lakes get significantly more snow than other areas but they all use quite a bit of salt that just rots steel. I was glad I had that mentality because I wasn't disappointed. Every bus I looked at had rust. Some were worse than others but all had significantly more than I'd be willing to deal with. I knew I wasn't going to buy a Great Lakes Special but I did want to figure out which models I liked for various reasons. And for that knowledge I am very glad I went. The used bus salesmen weren't there so I got to look at all the buses I wanted with no pressure to "keep moving" or being asked "is this the one?" That was a lot of fun and I learned more of what I am looking for.

I was amazed at their pricing. I would look at a bus that was $12k, then go into one that was $7k and wonder what the difference is. I really couldn't tell you but also I didn't do compression tests on the engines or know any history. They all looked to have about the same amount of rust. Many of them were similar in mileage with large price differences. Some were just under 100k miles while others were closer to 160k. It might have been model year differences too. I then looked at some $4k and $2k buses and again they seemed to be in fairly similar conditions. I am sure they have their own pricing structure and I am sure they have info I don't. I am sure they wheel and deal too and I would think with their lots being near full they probably wheel and deal a bit more freely.

I was also able to look at a specific bus for njsurf73. I took a lot of photos and sent a lot of texts back and forth.

Ahhh, what a good day!
And it was greatly appreciated. The pictures are exactly what I needed, the assessment was perfect!
I know exactly what I am dealing with now. Thank you very much for taking time out of your day to help me out.
Mike.


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Old 02-17-2017, 04:57 PM   #18
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Thank you very much for taking time out of your day to help me out.
Mike.
No problem since I was there to poke around anyhow. Best of luck.
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Old 02-17-2017, 05:01 PM   #19
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in the midwest you arent likely to find busses wit hthe ability to go up and down steep hills.. you'll find a lot of 5.9s and AT545 transmissions.. until you get later and the trans are 2000s and 3000s..

you do though usually find busses that are capable of doping highway speeds and many of them run routes in cities that require freeway use...

just as you found though... northern busses have a lot of rust and dealers charge high prices for them.

some dealers are taking direct trades from schools but many are bidding on the same auctions that all of us can bid on... ECCB taught me that one.. I have one dealer bus and one auction bus... both short busses.. dealer bus is older by 10 years but had only 86k on the motor.. auction bus has more features, better insulation.. auction bus cost 1/3 of what I paid for dealer bus.. both busses have served me well thus far so I have no regrets.. other than I learned its possible to get nice busses for nice prices also...

the dealer experience allowed me to walk in, crawl around on 50 busses and decide on the one.. the auction experience went well because a fellow skoolie member looked all the busses in the particular auction over.. ..

-Christopher
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:06 PM   #20
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Dudes... Don't pay no 7 to 12 g's for a bus with ANY rust. For that kinda dough, you should be looking at the cream of the crop with badass running gear to boot.
my 2 cents...
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