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Old 12-15-2019, 06:23 PM   #1
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Advice on making an offer on bus

Hey all-

Looking for some advice on what you all think a bus I am looking at might be worth and what a good starting point for an offer might be.

I am looking to buy from a person I know well and trust a 1989 Thomas built S1753, International Harvester IDI 7.3L engine, AT545 transmission. It is 23í long and no longer school bus yellow, plus has stop sign removed and 8-ways painted over. 161,000 and change on mileage.

A few spots have rust, but otherwise it is in fine shape. Inside is dry as a bone, roof does not leak.

It drives smooth, in the 10 minutes I drove it a few weeks back. The folks wanting to sell are looking to get rid of it, bought it years back to transport folks from city to their camp in mountains. They let registration lapse at least 5-6 years ago, so it has been idle for some time. But, they do faithfully start it up and let it run a bit at least every week or so since not using it regularly.

So, what do you all think it might be worth? Starting off I was thinking $2,000. Reasonable?

They are clueless on price, asked me to make offer. I donít want to low ball them, as we know them personally. But I donít also want to pay more than it rightfully should get on market.

Any insight/advice/help would be awesome!

Cheers!
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:28 PM   #2
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Not to sound overly negative but I'd have trouble bringing myself to make any offer at all on a 7.3 IDI with an AT545... Bus prices can vary wildly and I and many others have spend less than that $2k on more modern, well equipped buses we actually wanted.

If it's been sitting for 5 years you surely need to replace all 6 tires, that's $2600 on the low end.

The saying is, nothing is more expensive than a free boat. But a free bus isn't far behind.
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:37 PM   #3
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Not to sound overly negative but I'd have trouble bringing myself to make any offer at all on a 7.3 IDI with an AT545... Bus prices can vary wildly and I and many others have spend less than that $2k on more modern, well equipped buses we actually wanted.

If it's been sitting for 5 years you surely need to replace all 6 tires, that's $2600 on the low end.

The saying is, nothing is more expensive than a free boat. But a free bus isn't far behind.
I get that the engine/transmission combo are less than ideal, and for some downright awful. But, this one seems right for us. For what we want to do with a first bus. For what/where we can store it(we need a short bus to fit our property). For learning the ins and outs of skoolie builds.

I know I will have to put money into any bus I buy. And yes, an older bus will have more things.

What I am looking for, is honest opinions on how much it might be worth. What a good offer might be.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:01 PM   #4
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I've bought several much better buses this year for $1500 (2000),$1610 (2002), $1500 (1999),$1500(2005). To me, having your drive train would make them worth substantially less. I can almost gaurantee your bus has 100k more miles than indicated. Where did the bus grow up? if it's anywhere near the North East or within 500miles it would not be something I would bid on.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:23 PM   #5
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:37 PM   #6
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Sounds like a decent if a bit outdated bus. If you're just messing around and keeping it super cheap it may be ok. Don't pay a lot. Maybe off em a grand or $1500 if you like it and its not a rust bucket.
I'd be real cheap about it though. I got what's nearly my "dream bus" and only paid $1600. YMMV, of course.

How many rows of windows does it have behind the driver? Sounds about like a 6 window.

I like that size. Mine's a 5 window. I like em short. I'd take a 4 window if there were such a thing. But I'm not as into the converting part. I just like having a bus.
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:13 PM   #7
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Don't overpay just because of the personal relationship.

I say first offer $1200, after haggling if any, go up to $1450 final offer.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:12 PM   #8
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Don't overpay just because of the personal relationship.

I say first offer $1200, after haggling if any, go up to $1450 final offer.
I like the $1300-$1400 range. The vast majority of folks pay anywhere from $2000-$4000 for a 20-yr-old bus with the same drivetrain.......yours is 25.........your 7.3 also predates the T444E, I don't know which is considered the 'better' engine.

People that buy buses for $1600 also spend a lot more time searching for them than most people do. And if it costs $700-$900 in fuel to get it home (or more if you drive 300 miles in the wrong direction), how much did it really cost? Yours sounds local.

And nobody can 'guarantee' it has higher mileage than indicated, no matter how omniscient they consider themselves to be. If you like the way it runs, and handles, and the rust is manageable, then go with your gut.

Should guilt creeps in afterwards, you can always treat your friends to a couple of dinners at Ruth's Chris (or a trip to Waffle House, depending on level of guilt).
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:17 AM   #9
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Got any pictures?
IMG_9160.jpg

EastCoastCB -- Yep, she's a 5 window. I like this size a lot, especially for what I plan to do, build wise.

All -- I see I may be a bit, if not a lot too high on my initial offer thinking. I am going to talk it over and get a good number that I am comfortable with. Thanks all!

Cheers!
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Old 12-16-2019, 06:24 AM   #10
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the IDI isnt a bad engine.. but its getting harder to find parts for them... they havent made them since 1993 and unlike the DT series engines never gained a huge popularity.. ford did use them in their pickups for awhile and there is comunity support for the IDI there.. in general they were good engines if you take care of them..



if your plans for your first bus are just a weekend cruiser to the lake or hunting trips etc then I think you will find the IDI and AT545 more than adequete in a short 5 window bus.



the S-serieschassis is similar to its predecessor the loadstar and still similar to its successor the 3800.. all shared many concepts and parts so chassis parts shouldnt be an issue for that bus..



tires - if it has 20 inch rims it most likely has retainer ring (a form of split) that uses a tube-type 20 inch tire.. if it has 22.5" rims then it uses standard modern tubeless truck tires...



-Christopher
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:01 AM   #11
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I would start at $1500. and maybe go up to $2000 depending on rust and condition. Around here people will buy a bus for $1500. as a cheap shed, chicken coop or storage. So to go much lower it will usually be gone by the weekend.

As others have said it is 25 years old with hard to get parts.. might be better as a chicken coop ? A 25yr old vehicle can need $1500. in parts and work real quick. and then next month $3000. more :-/
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:41 AM   #12
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SNIP...


tires - if it has 20 inch rims it most likely has retainer ring (a form of split) that uses a tube-type 20 inch tire.. if it has 22.5" rims then it uses standard modern tubeless truck tires...



-Christopher
Blowing up the pic -- this bus does have the 5-spoke truck wheels (are those called the "dayton" wheels?).

I don't know if that would be more or less expensive to replace tires on then the newer 22.5 radial tire rims but something to consider for sure if the bus needs new tires right away...

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f33/wh...nfo-10659.html
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:34 AM   #13
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Blowing up the pic -- this bus does have the 5-spoke truck wheels (are those called the "dayton" wheels?).

I don't know if that would be more or less expensive to replace tires on then the newer 22.5 radial tire rims but something to consider for sure if the bus needs new tires right away...

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f33/wh...nfo-10659.html
tires.jpg

Seems to have the 22.5 inch tires, according to this....

Good or bad? know next to nothing about tires, let alone truck type tires.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:42 AM   #14
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Blowing up the pic -- this bus does have the 5-spoke truck wheels (are those called the "dayton" wheels?).

I don't know if that would be more or less expensive to replace tires on then the newer 22.5 radial tire rims but something to consider for sure if the bus needs new tires right away...

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f33/wh...nfo-10659.html
Daytons are 22.5" unless they're old 20's. They take the same tires.
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Old 12-16-2019, 12:13 PM   #15
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Attachment 39972

Seems to have the 22.5 inch tires, according to this....

Good or bad? know next to nothing about tires, let alone truck type tires.
The taller the tire , the faster the top end will be. It's a good thing.
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Old 12-16-2019, 01:56 PM   #16
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The taller the tire , the faster the top end will be. It's a good thing.
It CAN be a good thing depending on other factors.

In my case, when I switched to 22.5 LP's, on my truck, and my 3.73 rear gears are too tall. I rarely get to use 6th gear and reverse is way too tall. I have to slip the clutch when backing trailers to back up at a reasonable speed.

I have 5.29 rear gears in my bus and it is almost perfect. I backs nicely and has plenty of power from a standing start. I can run 70 mph if I want but I would like to see lower rpm's at highway speeds. I am going to get sixth gear unlocked and then I will have just what suits me.
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Old 12-16-2019, 04:05 PM   #17
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tires - if it has 20 inch rims it most likely has retainer ring (a form of split) that uses a tube-type 20 inch tire.. if it has 22.5" rims then it uses standard modern tubeless truck tires...

-Christopher
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Originally Posted by spenceadventures View Post
Seems to have the 22.5 inch tires, according to this....
OK, so here's the deal. The old Dayton style wheels go way back ... you'll either have 20" "split-rim" tube-type tires/rims, or 22.5" tubeless. The rims interchange perfectly with no other changes needed (I can't remember if the spacer ring interchanges with them or not). The 20" tube type are generally falling out of favor, with the 22.5's being much preferred. They should be fairly easy to find at truck/bus boneyards, should you have the 20's and wish to swap them.


The Daytons have a reputation for being easier for a manual tire change (the nuts aren't torqued as tight as on Budds) but it's easy to end up with the tires/wheels out of alignment when reassembled. Also, loosen but *DO NOT REMOVE* the nuts when removing the tires, until the clamps are loose - they can and *WILL* break loose with tremendous force and the nuts will ensure they are safely contained rather than flying off at dangerous speeds. Once all the clamps are loose, you may then safely remove the nuts.
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Old 12-16-2019, 06:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
Blowing up the pic -- this bus does have the 5-spoke truck wheels (are those called the "dayton" wheels?).

I don't know if that would be more or less expensive to replace tires on then the newer 22.5 radial tire rims but something to consider for sure if the bus needs new tires right away...

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f33/wh...nfo-10659.html



daytons can have 20" or 22.5" rims.. my carpenter bus has daytons with single-piece 22.5's and runs 11R22.5 tires...



single piece dayton rims are in sachool bus junkyards everywhere.. pretty much anything 1990 and newer are 22.5" from what ive seen..


well assuming said bus doesnt have smaller wheel size like a 19.5".. ive never seen a dayton spoke accept a 19.5" rim.. they may exist ive just never seen them..


-Christopher
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