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Old 05-22-2020, 10:24 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
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Been stalking...finally joined. Think I'm ready to purchase, but would like advice...

Hi Everyone!

I have spent countless hours over the last 8 months watching You Tube videos, and scouring the internet for information. I did do a search here first for some information, but what I found was limited and above my head.

I am eyeing a 1999 International 3600 7.3 Powerstroke, with an Allison AT 545 transmission and about 135,000 miles. Price is $9,000.

Post indicates that the following work has been done (recently?):

"At 130,000 miles, the engine was completely updated: new water pump, sensors, hoses, clutch fan, transmission serviced with new hoses, new idler pulley, new tensioner pulley.
The cooling system was serviced with new filter, thermostat and hoses, and the radiator was removed and professionally cleaned before re-installation.
The brakes are hydraulic. The entire brake system is currently being serviced.
There is an air compressor that supplies an air tank that can be used to inflate tires and controls the rear suspension air bag system. The compressor was re-built and the air bags are new.
Has A/C unit. All seats have been removed, except for two on either side of the aisle in the front row.

The old hood was cracked. Bought a new hood - that's why it's red. We were thinking we should continue the red color down the sides as flames..."

Phew...I know that's long, but I read here not to post vague questions or "Smitty" would be sent to my house! Lol

So, here's the gist. I'm a female and know nothing about bus engines, HP, torque, transmissions, etc., but I have tried to do my research. So, what I'm hoping to get is just some general thoughts on a "Yay" or "Nay" on this one. I have read a lot of you great folks' responses, and you all have so much knowledge! I'd really appreciate just your honest opinion. This is a huge move for me!

Thank you so much!
Tony

1999 International 1.jpg

1999 International 2.jpg

1999 International 3.jpg
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:46 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: GA
Posts: 486
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Amtran RE
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444e 7.3L
A 1997 International 3600 should probably fall in the $1500-4000 range.

Looking at the pictures, the seller has done some work on it. Besides paint and RV windows, what work has he done? How good of quality of work is it? Is it worth $5000?

The T444e is a pretty good engine. The AT545 is a reliable transmission. It's what I have in a bigger heavier bus. However, that combo (particularly the transmission) will be a lot slower than other options on hills.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:54 PM   #3
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Year: 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
A 1997 International 3600 should probably fall in the $1500-4000 range.

Looking at the pictures, the seller has done some work on it. Besides paint and RV windows, what work has he done? How good of quality of work is it? Is it worth $5000?

The T444e is a pretty good engine. The AT545 is a reliable transmission. It's what I have in a bigger heavier bus. However, that combo (particularly the transmission) will be a lot slower than other options on hills.
Yep what he said!
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Old 05-23-2020, 05:56 AM   #4
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Nay!

The AT545 is the worst transmission you can get in a bus. The T444 is a good engine but somewhat underpowered (better in a shorter bus like this one, though). Hydraulic brakes are not good (you want air brakes for safety). $9000 is a ludicrously high price for this bus.
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:17 AM   #5
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Year: 1999
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Don't pay more than $2000 for it. Vistas are bottom of the barrel.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:57 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
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Unhappy

Wow...this is really disappointing to hear! What this tells me is that no matter how much time I can spend trying to figure all this out, my comprehension on this topic is below a remedial level! Seems like you can read one thing that says, "Yeah, that's great" and another that says "No, that's awful." So confusing. I knew the price was high, and wasn't going to pay the price listed, but just wanted to know that the bus was either good or bad. No matter how cheap I could get a bus for, I don't want something that's a POS or won't work well for full time travel.
I'm so appreciative that you all took the time to read and respond... you're all lifesavers for sure! Not sure where to go from here. *Sigh*
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:12 PM   #7
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Year: 1998
Coachwork: Amtran RE
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444e 7.3L
It wouldn't be a POS. The AT545 can last for hundreds of thousands of miles if maintained. The top speed is probably around 60 mph.
However, expect to go 45 on steep uphill stretches on the interstate. Steep rural roads could be in the 20s.
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:18 PM   #8
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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The harsh ride is my main complaint with Vista is the harsh ride. Some have air ride in the rear which helps. But the front suspension isn't much good. Its pretty much maxxed out. Look how the front end sits on them.
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony_108 View Post
What this tells me is that no matter how much time I can spend trying to figure all this out, my comprehension on this topic is below a remedial level!
Nah, a couple of days on this site will do you fine. You've already learned a lot just from this one post. I learned plenty about buses here and very quickly ... it just mostly happened after I'd already bought my bus. I did sort of luck into a good drivetrain (a DT466e with 30K miles on it and a non-AT545 transmission), but I would have been a lot better off to have done what you can still do, which is learn a lot about what buses to buy before you buy one.
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
It wouldn't be a POS. The AT545 can last for hundreds of thousands of miles if maintained. The top speed is probably around 60 mph.
However, expect to go 45 on steep uphill stretches on the interstate. Steep rural roads could be in the 20s.
I don't know if this is true or not, but it seems like maybe one advantage to the AT545 is that if ever craps out it's easy and relatively cheap to replace it. But maybe that's true of other transmissions as well. When I look for AT545s and 2000-series trans on ebay they seem to cost about the same, not sure how much labor they take.
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:30 PM   #11
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
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At 545 isn't a deal breaker for me. But I won't sugarcoat em either. Having no lockup makes em always kinda sucky. I've got one, and its holding up ok. But my bus has less than 100k on it and this is a reman trans so its been replaced already. If this one ever goes out on me I'll replace it with a 643.
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Old 05-24-2020, 02:38 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
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This is certainly is helpful. Thank you everyone for all of the information! The search continues...
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Old 05-24-2020, 02:40 PM   #13
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where do you live and how far are you willing to go for a bus?
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Old 05-24-2020, 02:46 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I live in Washington state and would be willing to drive/fly to pick up the right bus. It's just hard because you never really know until you can actually see it in person, get underneath and look for rust, etc. I don't want to spend a whole bunch of money/time, driving/flying to look at buses that don't end up being what they appear to be.
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Old 05-24-2020, 02:55 PM   #15
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
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Oh, you're in bus country, man. Don't settle for no Vista if you live on the west side of the country!
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Old 05-24-2020, 02:59 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Lol...okay! Thanks for the great advice! Probably a silly question...how do you know it's a "Vista?" I didn't see that information anywhere in the specs.
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:02 PM   #17
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that tiny hood and slammed front suspension. Its Thomas' budget model.
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:07 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
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Got it! You guys are awesome! Thank you! The local school district auctions should be opening up next week, once the lockdown lifts, so I'm hoping I can find something there. I've been seeing the same buses for sale, day after day after day...all ones I've already ruled out. So, I'm feeling a little hopeless. I've gotten everything set up, financially, to get the build done and hit the road...a little frustrating that the only thing holding me up is finding a bus! Lol
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:09 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Tacoma, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony_108 View Post
I live in Washington state and would be willing to drive/fly to pick up the right bus. It's just hard because you never really know until you can actually see it in person, get underneath and look for rust, etc. I don't want to spend a whole bunch of money/time, driving/flying to look at buses that don't end up being what they appear to be.
Don't know where in WA you live, where I am in Tacoma, the city school district has some busses up for auction right now on Public Surplus...I believe they are Internationals but since I'm in the market for a RE, I haven't looked too closely at them.
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:11 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thank you! I'm in Olympia! I'll see if I can find the Tacoma auction!
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