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Old 02-25-2023, 10:03 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Question Decisions Decisions!! First Skoolie, Need Advice?

So I am currently looking for my first skoolie to convert and right now I have 2 options available. The first is a 2006 35’ IC international with the dt466e paired with an Allison 2500 on 83,000 miles, but it has some small rust issues on only 2 rear cross members. Unfortunately this bus has hydraulic brakes. This bus is owned by a friend and is 30 minutes away from me. Motor was overhauled by certified mechanic at 70,000 and all paperwork has been provided. the owner is asking $5,000.

Next up is a 2004 40’ bluebird international with the dt466 also with the 2000 series transmission but has 183,000 miles and hours read about 8,000, also this bus is equipped with AIR brakes. This engine was overhauled at 130,000. Said to have minimal rust they have already replace a few cross members. This bus is about 3.5 hours away from me, owner is asking $6,500. I’m not sure what is considered to high of mileage and what is a reasonable price range? I appreciate any help and advice.

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Old 02-25-2023, 10:20 PM   #2
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What do you mean by "cross members" here? Cross members on the chassis proper (which consists of the two long C-channels and the curvy/stamped pieces that connect them) are almost certainly not badly rusted enough to require replacement. If you mean the transverse (i.e. side-to-side) beam-type things that comprise the body floor, then rust in that area (bad enough to require replacement) means that the floor is probably much more badly rusted than even the sellers realize. Here is the rust my bus floor had and what I had to do to repair it.

83K is very good for a DT466e, as is 183K after a (presumed) rebuild at 130K, but keep in mind that dashboard clusters are notoriously inaccurate in these buses and those figures may not be accurate. The prices are not bad, but again you're probably looking at a lot more rust remediation work than you think.
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Old 02-25-2023, 10:34 PM   #3
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Musigenesis, thank you for your response. I believe you are correct, it is more the floor bracing that runs cross ways of the frame itself that was replaced and would need attention on my friends bus. I am up to the challenge of fixing some rust issues but I just want to make sure I choose the better bus as far as mechanical aspect. I prefer the air brakes due to their safety features however not sure I want to compromise for more mileage at the slightly higher cost. I am currently waiting on pictures from underneath the bluebird to see just how much rust we are talking. I want to thank you again for your help.
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Old 02-26-2023, 09:01 PM   #4
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The first one sounds a bit rare. Most 2005-2007 CE300s (the dt466e) are air brake systems, not hydraulic. The hydraulics were mostly on the ce200s with the vt365 motor. Not to say it's not possible, just rare. Be sure to verify.

Personally I hate hydraulic brakes on buses and will never buy one again. I've suffered failures while driving both and given the option during a brake failure I'd rather stop in an undesirable spot than keep rolling until something stops me... Fortunately when the latter happened to me I was at low speed on a deserted road and I could damage a tire by riding a curb until I stopped.

I would still avoid any bus with significant rust like the second one you described.

Under 200k mileage on a dt466e I wouldnt be concerned. My bus has 265k on the clock. My mechanic friend (former international dealer certified mechanic) thinks it'll be good til 400k before due for an overhaul. We did an oil analysis to determine that.

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Old 02-26-2023, 09:48 PM   #5
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Dbacks2k4, thank you for your help. I thought the same about the vt365 and did some digging to verify l. The vin and all dealership paperwork that my friend/owner gave me verified, it is a 2006 IC DT466e with the Allison 2500 automatic. As far as the engine it was redone by mistake. I have a contact at the mechanic shop where it was redone at 70,000. They said it was due to losing antifreeze. Turns out it was minor leak at a hidden fitting that they did not find until the rebuild was finished. School system covered all the work so I guess some of this engine only has 13,000 miles on it and all hours have been verified as well. It almost sounds to good to be true. Im not huge on the hydraulic brakes just because I was spoiled with the Kenworth I used to drive for work. However the rust on the other is concerning, it would be different if the repairs had been done by myself or someone I know. I mean I’m not the best by any means but I try to be thorough and am fairly particular. Thank you again for your thoughts and advice.
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Old 02-26-2023, 09:57 PM   #6
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Thank you again for your thoughts and advice.
You're welcome. I've learned many lessons the hard way operating a for-hire passenger fleet of retired school buses. If I can help one person save a few grand from my mistakes I'll call that a victory
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Old 02-27-2023, 06:46 AM   #7
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How about expand your search to the southeast/other areas where rust isn't an issue?

Your travel expenses to pick up the bus might be far less than your overall cost of rust removal and repairs.

$5-6k buys a nice rust-free bus in Georgia, but wherever you are buy the nicest bus you can find - that few dollars more upfront will save you many times that in the long run.
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Old 02-27-2023, 07:10 AM   #8
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I bought a 2005 BB with juice brakes for parts, what a joke, the fluid looked like mud, the warning buzzer and light were on all the time and from what I have read on here you can't get the right parts and you have to take out a "second" to afford the correct parts if available. My 1976 BB was converted by me in 2006, it has air brakes that have worked for almost 50 years and have virtually never given me any grief but I did have to replace the parking brake knob because it started to leak air, big deal. Because of upgrades I have replaced the older style "Q" shoe system with later brakes, hubs, drums, air chambers, hoses and specifically later bolt pattern for latest style wheels, my choice. As far as rust it's you choice but I'd look around and see what the market has to offer and judge from there. Rust is like mice, you see one you have many more hiding everywhere.
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Old 02-27-2023, 07:22 AM   #9
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La Camioneta, thank you. I agree and I don’t want to jump the gate just waiting on that golden unicorn.
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Old 02-27-2023, 07:25 AM   #10
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Sportyrick, thanks for your help. I never thought about doing a conversion not sure how much that would cost. I could deal with the hydraulic system for a short time then change over. I’m somewhat mechanically inclined so labor wouldn’t be an issue just have to find all the parts.
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Old 02-27-2023, 07:36 AM   #11
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YYYaaaaaa I wouldn't want to do a conversion from juice to air. Yes you can buy a wrecked or salvage bus for the suspension stuff but running air lines along the frame making sure they are clamped properly, engine and transmission in the way, a real challenge for sure but possible if you got a GREAT bus with juice brakes. I was surprised that the bus I got here in Mo was rust free but tons of gravel road dust that needed to be blown out. I wouldn't discount any buses from the midwest without giving them a closer look, especially if from out in the countryside.
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Old 02-27-2023, 08:25 AM   #12
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La Camioneta, thank you. I agree and I don’t want to jump the gate just waiting on that golden unicorn.
Anytime.

Get obsessed with the specs you want. A few of us have swapped 5/6 speed Allisons behind mechanical engines from the 545 transmissions, but its way easier to buy the trans/engine combo you want.

Once you've decided on the perfect body/chassis/powertrain/brake type etc., start internet searching. You'll get an idea of comparable prices and mileage. Then you can make an educated offer to the seller. You may also unfortunately find someone that can't complete their project and get a great deal.

Be patient and search, search, and search some more.




This is a great thread about pre-purchase: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f10/t...rip-31311.html
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Old 02-27-2023, 02:28 PM   #13
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Anytime.

Get obsessed with the specs you want. A few of us have swapped 5/6 speed Allisons behind mechanical engines from the 545 transmissions, but its way easier to buy the trans/engine combo you want.

Once you've decided on the perfect body/chassis/powertrain/brake type etc., start internet searching. You'll get an idea of comparable prices and mileage. Then you can make an educated offer to the seller. You may also unfortunately find someone that can't complete their project and get a great deal.

Be patient and search, search, and search some more.




This is a great thread about pre-purchase: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f10/t...rip-31311.html
Quick question about the transmission, if a bus has the push button selector would mean that it could be the 3060? It is in a 2004 International ce300. The seller cant find the plate.
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Old 02-27-2023, 04:03 PM   #14
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Paging @CadillacKid - he's the resident transmission guru.

https://cptdb.ca/wiki/index.php/IC_Bus_CE_Series


Specs are A1000 or A2000
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Old 02-27-2023, 06:49 PM   #15
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Quick question about the transmission, if a bus has the push button selector would mean that it could be the 3060? It is in a 2004 International ce300. The seller cant find the plate.
Generally yes, the push button display is indicative of a 3000 series, either an md3060 or 3000pts depending on the year. The 3000 series is a great transmission. Reliable (except for the weird wire harness issue...) and can be reprogrammed to enable 6th gear double overdrive

Also, regarding waiting for the unicorn, patience is a virtue there. It took me 8 months to find my unicorn. I'd almost given up and was looking at other options to try to modify. I'm glad I waited. Paid more than I wanted and had some repairs to do out of the gate but it's paid off.
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Old 02-28-2023, 06:56 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dbacks2k4 View Post
Generally yes, the push button display is indicative of a 3000 series, either an md3060 or 3000pts depending on the year. The 3000 series is a great transmission. Reliable (except for the weird wire harness issue...) and can be reprogrammed to enable 6th gear double overdrive

Also, regarding waiting for the unicorn, patience is a virtue there. It took me 8 months to find my unicorn. I'd almost given up and was looking at other options to try to modify. I'm glad I waited. Paid more than I wanted and had some repairs to do out of the gate but it's paid off.
Great, I appreciate you and your knowledge. Believe it or not we may have found the Golden Unicorn or as my wife called it the White Buffalo. We go to look it over on Saturday. It is an 2004 International, Dt466 with the possible 3060 transmission. It is said to have 0 rust and the underbody has been rhino lined. Only 130k miles and he has all records from the school system. The owner is asking $5,000. I think this is a reasonable ask but I may not see the forest for the trees. Please let me know what you think.
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Old 02-28-2023, 08:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N.Wilt View Post
Great, I appreciate you and your knowledge. Believe it or not we may have found the Golden Unicorn or as my wife called it the White Buffalo. We go to look it over on Saturday. It is an 2004 International, Dt466 with the possible 3060 transmission. It is said to have 0 rust and the underbody has been rhino lined. Only 130k miles and he has all records from the school system. The owner is asking $5,000. I think this is a reasonable ask but I may not see the forest for the trees. Please let me know what you think.
I don't know what size bus you're looking at here...but I've bought 4 or 5 International 3800 buses from the LA school district, through auctions. These were all 7 window buses, so a popular mid-size. And rust free. These all had DT466 engines with MD3060 transmissions...and between 250-350K miles. I tell you all this for comparison to the bus you're looking at...because 4 years ago, these sold for about $3000...and the most recent ones last year went for about $5k. And these were all 1995 vintage.

All this to say, $5000 for a 2004 with that drivetrain and only 130K miles seems like a very fair price, even though the market has softened a bit lately.
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Old 02-28-2023, 08:45 AM   #18
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I don't know what size bus you're looking at here...but I've bought 4 or 5 International 3800 buses from the LA school district, through auctions. These were all 7 window buses, so a popular mid-size. And rust free. These all had DT466 engines with MD3060 transmissions...and between 250-350K miles. I tell you all this for comparison to the bus you're looking at...because 4 years ago, these sold for about $3000...and the most recent ones last year went for about $5k. And these were all 1995 vintage.

All this to say, $5000 for a 2004 with that drivetrain and only 130K miles seems like a very fair price, even though the market has softened a bit lately.
rossvtaylor, thank you. I felt like it was reasonable as well. This model bus is an 11 window.
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Old 02-28-2023, 02:35 PM   #19
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rossvtaylor, thank you. I felt like it was reasonable as well. This model bus is an 11 window.
Sounds reasonable to me. For reference I paid about $7k in the Spring of 2022 for my 40-ft (12 window) 2006 International (IC Corp) DT466e-Allison 3000PTS with "known engine issues" from Arizona (rust-free). It was a travel bus, so had dual-compressor AC system, larger fuel tank, 245HP variant of the engine (instead of 220 default) and under-bay storage. The engine issues wound up being a faulty IPR and a bad EGR valve. Cheap to fix, expensive to get the bus home to actually fix them



A 2004 (assuming that's engine year, the engine year is often one year older than the title/body year) is probably pre-EGR. Less complicated to diagnose/repair and the parts for that engine are quite a bit cheaper than the newer EGR variants...
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Old 02-28-2023, 03:52 PM   #20
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Dbacks2k4, wow that is a nice rig and a pretty good price. But that brings me to my next issue of getting to where I live. I will be picking it up from WV and out 4 hours from where I am and taking it to MD. I have been looking for one-way permits and insurances but haven’t had any luck yet.
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