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Old 02-23-2021, 01:18 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
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Las Vegas Bus Sales

Not sure which sub-forum to post this in. If this needs to go somewhere else, please let me know.


Anyone have experience buying from Las Vegas Bus Sales? Mostly just looking to see if they are a reputable shop or a 'cut corners, disable check engine light' type of shop.

I don't mind paying a bit more for a bus if its a solid platform/good service. But i don't want to support a shady business.
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Old 02-23-2021, 03:08 PM   #2
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I can't speak for the seller you speak of, but since you mention "cover up the check engine light" sorts of trickery, I would like to mention that I did get strong indications of that sort of vibe from AAA in Phoenix when picking up another member's recent purchase.

In a nutshell, the vehicle had a massive air leak, a safety issue in and of itself, and I observed other problems that quite frankly should have been repaired properly for the asking price paid. I was given cock-and-bull excuses about the air leak when I mentioned it, and by that alone, I was well within my rights to refuse to drive it off the lot.

Driving an air-brake vehicle with an air leak really isn't kosher, regardless of how many get by with it. But I also did not feel it was fair for the buyer to incur more lodging expense while I waited for it to be fixed if chances were good that it would make the trip.

I might also add the the buyer was charged extra for things that I think should have been part of the asking price. Or, perhaps the bus should have been priced lower to start without those 'extras'.

They also failed to communicate the results of fluid analyses expressly requested (and paid for) by the buyer. I arrived to a thick stack of paperwork, including these tests, that strongly indicated that A) the engine oil had been changed before the analysis, veritably nullifying it, and B) the vehicle's transmission had been maintained either sporadically or not at all, as it had a high large-particle count consistent with poor / overdue maintenance, or moderate to severe wear. The buyer was not made aware of any of this prior to purchase or pickup for transit.

As it was, I had to stop crossing Texas to charge an A/C unit that AAA couldn't be bothered to deal with. Turned out the unit worked fine with a charge. Which begs the question, if they couldn't be bothered to do something so easy to address, what else would they refuse to deal with, or possibly cover up?

Other things I noticed -- plastic warning light overlay appliques were misaligned and falling out of the instrument cluster, and the left turn signal indicator did not work, as the bulb had been plucked from its socket. I figured out that this was done to hide the fact that the turn signal switch was worn and caused the indicator light to stay on when it shouldn't.

Though I can't say whether this was done by the seller or the original selling agency, I highly doubt a selling agency would bother doing this, it's easier just to replace the switch, and it is a common issue on Navistar buses. The right turn signal bulb also had a tendency to stay lit solid, something I suspect to be tied in to the other issue somehow.

To boot, the air compressor started leaking oil badly within an hour of leaving the lot, and after discussing it with the buyer, I was directed to return to AAA to have it addressed. When I got there, I got a ton of attitude, excuses and complaining about dealing with it (when it really wasn't my decision to return). I might add that this was after I had expressed interest in doing business with them.

Verbatim - "It's a used bus, it's a well-used bus, and I didn't sell it to you, I sold it to [buyer]." All of which is irrelevant, as it was still on me if there was a problem and it caused an accident. I was still certifying that the vehicle was safe and roadworthy by driving it, making me somewhat liable if a safety defect caused a crash. I might add that the bus in question was still titled as a bus, and as such, was still a commercial vehicle, regardless of most of its seats being removed. And that is why that is a big deal.

Also verbatim when I started explaining what I had observed about the issue - "If you want to be the mechanic, I can be the driver." Sorry, but with these kinds of issues, this guy just asks way too much for his listings, especially to get that kind of attitude after the sale.

Salty, I can deal with, but this guy just does not know how to talk to people. Also interesting is that after all that attitude and repairs were made (during which it was discovered that a gasket in the air compressor was to blame for the oil leak and an air fitting at the compressor was partly to blame for the air leak), I got hints that the guy expected me to chip in for or buy him lunch, when I was already a day or more behind schedule. Seriously, dude? After what you said to me an hour or two ago?

I might add that some of these issues are, in fact, major safety issues and no vehicle would pass required safety inspections (air leak, turn signal indicator not working, turn signal staying lit solid).

I DO, however want to clarify that I am speaking of AAA Bus, NOT Las Vegas Bus Sales here. Quite frankly, AAA either needs to step up their game for their asking prices, or they need to drop their prices for the issues they are obviously not willing to fix without a lot of hassle, if at all.
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:03 PM   #3
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Interesting info on Trip.A, CW.

Not likely I'm going to buy anything from them, but it gives reason to go over any of their offerings with a fine toothed comb, so to speak.
Dealers can be great and lousy, all in the same day!

And it really comes down to 100% "Buyer Beware" in any transaction...
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:14 PM   #4
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As someone who recently purchased a bus from a private seller, we did look at at Northwest Bus Sales (who I believe are affiliated with Las Vegas Bus Sales).

I definitely had a good interaction with the salespeople on the phone, and they certainly were very helpful and willing to talk about our needs/wants from a skoolie, etc. I can't say this for many of the dealers I spoke with. But we ultimately confirmed what so many people say... with some patience, you can find a comparable bus cheaper from a private seller/auction.

NW Bus sales was quoting us around 8-11k for buses we would've been interested in, we found one from a private seller (same model, newer year [gas, so this was appealing]) for 5k. As our (lack of) luck would have it, it needed a lot of mechanical work - but we still ended up paying much less than we would've at NW. In our case, wouldn't have had to fly across country either.

I think if LV Bus Sales was drivable I'd probably get an appointment to go look.... I think I'd be wary to buy a bus from any dealership sight unseen. For a while I kept reading things about AAA Bus Sales, but then found more stories like CW's above.
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:08 PM   #5
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Yes, I believe Northwest Bus Sales (based in Federal Way, WA, near me) and Las Vegas Bus Sales are the same company, two different locations.

I have not had dealings with them, but so far have not heard anything that would prevent me from doing so... other than their pricing vs. private party.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:12 PM   #6
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Las Vegas Bus and NW Bus share the same website.

I use to work as a bus driver for the Federal Way school district and NW Bus was right across the street. I've gone and looked at their establishment and their buses. They seem to take very good care of their buses, property, facilities, etc.

I had kept in touch with a guy I met there who was buying the BB RE 8.3l 40'. He never mentioned any issues after purchase. He did have a diesel bus mechanic friend there with him, so I'm sure they checked it over.

I think anytime you buy from a dealer there will always be markup, and whether it's a car, motorcycle or bus, a Used Vehicle sales lot is a Used Vehicle sales lot. In other words, buyer beware.

In summary, I think it's worth taking a look. Hell, worst case you put a dollar in a slot machine, win a million and buy whatever bus you want.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:25 PM   #7
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No, the worst case is someone slides up to the bar and yells at the bartender for a glass of water while the person on your left reaches over and grabs your cell phone and wallet slides off the stool and disappears while the guy gets his water, tips his hat to you turns cheek and walks away. Saw the whole thing go down while I was sitting at the corner of a in a bar in Las Vegas. That fast.
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Old 02-23-2021, 08:46 PM   #8
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I have bought 20+ School busses from NW bus sales for a fleet management customer. They are like any other dealer, they take trade ins and resell them they also buy auction busses and resell them at top dollar. If you are a fleet customer they are one of the only options to just straight out buy busses in number all at once. I don’t have too many complaints but man they ask top dollar.
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:15 PM   #9
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I've actually recommended them a few times, here on the forum, for folks willing to pay dealer prices. I've made a couple of purchases from them myself and was impressed. They have a huge selection and a really nice diesel shop. As with any dealer, you'll pay more than from a private party. But from a reputable dealer...and I've found LVBS to be one of those...they check the bus over, maybe install new batteries, and get it road ready. One nice thing about them, or other dealers, is that they have a huge inventory you can look through. I've seen some of their buses still have new-tire nubs on the rubber.

Cons of a dealer purchase are, usually, higher cost. But the pros can include some peace of mind, if they take pride in selling reliable buses. I've worked with Jon, who used to own and drive semis and knows his stuff, but they all seem quite decent. Another forum member recently bought a bus from them, and the dealer drove the bus to them in Montana or somewhere up there...I wish I could find that thread now.

As mentioned, Las Vegas Bus Sales and NW Bus Sales are related. But it seems that LVBS has significantly lower prices on their buses.
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Old 02-24-2021, 01:05 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks for the info guys. I know i will be paying a bit more going through a dealer. But I am rather picky on the size/features of my future bus.

Thanks for the heads up on AAA Cheese, sounds exactly like the type of business I would rather avoid. They are a bit too far away anyway.
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Old 02-24-2021, 01:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrmagoo1077 View Post
Thanks for the info guys. I know i will be paying a bit more going through a dealer. But I am rather picky on the size/features of my future bus.

Thanks for the heads up on AAA Cheese, sounds exactly like the type of business I would rather avoid. They are a bit too far away anyway.
I would avoid BGASales as well -- Appears to be run by a Greg Archambault who royally screwed another member years ago. Back then they traded as Florida Church Bus. Says a lot when 10 years of business prompts a name change.
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Old 02-28-2021, 08:29 AM   #12
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I found buying my 27ft bus form a local school system that had it on auction was the best experience. First they usually have all the records on the bus from the day they bought it to when you buy it. More importantly they have to keep these vehicles in top condition till they decide to sell them... There are kids riding these busses & they are our most valuable asset... If you ask they will usually tell anything you want to know about the bus because they have been in it, under it & worked on it for years. For instance mine is a handicapped bus so they took extra care of it plus it was used less frequently...
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBoogie View Post
I found buying my 27ft bus form a local school system that had it on auction was the best experience. First they usually have all the records on the bus from the day they bought it to when you buy it. More importantly they have to keep these vehicles in top condition till they decide to sell them... There are kids riding these busses & they are our most valuable asset... If you ask they will usually tell anything you want to know about the bus because they have been in it, under it & worked on it for years. For instance mine is a handicapped bus so they took extra care of it plus it was used less frequently...
As a school bus driver, I agree with the continued maintenance given to our buses. I wouldn't say special needs buses are used less, as I'm currently driving ones with 165-175k on them. My assigned bus (at 165k) started ticking and I pulled it up to the shop. They told me to get another bus while I wait for them to put in a NEW 6L gasser. Now, that's a bus to buy at an auction.

Yet, they drive them until either they don't pass state inspection, have something seriously wrong or simply have reached a magical number of years of service. If you saw some of the buses we still have, and function really well, I think you'd be surprised.

We tend to replace the 40' more often because we rely on them for the bulk of the student transportation.

Oh, one more thing. I'm seeing and hearing a lot more about school districts pushing to move to all electric buses, so there may be over the next decade quite a supply of buses, albeit, lots of emissions and electronics to address.
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Old 03-01-2021, 01:31 AM   #14
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Hey Everyone,
My name is Roz and I am new here. I so love the rules of this site, they are what made me join. I have been looking at NWBS in Fed Way, WA because I know they have maintenance records on their buses. However, the prices are high, but what is peace of mind worth, right?!! Anyway, thank you for sharing your insights.

Roz
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Old 03-01-2021, 01:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosco-b View Post
Hey Everyone,
My name is Roz and I am new here. I so love the rules of this site, they are what made me join. I have been looking at NWBS in Fed Way, WA because I know they have maintenance records on their buses. However, the prices are high, but what is peace of mind worth, right?!! Anyway, thank you for sharing your insights.

Roz
Hi Roz and welcome.
Yes their prices are high, I looked at many buses there before going to the auctions. Don't forget they buy the same auction buses we are trying to get and they expect to make profit, there's nothing wrong with that but I'm not really seeing what you perceive as peace of mind? These are used commercial vehicles and the warranty will not see you far past the first city block. The big advantage they have is likely being able to put eyes on many of the buses they are bidding on where others might not be able to. If you can make the trip to see an auction bus you are well ahead of many others. I crossed an international border and a 14 hour round trip to see the 4 buses I was going to bid on. That visual inspection allowed me to bid with confidence and yes I was bidding against them. I also got the bus district service records. So my rust free low mile $5000 bus likely would be $12000-$15000 on their lot.
Do your research, shop with your brain and not your emotions and you'll do just fine.
Good luck

Oscar
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Old 03-03-2021, 03:27 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
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Buses

Anyone is welcome to come to the lot and drive any of the buses. Bring your mechanic. We have over 50 just school buses to chose from. The difference between ours and the auction buses is we get first dibs on everything on the lot BEFORE they go to auction. If anyone has any questions let me know. Thanks guys and gals.
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Old 03-09-2021, 07:49 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Hey Alex �� been talking with Jon trying to get a plan to get out there and see busses.. you guys have been very great to talk to and very helpful.. can't wait to get out and meet you guys and see the busses..
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Old 03-10-2021, 10:34 AM   #18
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Sounds good, we are looking forward to showing you some buses! Appreciate the kind words.
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