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Old 05-22-2017, 07:27 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 7
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Engine: CAT 3126
Rated Cap: 84 Passenger
Exclamation Low Mileage High Idle, Good or Bad?

I am about to go look at my first school bus!!!!!!! OMG I am excited. The bus was advertised as a 1998 Thomas Bus CAT 3116 diesel with under 7k miles. They said it was a very short route and mostly all idle time. I am kind of nervous because that is an absurdly low number for something that is almost 20 years old.

Are there things I should be concerned about? I think I am going to do an Oil Analysis on it to hopefully let me know how worn the engine is. I am also on the hunt for a diesel mechanic in the area so I have someone with me that knows what they are doing.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:27 PM   #2
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Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
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Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
Cowlitzcoach and Cadillackid will know way more about this but I'd expect that a lot of idling isn't a good thing. The oil analysis will tell you way more than the sellers likely will.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:59 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,194
Somehow I seriously doubt a 1998 bus only has 7K miles.

I would venture a guess that someone has replaced the speedometer/odometer and didn't set the mileage to the current but started over at zero.

A bus that has spent the last twenty years only going 7K miles means it only went 35 miles per month during a 10-month school year. And that doesn't include the miles the bus was driven from the factory to the original purchaser.

An oil analysis will tell you more. But unless someone is more forthcoming about the mileage I would say it more likely has about 150K-200K miles as most school buses over the service life generally average 10K per year.

The last big bus I was assigned when I worked for a school district went 27 miles per day on route. But I was a trip driver who regularly went on at least two trips per week which were over 100 miles roundtrip so the monthly average wasn't that much different from the rest of the fleet.
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Old 05-23-2017, 06:40 AM   #4
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Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,809
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
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I dont know how the computers are in a CAT / freightliner but I know on my Navistar electronic engine.. (ios the 3116 electronic?)..

the computers in navistar show lifetime mileage and that mileage is transferred across to a new replacement computer if it can be.. so you may be able to read out the true miles at a dealership with a scan tool (and some $)..
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Old 05-23-2017, 08:11 AM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,603
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
what they said!!!

does it have an hour meter? that would would help in determining use.

from my bus (not averages like above), i think 20 years of idling would be pushing 10k hours.
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advice, first bus

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