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Old 02-16-2022, 06:08 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Should I Bite?

I've been lurking these forums for a while but this is my first post! Hello all!



I found a theoretically rust-free mid-sized bus from 1996 with a diesel V6 DT466 and an Allison MD3060 transmission. The seller claims it's been maintained meticulously by a school district but it still has 300k miles on it.



What are everyone's thoughts on this? Is 300k a deal breaker? Is it a good idea or should we aim for a bus with less miles?


I look forward to hearing your opinions.

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Old 02-16-2022, 06:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Odyssey View Post
I've been lurking these forums for a while but this is my first post! Hello all!



I found a theoretically rust-free mid-sized bus from 1996 with a diesel V6 DT466 and an Allison MD3060 transmission. The seller claims it's been maintained meticulously by a school district but it still has 300k miles on it.



What are everyone's thoughts on this? Is 300k a deal breaker? Is it a good idea or should we aim for a bus with less miles?


I look forward to hearing your opinions.
First of all the DT466 is a straight six engine, not a V6.

Second, you haven't shared an asking price, pictures or really much of anything else. 300k is on the high side but 1996 would be a mechanical DT466 which is desired by a lot of folks. MD3060 transmission is also a good transmission, assuming seller has listed it correctly.
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Old 02-16-2022, 06:44 PM   #3
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First of all the DT466 is a straight six engine, not a V6.

Second, you haven't shared an asking price, pictures or really much of anything else. 300k is on the high side but 1996 would be a mechanical DT466 which is desired by a lot of folks. MD3060 transmission is also a good transmission, assuming seller has listed it correctly.

Hi WIbluebird, thanks for the reply. I certainly don't know much about engines or transmissions so I apologize there.



Asking price is $10,000 with a broken speedometer, $12,000 with the speedometer fixed. The seller is going to send me pictures when he gets back to the bus in a few hours. I'll post them here when I get them.


Is 300k miles an outright deal-breaker? If not, what should I be on the lookout for that would make it a deal-breaker? Is this a rare find or can I afford to be choosey?
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Old 02-16-2022, 07:09 PM   #4
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Welcome to the site.
Without any documented mechanical history on it, pass.
300k is high mileage and if it is all original, a major breakdown is imminent!
More than likely there has been some major work done somewhere along the line, but?
Who knows how many miles are really on it if the speedometer/odometer are broke? $2k to fix?
Good luck, and post pics if you can...
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Old 02-16-2022, 07:41 PM   #5
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Welcome to the site.
Without any documented mechanical history on it, pass.
300k is high mileage and if it is all original, a major breakdown is imminent!
More than likely there has been some major work done somewhere along the line, but?
Who knows how many miles are really on it if the speedometer/odometer are broke? $2k to fix?
Good luck, and post pics if you can...

Hi peteg59 and thanks!


They told me that the bus was maintained by a school district that spent money from their budget to repair it even though it wasn't broken because they needed to spend their budget or lose it. I'm assuming that this will come with documentation of this being the case.



If that is the case and it's been maintained meticulously, would the mileage remain an issue?



The seller noted that the recent work included pistons, rings, rod bearings, injectors, new turbo charger, remanufactured transmission and "lots of other engine parts" replaced.
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Old 02-16-2022, 08:17 PM   #6
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Here are those pictures. I asked for pictures of the undercarriage and he told me he'd get me those when he was back on the lot tomorrow. He provided pics of the tires and it looks like I would need to replace at least one set of dualies.
Attached Thumbnails
16516.jpeg   16514.jpeg   16528.jpeg   16534.jpeg   16532.jpeg  

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Old 02-16-2022, 10:02 PM   #7
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I'm no where near being an expert...however, price seems pretty high. I'd shop around. Gov.deal, Ebay...if nothing else, you'll have something to compare it with.
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Old 02-16-2022, 11:52 PM   #8
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The in frame on the engine and the tranny work does make it more desirable and less worrisome in my eyes. If it's not too far from you go pick it up and bring it to an IH dealer and let them look it over and get a second opinion. Who did the work? If it was the local IH dealer, that would be a plus as it would be done correctly. Have someone look at the rebuild paperwork and see if they put the extra parts in making it a better rebuild (hoses, water pump, fan bearings, alternator, starter etc). The speedometer replacement is probably costly because they are going to replace the whole gauge cluster and that isn't cheap (they are pretty cheaply built in the older IH vehicles and need replacing often). If preventive maintenance is something you think is important then it could make it more desirable in your eyes, go for it. I bought that exact engine and installed it in my bus because of it's reliability.
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Old 02-17-2022, 09:39 AM   #9
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That bus looks a lot like some that were for sale on Gov Deals not long ago. They were located in California. Ross Taylor said he had purchased three of them, and they were in good condition, but seems like he said they were bringing around $5000 at that time.

The last one I watched brought about $5900 after all the fees. They either had to go to a dismantler, or be removed from California due to Emission regulations. That would be a very desirable powertrain, plus they have AC. Lot's to love.
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Old 02-17-2022, 10:00 AM   #10
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defiinitely lots to love.. MD3060 would be unusual on a shorty.. id expect an MT643.. be nice to see the shifter to see what trans it does have..



like others mentioned.. it has A/C.. people charge a premium for it. so if you are going to just take it out then its not worth spending extra $$ for it.. an in-frame is desirable for sure as is the 1996 engine (prob one of the best years of mechanical 466 out there.. ).. 2k to fix the speedometer??? that seems off for sure.. if the speedo doesnt work chances are neither does the odometer...
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Old 02-17-2022, 12:32 PM   #11
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The in frame on the engine and the tranny work does make it more desirable and less worrisome in my eyes. If it's not too far from you go pick it up and bring it to an IH dealer and let them look it over and get a second opinion. Who did the work? If it was the local IH dealer, that would be a plus as it would be done correctly. Have someone look at the rebuild paperwork and see if they put the extra parts in making it a better rebuild (hoses, water pump, fan bearings, alternator, starter etc). The speedometer replacement is probably costly because they are going to replace the whole gauge cluster and that isn't cheap (they are pretty cheaply built in the older IH vehicles and need replacing often). If preventive maintenance is something you think is important then it could make it more desirable in your eyes, go for it. I bought that exact engine and installed it in my bus because of it's reliability.

Getting a second opinion from an IH dealer seems like it would be worth my time. The seller notes that there is a money back guarantee within 24 hours, so I was thinking about going on a road trip and running it hard for the first 24 hours to see if it holds up.



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defiinitely lots to love.. MD3060 would be unusual on a shorty.. id expect an MT643.. be nice to see the shifter to see what trans it does have..

like others mentioned.. it has A/C.. people charge a premium for it. so if you are going to just take it out then its not worth spending extra $$ for it.. an in-frame is desirable for sure as is the 1996 engine (prob one of the best years of mechanical 466 out there.. ).. 2k to fix the speedometer??? that seems off for sure.. if the speedo doesnt work chances are neither does the odometer...

I've attached a very blurry picture of the dash, which includes the shifter. Does it look like an MD3060 shifter? I'm clueless here.



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Originally Posted by PorchDog View Post
That bus looks a lot like some that were for sale on Gov Deals not long ago. They were located in California. Ross Taylor said he had purchased three of them, and they were in good condition, but seems like he said they were bringing around $5000 at that time.

The last one I watched brought about $5900 after all the fees. They either had to go to a dismantler, or be removed from California due to Emission regulations. That would be a very desirable powertrain, plus they have AC. Lot's to love.

Can you tell me more about Ross Taylor? I'm not familiar with that name, but the rest of your description lines up fairly well. The seller notes that he bought a few sister rigs at the same time from Cali. Does Ross Taylor have a good reputation within the skoolie community?








Thanks all for the replies, the conversation has been very helpful so far.
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Old 02-17-2022, 12:45 PM   #12
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definitely blurry! it looks like it could be a WTEC-II MD3060 shifter (correct for the time period).. hard to tell with the blurr
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Old 02-17-2022, 02:02 PM   #13
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Ross Taylor is very active on the forum. He is Rossvtaylor.

He is a bus enthusiast, and has bus related videos on YouTube. Lives west of Flagstaff AZ, so those California buses were closer to him. He does roof raises and bus conversion work--and seems to be a really nice guy.....
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Old 02-17-2022, 02:41 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies. I've been told that the bus I was speaking about sold this morning. I'm kinda happy about that as the seller was not able to provide any maintenance paperwork and the mileage had me quite worried.



Good luck to whomever bought the thing.
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Old 02-17-2022, 03:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Odyssey View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I've been told that the bus I was speaking about sold this morning. I'm kinda happy about that as the seller was not able to provide any maintenance paperwork and the mileage had me quite worried.



Good luck to whomever bought the thing.



prices are just high in general right now on busses!! those of us who have been here a few years crings at the prices being commanded now for bus that just a few years ago were practically given away... definitely pays to keep shopping around for a deal
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Old 02-17-2022, 07:08 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the replies. I've been told that the bus I was speaking about sold this morning. I'm kinda happy about that as the seller was not able to provide any maintenance paperwork and the mileage had me quite worried.

Good luck to whomever bought the thing.
Interesting reading. My thought was the bus looked pretty well maintained, so it could have been a reliable buy, even at that price.

Problem is, it's still a crap shoot for those of us without experience.

If I were looking I would prioritize rust-free AND lower miles to avoid a roll of the dice that the base rig will need major repairs just as all the money is spent on the conversion.
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Old 02-17-2022, 07:18 PM   #17
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Interesting reading. My thought was the bus looked pretty well maintained, so it could have been a reliable buy, even at that price.

Problem is, it's still a crap shoot for those of us without experience.

If I were looking I would prioritize rust-free AND lower miles to avoid a roll of the dice that the base rig will need major repairs just as all the money is spent on the conversion.

alot depends on a person's usage plan and skillset.. for instance in my case doing mechanical type work is more in my wheelhouse than bodywork so finding a bus that had a crappy transmission but nice body made sense.. I could (and did) swapo the transmission.. paying a shop to do the same job wouldve been $$$.. another person might be really good with sheet metal and / or have a good source of cheap metal. so as long as the frame is solid then rust on the body may not bother them..



another may plan to just use a bus as a weekend warrior that gets a few hundred miles a year so 300k+ or an inderior engine isnt a big deal.


I know of a person who bought really cheap a little shorty that has the "worst of the worst" IH engine in it according to most in the industry.. but he doesnt care because he works for an IH dealer, has full use of the shop and tools after hours and rebuilt and bulletproofed the engine befire it had a chance to blow up.. at a cost less than any of us ever could.



its really tough when someone comes on here and says "is this a good bus" because it may be for me but not you you and vice versa.. we almost need to know what the eventual plans for it are...
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Old 02-24-2022, 02:51 AM   #18
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No. Old worn out bus with high mileage. Should be about $2000.
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Old 02-24-2022, 03:04 PM   #19
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alot depends on a person's usage plan and skillset.. for instance in my case doing mechanical type work is more in my wheelhouse than bodywork so finding a bus that had a crappy transmission but nice body made sense.. I could (and did) swapo the transmission.. paying a shop to do the same job wouldve been $$$.. another person might be really good with sheet metal and / or have a good source of cheap metal. so as long as the frame is solid then rust on the body may not bother them..



another may plan to just use a bus as a weekend warrior that gets a few hundred miles a year so 300k+ or an inderior engine isnt a big deal.


I know of a person who bought really cheap a little shorty that has the "worst of the worst" IH engine in it according to most in the industry.. but he doesnt care because he works for an IH dealer, has full use of the shop and tools after hours and rebuilt and bulletproofed the engine befire it had a chance to blow up.. at a cost less than any of us ever could.



its really tough when someone comes on here and says "is this a good bus" because it may be for me but not you you and vice versa.. we almost need to know what the eventual plans for it are...

I like your thinking. My observation is most newbies do NOT have one of the superpowers you mention, more the exception than the rule. We should start asking about superpowers though.
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Old 02-24-2022, 03:38 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Odyssey View Post
I've been lurking these forums for a while but this is my first post! Hello all!



I found a theoretically rust-free mid-sized bus from 1996 with a diesel V6 DT466 and an Allison MD3060 transmission. The seller claims it's been maintained meticulously by a school district but it still has 300k miles on it.



What are everyone's thoughts on this? Is 300k a deal breaker? Is it a good idea or should we aim for a bus with less miles?


I look forward to hearing your opinions.
$10K is way to much to spend on a bus with 300K miles on it, especially if you are not experienced in mechanical work.

Just our experiance, but, since 2019, Ruth and I have purchased 2 40 foot pushers with less that 150K on them for less than 2K each.

Even if they have service records to show you, will you know what it means? Lots of busses out there, only driven on Sunday, by a little old lady. If ya know what I mean.
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