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Old 02-02-2018, 03:02 PM   #1
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Should I go to west coast to get a bus? NE =Rust!

Hi! Wondering what you all think about trying to buy a bus on the other side of the country? I'm from Boston and have looked at some buses locally but the big issue here is: Rust!! If I'm going to do all the work to convert the bus I want it to last - I'd happily take a one way flight to CA or Washington or elsewhere and drive the bus back, but how would I shop for it?? Has anyone done this? I'm sure some of you have, but how did you find the bus without lots of flights?
Anyone on the west coast up for checking out a bus?
Thanks in advance for the advice!
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:04 PM   #2
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im not in the west coast, but you could always search the auctions or other online places and if you find one, try and find a local mechanic shop that will do an on site inspection for you. much cheaper than a plane flight to look at them
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:55 PM   #3
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Being on the west coast does not automatically make us close to a bus you find out here. Someone will be close to the auction, but you'll have to convince them to look when you find something you actually want. Do not send someone to look at 20 buses, because that sucks. Bear in mind that there are people that come onto this forum and ask for evaluations of buses without ever actually intending to buy a bus. When you find ONE that you're really serious about you may be able to get someone to lay hands on it and take some pics. Cross that bridge when you come to it.

I'm about 40 miles from the bus barn in Salem Oregon. No buses there right now. Seattle is 5 or 6 hours one way, so it's highly unlikely you'd talk me into making that trip. Others live in or near Seattle.

You do realize the west coast is longer than the east coast, don't you? I'll admit, my geography knowledge on the east coast is about as weak as it could get. You buy a bus out here and you may even get picked up at the airport.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:00 PM   #4
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Remember to factor the cost of getting the bus home into the purchase price.

For a 2500-mile journey you have the airfare and possibly cab-fare to get to the bus, probably at least one night in a hotel and $650 in diesel to drive it home.

... and that's if it all goes smoothly.

I'd do it, but it pays to be prepared.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:20 PM   #5
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It's like people say. It costs nearly $1,000 to drive across the country. That's worth it for a rust free bus. You'd put $1,000 worth of labor into fixing a rusty bus.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:23 PM   #6
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You do realize the west coast is longer than the east coast, don't you? I'll admit, my geography knowledge on the east coast is about as weak as it could get.
Real weak, the east coast is almost 50% longer than the west coast. Eastport, Me to Homestead, Fla is 1872 mile. Seattle to San Diego is only 1255 miles.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:26 PM   #7
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I'm about 40 miles from the bus barn in Salem Oregon. No buses there right now.
I wish I had known you when I bought my bus. It came from the yard in Salem.

I bought it site unseen. Drove a rental car 300 miles down and picked the bus up. I drove the bus a few miles and checked it out as best as I could before I turned in the rental car and hit the road.

I have not found a bit of rust other than very light surface rust on the frame in a few places.

OP: If you factor in the cost and time to move the bus and the numbers work for you then go for it.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:29 PM   #8
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It's like people say. It costs nearly $1,000 to drive across the country. That's worth it for a rust free bus. You'd put $1,000 worth of labor into fixing a rusty bus.
at least that.
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:13 PM   #9
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I have no problem helping anyone get to the bus barn in my area. I can pick someone up at the Portland airport and an hour later you'll be in Salem at the bus barn. In my experience the bus barn does not provide temp tags but the DMV is just on the other side of the freeway from the bus barn. I had no plates or tags, but simply drove to the DMV because buses are invisible.

Coincidentally, I also bought sight unseen when I live 40 miles away from the auction. I found this bus on the auction with only 40 minutes remaining. It takes 40 minutes to drive to town. I enlarged the photos as much as possible to examine seams for rust and other damage. Mechanically I took their word for how it ran. It was either this or go to AZ for this model. People were actively bidding on this bus so I figured they had looked at the bus extensively. It was a risk.
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
I'm about 40 miles from the bus barn in Salem Oregon. No buses there right now. Seattle is 5 or 6 hours one way, so it's highly unlikely you'd talk me into making that trip. Others live in or near Seattle.


Is that the Salem-Kaiser school district? That is where I got my bus also! I called and talked with the lead mechanic there before bidding. The bus was exactly as he represented it. They even did a service on it right before I picked it up. Had almost a full tank of fuel ⛽️!
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Old 02-02-2018, 07:51 PM   #11
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Hi All! Robin - it was actually your post from earlier the one with a 'tease for the east coast people' with no rust that got me thinking about it! That seemed like a great bus, but it is always hard to tell from the pics and I also don't know a lot about the best mechanical setup (but have been learning a lot in obsessively reading this forum!), but I've seen you post a lot, so if you think its a good deal I'm all in!
Anyways, it sounds like most people so far think it is worth it to try to do it if I can figure out the logistics.
Thanks for the advice!
(oh, and yes I wouldn't ask anyone to go outside of the city they live in to check something out - even that is asking a whole lot!)
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Asetechrail View Post
Is that the Salem-Kaiser school district? That is where I got my bus also! I called and talked with the lead mechanic there before bidding. The bus was exactly as he represented it. They even did a service on it right before I picked it up. Had almost a full tank of fuel ⛽️!
That's the one, on Hawthorne right by I-5. That mechanic came and talked to me when I picked up this bus too. Turns out he also started out as a 63H army diesel mechanic like myself. Small world. He was a little shocked that I hadn't been in to look at this bus before buying it. Nice guy, and yes the buses are as listed.
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:13 PM   #13
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I bought my bus there too, through the surplus auction. Sight unseen. Lots of reviewing all specs listed. Last minute decision to go over my planned max bid, but only by $20. I live in Washington.
200 hundred mile drive home on a rainy freeway I had never driven on before. The bus is great. I went to my local licensing office and purchased a 3 day permit and took it with me to Oregon. Just keep looking, we all find something that works for us.
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matengi9 View Post
Hi! Wondering what you all think about trying to buy a bus on the other side of the country? I'm from Boston and have looked at some buses locally but the big issue here is: Rust!! If I'm going to do all the work to convert the bus I want it to last - I'd happily take a one way flight to CA or Washington or elsewhere and drive the bus back, but how would I shop for it?? Has anyone done this? I'm sure some of you have, but how did you find the bus without lots of flights?
Anyone on the west coast up for checking out a bus?
Thanks in advance for the advice!
Matengi,

Read the first several pages of my thread, "Heavy Fuel". I've been in the government surplus business since '99. I have bought from all over the country. Every time I go to buy a vehicle I do several things that are outlined in the beginning of that thread.

Just a thought to help you out.

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Old 02-03-2018, 12:39 AM   #15
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I bought my bus there too, through the surplus auction. Sight unseen. Lots of reviewing all specs listed. Last minute decision to go over my planned max bid, but only by $20. I live in Washington.
200 hundred mile drive home on a rainy freeway I had never driven on before. The bus is great. I went to my local licensing office and purchased a 3 day permit and took it with me to Oregon. Just keep looking, we all find something that works for us.
Welcome.

You are supposed to get those travel permits from the state you are exporting from

Doesn't matter, you have already discovered that school buses are invisible to law-enforcement.
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Old 02-03-2018, 01:03 AM   #16
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I checked with both States first. Both said I could get the permit from either State.
I was happy to have it with me.
My son and daughter-in-law were already giving up the day to drive me to get the bus. We didn't want to also spend time finding the Oregon licensing location.

That is something to think about for Skoolie folks for sure!
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Old 02-03-2018, 01:40 AM   #17
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peach Camp View Post
I checked with both States first. Both said I could get the permit from either State.
I was happy to have it with me.
My son and daughter-in-law were already giving up the day to drive me to get the bus. We didn't want to also spend time finding the Oregon licensing location.

That is something to think about for Skoolie folks for sure!
I got a temp tag from Washington when picking my bus up from Oregon. They are good in both states.
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Old 02-03-2018, 04:37 PM   #18
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I got a temp tag from Washington when picking my bus up from Oregon. They are good in both states.
I did the same.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:25 AM   #19
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Ok, before you decide to buy your bus at auction, talk to the guys at AAA Bus Sales in Phoenix, AZ.

AAABUSSALES.COM - Home

They are incredibly nice and extremely intelligent about buses. The owner and his partner are in the process of converting their own buses and they are very knowledgeable about bus conversions in general. They are also long time experienced bus mechanics, so you can be assured that the bus will run well.

I picked up my 2002 International from them (for under $5000, btw) and there is not a spot of rust on this thing. Literally. I spent two days trying to find any rust and it was a hopeless mission.

I drove my bus home the day after I bought it. I live in Southern California. The bus drove beautifully.

You want to buy a bus from a desert area. You want to buy a bus from these guys.

There are very competitive in their pricing and they are always available via phone or email if I run into a problem or have silly questions.

I can't recommend them more.
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:43 PM   #20
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Ok, before you decide to buy your bus at auction, talk to the guys at AAA Bus Sales in Phoenix, AZ.

AAABUSSALES.COM - Home

They are incredibly nice and extremely intelligent about buses. The owner and his partner are in the process of converting their own buses and they are very knowledgeable about bus conversions in general. They are also long time experienced bus mechanics, so you can be assured that the bus will run well.

I picked up my 2002 International from them (for under $5000, btw) and there is not a spot of rust on this thing. Literally. I spent two days trying to find any rust and it was a hopeless mission.

I drove my bus home the day after I bought it. I live in Southern California. The bus drove beautifully.

You want to buy a bus from a desert area. You want to buy a bus from these guys.

There are very competitive in their pricing and they are always available via phone or email if I run into a problem or have silly questions.

I can't recommend them more.
Thanks for the recommendation! I called them today. The guy there was helpful. My only question is about the prices. Do people think this is a decent price? (it seems kind of high to me) 1999 Blue Bird TC2000 pusher 8.3 Cummins, Alison auto with 203,000 mi for $7,000?
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