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Old 02-18-2020, 06:59 PM   #1
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Update on potential bus

So I mentioned last month about a thomas 2000 RE 32 foot bus with cat3126 230hp and MD3060 tranny with about 130k Miles. Good tires and no rust. So the gauges have broken glass from vandalism and I can get a set fir around $700 which are upgrades and most importantly has a 66 ceiling which is a must for me at 61. Asking $7900 but will take 6k cash. Been looking fir 2 months now daily from FL to AL and this is the only one fitting this criteria. It is a church bus and some folks on this forum may say the price is too high but it has some nice features mentioned to pay up on the 6k price. I would like your advice on this guys. Thanks again
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:20 PM   #2
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It certainly has a nice drive train.

The 3126 has some known issues that can be addressed fairly easily. Google "bulletproofing your 3126" and you will find a video that speaks to it.

Parts and service can be a bit more expensive compared to Cummins and Navistar. I looked at a bus with the 3126 and found that there is nobody in the county where I live that will work on a CAT while there are three shops that will work on my Cummins. The nearest independent shop that would work on the CAT is around 35 miles away. The nearest CAT shop is around 70 miles away.

My decision to pass on the CAT powered bus was not because I don't like CAT. They are simply not well supported where I live.

On the price, if you shop nthe auctions you can definitely get a bus for quite a bit less. The bus you are looking at sounds like an awesome bus but, personally, I would not pay over $6000 and it would have to be near perfect at that price.

For comparison: I spent 18 months checking the auction sites daily and bid on more than a dozen before I bid on my A3RE with 8.3 Cummins, MD-3060 and 180k miles. I was successful with a $3450 bid.

Good luck.
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:23 PM   #3
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The price seems a bit on the high side but the bottom line is how you feel about it. If it checks all or most of the boxes on your list then buy it. Being a church bus...does that mean it's not school bus yellow? If so, that saves time and money.
Maybe offer the church $2500 for the bus along with a $3500.00 tax deductible donation.
That could save some money when you register it...paying tax on $2500 beats the taxes on 6K every time. (keep in mind that I am not a lawyer or a tax professional!)
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
It certainly has a nice drive train.

The 3126 has some known issues that can be addressed fairly easily. Google "bulletproofing your 3126" and you will find a video that speaks to it.

Parts and service can be a bit more expensive compared to Cummins and Navistar. I looked at a bus with the 3126 and found that there is nobody in the county where I live that will work on a CAT while there are three shops that will work on my Cummins. The nearest independent shop that would work on the CAT is around 35 miles away. The nearest CAT shop is around 70 miles away.

My decision to pass on the CAT powered bus was not because I don't like CAT. They are simply not well supported where I live.

On the price, if you shop nthe auctions you can definitely get a bus for quite a bit less. The bus you are looking at sounds like an awesome bus but, personally, I would not pay over $6000 and it would have to be near perfect at that price.

For comparison: I spent 18 months checking the auction sites daily and bid on more than a dozen before I bid on my A3RE with 8.3 Cummins, MD-3060 and 180k miles. I was successful with a $3450 bid.

Good luck.
Parts are NOT more expensive than Navistar. I can't comment on Cummins as I've not had any of those myself. This Cat is WAY easier and cheaper to run than anything I've owned previously.
"bulletproofing" isn't like what's involved in a 6.0 or anything. Its a $130 oil line upgrade and an additional spin on filter.
I'd much rather buy an auction bus than a six thousand dollar church bus, though. And I'd LOVE to have one with an 8.3!
Anywhere that works on any diesels here works on Cats. Guess FL and the southeast are better off in that regard than the PNW?
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:51 PM   #5
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I like the way you think.
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Old 02-18-2020, 09:59 PM   #6
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The oil line is the solid tube version as I checked it. My dilemma is I Don’t want anything over 35’ so an 8.3 Cummins is unlikely. Thomas and freightliner seems to use cats while international uses DT466. If I could find a high top with DT466e in the <36’ range, I am golden. The church bus does not have the external signs and gadgets like stop sign swings and it is not yellow, so head start on conversion and a 230hp cat sounds like a bonus over the base version.
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:09 PM   #7
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A side note observation is FLorida buses unfortunately use the AT 545 in most cases as it does the job of a school bus on flat roads which as I have learned from you experienced folks; does not hold up on long distance mountain trips. So I have to hunt for that diamond in the rough ?
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Parts are NOT more expensive than Navistar. I can't comment on Cummins as I've not had any of those myself. This Cat is WAY easier and cheaper to run than anything I've owned previously.
"bulletproofing" isn't like what's involved in a 6.0 or anything. Its a $130 oil line upgrade and an additional spin on filter.
I'd much rather buy an auction bus than a six thousand dollar church bus, though. And I'd LOVE to have one with an 8.3!
Anywhere that works on any diesels here works on Cats. Guess FL and the southeast are better off in that regard than the PNW?
If I were on the West side I could swing a dead cat and probably hit 4-5 CAT shops. We are a bit "rural" here. We have over 4,000 people in the county and about 2,000 here in Dayton. We are not totally backwards though. We do have one stoplight in the county.

Watch the video I recommend. The "bulletproofing" is very simple but should not be ignored.

I don't know about Florida but up here the folks that I know that have run CATs on and off road complain about how they were more expensive to maintain than their Cummins or Navistar. Things do vary a bit regionally. When I was in Texas, John Deere dominated the ag market. Up here they are a rarity.

I think that the 3126 can be a fine powerplant with the appropriate upgrades and maintenance. If I live in a more urban area or was traveling the interstates I would be comfortable with a CAT. Just not here

How old are the tires on the bus?
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:24 AM   #9
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Bus tires are from July 2016. Good treads.
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:12 PM   #10
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Bus tires are from July 2016. Good treads.
Good deal.

That adds some value. Every bus that I have purchased needed at least some of tires replaced.
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