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Old 09-26-2020, 01:40 PM   #1
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what time of year are the most skoolies available at auction

Im in the market for a chevy/gmc cutaway 4 window short bus. I have seen a few here and there that are physically what i am looking for (body style/size) but none with the engine or transmission that i want (6.0 or 8.1 gas engine/TH400 or TH475 tranny). I havent been looking for long, and i understand that this is a process that takes time. Im just starting to wonder how long its actually going to take to find "the one"... is there a certain time of year when skoolies are more readily available at auction? Ive been keeping up with all of the sites (ritchiebrothers/publicsurplus/govdeals/midwesttransit) and the 4 window cutaways are few and far between. just feeling a little impatient like im sure many of you understand. just hoping to hear something encouraging or helpful about what im going through.. thanks.
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Old 09-26-2020, 02:13 PM   #2
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I don't think there's a real rhyme or reason for this one. They're retired for one of two reasons, mileage, and age. Sometimes you get lucky and get a 20-year-old activity / special ed bus that has only 35,000 miles on it. Other times, you might get a 10-year-old bus with 150,000. Wish I could give you a straight answer, but that's pretty much what it comes down to, and it's very unpredictable unless you know people in the loop at a municipality in question. And cool your jets... ;) Many a member here has pulled the trigger on a bus they didn't research and found after the fact that certain aspects of its setup weren't optimal for their needs. Too low an axle gear, etc.
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Old 09-26-2020, 02:52 PM   #3
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It can vary wildly, but auctions are usually slower in the wintertime and mid summer.



If Covid continues to drag on you may see more private contractors go belly up and unload their fleets. There was already that big one on Long Island NY that auctioned off a couple hundred newer shorties and some full size buses.



4 window cutaways are pretty rare, they didn't sell a ton since that size range is usually <15 pax at which point a passenger van is cheaper to buy for most fleets.
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Old 09-26-2020, 10:41 PM   #4
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I am looking for the same, but 8.1L only, if anyone comes across any
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Old 09-27-2020, 01:04 AM   #5
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I would advise looking for E450 based shuttle bus, there are plenty in California compared to School buses, many have the Ford V10 gas motors. Not a lot of Chevy versions made.
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:20 AM   #6
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I talked to the head cheese at the bus barn were my bus came from. He said they are holding on to their older buses because of the insane cost of maintenance of the newer DEF EGR rigs. In fact he just paid a dealer to rebuild an engine in one of their 2004's. Also he said seating capacity plays a big role in when buses get retired. Only reason my rig got retired was seating capacity he said it cost the same to keep a 60 pass bus on the road as it does a 90 pass. Mines a 40ft and only rated for 60 something. Also any new rigs they buy will be gas powered. with the PSI engines.
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:37 AM   #7
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Great news for future decades!
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Old 09-28-2020, 04:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victoreagrace23 View Post
Im in the market for a chevy/gmc cutaway 4 window short bus. I have seen a few here and there that are physically what i am looking for (body style/size) but none with the engine or transmission that i want (6.0 or 8.1 gas engine/TH400 or TH475 tranny).
I can't speak at all to the type of bus you're looking for, but I don't think you will find a 6.0 or 8.1 anywhere in the world with a TH400 or TH475 attached to it. One-off custom builds excluded. Those engines and transmissions are from two very different eras.
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:54 PM   #9
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I was going to say the same thing... I have advised OP of year ranges that certain transmissions and power packages were offered, but I'm afraid the overlap between years on most is a bit hard to follow. The TH00/TH475s likely went out of production when the 4L80E/4L85E debuted. Chances are a 4L85E or 6L90 is the best you can hope for with an 8.1 / 6.0 gas.... The 6.0 will be much more common.
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Old 09-28-2020, 06:13 PM   #10
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a 4L85E or 6L90 is the best you can hope for with an 8.1
Between the two, which would be better for going cross-country - including over the Rockies - hauling a 14K gross trailer?
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Old 09-28-2020, 06:29 PM   #11
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Between the two, which would be better for going cross-country - including over the Rockies - hauling a 14K gross trailer?
4L85E with the 8.1L hands down. It will have a bit more of a drinking problem, but when you have to work the 6.0L that hard, it will have a drinking problem along with a fatigue problem.
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Old 09-28-2020, 09:28 PM   #12
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4L85E with the 8.1L hands down. It will have a bit more of a drinking problem, but when you have to work the 6.0L that hard, it will have a drinking problem along with a fatigue problem.
63 in a 65-70, 58 in a 60-65 will help with the drinking problem.
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Old 09-29-2020, 12:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
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4L85E with the 8.1L hands down. It will have a bit more of a drinking problem
Thanks and yes
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
63 in a 65-70, 58 in a 60-65 will help with the drinking problem.
Sorry, no idea even what those numbers' are units of?
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Old 09-29-2020, 12:21 PM   #14
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Sorry, no idea even what those numbers' are units of?
MPH. He's saying go X speed in a Y-Z range speed limit zone.
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Old 09-29-2020, 01:12 PM   #15
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Aha yes, not planning on ever being in a hurry
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Old 09-29-2020, 03:11 PM   #16
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Do you know what that auction house is called?
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Old 10-03-2020, 06:38 PM   #17
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You might want to check Ebay there is a big reseller who is currently flooding the sight with buses of all sizes and prices. He has what must be a hundred busses on now.
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Old 10-03-2020, 06:42 PM   #18
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Went back to check. spotted 3 on first page bidding starts at $500. Don Brown bus sales has a website.
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Old 10-04-2020, 10:11 AM   #19
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I have access to diesels

Right now I have access to recently retired baby diesels. I’ll check tomorrow to see if there are any gasoline powered busses in the lot. The baby busses are very hard to come by. The school districts keep them as long as possible due to the high cost of purchasing them new. Often they opt for replacing them with full size busses because they can get higher seating capacity for the same cost or even less. I know a lot of folks refer to them as short busses. I used to drive for a district in metro Detroit and we always called them baby busses. I own one now.
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