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MNbusboy 07-11-2021 11:51 AM

Quick opinions
 
Hey guys!!

There's a bus auction near me closing today, and I'm watching a few buses. They are from MN and may have some rust, but I see this as a budget intro bus and we won't be putting much $$ into the purchase or build. If everything goes well we will take what we learn and start planning our dream bus. Could I get a short opinion on these buses, and which (if any) you would buy sight unseen for -$2000? There's no info posted on transmissions or gearing, just engine.

2004 Freightliner 77 passenger (x2)
200k & 150k miles. Cat 3126 engine
I know 2004 was a breaking year for emissions equipment. Which side of that break would these be on?

2001 Bluebird 71 passenger
190k miles Cat 3126 engine

2001 American 77 passenger
166k+ miles International T444E

1997 International 77 passenger
96k miles International T444E

2002 Bluebird 65 passenger (x2)
130k miles GM Gas V8 8.1L


So far the T444Es are my front runners, because I know they are a well regarded engine. I have read that Cats are more questionable, but I know some respected forum members vouch for the 3126. The gassers are the wild card. I would certainly consider them, but not as much has been posted about big gas buses, so I don't know how reliable they are. My wife would like gas just because she thinks the noise will be less and no diesel smell.

Unfortunately this week has been crazy and I didn't get a chance to go see them. The listing says they all run, disclosed a couple issues, and said other buses in the auction do not run or require new batteries, so they seem forthcoming. Basically it's going to come down to if they close cheap enough to gamble. I'm not super mechanically inclined, and know nothing about bus mechanics besides what's been written on this forum, so I will be taking it for a post purchase inspection.

cadillackid 07-11-2021 12:03 PM

I want that GMC 8.1 where can i go to find it?

cadillackid 07-11-2021 12:06 PM

the 3126 technically ended in 03 but some 04 busses got them.. the C7 is the first emission engine and it was OK but l;ike others the first year or 2 could be dicey... those 04 CATs have a Very high chance of being paired to allison 2000 series transmissions where the older you get the higher chance of ending up with an AT545 .. many of the 444E's from 01 still had AT545s..(the A2000 was available by then) the 97 almost surely will unless you are lucky and the schools bought MD3060 or MT643 for them.

MNbusboy 07-11-2021 12:22 PM

https://www.k-bid.com/auction/38755

The buses I am looking at are:

2004 Freightliners: Lots #7 & 12
2001 Bluebird: Lot #5
2001 American: Lot #19
1997 International: Lot #16
2002 Bluebird gassers: Lots #13 & 15

o1marc 07-11-2021 12:24 PM

You'll need to know what model trans is in each one.

cadillackid 07-11-2021 01:08 PM

the 04s appear to be AD2000's the 01 Cat-3126 is hard to tell but almost looks like its a circle D then D 2 1 (the VIN is there you can look it up in bluebird vantage)which would be an AD2000, the Gassers looks like 545's I dont know of them ever putting 643s behind the gas motors.. one of the gassers looks rough.. the switch panel is missing parts and the horn button is missing.. the other looks nice.


the amtran is ahrd to tell but almost looks like a D-4-2-1 on that shifter which would be an AD2000, i like the 01 444E better than the old 3-box early 97




the 97 is torn apart and looks like missing a hatch thats a good recipe for Rust.

o1marc 07-11-2021 01:55 PM

I don't think Blue Bird made AmTrans. The few things Chris mentioned is probably why it's sitting at $425. Might be worth looking into.

Jolly Roger bus 223 07-11-2021 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cadillackid (Post 445526)
the 04s appear to be AD2000's the 01 Cat-3126 is hard to tell but almost looks like its a circle D then D 2 1 (the VIN is there you can look it up in bluebird vantage)which would be an AD2000, the Gassers looks like 545's I dont know of them ever putting 643s behind the gas motors.. one of the gassers looks rough.. the switch panel is missing parts and the horn button is missing.. the other looks nice.


the amtran is ahrd to tell but almost looks like a D-4-2-1 on that shifter which would be an AD2000, i like the 01 444E better than the old 3-box early 97




the 97 is torn apart and looks like missing a hatch thats a good recipe for Rust.

with the gassers.
they are good motors but only offered for six years and only offered with the
4l85e four speed transmission the motor has plenty of low end torque and tapers off around 4000 rpm but can redline at 5000 but only has 500 pounds of torque on top end.
i would still go for the gasser.

cadillackid 07-11-2021 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 (Post 445548)
with the gassers.
they are good motors but only offered for six years and only offered with the
4l85e four speed transmission the motor has plenty of low end torque and tapers off around 4000 rpm but can redline at 5000 but only has 500 pounds of torque on top end.
i would still go for the gasser.


the 8.1 or the 454s? a lot of the 8.1 engines got allison 1000 transmissions later and earlier everything ive seen was always a 545 (I dont remember any SAE2 trans being mated to a 454 or 8.1, they were to the 366(MT643)..


I never knew the yran 4L85E's in full size busses.. I thought only in van chassis.. this is cool stuff as ive done some work on the 4L80E transmissions to harden them up..

cadillackid 07-11-2021 04:35 PM

These auctions may be a moot point anyway, the fine print doesn’t make me too happy.. , one there’s potentially a lot of fees, secondly it looks like you need to be a commercial entity with a DOT number to drive them off the lot, they want you to register it online after getting a winning notification and then it says dot number required for registration and the auction house issues you a temporary tag. Since these are ending in a Sunday there’s no way to call to confirm that but as a private bidder doesn’t sound too warm n fuzzy

MNbusboy 07-11-2021 08:01 PM

I talked to the lady and she confirmed a DOT number is required over 15k lbs. I wonder how long it would take to get a DOT number...
So far the prices are still under $1000 with the clock running pretty low...

musigenesis 07-11-2021 08:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MNbusboy (Post 445592)
I talked to the lady and she confirmed a DOT number is required over 15k lbs. I wonder how long it would take to get a DOT number...
So far the prices are still under $1000 with the clock running pretty low...

Maybe they'll stay low. One nice thing about rusty PsOS is that nobody wants them ...

cadillackid 07-11-2021 08:17 PM

a DOT number is not a thing to be taken lightly. it is essentially your ID number to operate commercial vehicles commercially, you dont get a DOT number unless you are going to operate commercially..


apparently MN is different than ohio. here you dont need a DOT number unless you are operating commercially..



my guess is that auctioneer does this to weed out individuals purposely.. my guess is they had issues with individuals not paying so they weed them out,



you could always plead your case that you are going to operate non commercial (aka Farm) and therefore dont have a DOT number (most states dont require DOT numbers for family farm operated vehicles)..


the only other way would be to tell them you are going to have the vehicle towed out and not register it (they may not allow that).. and then you would actually have to hire a tow company to tow it back someplace.. if from out of town to your hotel..



I decided not to bid.. theres enough bl;uebird gassers out there with less "hair" on them that ill find a different one.

MNbusboy 07-12-2021 07:42 AM

Well I did a thing...

The auction was closing, the buses were still so cheap, and as I watched them close this one looked so pretty...

I thought, I will just bid once, I'm sure I won't win. For $750, what's the worst that could happen?

Oh my gawd, I bought a bus. $1200 after fees and taxes. The big catch is the stupid DOT registration. I know it's not required, I can point to the exact CFR section, Title 49 Section 390.3(f)(3). Whether I can convince the auction company to let me get it without the DOT number is another story. I can also register for a DOT number, then immediately send the form to terminate it, but hopefully I can avoid the hassle altogether. I also shouldn't need a CDL, but I am picking it up (hopefully) with my CDL endorsed cousin. Once it's titled as an RV the CDL won't be needed, but if they register it as non-commercial with air brakes it might be.

My wife is going to kill me...

https://www.k-bid.com/auction/38755/item/12

cadillackid 07-12-2021 07:58 AM

They all went cheap I almost grabbed up that 02 gasser but really the dot number deal and the fact I’d have to book a last minute flight to get it.. oh wait I told myself I wouldn’t buy another without A/C and the fact I do have 4 busses already lolol

MNbusboy 07-12-2021 09:04 AM

I have never bought a bus out of state (or at all). If you had purchased a bus in MN that was going to be titled, plated, and taxed in OH, would you have to pay all the fees and taxes listed by the auction site? I'm hoping they will let me register it as a Motorhome in Vermont right off the bat, instead of a MN Non-commercial vehicle. That would get me around the CDL requirements in MN and hopefully clarify the DOT number issue.

WIbluebird 07-12-2021 10:36 AM

The few Minnesota buses I have looked at in person and all the ones I've seen online are so unbelievably rusty that I have had no interest in getting one. They are somehow worse than Wisconsin buses and that's saying something! :rolleyes:

Lots of low headroom conventionals, although I realize some people like the idea of the 8.1 gas/Allison 1000 combination.

MNbusboy 07-13-2021 08:56 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I picked up my bus today, waiting constantly for the inevitable disaster of my luck to show...

But somehow everything went great!! The bus was actually owned and operated by the site they were located at, and they had run it on a route up until June with regular maintenance. They said some of the other buses were brought in, and some had been sitting for up to a year. It needed a jump, but then started right up and every system checked out!! We drove it 5 miles to a mechanic and it drove beautifully!! They will do a DOT and mechanical inspection, but so far it looks like a got a solid bus for $1250 AFTER taxes and fees!!

I didn't have much time today for playing or taking photos, but I bought the first item for the bus and got a quick photo!! I will start a build threat down the road!!

o1marc 07-13-2021 09:13 PM

You stole that thing. :thumb:
Glad to see there are still inexpensive buses to be had. Hope for those looking at $3K buses with $10k asking prices.

EastCoastCB 07-13-2021 10:08 PM

Way to go! CONGRATS


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