Sunday, September 16, 2007

Found a Used School Bus For Sale? What You Should Know...

There are thousands of Used School Buses For Sale but you still need to use your due diligence when checking it out.

A visual checkover is the first thing to do when looking the bus over but internal information can help you make a more confident decision.

Looking at the past life of a School Bus will tell you the whole story and most of them will have a thorough record starting from the first day it turned a wheel.

What's the mileage? 2-300,000 KM is an average [We've had buses run over 400,000 km but that isn't a huge factor depending on the running gear and PM program.]

  1. Was it on a Preventitive Maintenance Program from new?

  2. Who owned it previously? A Private or Government facility? [Government preferred]

  3. Is there a log book or maintenance records? [Any signs of a lemon?]

  4. Is it Gas or Diesel? [Depending on the size of bus Choose Diesel]

  5. Make and model? [I would choose a THOMAS over anything else]

  6. Engine make and model? [Cummins C & Intn'l DT 466 very reliable!] Gas engines are usually big block GM on smaller units. Ok for light duty...

  7. Make & Model of Transmission? Allison MT 643 & 3000 series electronic very good performers IF well maintained from new! Manual transmission OK, depends on who is driving. [auto trans. allows more focus on driving instead of shifting] also depends on the type of run, it wouldn't matter if you live on the prairies with 2 hour straight stretches.

  8. Choose Budd wheels because of the strength and reliability, Dayton [spoked design] are acceptable and handy for changing tires yourself but I personally don't like the wedge design on them.

  9. Generally when a Used School Bus comes up for sale it's maximized the accepted life expectancy according to Dep't Of Transportation Criteria. The one area that needs to be closely looked at is the overall condition of the BODY. Check the body crossmembers closely for rust. If you're transporting a group, the bus needs to be passed by an inspector [depending on D.O.T rules in your state or province]

That's the basics when looking at a Used School Bus For Sale. If you are not a Mechanic I strongly suggest taking it to a good shop that works on medium duty vehicles on a regular basis and get it evaluated.


Jim Beal said...

I love your blog!

Rachel said...

I'm in the market for a school bus. I want to use it for a television show and it will be driven a lot. What kind of gas mileage should I expect from a school bus? It would most likely be a pretty used bus. Any recommendations?

John Whelan said...

The older the bus the more of a chance you will be able to find a small block gas engine, like a 350 cu. in. engine found in older GMC school buses. The newer gas powered school buses come with big blocks like a 366 or 427 cu. in. engines found in GMC/Bluebird models. You probably won't get more than 12 mpg with a gas engine and this is a conservative figure. If you are looking for a diesel engine then I recommend the International DT466 engine. The mileage will run around 8-10 mpg depending on the age and condition of the engine. If you find a bus you are interested in take it to a shop and get it inspected by a certified mechanic, they can tell you more information in detail.

darryl Jones said...

Thanks for all this info, more should think to share their wisdom.
I have purchased a 1983 GMC 6000 Thomas, w/ reportedly a 396 big block. Previous owner warned bus has issue w/ carburetor not responding to pedal, will only idle for period, then engage properly. Being only mechanically inclined, not trained, I surmise the governor system must be malfunctioning. Could you direct me to information for removing and/or bypassing this system?
Thanks again

Anonymous said...

the best way to fix a govenor problem is to put a manual cable driven cable out of a utility truck with a edelbrock or holly 600 cfm carburator.

daralynn said...

the carburators with govenors are for semis and busses u can use a alternative carb u just need to get a bypass for the linkage.

John Whelan said...

I would get the carb serviced and a repair kit installed. It sounds like your accelerator pump is mal-functioning [comes with the kit] and the idle circuit might be blocked or the mixture and idle needs setting. An overhaul would clean out all the ports [parts are dipped in a carb cleaner] and the working parts would be replaced. The governor can be easily disabled [as long as you know that the rpm will be come unlimited and warrants having a tach to monitor rpms]

derps said...

I love the info. What would you say it the average life expectancy in terms of miliege for the following engines. Or another way to say it is when do people need to replace the engine, anything general would help thanks.

Int/Ford IDI 7.3L
Int T444E/Ford 7.3L
Int DT466
Cummins 5.9L/6B
Cummins 5.9L/ISB
Cummins 8.3L/6C
GM 6.5L
CAT 3208
CAT 3126

autobodypart8 said...

The online marketplace for cars and trucks is huge and confusing, you would generally have to have one search to find a place to sell your car, another search to purchase your car, and yet another to find parts and supplies or maintenance/repair information. Now it's all combined in one, whether it's used parts and great blog i love this.
Mini Cooper auto parts

Anonymous said...

Hi There,

we are looking at selling a 2007 GM Blubird Diesel School bus. It has approx 80,000km on it. It automatic, been serviced every 3 months, is in great working condition and body condition. We're the only owners, and we bought it new for $60,000. Its been used to transport kids to schools in our community from a Before and After School program. Hoping someone may be able to give us a guesstimate as to a reasonable selling price. Thanks in advance for any info! Really appreciated!