Page 1 of 6 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 79

Thread: Should I buy a mini-bus? Am I out of my mind?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
    Posts
    1,091

    Should I buy a mini-bus? Am I out of my mind?

    I'll preface this by saying that I know this is a pretty odd question, but I figured that there are a lot of wise people on this forum who might have experience with this type of thing, or advice.

    I bid a couple of weeks ago on a bus in an online auction. I was the back bidder, and today the winner's time to pay ran out, and I received an email from the company saying that I have till Friday to decide if I want to buy the bus for my max bid of $1500 or pass on it. I'll put in a link to the bus in question:
    https://www.auctionsinternational.co...ird-bus-167996

    I'd have to have it towed here, and then figure out the fuel leak that is mentioned. I have called my car insurance company and they don't seem sure, but I got a very approximate quote of $500 or so for a year, with the proviso that it might be a lot more than that, depending. Tomorrow I will email the insurance agent who is covering the house I am working on. She seems very knowledgable and eventually I will be switching all my insurance to her company, probably.

    The reasons to buy this bus are:
    1. I have been looking for a while for a cargo van or similar to use this spring and summer while I am working on the house, 120 miles away, and vehicle prices are high.
    II. If I can fix the leak reasonably and insure it reasonably and if it doesn't break down I might be able to sell it for enough to cover some or all of the costs.
    C. It would be handy to own a vehicle to haul building materials and to use when moving the shop and household goods. I have a Subaru and a 5x8 trailer now.

    Reasons not to buy are:
    A. It may be a money pit and/or break down and leave me in the lurch somewhere in the howling wilderness.
    2. With all the other moving parts in my life now another project/complexity is not really what I need.
    III. If I rent a van a few times to move what I need to it will cost $100 a day plus fuel and tax, and if it breaks down it will be somebody else's problem.

    I will be grateful for any words of wisdom
    Last edited by Zachary Hoyt; 01-25-2022 at 7:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    60,566
    Poor condition inside and out and a fuel leak. 168+K miles. Not really set up well for getting stuff in and out because the rear door is narrow. I think you can see that for me, it would be a "no". I'll stick with my own Subaru Ascent and 5x8 trailer.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Upland CA
    Posts
    5,121
    Diesel or gas? If it is gas, it's just a big Chevy pickup, and fairly common to fix most problems. Diesel is more expensive to work on.

    Pro...It's already stripped for work inside.

    Con...Unknown fuel leak fixit cost.

    Any chance you can get a mechanic to look at it by Friday? Or contact the other bidder to see why he bailed?
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
    Posts
    1,091
    Thank you both very much for your advice. The Subaru and trailer are great, but I'm going to need to move a lot of 12-16 foot boards when workshop building time comes and while I've carried a few at a time on the roof rack it's not practical for a larger amount.

    It's a gas 6.0 which is supposed to be fairly reliable from what I have read, though not great fuel economy. I'll try calling the seller's contact number tomorrow and see if they can tell me anything about the fuel leak. I don't know who the other bidder is, I just see their anonymous handle. I would guess they ran out of money, but they could have been concerned by something they saw instead.

  5. #5
    When I read the title of your post, I thought it was an old Volkswagen bus. I would have grabbed that in a heartbeat for $1,500.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,204
    I do not think it has air brakes? Fuel leak seems odd on a fuel injected vehicle. I would think about buying a similar size trailer or even cutting off the nose and making it into a trailer.
    Fuel leak I would guess a bad hose or something in the tank vent system. Leaky o-ring on injector pipe connections are common on some makes.
    Bill D

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    4,445
    12-16’ boards probably won’t fit well in that mini-bus, either—I bet you only have about 10’ behind the front doors. For me, the potential problems would be that it has spent 15 years in the snow belt, so the underside is going to be pretty rusty—that means you’re likely coming up on suspension repairs, and once you get heavier than a 1/2-ton pickup, those repairs get expensive. Just the parts are a lot more, and sometimes the tools needed are beyond what even home mechanics often have.

    I’d consider delivery for whatever you can’t already haul.
    Last edited by Jason Roehl; 01-26-2022 at 5:08 AM.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    1,103
    I'd pass. It has too many issues and won't do the job well. You can save time and frustration by renting a van or arranging to have the bigger items delivered when the time comes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
    Posts
    14,316
    I would seriously consider buying the bus.
    The gas line leak should be an easy fix.
    The back door looks like it is more then four feet tall so plywood sheets should slide right in and stack/store against the interior wall.
    Its long enough to make hauling 16 foot boards easy.
    Your in New York, most New Yorker's are not concerned with rust, in fact Winter Rats as they call them are commonplace.
    I would park the bus at the jobsite, purchase/haul materials locally and drive my car back and forth to the job.
    It should be pretty handy as a kind of workshop and storage facility at some point.

    My 2 cents.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
    Posts
    1,091
    Thank you all very much for your help. I think you're right, it will be wiser to just rent when needed. I am planning to schedule deliveries for sheet goods, insulation etc, but for lumber I want to be able to pick it myself, and that means I have to haul it too. I can rent a van just a few miles from Home Depot and Lowes, and then it's about 90 miles to where I'm going, and 90 back, so if I can get all the lumber in one run that will be simple enough, or if it takes two I can also go to another Lowes that is 55 miles from my house, but further away from where the van is rented.

    edited to add: I hadn't seen Keith Outten's post when I wrote this, I will reconsider and will go ahead and write to my insurance agent to find out what insurance would cost. According to the wisdom of the Internet each window is around 30 inches long, so it should be about 12-1/2' behind the folding door, or 15 feet up to the front of it.
    Last edited by Zachary Hoyt; 01-26-2022 at 8:47 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    4,892
    Just have a real lumberyard deliver your lumber. If you are buying a large quantity they will generally take back any bad pieces. I couldn't imagine the time it would take at a big box store to sort through enough 2x4s to build a garage/shop.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Highland MI
    Posts
    4,318
    Blog Entries
    11
    Dude, that bus had an 6.0 LS engine! Go for it!!!
    NOW you tell me...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    60,566
    Quote Originally Posted by Zachary Hoyt View Post
    Thank you both very much for your advice. The Subaru and trailer are great, but I'm going to need to move a lot of 12-16 foot boards when workshop building time comes and while I've carried a few at a time on the roof rack it's not practical for a larger amount
    I've carried 16' boards on the centerline of my 5x8 utility trailer. 10-12 footers are a piece of cake. (My trailer is open, flat bed, but even if I put on the sides I made, I created it so that the bottom board of the front piece can be removed by spinning two wing nuts and long material can go under it) If your trailer can't do that, I'll suggest to you that even a new flat trailer that permits it would likely cost you a lot less than that bus will cost to obtain and fix up enough to be road worthy. But that's an opinion from afar, of course.

    I would NEVER use a roof rack for lumber. I did that exactly once many years ago with Professor Dr. SWMBO's first Forester. It was a disaster. If I could have ordered our current vehicles without roof racks, I would have done so!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    These days $1500 for anything with aired up tires and an engine that starts is a pretty good deal...

    Fuel leak is no big thing. Did the seller mention WHERE it's leaking? Front, middle, out back?

    My concern with that chassis and 160k miles would be steering and other various suspension parts. And that's not really a big deal...

    IF I had a need for such a vehicle, for that price I'd be on it like red on a fire truck....
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Lancaster, Ohio
    Posts
    985
    Looks like that bus was used as a maintenance vehicle after it was taken out of service as a bus for kids.
    At least have a mechanic look it over before buying it, fairly certain you will find more than just a gas leak.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •