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Thread: Need Help on School Bus Scrap "Fun" Project

  1. #1
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    Need Help on School Bus Scrap "Fun" Project

    I scrap a lot of farm equipment. That's it. I've never done a vehicle or anything outside of Iron and Aluminum. Today I saw a 1986 Chevrolet school bus (gas engine) no seats going for around $900 OBO. (Engine runs, has drivetrain, and is basically complete minus the passanger seats). I have tried to find the GVW of this bus, or any similar bus, for over an hour and a half and cannot find out what it weighs. If anyone has a reliable resource for this information I would appreciate your help very much.

    Also, I do not know the procedure for scrapping a bus. This bus runs and drives, and the seller has the clear title. I will call the scrap yard on Monday, but I have no idea if I can just drive it over the scale and leave it??? I know I will have to take equal rubber with me, etc, which is not a problem.

    Basically, I need to know if anyone knows what the GVW (empty weight) of a bus like this would be (1986 Chevrolet full-size school bus with a 350 gasoline engine). The woman who is selling it is pretty old and she won't go look for the name plate because she says it is "worn" too bad. She said I can come look if I want, but I don't want to drive 50 miles to check the GVW if it's not worth it.

    Up for critique is my preliminary plan: Check the scrap yard requirements. Go see the bus. Purchase the bus for as little as possible (maybe $500-700?). Put "Farm Use" tags on the bus and drive it 30 miles to the scrap yard (I will bring my diesel pickup in case the bus breaks down, so that I can just drag it off the side of the road or the rest of the way to the yard). Drive the bus over the scale. Get paid.



    The goal is to make a gross profit of at least $400 to cover diesel fuel for my truck, gasoline for the bus (probably $75?), and to pay my brother $100 for coming along for the ride. I would like to make a couple hundred bucks, otherwise I don't think it would be worth the stress. But I do thrive on stuff like this. Hahaha.

    If you forsee any problems with this plan please let me know. Your advice is appreciated. I searched the forum for "School Bus" and got nothing good. Like I said, I know most of what there is to know about scrapping old junk equipment, but this stuff is a new dance for me. Thanks.


    And were it to break down, is it illegal to drag a school bus down the road with a chain and a pickup truck? Do you think the steering and brakes would work?


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    If it's a 350, then I doubt it's much bigger than the bus here.

    http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=5217

    I doubt the bus here weighs much more than a 1 ton dually truck.



  3. #3
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    Sorry to say your whole plan is full of holes....Dragging a bus down the road with a pickup truck?? Just wondering if u have really thought this out

  4. #4
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    We scrapped an international cab over and it weighed in around 7 tons. I think a bus would be 1.5 to 2 times that weight. Google says it should weight around 7 tons as well. Let me know what happens. I've been looking at this idea as a source of some easy cash. Find a buss, call the tow truck. Pay him 100$ and pocket the difference.... Good luck!
    “Most people miss opportunity because it wears overalls and looks like work .” ― Thomas A. Edison

    www.thortekrecycling.com

  5. #5
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    Idaho: I agree that the bus in that link probably weighs 5-7k. Fortunately, the bus I am looking at is a lot bigger. The one I am considering is a full-size school bus. I have looked up GVWs just now on a "similar" (newer) model and they are between 12k and 20k dry curb weight. I don't know the accuracy of these numbers, though, because it was just some kid posting on a forum who said he'd looked at tags on a bus in his dad's scrap yard.

    Mikeinreco: Hehe, I know. But it IS possible if it breaks down to drag it (at least) off the road. If not all the way to the yard..... So long as it steers.

    Thank you guys.

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  7. #6
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    Your going to lose some weight because your original post said "no seats". There's a lot of weight right there, so take a couple of thousand lbs off. When I lived down in Kansas the bigger operators what did custom baling of hay used a bus without a body and had a conveyer on the front for loading.
    Last edited by Mechanic688; 02-13-2012 at 12:45 AM.
    P & M Recycling - Specializing in E-Waste Recycling.
    If it plugs in or runs on battery, we recycle it.
    See our ad in the Buyer & Seller Section

    http://www.scrapmetalforum.com/scrap...onnectors.html

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    the only thing i see is your yard is probably going to want the fuel out which will keep you from just driving it over. we got a c65 chevy a few weeks back wouldnt fit on our hauler it was too wide and long, we went to uhaul and bought a tow bar for 150 bucks, cut 4 hole thru the bumpe w the torch and pulled it in. completely 2nd hand info on this but i heard last summer here a guy took a school bus across the scale and got over 1400 for it. like mechanic688 said seats are gone thats alog of weight, i have seen these in the bootheel of missouri with the sides cut out at the watermelon fields and they drive the bus thru the field and just toss the melons in.

    this will have a huge radiator on it make sure to get that, and may possibly have two batteries, plus i remember those hot @$$ heaters in the back in the floor
    Last edited by corycouch; 02-13-2012 at 06:37 AM.

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    Should weight around 20,000 lbs I would imagine. Buy it and hire a tow truck company to haul it. Don't tell them you are planning on hauling it to the scrap yard until the last minute or else they will try to get in on the scrap action.

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    your in verginia, bus runs and drives, no seats, title in hand. sounds like a quick $1500 to 2500 to me down here they use old school busses for all kinds of stuff. they cut the back off and haul. watermellons. peanuts. hay. make stock car haulers with change rooms in them. okie motor homes. you cant find a bus around here for less then $2500 that runs. sounds like a great scrap hauler to me.

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    You might want to check and make sure the bus does not have air brakes.If it does the engine must run to power the compressor. Otherwise your not moving it.

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    Cage the brakes and pull away.
    Where at in Virginia?

  13. #12
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    I appreciate all of the input. I am going to go look at the bus today to see if I can find the GVW from the VIN plate. I aim to purchase for $700 or less and sell for $1,200. That seems to be a decent goal. I would love to repurpose the bus instead of scrapping it, but I have no use for another truck. Especially a truck this big with a gasoline engine. If it were diesel I would turn it into a flatbed crane truck. But this gas engine will not hunt.

    As far as towing is concerned, the companies want between $300 and $500 to move it the distance. Like I said before, if it breaks down me and my brother will simply have to drag it down the road at 2am with my Cummins. Hehehe....

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    Oh yeah, and the yard said I can just drive it over the scale and hand them the title and VSA 40 FORM and they will take it as is for 11cents. And yeah, I know I could make more if I stripped it down, etc, but I dont want to spend three days cutting up a bus for an extra two hundred bucks. Thoughts?

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    Grab the money and run. Or go find another bus!

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    good luck let us know but your going to do really well, id still take of the radiator right before the yard but thats just me

  17. #16
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    Day's Report: MISSION BUS = Semi-Failure

    I hate to do it, but I have to report that the bus deal was a semi-failure. We got there and started it, drove it, and things were going fine. It actually ran. For an '86 gas engine that hadn't run in 7 years (minus one start 6 months ago) it was running pretty good. It was a full-size bus, but without seats I was getting the feeling that there wasn't very much weight to it. All of my research suggested that no full-size bus in the world weighs less than 10,000lbs. I figured that at $700 to purchase the bus I could at least get it to the yard and profit a minimum of $300.... I was mistaken.

    I asked for the title, as the GVWR on the door of the bus was listed at 21,220lbs. I thought this was about right, and that the bus itself would weigh about half of its weight rating. First, the woman brought me a title that said the vehicle weighed 3,800lbs. I shook my head, knowing this could not be true. I checked the VINs and sure enough, it was not the title for the bus. I told the woman and she brought me the correct title (VINs matched). This title said the bus weighed 6,296lbs empty. Just six thousand pounds!!!! Minus seats! Minus tare weight for the tires which the yard will deduct!

    I still couldn't believe it. My dodge 3500 weighs 5,250 pounds (approx). I get receipts from the quarry all the time with the weight of my rig. I know these scale numbers don't lie but so much. I knew in my heart that the bus HAD to weigh more than 6,000 lbs..... But what could I do!?! I couldn't just buy this thing relying completely on my faith in google searches for bus weights!

    I debated this for about half an hour sitting in the truck with my brother, who was in favor of abandoning the deal.

    Then I saw that the name on the title was not the name of the woman who was conducting the sale. And that the principal address was not the address I was at. Not the same county. Feeling discouraged and uneager to deal with a potentially funny title, a bus that didn't run, and a weight that was not profitable, I offered the woman $200 for the bus. Obviously, she declined. I then asked her about the pintle hitch on the back of the bus. I said I would give her $20, as I have wanted a replacement ball/pintle combo hitch for one of mine that stopped opening properly. Despite my unreasonably low offer for the bus, followed by my low offer for the hitch, she GAVE me the pintle hitch attachment for free (probably about $100 or more new) and another hitch attachment for pulling some sort of special equipment. I told her I had never seen it before but she said it was mine, so I took it. After a long pause she looked at the ground and said quietly, and I quote, "I don't know what people want with all this &*#%"

    So, that was my day. A long drive, semi-failed mission, BBQ dinner, and a new hitch for the truck. Not $500 cash money, but not bad.... Not bad at all.

  18. #17
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    you feel safe thats the main thing, but titles are never right or they never have been for me low or high, nice score on the hitch tho

  19. #18
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    I agree that the title wasn't right about the weight. But between it not being her title or the title address, and the fact that all the seats were gonr, and the fact that if it broke down I would be out of a lot of money... That's all was combined to push me over the edge to offer $200 and walk. And yeah, the hitch was a nice score. I just hope the story was helpful to somebody. I know I've learned a lot by reading stuff on here. I would still like some solid proof somewhere stating that a 1986 Chevy full-size school bus weighs more than 6k. But, I have a feeling that is something I will never know... or at least not until another one comes along.

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    Keep her contact information and call her in a month or two to see if it has sold. If not and she agrees to the $200...


    Now that you have seen it in person, think you could find one in Google images that is close to it? I agree, that should weigh more than 6,000 if it's bigger than the bus I showed earlier.

    You said it's a Chevy. Who built the body? That might narrow your searches down.

    I am confused on the running good part, and then it doesn't run.

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    Idaho, I agree. Will do. To see a picture go Richmond, VA craigslist RV category "1986 Chevy Bus". It is red. Also, about it running and not running.... It ran OK, but the gears were really grinding and something under the engine was smoking (oil leak to exhaust manifold?). After all those years sitting I wondered how she would fair making the trek about 45mins or an hour to the scrap yard. So many things can go wrong, as we all know. And if something went wrong the stakes were pretty high considering I have no bus license, no CDL, no tags, no solid title, no insurance on the vehicle, and no registration, and no inspection, etc, etc...... It didnt run good enough for me to chance all those fines for a few hundred bucks and a laugh. But I really wish it had worked.


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