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Old 06-26-2015, 12:51 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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1989 GMC Thomas 366 gas bus

I am currently looking at a 89 GMC with a gas 366 engine to convert into a rv.

Before I buy it I'd like to know if anyone here has had any experience with this model bus. So pros and cons with the engine, etc.

What about converting the engine to use different fuel types or complete swaps. I don't plan on driving it much now, but would like it to be reliable for future use if I see I would like to travel more with it.

Also what is an average cost for inverter/converters. I browsed a few sites and I never see the prices.

General or detailed information about what I might run into with this project is appreciated.
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Old 06-26-2015, 02:28 PM   #2
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
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Engine: T444E
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Hello and welcome to the madness, google Handy Bob's Solar blog and you will learn much about inverters and such.
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Old 06-26-2015, 02:39 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Cool. I sure will.
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Old 06-26-2015, 03:02 PM   #4
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Don't get a gas engine bus.
Unless you like 3mpg city and 4 highway.
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Old 06-26-2015, 03:13 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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I really don't want gas, but a well maintenance bus for a good price is hard to pass. The benefits I see is I can rebuild a gas engine because i don't know enough to do that with a diesel. That's why I'm wondering about any possible swaps for a diesel. It's going to stay park till I buy a house.
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Old 06-26-2015, 03:51 PM   #6
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
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A swap will cost more than the bus is worth.
I took a gas bus once for free. That's the only way I'd want one. Cost me something like a dollar a mile just for the gas to get home.
Travel will cost 2-3x as much due to the fuel.

To me a gas bus is always easy to pass up. I really wouldn't have any use for it other than to try and sell it to someone.
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Old 06-26-2015, 04:19 PM   #7
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Yeah, no, don't get a gas bus. Your fuel costs will basically be twice that of an equivalent diesel bus. Besides they're usually underpowered and once you consider all the weight that comes with a skoolie conversion it becomes a really bad idea.

Engine swaps are a waste of time and money, IMO. Just keep looking for a diesel bus that's in your price range.
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Old 06-26-2015, 04:34 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Well where would be a good place to look for something diesel and priced well? I wanted to attend a school board auction, but missed it.

Now another question I have is would a mini split ac system work well on a bus. I read they do not spike to start up the compressor and that seem in my opinion like it would be better. I don't an window unit hanging out of the thing too.
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Old 06-26-2015, 05:19 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Bend, OR
Posts: 10
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: 429-4V Lima
I think it really depends on your situation. My gas school bus gets about 6 MPG, but that's okay with me because I got it pretty cheap at an auction, and I also don't plan on doing a ton of driving around in it. IIRC the last time I did the math I pay roughly 50 cents per mile to drive it around.

My plan is to move only once or twice a year, with maybe a short trip here or there to see a music festival or whatever. Had I planned on driving around the country, it would definitely NOT have made sense to buy a gasser. Also as someone else noted, gas engines can be easier to work on if that's what you're used to working with.
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Old 06-26-2015, 05:34 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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@ Kafkaesque
I'm looking to live in it for awhile so it would be parked for long periods of time. Then once I'm out of it I'd like to use it on a hunting lease so I'd drink it to the lease and leave it till the season ends. What model bus u have?
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