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Old 02-20-2018, 11:35 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 15
C2 Saf-T-Liner vs International

Hi all,

I'm new here, and trying to decide between the following two shorties for a conversion for my girlfriend and I as a cross-country summer home (see attachments). We are young and don't need anything too fancy. This is our first conversion. I am located in Boston, MA, am moderately handy and have 3 full months to do whatever we like!

One is an 2006 International 6-window diesel ($5k), while the other is a newer, C2 style Thomas Saf-T-Liner with a Benz engine ($10k).

Personally I feel that the 06 International feels more like a "school bus" to me which I like, despite being a bit older. However the modern C2 style is hard to overlook, with its much flatter/higher ceiling, double-pane RV-style windows, etc.

Do any of you have any additional pros and cons you could list about either of these two options that could help us decide? (ie, the curved windshield on the C2 seems like a pain to ever replace). I'm not very familiar with the C2 Sat-T-Liner, so any advice that could help sway our opinion in either direction might be helpful.

Thank you!
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:10 PM   #2
bigskypc50's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 163
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 70
If you every need to take it to a shop, your wallet with thank you when you have the Navistar. Go even older by a few years and you could do most of the work your self with a simple socket set.

I agree with Cow, I would not take either.
For more photos of my bus see this facebook club.
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:11 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,696
Personally I wouldn't want either one.

The IC most likely has the VT365/MaxxForce7 engine. It has known issues that cost a lot to mitigate. It most likely has the same amount of headroom as the C2.

All C2's have multiplexed electrical systems. IC didn't start doing that until about 2006 in the CE models. Changing, removing, or adding stuff into a multiplexed system can cause MAJOR electrical issues if you don't know what you are doing. We tried installing a video camera system in a bus that wasn't wired for it and that was enough to make it so the bus wouldn't start.

The M-B engine in the C2 is going to be a piece of junk or a pretty good engine. There isn't a lot of rhyme or reason why one will work great and another won't. The real problem with them is even F-liner dealers don't like working on them and they are the only ones that will touch them. Parts are not inexpensive either.

If you want an IC look for one with the T444E.

If you want a Thomas I would look for one of the older FS65 models.
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:22 PM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 15
Thanks for the reply - I didn't know that about the VT365/MaxxForce7 engines.

I'll report back once I figure out what it has inside!
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:45 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 1,931
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
I'm assuming the Multiplex in buses is similar to the CanBus system in bikes and cars.

If you find yourself stuck with one of them, the way we deal with it on motorcycles is simple.

Take a direct feed from the battery to a power distrubution center. There are a few of them around that contain both ignition on and ignition off circuits.

Wire all your accessories from that. The vehicle wiring never sees it, and everything is protected by fuses and relays.
Steve Bracken

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Old 02-20-2018, 04:46 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 509
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
I worked around a diesel shop last month and watched them do a complete in frame rebuild on a Benz engine in a western star truck.
The shop owner said it is something like 16,000$ for a rebuild or 28,000 for a new engine.
And that road tractor only had a little over 200,000 miles on it?
Good luck
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:20 PM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,872
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Mmmmm...a bargain for an MB!
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:26 PM   #8
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 15
An update on my search:

I was able to find a 2001 International (6 window, 23 passenger) up for auction with the T444 engine in it (200,000 miles, 17,100 hours).

Trying not to get too excited about it, but it seems like exactly what I'm looking for. Any feedback on this guy?

It's in FL so it'd be a decent haul up to MA, but I can't seem to find anything decent up here so far. Might be worth it just for the general lack of rust alone.

edit: tags say GVWR = 25,500 lbs. Isn't this massive for a shortie like this? Should I be concerned? Wonder what kind of gas mileage I will get..

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Old 02-22-2018, 03:47 PM   #9
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
I’m sure I’m not the only person that will tell you the hours on that bus are crazy high compared to the mileage.
I like that model though. That type of bus, rust free, 466/3000, AC = unicorn.
Nobody's Business
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Old 02-22-2018, 03:58 PM   #10
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 15
For reference, what kind of hours would you consider normal for a ~200k engine? Also what does 466/3000 mean (I'm new here - sorry!)?

Also: it indeed has a rear AC unit!
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