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Old 06-19-2017, 07:11 PM   #1
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40 foot no air ride or 38 feet with air ride?

I've found 2 buses that I like but can't decide on the 40 foot bus without air ride suspension or the 38 foot bus with air ride. I really want air ride and I really want 40 feet since we're a family of 6; we will be traveling a fair bit together in the summer months.

What do you guys think about the benefits of air ride?
That extra 2 feet could mean a washer and dryer!
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:27 PM   #2
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Howdy Bon Voyage,

Do you have the opportunity to test drive them to see for yourself the difference in ride?

I would also be weighing other factors seriously: Year, make, model, mileage, engine & trans specs as well as overall condition.

Tell us more about the two buses?

My bus is not air ride and it does not ride too badly. I may in the future consider adding airbags & removing a leaf or three from the springs.
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bon Voyage View Post
I've found 2 buses that I like but can't decide on the 40 foot bus without air ride suspension or the 38 foot bus with air ride. I really want air ride and I really want 40 feet since we're a family of 6; we will be traveling a fair bit together in the summer months.

What do you guys think about the benefits of air ride?
That extra 2 feet could mean a washer and dryer!
Air ride or two extra feet of bouncy farm truck ride. No brainer. Air ride is the shiiiiit.
Leaf springs will beat your washer/dryer to death real quick. I know someone who had that happen.
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:45 PM   #4
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There are a few differences
Bus 1:
Thomas built with the funny mirrors
already painted white
air ride
Cat C7 engine
38 feet

Bus 2:
Blue Bird
school bus yellow
Cummins ISC
40 feet

they both have about the same mileage and are only a year apart in age, both have Allison 3000 and both seem in good condition. They are too far apart to test drive them both unfortunately... I called a company about putting air ride in on the 40 footer but they said it'd be about $10,000 yikes!!

I had bought a bus that I eneded up selling and I loved the air ride that it had. I admit I don't know how bad it would be without air ride
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bon Voyage View Post
There are a few differences
Bus 1:
Thomas built with the funny mirrors
already painted white
air ride
Cat C7 engine
38 feet

Bus 2:
Blue Bird
school bus yellow
Cummins ISC
40 feet

they both have about the same mileage and are only a year apart in age, both have Allison 3000 and both seem in good condition. They are too far apart to test drive them both unfortunately... I called a company about putting air ride in on the 40 footer but they said it'd be about $10,000 yikes!!

I had bought a bus that I eneded up selling and I loved the air ride that it had. I admit I don't know how bad it would be without air ride
That's a tough call. I'd not want a C7, but I'm addicted to air ride.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:08 PM   #6
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That is a tough call.

Air ride, 38' & CAT vs. Springs, 40' & Cummins....

I own a 40' with spring suspension, Cummins 8.3 and Allison MD-3060 and I would NOT trade it for a CAT powered rig with air ride.

Honestly, I did not know if the bus I bought had air ride until I picked it up from the auction site. I was worried that I may not like the spring suspension. I was pleasantly surprised on the way home.

I have seen a few folks add airbags to their spring suspension and remove a portion if the leaves in the spring with good result and the cost was far less than $10k. Something to consider.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:36 PM   #7
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Cummins ISC over CAT all day long. I really like air ride but my bus doesn't have it. My bus does have an air drivers seat and rides out just fine. Some bumps but not a kidney killer.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:08 PM   #8
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Same here. With an air ride seat the drive is pretty comfortable. I don't have passengers to enjoy the air ride, and the air ride doesn't do me much good while I'm parked. Maybe it is farm truck ride, but I can feel the road. Fewer things to break down too.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:21 PM   #9
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Another vote for the ISC.


Another big contributing factor to the quality of the ride is the length of the wheelbase. If it's a rear engine, the wheelbase will be several feet longer than a front engine bus of the same length. If that 40 footer with the Cummins is a rear engine, the ride won't be too bad, even without an air suspension.
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Old 06-20-2017, 01:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rameses View Post
If that 40 footer with the Cummins is a rear engine, the ride won't be too bad, even without an air suspension.
I test drove/rode 40-footer rear-engines exclusively, both with leaf spring and air ride suspensions. I concur that wheel base is a contributing factor, as I noticed no issues with suspension performance--neither in front nor back.

Moral of the story: Test drive. If you honestly plan on loading one of these things with all your worldly belongings, a bus is never too far away to test drive. If you have to, have a local mechanic test drive it as part of an inspection, which you should have done before purchasing regardless. Tell the mechanic how you plan on using the bus and request that extra attention be given to suspension performance. This will only set you back $200, give or take.

You can't make lemonade with a $2,000 lemon.
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