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Old 03-03-2015, 12:10 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Can you tow behind a rear engined school bus?

Can you tow behind a rear engined school bus?

I am planning on doing my first skoolie conversion and I am looking at a rear engined Thomas as my platform. But being able to tow a trailer (at least 5000#-no more than 8000#) is essential. I am wondering if anyone knows if rear engined school buses can be fitted with a two hitch, and/or can a Thomas HDX or Bluebird All-American be fitted with a tow hitch.

Thanks for your time and expertise.
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Old 03-03-2015, 05:55 AM   #2
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Location: North Georgia Mountains
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Not sure with the way school buses are framed, but with coaches you need to have the engine cradle reinforced or it will warp and ruin the bus. However, that's the good thing about school buses over coaches, they are made infinitely stronger and typically have a full frame that the body and engine are just set into/onto. Check under the bus and see if it has full frame rails running front to back, if so I don't see any reason a standard receiver wouldn't work on it as it would a front engine.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:02 AM   #3
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Location: Andrews,Indiana
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Year: 1991
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I can't say about the others, but on a Blue bird RE the main frame does not go all the way to the back. The engine is mounted on a smaller frame that is bolted to the main frame. I'm sure it's strong enough to tow with, not sure how much weight it will support.
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:02 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outcast View Post
Not sure with the way school buses are framed, but with coaches you need to have the engine cradle reinforced or it will warp and ruin the bus. However, that's the good thing about school buses over coaches, they are made infinitely stronger and typically have a full frame that the body and engine are just set into/onto. Check under the bus and see if it has full frame rails running front to back, if so I don't see any reason a standard receiver wouldn't work on it as it would a front engine.
This is precisely what my thoughts were as well. I have not had the opportunity to examine any rear engined school bus myself to see how far the frame rails extend.

I am hoping that someone here has personal experience with one of these models or one similar.

Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:04 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa View Post
I can't say about the others, but on a Blue bird RE the main frame does not go all the way to the back. The engine is mounted on a smaller frame that is bolted to the main frame. I'm sure it's strong enough to tow with, not sure how much weight it will support.
That's good info to have thanks. The idea of bolting a tow hitch to a subframe that is, in turn, bolted to the main frame and then trying to tow a flat bed car hauler behind that makes me wary.

Thanks.
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:12 PM   #6
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Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 11.08.57 AM.png

I found this imagine, which is supposedly a Blue bird All american chassis.

I cannot see a reasonable way to attach a hitch to the back...
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Old 03-04-2015, 04:16 PM   #7
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Towing

I have no idea, but if you want advice on how to build a hitch you came to the right forum.
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Old 03-04-2015, 04:52 PM   #8
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We need detailed pics of the back end frame rails of a TC2000 Rear engine.

All buses can survive a hit from the rear. Therefore there has to be something there strong enough to bolt the trailer hitch to.

Nat
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:42 AM   #9
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
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Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Here are a few shots from the back of my year 2000 CSRE. No idea how it compares to a TC2000 frame.. but at least it's something to talk about.

Somewhere along the way a previous owner set it up with some extra C channel and a 2" receiver tube in the rear bumper for towing. The photo also shows the section of C channel spanning between the two engine sub-frame rails to support the front engine mount. (it's still called the front mount, I guess, since it's on the side where the serpentine belt is -- even though that's more to the rear of the vehicle)

The trouble is, the hole for the hitch pin is so far back that I can't find any ball mount with a throat long enough to reach. I began cutting out the receiver tube, intending to weld in a new piece with its hitch pin outside the surface of the bumper, then noticed there's another hitch pin hole drilled through it but hidden inside the bumper assembly. I haven't decided whether to use that inner hole with some kind of long-reach hitch pin like what B&W have done with their turn-over ball gooseneck hitch (click the FAQ tab and scroll down a bit for photos), or finish replacing the tube, or abandon the whole thing in favor of a new hitch like the Draw-Tite 41990. My hang-up with the Draw-Tite is that the receiver would be lower to the ground than I like. But those angle brackets on the existing bumper setup aren't super confidence-inspiring: the misalignment is so bad that several bolts can't be fully tightened so that the metal is clamped together well.

Anyway.. that's where things are at with my towing with a rear engine.
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:12 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 1,636
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Her, me and Molly
I do have a hitch on my BlueBird RE, there is no doubt it is strong enough for a towed where there is no downward hitch weight involved. In my case not much weight of any kind. My towed only weighs about 1800 lbs. Pictures of the hitch here.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/so...a-6318-15.html

As you can see, I welded a cross brace inside the bumper that is as wide as the frame rails to eliminate any bumper flex, then tied the whole thing to the engine cross member. I don't seem to have any pictures of where the engine frame bolts to the main frame. I'll try to add one later.

Dick
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