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Old 08-19-2017, 10:01 AM   #1
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Deciding between two specific short buses-one gasoline, one diesel.

I recently purchased a 1992 Chevy G30 Wayne shortbus that was already started as a conversion. I have since cleaned out the bus (essentially undoing the conversion) so that once I get a clean bill of health from the mechanic, I can start headfirst into the conversion. (See my previous intro thread here) It also came with an Onan 3kw generator (and other goodies) that has been physically mounted, but not actually installed.

Another CL bus was just posted that is a very similar bus, but it is a Ford 7.3L Diesel. It is close to me, so I am going to go check it out either way, but I am very much considering selling my first purchase for this one. It does seem to be one of the fiberglass bodies, for better or for worse, though I have not really looked into these older Ford models. (I'll have to read through this thread later, I prefer pictures to words )

I was originally going with a diesel in mind, and this second one really seems like the better engine (and only 80k miles). I would never have considered a gasoline for a bus except that I am much more familiar with gasoline engines so any easy fix is going to be cheaper in the short term. I currently don't plan on keeping it for the long term, so the gasoline is still more attractive to me.

I'll update after I go check it out, but any insight would be greatly appreciated. I've seen quite a few conversions from the Wayne's which is nice as a reference. From my immediate research, I could not find any Econoline conversions that have this body. It has the windows that are taller, which I always associate with fiberglass shuttle buses as opposed to school buses, but I could be wrong on that.
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:48 AM   #2
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well I had page typed up and lost power like 5 minutes ago and lost it all so in short, the 7.3 is a great motor I have one in a truck and I love it, climbs hills without breaking a sweat.
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:57 AM   #3
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I drove the gasoline through the mountains along the Ocoee without having to go to low gear, but it definitely was sweating when I didn't accelerate into the climb. I know the engine is going to be notably better with a 7.3L in a short bus. My biggest concern is the shuttle body vs the school bus body. It really comes down to a compromise around the 10k mile trip to washington (very, very scenic route). Except for actual details about condition, the consideration are 5.7L gas vs 7.3L diesel (cost of getting it ship shape, power, maintenance, likelihood to make it 10k miles in a month) and school bus body vs shuttle body (insulation cost, mounting ability, other conversion issues).

Plus I've already bonded with the current bus. A midnight trip through the mountains in the rain is a powerful experience. Plus, I've already photoshopped it (badly) to look like the planet express ship from futurama.

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Old 08-19-2017, 11:05 AM   #4
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Keep in mind that the pre 1995 7.3's are a very different motor than 1995 and newer.

Good reliable motor but NOT a powerhouse.

Good luck!
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:06 AM   #5
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Nice! could just keep it and put a different motor in it, but if it runs well and you can maintain it just keep it. you would be better off with something you can fix and maintain yourself on the road and gas motors can do well in high altitudes if adjusted properly, correct me if im wrong but i think as the air changes in high altitudes you can tune it for more power than lower alt. at least thats how my trail bike was... on another note how much work will each one be to convert it the way you want? go with the cheapest/ easiest route that will give you what you need.
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Keep in mind that the pre 1995 7.3's are a very different motor than 1995 and newer.

Good reliable motor but NOT a powerhouse.

Good luck!
very true! mine is a 1992, i have one thats 1996 and its laying in the back yard lol
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Old 08-19-2017, 05:29 PM   #7
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my take on it may be a bit different than others..

the difference between the gas and the diesel is obvious in many ways.. however at the ground level of it, the gas motor is going to be easier to fix out and about.. a chvey 350 is about as common as it gets.. those vans are still readily asvailable in the junkyards.. including the computers, transmissions, etc. and of course many many new parts are out there .. you'll burn a lot of gas in the 350.. but then its also easy to find and right now in many places 20-25% cheaper than diesel fuel...

the 1990 7.3 is a great motor. but not the ever-common powerstroke 7.3. that every parts-store stocks for parts...

youve already started on the conversion of the chevy... ion my book id say keep it , fix it up nice and drive it on your road trip
-Christopher
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:18 PM   #8
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I would say stay away from the Ford.

That vintage will not have the turbo so it won't have all that more go than what you have with the 5.7L. The other BIG problem with that vintage of Ford is it will have the E4OD transmission. That is a real weak sister, particularly behind a diesel engine.

There are work arounds to help the E4OD. But to get a bulletproof version is going to cost well in excess of $3K plus the cost of a torque convertor which can run an additional $3K. You can get them cheaper but you will be replacing them. Often. Trust me when I say this. I had three E-350 chassis buses with the 7.3L/E4OD power packages. With different drivers driving different assignments the buses had an average of about 11-12 MPG. The longest I got out of transmission was 42K miles and the least I got was 12K miles. After seven transmissions in three years as the replacement transmissions died I just parked the buses.

The 5.7L will be a whole lot quieter and the fuel mileage will be around 8-9 MPG. You can purchase a lot of gas before you will pay for the investment of a diesel bus through better fuel mileage, particularly if you have to pay 20%-30% more per gallon for diesel.

I think you will find the front suspension on the GM will have a lot of good after market support for upgrades to make a good suspension better.

The Ford, particularly the ones after 1993 that had the ball joint Twin-I-Beam suspension, will never drive straight and will always be scrubbing rubber or wandering. The aftermarket support can make a bad idea tolerable but it can't fix what was a bad design.
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