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Old 05-24-2016, 01:42 PM   #1
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Does such a bus exist?

Hey everyone, first post!

I've been doing some research, reading threads, etc, and I think I've come up with a list of criteria that I'm looking for in a bus. The problem is that I'm not sure this combination exists anywhere.

I think the bus I'm looking for is:

1. Rear-engine. This is both for driver comfort, and from what I've seen, the rear engine buses are easier to work on.

2. Cummins or Navistar engine. If a good Cat or MB engine came up with good records and a recent rebuild, I could be swayed, but I think I want to start with Inline-6 from Cummins or Navistar. Bigger engine is better, as I plan to climb mountains, but I don't think my build-out will be especially heavy, nor do I need to be in a huge hurry, so I can probably make out okay with one of the smaller ones.

3. Prefer Allison 6-speed with lock-up. The A545 could work, as long as the brakes were good and the gearing was otherwise okay. (Then again, a small-engine bus with a 5-speed transmission is probably going to have trouble both climbing mountains AND cruising at 65 mph on the flat.)

4. On the shorter/lighter side. Two reasons: (a) it'll be mostly just me in this bus so even 25-30 feet will be plenty of room, and (b) the place where I intend to work on the conversion has some access issues. Even getting a thirty foot bus in place is going to be challenging.

What does everyone think? Am I in fantasy land on this one? If so, which items on this list should I compromise on?

Thanks everyone!
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:50 PM   #2
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I don't think you need to compromise. Maybe you just need to narrow down your choices to what you want more. Big engine pusher, good idea. 545, probably bad idea for hill climbing/descending. Choose the best limited only by your own finances. Speaking of finances stay away from Cat and MB, or at least price some of their maintenance parts as compared to parts prices for other engines (Cummins/International).
It's about what works best for you.
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:57 PM   #3
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You wont get a short bus with a rear engine or a big engine. You will however get a medium duty chassis instead of a heavy duty, on a shorter bus.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:12 PM   #4
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I think I'm going to keep my eye open for a big pusher if I can find one local and at a good price. Competition seems stiff for those but occasionally I've seen remarkable deals. I've found shopping Public Surplus for the several months prior to Christmas and again around tax time often provides some remarkable deals. Fewer people in the running.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:14 PM   #5
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I just saw a couple nice RE buses with 8.3's in them sell for $2500 I think it was. Lot of hours on them but they were clean.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:24 PM   #6
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Re point one, I'm not sure that rear engine is easier to work on... It's probably easier than a front engine flat nose but a conventional (dog nose) is probably the easiest of the three options to work on.

A shortie rear engine may exist but I cannot recall ever seeing one. Short front engines both flat front and conventional are readily available but because they're smaller/lighter are going to have a corresponding smaller engine... And very much more likely to have a wheelchair lift.

If you're not in a hurry, look around and see what's out there and how much of your wish list it hits.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opus View Post
I just saw a couple nice RE buses with 8.3's in them sell for $2500 I think it was. Lot of hours on them but they were clean.
Seriously?! Links!!
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:26 PM   #8
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I dont ever mention them anymore here because no one seems to want to head west for a bus.

These were a couple weeks ago I think.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opus View Post
I dont ever mention them anymore here because no one seems to want to head west for a bus.

These were a couple weeks ago I think.
I think I remember those.
The buses out west ARE better. And seem to be cheaper sometimes!
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Old 05-24-2016, 08:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
I don't think you need to compromise. Maybe you just need to narrow down your choices to what you want more.
But I'm afraid I've narrowed my field down to nothing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus View Post
You wont get a short bus with a rear engine or a big engine. You will however get a medium duty chassis instead of a heavy duty, on a shorter bus.
Does the lighter chassis make up for the smaller engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jake_blue View Post
Re point one, I'm not sure that rear engine is easier to work on... It's probably easier than a front engine flat nose but a conventional (dog nose) is probably the easiest of the three options to work on.

A shortie rear engine may exist but I cannot recall ever seeing one. Short front engines both flat front and conventional are readily available but because they're smaller/lighter are going to have a corresponding smaller engine... And very much more likely to have a wheelchair lift.

If you're not in a hurry, look around and see what's out there and how much of your wish list it hits.
Yeah, I did some more reading and it seems like my thought that a rear engine was more mechanic-friendly was off. What is the downside to the wheelchair lift? More expense, or just more trouble removing and selling/disposing?

Fortunately I'm not in a hurry so I am planning to keep an eye on what's out there. I just don't want to wait forever on something that will never pop up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus View Post
I dont ever mention them anymore here because no one seems to want to head west for a bus.
I would definitely head west for a bus! But if the 8.3s are all in 40-foot pushers, I'm pretty sure that's a non-starter for me. I need to go check out my intended workspace and scout it for bus access. There are two ways to my friend's land: one is across a creek on a bridge he built himself and one is across about a half-mile of non-graded turf.
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