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Old 11-17-2009, 01:36 PM   #1
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engine mileage vs NO RUST

Hi all, I have found my perfect bus. My question that keeps me awake at night is the fact that the engine has probably 200 thousand plus miles. I have terrible luck with engines, they die on me. The bus has no rust tho. None. So, knowing that the engine is old and will probably go south, is it worth buying just for the rust free body? I greatly appreciate all the knowledge on this forum and look forward to your input. Thanks, Leslie
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:47 PM   #2
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Re: engine mileage vs NO RUST

Sorry, I knew I would leave something important out, yes it is a diesel. I don't know which one other than being a GMC. I thought I read somewhere that you could tell a bit from the VIN but don't remember where I read it.... And my friends tell me that Chevy diesel engines are made from inferior metal and on and on. Of course they drive Fords...
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Old 11-17-2009, 05:52 PM   #3
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: THOMAS
Chassis: SAFE-T-LINER
Engine: CAT 3116
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Re: engine mileage vs NO RUST

What year GMC is it? If its an older 80's or early 90's era its probably a 8.2 Detroit Diesel engine. 200K on that engine without an overhaul? Keep looking. I would not recommend buying that. Those engines are prone to head gasket problems and if that happens you might as well rebuild the top half. Rotting oil pans. Injectors go bad causing smoke from exhaust.

Top speed on those is only about 55MPH without the engine screaming.

I'm sure there are members here that have that engine and no complaints.

Thats just my opinion.

There are buses out there, just be patient.

Some ideas for buses to look for.

International with Blue Bird body or Thomas built body.

International engine recommondations:

DTA360 (little slow but bulletproof)
DT466 ( a little quicker, bulletproof non-mechanical cheaper to repair)
DTE466(bulletproof, electronic, little more expensive to repair)

Caterpillar 3116, 3208

I'm sure some others can chime in on some other ideas.
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Old 11-18-2009, 11:18 PM   #4
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Re: engine mileage vs NO RUST

Hi busbozo, thanks for the input, it is a 1988 van type, not a full size bus, would that still be the engine? How can I tell which engine is in this bus? I have heard they were loud and smoked, was not aware of the other issues. I need this particular layout and size for what I want. Is it easy to replace engines in these van bodied busses? The way I go through engines I thought I would move up to a newer engine when this one gave out. Leslie
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Old 11-19-2009, 08:12 AM   #5
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Engine: CAT 3116
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Re: engine mileage vs NO RUST

Oh, we are talking about a van chassis? Ok. Totally different situation but not much better as far as diesel engines. GM was partnered with Detriot Diesel at the time assuming we are talking about 80's or 90's.

They produced the 6.2liter and 6.5liter diesel, which was basically just a diesel version of the standard 350 gas engine. The 6.2 was the earlier one and was very underpowered. They both are underpowered but the 6.2 was worse.

If I was going your particular route looking for a half bus I would not even bother with those early GM diesels unless it has the Duramax 6600 diesel after 2000. \

I know it would not be friendly to your wallet but I would look for a gas engine in a GMC or Chevy half bus. Preferably the 454 (7.4liter or just the standard 350(5.7liter). Both are great engines. The 350 is tried and true and just about bulletproof.

And if they are the Vortec version. Even better.

Alot of those half buses came in Ford Chassis's as well. Again depending on the year, you should look for the fuel injected 351 5.8Liter, 5.4liter or the 6.8liter V10.

If you find a Ford bus with a Diesel between 1995 and 2002 for a good price GRAB IT! It will have the much desired 7.3 liter Powerstroke which was a great engine in that application. Its too bad they scrapped it in 2003 and replaced it with the piece o' #$% 6.0 diesel.

If you have $4,000 you can have this bus.
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Old 11-19-2009, 08:19 AM   #6
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Chassis: SAFE-T-LINER
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 83
Re: engine mileage vs NO RUST

I'm sorry, I forgot you had the actual year (198. Yeah, those Diesels are loud, smoke and underpowered. You will be able to see a label in the engine compartment that will show you what engine. It will say either 6.2, 6.5, 5.7 etc...

You will obviously know its a diesel because those are very loud.

Bottom line is I would not recommend ANY of those earlier GM diesels. You are much better off with a V-8 gas engine from that era.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:31 PM   #7
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Re: engine mileage vs NO RUST

thanks all, for the input. I have done more research on what I have gathered here and found that in 1988 they made changes that improved that engine, but you really have to look to see which engine you have. Since this bus is out of state and I can't really get to it to look, I will pass on it. Sigh, had such great plans for this long wet winter. Leslie
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:30 PM   #8
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Engine: CAT 3116
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Re: engine mileage vs NO RUST

sorry to hear that. Keep the faith and keep looking.
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