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Old 03-23-2010, 11:55 AM   #1
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Engine noise on a flat nose

Don't own one yet, but I pretty convinced I want a flat nose bus. My question is, how much noisier is a front engine compared to a pusher? What's everyone's opinion on which is better? The noise factor could be a big one, but when I *do* get a bus, it's going to be used to haul motorcycles around and having a rear door would be nice...

So, is the quiet of a pusher worth it?
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:00 PM   #2
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

Quote:
Originally Posted by jugganaut
Don't own one yet, but I pretty convinced I want a flat nose bus. My question is, how much noisier is a front engine compared to a pusher? What's everyone's opinion on which is better? The noise factor could be a big one, but when I *do* get a bus, it's going to be used to haul motorcycles around and having a rear door would be nice...

So, is the quiet of a pusher worth it?
I went through EXACTLY the same thought process when I was looking for my bus. I too wanted a rear door to make a toy hauling space. I went and looked at a number of front and rear engine buses and the front engines are pretty darn loud.

Then I talked to a friend who converted a Bluebird front engine and went full time for 2 years. His biggest single piece of advice was to get a rear engine. He said not only is it noisy, but front engines are the most difficult to access when working on them. (Dognose is the easiest, rear engines are in the middle). Also the heat generated from the engine, when in traffic for example, can be rough.

Another big factor for me was the space underneath. A rear engine has no drive line or exhaust running down the length of the bus. This gives you a significant increase in space and flexibility underneath.

The bottom line is, everyone has their own wants and needs and you should buy the bus that best fits your criteria. Just make sure you're aware of all the pros and cons. For me a pusher was the way to go.

If your handy with a welder, you could always make a drop down side door toward the back end.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:42 PM   #3
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

Thanks so much, I'm glad I got two different biased opinions. This will help me decide. Budget is an issue with me as well, but ultimately I want to make sure that what I get I can live with, considering the bulk of any conversion is always the conversion itself, not so much the bus.

So, who has experience with the 5.9 Cummins? These are a dime a dozen, but do I really want a truck engine in my bus? Seems kinda on the small side for long hauls.

Thanks again guys!
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:49 PM   #4
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

My preference is for the dognosed FE, but I can see advantages to RE and to flat nosed buses, too.
As far as engine noise and heat go, though, a large amount of that can be offset with insulation and sound deadening. It's kind of tedious working around firewall mounted components, wiring, and pedals, etc., but worth all of the time spent. A good bit of it in the cab area/drivers seat is removable (held in place w/ velcro), which is nice in the Winter (plus it may need to be replaced after it's seen a lot of use). I've pieced it together where I'd say the engine noise was reduced by at least 30% or better, which is quite a difference. I've applied it in the engine compartment against the firewall and against the hood, and at the driver's feet all the way to the door, and up along the driver's side of the firewall where able- it's kind of like a jigsaw puzzle.
Also, it's by far the easiest to work on (dog nosed) AND, as the PT said, have the earliest warning of any trouble whether it's a flat or dog- nosed- which can be priceless if you own an older bus like myself.
I would love to have the under storage and smoother ride of a RE, but it's not worth the trade, yet, IMO. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:57 PM   #5
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pied Typer
... nothing that a good stereo can't overcome... Engine heat is also something that you have to contend with, but really its not that bad. ... rogue decorative lawn gnome or the like...
Now I HAVE to get a good stereo!!!

We insulated the engine housing with engine insulation from JC Whitney before we headed out west. I kept asking David if it was cooking him. He said it wasn't.. I quit asking when the temps in the RV started hitting upper 80's (not a good idea to travel during the hottest part of the year).

Rogue decorative lawn gnome??? Aren't they fair game... kinda like the pink lawn flamingos?

Only reason we ended up with the All American FC is that it was for sale, near us and at a good price. The size (40 ft), engine placement, etc were all secondary. We just needed a moving van! Oddly enough, we had originally planned to get a Bluebird FE to convert because we liked the look of the old Wanderlodges but David fell in love with Eagles. If we had gotten the skoolie, we would have needed to do less to the bus before we could start converting. And I would be living in a 40 ft skoolie right now, not a 22 ft Class C! Live and learn!
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:51 PM   #6
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

I test drove a 40ft CAT powered pusher. It was much quieter and faster than my 36ft Bluebird TC2000. I needed 36ft max at the time because of my property limitations. If you plan on a lot of miles, you will become more fatigued with a front engine IMO. Having said that, I do not regret my purchase, and the 5.9 CTD has been great. Knock wood.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:30 AM   #7
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pied Typer
... nothing that a good stereo can't overcome... Engine heat is also something that you have to contend with, but really its not that bad. ... rogue decorative lawn gnome or the like...
Now I HAVE to get a good stereo!!!

$80 to $150 at walmart
and as for motors i wish i did not have a gasser and juice brakes, but thoughs are about the only thing i dont like! and if i had thought about it i would have swiched it to air brakes and not spent $1500 to $2000 on the brake job and that was just parts. as for the ( dog nose ) i have, it is like my trucks so i like that!
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:35 AM   #8
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

I have essentially the bus you are looking for. 5.9 front engine Thomas. It's loud, for sure. I plan on finding more/better insulation for the engine area, but I can deal for now. We are taking a trip to Texas, from Michigan at the end of the week. I am bringing earplugs, not just for the motorcycles either!
Haven't even had time to put the stereo in, unfortunately. Might do it en route.
Some things are easy to get to on this engine, and some are near impossible. Unluckily for us, the water pump was buggered on ours, and I waited too long to get to it, and it's at the shop right now, and won't be out until Friday. Yes, the day we leave. Doesn't leave much time for packing, or even preparing the unfinished bus, you know! It's okay, it's all we have to get there in, so it's going to be ready enough.

I would have liked a rear engine, but I couldn't find one that suited our needs. I like the handicapped lift, but it's pretty weak, it can barely lift a dirt bike (400lbs), and it's going to have a lot of trouble lifting the bigger bikes we are supposed to be putting in Friday, a KTM950 ADV and a dakar prepped BMW. I am pretty worried, because we don't have a ramp, and I don't think I have even seen one long or strong enough to get bikes in the back anyway.

I would be on the lookout for one with a GOOD lift in it. Ours broke the first time I tried to use it, the chain snapped. I have repaired it, hastily, but it might break again on this trip yet. Hope not.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:47 AM   #9
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

not trying to jinx you Dented, but I think you're inviting trouble by hoping your lift will work for your bikes. I'm not going to try and think up worse case scenarios, but it sounds like it could get pretty stressful at the least. Out of curiosity, what happens when the chain breaks under load? I've never had the pleasure of messing w/ a w.c.lift.
I think I'd try to come up w/ a ramp pretty quick, myself. Good luck to you.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:11 PM   #10
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

We have been thinking of plans for an improvised ramp, and it can be done, and we will if we have to. It's just like building a bridge, and also two out of three riders traveling in this bus are mechanical engineers, and the third is a field service tech. We can make it work.
All we need is a lumber yard. And they are around.

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Old 03-25-2010, 03:58 PM   #11
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

Mine is very noisy. Earplugs or muffs are a must. A stereo would have to be turned to 11+ to overcome the noise.

My favored solution is a pair of Silencio earmuffs, and MP3 player earbuds underneath for tunes.

Dorky looking, yes, but I am driving a bus.
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Old 03-25-2010, 05:29 PM   #12
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

Quote:
Originally Posted by dentedvw
I have essentially the bus you are looking for. 5.9 front engine Thomas. It's loud, for sure. I plan on finding more/better insulation for the engine area, but I can deal for now. We are taking a trip to Texas, from Michigan at the end of the week. I am bringing earplugs, not just for the motorcycles either!
Haven't even had time to put the stereo in, unfortunately. Might do it en route.
Some things are easy to get to on this engine, and some are near impossible. Unluckily for us, the water pump was buggered on ours, and I waited too long to get to it, and it's at the shop right now, and won't be out until Friday. Yes, the day we leave. Doesn't leave much time for packing, or even preparing the unfinished bus, you know! It's okay, it's all we have to get there in, so it's going to be ready enough.

I would have liked a rear engine, but I couldn't find one that suited our needs. I like the handicapped lift, but it's pretty weak, it can barely lift a dirt bike (400lbs), and it's going to have a lot of trouble lifting the bigger bikes we are supposed to be putting in Friday, a KTM950 ADV and a dakar prepped BMW. I am pretty worried, because we don't have a ramp, and I don't think I have even seen one long or strong enough to get bikes in the back anyway.

I would be on the lookout for one with a GOOD lift in it. Ours broke the first time I tried to use it, the chain snapped. I have repaired it, hastily, but it might break again on this trip yet. Hope not.
Find someone junking a U-Haul or similar truck. Grab the ramp...it's good for 1000lbs & should fit the emergency door of the bus.

Your lift uses a chain? As in: a motorcycle drive chain? And you have motorcycles? And tools? (If you don't see where this is going, I'm gonna throw something at you!)

Also: look at the bottom of the doghouse. If it's as bare as I expect, Dynamat the heck outta everything.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:41 PM   #13
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

Quote:
Originally Posted by bus-ted
not trying to jinx you Dented, but I think you're inviting trouble by hoping your lift will work for your bikes. I'm not going to try and think up worse case scenarios, but it sounds like it could get pretty stressful at the least. Out of curiosity, what happens when the chain breaks under load? I've never had the pleasure of messing w/ a w.c.lift.
I think I'd try to come up w/ a ramp pretty quick, myself. Good luck to you.
I drive transit bus and none of our lifts are operated off a chain anymore. I think all skoolies are the same now, side door with lift that extends out and then down. they all use hydro to operate and I lift some huge loads. it is not uncommon to lift a 450 pound person and 200 lbs of chair all at once. it is sometimes a strain, but does work. I have only had two failures, both times was broken hydro hose and both times the lift just slowly sank to ground. it is kindof like a floor jack on steroids.

No matter what, i would not leave home without a ramp as a just-in-case.
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Old 04-17-2010, 11:15 PM   #14
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

We lifted a few average dual sport bikes, and one pretty darn heavy KTM monster dirt bike/dirt tour/dakar beast and no problem at all, really, other than slow. It was weird when the chain broke after the lift was unweighted, and on the ground. Yes, we will have to make a backup emergency ramp as well, no problem at all. It will get done.
The chain is heavier than motorcycle chain. It was not maintained properly, it appeared to have simply frozen up and bent instead of flexing at the joints, then broke.
Pretty sure what would happen is it would sink slowly to the ground. From the sound, it's hydraulic and chain, but it depends upon where the chain breaks I suppose. I may just keep my eyes peeled for someone here selling a full hydraulic setup. Or maybe I will replace all the chain on this one, and just keep it lubed.

Our bus is relatively quiet. I was pretty surprised. A handful of air leaks up front that let not only cold air in, but engine noise, but we can take care of them with some creative insulation techniques, silicone, closed cell foam, spray foam with silicone on top, etc. As long as it doesn't interfere with the operation of the engine lid, or anything else, it's going to get covered with something. Got to be sure and not restrict any airflow to the area surrounding the engine of course though. Some worn spots on the rubber seal of the floor/engine lid, but we can replace the seal or modify the lid to meet it better. Right now, it's livable. Don't have to yell, or turn the radio up to uncomfortable levels yet. Pretty pleased overall.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:58 PM   #15
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

I own a flat nose front engine 5.9 cummins, while i was campaigning for Lt Governor. I put up with the noise because the time it takes to do it right and comfoprtable could not be spent. a couple of things i did to really help. We wanted to use the back to haul harrleys for trips so we needed the back 8 foot and 5 or 6 inches, to haul motorcycles.
but back to the noise.

I took the exhaust and run it over the top instead of out the side or bottom. this helped some then I closed off the front door, built it in solid added a passenger seat, then the heigth of the bottom of the driver seat to the passenger seat built a doghouse over the exhisting dog house. then came down the side of the dog house next to the drivers seat with carpet. hand stitched to velcro to place next to drivers foot or gas pedal. the difference is amasing. to get rid of alll road noise, is easier than that if your just starting out......"IF" your just starting out. this will be long but i will tell you how and why as i tell you what to do... After you build the dog House over the exhisting dog house you will see if you think and you do it right you can take 2 regular bus seat bottoms and place on the dog house between front drivers and passenger seat lay a mattress pad over it and you have yet another bed. handy as a shirt paocket.

While I was running for Lt Gov. at first i had a pickup with topper to stay in back and save money.... Because i am a contractor I also know the 1/4 inch corraplas signs have insulatioin and sound deadening princilpes...we put them on the sid eof topper and floor of truck for warmth and quiet. wow what a difference.. so as i ran accross old cmapaign signs that were going to the dump anyway. I picked them up for the bus sidewalls and floors.
I completely boxed in the front wheel wells first with blanket insulation then plywood then corraplast, then we put the bench seats sideways, over top for benches to sit/beds to sleep. Then Just before I put down the benches with drawers under them on the floor i put down 1 4x8 sheet of corraplast. then the carpet over it, a friend used linoleum, another tile, it is all the same. depends on preference.

we also took all the windows out put a 2x4 top and bottom in the window (this helps to bolt things on to in the future as well) then we put a sheet of corraplast and then plywood over it on the walls.
The difference is beyond belief. in noise factor. as well as heat factor Busses can be hard to cool with mid day sun, the windows out then covered with orrapas and plywood is a huge difference.
now relize we can probably afford a new rv. I chose the bus a 2000 bluebird 5.9 cummins/allison. looks part availability reliability, fuel mileage and finally safety!!! .... have you saw the pictures of manufactured rvs in roll over or side impact. I will tell you that even if a train hits you at 60 unless you are setting right where the train hits you will walk away safe. Then I love to tinker so we went with a bus...


go for it with the front deisel, leaave 8 foot 6 inches in back for motorcycles, tools generators etc, and hit the road... hope this helps... as soon as i fugure out how we will post pictures. Lol
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:05 PM   #16
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Re: Engine noise on a flat nose

my 89 bluebird flatnose has 5.9 cummins turbo diesel straight 6 cilinder and it is really quiet. sitting right next to the driver
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