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Old 10-21-2017, 10:07 AM   #1
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Front vs Rear Engine

Iím super new to Skoolies and have been reading a ton. I still have a lot to learn about engine and tranny combos. My estimated use would be State Park camping 2-3 times a year. Possibly a drive anywhere from 2 - 10 hrs each way. (like Texas to Florida, for example). Flat land. Can someone just give me a general pros and cons of each of these buses? My budget would be expected $2-3k purchase. $2k for spray insulation. Then prep and paint myself and build the interior up as needed. Passengers are my wife and I, possibly 2 dogs and occasionally mother in law and 2 teens. Thank you!

1999 Thomas CAT3162B 140HS 84-Passenger Capacity; VIN: 1T7HT4B26X1070125; 225,595 Miles showing - not guaranteed; Diesel; Auto; Bench seats; Rubber floor mats; A/C; PS; Air brakes; Was running when removed from service 02/01/17; NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR; MINOR VANDALISM (one side window has glass damage)


1996 International T444E 3800 71-Passenger Capacity; VIN: 1HVBBABN6TH417821; 188,557 Miles showing - not guaranteed; 7.3L Diesel; Auto; Bench seats; Rubber floor mats; A/C; PS; Air brakes; Was running when removed from service 02/01/17; MINOR VANDALISM; FADED PAINT







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Old 10-21-2017, 10:21 AM   #2
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I have the international. Its a 1998 tho. I love it. It's a beast. 5 speed. My first bus was a front engine 5.9 carpenter. Great, but i like the international. It rides nicer. We live in it full time.

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Old 10-21-2017, 10:26 AM   #3
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So no red flags on mileage for the pusher, cost to rebuild, etc? I personally prefer the pusher, just not sure when to be wary of ďhigh milesĒ


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Old 10-21-2017, 10:29 AM   #4
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That's not that high of mileage. I have about the same. I've heard warnings about cam shaft wear. But there are additives that can help with that. There isn't a need to rebuild it, is there?

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Old 10-21-2017, 10:54 AM   #5
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That's not that high of mileage. I have about the same. I've heard warnings about cam shaft wear. But there are additives that can help with that. There isn't a need to rebuild it, is there?

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I was just reading posts where a guy, who probably drives a lot, mentioned that a 250k engine would likely need a rebuild within 100k miles. Plus a pusher canít be rebuilt without removal. Then I realized I would barely put miles on the thing. So most of that is moot.


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Old 10-21-2017, 11:10 AM   #6
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I was just reading posts where a guy, who probably drives a lot, mentioned that a 250k engine would likely need a rebuild within 100k miles. Plus a pusher canít be rebuilt without removal. Then I realized I would barely put miles on the thing. So most of that is moot.


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It's a bit more involved than that. Whether or not an engine can be in-framed, depends on the engine more than its location. Both those engines have to come out. The CAT can be bored and sleeved, the T444 would be bored and oversize pistons fitted.

For access, the worst is a front-engined transit style. Neither of those two would be hard to get the engine out with the right tools.

The B50 for each is similar (B50 is the estimated time that 50% of the engines would need a rebuild). For both it's around 400000 miles.

Depending on use, maintenance and pure luck, this means that some will fail very early, and some will go 700k. Best bet is around 400k but condition rules ... as do service records if you can get them. The rebuild resets most of the clock, which is why you hear of these engines going anything up to 1 million miles. By the time they need a 2nd rebuild there might not be enough material to work with so they are limited in that minor respect. City transit buses regularly come up for sale at 750k+, but they run in ideal conditions. They run at low speeds, all day on warm oil, are well maintained, and have few cold starts.

At 225k you are getting a well used engine, but if it has been looked after it should be good for another 150k with few hassles (no guarantees).

The "no guarantees" bit is why amateurs like me would prefer an engine that can be in-framed. Without a full shop, it's easier to do. That said, if I found the ideal bus with a CAT 3126 I would buy it. The T444 is nothing to be scared of either, just know it has less power than you might want in the bigger buses.

Hope that helps.
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Old 10-21-2017, 11:12 AM   #7
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I'm not going to worry about a rebuild until i have a problem. Tune ups go a long way

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Old 10-21-2017, 11:12 AM   #8
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Some of the rear engine school buses have cooling issues due to not being designed for constant interstate driving, other people have more information on this as mine is a front engine TE444 international
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Old 10-21-2017, 11:13 AM   #9
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This is great info, thank you all!


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Old 10-21-2017, 11:14 AM   #10
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It's a bit more involved than that. Whether or not an engine can be in-framed, depends on the engine more than its location. Both those engines have to come out. The CAT can be bored and sleeved, the T444 would be bored and oversize pistons fitted.



For access, the worst is a front-engined transit style. Neither of those two would be hard to get the engine out with the right tools.



The B50 for each is similar (B50 is the estimated time that 50% of the engines would need a rebuild). For both it's around 400000 miles.



Depending on use, maintenance and pure luck, this means that some will fail very early, and some will go 700k. Best bet is around 400k but condition rules ... as do service records if you can get them. The rebuild resets most of the clock, which is why you hear of these engines going anything up to 1 million miles. By the time they need a 2nd rebuild there might not be enough material to work with so they are limited in that minor respect. City transit buses regularly come up for sale at 750k+, but they run in ideal conditions. They run at low speeds, all day on warm oil, are well maintained, and have few cold starts.



At 225k you are getting a well used engine, but if it has been looked after it should be good for another 150k with few hassles (no guarantees).



The "no guarantees" bit is why amateurs like me would prefer an engine that can be in-framed. Without a full shop, it's easier to do. That said, if I found the ideal bus with a CAT 3126 I would buy it. The T444 is nothing to be scared of either, just know it has less power than you might want in the bigger buses.



Hope that helps.


This helps a lot, thank you!



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