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Old 08-12-2004, 09:04 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 39
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward
Engine: 5.9L Cummins Diesel
Help with bus purchase

Considering the purchase of a used school bus. Bus will be used as support vehicle for RAGBRAI, a week long bike ride across Iowa, as well as a couple other misc. trips each year. Will replace our previous bus which lost the transmission, twice...

Dont know a lot of the details about this bus yet, but what I do know is:

- Flat nose
- 65 passenger, 11 window
- 111,000 miles
- Air brakes
- Tires are 1100's
- 5.9L Cummins Diesel
- Allison tranny

Does this engine/tranny setup have the power we'll need? How does this combo hold up? Any things to look out for?

The price on the bus is less than $2000. Good deal?

Any help is sincerely appreciated!!
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Old 08-12-2004, 10:18 AM   #2
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Sounds like a great deal, what year is it? What team are you with, I probably have pictures of your old bus in the gallery.
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:00 AM   #3
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Year: 1992
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Engine: 5.9L Cummins Diesel
It is a 1992.

Team BAT is our team name. Not sure if you have a pic or not, definitely not from this year's ride, unless you got a pic of it behind the tow truck! ;)
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:06 AM   #4
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Year: 1992
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Engine: 5.9L Cummins Diesel
One additional question - Do you think this would have the power and toughness to hold up for years of RAGBRAI rides?

We had our previous bus, a 1981 Ford for 5 years, but the motor seemed underpowered, and as I mentioned, the tranny went out twice now. We're just trying to get the best thing possible with our limited funds.

Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2004, 01:29 PM   #5
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From the things i've read, and the bus mechanics i've talked to, the 5.9 cummings is BAD. STAY AWAY!

Lapeer Community Schools is the local school district where i purchased my bus. i stop in every now and then and chat with the mechanics. All there "new" buses since 2000 or 2001 are freightliners with the 5.9 cummings. Almost every one of those buses have been towed back to the shop for warranty engine work at least once. It's mostly a problem with injector pumps.

The 5.9 Liter Cumings is a good pickup truck motor, it is not good in a medium duty/heavy duty truck applications ie: a full size skoolie.

I would suggest you wait unitl you find a bus with an international motor. I've also heard good things about the brazialian made Ford 6.6 liter like i have in my bus. They're short on power, but seem to run a long time. The 6.6 liter is really expensive to work on. The international engines are plentiful, reliable, and cheap to work on. My next bus will most likely have an international DT series engine in it. ..


Just my 2 cents
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
From the things i've read, and the bus mechanics i've talked to, the 5.9 cummings is BAD. STAY AWAY!
Not to start a flamefest or anything - BUT - In my experience the only 5.9's that have repeated problems seem to be the electronic controled late model ones. And it's usually the lift pump not the injector pump that's the prob. Many injector pumps have been replaced needlessly because of the underengineered lift pump! My bus (96 Ford/Thomas) has a little over 170,000 on it's 5.9 and is still as strong as ever. 65 is easy, 70 is possible w/4.33 gears. I really wouldn't be afraid of an older 5.9 it'll have all the power you need, you'll lose a little to the allison, but not enough to worry about........

.02 worth -

stego
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Old 10-04-2005, 07:08 PM   #7
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 diesel
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A company I work for has one of them 99 bluebirds with the 5.9ISB.
The injector pump did go bad twice at about 50,000 miles each. The lift pump would start to fail and if that isn't cought soon enough the injector pump will starve for fuel and try to suck the fuel on its own which it can not do real well. I personaly don't care for the 5.9 cummins. I havn't used the older ones before the electronic stuff was added.
I will say that the motor itself seems pretty easy to work on at least until it needs an overhaul done to it.
On the plus side of this bus it would do 70mph on the flat, 62 up a steep hill, and 75 down hill. The rpms ran up to 2750. And since it was the electronic motor we were able to put in a "Diablo Power Puck". Which gave it more get up and go on the start, but it doesn't give it any more top end speed. I do not recall what rear end ratio it have off hand, I'd have to check. I thought it was somewhere around 4.??
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