Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-14-2017, 05:34 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 3
How many miles is too many miles on a bus

I've been thinking about getting a bus to convert, and all the ones I've looked at seem to have alot of miles. If I do this I plan to be doing ALOT of driving. I normally wouldn't buy a car with more than 160,000 on it should I think differently about a bus? Anyway if you guys could let me know what you think I would appreciate it thank!
Mesuds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2017, 06:04 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mesuds View Post
I've been thinking about getting a bus to convert, and all the ones I've looked at seem to have alot of miles. If I do this I plan to be doing ALOT of driving. I normally wouldn't buy a car with more than 160,000 on it should I think differently about a bus? Anyway if you guys could let me know what you think I would appreciate it thank!
160000 is low mileage on a bus, and it works against the bus. I'll explain.

We are talking about engines and transmissions that have an average expected life before rebuild ob between 350 and 500 thousand miles. These mileages are commonly achieved by medium-duty trucks running the same drive-trains.

In that context, 160k is barely broken-in. However, it's not that simple. Medium duty truck run all day, most days. They get up to operating temperature, and they stay there. School buses do not do that. They often run between 2 and 4 hours a day on multiple pick-up routes, and for only 180 days a year. The rest of the time they are parked. I think the average school bus does about 15000 miles a year under what the engine manufacturers would consider to be severe duty conditions.

That's going to shorten the life before rebuild, but it will depend a lot on how well they were maintained. In general, the bigger school districts will have more comprehensive maintenance programs, but that's not always the case.

If you buy a bus that was used mainly for activities, rather than running a regular route, then it is likely to have operated under better conditions, and have been treated better because they were generally expensive buses.

Bottom line here is that 160k, as mileage, is absolutely nothing to worry about, especially if the engine hour meter agrees (It should be under about 7000 hours on that mileage).

So to be sure all you can do is check ... Oil analysis, engine blow-by, smoke when warm, etc. Most school districts are honest about these things, but not all.

It's unlikely that a 160k bus will pose any real problems, especially if it is being sold because it has aged out of the fleet, but it's a bus, with an engine, and they can break.
__________________
Steve Bracken

Build Thread
Twigg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2017, 11:40 PM   #3
Traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mesuds View Post
I've been thinking about getting a bus to convert, and all the ones I've looked at seem to have alot of miles. If I do this I plan to be doing ALOT of driving. I normally wouldn't buy a car with more than 160,000 on it should I think differently about a bus? Anyway if you guys could let me know what you think I would appreciate it thank!
They all don't have a lot of miles necessarily. Mine has 26,000 miles, but was a bookmobile. Someone on the Board here has something redonkulous like 16K mi.

I saw a few full sized FE buses by me under $4K and 80K mi and 130K mi, IRC.

So, if low miles is important to you- go find your Unicorn.

Most important thing : It was driven and maintained regularly. Not always the case with Church buses.
Rusty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2017, 11:48 PM   #4
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 3
Thanks I don't know how important it is to me persay I just don't want to be fixing stuff all the time little stuff is fine, but not interested in a $3000 dollar vechile I have to put $2000 of repairs into every year. I'm also interested in doing the veggie oil thing.
Mesuds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2017, 01:05 AM   #5
Bus Nut
 
bus-bro's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Whidbey Island, WA.
Posts: 746
Year: 1984
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 3208 na boat anchor
Rated Cap: 2
A straight mechanical diesel bus would be the way to go, and that would be older -- if want to do veggie. A higher mileage engine might not be a bad thing because you might waste the engine trying to figure it out any way. Most like the dt 466 engine. Stay away from cats. A pancake 6-71 in a Crown, I think, would be a great bus to play with. A 10 wheel Crown goes for $4 to 6 thousand.
bus-bro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2017, 01:31 AM   #6
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 3
Thanks What do you think about 5.9 Cummins I kind of like how common it is I figure lots of parts and mechanic should be able to work on it
Mesuds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2017, 06:44 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
M1031A1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Russell, Kansas
Posts: 1,281
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mesuds View Post
Thanks What do you think about 5.9 Cummins I kind of like how common it is I figure lots of parts and mechanic should be able to work on it
That 5.9 depends upon the size and weight of the bus in question. If you have a shorty, and plan to have her as a weekend get-away camping bus, not a bad choice. However, if you're looking at a 40' full-time plan-to-see-all-of-North-America bus, then pass. That engine is too small for your needs. If you're looking for a summer vacation going to the Rockies - again, pass. The 5.9 is okay for a smaller bus with less weight. However, for a larger bus and driving in hills or mountains, the 5.9 will bog down to 10 to 20 m.p.h. depending upon circumstances.

As far as parts availability, your spot-on. Most Dodge/Freightliner dealerships and shade-tree mechanics know these engines well. Just keep in mind what you're looking to do with the bus before determining what size drivetrain you need, then search appropriately.

M
__________________
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American peopleís liberty teeth and keystone under independence. ó George Washington
M1031A1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2017, 11:02 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
GBuch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: PA
Posts: 14
So whatís a good engine size for the full time see all bus. Iím looking for a bus but donít even know where to begin. Can someone put together a top 5 things to look for list maybe if possible. Thanks


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
GBuch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2017, 11:34 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 228
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: AARE 3903
Engine: Cummins 8.3L 12v
Rated Cap: 78
Keep in mind not all engines are designed to have the same lifespan, so the same mileage on two different buses can mean different things. The diesels in Skoolies are certainly designed to last longer than an automotive engine, but are not quite the "million mile" engines used in long haul trucks. Some of the engines are designed to last longer than others.

One of the ways to gauge the relative design service life of different engines is to look at the B10/B50 ratings from the manufacturers. This is not a predictor of actual life span of an individual engine, but gives a somewhat fair comparison of different engines from a statistical perspective under controlled conditions. B10 means that 10% of the engines within the sample pool required a major overhaul by that mileage, B50 means half did or the average mileage to major overhaul. A "good" engine with excellent maintenance and gentle use could go much longer. A "bad" engine that's been abused could go much sooner.

This data is not always easy to find, but here is what I managed to dig up after hunting a while back.

Code:
Engine               B10 / B50
International VT365    - / 300k
International T444e 200k / 350k
Cummins ISB / 5.9L  200k / 350k
Cat C7                 - / 400k
Mercedes 906           - / 500k
Internation DT466   300k / 500k
Cummins ISC / 8.3L     - / 500k
Detroit DD13           - / 1,000k
Volvo D13              - / 1,200k
In most cases these engines are designed to be rebuilt and "do it again" so long as you don't wait too long and experience a catastrophic failure. I believe this info also only applies to the core systems of the engine, many ancillary systems are likely expected to be replaced / rebuilt more frequently. But failure of those systems (cooling for example) can cause major damage and/or shorten engine lifespan.

Rob
miscrms is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2017, 02:42 PM   #10
Traveling
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mesuds View Post
I'm also interested in doing the veggie oil thing.
Ok, so that is decision that needs to be made now. Some tolerate it, some don't. I don't hear many veggie Cummins tales.

7.3 IDI engine or any all-mechanical (older) will be best bet. Newer engines will not be as happy unless labeled b20 $$$ and that's only 20%.

Read
Rusty is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
mileage

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.