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Old 09-27-2009, 02:15 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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How to Identify differns busses

Hello, I'm new, but have been following for a few years. I decided I needed a ne project and this would be it, but I am having one big problem. Identifing busses. I know the grill will normally give the engine maker, but from looking at pictures how do you know which engine? and tranny? Inless they have decals that are shown, how can you tell which maker of the body? It seems that even some of the same year will have different combos?

Also I have seen a few "conventional" school busses that have a lowered side skirts and some belly storage? I believe these were thomas bodys with international engines. Is there a specific term for these? Seems most of the ones I see are in the Northeast.

Is there a fuel mileage difference between the convential and flat nose busses? I know you seem to be able to get more usable space from a flat nosed when comparing the same length busses. But how hard is it access the engine. I've seen some pics of pushers that seem like there is plenty of room to work, although you would be on the ground or on your back. And then the front engine flat nosed with the "dog house" cover that seems like its a pain to work on, or even clamber over on daily use.

So the more I learn , The more I loose sight. Coule someone offer insight....

Here is my wish list in order of importance ....
1. Fuel economy.
2. Usable Space
3. Ease of engine access
4. Belly Storage

Thanks, and this really is a great site.
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Old 09-27-2009, 02:47 PM   #2
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Re: How to Identify differns busses

I understand about the fuel economy and I use that term in a relative sense. My stock 4wd crewcad s-10 gets 15mpg while the wifes AWD Expedition gets 12, and towing a trailer it drops from there. I saw the poll for the MPG and was surprised by the 10mpg club . I would like that is possible.

As far as size I want as big as possible. Not really, but I did see a convential 14 row window. Now that was a long bus. I would love to have something like that but I'm sure driving something that long is not easy. In reality I would like to have about 30 usable space inside. I assume that would be a 11 or 12 window conventional.

I like the looks of the pushers, they look more like a true RV, but the ease of engine access of the conventional keeps me coming back, but them some of pushers seem to sell cheaper.

I figured I could add storage if needed and will look at Vanguys photos.

SO I'm still at a lost.
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Old 09-27-2009, 05:06 PM   #3
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Re: How to Identify differns busses

I like the flat front busses because of the tighter turning radius. I've been in several tourist towns I would HATE to navigate a traditional bus through.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:24 PM   #4
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Re: How to Identify differns busses

1. Fuel economy.
These things were not made for economy...

2. Usable Space
As stated above, the bigger the bus the more usable space you have.

3. Ease of engine access
I'm kind of at odds with the wisdom that a conventional will have easier access. To access an older style conventional (being relatively short) I'd have to climb up onto the front bumper, then bend over to work on the motor, and on the newer style conventional the whole front end flips forward... which indeed gives pretty easy access. I still find that ya have to climb up and stand on one of the front tires to access parts of the engine.

IMHO the pusher is easier to access 90% of the motor, stand behind the bus right at ground level, flip the giant engine door up (it's on gas shocks), and stand right there and do what ever you need. If I have to get to the back side of the motor for some reason and can't reach around from the front, I can open the side hatch, pull out the air cleaner and get to it that way.

4. Belly Storage
If you can find it great, otherwise you may have to make your own. I will point out that full belly storage (all the way across from one side to the other) is only available on a rear engine pusher, conventional units have a drive shaft down the middle of the undercarriage, so you will only have belly storage on the sides, perhaps smaller in total cubic feet, but just as effective.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:40 PM   #5
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Re: How to Identify differns busses

thomas saftey liner? powered by ?

I like the looks of that.

I have logged about ten hours today reading as many post as I could. Trying to learn as much as possible. It seems the majority here hold the dt466 and mt643 as the best combo. Top engines would be the dt466, cummins 8.3 , 5.9 then the dt360. Top tranny would be the mt643, then the at545. Is this correct?

Is there a real difference in the gound clearance of a conventional and pusher? If so how much? I assume the dig differnce for schools is rod conditions, ie all city = transit, while rual dirt roads = convential?

I'm going now to find out why the detroit diesels are viewed as turds, while floridachurchbus.com says-
"8.2 liter turbocharged Detroit Diesel - 225 hp - LOTS OF POWER!!! Great fuel economy, too!"

thanks guys
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:58 AM   #6
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Re: How to Identify differns busses

I've never dealt with Greg at floridachurchbus, but a member here has. You might want to do your homework.

As for the 8.2....there are two versions of it, one being normally aspirated and the other being turbocharged. Your difference in power is going to be there for the most part. Also, the same engine is speced with different horsepower ratings in different applications. Personally, I would recommend looking at the inline 6 motors for their better torque though they do give up some ability to rev like the V-8's. Of course high revving also means high fuel consumptions. Every motor on your list there is an I-6.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:15 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Re: How to Identify differns busses

One engine I'm not finding much info on is the Cat 3116. My local school system has Bluebird buses with these. They sell at auction for 1300-1700, with 130-190000 miles. I cant seem to find any info on which tranny it has. Any thoughts on the 3116?

Also, I know speed isnt a virtue of these beast, but is one style have a higher top end speed than the other? ie... convential faster than transit? Im sure engine/tranny/gears have a major part in this, but on the average which style is quicker?
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:17 PM   #8
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Re: How to Identify differns busses

I would steer clear of the 31 series Cat engines especially the 3116. They have had more than their share of problems from the HEUI injectors down to bad castings leading to blocks breaking. In the marine side of things,a boat with 3116's will be a burdon to sell and greatly devalued due to these. Youd be better served with any other inline 6 you mentioned earlier, cummins or Intl.
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Old 09-29-2009, 03:03 PM   #9
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Re: How to Identify differns busses

smitty I think you may have posted the wrong link or to the wrong question?
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:48 PM   #10
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Re: How to Identify differns busses

the cat 31 series engines had som early production issues that have been resolved either by warranty service and or enginering improvements over the last 20 years of production. the HEUI injection system is/was a joint development venture between cat and ih, the new electronic ih engines use the HEUI injection also, and again the early production units had some reliability issues that have been resolved, my choice would be any of the I6 engines that are based in the larger slower speed high torque truck engines.
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