Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-15-2018, 06:18 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 10
Is This A Good One?

I have found a 1986 Bluebird bus that the owner is willing to trade for my full size van. It is roughly 36 feet long and appears to be an activity bus with 6'4" ceiling height and under floor storage (yay!). It is also a pusher, which is what I wanted.

I was originally looking for a 40 footer since it will be me and my three kids living in it full time, but if I can make the floor plan work I was strongly considering this bus especially since they are wiling to trade, did all the demo, and have it licensed as an RV already. They are also close to home and the bus only has 160k mileage on it.

He said that a mechanic has checked out the engine already and says it is in great condition and ready for cross-country travel. However, I know nothing about the engine. I hear everywhere to go with a Cummins but this bus comes with a Caterpillar 3208. Is that a good engine?

Thanks in advance for your wisdom and advice!!!
Mom2three is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 06:59 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2three View Post
I have found a 1986 Bluebird bus that the owner is willing to trade for my full size van. It is roughly 36 feet long and appears to be an activity bus with 6'4" ceiling height and under floor storage (yay!). It is also a pusher, which is what I wanted.

I was originally looking for a 40 footer since it will be me and my three kids living in it full time, but if I can make the floor plan work I was strongly considering this bus especially since they are wiling to trade, did all the demo, and have it licensed as an RV already. They are also close to home and the bus only has 160k mileage on it.

He said that a mechanic has checked out the engine already and says it is in great condition and ready for cross-country travel. However, I know nothing about the engine. I hear everywhere to go with a Cummins but this bus comes with a Caterpillar 3208. Is that a good engine?

Thanks in advance for your wisdom and advice!!!



The 3208 is an old motor. Most of them aren't turbocharged so it's going to be pretty slow. More important is going to be the transmission and the gearing. I wouldn't want a bus that tops out at 50 mph.



Some people on this forum swear by the CAT 3208 others consider it a boat anchor. Depends on who you ask but if it was me I'd keep on looking. Plenty of newer buses out there with better powertrains for not much more money.
WIbluebird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 08:17 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
o1marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 3,459
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
The 3208 is an old motor. Most of them aren't turbocharged so it's going to be pretty slow. More important is going to be the transmission and the gearing. I wouldn't want a bus that tops out at 50 mph.



Some people on this forum swear by the CAT 3208 others consider it a boat anchor. Depends on who you ask but if it was me I'd keep on looking. Plenty of newer buses out there with better powertrains for not much more money.
It's funny because most of the people who claim it's a bad motor say so through word of mouth only and no personal experience. Everyone of those people who end up buying a Cat change their minds almost instantly.
Cummins makes desirable engine and not so desirable engines. Those that own theless desirable one rationalize how great they are, but I think they have no experience in a "better" bus to know the difference. The only downside to a Cat that "I've heard", but not experienced first hand is that Cats, need expensive parts and can only be serviced at Cat dealers, but I don't believe that all to be true.
o1marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 09:54 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 15,574
Year: 2004
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 32
The 3208 isn't the best Cat engine, that's for sure. Its sort of semi-boat anchor status like the 8.2 DD and IH 9.0 engines.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2018, 10:00 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,160
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
As much as I like Caterpillar, that is one to shy away from. Costly repairs on that coming if reports are accurate about it. Most agree they are so I would like to see you pass even if a good to you, trade seems lost.


John
__________________
Question everything!
BlackJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2018, 07:48 AM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 1,871
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
The popular reputation I hear about CAT is that they don't pass Quality Control if they don't leak. But in my experience, all buses leak.
__________________
Keep up with us and our build!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2018, 09:51 AM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 10,035
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
its an old school bus its probably going to leave a few drops of fluids on. the ground...



for reference ever notice how the truck-spaces at the rest areas are always stained with oils, coolants, grease, etc? those guys run their trucks on average 125,000 miles a year.. leaking and all.. keep things , checked and topped off..



from the people who drive school busses for a living, many of them lament how their CAT-3208s are gone because while they werent the most powerful, they tended to just go..



-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2018, 11:18 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 10
It sounds like I would be smart to nix this bus. I figured it was too good to be true, so I will keep on looking!

Thank you, again, for your help!
Mom2three is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2018, 01:22 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 15,574
Year: 2004
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
The popular reputation I hear about CAT is that they don't pass Quality Control if they don't leak. But in my experience, all buses leak.
My 3126 doesn't leak. Yet.
Only 64k miles on it though!
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2018, 02:41 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 735
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: TE 444
Rated Cap: 12
3208 pretty much means you have at least an mt643 transmission if an auto, 545 would not handle the lowest torque rating of the 3208
Kubla is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

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 07:17 AM.


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