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Old 11-04-2015, 05:45 AM   #11
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Location: EHT New Jersey
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International 3000RE
Engine: T444E/AT545
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Solid dirt roads and gravel are fine, mud/clay forget about it. I've been on GSA buses on both (as pax and operator) in the military.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:42 AM   #12
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
I've gotten my bus stuck in sugar sand twice. Sinks down into it immediately.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:11 AM   #13
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Eastern Kentucky
Posts: 76
My F250 is garbage in rain, snow, sand, loose dirt, and especially mud. My step father had to pull it out of the mud with his Subaru Legacy a few years ago :P Now, if it were a 4X4, I'd feel confident taking it anywhere.

I wouldn't even try taking a long bus up a dirt hill. I'd definitely do it with a short FE as long as it had enough weight in the back.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:19 AM   #14
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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The "driveway" where I keep my bus is like a quarter mile long and slightly uphill. The middle is very sandy and I'm ok as long as I maintain forward motion and stay on the throttle a bit. But the neighbor's property has grass over sandy soil and I've gotten stuck a couple times over there.

I really wish I'd gone with a 30-35' dog nose for the kind of travel I plan to do, but the FE transit style I have is a decent compromise, and its always gotten out on its own so far... Knocking on wood.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:20 AM   #15
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Thank you all for your input, it has given me a much better idea of what i can and cant do. It looks like 4x4 will be mandatory for a bus due to where I want to take it. I'm also considering super singles
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:46 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by lordsporkton View Post
Thank you all for your input, it has given me a much better idea of what i can and cant do. It looks like 4x4 will be mandatory for a bus due to where I want to take it. I'm also considering super singles
My approach is to go with one of the larger E450 based buses such as this Collins:



Width and height are pretty much identical to a full size bus, and a six window like this one usually runs about 15'-6" from the back of the driver's seat to the back door. I'm planning on picking one of these up and swapping in a Dana 60 front axle/suspension/steering from a 2003 or so Super Duty. Both vehicles use the same transmission (5R110 automatic)-the tailhousing of the 2WD version unbolts and the transfer case goes on in it's place. I'll probably need to fabricate a crossmember for it.

As for putting the power to the ground, I also think Super Singles would definitely be the way to go:



These Michelin 325/85/16s are military take offs that will fit easy to find 16x9 8 lug wheels. They are 38" tall and will support over 5000lbs per tire-perfect for these types of buses as GVWR maxes out at 14,500lbs. The goal would be to not lift the bus at all, but rather tub the rear and move the front axle forward/trim the fenders to achieve clearance. With a selectable rear locker the bus would go pretty much anywhere a prudent person would take it. I am building a bus that will be used quite a bit for surf fishing and 4WD is mandatory for beach access.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:58 AM   #17
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I was hoping for a bit more space than 15ft. I was hoping for more like 30 since im also using it as a toyhauler.

My need for 4x4 isnt that I'm doing anything super ccrazy, its more that i may need to go through things like sand or light mud or loose dirt. Most of the offroad places have reasonably flat places to put your trailer/rv but sometimes the make up of the dirt is rather loose or less than good traction. I would definitely be moving slowly through these areas.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lordsporkton View Post
I was hoping for a bit more space than 15ft. I was hoping for more like 30 since im also using it as a toyhauler.

My need for 4x4 isnt that I'm doing anything super ccrazy, its more that i may need to go through things like sand or light mud or loose dirt. Most of the offroad places have reasonably flat places to put your trailer/rv but sometimes the make up of the dirt is rather loose or less than good traction. I would definitely be moving slowly through these areas.
Gotcha-I missed that in the OP. I don't know what stock height of a fullsize bus wheel and tire combo is, but you could go super singles with these larger XMLs made for 5 ton trucks (rated for 9500lbs per tire):

395/85R20 46" Michelin XML tires

Aired down and locked you'd probably do fine. 46" is quite tall though.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:48 PM   #19
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird Mini-Bird 24'
Chassis: Chevy P30
Engine: Chevy 6.2L Diesel
Definitely get a Front-Engine Skool Bus--they were actually designed to be able to go pick up kids that lived in remote areas, as compared to Rear-engine buses where hard-roads are practically necessary. I've taken my 24' Mini-Bird through some dirt-road areas in Missouri (the town was literally called Wilderness) where I might have hesitated driving my Ford Ranger; it handled well-enough as long as I kept the wheels spinning--and the previous owner put highway tires on it.

A longer bus would probably be a little bit trickier to keep weight on the rear wheels, but I would imagine proper tires should be able to do the trick.
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