Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-12-2015, 10:11 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Utah
Posts: 51
Looking for a bus, does my dream bus exist?

I've done a little bit of research, and I have some pretty specific criteria for the bus I want to buy soon. This will be my first bus, and I want reliability over everything else, as I will be living in it full time with my wife as we slowly travel across the US.

Here's our wish list.

1) rear emergency exit (or at least rear side emergency exit) for our "garage" where we will keep the mountain bikes. This is a must (unless you have a better storage solution for mountain bikes in the rear of the bus. I'm all ears). I don't want to keep the bikes in the middle of the bus, they're too big and they'll just be in the way all the time. And I don't want to keep the bicycles outside as they're valuable and I don't want them being exposed to the elements all the time.

2) DT466 engine, I'm sold on this one after reading the reliability. I could possibly be talked into an equivalent 8L cummins, but only if the power/reliability is going to be similar.

3) Sturdy, OD trans. I want the best of both worlds (don't we all?): able to climb the steep passes in Colorado, but still cruise at 65-70 mph comfortably without overheating or destroying the motor. I don't need lightning fast speeds, just reliability as we travel the US. I'd even be ok with a manual trans, provided it's reliable, and my wife can drive it. She's great at driving stick in an econobox, but I imagine a bus is an entirely different beast.

4) I think we want something in the 30-35 foot range. 40 ft would be awesome for the room, but I fear it'd be too big to get into the campsites we want. I only want a single rear axle.

5) ground clearance would be ideal, since we plan on doing a fair amount of boondocking.

6) I'd love a jake or engine brake of some kind when descending. We plan on spending a lot of time in Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and the West Coast.

7) rust free is always ideal, but I can handle patching a few panels.

date of manufacture doesn't really matter to me, as long as it's reliable and fit for building our house in.


We're open to either a school bus or a touring bus, provided the above criteria are met.

Does anything like this exist, or did I just build a dream bus that I'll never find?


And a few other noob questions.

1) I think I want a mid-engine, but I could be talked out of this if a dognose would be better. Rear engine would be ideal, but I'd lose my rear garage area, which is a must have.

2) is a mid-engine any quieter to drive than a dognose? any disadvantages to a mid-engine? I imagine they'll have a better
weight distributi

3) I live in Utah, so something close by would be fantastic (I'm not asking you to search for me, but I wouldn't turn down someone dropping a line on something they found that meets my criteria)

4) Do I want air brakes or hydraulic?

5) I think I want a steel body, so i can weld it up if I need to. I can't tig weld, so aluminum bodies don't seem as repairable for me. Am I overthinking this?

Our plans: keep backpacking the US as we live and work full-time out of our bus. We'll be hauling a 4000lb 4x4 toad for in-town exploration and mountain bike/camping trips. We plan on staying in each town for a few weeks before moving to the next. We want to boondock but also be able to camp at RV camps as well. Any suggestions are greatly apprciated.
__________________
follow our adventures at http://themoreweexplore.com
themoreweexplore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2015, 10:59 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
Posts: 2,939
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Welcome.

Go read as many build threads as you can. The answers to most of your questions are there.

No welding needed. Buses are riveted together.

Your not going to get a mid engine unless you buy a Crown. People that like looks over function have driven the price of crowns way up. Some think they are made of gold.
Crowns are much harder to convert due to the way they are made and all the curved panels. Also parts like windshields and such are no longer available, making them super expensive when you find one.
Over all, for someone that thinks logically, a crown is not worth having for the reasons I mentioned and many more.

Rear engine buses are great for their balance, power, and comfort when driving. The engine noise stays in the rear away from the operator.

Most rear engine buses have a door on the drivers side for emergency escape. This door is only around 24 inches wide, but would be large enough to get peddle bikes in and out.

Many rear engine buses have air ride and air brakes.

Around here rear engine buses cost around twice what a dog nose bus will.

We have several dog nose 96 international 38 footers with mechanical DT466's, 5 and 6 speed standard transmissions, and best of all, air ride. The rear caps are rusted on them all, preventing them from being used as a bus anymore. Most of them have just over 100,000km on them. One tenth of the life of the engine.

Nat
__________________
"Don't argue with stupid people. They will just drag you down to their level, and beat you up with experience."

Patently waiting for the apocalypses to level the playing field in this physiological game of life commonly known as Civilization
nat_ster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2015, 11:25 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Utah
Posts: 51
Thanks for the advice Nat. Good points on the crowns, I wasn't aware of that.

On the rear-engine busses, with the emergency escape door, is it at the very back, or more like 3/4 back?
__________________
follow our adventures at http://themoreweexplore.com
themoreweexplore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2015, 11:29 AM   #4
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,120
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
For where you want to go and the lifestyle you want to live, get a 35-ish footer conventional nose bus. Best of rougher roads and towing. And it will have a nice rear door that can be made into your garage area. I'm building a bike/tool area in the back of my 40 footer.
Get one from, say, Colorado since it was ordered and spec'ed to handle the terrain better than one from a low lying state. You won't likely find any with a real Jake, but some have retarders. You really want a manual transmission for the mountains.
A coach bus would be awesome, but the ground clearance mat be an issue as will the rear door. These cruise down the highway so much better than any school bus, imo.
You're right about the DT466 being a great engine. I love mine. It runs as good as new with a quarter million miles on it and parts are everywhere. Very serviceable and common. Get a mechanical one (pre 1996 but a few 96's are out there with mechanical injection too) for ease of working on it.
A dog nose, mechanical 466 bus is pretty darn rugged and I think that's what I'd start searching for first.
All just my opinion, of course.
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2015, 11:40 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Utah
Posts: 51
Thanks East Coast CB. When you say the coach busses cruise better down the highway, are you talking about the ride, gearing, power, speed, or all of the above? Is a school bus unbearable to travel 1000 miles in? I really appreciate all the feedback, I know there are a million of these threads every day on here.

Would a coach bus be decent in the mountains, or are they better suited for flat, long stretches?

Are dog nose busses so loud that I should consider using earplugs when driving long distances?
__________________
follow our adventures at http://themoreweexplore.com
themoreweexplore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2015, 11:41 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
Posts: 2,939
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoreweexplore View Post
Thanks for the advice Nat. Good points on the crowns, I wasn't aware of that.

On the rear-engine busses, with the emergency escape door, is it at the very back, or more like 3/4 back?
They are in front of the rear wheel well, 3/4 of the way back.

Nat
__________________
"Don't argue with stupid people. They will just drag you down to their level, and beat you up with experience."

Patently waiting for the apocalypses to level the playing field in this physiological game of life commonly known as Civilization
nat_ster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2015, 11:56 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Utah
Posts: 51
k, that's what I thought. I was secretly hoping there was another DT466 RE bus out there with a exit/garage in the very back.
__________________
follow our adventures at http://themoreweexplore.com
themoreweexplore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2015, 12:01 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Scooternj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: EHT New Jersey
Posts: 1,134
Year: 2003
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International 3000RE
Engine: T444E/AT545
Rated Cap: 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
They are in front of the rear wheel well, 3/4 of the way back.

Nat
The emergency exit on mine, open-
Scooternj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2015, 12:12 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,120
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoreweexplore View Post
Thanks East Coast CB. When you say the coach busses cruise better down the highway, are you talking about the ride, gearing, power, speed, or all of the above? Is a school bus unbearable to travel 1000 miles in? I really appreciate all the feedback, I know there are a million of these threads every day on here.

Would a coach bus be decent in the mountains, or are they better suited for flat, long stretches?

Are dog nose busses so loud that I should consider using earplugs when driving long distances?
As long as you arent hitting any off highway type situations a coach is better on any kind of decent, paved road. They get a bit less mpg but are like cadillacs. Theyre more comfortable more powerful and all that.
A thousand miles isnt too bad in a schoolie. I drove my bus nearly a thousand miles home. But I was a bit envious of every coach that flew by me as I puttered along the slow lane.
But a school bus cheaper and more rugged. I have a quarter mile long sugar sand driveway that a coach simply wouldnt be likely to get through.
I think cabin noise isnt as bad as many seem to.think. a conventional bus isnt bad at all imo but what do I know I ran a plasma table for a decade and own a FE bus. The noise from mine didnt bother me too bad in 800 miles of driving.
Think ill be sleeping and cooking in mine way more than driving it anyhow.
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2015, 09:18 PM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
Posts: 2,939
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Front engine dog nose buses ride as good as any MDT truck. With air ride rears, I think they ride and handle great. I have driven a 96 international with a DT466, air ride rear back from Edmonton to Westlock (a hour drive) at 206 kmh. That bus has 3.54 gears. The long wheel base and the air ride made for great high speed handling.

Front engine flat nose buses like the TC2000 ride poorly. They nose dive into every crack in the road. The shorter the bus, the worse it is. Some buyers order more shocks per wheel in the front to try to fix this issue. I have seen 3 shocks per wheel. It does help some, but the dog nose still rides better.
They are also loud, and hot. They lack insulation between you and the engine.

For your needs, I would get a 96 or older international dog nose, DT466 with a 6 speed manual transmission, and air ride rear. It will still have the big back door you need. Most here also have the Better air brakes. Best combo for your needs IMO.

Nat
__________________
"Don't argue with stupid people. They will just drag you down to their level, and beat you up with experience."

Patently waiting for the apocalypses to level the playing field in this physiological game of life commonly known as Civilization
nat_ster is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bus advice, which bus

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


» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.