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Old 10-28-2011, 12:36 PM   #1
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Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

I'm thinking of getting an older bus to convert. I am leaning towards a dog nose for easier engine access, the last thing I need is to make maintenance harder. I was wondering when the bus makers strarted using fuel injection and computer controls? I want one without any electronics. I am inclined towards a gas engine so I can make it run on alcohol, but might look at a diesel if I can work out growing my own fuel for it. What models might be good for this? Thanks for any help/ideas/suggestions.
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:03 PM   #2
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

This might be an interesting project.

I would think you'd need to go back to the early 90's to get away from the computer controls. 'Twas me, I'd go for a common diesel engine for parts availability and the variety of fuels that will work in one. That plus the overall durability of the diesel engine. Diesels are injected by design. Not sure if there are mechanical injectors but I would think there would be. Diesels were around a long time before electronics came on the scene.

Not sure how accurate the info was, but I was told that the electromagnetic pulse from a nuke exploding nearby would take out ignition coils and alternators so those would need to be "hardened" also. "Nearby" meaning close but still survivable lol.

You could even make part of the bus bullet proof. Just depends on what you're bugging out from.
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:10 PM   #3
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

You probably stand a better change of finding an older diesel engine in good shape than you would an older gasoline engine. Our bus has a non-electronic turbo diesel in it (1986).
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:38 PM   #4
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Go for a turbo diesel. The paticular engine would depend on the weight of the bus. Cummins has the 5.9L & 8.3L (both good), International has the dt360, & dt466 (the dt466 is the favorite). Cat has a few, but they gets no raves. For lack of electronics, you'd be best to look at prior to the mid-90's. For automatic transmissions the Allison mt643 is the perferred one in that age range.

For alternative fuel the diesel engine is best, IMO. People burn all sorts of oil, from straight vegtable to used motor oil, and all report excellent results.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:53 AM   #5
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Thanks for the suggestions. I prefer a manual transmission, generally. How do I know if a bus is mechanically injected? Does anyone know when the electronic controls were introduced?

ETA: I am thinking a largish skoolie. Something in the 35 or 40 foot range.
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Old 10-29-2011, 01:05 PM   #6
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

I have a 83 GMC Ward bus with a gas 366 engine.

I am very happy with it and so far its not been any kind of a nightmare. I start and move it regularly so no sitting issues come about. If you have back ground in gas motors then I would really lean that way. Not sure why you would want to go alcohol on a bus.... The fuel storage is going to be HUGE.

I would look in older buses like I did. They are out there and a decent price. I know parts may be getting harder but in my case I use mine for a tailgate bus so its use will be limited. Hope this helps.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:20 PM   #7
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

This bus would be expected to make long trips reliably, possibly frequently. As a Doomer, I want the ability to produce fuel for my bus. The idea is to be the last one to run out of fuel...I was leaning towards alcohol because it can be made from a broader range of feedstocks than veggie oil and can also be used in my tiller and the smaller tractor. I may go diesel based on storage ability and add enough extra tank to have a 2000+ mile range. Here on the farm producing the oil or the alcohol is not a hugely difficult thing but with alcohol I could make a batch on the fly as it were, without having to grow a crop specifically for fuel as with oil. Of course thenpermits for alcohol are a nuisance. Anyway, I'll probably go with whichever comes my way, meets my other requirements and I can afford.
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Old 10-29-2011, 03:19 PM   #8
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Thanks for the label of "Doomer", as it provides for interesting links. Not to date myself, but I was once a "survialist", back in a far simpler time when the only worry was obliteration by nuclear weapons. Kinda ended my first marriage, but that was better than being right, I suppose. For some reason, talk of peak oil is not well received in the bus community; though you can complain about the price of fuel all you want.
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:36 PM   #9
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Well, reality doesn't care what we like so we have to roll with it. If anyone is interested in that sort of thing I suppose we should step over to "Everthing Else".
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:27 PM   #10
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Probably best not to, (& mutters to self: must keep dream alive).
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:50 PM   #11
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Quote:
Originally Posted by revoltindevelopments
... Of course the permits for alcohol are a nuisance...
You mean you're supposed to get PERMITS for make Alcohol! Gee, no one I know that makes 'shine... er alcohol has any permits!
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:58 AM   #12
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Just curious, maybe I don't get the "bug out" philospohy quite right or something .... if you have a 2000 mile range on fuel that you make yourself, what do you do when you get to the end of that 2000 mile rope - drop anchor, plant switchgrass and wait?
Or do you just go 1000 miles and then come home for fuel?

I could be a little more parochial than I thought, but I haven't seen an alcohol pump at a Texaco lately.
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Old 10-30-2011, 11:41 AM   #13
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Only alcohol experience I have is with friends alcohol race care. Last time I looked they use 4x times as much fuel as the gas counter part. So with that said you would have to really really pack that bus with tanks that are HUGE to make a 2000 mile trek? The gas storage would also be a killer to make that kind of mileage on a gas model also.

I applaude the efforts for using what you make but as said... I havent seen many alcohol pumps at stations?
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:33 PM   #14
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

I believe his design criteria is operation in a world with minimal petroleum, and as an escape pod.

He wants to do it his way, which after all, is the bus converters' motto.
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:56 PM   #15
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

That's my point when recommending a diesel. The gas engine can use gasoline or alcohol but the diesel can use dino diesel, vegetable oils, used motor oil; even kerosene and jet fuel. You could grow a field of soybeans and fuel both humans and diesels. Same with corn, or sunflowers or a bunch of different plants that can be pressed for their oil. Many of those plants will yield alcohol too, but the oils have more energy potential and will take you farther on a tank.

The survivalist looks at civilization and asks "how do I survive when all this infrastructure breaks down?" My take on that is that there is a remote chance of that happening, but I'd be foolish not to at least understand the problems and take some basic precautions. At present I've got the guns and ammo part covered.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:11 AM   #16
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

The advantage of alcohol is the ability to make it from widely available feedstocks I don't have to grow, such as honeylocust pods or crabapples. This way as long as I have a still and a fermentation vat I can make more fuel. Feedstocks for veggie oil/biodiesel require access to cropland, seeds, fertilizer and a growing season as well as the pressing and processing equipment. That is doable here on the farm but unlikely to be workable on the move. On the other hand a diesel with 2000 miles range would mean I don't need the ability to make fuel on the move as pretty much anywhere we would try to go is well within that distance. And as long as fuel is available we can just buy more if we want to make longer trips. Ok, I think I'm convinced to go with the diesel. Or maybe pull the bus with oxen.
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Old 11-07-2011, 12:26 PM   #17
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

There are advantages to both approaches. Being able to harvest fuel on the go would certainly be an advantage. The oxen may well be the best idea of all; cutting the whole fermentation thing out and converting the fuel on the move. You can't eat your bus and no matter how many busses you have, they'll never make any little busses for you.

Going a bit off topic here, but I read an article by a guy who reasoned that when the stuff hits the fan most everyone will flee the cities and run to the countryside 'cause that's where the food is. His position was that instead of being one of those fleeing, the best approach is to already be a resident of a small town where, presumably, you'll be one of "US" instead of one of "THEM" on doomsday. His advice was to buy a house well inside the town boundaries so you're not on the outer defense perimiter, and have enough land so you could plant crops in a non-obvious fashion (i.e. disguised as weeds). Running water or a well, of course would be a big plus and a free-fire zone around the house would be essential. The town should be just a bit more than a gas tank away from major cities to avoid the big invasion of those in desperate need of what you've so responsibly squirreled away for a rainy day. You would, of course, be armed to the teeth and be prepared to defend your supplies with deadly force.

If I can find the guy's name I'll post it here. He made some good points.

When the doomsday scenario finally does play out I imagine that the population of the earth will go from billions to millions in short order.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:56 PM   #18
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711
... His position was that instead of being one of those fleeing, the best approach is to already be a resident of a small town where, presumably, you'll be one of "US" instead of one of "THEM" on doomsday. His advice was to buy a house well inside the town boundaries so you're not on the outer defense perimeter, and have enough land so you could plant crops in a non-obvious fashion (i.e. disguised as weeds). Running water or a well, of course would be a big plus and a free-fire zone around the house would be essential...(

I'm lived most of my life in a farming community. I would suggest that staying put and investing in a sustainable farm would be better than trying to move around. Get a subscription to Mother Earth news and learn to farm and put food by. Earth sheltered house would be safe from fires.

Look up "Designing Sustainable Small Farms" (July /August 1984) or the series of articles tilted "The Owner Built Home and Homestead" (1972) for some info. I remember seeing an article where it showed how to buy and set up a sustainable farm but can't seem to locate it. It's someplace in an old issue.

On edit: found the article in Issue #2 - March /April 1970. It's from the Book "The Have-More Plan" by Ed & Carolyn Robinson (1943)
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:23 PM   #19
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

OK. The guy's name is Mel Tappan and the article is "Tappan on Survival." It was out of print when I'd first come across it but now it's available from Amazon and others.

It's good information that I hope I never need.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:31 PM   #20
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Re: Older bus requirements(bug out bus)

Quote:
Earth sheltered house would be safe from fires.
And gunfire. Way more energy efficient too. Good point Lorna.
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