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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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