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Old 02-03-2010, 02:22 PM   #1
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?

The only Gillig buses I ever saw were CyRide in Ames, IA, back in college. I think those buses were well maintained, but there was a ton of stop and go...every couple blocks...slam on the brakes, stomp on the accelerator, repeat. I also wonder about the gearing of such a bus. Since it's intended purpose was for in town use, I wonder how well it would hold up (rpm-wise) running down the highway. That said, they did run a shuttle back and forth from the Des Moines airport at the beginning and end of each semester...but that was about an hour or so of highway driving. But there might be other Gilligs out there that I'm not familiar with.

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Old 02-03-2010, 04:14 PM   #2
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?

Transits have a lot of different options for transmissions and rear end gearing. A good example: I had the pleasure of driving several 83 GM Fishbowls that were retired from two different operators. Each was equipped with the Detroit 8V71 and an Allison V730. They all felt like they were going to leave rubber taking off from a stop. One batch was geared for city driving and would top out around 62. The others could *ahem* hypothetically have done 95 mph.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:21 PM   #3
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?

The gearing of a transit bus would be of concern to me. Is it geared for stop-n-go or highway travel?
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:04 PM   #4
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?

Depends on the bus. I drove a TDH-5300 (GMC Fishbowl) that topped out at 53...I have seen RTS-II's that will top 80. Kind of like skoolies, actually...seen some that top out at 50, seen a couple that will run 80+.
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:28 AM   #5
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?

I recently bought an 89 Orion transit and like it alot. The air ride is the way to go. Springs break just as often as bags which is rare. My transit is faster than my skoolie (60 top end) goes down the road about 67-68. Alot of the transits have the governors set low and can easily be changed and would seriously doubt that any max out ungoverned at 50 mph. Theres alot of room under the floor with no frame rails to be in the way to mount tanks however the skirting down the side makes it a little more challenging to get under. If I were going to start mounting items underneath I would remove a section of skirt and then it would be no problem. to get under it and replace it when it was done.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:16 AM   #6
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kamoo
I recently bought an 89 Orion transit and like it alot. The air ride is the way to go. Springs break just as often as bags which is rare. My transit is faster than my skoolie (60 top end) goes down the road about 67-68. Alot of the transits have the governors set low and can easily be changed and would seriously doubt that any max out ungoverned at 50 mph. Theres alot of room under the floor with no frame rails to be in the way to mount tanks however the skirting down the side makes it a little more challenging to get under. If I were going to start mounting items underneath I would remove a section of skirt and then it would be no problem. to get under it and replace it when it was done.
i've owned both. A front engine dog nosed skoolie is far superior in traction/off road ability to a transit bus (or a front engine flat nosed bus) If you don't plan to go off road (and quite honestly, there are very few times most of us go off roading with a skoolie) then i think a transit bus is much cooler. Especially if you can make it run 70 mph.

air ride is a big plus, and it adds a coolness factor. transit buses are also easier to get on/off, and have tons more cubic feet. In my experience, transit buses tend to have lots more miles on them than skoolies. it's not too often you see a skoolie with 300K miles being auctioned off from the school district, but most transit buses i've seen have somewhere between 300 and 1m miles on them at "retirement" If the bus has a newer powertrain, then mileage might not be a big factor.
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:12 PM   #7
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?

The mileage isn't a huge cause for concern. Transits have different powertrains than skoolies. I consider it good maintenance when I see a school bus over 200K miles, a transit over 500K, and a coach over 1 million. Many consider a 12-14 year old transit with "only 300K" to be halfway through it's usable life.

If my partner and I could afford a transit for our Summer 2010 project, we'd buy one. But skoolies are usually cheaper (and more fun to drive if that's what you're into -- and it's what we're into).
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:51 PM   #8
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?


Gotta admit, there is something attractive about a very-low-floor transit -- and then raise the roof to 13' 6"!
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:05 PM   #9
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?

That's how they make double-deckers. MegaBus has some VanHool double-decker coaches on their more popular routes. I see them all the time running from Boston to NYC. Talk about a low floor...I passed one on 84 and I was at eye level with the driver in my Toyota Yaris!
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:45 AM   #10
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Re: Opinion time! Skoolie or transit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess

Gotta admit, there is something attractive about a very-low-floor transit -- and then raise the roof to 13' 6"!
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