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Old 10-11-2006, 01:25 PM   #1
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Picking the Bus and winter living

I am looking to buy a bus and have been reading and thinking about it for years.

I like a flat nose but was wondering about the flat noses with the rear engine any pros or cons to this?

How about the 3108 i think it is a cat engine how it the reliability as that would be my major concern?

Also i live in minnesota and would like to either full time or at least be able to use it in the winter what are the concerns with the black and grey tanks. Do u need to find a spot in the bus to keep them warm enough so they wont freeze? Is there an anti freeze solution that can be used? How do the million dollar motor coaches do it ?


Thanks
Tony
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Old 10-12-2006, 10:34 PM   #2
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3108? Ummm, I think you mean 3208. I have a 3208 in mine, it's definately a Cat and a great motor. It's a beast of a motor, this is what they put in bull dozers for years. The only reason they are not still putting them under the hood is they couldn't get this motor under the EPA limits, so they moved to a newer design.... The 3208 should provide you with more miles than you can ever put on it, we're talking about a quarter to half million miles between rebuilds...

The big bucks coaches use hiway buses (Greyhound type of things) and they locate the waste tanks in the big compartments below which can be heated.

I'm building a compartment below the floor boards on my bus, it's certainly not nearly as big as those greyhound buses, only about a foot tall at it's lowest point (frame rail to frame rail) but is about 19" on each side of the frame rail to the outside of the bus. It's 4' x 8' and is pently big enough for my needs. I didn't put my waste tanks inside of there, I put them underneath of the cargo deck...but I live in a mile climate and didn't feel I need to heat the tanks. If I do I'll use an external heater and some insulation....I don't move the unit in the winter months anyway....
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:04 AM   #3
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Another common skoolie motor from Cat is the 3116. It is argueably better than the 3208. 3208's seem to have as much of a love/hate reputation as the 8.2. I knowa few guys that dislike them because they they are sleeveless and it takes a special kind of Cat mechanic to get the running just right. Of course my 6.6 is sleeveless too and the "Ford Certified" diesel mechanics at my local stealership argued with me that I don't have a 6.6 Ford, but rather a 6.9 or 7.3 IHC.
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Old 10-13-2006, 08:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_experience03
Of course my 6.6 is sleeveless too and the "Ford Certified" diesel mechanics at my local stealership argued with me that I don't have a 6.6 Ford, but rather a 6.9 or 7.3 IHC.
Probably because that's all they see in the pick up trucks.
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Old 10-13-2006, 09:39 AM   #5
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3208 Cat

I talked to the mechanics at First Student before I bought my bus and they told me to stay away from 3208 cats, they said they have to rebuild them every 70-80,000 miles. They should know, they have a bunch of them in their busses. I know another mechanic/friend and he said the same thing, if you use them every day that you have to put head gaskets and bearings in them every couple of years. I just went with a gas motor, I can fix them. sportyrick
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Old 10-13-2006, 09:52 AM   #6
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The only thing that makes me want to shy away from a gas engine is that most used busses have alot of miles and a diesel is expected to have a longer life before a rebuild. I am also a little worried about having the power to pull hills and such. The fuel milage is also a concern but i think it evens out considering maintanance costs on a deisel. Also most gas engines are found in older dog nose busses.


I was guessing that heating the tanks is the only option but that would require alot of energy to do as electric heat would be the easiast to do.

What if the tanks were installed under the master bed in the back and had a little air flow down there? It would be weird to sleep over a tank of $#% but it might make keeping them from freezing alot easier.
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Old 10-13-2006, 01:18 PM   #7
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The decomposition of the...er..contents of the tank...is an exothermic reaction so it will naturally be warm to some degree. I really don't think you should need to add much heat. I nfact, I really don't think you want to add much heat. Yhe idea of boiling the........contents.....makes my stomach just a little quesy. Build a box, insulate it, and put a floor register over it that you can close or open. The natural flow of air should be more than suffiecient. It will also encourage you to make things leak free if you have to breath the air from around the tank.

As for gas versus diesel...I originally wanted a gasser with a stick, but ended up with a diesel with an auto. Price made the decision for me, but I'm not the least bit sorry now. Gassers are the hotrods of the bus world and will all too often out accelerate and have better top end than a diesel, but the mileage does decrease. In theory a diesel should last longer, but they do require proper operating procedure to do so and I know a lot of bus drivers around here like to shoot 5 seconds worth of ether in the thing, stomp the pedal to the floor, and crank rather than use the block heater oir Webasto.....

Rebuild cost is certainly lower on a gasser, but you don't hear of many of us having to repower, gas or diesel. 250,000 miles just isn't that much on an industrial engine, gas or diesel.

I know there were atleast some older TC2000's with gas engines because I have seen one with a tall deck 427 Chevy mated to an MT643. I think you'd obviously have to hunt a little, but they're out there.
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Old 10-13-2006, 01:52 PM   #8
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Are you suggesting to build a box under the bus that is well insulated and have a register that simple goes through the floor? That would probably work i would just hate to have it freeze and crack or somthing that would be a terrible mess. Could prolly locate the fresh water tank somwhere in the bus then so it would stay warm enough.

So a bus in good shape that appears to be well taking care with a gas and say 100 to 150 thousand is not that bad of an investment. I know the 366 is a very popular motor, what else out there is a good choice for a gas burner?
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:36 PM   #9
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The 3208 is not all that bad a motor, it is a big 10 liter that actually gets good mileage. It is a sleveless engine so it has to be rebuilt like a reagualr car engine.

In school bus service it did not hold up as well as many other engines. It did not like the stop and go. Bluebird put these engines in the older Wonderlodges for years. They held up find in that application. As long as the engine does not have over 100k miles it will probably be fine.
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:43 AM   #10
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My freshwater tank is under my bed. The idea behind the register is that you could close it to try and slow down the smell if you had a failure....

As for gassers...Chevy used the 350 small block and 366, 427, and 454 big blocks. Ford commonly used the 370, 429, 460, and 512 big blocks. Intertrashinal used the 304, 345, MV404, and 393 commonly. Beyond that, I'm drawing a blank.

As for the 3208...I don't claim to know much about them personally...just passing on what people I know have said about them.
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