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Old 01-01-2019, 10:15 PM   #1
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Questions about towing and converting?

Been debating on buying a school bus and converting it for traveling use and pulling an enclosed trailer.
I was wanting to buy a class a diesel pusher but not interested in spending 30k+ on an rv when I can buy a bus comvert what I want,build how I want and spend when I have the extra on it.

I know guys pull trailers with diesel rvs so I assume same can be done with a bus?

My question is will this work like I think it would? Will I be able to pull down highway around 65mph?

What bus engine combo should I be looking for?
will be pulling a 28ft enclosed aluminum trailer with racecar, parts, spare parts and such. Trailer should be weighing around 8k max total weight loaded.

there is a 94 international bus with a dt466 engine. plate says its an amtran model s3600. if that helps. would assume in a way it could as i was using my ford superduty 7.3L truck pulling an older heavy gooseneck trailer with a total weight of around 23k. bus seems to weigh around 18k and loaded with trailer total of 26k. comparable in weight sorta. also dt466 engine is a little bigger than my 7.3l. probably comparing apples and oranges.

anyways any help would be beneficial before wasting money.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:12 AM   #2
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The answer is yes, with the right drivetrain. Transmission is going to be as or more important than the motor. Look for a 643, 2000 or 3060.

If you find a nice diesel pusher motor home that you like for $30k you should consider that though, depending on what is important to you. It is easy to spend $30k on a conversion, plus labor.

Pusher motorhomes usually have higher output motors and are geared for the highway. Busses are often geared for surface roads and stop and go.

I have a CAT 3126 and it has been good to me, but mine is a 210 hp version where motorhomes often got the 300 hp. I towed a Jeep all over the country behind mine last summer though.

If you go the bus route, a Cummins 8.1 or a dt466 are probably your best bets for towing, plus the above transmissions.

Choose the skoolie route if you like the idea of a big custom project. And sure, if you choose correctly and set it up for it it will tow, but if towing is your main goal and you want motorhome functionality, just buying a pusher will get you there a lot quicker and easier.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:15 AM   #3
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Sorry 8.3 Cummins.
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:54 AM   #4
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Yes I figured 30k would be easy to spend converting. Just know I would rather spend 30k over next 2-3 years converting as I had the extra vs. a $500 monthly payment on a rv. used diesel pushers start around 30k and go up depending on age. Why I was considering school bus option.

and yes there will be some miles put on traveling. Have a racecar and planning on criss crossing the midwest all summer long.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:06 AM   #5
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I'd be after a real tow rig.







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Old 01-02-2019, 08:04 AM   #6
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Trust me a toter would be sweet for what I am doing. but those rigs start as much and more than a diesel pusher rv. Trying to do on some sort of budget. trying to spread the spending out over as I have it. not be tied into a payment.

if all else fails then I will likely end up purchasing an rv. just wanted to know if bus was even a possibility with towing capabilities and performance.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:37 AM   #7
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I've seen em used and priced within your budget of thirty grand.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:07 AM   #8
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30k yes is my general budget but trying to keep from borrowing at the bank to do it. hoping to find a good solid bus for 3-4k and start by spending around 5-6k total just to get rolling then as I have the extra start spending here and there to finish.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nhagar55 View Post
30k yes is my general budget but trying to keep from borrowing at the bank to do it. hoping to find a good solid bus for 3-4k and start by spending around 5-6k total just to get rolling then as I have the extra start spending here and there to finish.

If you don't mind doing the work, I think its worthwhile to convert the bus rather than buy a used MH. As far as the towing capabilities, I can't answer that. We've got a 250HP DT466 with an Allison MT643 transmission and it's able to tow our 5000lb truck with no problem. We can easily travel 65-70, but our towed vehicle limits us to 60....which is just fine, actually. We're in no rush. I wish I knew the weight of the bus, but I just don't. I'm pretty sure it was around 18K, stripped of all seats and wall panels.
30K is totally doable, and you should be able to get a bus for 3-4K if you look around enough. We spent 5K and got a 95 Amtran with every option we wanted.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:15 AM   #10
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We bought a 2003 International conventional bus, 11 window, wheelchair ramp, with a 195hp DT466, Allison 2000 tranny and a 4.6-ish rear end (255/70x22.5 tires). It will be used to haul our son's rally car on an open trailer, 5-6k lbs total. The rear 10' of the bus will be a workshop and the remaining 16.5' will be RV. From what we've learned here and from our local International dealer, this setup should be fine. We're still in the conversion process and haven't towed anything yet.

Take your time looking for the right configuration and something rust free. A wheelchair lift will be a great help if you are planning on a workshop in the rear. We spent just under $4k for ours.
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