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Old 12-12-2016, 01:40 AM   #1
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repower options

hey all, just finished reading redman's latest video and i hope he's back up soon.

inspired from that video, the question is what are the repower options? i guess, when i'm in the same spot, i want to have a plan. whats the smart money on keeping the coach and repowering the motor.

i've seen used 5.9 cummins for sale from under $1k to 4-5k. i see in craiglist a local builder that will swap in a rebuilt cummins for 5k+labor. and i see the brand new bulletproof $12k motors that redman was talking about.

what does the wisdom of the forum say for getting through a repower as easy as possible?
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Old 12-12-2016, 07:24 AM   #2
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you mean dred?the reality of his situation hit me also, more so than some of you. he did a minimal conversion and may just be the smartest person on this forum. im dumping tons of cash in mine knowing its a money pit worth nothing to anyone else. so with that said what if the motor goes, what if the tranny goes. change the motor only to have the tranny go 100 miles down the road. where does it end?what if someone runs a red light and t bones my bus, their insurance wont give me squat! will it be close to home or 2000 miles away. too much to think about my brain is flipping around. best case is it blows up in my barn, i would find another bus with the same motor and tranny and use it for parts. wont know till it happens. i may just buy a micro bus and move to co. like everyone else.
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Old 12-12-2016, 07:30 AM   #3
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This is one of those individual choices. And of course it depends if you are stuck in your own driveway or stuck on the road far away from home.

With some basic tools, space, and time, then my preferred option would be the in-frame rebuild. An in-frame is exactly what it sounds like: you can rebuild the motor without ever removing it from the chassis on some busses. The DT466 comes to mind. This is where having a long-nose bus comes in very handy.

High-quality in-frame kits run about $1,200. If the head(s) need freshening-up, you'll need to send them out at addl cost. Figure on a solid week of turning wrenches. There are lots of good videos out there on YouTube somyou can become "expert" at the process before getting greasy.

If this isnt your cup of tea, then mostly complete remanufactured engines start about 4-5 grand. Or you can get a "turnkey" (everything except the ECM and harness) for about 2x that. Warrantee is usually very good. I think if you have the cash, this seems like a good long-term option to me.

Finally there are "pulls" from busses that are being scrapped. These engines are literally cut out of the bus before the shell is crushed for scrap. They are a mixed bag. Some will run strong for another 100k miles, while others may never leave your driveway.

I guess its a judgment call, really. No way to call it in advance unless you were to buy a pull motor, rebuild it during your leisure time, and strap it to a crate for storage against future need.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turf View Post
hey all, just finished reading redman's latest video and i hope he's back up soon.
Would you mind linking to the post for context? I'd like to see what he's up to, but can't find the post...
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty View Post
Would you mind linking to the post for context? I'd like to see what he's up to, but can't find the post...
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f39/od...-13298-25.html
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:25 AM   #6
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the video i was referencing is

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f39/od...tml#post175361

from the previous posts, i suppose location is the biggest obstacle. if it were planned, then i think i'd cough up the money and leave it here:

https://denver.craigslist.org/ptd/5847803232.html

would it be worthwhile to buy one of those cut outs motors and swap in your own time?

how hard is it to change the motor?

i suppose my biggest fear is to head to skooliepaluza and have to abandon my bus like dred. last thing i want to do is turn quartzite into a skoolie graveyard.
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:26 AM   #7
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Its a real HUGE job to get the engine out. Would almost need a specialized, dedicated facility setup for such operations.
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:33 AM   #8
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I pulled and replaced mine in a tin shed with an A-Frame hoist I built. Did most of it working alone. Called in a friend to help design & build new motor mounts but that was about it. I was in no big hurry but it all took about a week and a half.

But keep in mind, a dognose is much easier to pull than a flat nosed or RE.
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:42 AM   #9
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like Dred, mine is also a flatnose.
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:48 AM   #10
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To my mind...anyone planning on servicing their own flatnose or RE would be well advised to also acquire a forklift at the time of purchase.

Just sayin...
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:20 AM   #11
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any guesses as to hour wise at a shop with a forklift might be?

8 hours labor, 16,32?

the last repair shop i used was $80/hour.
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:03 PM   #12
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$80 an hour is the going rate here in Houston for a qualified diesel tech.

Note: Some are willing to do a little "side work" for $50 an hour.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:28 PM   #13
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$80.00 per hour for shop time seems to be a GREAT bargain compared to most shops around here. $110.00 to $150.00 per hour is pretty common around here. The closer you get to Portland or Seattle the higher the hourly shop rate becomes (cost is driven by what it costs to own/rent shop space here in the NW). When a tract house on a city lot costs $100,000.00 in most communities, in Portland and Seattle the same house will cost $650,000.00-$2,500,000.00 depending on the neighborhood and view. The same costs apply to shop space.

Whenever you purchase a used bus you have to go in with the understanding that you are getting a pig in a poke and you will have absolutely zero recourse if something happens once the rear bumper clears the end of the previous owner's driveway.

Pulling the engine out of a Type 'D' FE is not a chore most shops will like to tackle. The amount of room available for lifting out is minimal. It would be almost easier to drop the front axle and drop the engine out the bottom than to try and lift it out the front. I know when transmission work is done on FE buses most shops will drop the front axle as it is quicker and easier than trying to squeeze it by the axle.

Rear engine buses are relatively easy since there is nothing in the way of taking the engine out since on most RE's the radiator is off to the side.

At the end of the day you need to determine what will work the best for you. Most school buses that have 135K-185K miles on them will usually have at least another 100K miles left in them if they are treated right--regular maintenance, don't get them hot, keep the coolant pH neutral.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:49 PM   #14
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both of my busses are minimal conversions... well one of them is no conversion at all.. I got it to BE my daily driver with seats and all.. its insured well if it gets destroyed,, if I blow it up I uyse it as a time to UPGRADE..

I totally believe in either stashing away cash and skills to rebuild / repair a broken engine / transmission / etc or rebuilding /renewinf right up front like Tango is doing...

or a complelyely modular / minimal conversion where things could rather easily be moved to a bew bus should you have to get one..

I insure mine for well high enough to cover the cost of replacing and covering new tires / paintjob .. AIr-conditioning.. since those are what I did to the busses.. I have receipts to prove I spent the money on such ..

dont get me wrong theres some fantastic conversions here.. albeit on busses that have 250k+ miles on original drivetrains.. in at least one case they only plan the occasional weekend trip so it will likely never cause issues.. but nonethless if you are planning on running your bus all over creation, its a good idea to have a plan in place for how to handle a busted or worn out major compnent..

one solution is to find a newer lower-hours bus right off the bat.. only issue is you are likely to pay a premium for it as those are most likely lease-return busses and wont be found for cheap on government auction sites.. they get marked up at a dealler who wants to recoup his residual value... to get an under 100,000 mile bus on average you are looking at likely close to 10k.. (and hoping you can stay 2007 chassis or older.. (before DPF and DEF))..

if you have a DT360 / DT466 you can in-frme rebuild those.. the costs vary but ive seen in-frames completely for 8k and under(pro).. vs 12k+ for a remanufactred engine (installed professionally)... you can do your own in frame for well under 5k... the heads are a bit heavy to pull is reallyhr hardest part of an inframe on a DT

the common diesel V-8s the T-444E is *NOT* the same mechanically as a 7.3 ford so you cant just stuff one in.. however you CAN still buy CHEAP busses with good 444E's in them so if you ruin one of those and can do a swap yourself you can be under 3-5k for a replacement engine with a mild on-the-stand revamp and install.. and then have a pretty fresh motor.. the diesel V-8s on the engine stand are pretty easy to rebuild..

the track record here seems to be pretty good though for people not blowing up their busses.. we havent seen too many all out failures of the larger busses... dred is probably the most noticeable because he is so active here in keeping everyone up on his adventures and issues he had with his Bus.. and he gave it a valiant effort.. just a few months ago he spent lots of $$ at a shop to supposedly fix his oil leak and it didnt do a thing...
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