Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-16-2016, 06:01 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 6
Short bus=good tow pig??

Hey everyone! I'm new here (this is my first post actually) not sure if this is the right area so if not...be gentle!

I'm looking to buy a 98 e350 20 passenger bus with a 7.3 for a tow vehicle. My thought is it would be very similar to a dually ford truck, is that a good assumption? How suitable of a tow pig would that be to pull a 24' enclosed trailer? With the trailer and truck I'll be putting in it I'm looking at right around 7000lb altogether
Acroyota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 06:53 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
superdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: hills of sw virginia
Posts: 889
Year: 1996
Chassis: thomas
Engine: 8.3 cummins
Rated Cap: 11 window
i believe CAL tried this with an open trailer and it was a bit hard on the bus, dont remember what motor tranny he had in it.
__________________
living in a bus down by the river.
my build pics
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...albums942.html
superdave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 07:23 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
TheCog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: West of the Mississippi
Posts: 42
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Shuttle Bus
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: Ford 460/7.5l
Rated Cap: 15
You might need to be creative and have some extra steel on hand when putting a hitch on as getting to the main frame to attach hitch is a bit of a stretch.
__________________
Certified Zip Tie Mechanic
TheCog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 07:31 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
prof.fate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: South Western PA
Posts: 164
bus bodies have to meet extra special fed regs which makes them very heavy so i'd check teh bus' actual weight and compare it to what teh tow rating/gcwr is on a truck with the same engine/trans/gearing.

when tow ratings are figured they give an overall figure - on my 13 silverado that's 14,400 for GCWR. So they SAY I can tow 9600lbs..BUT the empty truck weights 5740lbs.
so when family is in truck we're 6300ish pounds..add in firewood, bikes, etc and we can hit 6500..well below the trucks GVRW (ignoring toungue weight) but to keep GCWR in specs we can really only tow 7900 lbs - far short of 9600.

So if the bus body is 2000lbs vs say, 600 for a pickup bed, you're losing tow capacity.
prof.fate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 07:36 AM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Cuyahoga Falls Ohio
Posts: 530
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Startrans
Chassis: Ford e-350 single wheel
Engine: 5.4 litre
Rated Cap: 12
I tow a 20' enclosed trailer with my 1997 e350 shuttle bus. It has a little 5.4L v8 gasser. It tows just fine. Slightly under powered but does the job. I'm sure your engine will be awesome for towing. The frame goes all the way back so attaching a hitch is just like a truck. Take advice from someone who has been their and done that.. Still doing it.. Remember, don't tow in overdrive, its real hard on the tranny.
leadsled01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 07:42 AM   #6
Skoolie
 
prof.fate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: South Western PA
Posts: 164
towing in OD isn't an issue (anymore). Not sure it ever was.
thre issue is if the vehicle is constantly shifting in/out of OD while towing.
prof.fate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 07:46 AM   #7
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 6
I'm not worried about attaching a hitch, I'm a pretty decent fabricator so that's not an issue. I was more concerned that it's similar to an f350 as I thought it would be.

I need something with a decent amount of interior room, so it's always been between a 1 ton van or a bus...a bus just sounds way more badass than a van!

What rear end would this have? Any simple way to find the gear ratio on an rpo code somewhere? Or get the vin and call the dealer?
Acroyota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 08:01 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,135
Most of the van-cutaway chassis buses are pretty close to the GVWR when they are empty. Taking out the seats and putting in cabinets, fixtures, appliances, etc. usually puts in more weight than what the seats weigh. Leaving even less net weight available.

Since the GVWR's of buses are similar to the pickup sized trucks of the same GVWR from the same OEM the GCWR can be extrapolated to reach an equivalent number.

As it was pointed out above, the total amount that is recommended to tow is not that much since the bus already weighs so much.

Most school buses have a full frame that goes all the way to the back where the bumper is attached. Commercial buses do NOT have nearly as much structure at the back of the bus behind the rear axle. In order to pull a trailer you will need to make sure that attaching a hitch/hitch receiver to the back bumper means you are attaching the hitch/hitch receiver to a structural member.

As far as towing in OD is concerned, with the modern 4-speed and more automatic transmissions, most get the increased number of gears not so much from more gear sets but from counting going into lockup as an additional gear. If you are in OD lockup the transmission will not be heating up nearly as much as if you were in D but not in lock up. In other words, regardless of which gear you are in, if you make sure you are in lock up you will be fine. As it was pointed out above, shifting in and out of gears or lock up will create a lot of heat. And heat in an automatic transmission will cause premature death. The best way to know is to have a transmission temperature gauge.

Personally, I would guess that you would be really pushing the envelope towing with an E-350 chassis bus with any trailer weighing much more than 3,500 lbs. There is just too much bus to add very much hitched on behind.
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 08:12 AM   #9
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 6
Huh, I'm surprised it would weigh that much more than say a 15 passenger van. It's close to the same thing but with an aluminum box on the back.
Are there any outlets to find out what exactly the towing capacity the bus would be? All I'm finding is info for vans rated around 9500lb
Acroyota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 08:29 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,135
That aluminum box to which you identify is not aluminum, even on most commercial bus bodies.

School buses are almost exclusively made out of steel. Steel in the floor, steel in the ribs that go in one piece from at least the floor on one side to at least the floor on the other side, steel stringers under the floor, steel rails that go in one piece the length of the bus above the windows and at least three more spaced evenly between the window rail, and steel body panels on the inside and the outside. On top of the steel floor on a lot of school bus bodies there is a subfloor made out of at least 5/8" plywood. Some have used 3/4" and some have used 5/4".

To know how much you can put inside the bus and tow behind you will need to weigh the bus.

I had two 1990 Ford E-350 and on 1994 Ford E-350 chassis buses. All were rated at 21-pax with the 1994 one row longer than the 1990's because it had a rear luggage compartment.

The 1990's weighed in just over 9,000 lbs. and had a GVWR of 12,000 lbs.

The 1994 weighed in just over 11,000 lbs. and had a GVWR of 14,000 lbs.

That barely made them capable of hauling their 21 passengers and luggage if you used the national standard of 150 lbs. per passenger and 70 lbs. of luggage per passenger.

And if you had 21 guys my size you were considerably over the rated capacity of the chassis.

Which would leave you virtually no towing capacity since some of the tow weight would be tongue weight.

Which is most probably why you are having a hard time finding tow ratings for buses--they have no excess capacity to tow since they are maxxed out for gross weight with nothing hitched on behind.
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 08:44 AM   #11
Skoolie
 
prof.fate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: South Western PA
Posts: 164
fed regs on school buses - and if it's yellow and has lights and says school bus on it it has to meet them - the body has to support 1.5X the weight of the vehicle..that requires a lot of steel/structure to make that work.

The body on a convention bus - JUST the body is 8,000lbs.

I"m also looking for something 'bigger' than a regular van for my business (DJ/photography) as I have a cargo trailer and for some things it's a PITA (backing up at night, turning around to load/unload at some venues, etc) and a box truck isn't exciting..or cheap even old and work out.

I looked at teh van/shorty (type a) buses and they're too close to capacity and most are only 10' long inside..wider than my trailer but shorter by 4'!

So I'm thinking a type B or other full size 'shorty' - all are real trucks, a fulls size wil be a real truck, somme of the type b's run LT tires.

The floor height for loading is my concern..same as a box truck. too high for a ramp like my cargo trailer. Thinking elec lift gate..but then I still may want to tow with it as I have a 28' forest river trailer.
prof.fate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 08:49 AM   #12
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 6
Ok, I understand all that (I assumed the body was aluminum...my bad)

As far as gvwr goes, say for example the bus weighs 9000lb with a gvwr of 12,000. That's just cargo correct? Not including the trailer? I'm not going to have much inside it. 2 or 3 passengers and cargo weighing maybe 50lb max.

Numbers and dot aside. Would the bus be physically capable of safely towing a loaded 24' enclosed trailer?
Acroyota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 09:13 AM   #13
Bus Nut
 
AlleyCat67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 737
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Detroit MBE906
Rated Cap: 72
If you want something beefy enough for towing, you should probably look more towards a type C or D front engine short bus with a lift. Gut that out and you could probably get all your gear inside it, and with the front engine configuration you would have more towing capacity for the times you need or want to tow your trailer.



__________________
My bus - Jasmine - External Build Website - YouTube Channel - TN/KY Meetup Group
As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he accompanied the level 60 dwarves on the Smaug the Dragon raid. Those powerlevelers probably invited him solely so he could trigger fellowship attacks for them.
AlleyCat67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 09:29 AM   #14
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 6
An e350 is a front engine class c...isn't it?
Acroyota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 12:35 PM   #15
Bus Nut
 
AlleyCat67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 737
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Detroit MBE906
Rated Cap: 72
Probably type B at best. Anything built on a pickup truck/van chassis is going to be type B. Type C are built on medium duty truck chassis (think the box type delivery trucks you see every day).
__________________
My bus - Jasmine - External Build Website - YouTube Channel - TN/KY Meetup Group
As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he accompanied the level 60 dwarves on the Smaug the Dragon raid. Those powerlevelers probably invited him solely so he could trigger fellowship attacks for them.
AlleyCat67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 12:45 PM   #16
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 6
Gotcha!

Anyone have any actual experience towing a decent load with these? It's a 1 ton dually so I have a hard time believing 3500lb is all they'll do
Acroyota is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 03:03 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
prof.fate's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: South Western PA
Posts: 164
there are seven types
The Seven Different School Bus Types - American Bus Sales

an e350 is a type a
look at that page and scroll down to 'school van' - a van sized van BUT it's been rebodied to meet school bus regs.

IMO if a vehicle can hold 3500lbs is should be able to tow 3500lbs..start, stop and trans can take it.

But that really only applies to cars, and they're often limited by frame, or lack there of, for hitch mounting, toungue weight, crash protection so the hitch stays put.

In a Type B or short C you get a true commercial truck eng/trans - a full size type c or d has a GVWR of 30,000lbs or more (a 2016 IC 66 passenger is 29,800, a 9 year old Int'l 3800 that's 72 passenger is 31,000)

From an IC video a longer body weights 8,000, based on folks here weighing their buses an empty bus is about 20,000.

So you have 10,000 ish cargo..a shorter bus will weight less but have the same driveline..you should be able to tow your house..at least across the yard. LOL
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acroyota View Post
An e350 is a front engine class c...isn't it?
prof.fate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 03:26 PM   #18
Bus Nut
 
AlleyCat67's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 737
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner
Engine: Detroit MBE906
Rated Cap: 72
I would have thought it was a B.... oh well I learned something today.

All I've ever had is type D buses (that's what I like) so never really bothered to learn much about the other types.
__________________
My bus - Jasmine - External Build Website - YouTube Channel - TN/KY Meetup Group
As a level 1 burglar, Bilbo got a pony when he accompanied the level 60 dwarves on the Smaug the Dragon raid. Those powerlevelers probably invited him solely so he could trigger fellowship attacks for them.
AlleyCat67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 04:16 PM   #19
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,655
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acroyota View Post
Gotcha!

Anyone have any actual experience towing a decent load with these? It's a 1 ton dually so I have a hard time believing 3500lb is all they'll do
Erf. I can't believe people are mixing up GVWR's and GCWR's!

GVWR is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This is essentially the weight on the vehicle's tires. The frame, springs, tires, brakes, etc are designed to *CARRY* this much weight.

GCWR is the Gross Combination Weight Rating. This is the GVWR and towing capacity combined. The frame and springs are *NOT* carrying this weight (well, not directly, anyway. They are carrying the tongue weight, however.) Typically this is the weight the engine, transmission, cooling system, brakes, and such are designed to be able to pull.

Let's say a single-axle road tractor has a GVWR of 32000, and a GCWR of 65000. It can legally and safely carry 12000 on it's steering axle, and 20000 on its drive axle. It can still pull an additional 33000 on the trailer axles.

See how the logic works? Now, keep in mind, E350 Ford 7.3's are *NOT* rated the same as their F350 cousins! Why? Well, the confined area of the engine bays didn't leave as much room for turbos and intercoolers as the pickups, so the engines were de-rated for the purpose and said cooling components were deleted.

If it were me, I think I'd look for an IH "Shorty" bus. The running gear is much stouter and should last a good, long time. It is doubtful you'll approach the weight capacity of the Allison transmission, brakes, or frame. You may also find you'll get better fuel economy ... a smaller engine running at 90% of capacity uses more fuel than a larger engine (moving the same load) running at 50% of capacity.
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2016, 06:47 PM   #20
Bus Crazy
 
sdwarf36's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 1,062
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
I have a 95 E450-shuttle bus. Weight came in at 11500 with interior- before tools + spares in the back. The Gross is 14k. I tow a light trailer/car-probably shy of 2500lbs. Mainly in hilly country. You can't even feel it back there.
You gear is most likey a 4.10. Trans is a E4OD. (POS but its what it has) Its turning 2500 rpm at 65.
The main thing you have to worry about is EGT's (GET A GAUGE!!) The van has no intercooler-and you can easily spike the temps. Its easy enough to drive around the temp-but first you gotta know when you have to lift. (It cost me a motor.)
__________________
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

my bus build http://www.skoolie.net/gallery/Skoolies/Sped
sdwarf36 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×