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Old 02-28-2018, 02:19 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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The right bus 😑

Hello everyone.

I'm from Manitoba Canada and slowly looking for a bus to turn into an rv to take kids and friends on trips.

Where should one be looking for a bus?

I bought one before, it was a 1991 international with dt360 for 1100$, then sold it because of a divorce.

I'd like to find one that has a dt466, and long as possible so there's lots of room.

Is there anything major I should be looking at? I don't know a pile about busses, are some brands better? I've just always been partial to international as their dt series engines seem awesome. Is the flat nose bus considered ideal or is the bus with the engine in the nose better? And does anyone have any good places to look to buy?

Thanks 😆
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Old 02-28-2018, 02:25 AM   #2
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Sorry when I said dt466 I meant dt466e . I believe the electronic engines probably save a bit of fuel. I believe they started in 1994 so I'd be looking at 1994 or newer I guess.

I'd look for a manual or automatic but not an at545. That's what my old bus had and it felt stupid to drive and high rpm because the torque converter feels so sloppy in those. Never again would I run an at545.
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:16 AM   #3
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
to find anything factory with a lockup. you can find rear engine 35-40 footers (esp western US) with either DT-466E's or cummins 8.3's and the MD-3060 transmissions. or an MT643. starting in the late 90s..

for a conventional withj lockup you'll have to get into about year 02/03. and up.. you may find a mechanical 643 in the late 90s but they dont seem as common as the 545. (but they exist)..

the allison 2000 series was released in early model year 2000. but I dont see too many of them until the AT545 was discontinued beginning in 03 or so..

once you get to 05 the DT-466E seemed to garner some issues being it had become an EGR engine by then and some say it caused more service nightmares...

others can chime in on which caterpillar engines are solid.. there are forum membners that state the C7 is junk, yet ive got guys in a facebook group im a member of that are running C7's on daily bus routes and swear by them... many of the C7 equipped busses have lockup overdrive transmissions

as time goes on and more newer busses are being sold off your chances of finding Non-545 transmissions increase.. but the yeaer 07/08 and newer stuff has been known to have emission controls nightmares..
-Christopher
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:41 AM   #4
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Alright so then likely I'll be looking for a mid to late 90s rear engine 466e bus then...
I liked the conventional busses because it seemed easy to access the engine, but I've never even looked closely at a rear engine bus so there's no reason I can say that it's hard to get at the engine for service.

I have some experience working on 466's so I'd like to go that route. I don't know much about the cat engines other than they were mechanical then switched to heui like the 466, and the mechanical ones were a little hard to work on. I believe all versions require more specialized tools to work on than the Navistar engines though.

The Cummins 8.3 would be my next choice as its a wet liner engine and from what I gather, also fairly easy to work on as the 466, although not considered as good.

I know a bit about emissions from owning a 2008 ford with a 6.4 diesel which was made by international. I would like to stick to the dt466e as it used the heui injectors. In my opinion it's the best option as you benefit for computer controls but not the issues of piezoelectric injectors or regeneration. Egr systems I'm sure can be disabled easily I would imagine?

I'm thinking 1995 or 1996 to about 2003 should be heui without Egr but I could be wrong
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:02 AM   #5
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Join Date: May 2009
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the 466E was released in 95.. some of the busses up through 98 or so still had mechanicals.. and some had 466E's in them.. the lower-spec 466E was sometimes paired with an AT545 in a cionventional bus.. these were engines electronically limited down to like 185 HP or so..

up through 03 is not goingto ne EBGR on a 466E.. im not sure about disaling it on the later ones... the navistar DLC computers are a it of a pain.. theres absolutely zero aftermarket tuning support for them so anything you disable. cant be turned off in the computer..... i dont have any experience with EGR on a diesel. or disabling the emissions stuff.. one of my busses is fully mechanical and the other is a 7.3 HEUI. ive messed around quite ab it with the 7.3 HEUI but havent dug in real deep yet.. I jacked around with faking the ICP to gain more HPOP and such a little, tjhe 7.3 (444E) is a pre-EGR engine. Navistar uses a lot of feedback pull-up voltage checks to make sure various sensors are still connected and operable, so technically its likely possible to defeat them but gets a little tougher when it seems they have a pretty decent idea of what something is supposed to read at various times..

-Christopher
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:43 AM   #6
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I don't know who considers the Cummins 8.3 to be "not as good" as the DT466.

Different bus manufacturers tended to offer engines depending on who they had supplier contacts with.

IC and Blue Bird seemed to have more Navistar and CAT engines, Thomas went with Cummins and CAT, and later Mercedes.

The Cummins 8.3 is generally considered the most desirable engine as the lowest hp is 250 and the DT466 often was fitted with 195hp and an AT545.

There are fewer Cummins 8.3 buses around as that engine option was expensive, and required an expensive transmission behind it so they tended to be fitted in highly specc'd buses that were intended for longer trips. This makes them a "go to" choice for converting because they are already set up for highway use.

If you can find one, the DT530 is right up there too and may be the best of the lot.
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Old 02-28-2018, 09:01 AM   #7
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Years ago I had a Ford 7.3 diesel and I remember playing with the icp and resistors to make it jam harder haha.

And on the 8.3 Cummins, I'm not against them, just that in passing over the years I've never really heard anyone say anything that great about them, plus there's gotta be 5 dt466's on the road for every 8.3 Cummins. I'm sure it must be a decent engine though, just haven't had any reason to want to go that route, although now it sounds like I might....
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:12 PM   #8
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Years ago I had a Ford 7.3 diesel and I remember playing with the icp and resistors to make it jam harder haha.

And on the 8.3 Cummins, I'm not against them, just that in passing over the years I've never really heard anyone say anything that great about them, plus there's gotta be 5 dt466's on the road for every 8.3 Cummins. I'm sure it must be a decent engine though, just haven't had any reason to want to go that route, although now it sounds like I might....
The same engine was fitted in buses and medium trucks for many years/

250hp in buses
300-325 hp in RVs
450hp for Marine use

Also used for many stationary generators.

You can liberate another 50hp or so simply with a screwdriver if you get a mechanical version (well, more or less, you might need a couple of wrenches too)

The key is that the fuel plate can be adjusted, and the governor springs can be tensioned. You can get another 3-400 rpm by shimming springs and more fuel from the plate. Neither will affect reliability.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:18 PM   #9
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Yes I'm aware of the 8.3's use in generators, that's one reason I'd personally say the 466 is better.
I work in the oilfield and the Detroit diesel series 40 (dt466e rebrand) could outlast the 8.3 about double. The 8.3 would usually develop leaks and fuel system issues, seals leak causing oil usage etc. The series 40 would put double the hours and the one time started leaking oil out the rear seal but far far more reliable. Also I've seen Cummins rods out blocks twice now. I don't have any doubts that they're not quite as good. Just personal observations
...
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:40 PM   #10
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It's hard to get used to the sound of a cummins too.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:47 PM   #11
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What do you mean by the sound of a Cummins? To me, all inline 6 engines sound just as terrible out the exhaust haha
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:37 PM   #12
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It's hard to get used to the sound of a cummins too.
Not if it's in the rear, you can't hear it

The B50 of the Cummins is 500000 miles. I can live with that.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:38 PM   #13
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Cummins have a distinct sound, not unlike the detroits. It's just different. Sounds like a bunch of rattling cans.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:50 PM   #14
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B50 life doesn't have much real world bearing imho
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:53 PM   #15
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B50 life doesn't have much real world bearing imho
It does for comparative purposes.
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Old 03-02-2018, 12:45 AM   #16
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https://www.kijiji.ca/v-heavy-trucks...ationFlag=true


What's everyone think of those?
I've been looking every night seeing what's for sale. My last bus was 1100$ for a 1991 with dt360 and it seems like that was a pretty good deal compare to anything else I'm seeing.
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Old 03-02-2018, 01:57 PM   #17
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I get the strong impression that bus is being sold by fast talking salesman.

124k kilometers my hiny. There are limited pics but it doesn’t look good to me. That bus looks like it would break a beer bottle laying on it side in the road as it drove over it because it’s so low.

This type bus has been a matter of discussion here fairly frequently. It all depends on how you want to use your bus, so it always comes down to a personal choice. This would not be a practical bus build platform for most of us here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work.
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Old 03-02-2018, 02:17 PM   #18
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Year: 1991
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Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
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Originally Posted by Parkland View Post
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-heavy-trucks...ationFlag=true


What's everyone think of those?
I've been looking every night seeing what's for sale. My last bus was 1100$ for a 1991 with dt360 and it seems like that was a pretty good deal compare to anything else I'm seeing.
the DT360 is a good engine.. not sure how a cummins sounds any different than most other mechanical diesels..

the HEUI diesels(466E,444E,3126,C7,VT365,MF7) are an exception because they use Hydraulic lifters.. Hydraulic lifters were almost never used in the mechanical diesel era so the natural sound was louder and rattle-ier under the hood because there is always a small amount of slack in the tappets, even when properly adjusted, let alone after 150k miles or so...
-Christopher
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Old 03-03-2018, 02:04 AM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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About the city style bus "not looking good " because it doesn't have enough clearance to make it over a beer bottle....
I agree it sits low and certainly couldn't go places a school bus goes, but it must do alright I mean city streets have potholes and areally not perfectly level all the time, I'm sure the bus can cope with such things. As far as the mileage being a lie well who knows.
I don't see why it wouldn't make a good conversion though unless you wanted to travel lots of ragged gravel or off road situations
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Old 03-28-2018, 12:07 AM   #20
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So a couple more questions....

I was looking through here and noticed that some people removed the inner paneling and put foam and renovated from there. Does the inner paneling not hold the wall beams rigid at all? Just wondering if some structural integrity is lost with removing the inside walls or ceilings .

Also, for a front engine conventional bus, I read that it's about 24" from the frame to the outer wall. Anyone happen to know the depth from the floor go the bottom of the body on the side? Just wondering how much room is available there to play with.
I'd really like to have an insulated belly pan with the water and sewage tanks in it, those would also behave as a thermal mass.
Of course the drive shaft is an issue in that plan, so I'd just leave that open, maybe glue foam board on the floor and spray with rock guard. I would still take the floor out to check metal layer for rust holes.

I read about how you could potentially drill holes in the walls and fill with expanding foam. I'm really curious about that. If it worked even decently that seems great, and then glue 1/2 foam board inside with 1/4 plywood and then wall covering. I bet if the panels were foam filled things would get way quieter.

Also I was thinking and reading about heat and power systems, and I ended thinking about changfa water cooled diesel engines. They're supposed to be good for piling many hours on and being super durable. Id simply mount one to a large alternator, and have it automatically turn on whenever the batteries get discharged a bit. And I would just run a giant inverter to power a mini fridge, air conditioner, and everything else. The engine would provide free heat so I'd use that for heating the bus inside and hot water. I was tinkering with the idea to also drive an ac generator head, and have an electric heating element in the coolant circulating system so that it would help heat, and load the engine to make more heat, but it seems like a lot of added nonsense .


My plan is that this bus would be used for family trips and stuff, mostly rather short visiting friends and stuff. The goal isn't to make it solar powered etc just a giant rv/suv type deal. Of couse it needs to be comfortable but nobody is gonna be living in it for weeks.
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