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Old 07-07-2017, 03:59 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Question Thoughts on 2001 5.7 Chevy 350 Vortec short bus?

I've been weighing the pros and cons between the gas and diesel options. From what I've gathered...

Chevy 350 Gasser
  • Great engine, cheap parts, every mechanic can fix it, overall easier to maintain, underpowered and poor MPG in the mountains

Ford 7.3 turbo diesel
  • million mile motor (if taken care of properly), much more expensive to fix, harder to find a mechanic and parts, way more torque which will greatly benefit in the mountains and preserve the life of the bus longer, better MPG

For someone like me, I don't really enjoy working on cars. At all. Maybe the bus would be slightly different because I'll love it so much. I plan on doing a cross-country Canadian tour which will be very mountainous and pass through rural areas. It seems like the Chevy 350 would be the right choice IF something DOES go wrong.

However, it seems as if I went for the 7.3 diesel and it was in good shape and I didn't run into problems on the road, I would be FARRRR better off with the 7.3 diesel.

Any thoughts? There are good deals on both busses in my area right now and I'm eager to pick one up. Thanks!
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:37 PM   #2
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It's no contest for me. With very few exceptions (defective engine designs like the powerstroke 6.0), the diesel is going to be the way to go.

The difference in fuel economy and engine longevity is huge. Lots of people are "scared" of diesels because they've driven gas vehicles their whole lives, and that's to their detriment.

I don't like to work on cars either, so I got a diesel so I don't have to!

BTW - the 7.3 engine (ford powerstroke/navistar T444E) was extremely popular in both versions, you can get most of your parts at autozone, and they're not really any more expensive than any other engine. If you get the IHC version and take your bus to a IHC shop, you're going to pay premium rates, but any auto shop that's ever seen a truck has likely seen the 7.3.
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:05 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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how do you feel about 200k miles on the 7.3? I have one in town, I'll go take a look. What should I look out for? I read online about checking the coolant system for those additives which are known to save those engines.

There are actually two different 7.3's. One is a 96 international, the other 7.3 is a 95 transit style e350 (I'm considering the transit because of the headroom, I'm 6'6")

Any reason to disregard the transit style in your opinion? I've read that they aren't as capable off paved roads and are a bit less customizable , however I don't plan to do any serious plumbing work on the bus, if any, and it seems like it gets better MPG and also has a smoother ride.

So many options... I appreciate your help!
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:57 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure we were having the same conversation on Facebook before you got removed from the group by Steve. Anyway my advice is the same, that is a good bus but is listed for too much money. A lot of these guys are getting comparable buses for half that amount.

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Old 07-07-2017, 06:10 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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haha, yep. Power trip Steve. I just discovered that bus only has a 6'1" standing height inside so now I think I'm leaning toward this one. Having to duck 5 inches (before flooring) doesn't sound fun, the roof extension doesn't sound easy either.

This is the transit style. https://wenatchee.craigslist.org/cto/6151038291.html
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:08 PM   #6
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haha power trip Steve.. Didn't know he was the admin when I told him to get off his high horse. Looks like I'll be opting for a 7.3 shuttle bus then! I guess 6'0 is the standard interior height on all these shorties and that won't cut it for me being 6'6".

Thanks for your help! Anything specific to look for when I check out some of these 7.3's? Looks like I have a couple decent ones under $5k in the area.
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:21 PM   #7
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Make sure they start it from cold, make sure it doesn't smoke. Tires are expensive so they're condition matters a lot. Retreads will asplode.

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Old 07-07-2017, 09:24 PM   #8
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I agree diesel is the way to go, it may be a bit more $ upfront and for an oil change and whatnot but engine longevity is well worth it. We have diesel tractors at several of the farms i work at from the 1960s-80s with over 10,000 hrs on them. Fuel efficiency is much better than gas and if a similar diesel can run 10-12+ hour days at full throttle plowing a field just imagine how long it will last in a lower duty service. many diesels are designed to run 350,000mi from the factory.
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
Make sure they start it from cold, make sure it doesn't smoke. Tires are expensive so they're condition matters a lot. Retreads will asplode.

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I have had good luck with retreads on buses i have driven and also 18 wheelers doing heavy farm service off & on highway 100,000 lb load. im sure there are a wide variety of the quality of retreads available but i wouldnt turn away from a bus just because of retreads.
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:33 PM   #10
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Not all retreads are equal, to be sure. If you buy a bus with retreads it's a reasonable expectation that they are ten years old and haven't been above 40mph more than a handful of times. A retread isn't as good as a real tire even if it isn't necessarily bad.

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