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Old 06-05-2018, 12:57 AM   #1
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what bus is best for me?

hey guys!
I'm new to the forum and just had a questions. I'm looking to do a skoolie conversion but I'm having trouble deciding what bus to get. I want something with a decent amount of room so I can make it comfortable living. I also want a bus that I can take off the main roads and onto the dirt back roads. I really like the look and size of the flat front buses, but I've been told by friends that it might be hard to drive and I wont be able to take on mountain dirt roads. Do you guys have any recommendations? thanks!
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Old 06-05-2018, 01:44 AM   #2
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I think I can see a little bit of what your friends might be getting at with their comments.

If you get a flatnose bus, then you're sitting ahead of the front axle. Driving and steering from ahead of the front axle is different then driving a normal car or truck. It's nothing you won't get used to, but if you're on a narrow mountain road, it means you have to think a bit extra about where the wheels are vs. where the bus body (and you, the driver) are. You also have the stairs hanging down in the corner, ahead of the axle - which could impede the angle of attack. (This is a long one, but there are plenty of short ones just like it. Some of them actually have really short wheelbases, and can turn surprisingly well.)




Compared to a regular dognose bus, you've got the engine and the front axle ahead of you - better angle of attack, and you know (and can roughly see) where the axle is ahead of you. The stairs still hang down, but they're behind the front axle instead of in front of it.


How much of a mountain road are you talking about driving this on? No matter what you choose, it's still going to be big, and well...a bus. There are 4x4 options out there, but they can be harder to find, and they're not cheap. The only other thing I can think of is that the shorter buses tend to have some of the weaker transmissions, and I'm not sure they'd be as well-suited if you're going to spend a lot of time crawling up and down dirt roads.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:20 AM   #3
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Not all Flat Face buses have less ground clearance than a conventional. Without under storage bins ground clearance is the same.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:38 AM   #4
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Not all Flat Face buses have less ground clearance than a conventional. Without under storage bins ground clearance is the same.
approach angle is much better on a CE. A transit style will plow into the dirt much sooner. Ask me how I know!

I've gotten a 40' FE down some pretty rugged dirt roads for sure. But a CE is the best for that duty hands down. Even then buses aren't very good when it gets sandy or muddy.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mark_In_MA View Post
I think I can see a little bit of what your friends might be getting at with their comments.

If you get a flatnose bus, then you're sitting ahead of the front axle. Driving and steering from ahead of the front axle is different then driving a normal car or truck. It's nothing you won't get used to, but if you're on a narrow mountain road, it means you have to think a bit extra about where the wheels are vs. where the bus body (and you, the driver) are. You also have the stairs hanging down in the corner, ahead of the axle - which could impede the angle of attack. (This is a long one, but there are plenty of short ones just like it. Some of them actually have really short wheelbases, and can turn surprisingly well.)




Compared to a regular dognose bus, you've got the engine and the front axle ahead of you - better angle of attack, and you know (and can roughly see) where the axle is ahead of you. The stairs still hang down, but they're behind the front axle instead of in front of it.


How much of a mountain road are you talking about driving this on? No matter what you choose, it's still going to be big, and well...a bus. There are 4x4 options out there, but they can be harder to find, and they're not cheap. The only other thing I can think of is that the shorter buses tend to have some of the weaker transmissions, and I'm not sure they'd be as well-suited if you're going to spend a lot of time crawling up and down dirt roads.
I'm not talking anything too crazy. they will mostly be smooth dirt roads. thanks for the reply!
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:04 PM   #6
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Approach angles of an FE bus is quite a bit lower on the front end as the engine and transmission is almost 100% in front of the front axle. With that much up front the two things that will come into contact with the ground first will be the bottom of the service door and the engine's oil pan. The rear approach angle is actually much greater than a Type 'C' even if they have the same rear overhang. It all has to do with the way in which Type 'C' buses tend to be pretty much level when they are sitting level while Type 'D' FE buses tend to be higher off the ground at the rear compared to the front.

Approach angles of an RE is have about the same front approach angle because the service door is in the same location and just as low. On the rear the lowest part that will hit first is the engine's oil pan. Which it will do if you try to go through very high curb cuts.

One thing to consider is that there is not one road in this country that doesn't have a school bus travel on it at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon every day in the school year. If the local school district can be down those roads every day you should be able to get down those same roads with a converted school bus.
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:42 PM   #7
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I chose a dog nose bus because of the approach angle. there was a website that nicely described the pros and cons of each type of school bus.
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