Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-18-2019, 07:24 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
What Bus Should I Get?

Hello all, I recently decided to purchase a bus and convert it myself. Although I have been doing some research the past couple of weeks I still have very limited knowledge of school buses and I was hoping that this post would help me to fill in some of gaps. I am looking for a reliable short bus that doesn't get horrible gas mileage, and I am hoping to spend less then 5000 dollars.

I have mostly been keeping an eye out for the 1990's and early 2000's international short buses. From my research I have found that these buses either have the DT466 or the T444e engines. The DT466 seems to be the favorite of the school bus fans but both are desirable engines. Now I am trying to figure out which transmissions are generally used in these buses and what combo I should be looking for. I have found much less information on which transmissions are desirable or even how to to know which bus has which transmission. As far as the international short buses are concerned which transmission/ engine combination is the best and which should I stay away from.

I also have been keeping my eye on some chevy/ GMC buses. It seems like the 6.6 duramax engine is pretty solid and might be a good option (please correct me if you disagree). I am specifically looking at a 2009 with around 100k miles. These buses do have the van chassis as opposed to the full size bus front that the internationals mostly have. I know this makes them harder to work on but it would also be nice that they are a little smaller (smaller is better for me). How much harder/ more expensive is it to work on these van front buses and in your guys opinion does that make them not worth buying? I guess the same transmission question still applies to these buses as well but I am assuming their are less options and you basically get what you get. I am also thinking that these smaller (and newer) buses probably get significantly better fuel economy.

Over all, as you can probably tell, I am fairly lost and would definitely appreciate some guidance. Please correct any of my incorrect assumptions and let me know your opinions on these matters! Sorry for the long winded post!
mitchk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 09:59 AM   #2
Almost There
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Foot of the siskiyou mountains Oregon.
Posts: 99
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas / international
Chassis: International
Engine: Dt 360/ spicer 5 speed
Rated Cap: 42
Van busses have there pro's and cons. Pro..better mpg more available, many parts are cheaper, engine dosent work as hard and is bound to last longer than the same engine in a full-size buss, higher top speed, less weight(more power) more places willing to work on them as they are basically just a one ton chassis.i wouldn't be worrying about the tranny asmuch in a van bus..likelly there is only one option. I would be looking for the 7.3 powerstroke/t444e as you mentioned. The older 7.3 idi is reliable but gutless. I love my international shorty, but if you can handle the smaller space, I would definitely go with a van bus. I am facing paying almost $1000 currently for 2 new (Chinese) front tires!!! Bet you could get quality rubber on a vanbus for half that..and at any local/small tire shop! Service calls and tows are bound to be way cheaper too!
SolomonEagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 10:12 AM   #3
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolomonEagle View Post
Van busses have there pro's and cons. Pro..better mpg more available, many parts are cheaper, engine dosent work as hard and is bound to last longer than the same engine in a full-size buss, higher top speed, less weight(more power) more places willing to work on them as they are basically just a one ton chassis.i wouldn't be worrying about the tranny asmuch in a van bus..likelly there is only one option. I would be looking for the 7.3 powerstroke/t444e as you mentioned. The older 7.3 idi is reliable but gutless. I love my international shorty, but if you can handle the smaller space, I would definitely go with a van bus. I am facing paying almost $1000 currently for 2 new (Chinese) front tires!!! Bet you could get quality rubber on a vanbus for half that..and at any local/small tire shop! Service calls and tows are bound to be way cheaper too!
Thanks for the information. You make a lot of good arguments for going with a van style. I was under the assumption that getting work done/ servicing done on the van style is more expensive because everything is harder to get to but maybe that isn't true? I know the 7.3 ford is a good option. Do you know how the 6.6 duramax compares to the 7.3 ford?
mitchk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 10:32 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,554
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolomonEagle View Post
I am facing paying almost $1000 currently for 2 new (Chinese) front tires!!!

For that amount of money I could get a pair of brand name tires and have change left over. Shop around. Good steer tires can be had around $350-400 each.
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 12:15 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Sleddgracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 1,971
Chassis: still looking for my bus
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchk View Post
Thanks for the information. You make a lot of good arguments for going with a van style. I was under the assumption that getting work done/ servicing done on the van style is more expensive because everything is harder to get to but maybe that isn't true? I know the 7.3 ford is a good option. Do you know how the 6.6 duramax compares to the 7.3 ford?
give me a choice between the 7.3 and the 6.6 and I'll take the 6.6 every time - the 6.6 likely has the 6 speed at with double overdrive too - it's a win/win
Sleddgracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 12:40 PM   #6
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
give me a choice between the 7.3 and the 6.6 and I'll take the 6.6 every time - the 6.6 likely has the 6 speed at with double overdrive too - it's a win/win
Do you have any experience with the van chassis vs full bus chassis (both being a short bus). I am worried that labor is going to be super expensive on the van chassis since everything is so crammed in there and hard to get to.
mitchk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2019, 01:13 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Sleddgracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 1,971
Chassis: still looking for my bus
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchk View Post
Do you have any experience with the van chassis vs full bus chassis (both being a short bus). I am worried that labor is going to be super expensive on the van chassis since everything is so crammed in there and hard to get to.
I do have experience with a c class motor home - when the motor fried, the labour to R&R the motor was $3000 - just the labour - I was to supply the motor, so yes, the van chassis can be a lot more expensive to work on in some cases - I drove a chevy cube van for many years and had a variety of jobs done on the motor - didn't notice it as being more expensive than a pickup, but didn't have to pull the motor either - did have the bearings done by my son - he did them with out removing the motor, just the oil pan etc - it took the same time as if it had been a pickup truck - in short, unless the motor has to be removed and replaced, there isn't a lot of difference
Sleddgracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2019, 07:56 AM   #8
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
I have also found a 2009 chevy 3500 but it is the gas 6.0 vortec engine. Does anyone have any experience with these? I would prefer a diesel but if this a solid gas engine I would definitely consider it.
mitchk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2019, 10:48 AM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
Sleddgracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 1,971
Chassis: still looking for my bus
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchk View Post
I have also found a 2009 chevy 3500 but it is the gas 6.0 vortec engine. Does anyone have any experience with these? I would prefer a diesel but if this a solid gas engine I would definitely consider it.
good reliable motor with considerable power
Sleddgracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2019, 12:54 PM   #10
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
good reliable motor with considerable power
Well that's good and would open up some options! I'm assuming that the gas mileage of the 6.0 vortec would be worse then the 6.6 duramax diesel. I'm thinking that both of them would probably be decent though since they have the van cutaway chassis and are newer engines/ transmissions then the 90's and early 2000's international short buses.
mitchk 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 01:52 AM.


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