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Old 03-05-2007, 04:53 PM   #1
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Will my 7.3 make it from OKC to N. California?

I am going to be moving soon to Travis AFB in northern California. I am currently stationed in Oklahoma City. The Air Force pays me 95% of what it would cost them to hire movers to move me. So, since I just got all of the seats out of my bus, I was thinking about holding off on building any walls and using my bus to move all of my stuff! It would save me $2,000 on a rental truck. That's what I paid for the bus! HA! I've read horror stories about the 7.3L engine on long hauls. It's almost 1,700 miles to Travis AFB from here. Currently, my bus runs great and drives fine. Is there something I should look out for with my 7.3L? Also, do you think my International bus is capable of hauling about 5,000 pounds of stuff inside and towing a Chevy S-10? Will I be asking too much of my bus? If I rent a truck, I'll have to drive it to Cali, fly back here and then drive the bus back. Ugh. What would you guys do?
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Old 03-05-2007, 05:39 PM   #2
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Keep the rpms low (you might have to travel at 55-60) and make sure the bus is ready to go. That's all I'd do. Make sure all the fluids are fresh as well as the filters. Carry your tools with just in case and have spare jugs of oil, tranny fluid, brake fluid if you have hydraulic brakes, power steering fluid, and some spare filters. That's all stuff you should have anyway so now might be a good excuse to get the bus' travel kit set.

As for the weight...my bus has a GVWR of 30,000 lbs and probably weighs in around 16-18k. That gives a payload of 12,000 lbs atleast. I think the owners manual says 10,000k. I'm not sure what the GCWR is , but with 5k worth of stuff, you should have no issue with pulling a 4-4.5k S-10. Just remember to take it easy and enjoy the ride.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:23 PM   #3
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I have put over a quarter million miles on several different 7.3's over the last 15 years...all of it in Ford Wreckers! Be that as it may, many of them were long haul runs (Va Beach to Aurburn Indiana etc)... Take it easy, don't push it extremely hard, especially over the rockies...you should do just fine as long as the engine is in proper working order before leaving... That 7.3L is a far better motor than most anything I've ever owned!!
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:36 PM   #4
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Pulling hills, if the engine temperature gets a bit high, be willing to slow down and
shift the transmission down so you get the engine speed up and can keep moving
without having your foot on the floor. That may mean traveling at 10 MPH, but
if the engine is just spinning happily a bit below redline and not working very hard,
you'll get over the top eventually -- without frying anything.

And go slowly down hills so you maintain full control and don't overheat your brakes.
We have real hills out here.

Look north and honk and wave when you get here!
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Old 03-06-2007, 11:09 AM   #5
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Depending on the time of year you're making the trip I'd run straight west on I-40 to Barstow, then CA58 to Bakersfield, then US99 north to Travis (or use CA46 trough Wasco to jump over to I-5). That eliminates almost all the "real" climbs except Tehachapi and it's not as bad as say trying to pull Donner on I-80 out of Reno or Eisenhower on I-70 out of Denver). In the middle of summer with the temps soaring though that would be a tough trip with no A/C and operating temps may become an issue as well.

In the heat of summer I'd problably angle up to Denver (US270/US64 to US287 west of OKC or US287 right out of Amarillo), then head north on I-25 to Cheyenne then grab I-80 west to Travis. This too will keep you from the major climbs (and descents) until you pull Donner out of Reno. I'd avoid Eisenhower (I-70 west out of Denver) any way you go, a school bus pulling an 11,000 foot pass wouldn't be a fun thing at all (at least not without a turbo'd engine).

I've driven every major pass in the U.S over the years in a semi and my own vehicles; Donner ranks right up there with the toughest because it's twisty, steep and crowded. Don't do it in the winter unless you have time to wait for weather (and the bus heater works really well!).

Best wishes for a succesful trip!
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Old 03-07-2007, 02:36 AM   #6
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Hi Matt,

let me suggest b4 you drive your new bus to California, that you join the Good Sam RV club and buy one of their towing packages. It cost about a $100 bucks a year, but it can really save your hide if you need towing.

Good Luck on your trip and best wishes in your new job.
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Old 03-07-2007, 06:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kotflb
. . .let me suggest b4 you drive your new bus to California, that you join the Good Sam RV club and buy one of their towing packages. . .
Worthy advice and well worth the price for the peace of mind on the road, even if you don't (and hopefully won't) have to use it!
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griff
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotflb
. . .let me suggest b4 you drive your new bus to California, that you join the Good Sam RV club and buy one of their towing packages. . .
Worthy advice and well worth the price for the peace of mind on the road, even if you don't (and hopefully won't) have to use it!
Thanks for that info guys! I will DEFINATELY be doing this before I go!
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Old 03-07-2007, 11:47 AM   #9
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I can testify to the tehachapi climb

Ive done the route 56 (I 40) route several years back and the worst hills I saw were at the arizona california border. The Tehachapi climb is barely worth mentioning. I know, I do it once a day 5 days a week as I live in Tehachapi and work out at Edwards AFB. Its fairly straight on the climb and not steep at all. I think the climbing portion is maybe 9 miles and it can't be over 4% grade in a few places. The thing that slows you down the most is the wind. I can climb it in my DTA 360 powered Ward at 65 the whole way. Watch out on the desent into Bakersfield on the other side, that is steep and twisty in places. plus it's a major transshipment route into and out of the central valley of California so lots of semi's to jocky with. If you need any help in the area let me know.
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Old 03-19-2007, 09:54 AM   #10
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You need a transmission temp gauge for this! That AT545 will really be working through the Rockies, especially loaded & towing an S10.

Very important: going DOWN the Rockies! Keep the speed WAY down with an automatic & no Jakes. I'm talking 15-20MPH MAX on a long 6% grade! Whatever the posted speed is for TRUCKS, don't exceed HALF that at the most.

Also, might wanna hit a junkyard for a spare tire (or two)--you should have the space, and it's not like skoolie guys can't use an extra tire.

Might also want to scale the bus before & after loading--while the GVWR shouldn't be an issue (you really can't cram enough in most of these to overload them), the very long rear overhang makes it easier than you might think to overload the rear axle.
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