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Old 01-10-2017, 03:32 PM   #1
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Two Short Busses in Sight, Help a Newbie out?

Okay bus numero 1 Chevy C3500 Cab w Thomas School Bus Body 20 Seats

Bus numero 2 https://vancouver.craigslist.ca/rch/cto/5944249927.html

Not a ton of info on the second one, just miles and model. Any reason to pick the ford over chevy, based on the engine/miles and best potential MPG?

Don't know how well maintained either of them are obviously, but just on paper, which catches your eye more?
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:33 PM   #2
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Just from a quick look, the ford has a more reliable engine. Google the chevy 6.5 diesel and the ford 7.3 turbo diesel. The Chevy has a few slightly failure prone faults (PMD, harmonic balancer, etc.).

Also, the ford has 228K Kms which is 140K Miles while the Chevy has 230K Miles on it.

So purely from a mileage and drive train standpoint the ford has the edge. But both need to be checked out in terms of rust, maintenance, and overall shape. If either has been neglected it will make a big difference in the long run.

It's also worth noting that the Chevy looks slightly shorter than the Ford (4 window vs 5 window). Someone else could confirm or deny this but if length is a concern for you this may factor in as well.
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:45 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure the ford has a full frame and the chevy is unibody. Only matters if you pull a heavy trailer.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by leadsled01 View Post
I'm pretty sure the ford has a full frame and the chevy is unibody. Only matters if you pull a heavy trailer.
I don't think so, I have a chevy 6.5D bluebird 2002 base on a savana and is full chassis, never seen an unibody bus, I don't think there is.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:45 PM   #5
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Chevy stopped being unibody when the '97 vans came out. '71 - '96 were unibody.
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:06 AM   #6
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The van/cut-away chassis used under buses is not the same chassis as used by the vans of the same vintage.

While the regular vans were more of a unit construction without a frame the van/cut-away version had a rail suspension that was married to the unit construction front clip. Dodge pioneered the van/cut-away chassis in the '80's and later was copied by Ford and GM. The flat rail chassis made it much easier and less expensive for body upfitters to put bodies on the chassis.

Neither bus would be a first pick in my book.

The Ford has a better engine but the transmission was a very poor transmission that has not done well behind the diesel engines.

The GM has a better transmission but has an engine that has some known shortcomings and also faces the real problem of lack of parts support. When GM sold their medium duty truck line all of the parts and pieces for the 6.5L were part of the sale. As a consequence there is virtually no parts in any parts supply chain that will fit a 6.5L G-series van application.

This bus is in about the same condition and has about the same mileage but it has the 5.7L and a lower price: http://www.harlowsbussales.com/pre_o...p?veh=4484983\

This bus is a larger small bus with the 6.0L, a lift, and a lot lower mileage but it has a higher price: Chevrolet 2003 2003 Chevy Bluebird

This is another large small bus with high mileage but it does have the advantage of a flat floor: 1998 Ford/Collins – Stock #16UB037 | Western Bus Sales

Here is a bread box style bus on the P-30 chassis with relatively low miles: 1998 GMC/BLUE BIRD – Stock #16UB015 | Western Bus Sales

Personally I would stay away from the two you posted.

The P-30 chassis version of the 6.5L has the advantage of being pretty much identical to the 6.5L that was put in pickups, Suburbans, and Humvees. As a result there is quite a bit of aftermarket support for that version of the engine.

Good luck on finding a bus that will work best for you.
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
The van/cut-away chassis used under buses is not the same chassis as used by the vans of the same vintage.
Getting off topic, but yes it is the same.

Here's a 1988 chassis dissected:



Notice the holes in the cab floor where spotwelds were drilled out. It's all sheet metal. No body mounts. (HUGE project by the way, you can see the story at Our Coachmen restoration)

The '97 - current vans are different, they have a separate frame:
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:31 AM   #8
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Year: 1997
Chassis: Ford e-350 single wheel
Engine: 5.4 litre
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ennonne View Post
Chevy stopped being unibody when the '97 vans came out. '71 - '96 were unibody.
Thanks for clarifying.
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