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Old 01-23-2010, 08:47 PM   #1
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Why choose FC (flat front) bus over a standard style?

Time has just about come to choose our bus, our adventure vehicle.

I am torn though, between a forward control front engine bluebird style (above), or a standard style, like the one shown below. Sorry for the huge pics!

The standard style is plentiful, and I wonder if it's quieter when rolling down the road, because the engine is not "inside". Could be easier to work on too? I guess it would be, with the flip up front clip. Easy deer repair too.
I have only ridden in one bus, and it was as yet uninsulated, and crazy loud. It was something between the two, an unusual Thomas built unit. It has since been upgraded, and I am told it's much quieter than it used to be. In any case, this doesn't help me decide.

Overall, I like the exterior appearance of the bluebird FC style, though I will only purchase a front engine bus, because I have plans to load bikes and gear into the back, plus I am pretty well settled on a 5.9 cummins for reliability and parts availability, etc. Also, it looks less like a school bus when it's cleaned up. That's a big plus to my wife. The only problem is that they are definitely less available in the configuration I want. My list of desires looks like this:

Mid bus length
Not rotted out badly (this is Michigan, eh?)
Hydraulic brakes
Excellent or very good tires (my budget won't let me spend too much on these just yet)
5.9 Cummins
Not banged up

I am leaning more towards the Bluebird flat front style, as it is more appealing visually, but if the right sized and appointed bus came along at a good price, I wouldn't be too hung up about it being a standard.


Suggestions to help me choose? I am willing to travel to pick it up, for sure. I am almost counting on it.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:49 PM   #2
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Re: Why choose FC (flat front) bus over a standard style?

Also, I wasn't sure which forum this belonged in. If it needs to be moved, can someone do that for me?
Is the term FC used correctly? I thought it applied here. Let me know if I am off base.
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:41 PM   #3
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Re: Why choose FC (flat front) bus over a standard style?


Mine is a Flat-Nose Front-Engine (Forward Control, yes) and I find it darn near impossible to do any maintenance on the engine. Since you want only medium length, I suggest you buy a Conventional with the required interior space. Hide the School-Bus-look with a creative paint pattern. In my book, FC is suitable only for those of us who want maximum space AND a rear door. Otherwise, get a Conventional or a Pusher. Just my 2 c, of course!
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:00 AM   #4
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Re: Why choose FC (flat front) bus over a standard style?

Ours is a flat fronted type BB. Why did we choose it... because it was the right price ($1400) at the right time (not long before we moved out west) and at the right place (not far from where we lived at the time)... I just didn't realize it was that big (40 ft). I wanted a flat one because I wouldn't mind campground owners mistaking it for a Blue Bird Wanderlodge. I have enough problems getting the food vendor cart allowed in a campground. Some folks are very uptight.

My daughter want's a dognosed bus. She doesn't want a flat one. Just likes the look.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:43 AM   #5
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Re: Why choose FC (flat front) bus over a standard style?

If you're looking for a 5.9 Cummins you're basically going to be limited to Bluebirds and conventionals built on a Ford chassis for what it's worth. Chevy used Cat diesels for the most part, excepting, of course, the 8.2 Detroit while International had their own line of diesels to use. Anything early 90's and later on a Ford chassis should have a 5.9 and not have Lucas-Girling brakes if you're looking to go hydraulic. Why are you looking to go hydraulic anyway?
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:09 PM   #6
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Re: Why choose FC (flat front) bus over a standard style?

To tell the truth, I am flexible on the type of brakes. Don't know why I put that there.

I guess one of the main reasons we are interested in the Bluebird flat front style is that it IS easily mistaken for a Wanderlodge, and appears a bit less "skoolie" when it's painted.
It seemed very important to my wife, and that's good enough for me. And who doesn't need to maximize their interior space?
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:17 PM   #7
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Re: Why choose FC (flat front) bus over a standard style?

I've had both. My preference is a dog nosed rather than FC. My dog nosed International was quieter and easier to work on things than the FC. You still may be able to get to everything in a FC, but it gave me confidence that I could almost see the WHOLE engine every time I raised the hood. But, the down side is that the dog nosed bus will be picked out as a conversion. It may not scream "skoolie" but it wont be mistaken for a Wanderlodge.
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