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Old 02-03-2019, 03:15 PM   #1
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Call me Ishmael...

I知 looking for what might be the Mobey Dick of busses.

I知 looking for a 3/4 length bus with a 5.9 Cummins and a manual transmission (if possible). I would prefer a dog nosed bus (unless someone is able to persuade me otherwise) with as little rust as possible. Budget is limited, but I would consider myself pretty handy.

This may be a somewhat odd list, but here is my justification.

I知 building this bus for my family to go camping in over the weekends. I want to maximize the amount that we can get out of the house and travel, and getting the best possible fuel mileage is a huge part of that. I致e read that the 5.9 gets better mileage than most of the other engines. In the event that I would ever need engine work I知 also hoping that it will be easier to get done since there is a huge aftermarket thanks to Dodge.

We don稚 really like to go to RV parks, and many of our trips will involve some sort of dirt road (we are on the east coast so not to much sand) and we will be using it year round so we will most likely end up in the snow at some point. I favor the 3/4 length so it will be a little easier to get around on mountain roads and fit in smaller camping spots.

I will need to fit sleeping space for my two kids (3, 4 years old) my wife, myself (duh), and my two dogs. My wife really really really wants a bathroom and a shower, and if I知 putting all the work into converting a bus I have to agree with her.

Is there a 3/4 length bus out there that has the characteristics that I知 looking for or is this a little to farfetched? I知 not opposed to going to a full length bus, but I think that it could cause problems down the road if we are trying to camp in more remote locations. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-03-2019, 05:52 PM   #2
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 5.9, Spicer-5
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As others have suggested in the past, lay-out your plans on graph paper and see how much length you realistically need. If you have a large enough garage or parking pad, laying things out with painters tape or children's sidewalk-chalk, will give you a more realistic feel of the actual space. Wants, and True Needs can become quite different when you start to cram them into a confined space.
As far as busses in that size I really can't tell you how plentiful they are. I just know they seem to be somewhat scarce. Unless you have the resources to cut one down to whatever you think you need.
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Old 02-03-2019, 07:16 PM   #3
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I haven't seen much in the 3/4 size lately - and a lot of them tend to have the "stop n go" power packages - the smaller engines, AT545s, etc. Not that you can't make that work - there are people on here that are doing well with it - but it's not a plentiful combination. Not sure if the manual makes it more or less of a white whale.
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Old 02-03-2019, 07:38 PM   #4
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look around the VA WVA area. More likely to find a manual transmission.
Not really a white whale. Not SUPER common but do-able.
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:33 PM   #5
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I知 not 100% stuck on the 5.9, I just don稚 want to get a bus do a lot of work on it then not afford to take trips because the fuel for the trips is too expensive. Does a 1/2 or 3/4 length bus with a 5.9? I have read some of the other threads on envgine/transmission combinations and I don稚 want to ask those questions when I could just read another thread, but specifically relating to shorter busses what engine and transmissions come in what models that will offer reasonable gas milage and reliability?
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GrowingUpOutside View Post
I’m not 100% stuck on the 5.9, I just don’t want to get a bus do a lot of work on it then not afford to take trips because the fuel for the trips is too expensive. Does a 1/2 or 3/4 length bus with a 5.9? I have read some of the other threads on envgine/transmission combinations and I don’t want to ask those questions when I could just read another thread, but specifically relating to shorter busses what engine and transmissions come in what models that will offer reasonable gas milage and reliability?
Cummins, Cats, Navistars... they're all about as good as each other.
IDK about fuel mileage. I've not had a Cummins in a bus. International DT's I've had get 7-9. My Cat seems to do 10+, but its in a 5 window.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:25 AM   #7
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Manual transmissions are fairly rare from what I see. There are 2 8 window buses with dt466s near me on auction that u suspect will go for 1500-2500 but IDK how far you want to travel for a bus.


As far as mileage- think of the money you save by not getting a hotel room, it adds up real fast. buses do not get good mileage.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:35 PM   #8
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I found a bus that I may be interested in but the heat doesn’t work in it...could this be a major problem?
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by GrowingUpOutside View Post
I found a bus that I may be interested in but the heat doesn稚 work in it...could this be a major problem?
What are your plans for heat in your build.? Most of us remove the coolant heaters because they only work while the engine is running, and replace them with an alternative heat source. There's nothing that can't be fixed to make them work, but unimportant if you plan on removing them. They are big and bulky and take up much floor space, another reason to ditch them.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:13 PM   #10
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I am thinking about going with a pellet stove like the wiseway stove. I think it would be easier to use than a wood stove (I use a wood stove in my house so I am proficient in using wood stoves) when we are on the road moving from camp spot to camp spot frequently. The pellet would be just for camping over night, I need to figure something out while I am driving, probably electric? What would you all recommend?

In other news, I bought a bus! I will pick it up over the weekend, and I am super excited. It isn’t a short bus, so maybe this thread needs to be relocated, but it is a 2001 Bluebird tc2000. I’ll keep you all updated as the updates come!
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