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Old 03-02-2019, 04:12 PM   #1
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Short Bus Engines

Hey Everybody!

I have been digging around trying to find my dream short bus. I've seen a few gems but researching these engines seems to always leave me a little deflated. I see the DT466 in many larger buses but I personally feel a little hesitant to go for the big bus.

Are there any short buses with DT466 or Cummins, etc? Any of the legendary diesels? If not, are there any equivalent epic engines found in short buses? Thanks in advance, the research phase has me overwhelmed as I don't know much about this stuff.
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:21 PM   #2
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From what I've seen on the forums, the bigger engines aren't often found on the short(er) buses. I think I've seen some smaller cummins engines in some short buses, but not the larger ones with the greater reputation.

There are a couple people on here who have the T444e engines, who've re-programed them and boosted the power a little bit (10hp or so) and were very happy with the results. (Enough of a boost to make a difference, not enough to kill the engine reliability/longevity.)

Someone found a shortie Freightliner with Mercedes engine spec'd for a full-size bus a month or so ago, but that's the only one people have seen like it.
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by johnm View Post
Hey Everybody!

I have been digging around trying to find my dream short bus. I've seen a few gems but researching these engines seems to always leave me a little deflated. I see the DT466 in many larger buses but I personally feel a little hesitant to go for the big bus.

Are there any short buses with DT466 or Cummins, etc? Any of the legendary diesels? If not, are there any equivalent epic engines found in short buses? Thanks in advance, the research phase has me overwhelmed as I don't know much about this stuff.

I would look for something with a Cummins 5.9, aka the 6BT, aka the ISB in later models. I am a big fan of this engine, and while it may be a bit undersized for the full size rig I'm looking for, it is perfect for a 1/2 size or shorty. There are some really awesome FE "stubbys" out there that give you the best of both worlds. like this one:

https://www.aaabussales.com/10718.html
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:38 PM   #4
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Thank you! I will check this out
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:40 PM   #5
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Thanks for the tip! I'll be sure to keep my eyes peeled
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Old 03-05-2019, 06:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by johnm View Post
Hey Everybody!

I have been digging around trying to find my dream short bus. I've seen a few gems but researching these engines seems to always leave me a little deflated. I see the DT466 in many larger buses but I personally feel a little hesitant to go for the big bus.

Are there any short buses with DT466 or Cummins, etc? Any of the legendary diesels? If not, are there any equivalent epic engines found in short buses? Thanks in advance, the research phase has me overwhelmed as I don't know much about this stuff.
Cummins, Cat, Navistar... Pick your flavor. Up till 2004 they're all decent. Brand loyalty gets nothing with these beasts.
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Old 03-06-2019, 12:06 PM   #7
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I have seen a number of DT466 equipped 6 windows.

That would be my focus if I were shopping for a shorty.
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Old 03-06-2019, 12:58 PM   #8
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Yeah, my 6-window bus has the same 7.3 IDI you might find in a bigger International bus of the same year. But there are shorties and there are shorties, right? Mine's a short version of a dognose bus, not a van cutaway. And just remember that gearing matters, too; despite a lower vehicle weight, my bus doesn't end up with more speed -- it goes about 60mph at 3000 rpm.
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Old 03-06-2019, 02:48 PM   #9
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I cruise my red shorty with the 'E' 7.3, aka powerstroke 7.3 cousin, T-444E, etc.. its a full chassis shorty.. I drive that thing all over the country(just finished a 2700 mile trip) despite people telling me its a "pickup truck engine".. im over 182K miles now and it still runas good and starts in the cold weather easily.. I cranked up the Juice on mine so it even climbs mountains pretty good now.. I like it well enough that if / when i ever blow it up i'd build / rebuild / or drop another T-444E right back in....



ive had a brand new set of stage 1 injectors to put ion it for a year.. the originals are still in it and one or 2 is a bit "lazy" when the engine is cold.. I can hear them they sound diferent.. injectors on the E powerstroke or T-444E are probably the single biggest expense people have to do to them seemingly somewhere in the 175-225k range... although there are plenty running fine on original injectors well past that..



totally agree with ECCB's post that most of the reliable solid diesels were built before the 04 / 05 first stage emissions went into effect.. where IH got EGR, and CAT went ACERT.. that started the downfall of many


-Christopher
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Old 03-06-2019, 10:20 PM   #10
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from when I was doing my research...Ö.everyone advised me to stay the heck away from the Ford 6.0 Litre diesels. I see them advertised cheap but maybe that's why. I got a 2013 GMC 6 litre Gas V8......easy cruising / mileage is about 15/16 mpg
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:23 AM   #11
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How bad are the diesels after 2003? Is it that they are broken down more, harder and more expensive to fix, require more maintenance, or all 3? What will have more down time for repairs, a 7.3 or t444e with 230,000 miles or a 6.4 with 100,000? Which requires more love and attention? Which can be abused and neglected and still move a built-out bus over a mountain pass?
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tawdbb View Post
How bad are the diesels after 2003? Is it that they are broken down more, harder and more expensive to fix, require more maintenance, or all 3? What will have more down time for repairs, a 7.3 or t444e with 230,000 miles or a 6.4 with 100,000? Which requires more love and attention? Which can be abused and neglected and still move a built-out bus over a mountain pass?
They integrated a bunch of electronic EGR emission stuff after 03 that is prone to issues that are hard to diagnose and expensive to repair.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:49 AM   #13
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How bad are the diesels after 2003? Is it that they are broken down more, harder and more expensive to fix, require more maintenance, or all 3? What will have more down time for repairs, a 7.3 or t444e with 230,000 miles or a 6.4 with 100,000? Which requires more love and attention? Which can be abused and neglected and still move a built-out bus over a mountain pass?
Engines so bad companies that relied on the trucks had to sue. Many lost their shirts.
I'd rather have a tired, worn out 444E than a brand new 6.0 with a warranty.
Neither can be abused or neglected.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:23 AM   #14
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Engines so bad companies that relied on the trucks had to sue. Many lost their shirts.
I'd rather have a tired, worn out 444E than a brand new 6.0 with a warranty.
Neither can be abused or neglected.
International's Maxxforce engines have been a real problem for International, with some really serious lawsuits. The scramble to meet emissions has put a hurt on many, both manufacturers and consumers.
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:28 AM   #15
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OK heres the rundown from people I know who actually manage or run school bus fleets for a living..



the 7.3 was a great engine.. but even those cant be abused.. if you get them hot or run them on dirty oil or misuse them, they will break.. are they solid? sure they are.. so were the mechanical CATs, Cummins, and the DT360/408/466. but as all the fleet managers have said, a bus driver running the temp gauge off the dial on a mechanical DT-466 even once would break it... fact of life.. they have the carnage pics to prove..



now onto the short bus engines.. the 6.0, I love the 6.0 trash talk because it means my friends can buy nice cheap busses with VT-365s in them or ford 6.0s.. put about a grand into replacing the Oil cooler and doing an EGR upgrade or delete and you have a nice solid running engine.. Yes the early years of the 6.0 were seriously failure prone.. an 04 or 05 6.0 had issues.. and on the fords the head bolts became problematic.. but on the fords they put out more power than the navistar counterpart(VT-365).. esp when the ford guys loved to put their bullydog tuners on and pump the engine up another 50-100HP yeah they blew the headgaskets ALL the Time... thus the bad rep and why ARP made a killing on head stud kits..



so you wanna buy ab us with a 6.0 and you cant turn a wrench to save yourself? DONT.. but if you are mechanically inclined and can make some upgrades. (I wont go into how to do them.. theres lots N lots of forum posts and articles on how to upgrade your oil cooler and EGR cooler).. then you can get a great deal on a 6.0 equipped bus.. if its running and in good order when you buy it then the bulletproofing will work.. if its already got coolant or oil issues then run run run away..



now the 6.4 aka the MaxxForce7.. its really rather hopeless.. theres not many engines out there that I wouldnt buy.. rebuilding engines / transmissions / electronics and the like are something that doesnt bother me.. a 6.0 cheap id buy in a heartbeat.. my friends that have even the most strict and detailed maintenance plans for their fleets have had a High number of failures in their IC CE200 series busses that came with the maxxforce7, even the short busses.. even the ones where these guys bought the bus new and drove it like an old man still have had failures.. enough so that the busses were new enough it was worth buying an actual "official" rePower kit to repower their Maxxforce 7 failures with Cummins. because they were afraid putting in another MF7 (6.4) would result in failure before the bus was worn out..



no not every 6.4 is in the scrapyard. but the high odds of failure make it a huge gamble.. and the poarts and replacements arent cheap.. used engines get nabbed up quickly from scrapyards receiving busses that might still have a good one.. nabbed by fleet managers who want a garage full of working spares to keep those busses on the road till they can age them out.. the big issue is there is no magic kit you can buy to make a 6.4 run forever like you can for the 6.0..



now its quite conceivable that if your skoolie is going to be nothing but a weekend warrior that you drive to the lake a few weekends a year that a 6.4 would do just fine.. because the odds of it failing while you are driving it would be low because simply you dont drive it much... but wanting to travel all over? yeah run from that thing..



oh and its an engine that really unless it was a $500 bus I wont buy one..
-Christopher
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Old 03-07-2019, 11:08 AM   #16
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When most people say "short bus" they are reffering to a cutaway/van bus in which case the 7.3 ps/t444e is probly the best engine you can get. You aren't gonna find a cat, Cummins, or a dt in a cutaway/van bus. If you want to step into a full size chassis, even with a short 6window bus, you can find just about whatever you want if you look long enough. I personally have a 28' dognose 7 window with a dr360 and a Spicer 5speed. It certainly isn't a speed queen on the hills but otherwise gets 10 mpg+, Cruses at freeway speeds, and is mechanically simple to maintain.. Another thing is that I have personally never heard of a tuner for a t444e. I understand that international keeps this engine under wraps pretty good. Would be interested to learn otherwise
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Old 03-07-2019, 12:10 PM   #17
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When most people say "short bus" they are reffering to a cutaway/van bus in which case the 7.3 ps/t444e is probly the best engine you can get. You aren't gonna find a cat, Cummins, or a dt in a cutaway/van bus. If you want to step into a full size chassis, even with a short 6window bus, you can find just about whatever you want if you look long enough. I personally have a 28' dognose 7 window with a dr360 and a Spicer 5speed. It certainly isn't a speed queen on the hills but otherwise gets 10 mpg+, Cruses at freeway speeds, and is mechanically simple to maintain.. Another thing is that I have personally never heard of a tuner for a t444e. I understand that international keeps this engine under wraps pretty good. Would be interested to learn otherwise
On the t444e not sure if there is a "tuner" but they can be tuned. Cadillackid knows how.

Short bus, you may be correct on the van cutaway being what most mean by short bus, however I tend to think of anything about half size as short. I.E. about 6 windows or less regardless of chassis.
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Old 03-07-2019, 03:45 PM   #18
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When I say short bus, I think under 30’ probably with a wheelchair lift. Is a 7.3 or a t444e enough for a full sized chassis around 25’ long to feel reasonable up mountain grades? I understand that a full sized chassis will have a significantly larger payload for building out. I likely won’t tow anything besides a small 3-4hundreds pound boat and trailer
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:37 PM   #19
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OK heres the rundown from people I know who actually manage or run school bus fleets for a living..
I


the 7.3 was a great engine.. but even those cant be abused.. if you get them hot or run them on dirty oil or misuse them, they will break.. are they solid? sure they are.. so were the mechanical CATs, Cummins, and the DT360/408/466. but as all the fleet managers have said, a bus driver running the temp gauge off the dial on a mechanical DT-466 even once would break it... fact of life.. they have the carnage pics to prove..



now onto the short bus engines.. the 6.0, I love the 6.0 trash talk because it means my friends can buy nice cheap busses with VT-365s in them or ford 6.0s.. put about a grand into replacing the Oil cooler and doing an EGR upgrade or delete and you have a nice solid running engine.. Yes the early years of the 6.0 were seriously failure prone.. an 04 or 05 6.0 had issues.. and on the fords the head bolts became problematic.. but on the fords they put out more power than the navistar counterpart(VT-365).. esp when the ford guys loved to put their bullydog tuners on and pump the engine up another 50-100HP yeah they blew the headgaskets ALL the Time... thus the bad rep and why ARP made a killing on head stud kits..



so you wanna buy ab us with a 6.0 and you cant turn a wrench to save yourself? DONT.. but if you are mechanically inclined and can make some upgrades. (I wont go into how to do them.. theres lots N lots of forum posts and articles on how to upgrade your oil cooler and EGR cooler).. then you can get a great deal on a 6.0 equipped bus.. if its running and in good order when you buy it then the bulletproofing will work.. if its already got coolant or oil issues then run run run away..



now the 6.4 aka the MaxxForce7.. its really rather hopeless.. theres not many engines out there that I wouldnt buy.. rebuilding engines / transmissions / electronics and the like are something that doesnt bother me.. a 6.0 cheap id buy in a heartbeat.. my friends that have even the most strict and detailed maintenance plans for their fleets have had a High number of failures in their IC CE200 series busses that came with the maxxforce7, even the short busses.. even the ones where these guys bought the bus new and drove it like an old man still have had failures.. enough so that the busses were new enough it was worth buying an actual "official" rePower kit to repower their Maxxforce 7 failures with Cummins. because they were afraid putting in another MF7 (6.4) would result in failure before the bus was worn out..



no not every 6.4 is in the scrapyard. but the high odds of failure make it a huge gamble.. and the poarts and replacements arent cheap.. used engines get nabbed up quickly from scrapyards receiving busses that might still have a good one.. nabbed by fleet managers who want a garage full of working spares to keep those busses on the road till they can age them out.. the big issue is there is no magic kit you can buy to make a 6.4 run forever like you can for the 6.0..



now its quite conceivable that if your skoolie is going to be nothing but a weekend warrior that you drive to the lake a few weekends a year that a 6.4 would do just fine.. because the odds of it failing while you are driving it would be low because simply you dont drive it much... but wanting to travel all over? yeah run from that thing..



oh and its an engine that really unless it was a $500 bus I wont buy one..
-Christopher
Thank you! Best forum post Iíve seen on this subject, here and on the truck forums. I am looking at a 1990 with 250,000 mi and a 2007 with a 6.0. I was leaning towards the Ď90, now Iím more flexible based on price. Could be that the 6.0 with newer accessories will spend less time in the shop.

I plan to live in it and drive a lot so the 6.4 is a hard no go
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Old 03-07-2019, 07:40 PM   #20
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I'd never bet on a 6.0 spending less time in the shop. Go ask the guys in said shop.
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