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Old 01-17-2007, 06:21 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Surrey, BC
Posts: 1
Seeking advice about buying a bus

I've found a bus for sale in my area and looking for a litle advice about it before I make a decision
1977 Thomas GMC 6000
460? v8 on Propane (Didn't ford make the 460??)
72 passenger
5 speed
little bit of rust at front fenders
156000k or 97000 miles(odometer is declared as replaced, current owner thought that was original mileage)
36' long

My knowledge of buses is minimal. Does anyone know of problems/issues specific to this setup or in general?

I'd still like to get an inspection done on the bus and before I buy it. I also wanna know what engine and tranny its got in it. not sure where to look though??

After reading some threads here I've noticed that mileage is dependant on not only engine size, fuel, weight, transmission, but also on rear gear ratio. This is something I should also look into eh??

How about fuel??
Is propane going to be good for long trips across the country?
Am I going to get snagged by lack of propane certified mechanics along the way??

The bus starts, runs and idles first try. All the vehicular functions(wipers, fluid, defrost, signals) work except for a leaky heater in the back. It's a rural church bus that has been sitting for 4 years. My neighbour is looking for 1200 CAD OBO.

Anyone from BC know the ICBC regulations for declaring a school bus as a RV (my agent quoted me 1200 per annum for insurance, something seems off there).

Thanks in advance for feedback.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:19 PM   #2
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Are you sure it's not a 454 in that thing? It seems far more likely to me that youd find a GM engine in a GM chassis, but who knows. There is nothing stopping a person from swapping a 460 into a GM chassis given the fact that so many of the accessory type items swap.

A propane bus can be converted to a gas bus with relative ease and it might be in your best interests to do that if you plan to go cross country. The problem isn't necessary with finding a mechanic, but with finding fuel, especially at a fair price. I actually have to plan ahead a little just with my diesel bus. I can't imagine looking for propane. I also keep off the interstates so it really is a matter of where and when you're going to be traveling. Diesel and gas are much easier to find at 3:00am than propane.

You seem to have the jist of things in terms of mileage. High gears (numerically low) are the ticket and seem to limit the vast majority of us. I would shoot for no lower than 4.56's, but that's just me.
Skooling state at a time...
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:02 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Rossland BC, Canada
Posts: 433
Year: 1985
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 366 propane
Rated Cap: 56
propane bus

Propane is a pain when travelling past Ontario. We've gone to Halifax and back in our propane powered bus. However it is much cheaper in BC and Alberta than gasoline. What I am currently considering is running a dual fuel system which allows me to run off either the propane system or gasoline system with the flick of a switch. The benifit is I choose which is the cheapest fuel to run at any given time. ex: low winds on the flats = propane, mountain passes = gasoline. I have been told the system including a mixer, carb, switches and such are under $1000,00. This does not include a tank or electric fuel pump. However the cost of a holley 2 barrel carb new $400.00 plus a mechanical fuel pump used $75, tank and lines is a much cheaper alternative.

- Richard
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