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Old 12-17-2015, 05:12 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2
2002 Chevy Bluebird bus with 6.5 Litre Diesel

Hi Folks,

This is my first post.
I have gone through this forum seeking information as I am considering the purchase of a 2002 Chevy bluebird 24 passenger (children) school bus.

This is the information I have so far:
6.5 Litre diesel engine
160,000 miles.
The six month inspection good until January, 2016.
The GVW is 5,690 KGs
Net weight is 3,770 KGs.
The rear tires are duallies.

I read the comments about the 6.5 Litre diesel and I am somewhat mixed on the various issues. Since this bus has to go through a regular vehicle inspection, odds are that the engine may be in good shape.

1) What I need to know is, has anyone towed a midsize vehicle, cross country, with this type of bus and if so, what would the towing capacity be?

2) Also, what would the mileage and fuel capacity be?

Thank you.

PS. I wanted to post a photo aswell but cannot figure out how.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:01 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: West Ohio
Posts: 623
Year: 1984
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 1753
Engine: 6.9 International
Rated Cap: 65
I'm not a fan of the 6.5, I've seen too many cracked blocks when they weren't even abused. Some people are fans, and they are die hard ones too, I'm just not.

What kind of towing are we talking? You plan on carrying the vehicle in the bus, or are you pulling a trailer/dolly?
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:24 PM   #3
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I plan on towing my car (2,200 lbs) on a rented uhaul car trailer.
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Old 12-18-2015, 10:38 AM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: West Ohio
Posts: 623
Year: 1984
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 1753
Engine: 6.9 International
Rated Cap: 65
U-Haul should be able to help you out the most on this. You'd have to ensure that the hitch rating on the bus is high enough, but the chassis should be good enough. Just take care when loading the trailer so that it is level, and then take your time getting there.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:27 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 142
Smile and I bought that bus...

Hi guys.

New here in the forum and yes I bought that bus.

They bought a lemon basically and in the last 4 years they dumped 20k on it which includes :

New Transmission rebuild 4L80E less than a month old
New injectors
New Pump
New winter tires ( 90% thread)
New Brakes, bushings, ball joints etc
New Battery
New alternator
And tons of other things

All the bad things about the 6.5L are relative to the maintenance and with any vehicle really.

I will create a project thread with tons of pictures soon.

Thanks.
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Old 12-23-2015, 06:56 PM   #6
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Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,607
Most likely the fuel tank has 35 usable gallons.

By itself you should be able to get 10-12 MPG if you don't try to push the speed too much.

The 6.5L is an okay engine. Just be prepared to not be able to get any parts support from a GM dealer or aftermarket suppliers.

While GM made a LOT of 6.5L engines, about 95% went into trucks and HUMVEES. As a consequence the aftermarket suppliers have all sorts of add ons and improvements for the standard application. When you talk about a G-series van application the response is less than overwhelming.

While the block and heads are pretty much the same the exhaust and all of the accessories are pretty much G-series specific.

If the engine management computer is still located under the turbo in the valley you need to get the aftermarket relocation kit that is basically a 6' long pigtail and a mounting bracket to mount the computer up on the radiator support. If you don't, you will have a computer failure due to excess heat. And it will happen sooner than later.

Don't let the engine or transmission get hot. If you do, you will have a total meltdown on your hands.

A lot of people have had 6.5L powered tow vehicles and motorhomes and have been able to go lots of miles. But it requires good oil in the engine and a really good cooling system.

It would not be a bad idea to invest in a set of aftermarket gauges to let you know how hot the engine and transmission really are.

An infrared thermometer is a good investment as well.

You are not going to spend much time in the left lane, particularly if you are towing anything.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 12-24-2015, 12:06 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 142
Thanks for the comment.

Gauges are the first thing I'm going to order so I can get an idea of how things are going, then I will looks to relocation of PDM and other things if needed.




Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Most likely the fuel tank has 35 usable gallons.

By itself you should be able to get 10-12 MPG if you don't try to push the speed too much.

The 6.5L is an okay engine. Just be prepared to not be able to get any parts support from a GM dealer or aftermarket suppliers.

While GM made a LOT of 6.5L engines, about 95% went into trucks and HUMVEES. As a consequence the aftermarket suppliers have all sorts of add ons and improvements for the standard application. When you talk about a G-series van application the response is less than overwhelming.

While the block and heads are pretty much the same the exhaust and all of the accessories are pretty much G-series specific.

If the engine management computer is still located under the turbo in the valley you need to get the aftermarket relocation kit that is basically a 6' long pigtail and a mounting bracket to mount the computer up on the radiator support. If you don't, you will have a computer failure due to excess heat. And it will happen sooner than later.

Don't let the engine or transmission get hot. If you do, you will have a total meltdown on your hands.

A lot of people have had 6.5L powered tow vehicles and motorhomes and have been able to go lots of miles. But it requires good oil in the engine and a really good cooling system.

It would not be a bad idea to invest in a set of aftermarket gauges to let you know how hot the engine and transmission really are.

An infrared thermometer is a good investment as well.

You are not going to spend much time in the left lane, particularly if you are towing anything.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 12-24-2015, 12:54 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 107
I hope that you didn't buy the 6.5 yet!

As part of my yearly income derives from driving a truck with a 6.5L Detroit Diesel, I would advise you to look elsewhere. Even as much as I despise a 5.9 Cummins, a healthy Cummins would be a far better option.

If it is a stock 6.5L, then there is so much money you will have to dump into it just to make it a reliable engine, and to avoid blowing it up.

Here are some common flaws of a 6.5L:
Poor coolant flow through the engine. (All years.)
Poor coolant flow, crappy water pumps. (Best were 97+)
Injection pumps that love to commit suicide when you lift pump dies.
Lift pumps that kill healthy Injection pumps.
Lift pumps that provide poor fuel flow.
Lift pumps that turn off due to faulty oil pressure sensor/switch.
Stock turbos are very limited, and leave the high end lacking.
Stock exhaust leaves a very restricted flow and high EGT's.
Pricy PMD's that love to die from heat exhaustion.
Pricy PMD's that require a good heat sink due to high temps it creates.
GM for some reason didn't like to include gauges with these engines.
A 454 of the same year generally produces more torque and hp.
A 454 of the same year has power through full rpm range. 6.5 does not.


Other things to consider with a GM 6.5L:
Injectors are pricy.
Glow plugs are pricy.
Injection pump is insane.
Coolant system all the way around is terrible on most every 6.5 application.
They are very easy to overheat, both water temp and EGT's.
They cannot be heavily modded like an international or cummins.
Heavy modification usually leads to a dead 6.5l Detroit.
A stock 6.5L cannot handle much increase in boost.
A stock 6.5L isn't completely gutless, but it's not as good as you'd like.
A stock 6.5L has generally no guts left after 2500rpm.


Pros:
A 6.5L gets better fuel mileage than a 454 by a large margin.
A 6.5L is acceptable if if you're not needing to utilize the power.
I can't really think of any others.



Most everything on that list will have to be addressed on every stock 6.5. I have a fairly stock 6.5 with 200k miles with lots of towing 7-14k lbs. If you're using it with an automatic transmission, and you're pushing it, it will downshift expecting to get more power, though that usually is not the case, and you'll lose power to the ground. If you can find the same bus in a 454 or 350, you will have a much more reliable engine. If you want a diesel, find a E-bus with an international.

A am loyal to GM, but the 6.5L is a very disappointing engine. I wish I could swap in a bigger Detroit, such as the 466. My next truck will likely be a 454. If I get a bus, it will either be a big block gasser, or a DT466, or maybe a 444 if the bus is perfect for me.

Not trying to rain on anybody's parade, but I am a 6.5L Detroit owner, and I would not recommend it.
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Old 12-24-2015, 06:44 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 142
That is pretty useful info, the good thing is almost all the things that can fail on this engine have been done and transmission rebuild is less than 1 month old so I will guess I will have some life left in this engine before I do a swap for a cumming or a 6.6L.

I just checked the engine and it had the updated PMD with the huge heat sink but I will relocated inside to avoid heat.

The exhaust, turbo, intercoler, water pump, radiator and water injection will come soon.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:43 PM   #10
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 107
Gauges

Quote:
Originally Posted by pepepito View Post
That is pretty useful info, the good thing is almost all the things that can fail on this engine have been done and transmission rebuild is less than 1 month old so I will guess I will have some life left in this engine before I do a swap for a cumming or a 6.6L.

I just checked the engine and it had the updated PMD with the huge heat sink but I will relocated inside to avoid heat.

The exhaust, turbo, intercoler, water pump, radiator and water injection will come soon.
A good priority would be a set of good gauges. Get a real good water temp gauge, as well as a quality EGT guage. If you can make sure those don't hit critical, you will be doing very good aside from fuel system stuff. If you can monitor your temperatures, then you can make sure the engine won't melt on you. It is a really dependable engine, but it has it's issues just like every other diesel of it's category.

At least most of the 6.5L issues are somewhat preventable. A cracked head on a 5.9L Cummins due to improper water coating, unavoidable.

IF you're gonna do it, at least do it right. If any of you find a complete kit for installing gauges on a 6.5L, let me know, I'm shopping!

Gauges you NEED on a 6.5L:
1. Exhaust Gas Temp. (E.G.T.)
2. Water Temperature (Good quality real time temp gauge.)
3. Transmission Temperature (Keep from cooking the Trans.)

Other gauges to consider when budget allows. (In order)
4. Fuel Pressure (Electronic of course)
5. Engine Oil Temperature (Good to have.)
6. Engine Oil Pressure. (A good detailed one will be more accurate.)
7. RPM Tachometer. (This should be number 3 if you don't have a stock one.)
8. Boost. (Monitor turbo boost. Only really needed if upgrading turbo.)
9. Volts (If you're into lights and accessories, get a good gauge.)
10. Speedometer - Miles/Kilometers per hour. (Good if your stock one dies.)
11. Vacuum gauge. (Some people have them.)
12. Intake air temperature. (If you feel like it.)
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