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Old 08-23-2015, 10:49 PM   #1
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Basic Mechanical Info

Ok, I'm completely new to this and need some help. We are looking to buy a bus, but I'm not even sure where to start in terms of mechanical items, so here are some newbie questions I'm hoping you all can help me with. For reference, we want a 70+ passenger bus that we can take all over the country including through mountains. We plan to out a crap ton of miles on it.

1. How much does the age of a bus affect it other than price. Is there a point where you are asking for trouble if it is too old?

2. Mileage. Basically same question as above, how many miles is too many? When are you likely to have to do a rebuild and what type of cost will that be?

3. What size engine would I need? How will that affect the bus other than probably less mpg.

4. What brand/model engines are most reliable and what ones should I avoid?

5. Same as above except for transmissions.

6. Does having the flat nosed style bus with engine in rear make much difference than the other style with engine in front?

7. Are tires that expensive that you need to make sure they have a lot of tread?

8. What else do I need to know that I don't know about the mechanical aspects?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:19 PM   #2
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tires are about $400 each, also you need to look at the date codes on the tires since school buses do not always do a bunch of miles, the tires on mine are 5 years old yet have 90% of their tread left
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:08 AM   #3
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You need to go do a whole bunch of reading and searching before starting new threads.

All the info you need has already been covered over and over again.

Starting new threads to ask questions that have already been asked, causes the good informative threads to get lost, where they can not be found.

I would like to see all new members restricted to one new thread per 30 days to fix this ongoing issue.

Nat
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:10 PM   #4
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Thanks Nat! I actually did that and couldn't find any really good answers or just straightforward info. That's why I asked here. I was able to find a bunch of times where you answer questions in a dickish way that is completely unnecessary.
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdmapes View Post
1. How much does the age of a bus affect it other than price. Is there a point where you are asking for trouble if it is too old?

2. Mileage. Basically same question as above, how many miles is too many? When are you likely to have to do a rebuild and what type of cost will that be?
This comes down to how the bus was maintained and what part of the world it comes from. Northern buses will rust out before southern buses. Cheap school districts may take shortcuts in maintenance. Look for maintenance records. Inspect the under side. Oil analysis is a way to know how well the engine is doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdmapes View Post
3. What size engine would I need? How will that affect the bus other than probably less mpg.

4. What brand/model engines are most reliable and what ones should I avoid?

5. Same as above except for transmissions.

6. Does having the flat nosed style bus with engine in rear make much difference than the other style with engine in front?

7. Are tires that expensive that you need to make sure they have a lot of tread?
^ These questions have been flogged to death.

Google site:skoolie.net best engine

Google site:skoolie.net dog nose vs rear engine

Google site:skoolie.net tires

Oh, and welcome to the skoolie.net and good luck in your quest!
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdmapes View Post
I was able to find a bunch of times where you answer questions in a dickish way that is completely unnecessary.
I feel that way a lot of times too.

I think forums are better at providing more of a conversational type way of talking about skoolies than a step-by-step how-to guide to skoolie selection and construction. If I want to see if a question has been asked here before, I usually use google to search for it, but even those threads have a habit of getting off topic.

Some of the build threads can be very informative; however, they tend to tell a story instead of a step-by-step how-to. My favorite build thread would be porkchopsandwiches teen spirit thread. Great story and very informative. But you can spend hours reading it and might not find the info you're looking for.

Also, there's a facebook skoolie group that's a lot less judgemental when people ask questions that've been asked a hundred times before.

I really like vonslatt's website for a step by step how-to guide. When I started searching for a bus I found a really nice website that compared dog-nose/FE/RE and engines and coach manufacturers. But I just did a search and couldn't find it.

An easy answer to most of your questions is "it depends," which is why so many of these threads get off topic. A lot of people like a purely mechanical engine, so are okay with going with an older bus. I've got an 88 bluebird with 5.9 cummins in it. Many people say the 8.3 cummins is the best engine to get. The dt466 is also considered good. A lot of people will say to stay away from anything with 8 cylinders. A lot of people will say to stay away from the AT545 transmission.

Mileage only matters a little. Good maintenance is more important than mileage, so if you've got good records then that's a plus.

Fuel economy is what it is. Diesel is much better than gas tends to be the prevailing attitude.

Tires are really pricey and for most people will probably die of old age before they wear out. My tires are nearly 16 years old and I need to buy new ones before I hit the open road with them. I found a concrete company that sells cheap chinese tires. Mounted and balanced for about $200/tire. That's probably the best deal you'll ever get on new tires. If I were to buy all new of a big brand tire they'd cost more than what I paid for the bus, so if you can find a bus with good tires that's a deal.



So, welcome to the party. My best advice for you would be to decide how big a bus you want and what you're willing to spend. Set aside a portion of your bus budget for mechanical repairs. Find something in your price range, buy it, and start building. I'm having a great time building mine.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Why would anyone promote digging through the OLD threads?
Because some of them actually have of useful information? But I do know what you mean about the xenophobia and hate being spread. That's why I stopped posting (and essentially disappeared) last summer. Well, between school, trying to find work, etc., I didn't have much time to work on the bus
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:25 AM   #8
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The problem with your questions isn't that they haven't been answered before, It's that the answer to each one depends so much on the answers to the other questions. If you're completely new to this, look and see what others have. Look and see what they are going through in their builds and use that to get an idea of what you might want. Then look on craigslist, ebay, govdeals, local yards, etc. and pick out a handful of busses that you are considering. Then come here and we'll give you what we think about each one.

Skoolies serve each owner in their own manner. Some people live out of them, some people use it for travel, some like myself use it as a crash pad for weekend adventures. Each use will have a completely different set of ideals for the potential bus.

In my particular situation, I don't need something that will drive coast to coast on a yearly basis, I don't need something that will permit me to live off the grid for days at a time, and I don't need something that will provide all the amenities and creature comforts that I would have at home.

Figure out what your goals are, figure out your budget, figure out the mechanical skills that you have on tap.

Once you get all that, then we can help you.

P.S. Don't take what was said in prior posts personally. Some guys are grouchy on here, some get on power trips, some plain just aren't personable, But we keep them here for reasons that you'll eventually find out.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:27 AM   #9
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Lots of clever, pissy people make for a piss-poor forum.

Yes...Newbies have questions. Whether the subject is Skoolies or harmonica lessons. Get used to it. Either welcome them and politely direct them to "read the build threads" or ignore them. But don't waste even more time railing newcomers and whining about "that question has been answered". Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't. But actually finding the answer is another matter entirely. As noted, the "Search" function here is less than perfect so suggesting using Google is also helpful. But fer Cripe's sake loose the arrogant, know it all, rude attitude towards new people just trying to fit in here.

I have a hell of lot less patience with bad manners than I do with honest (even when simplistic) questions. I also know a few very knowledgeable former contributors who no longer or only rarely come here because of all the aforementioned pissing matches.

BTW...I do agree that a dedicated Newbie Intro & Question thread would help everyone.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:41 AM   #10
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most other sites I frequent have a newbie area that IS SAFE from the general public opinion and IT WORKS

A constant slamming of newbies is unexceptable, and will STOP PERIOD, no if and or buts

and OP as it has been noted there are too many variables and opinions to give

set answers,

decide exactly what you want and bring some examples to the table

I will say this in responce
1)you need a diesel
2)you need airbrakes
3)you do not need a AT545
4)jake brakes would be awesome (not all engines can have them put on)
5)an exhaust brake may help the other engines (if tranny supports it)
thats a few
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