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Old 01-31-2006, 04:00 AM   #1
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Best engine/IP for a WVO conversion?

I roll in a big gass powered RV full time at the moment. The RV is hardly an RV anymore. I gutted most of it other than the kitchen and now use it as a tour vehicle, recording studio, and practice space, as well as home. Only problem is fuel has put the show off the road.

I have been researching WVO for a few years now but it took me a while to connect the dots between skoolies and WVO. However, before I buy a bus I want to know a little more about my engine/injector pump options. Mainly, which engines come with the beefiest IP's to handle the slightly more viscus WVO over time.

I know that the Cummings 5.9 is common and there are mixed feelings about its power and reliability mentioned all over this forum. Someone with bus conv. ecperence recomended the "Detroit 8V71, a 6V92 or even a 8V92" and one bus I am interested in is a 93 thomas w/ a Cat 3116, seems like a true medium duty engine used all over the place, but that's all I know. My RV's GVWR is maxed out right now at about 15,000 loaded and fuled up and the Chevy 454 is under powered. I am not looking for more speed, I am just sick of those white knuckle hill climbs, wathcing the temp inch up. Speed is not the issue so long as it makes it from point a to point b with little worry. My bus will be set up to carry about 250 gallons of Veggie oil at a time plus some reg. diesel, in addition to all my other worldly posessions with me now in the RV. So all things considered, what do you all think?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:23 AM   #2
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Check out http://www.greasel.com

Pretty interesting stuff about burning veggie oil.
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Old 02-02-2007, 08:39 PM   #3
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runny, I think I've seen you post on WVO forums but here is my opinion. The 5.9 Cummins with the p7100 would be an excellent choice. A DT466 like the one I have or a DT360 would be an excellent choice also. I believe that my DT466 with the 643 is about the best school bus drivetrain that money can buy for a WVO powered skoolie.
The IP is basically just like the one in a Mercedes. Check this out, the other day I replaced the three batteries in my bus and it started at around 0 degrees F with no plugging in, and yes it has no glowplugs. Very cool. Awsome motor.

To bad it has rust, pictures of #5 here http://asnowsquall.smugmug.com/gallery/ ... #120272563
Videos here http://asnowsquall.smugmug.com/gallery/ ... #120264297
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Old 02-05-2007, 05:22 PM   #4
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I know a lot of people don't like the detroit 8.2 but as far as skoolies go it is about the best engine for WVO. Like hte Detroit 2 strokes it does not have an injection pump to fail. It uses the rockers to move the fuel. These engines are also real easy on fuel.

I have seen a few bluebird transits with a 671.
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Old 03-06-2007, 02:14 PM   #5
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Year: 90
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
I personally wont buy another detroit powered bus. Mine died in the middle of OK with my family, pets and possessions inside on the way to NM from VA. After a couple years in NM we were offered a job to come back to VA. Bought a Bluebird with a 5.9 Cummins (solid as dirt) and an allison automatic. Got 11mpg from Albuquerque to Roanoke VA and made the trip in 48 hrs. In my search to buy my second bus I wanted to be sure I would be happy with the foundation. I put a lot of work in the old GM bus only to have it commit sideways (suicide) on it's maiden voyage. I spoke with several mechanics at the used car dealership I worked for as well as guys at bus dealerships and bus contractors for the schools out there. The Detroits are littering the junk yards everywhere, the Internationals are pretty good engines in general but the Cummins has the longest durability of all of them and makes a lot of torque. Unfortunately most engines are rated at horsepower but what you want in a diesel is durability, availability of parts and torque. The Cummins is an inline 6 while many of the other engines you find in a bus are typically V8 configurations. The inline 6 by design makes more power and has more steel to absorb heat. The V8 design has opposing cylinders at about a 60 degree angle that actually fight each other. Even in gas engines some of the most durable little torque horses (jeep 4 litre, ford 300 cu) are inline 6 engines.
Ok so I'm starting to rant a little, sorry. I can tell you, based on pickup truck values, the cummins powered dodges hold their value far better that chevey and ford. I sold a 95 Dodge with 370K miles for $14,000 and a 97 ford (nicer paint, ran great) with 140k miles for $9500. Do your research and buy a good bus first, then worry about how you are gonna convert it.

Take Care All . . .
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Old 03-06-2007, 07:33 PM   #6
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IT's funny that you say that because Greg from Florida Church Bus absolutely HATES the 5.9. I'll try and paraphrase why he dislikes them.

1. The vast majority have bad lift pumps
2. They leak oil. The 8.3 had the same oil leaks and got a fix but not the 5.9
3. Extremely high oil temperatures. Without an oil temp guage you'd never know
4. Difficulty in maintaining the individual heads and gaskets
5. Short life span in OTR and bus use.

Please remember these are his opinions, not mine. I really don't have an opinion on the matter. I just found #5 to be the most interesting. He later went on to praise the DT360 and DTA360 in the article.

But then there was my favorite and most reassuring quote, "...250,000 miles. Perhaps the only engine I would worry less about than the DTA360 with this many miles is the 6.6 Ford."
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:39 AM   #7
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Year: 90
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Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Well, begging to differ with your church bus friend, my information is not only based on a decade of driving commercial vehicles and having sold pickups in NM, but from as I mentioned several mechanics and bus contractors in NM,(a rather tough area on machinery). Cummins has been making the diesel engine since 1919. The 5.9 in particular is not only used in the Dodge pickup but busses, and commercial trucks. Even today they use it in the Ford medium duty trucks. I have personally seen literly dozens of them still running strong in pickups for over 400k miles and several with over 600K miles. Sure, everyone has their preference and usually will defend it to the death. As for the specific issues listed . . .
1. lift pump is not a huge issue, I haven't heard of many problems but either upgrade it or help it out with a inexpensive electric fuel pump. not basing my purchace on a $200 accesory. Some trucks come with lousy tires too . . .
2. leak oil??? not in my experience, have had dozens of them on the lot and never a oil stain or any on the engine itself, however we ofter had to spend $1000 to $1500 on many of the navistar (ford) to make them salable. Also in the OTR trucking industry, the Detroit is known as the big harley (harley davidson), their loud as hell (I kinda like that) leak oil like a seive, and your always working on them
3. high oil temps, I honestly don't know about that. I'm honest enough to say that. No problems in my personal experience.
4. Heads and gasket maintenance. Not exactly sure what you mean but if it is what I think it is, it is absolutely wrong. Many of the other engine options offered are of the V8 configuration. Parts are more expensive and the time to replace heads and gaskets is double due to the fact you have 2 heads instead of one and they are harder to get to that the inline six.
5. short life span, first the 5.9 isnt used in OTR trucks but the larger Cummins is the most common in the trucking industry and typically run to over 1 million miles, the blocks and heads are heavy to dissapate heat well and have enough room to be rebuilt half a dozen times. You will be sleaving that V8 soon since your cylinders are almost touching . . .

So the 5.9 which has 35% fewer parts, built heavier that the V8 diesels, and is the longest running production diesel in the mid size class may not be your choice. Maybe you prefer a engine based on a modefied gas engine. I prefer the one based on the commercial legend that has been movin freight across this country for nearly 80 years.
Please take no offence from my response. These are my oppinions as well as many others. BTW Cat makes a fine commercial diesel as well (more expensive though) but I dont have much info on their latest offerings.
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Old 03-07-2007, 06:21 PM   #8
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Hehe....sorry if I got you a bit fired up. I am in no way affiliated with Greg but I know several people on this board have dealt with him. I just found it ironic because I had just been reading a thinger from him bashing the 5.9 and thought it was in stark contrast. Those opinions that I listed are not mine, but rather his. I have no opinion of my own having never owned a Dodge pickup or a 5.9 powered anything else.

I do prefer a diesel that was always a diesel. My 6.6 Ford is a big inline 6 that has always been a diesel engine. Its physical dimensions rival those of a DT466 (the larger 7.8 Ford uses the same block).

The point of this thread is what the best setup is for WVO. That said, I would be cautious about a 5.9 unless I knew it had the inline injecter pump set up. Because of the way the rotary pumps are built, cooled, and lubricated, the rotary pumps are not generally well regarded for WVO conversions. This does not mean that you can't have a WVO powered 5.9, but it does mean you need to watch out when you're shopping.
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Old 03-07-2007, 10:01 PM   #9
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No sweat man. I love to debate the issue, had many with customers and converted quite a few, some i could not. Everyone is entitiled to an oppinion and sometimes I think people are intitiled to mine. Character flaw (like my spelling). Actually I have been considering burnin the bean myself. I initially got excited about biodiesel for my bus but then realised how difficult it can be to find a affordable source of methanol in my part of the cosmos. It took me 2 months to find a fair price by the 55 gal drum but then I thought I might like to try it on a smaller level first before spending $170 on the meth alone. Seems most vehicles should run ok on the wvo as long as you get the viscosity somewhere close to dino either by thinning and/or heating. I mean, diesel gets a lot thicker in the winter and we don't see IPs dropping out every winter. I have read a lot of different oppinions on that issue (and boy do they differ sometimes) but probably will try to thin with RUG about 10% and see how she likes it. I am a scrounger by nature so who knows what I might throw on the bed of my rollback tommorrow that might help with the heating side.
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Old 03-07-2007, 10:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibrate
I might like to try it on a smaller level first before spending $170 on the meth alone.
Meth, eh? There aren't any people that race around you I take it? Methanol is common racing fuel. I can find methanol easier than 93 octane RUG believe it or not.

If you want a good read about the 5.9 try the School Bus Fleet Magazine forums. I don't think I've read one complimentary thing about it over there.
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