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Old 01-01-2018, 09:39 PM   #1
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Chevy Mid Bus vs International

Looking at a 2001 Chevy Mid Bus 14 passenger with a 5.7L engine. Any opinions regarding this engine? Reliable? Easy to find parts? etc.

Also looking at a 2008 International BE200 16 passenger with V8 6.0L VT-365 Diesel with auto transmission. Considerably more $$ than the Chevy but more reliable?
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:52 AM   #2
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the 5.7 litre chevy would be the one i'd choose out of the 2... 2007 and newer school busses were getting emissions-crazy about that time.. along with the fact the VT-365 doesnt have a great record.. id choose a good-ole chevy 350 any day..

dont get me wrong im probably oine of the only ones on this forum that would gladly own a VT-365.. but i know how to tear stuff like that apart and "bullett-proof" it..

International made the power-stroke engines for ford.. the VT-365 is what the ford diesel 6.0 pwoerstroke is based on.. google 6.0 ford failures and your screen will light up.. the VT-365. esp that late of year, didnt siffer quite the fate of the 6.0. but its not an engine id want to wish on someone who isnt capable of putting in the uodates to bullet-proof it..

in general the first few uyears of full-oin emission controls on school busses ( 07/0 were some of the worst years and had many issues.

take it as you wish but id be going for that chevy if those were the only 2 busses i could choose from.. however look around there are a lot of other options for busses out there.. with engines such as the DT-466, cummins 5.9, and even the T-444E(powerstroke 7.3 in a ford) that were considered much more reliable..

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Old 01-02-2018, 10:02 AM   #3
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Wow thank you cadillackid for your wealth of information and knowledge. Very much appreciated and good news as I wasn’t really wanting to spend the extra on the international anyway. I will most likely keep looking for one of the more reliable engines you mentioned as I will be traveling long distance in it. Thanks again!
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:50 AM   #4
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The kid's advice is gospel on this topic.

To expand on his last point a bit, and of course not knowing your particular usage expectations, I'd shy away from any gasoline engines in a bus. These diesel engines are built to withstand pulling heavy vehicles all day every day, and do it over many more miles.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:08 AM   #5
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Thank you! I plan on doing a conversion and traveling/living in it (at least part time living) so it will be driven quite a bit mostly out in CA. I will keep that in mind. These forums are priceless for a newbie like myself
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Old 01-03-2018, 05:13 AM   #6
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The kid's advice is gospel on this topic.

To expand on his last point a bit, and of course not knowing your particular usage expectations, I'd shy away from any gasoline engines in a bus. These diesel engines are built to withstand pulling heavy vehicles all day every day, and do it over many more miles.
Also diesel is a universal fuel...it's stable...doesn't degrade with storage...

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Old 01-03-2018, 05:16 AM   #7
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Thank you! I plan on doing a conversion and traveling/living in it (at least part time living) so it will be driven quite a bit mostly out in CA. I will keep that in mind. These forums are priceless for a newbie like myself
From what I hear from truckers don't buy your bus out of CA...they won't pass the regulations

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Old 01-03-2018, 11:20 AM   #8
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From what I hear from truckers don't buy your bus out of CA...they won't pass the regulations

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Which regulations?

California is an excellent place to buy some of the cleanest buses around.

If you mean CARB compliance, the regulations do not apply to secondhand private vehicles. Many Cali buses cannot be made CARB compliant as commercial vehicles, which is why they are being sold. They are fine for us.
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Old 01-04-2018, 06:17 PM   #9
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Which regulations?

California is an excellent place to buy some of the cleanest buses around.

If you mean CARB compliance, the regulations do not apply to secondhand private vehicles. Many Cali buses cannot be made CARB compliant as commercial vehicles, which is why they are being sold. They are fine for us.
Oh...good to know...thx

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Old 01-04-2018, 09:21 PM   #10
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If I had to choose between the two, the 350 V8 Chevy would be my choice. That VT-365 engine is a horrible diesel engine as far as reliability goes. Some people had good luck with them, but most don't. The 5.7L is a great engine with parts always available, but under-powered for a bus in my opinion. There are also diesel engines that are deemed under-powered for a bus, but they can handle the load and get better fuel mileage.

In my professional opinion if you are looking for a mid sized bus, you want a diesel engine. As far as shuttle bus models go you have 2 choices in my order of preference..........

Ford 7.3L diesel Econoline chassis
Chevy 6.5L G-Series chassis

For actual School bus mid-size (5-9 window) models you have a few more choices in my order of preference.......

International DT466 pre-emissions engine
International T444E (7.3L) any year engine
International DT360 any year engine
Cummins 5.9L diesel engine

I prefer a manual transmission, but an automatic is fine. Some automatics are better than others. This all goes along with gear ratios in the rear end. Some busses will do 70+ MPH on the highway and some will do much less and/or may be governed at a certain speed/RPM which is not really a bad thing. Do you really need to haul ass in a skoolie?

I am basing these recommendations on my experience as a diesel mechanic and reliability. Gasoline engines in the long run cannot sustain the weight and abuse in a bus chassis and the fuel mileage is terrible. I work on lots of diesel trucks. Anything diesel made after 2004 or emissions equipped is going to be less reliable and expensive to fix.

I like the International DT466 engine. They have lots of power and are pretty reliable. They can also be rebuilt in-frame.

The T444E or 7.3L and the DT360 engine is also super reliable. They do however seem a little under-powered in a bus, but these engines are pretty much bulletproof and with proper care they will last the life of the bus.

The Cummins 5.9L engine seems much more powerful compared to the T444E or DT360 and get great fuel mileage. I am no saying these engines are less reliable than the others, but they do work harder.

Take your time. Research. Find the right bus.
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