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Old 03-05-2015, 11:46 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Engines in order of desirability

Could one of you guru's make a list of which engines would be most desirable in school buses? Maybe add some cliff notes of why...pro's...con's...Nothing to lengthy but to give us shoppers an idea. Thankyou
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Old 03-05-2015, 01:52 PM   #2
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Cat 3406! If only there were skoolies out there equipped with these, I'd be running one of them!

ok, now that i'm being serious...
You'll likely get lots of varied opinions on this. Depends on who you ask.
I like Internationals. Always have.
I think how its maintained and its power rating are more important than who built them, but that's just my opinion.
My bus has a DT466 rated at 195hp. Its a 40 footer, and I wouldn't want any "less engine" than what I have, I can say that.
Some people hate on Cats as they can be bit pricier to repair, but I know some truckers that LOVE them.
The Cummins are a very popular engine. I have reservations about going with something as small as the 5.9's but there are plenty out there running them. Same with the dt360 in Internationals. The Cummins 8.3 is a really good one to go with. Lots of praise for those all around for the most part I'd say.
If you have the cash to spend, then Crown put some heavier duty engines in their buses. An 855 Cummins is just awesome. Long Haul power in a school bus! Most of them have Detroit Diesels in them. I like the sound of the old two strokes but I wouldn't want one personally.
Growing up, my dad was an old school trucker and he always hated anything DD. I guess I inherited that. Doesn't mean I won't be rocking a two stroke DD powered MCI one day though.
Take all this as just one guy's opinion as that's truly all it is.
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:42 PM   #3
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So, of the DT466, 5.9, cat 3126....which would be easier to squeeze more power out of without going overboard? Will the programmers from dodge trucks work on the bus 5.9's? Also cost effectiveness of upgrades for those 3?

I'm asking because I still have this pipe dream of using a bus for a hot shot hauler. Though...I fully understand that I really should shoot for the 8.3 if I can find one.

Oh and thanks in advance
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:56 PM   #4
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I'd say the 466 is the best bet for that.
The 5.9 is easily bumped up in power as well. The cat not so much.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:52 PM   #5
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I'm doubtful about using the Edge/Bully/Smarty/etc on the bus version of the 5.9 -- I believe the ECUs are different to those in the Dodge application. Also I suppose all those work through the OBD-II port, and a bus won't have that. Probably best to check with their support people to find out.

Remember there are multiple versions of the Cummins 5.9 and 8.3. In the Dodge trucks the 5.9 switched from the 12-valve with P-pump (B engine) to the 24-valve with VP44 pump (ISB) in the 1998 model year. Similar deal with the C-to-ISC change on the 8.3L in buses. I don't know when bus builders might have switched to the IS family of engines.

I had a 1991 B5.9 engine ("rated" 180 HP, I think?? but who knows what it was delivering). Now I have a 2000 24-valve ISC8.3 (rated 250 HP) and it definitely has a lot more "go" than the other one had. Part of the seat-of-pants rating can be gearing, though -- I don't know what axle ratio that '91 had.

I looked at some buses with a Cat 3000-something engine (3126? 3208? I don't remember!) but the HEUI injection system scared me. Mostly because of unfamiliarity probably, and reports about three sensors that take turns failing and cost several hundred dollars each (if I remember correctly).. Since buying this ISC8.3 though I've been whacked with a $1200 injection control valve replacement on the CAPS injection pump. That was for just the reman part, by the way, and I installed it myself.. They'll get you one way or another!
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:28 AM   #6
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Keep it mechanical, avoid the computers, and it's tough to beat a straight 6.

I love the DT466 and if it's mechanical, there are a multitude of ways to squeeze more juice out of it, including turning up the fuel rate, adjusting the timing, incorporating an intercooler, and adding a bigger turbo. There is a member on diesel truck forums called Neverenufhp who shows how:
Turning up fuel on DT466 - TheDieselGarage.com

If you do any of that, get a pyrometer. I'd get one anyways. And if you want to wring power out of an engine, it wont hurt you to start bigger in the first place. Id rather turn up a dt466 than a 5.9

Also, if this is an income-generator, maintenance costs should be important to you. I'd also look for low-mileage and well-maintained engines since you'll be driving more than most of us do.

The DT466 is a wet-sleve design that allows for in-frame rebuilds to factory specs should something catastrophic happen. The 5.9 is not. This isn't to say that it's sometimes cheaper to just replace the whole engine, but it's relevant.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:46 AM   #7
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Couldn't agree more, Charles.

Another thought is... Why not get a conventional with a bad engine for cheap, find a wrecked pre epa semi or coach with a REALLY powerful engine and build franken-hauler?
Just an idea, I'm very bored today in this rainy weather we are having.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:59 AM   #8
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That's the ticket!
Talk about a fun ride that would be
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:35 PM   #9
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Thankyou for the input guys. Big help.

As for a franken hauler, looking at startup cost. I actually don't need a whole lot more power. I plan on shaving a lot of weight (body/frame length) off a stock bus. Buying even a young wrecked tractor will cost a chunk of money. Will probably max haul 20k lbs. Wont be fast, and since fuel is always a concern, would like to keep engine size manageable.
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