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Old 09-01-2013, 11:23 PM   #1
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Gas vs. diesel, which one and why?

I have read that diesels cost more to maintain, but are more powerful and economical on fuel. As far as a gasser, apparently, they cost less to maintain, but are worse on fuel consumption.

So, which wins out for a school bus converted to full-time home on wheels?

Thanks!
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:07 AM   #2
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Re: Gas vs. diesel, which one and why?

I prefer diesel, but if you live where its cold gas might be better, diesel turns to gel at around 0 degrees F for #2 diesel, and -25 degrees for #1 diesel.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:53 PM   #3
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Re: Gas vs. diesel, which one and why?

I have worked on gas engines for many years in regular cars for many years. When I bought my bus I didn't put enough research in to the diesel vs gas debate. I do own a duramax 1 ton truck so I have experiences both sides when it comes to keeping them up.

other than more filters and more oil... over all the additional cost is what makes having a diesel more expensive or at least that has been the case with my 1 ton.

My bus is an older model 1983 with a gas 366 engine. I have not really done anything to it but it does need a tune up but im putting that off due to it wont be on the road for a while and putting that money in to the inside for right now.

I would say if your going to put a lot of miles on the bus... go diesel. You will get a longer life out of it. As it has been said on here the repairs will cost more but hopefully you wont have issues. If I had to do it all over again I would get a diesel bus. If possible I would try and find people from this site and close to you and see if you can do a ride along with them and see what you like. Kind of a try it before you buy it deal.

Hope this helps
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Old 09-02-2013, 01:12 PM   #4
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Re: Gas vs. diesel, which one and why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoolbus
I prefer diesel, but if you live where its cold gas might be better, diesel turns to gel at around 0 degrees F for #2 diesel, and -25 degrees for #1 diesel.
Right now I live in a decidedly non-mobile 6 story converted residential hotel in San Francisco. (An SRO)

Cold? Not so much as "chilly and foggy".
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Old 09-02-2013, 01:17 PM   #5
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Re: Gas vs. diesel, which one and why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bapos
I have worked on gas engines for many years in regular cars for many years. When I bought my bus I didn't put enough research in to the diesel vs gas debate. I do own a duramax 1 ton truck so I have experiences both sides when it comes to keeping them up.

other than more filters and more oil... over all the additional cost is what makes having a diesel more expensive or at least that has been the case with my 1 ton.

My bus is an older model 1983 with a gas 366 engine. I have not really done anything to it but it does need a tune up but im putting that off due to it wont be on the road for a while and putting that money in to the inside for right now.

I would say if your going to put a lot of miles on the bus... go diesel. You will get a longer life out of it. As it has been said on here the repairs will cost more but hopefully you wont have issues. If I had to do it all over again I would get a diesel bus. If possible I would try and find people from this site and close to you and see if you can do a ride along with them and see what you like. Kind of a try it before you buy it deal.

Hope this helps
So for you, other than the price premium at initial purchase, the extra costs on more filters and more oil, and possibly more expensive repairs - You would go diesel.

In your truck, do you find the extra cost of diesel fuel vs. unleaded to be worth it, at least in the fuel mileage department? Has it needed any repairs, if so, what and how much did they cost?

Of course we all want long engine life.

I wonder if anyone has done a recent study on two identical vehicles, one with a gasser, one with diesel, and computed the total cost of ownership over 1 to 5 years, including fuel, repairs, etc?

Also, the idea of a ride-along is a great idea, thanks!
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:44 PM   #6
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Re: Gas vs. diesel, which one and why?

for the pure size of the bus I would do diesel. Theres a reason why there are very few modern buses that are gas.

I have always driven non fuel efficient cars most of my life other than motorcycles. So I over bought this truck when I did... one I needed it for work and 2nd I was originally was thinking about a stick n staple trailer but moved to the bus instead. Most people who pull heavy stuff go to diesel for a reason. Do I think gas is cheaper yes... but again it goes back to what I said earlier... they are diesel for a reason.

The cost of filters and oil are not night and day different. Now repairs.... yes they are. I had to have head gaskets put on my duramax at 200k miles due to a flaw in them that GM used. It cost 4200.00 so yeah it hurts when they break. Since this is my first bus I am kind of cutting my teeth on this to find out how much I need what I want and what I don't want. Since the price was right I took a chance on it. Motor wise my 366 is currently fine but with a 30+ old motor that can change in a blink.

I think a ride along will more than be worth what ever you spend. This is why people need to hold locally gatherings of people who do this school bus conversion thing. There are some great minds on here to get ideas from. Just need them and others to chime in and talk. I think if you could go to a gathering and see peoples stuff it would be worth the cost of travel.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:12 PM   #7
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Re: Gas vs. diesel, which one and why?

Fellow bus owners

Most of our buses are from a age of simple mechanical Diesel engines. The 12 valve 5.9 Cummins, DT 366, 466 till 97 ( I think).

Quote:
Originally Posted by bapos
I had to have head gaskets put on my Duramax at 200k miles due to a flaw in them that GM used. It cost 4200.00 so yeah it hurts when they break.
Please don't mistake them for the modern Diesel jokes that are in today's pickups. There is a reason that the Duramax is not installed in buses.

Dollar for Dollar, you will not drive a gaser cheaper. It just won't happen. Diesel has about 130, 000 BTU per gallon. Gasoline has about 30% less BTU per gallon.
Gas engines have all kinds of small electric parts that need changing. Spark plugs, Wires, ect. Diesel's don't.
Diesel's only need Oil changes every 20, 000 km, gas need them every 5,000km.
Diesel's last 1,000,000km in a pickup, 500,000km in a bus. Gaser you would be lucky to see them last 250,000km.

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Old 09-02-2013, 09:28 PM   #8
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Re: Gas vs. diesel, which one and why?

On top of what Bapos said, Diesel engines just last longer. A Diesel engine with a quarter of a million miles is just getting out of the starting gate, whereas a gasser will be needing replaced soon. My Bus will be a Diesel.
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:02 AM   #9
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which one and why?

Diesel engines are all very different in their working life. School buses are not all the same. There are many opinions with no real information. Some diesel engine need work at 100K miles. As example, a 7.3 int diesel V8 may not be a high millage engine.
Temper any engine words with more investigation. Frank
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:38 AM   #10
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Re: Gas vs. diesel, which one and why?

While I agree that investigation and proof to statements are important, there are some things in life that I think we can just look around and accept as fact, at least in terms of a "this vs. that" generalized debate. Diesels longevity vs. gasoline I feel is one of those. For a heavy vehicle, at least. There is a reason they don't make gasoline semi engines. There is a reason I can't think of one single OEM bus manufacturer that uses gasoline engines. For a heavy vehicle, hands down, they are better. If someone disagrees, they can do their own research. Also, the expense isn't as big of a factor for all diesels. I can rebuild mine, in-frame, for around 1000. Replaceable liners ftw!
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