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Old 02-23-2016, 04:30 PM   #1
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My expectations of bus 5.9 cummins

First of all. Thanks for any and all replies.... I have owned party busses in the past. 3 had the dt360 in it and the other had the Brazilian ford. ALL WERE GUTLESS. I'm now in the market for a different purpose. I take several trips out west snowmobiling every year. Our group is thinking of buying a bus to drive/haul our sleds there and live in while we r there. I personally am a cummins guy. Owned 20 dodge diesels since 1991 to present so I'm thinking the 5.9 is our ticket. I expect to set cruise at 75 mph and go! Will the basic mods like injectors. Twin turbos. Inter cooler injection pump intake and exhaust b enough or am I expecting to much? I know that leads to tranny issues and a possible answer there is a gear vendor O/D. We plan on making enough room on back of bus to haul two sleds and will b pulling a 2 place enclosed behind it. Thought B would b to get a bus with a bad engine and out a larger 8.3 cummins or even a big cam or M-11 with a seven speed manual behind it. Yes, I am capable of doing the work but looking for advice from someone more knowledgable then myself
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Old 02-23-2016, 04:41 PM   #2
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i'd go for the 8.3.
the 5.9 maybe great in a pickup but a bus is much larger. your top speed will be set by the drive ratio of the bus. forget 75, and probably cruise control.
find a bus with the lowest rear end ratio you can, to go as fast as it can.

finding the right bus is a lot less than modifying all those things.
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Old 02-23-2016, 05:06 PM   #3
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You're going to want more displacement then 5.9 Liters. Go with the 8.3, they came factory on some busses. I'm not sure if you'll be able to shoe horn an m11 in one, but if your willing and capable, anything is possible. Get one with highway gearing and a tranny with at least one OD, with two being preferred. I wouldn't use a gear vendors in this application, matter of fact they'll probably tell you not to. Make sure you get a bus with the heavier axle options, they'll have larger brakes, which is something you'll need if you want to cruise at 75.

You can turn up the dt360 and the ford 6.6 so they aren't so gutless, but if your wanting to go that fast, you're better off with getting more displacement.
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:44 PM   #4
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Money would be better spent on something that will go that fast. You wont like 75 in a school bus.

I know where there is an '89 Eagle that needs and engine. $6500.

That will go fast and ride nice. You'll probably have less into it as well.
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:49 PM   #5
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I agree with opus. Get the bus you want in the first place if you want to go that fast. A school bus would scare me at 75.
I've seen people modify the back wall of a bus either with a larger door so they could get rafts and equipment in and out or to make a caboose type porch on the back. Could hold a couple sleds. School buses do tow trailers or even other vehicles quite well, just not very fast. If you kept a bus simple inside and modified the back door I wonder how many sleds you could line up down the isle of a long bus?
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:57 PM   #6
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I've spent money on mine to run faster. I need to spend more. Mine tops out at 79 mph. I don't mind running 75 mph. Last summer I ran 79 mph from Sioux Falls SD to Fargo Nd. Steering is tight, brakes are awesome, my wife would say the ride is choppy, but I don't notice. It comes at a price though. Little over 4 mpg. The sweet spot on the same trip was 67 mph at over 10 mpg. So I pretty much run 67mph now. Mine is a Dt 466. A full radiator and intercooler is in the plans. Also a new fan clutch. After those things, and if there is any money left this year, a new turbo will be in the mix too. Did I mention I was pulling this, with those numbers...

20150713_085830 by Hvbuzz, on Flickr

Dt466, 7spd spicer 1:1 no overdrive, 4.10 rear gears, 11r/22.5 tires
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:59 PM   #7
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Opus; I'm getting 8.3 envy. My 5.9 feels gutless on the road. That's what happens when they put a pickup truck engine in a bus, even if it is a diesel. My first bus had a Ford 300ci straight six so you'd think I'd get used to the power issues.
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Old 02-24-2016, 11:16 PM   #8
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I'm a big 300 Ford fan. Best engine they ever made.

My bus will easily do 75+, I just dont get why everyone wants to go fast. Thats a lot of weight screaming down the road.

62-65 gives me 9-10mpg.
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Old 02-25-2016, 01:21 AM   #9
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Two big problems will arise if you try to modify a 5.9L to make a school bus go 75 MPH.

First, regardless of whether it is an FE or RE application you are going to overheat. Most buses with the 5.9L were not heavy duty buses. As a consequence they are not spe'c'ed very heavy and the radiator is one of the first places they save $$$ on a lighter duty application.

Second, unless you have the MT640 series or the 3000 series transmission you will very quickly toast the transmission. The AT540 series and the 1000 and 2000 series are not bad transmissions but they are not designed or built to withstand HP inputs much more than 250 HP. Any more and they tend to blow up.

You will save a lot of $$$ if you shop around for a bus with the Cummins 8.3L/ISC engine. It already has more HP than the 5.9L/ISB and it will have the heavier duty transmission and cooling system necessary to keep things working. Thomas and Blue Bird have installed the ISL into a few buses but those buses are relatively new and won't be in the inexpensive used market for another 8-10 years.

If you are talking about a Type 'D' FE bus I doubt you would have enough room under the dog house to do the sort of modifications you would like to do on a 5.9L to get the sort of HP you would need to maintain 75 MPH. I am sure that the dog house could be changed to allow the modifications but that is a not of noise maker inches away from your right leg as you go down the highway.

Now if you really want a bus with a lot of go you are going to need to look at either a motorcoach that have heavy duty diesels with HP ratings of 450+ HP. Or keep shopping around until you find a Crown or a Gillig mid-mount engine bus that has the Big Cam Cummins. Most had HP ratings of around 270-335 HP but you can boost those to ridiculous numbers if you could figure out a way in which to keep them from overheating. I have seen one Crown 10-wheeler that had a 450 HP Cummins and a 13-speed Road Ranger with at least two overdrive gears. That bus never met a hill that could slow it down. Top speed was well in excess of 75 MPH.
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Old 02-25-2016, 01:47 AM   #10
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Cowlitzcoach: Watersedge wants to go 75, but in a bus he hasn't put together yet. I have the 5.9 and I'm relatively positive that it will not and can not go 75, unless it's going down a very steep hill with no brakes. I don't want to modify my 5.9, I want an 8.3 and the larger transmission but I still don't want to go 75. I'd just like to be capable of towing but this 5.9 is pretty weak.
Yeah, this bus isn't put together as well as I had thought but it's still the best one I've had. Then the next bus will be the best one, and it still won't go 75 while I'm driving. That's a very large mass to have going that fast.
I have thought of putting a multifuel engine in this bus if the Cummins fails, or the 8.3 from one of the larger buses. It would probably be better to just put a bus body on a deuce and a half frame. All you would need is a small ladder.
I have a medium size Bluebird, TC1000.
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