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Old 04-24-2018, 09:18 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 14
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3 international
New to the game

Hi all. I am pretty fresh to the idea of a bus conversion, but I get obsessed with good ideas. I have been doing tons of research lately (Mainly on this site) and it has been very helpful. My wife and I are planning on converting a bus and traveling for a while, then putting down roots and having the bus for our vacations. We have three 50+ pound dogs that we plan on taking with us. I have a bus I am looking at right now but I am having trouble finding all of the specs. It is a 1994 Bluebird Ford edition with a 5.9 Cummings. I haven't been able to find the transmission that is in it. She believes it is original and I have the VIN but I am also wanting to pull a smaller SUV with the bus so from what research I have done I believe this motor would get really bad mileage. Opinions? The bus only has 160K miles on it. She says it's a really solid bus and she has only used it to pick up kids for her daycare. I have not seen it personally yet because she is 3 hours away, but it is priced right if it is a decent set up for long hauls. I can upload some pics later. Any direction would be greatly appreciated.

Btw my wife and I are both 29 and live in NE Texas. The plan is to travel as much of the U.S. as we can. Other concerns have to do with residual income (we are working on building up enough rent houses for this), and motion sickness. We think that if we get the ride smooth enough our dogs will be ok but it is a concern.
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Old 04-24-2018, 10:30 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,911
Ford buses of that vintage had the Brazilian Ford 5.9L engine more often than the Cummins 5.9L. It isn't a bad engine but about the only place to find any parts and pieces for it is at a New Holland farm equipment dealer. The same engine has been used in farm equipment for a long time.

Whether it has the Cummins or Brazilian engine the most probable transmission is going to be the Allison AT545.

Pulling along a towed behind the bus probably won't increase your fuel use appreciably. The frontal area of the bus uses the most HP and fuel. The faster you try to go the more HP you are going to need and the more fuel you will burn. Since the towed will be narrower and shorter than the bus it won't add to the frontal area and the added drag and weight is relatively insignificant unless you are wanting to tow a full size truck or van.

Just be aware that regardless of the make of the engine the highest HP rating is most likely going to be 210 HP. It will more likely be in the 180-190 HP range. It could be as low as 160 HP. Even at 210 HP, particularly if it has the AT545, you are not going to be climbing hills very quickly and 60 MPH is most probably going to be your top speed.

If these parameters are not going to meet your needs it is a lot less expensive to find a bus with more HP and faster gears from the factory than to try and get more HP and speed out of what you have already.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:12 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 14
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3 international
I really appreciate the feedback! The owner has said that it is a Cummings. I'm not sure if she actually knows or not, but if it is would that make parts easier to find? And would it be cheaper to work on if and when there is an issue? Also with that set up (towing the small SUV) driving around the 60mph range what kind of milage would I expect? Would it be better to go with a bigger engine just for the fuel cost?

Sorry about a ton of questions. But thank you for the help!
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:19 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgillean View Post
I really appreciate the feedback! The owner has said that it is a Cummings. I'm not sure if she actually knows or not, but if it is would that make parts easier to find? And would it be cheaper to work on if and when there is an issue? Also with that set up (towing the small SUV) driving around the 60mph range what kind of milage would I expect? Would it be better to go with a bigger engine just for the fuel cost?

Sorry about a ton of questions. But thank you for the help!
"Cummins"

10 mpg. Always expect, and plan for 10 mpg. Sometimes you'll get 8, sometimes 12.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:55 AM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 3,289
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgillean View Post
I really appreciate the feedback! The owner has said that it is a Cummings. I'm not sure if she actually knows or not, but if it is would that make parts easier to find? And would it be cheaper to work on if and when there is an issue? Also with that set up (towing the small SUV) driving around the 60mph range what kind of milage would I expect? Would it be better to go with a bigger engine just for the fuel cost?

Sorry about a ton of questions. But thank you for the help!
Cowlitz explained parts availability in the post previous to yours.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:56 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 14
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3 international
Thanks for the info. And thanks for the correction. I honestly didn't know that and feel a little dumb lol.
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Old 04-25-2018, 12:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgillean View Post
I really appreciate the feedback! The owner has said that it is a Cummings. I'm not sure if she actually knows or not, but if it is would that make parts easier to find? And would it be cheaper to work on if and when there is an issue? Also with that set up (towing the small SUV) driving around the 60mph range what kind of milage would I expect? Would it be better to go with a bigger engine just for the fuel cost?

Sorry about a ton of questions. But thank you for the help!
A picture of the engine or a picture of the engine data plate will tell you which engine is in fact in that bus.

I would not be spending any $$$ until I knew for sure what was under the hood.
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Old 04-25-2018, 10:59 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 14
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3 international
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
A picture of the engine or a picture of the engine data plate will tell you which engine is in fact in that bus.

I would not be spending any $$$ until I knew for sure what was under the hood.
Here is what I have at the moment. I will see if I can get a better picture or one of the engine plate specifically.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 79D78172-1FB8-4940-9D40-463EA4B7EF4F.jpg (358.8 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg C0ABC788-CC8A-4882-8A93-665D597C2420.jpg (250.6 KB, 9 views)
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:09 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 14
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: 7.3 international
Pulled the trigger!!

I really appreciate all of the feedback! We ended up buying another bus pretty quickly that came up for sale 10 miles from us. It is a 1996 International 3800. It has a 7.3, Allison AT545 four speed automatic, 4:44 gear rear end. I will be starting a project thread soon, but wanted to see what you all thought about the purchase? I feel like we did pretty good. I am very happy with the motor, I haven't done a lot of research on the transmission yet or the rear end gear ratio. But it rides great and it only has 130,000 miles.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_4393.jpg (164.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4404.jpg (189.2 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4406.jpg (176.6 KB, 7 views)
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:13 PM   #10
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
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How well you did depends on what you paid for it. If you're happy that's should be all that matters. When you research the transmission you will likely not like what you find. Not a bad tranny for it's intended purpose (bus route), but certainly not desirable. In all my bus life so far I have never heard anyone say "I really want an AT545".
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