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Old 11-30-2004, 10:23 PM   #11
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i'd just like to add to the confusion. The 9.0 liter international although a dog when it comes to power is probably the most reliable longest lasting skoolie motor available. It has a small ammount of hp compared to the large displacement. That means that the engine doesn't have to work very hard at all. There is a lot of iron in one of these engines. It'll run forever.

The 6.6 liter and 7.8 liter ford brazialian motors don't have much more power (180-190 ballpark) There is very little hp difference between the two ford motors. These engines are also nearly bullitproof. 276,000 miles on my 6.6 liter and still going.

The international DT series are excellent engines. From what i've read, the 360 (or is it the 366? i can't remember) will outlast the 466. The dt466 is one of the highest HP engines commonly available. The DT series engines are also about the cheapest to work on.

I am against the 5.9 cummins in a full size school bus application. A grossly overloaded dodge 3500 dually pickup only weighs about half as much as an empty skoolie. Nearly any diesel in a skoolie will be driven at full throttle at least while accelerating in an attempt to keep up with traffic. Many diesels will be driven at full throttle even while cruising. The 5.9 liter just doesn't hold up well when forced to labor at maximum capacity all the time.

One reason you see so many of them in buses is that they are an inexpensive motor, which allows bus companies to manufacture vehicles at a cheaper price.

There are those people who swear by the 5.9 liter cummings and have had good expierences.

just my 2 cents worth!

good luck
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Old 12-01-2004, 09:48 AM   #12
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The 9.0 IH is a good engine.... Uhh, OK...you're the first person I know who has said that.

The DT360 is pretty durable, but completely overwhelmed in a large bus, especially with an automatic tranny, bordering on "dangerously underpowered".

Quote:
I am against the 5.9 cummins in a full size school bus application. A grossly overloaded dodge 3500 dually pickup only weighs about half as much as an empty skoolie
There are thousands of hotshotters that regularly gross 30,000lbs on a Ram duallie. Many have 200,000+ miles on untouched Cummins 5.9's. Of course, more power is as close as the Turbo Diesel Register. The six we have at work (3 6BT's, 3 ISB's) have given us no trouble.
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Old 12-01-2004, 08:03 PM   #13
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Here is some info on the AT545 I found useful and the MT643. Believe it or not the AT545 has a higher horsepower rating than the MT643, but a lower torque rating. This is probably due to the non-lockup torque conveter being able to absorb more energy. Another thing to notice. The at545 is almost half as heavy as the MT643, but in the end seems much less heavy duty.

http://www.aztranny.com/gallery1.htm
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Old 12-01-2004, 10:50 PM   #14
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They make two models of the MT643 one for light duty like shuttle buses and one for heavier applications like dump trucks. The heavy duty model is rated for 250HP and the light duty is for 210HP. Since many skoolies have engines setup to put out 225-230HP I would think they have the heavier version of the MT643. You can read more about it here
http://www.industrialautomatic.com/html/newpage7.htm
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:19 PM   #15
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My .02 worth -

I understand your dilemma w/ the roof. I'm 6'7" and was lucky enough to find an old Wayne w/ 79” of headroom. I bought it as soon as I got in and realized I could stand up in it! To me being able to stand up is critical to being happy in my bus, I had a couple of buses before that were 2-6” shy of enough room and it got old fast! Now I’m looking to find a Crown for the next project and I will have to raise the roof. It’s a pretty fair amount of work, but straightforward, esp. if you know how to weld. No offence to the “vertically challenged” - but stooping over all the time bites. As far as windows I agree that seated visibility may be more important in the long run. Of course I’m one of the “weirdos” that likes to have all my windows clear – love that 360o view going down the road….

As to Carpenters, in my experience they are great buses – the issue is a lot of the ones built in their Mitchell, IN plant had bad roof welds. Some have been fixed, but most are up for sale because they are not safe to drive for school use. If repaired they are fine and legal. The “nice” thing for you in this is that their prices are pretty depressed because of this issue, and since you want to raise the roof all the faulty welds can be repaired at the same time! I would be cautious of buses from the “rust belt” but other than that they may be a good choice for you.

I would definitely recommend going for a diesel - and air brakes are great too. Yes, they are a little more expensive to maintain – but the improved driveability and safety I think are worth the expense. And fuel costs are usually much less.

422 auctions is a pretty good source as is used- bus.com

Otherwise Les’s advice is darn good and covered the rest of your questions well.

Good Luck and welcome to the “club”!

stego
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:43 PM   #16
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Oh yeah -

Another thing that helps while "shopping" is to look for buses that came from rural school districts. The generally have taller gearing than urban buses and sometimes bigger engines. If you get real lucky you can find them w/ retardters and even auto chains! Cool things if you like the mtns.

stego
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