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Old 10-30-2019, 04:06 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Short bus engine/tranny specs??

Hi guys!

I've been reading a ton today. I just got done reading a post about best engine recommendations. I'd like to get a bit more specific recommendations according to my needs and what I'm looking for.

What I'd like to purchase and convert is a short bus. There's at least 1 place advertised on craigslist with a yard full of skoolies and then another person on this forum who advertises buses in socal. So, between them and general online search, I hope I can find what I'm looking for.

I'm looking to convert and live full time in the bus. I do want to actually travel in the bus too, not just park it. I might even consider towing a light car down the road, but not at this moment.

So, on the previous thread I read, I was reading top 4 engines being cummins 8.3 or 5.9 and DT466, DT360 (this is an international right?)
Are those the same type of engines that will be in a short bus or should I change the specs of what I'd be looking for?

Also, how many miles do you think would be a safe bet or how much to stay away from?

Thanks so much for your help. I'm not a gear head by ANY means so please, talk like you're explaining it to a kid haha

Also, I've got a bus I'm looking at. He said it's a 7.3 Super Duty Diesel.. ??
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Old 10-30-2019, 04:21 PM   #2
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Hi,

I havenít said anything before because I havenít been there and so my impression might be unfounded, but...

While looking for buses in SoCal I came across that place in Otay Mesa with the yard full of buses. I never did make it there, but they seemed to have a large inventory.

Along the way I also found out that there are brokers from Mexico actively bidding on buses at the bus yards 100 miles away and paying more than that guy is advertising.

I also visited the bus yard for the Chula Vista school district early on. The fleet manager there told me that they drive their buses til thereís nothing left in them, til their ready for the crusher basically.

I also found out that SD unified sells their buses for top dollar since they turn them over every 7 years. These are typically purchased by other less affluent districts because they still have a lot left in them.

So, like I said, I havenít been there to see the buses and I donít know the source of them, but if the guys in Mexico are not buying buses from that guy in Otay, why? My belief is that they are worn out.

But like I said, I havenít been there and this is all speculation on my part.
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Old 10-30-2019, 09:36 PM   #3
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I didnít answer your question. Thereís a lot of mixed opinions out there especially about Fords. People do something called Bulletproofing. I understand it has something to do with Ford getting cheap and using piston rod end caps of compressed metal.

I have n 07 Chevy Duramax 6.6 liter that people say is a great engine. Iím happy with it so far.
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Old 10-30-2019, 09:48 PM   #4
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Thanks Danjo for both replies. Interesting info about the San Diego buses. I figured some of them would be ran out to the last drop. I’m hoping I could spend somewhere from $4-7,000 and use the rest for the conversion. Of course, if there was a bus with partial conversion I’d spend more.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:17 PM   #5
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Check out public surplus. I’ve seen LA buses on there. Also 422 Sales lists buses for Student Transportation of America which has a huge network buses. The bus auction happens out of the Riverside bus yard. I got an 07 Thomas Built 5 window on a Chevy duramax chassis with a wheelchair lift, 130K miles for 5K. Just so you know, the reserve was 4500 and the rest was buyers premium. If you don’t make reserve they do a post-auction bargaining session that you may or may not get to participate. Rather than miss out on a great bus I called them up immediately after auction and agreed to the reserve price
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbogie View Post

So, on the previous thread I read, I was reading top 4 engines being cummins 8.3 or 5.9 and DT466, DT360 (this is an international right?)
Are those the same type of engines that will be in a short bus or should I change the specs of what I'd be looking for?
Not sure what you're looking for......a van-type, or a short full-size conventional?

I don't know that I've seen the 466 or 360 in a van-type bus (and definitely not the 8.3! ).....but I'm not an expert.

A short full-size conventional would have those offerings, and more (but again, not the 8.3........there was actually a LOT of interest here a while back when a lady claimed to have an 8.3 in a 5 window Freightliner, but it was never verified before she disappeared from this site).
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plfking View Post
Not sure what you're looking for......a van-type, or a short full-size conventional?

I don't know that I've seen the 466 or 360 in a van-type bus (and definitely not the 8.3! ).....but I'm not an expert.

A short full-size conventional would have those offerings, and more (but again, not the 8.3........there was actually a LOT of interest here a while back when a lady claimed to have an 8.3 in a 5 window Freightliner, but it was never verified before she disappeared from this site).
"She" didn't disappear. That entity has had a few screen names but represents "skoolie homes" the scammiest skoolie company around. They were just here to troll me since I always warn folks about them.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:46 PM   #8
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"She" didn't disappear. That entity has had a few screen names but represents "skoolie homes" the scammiest skoolie company around. They were just here to troll me since I always warn folks about them.
Gotcha.

"I see!" said the blind man.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plfking View Post
Not sure what you're looking for......a van-type, or a short full-size conventional?

I don't know that I've seen the 466 or 360 in a van-type bus (and definitely not the 8.3! ).....but I'm not an expert.
I kind of thought the cummins 8.3 is probably for the full size bus. Yeah, I've seen the van type buses with an E350 or E450.. Thoughts?
I know some basics like.. diesel is better than gas. But when you get into what types of motors and so forth, that's where things get hazy.

If I'm getting something that isn't a van, what types of engines would I run into and what should I stay away from? I'm thinking a short bus on the side of 20' or a bit longer.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:38 AM   #10
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I'm still in info gathering stages for my short bus purchase spring of next year, but thoughts on this bus?
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...364&acctid=430
48k miles and runs.... Also, that overcab space, is that any good for anything? wish they had some interior shots.
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Old 10-31-2019, 04:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbogie View Post
I kind of thought the cummins 8.3 is probably for the full size bus. Yeah, I've seen the van type buses with an E350 or E450.. Thoughts?
I know some basics like.. diesel is better than gas. But when you get into what types of motors and so forth, that's where things get hazy.

If I'm getting something that isn't a van, what types of engines would I run into and what should I stay away from? I'm thinking a short bus on the side of 20' or a bit longer.
The E350 and E450 are model designations, not engine sizes. They're available with many engine size options (both gas and diesel), but I've never studied them much, as that wasn't what I was looking for.

My bus is just under 24' bumper-to-bumper....it'a about as short as you'll find in a full-size. Available with International 466, 444, and 360s as you mentioned, but also many Caterpillar, Cummins, and even Mercedes engines. Each has its own enthusiasts and naysayers (like Ford vs. Chevy). The van-types are built on van chassis.....the full-sizes are built on a medium duty chassis, which are a lot more robust and more suited for off-pavement excursions.

My suggestion would be to read, read, read these forums.......tons of good info and opinions here, and a very good search engine. Try searches like 'best engine' or 'best transmission'. Then you'll be much better informed and competent than a lot of new buyers we see here.

Good luck!
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Old 10-31-2019, 08:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Beachvbguy View Post
I'm still in info gathering stages for my short bus purchase spring of next year, but thoughts on this bus?
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...364&acctid=430
48k miles and runs.... Also, that overcab space, is that any good for anything? wish they had some interior shots.
That bus is 30 45 minutes from me.
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Old 10-31-2019, 08:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachvbguy View Post
I'm still in info gathering stages for my short bus purchase spring of next year, but thoughts on this bus?
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...364&acctid=430
48k miles and runs.... Also, that overcab space, is that any good for anything? wish they had some interior shots.
That bus has an LQ4 engine. Itís a variant of the LS that the racing enthusiast and restoration community loves to use. Only 50K on a gas engine. It still has some time left if itís in good condition.

No A/C

That space above the cab isnít good for much except some storage.
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Old 10-31-2019, 11:32 AM   #14
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The Ford E350/450 diesels are typically the 7.3L or 6.0L Powerstrokes. The 7.3 is a desirable engine coupled to an adequate trans (4R100) while the 6.0L is a disaster of an engine coupled to a very good trans (5R100). The newer Ford diesels (6.4L & 6.7L) are too big to fit the van chassis and were replaced with the V10 gasser.



The cutaway van buses are small but parts and service is easily available, you get highway gearing and cruise control and tires don't cost an arm and a leg.
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Old 10-31-2019, 12:44 PM   #15
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All of the engines you mentioned are good choices in the appropriate application.

If you are looking at cutaways (van based) you won't find any of them. You will find them in medium duty buses. The 8.3 is awesome. I might be a little biased... Unfortunately finding one in a short bus is about as likely as winning the lottery.

Some here are not fans of the 5.9. I have owned several and love them. But...... Not in a full size bus. I would love to find a 6 window with the 5.9 in it.

The DT-360/408/466/530 engines also have a very good reputation.

If you are looking at cutaway, avoid Ford diesels after 2003. Also, before you put your money down, take 20-30 minutes and touch each fuel injector or spark plug You may decide that you don't want a cutaway

As far as gas engines go, I don't have much to do with them. I bought the first gas rig that I have had in many years. I took it on one trip and put a for sale sign on it. I can pull Snoqualmie pass in 5th gear going the speed limit easily. My Chevy (6.0 & automatic) pulls the same grade, pulling the same trailer at 40-45mph struggling.
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:47 PM   #16
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You guys are great, I really appreciate your responses (and not making fun of my lack of knowledge in the area).

Theres a short bus in my area that looks in decent condition. I don't have full details but it's partially converted with room for improvement. It's a 2000 Ford E350 with a 7.3 super duty diesel. The guy doesn't know on the tranny. But it's got almost 300k miles and he wants $10,000. I'd say the conversion is pretty basic but maybe 85% done.

So, my questions are: 1) How concerned should I be for the mileage? 2) What sort of things should I be checking for - non-mechanically-wise?

He posted his ad with very very little detail so I'd like to go and see it in person and know the right questions to ask.

If this is getting out of context for this post, I'll try and start a new one..
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Old 10-31-2019, 01:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbogie View Post
You guys are great, I really appreciate your responses (and not making fun of my lack of knowledge in the area).

Theres a short bus in my area that looks in decent condition. I don't have full details but it's partially converted with room for improvement. It's a 2000 Ford E350 with a 7.3 super duty diesel. The guy doesn't know on the tranny. But it's got almost 300k miles and he wants $10,000. I'd say the conversion is pretty basic but maybe 85% done.

So, my questions are: 1) How concerned should I be for the mileage? 2) What sort of things should I be checking for - non-mechanically-wise?

He posted his ad with very very little detail so I'd like to go and see it in person and know the right questions to ask.

If this is getting out of context for this post, I'll try and start a new one..
The 7.3 in that bus is a good motor.

I am not sure that I would get excited about an E350. You would want to really pay attention to the weight that you add with the conversion.

$10,000? I would keep looking.

Good luck with your quest.
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Old 10-31-2019, 04:02 PM   #18
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7.3 is a great motor but 300k is a bit high unless its been well cared for.. and def not worth 10k unless the partial conversion has a lot opf expensive items like solar panels, charge controllers, etc.. otherwise if its just a basic gutted start to a conversion.. the price is high//


7.3 pickups are getting ridiculously priced as people are proud of them.. id def keep looking unless this guy is willing to take half that.. and even so the van better be in really good shape for even 5k
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Old 10-31-2019, 04:08 PM   #19
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That bus is 30 45 minutes from me.
Thanks. Yeah, I'm just really interested in learning about the various configurations of "shorties". Seems like a much greater variety than the longer older brother/sisters.

I'm highly inclined to lean toward the traditional short bus. I think another poster pointed out the relative structural benefits, and since my inclination is to install a shower and kitchen in my bus (albeit, no "living/hanging out" area, other than a desk, since I'll be alone), I think weight bearing is an issue as well as water storage.
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Old 10-31-2019, 05:42 PM   #20
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Thanks. Yeah, I'm just really interested in learning about the various configurations of "shorties". Seems like a much greater variety than the longer older brother/sisters.

I'm highly inclined to lean toward the traditional short bus. I think another poster pointed out the relative structural benefits, and since my inclination is to install a shower and kitchen in my bus (albeit, no "living/hanging out" area, other than a desk, since I'll be alone), I think weight bearing is an issue as well as water storage.
Yeah, if you watch a lot of YouTube short bus videos it becomes evident that nearly all have a minimal plumbing setup. I finally managed a 28 gallon grey tank and a 21 gallon black tank. It took some serious thought and inspection to figure it out.

Fresh water storage wonít be an issue since it can be remote from the bath and kitchen, unlike the sanitary tanks that need to be directly below or at least on the same side as the kitchen and bath. Even with my tool box installation in the rear, Iím still going to be able to carry 60 gallons of fresh water.
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