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Old 11-28-2017, 03:56 PM   #11
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: WaKeeney, Kansas
Posts: 1,289
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
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Originally Posted by DesertMax View Post
Hi Guys, I'm out of Oregon and grew up on San Diego. Currently in a Lance Truck Camper on a 2005 Ford Super Duty standard cab with a 6.0L Diesel.
I have travelled south to attend the big January Quartzsite show in hope of finding a bus to buy and am still working out the details.
First thing is to sell the camper and then if I find probably a Thomas and still debating the Cat motor, I would like to flatbed trailer my truck behind it and of course this would be an empty truck.
What I am interesting in learning is overall which coach to look at, where to find them in Arizona, which engine.. (I understand there is much chatter about the down side of the V8 CAT (or V8 Diesels in general) so perhaps the I6 is the best choice???) and the towing potential of our 40 foot buses...
Any assistance dearly appreciated up front!

Found this string ::: http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/to...l-bus-194.html
DM,

I ADORE my V8 3208 Cat engine!!! It's the largest engine they ever put in a school bus. It's meant to be run hard and over a long period of time (as in don't turn it off at all during the day, keep her toasty warm). We moved from Texas to Kansas without narry a hint of a problem. We added a transmission temperature gauge and a pyrometer just to be sure we stayed within tolerances. That 10.6L engine ran like a CHAMP!!!! I accelerated up hills just to see if HF could do it. She did it with style! She'd pass semis!!!! The look on trucker's faces was soooo worthwhile!!!!! So, don't worry about the "V8 scare". If you're patient, know what you're looking for, it will be so worth it to get that special Cat powered Thomas!!!! We are completely enjoying ours!!!!!

Hope this helps.

M
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:22 PM   #12
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 2004
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Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
DM,

I ADORE my V8 3208 Cat engine!!! It's the largest engine they ever put in a school bus. It's meant to be run hard and over a long period of time (as in don't turn it off at all during the day, keep her toasty warm). We moved from Texas to Kansas without narry a hint of a problem. We added a transmission temperature gauge and a pyrometer just to be sure we stayed within tolerances. That 10.6L engine ran like a CHAMP!!!! I accelerated up hills just to see if HF could do it. She did it with style! She'd pass semis!!!! The look on trucker's faces was soooo worthwhile!!!!! So, don't worry about the "V8 scare". If you're patient, know what you're looking for, it will be so worth it to get that special Cat powered Thomas!!!! We are completely enjoying ours!!!!!

Hope this helps.

M
Hardly the largest, plenty of Crowns running 14 liter Cummins!
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:49 PM   #13
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I don't doubt that Cats are as good, as reliable, as anything else, And, never having owned one, I have no first hand experience with parts prices. I do get a little leery of vendors who require lock-in; I'm much more an open-source kind of guy. And the whole wet-sleeve-block thing (which you guys taught me about!) sort of seals it for me. Cummins or Int'l. No need to look further.
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:12 PM   #14
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
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Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
I have ran manny a piece of heavy equipment with several engine and tranny combos and to this day a lot of them still use and abuse the 545.
As an 8.2NA/545 with 6.50 rear gears owner.
The real question to be asked in my mind is what the specific bus you are looking at was built for spec. Or specific wise from the school district that bought the bus brand new?
Mine wasn't a mountain or activity bus and was built specifically to my counties spec. For longevity on a stop and go route. And as an 86 sold in 2006 with full records it has and can give me many more trouble free years at 49mph Without any problems?
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:46 PM   #15
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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You can't drive 55? It's almost a song title.
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Old 11-28-2017, 07:41 PM   #16
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Engine: 5.9 Cummins/Allison
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I 6 vs v8 Cat

As a very long time truck mechanic and until recent retirement 10 year fleet manager over fleet of midrange trucks I found that overall costs on Cats i6 and v8 was not much different until the 3116 became the infamous 3126 it seems as none of the manufacturers made the the transition to E motors very well and in the Big Smokers still not.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:05 PM   #17
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Well, I seem to have hit a very pleasant nerve and I appreciate the great responses

Regarding my bus project and who I am, I am 69 years old and have had some hard knocks. I am a professional multi-instrumentalist musician songwriter who has had to date: 2 heart attacks one of which was an open bypass just this past January a year ago now almost as well as COPD lung issues all of which caused me to loose my 40 year family home where I cared for my parents before they passed.
All I want out of life is to work in my recording studio which now is in pieces in a storage area. I am dam tired of moving my studio around and have built many studios only to have to tear them down and start again. This brings us to the bus. My bus may not even move that much but I am a full time RVer so some travelling would be nice and of course I want to make a good choice on motor and drive drain. I have a complete design for my last recording studio build and it will be in the back of a 40 foot bus. This is why I came to this site and you all have been absolutely great with your knowledge base however I do need to find a way to understand the engine vernacular so I can make an informed purchase... Thanks again to all :::
My music is here https://soundcloud.com/morgan-chambers-10
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:32 PM   #18
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You've got to see this from our side too. It's appreciated when anyone comes here before they buy an eyesore bus. Anything can be fixed, but it often takes extraordinary amounts of time and money to fix the wrong bus.

You know what you want more or less. It's good when we can help someone find the right bus that works well for them. Its to much work to fix up the wrong bus.

Welcome to the forum. Have you found any buses yet?
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:33 PM   #19
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Join Date: Jul 2017
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E350
Engine: 7.3 IDI
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I'll add my 2 cents worth...

As for towing capability... any bus should be able to handle pulling the weight of the super duty on a standard flat deck trailer (assuming its not a 450 or 550). With a 350, you are probably in the neighborhood of 10k including the trailer. Buses are medium/heavy duty platforms built to work. It won't have an issue pulling that. My old boss has a 50' (roughly.. probably in the mid 40s) pusher (luxury motor coach) powered by a big cummins. He pulls a double decker car hauler (same height as the coach).. lift inside with 2 cars and his tools, all over the country. I'd venture to say his bus loaded out is well over 30k lbs.. trailer loaded is probably pushing 15-20k.

As far as engine choices... ALL of them have their known quirks/issues. Personally, I'm a fan of all things mechanical as they are typically much easier and cheaper to work on. My shorty is powered by an IH 7.3 NA IDI... same engine is in my '90 crew cab F350 (with an ATS turbo system)... same engine is in my cousins early 90s 5 ton dump truck. They are notorious for lacking power but will do work all day without breaking a sweat. Can literally replace the entire injection system (injection pump, injectors, etc) for under $700 with quality parts. Most of the big mechanical Cats and DTs are solid platforms as long as they have been maintained well. That will make or break just about anything. I've seen engines fail with less then 100k on the clock... I've seen the same go for 3/4 million miles and never have the heads pulled. Maintenance is everything. Records would be important... and knowing exactly what to look for (a bit of mechanical knowledge) would be very helpful. If cheap things like hoses, belts, etc.. have been neglected.. its a bad sign for the rest of the maintenance.

Anyways... don't know if thats much help or not.
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:22 AM   #20
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Mr 4, thanks for that.. Yes, my truck is n F-250 Super Duty and probably relatively lite as it only has 2 doors and not much in the way of extras. Just that 6.0 engine which is running great!
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