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Old 02-05-2019, 12:42 PM   #1
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1964/65 Chevy straight 6 Bus

I have the opportunity to get a 1964 or 65 Chevy Bus with I think a 235 straight six. Is it a decent bus to restore? Is it safe? Does it have power to go up hills and stop safely? I like the idea of restoring the old bus but is it even worth it? Any thoughts?
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:41 PM   #2
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Welcome Kpremo,

Good questions but you have not given us nearly enough information to give you meaningful answers.

A lot of variables at work. One of the biggest would be condition. Also transmission, rear gear and tire size.

I don't expect that the 235 cu.in. gas 6 is a powerhouse in pristine condition.

If you plan on extensive travel, I would bring plenty of patience and lots of gas money.

The classic rigs are soooo cool but can be so much more work than a more modern conversion. Tango's '46 is a great example. He has done amazing work restoring over the last seven years. A thing of beauty. I admire folks that have the focus and patience to take on a project like that.

I would say, if the build process is what brings you joy then go for it. If having a livable rig on the road and traveling is your goal, then I would consider a more modern bus. Focus on conversion right from the start as opposed to restoration first then conversion.

Just my $0.02

Good luck with your quest.
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpremo88 View Post
I have the opportunity to get a 1964 or 65 Chevy Bus with I think a 235 straight six. Is it a decent bus to restore? Is it safe? Does it have power to go up hills and stop safely? I like the idea of restoring the old bus but is it even worth it? Any thoughts?
driving a 'Resto-rod' school bus/camper would be fun if you have the skills and tools to do the job - I've thought of doing that myself, but it's a lot of work and expensive to bring motor, transmission, and running gear up to date - using the original motor and running gear, even well repaired, will place you at the front of a long line of traffic on every hill
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Old 02-05-2019, 04:20 PM   #4
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Probably not a 235. Chevy introduced the third generation 6 cyl in 1962. It came in 4 displacement sizes: 194, 230, 250 and a tall deck 292 cu in used in 5000 and 6000 series trucks. All these engines (except 292) used a shorter stroke and had 7 main bearings (up from 4), and steam vent ports between the cylinders for much improved heat dissipation. A quick glance at the much narrower valve cover than gen 1&2 sixes will clue you in. The narrow valve cover was possible because the rocker shaft valve system was upgraded to the ball socket style like the V8's.

With the right trans and rear axle combination I'd feel comfortable on the road.
Parts are cheap and still readily available. Most of these engines had a 2 piece cyl head intake manifold set up plus an exhaust manifold--all still available.
On the other hand there were a few motors that had the cyl head and at least the intake manifold cast as a single unit. These heads are difficult to come up with. I can't say with certainty that the one piece heads weren't used on the buses but I really doubt they were.
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:40 PM   #5
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Restore? or build a skoolie out of? To restore and drive occasionally for shows and stuff, sure. Will be slow though.

The mid 60 through the early 70's may have a heavier chassis that will take a bigger engine without having to upgrade everything else. My 71 international has good size brakes, axles, steering etc. so it gives a head start compared to the 40's or 50's. Mid 60's could go either way, a bit light and not the best suited to more power, or built heavy enough. The 292 6 cylinder gas engine, or a small block may be just enough.

How you are going to use it makes so much difference. Puttering around back roads or running 70 on the interstate?

I love to see the old iron put back on the road. It does take a lot more effort though, ask me how I know....
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:08 PM   #6
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This is all helpful!

Thank you all! This is all very helpful in making a decision! Iím looking to restore it and turn into a Skoolie but not live in full time. Iím going to go looking into the engine some more and figure out whatís in it.
I have a lot of patience and Iím not looking for tons of power but I donít want to be crawling up hills. Also the tires on it are 8.25-20. Itís the perfect length and price and I love the classic look but I donít want to dive into a project thatís more immobile than mobile.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:53 PM   #7
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That bus should be a good candidate for a Cummins 6BT. The wider post war frames are MUCH easier to deal with But if it is to be a "Traveler"...it's gonna take more work. Taller gearing on the rear, a better trans with more gears and definitely more brakes. All doable but don't figure on knocking out a classic cruiser in a weekend.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:07 PM   #8
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6BT would be a great choice for sure.
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