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Old 02-02-2011, 03:27 PM   #1
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1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

Hi. I have recently purchased a 1985 GMC 6000 Blue Bird with a 366 gas engine to turn into a camper. I have been driving it quite a bit the past few weeks and I can't believe how bad it is on gas! I can almost watch the fuel gauge move when I'm driving it! Does anybody know of improvements I can do to get better fuel economy???? Please, let me know. Thanks a lot.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:36 AM   #2
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Re: 1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

I have a 83 GMC Ward.... so I know your pain. Best thing to start with is make sure its tuned up and running as best you can. An odd place to look is to make sure you have to exhaust restrictions... ie bent or pinched tubes.

I havent driven my tons but the time that i did was also shocked how poor the fuel was.

Only other thing is to start loosing weight on the bus or maybe a rear end change but that can shift your problem.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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Re: 1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

I don't know what you expect for fuel economy... somewhere around 8 would probably be good for that.. If your bus doesn't have a 2 speed rear axle, you might do that....and tune up as mentioned. I think i got around 7 or so with my last gas powered international..and best was 7.5 with my coach bus that had a 8v71 in it.
Maybe it would be better to change to a different bus with a diesel engine... my 40' pusher with a cat v8 gets up to 10 mpg unless i try to baha it or race the thing...
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:42 AM   #4
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Re: 1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

What are you comparing it too? Our 22 ft 1977 Midas Mini Class C (on GMC Vandura G3500 chassis.. V- gets 6 to 8 mpg (depending on headwinds). When you look at comparable manufactured RV mpg's, You are looking at at high single digits. If you are lucky you might hit LOW double digits. Our BB did great on fuel but no one believes me, so I don't say what we got. All I will say is that I am very happy with our mpg's, not that it ,matters. It's not like we drive the bus all the time.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:30 PM   #5
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Re: 1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

I have a 7 window ford with a 330 truck engine. I get 7mpg, 50mph average, I have really low gears, 57mph top speed. I have a friend that has a 87 Chevy with a 366. His has a two speed rear end. He claims 10mpg if he drives 55, but around 5 if he drives 65-70. At least gas is cheaper than diesel.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:15 PM   #6
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Re: 1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

I stopped by a local bus barn here in my area. Talked to one of the older machanics who worked a lot on the 366 engines. Said most of them get between 4-6 mpg. This was not the words I wanted to hear. I am use to bigger cars all my life but this one by far takes the cake on not being so eco friendly.

Well the whole point of it is to have fun with it and we plan on doing that
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:12 PM   #7
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Re: 1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

I recently purchased a 91 Ward with a fuel injected 366. I've been told to expect 8mpg with my tranny and gearing. Although, I have been reading other forums talking about the 366 BB and they claim that it will only get 4-6 mpg... but these are in trucks that are loaded very hefty with weight. A school bus loaded with children will weigh less than a truck loaded with grain or sand.. et cetera, et cetera... I simply have not been able to drive the bus enough to find out what I get.

I hope I can get at least an average of 8 mpg on our trip to Arizona. I budgeted the drive at 8 mpg... I would hate to get less than that with an empty bus. I guess I will find out after the 1200 mile trip. Perhaps I should re-budget the trip at 5 mpg.
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:55 PM   #8
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Re: 1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

Just to add to that, the drivers getting 4-6 probably weren't buying the fuel and in a hurry. I've seen fuel mileage numbers posted at bus fleet magazine forum, posted by people managing fleets. They post lower numbers for the gassers and the diesels than what you will read here.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:42 PM   #9
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Re: 1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

over the lifetime of a bus, I've always spent more money on fuel than i spent on the bus.

The reality is that if you plan to drive more than a couple thousand miles over it's lifetime, it makes financial sense to scrap/sell this bus and purchase one with a diesel engine. My favorite early 1990's powertrain is the cummins 5.9 and allison MT 643. With 4:10 rear end you can get 12 mpg cruising around 60 mph. I don't know much about the more modern computer controlled powertrains from the 00's, but i would expect similiar mpg depending on rear end ratio.

If you upgraded buses, just one cross country trip will save you thousands of dollars in fuel.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:41 PM   #10
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Re: 1985 GMC blue bird better fuel economy????

Don't mean to hi jack this thread but my question pertains to fuel economy. Seems like the right place to post it.
What would the ballpark figure be on a 1985 60 series with a Detroit 8.2L. I think it is a 48 passenger I've heard
them referred to as "fuel sippers". Makes me wonder just what constitutes a fuel sipper . . .say . . .maybe 10 mpg?
Anybody got any solid numbers on these things.

I would be willing to listen to recommendations based on dependability and fuel
mileage. I've been averaging 20,000 miles per year with my camper van (to small) out of
necessity (work). I will be living in the bus while I'm working so fuel mileage is a concern.
As for the 366, I'm sure it would get 4-6 mpg on a go cart. Those things just suck gas.

Thanks, Gus
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