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Old 10-22-2019, 04:24 PM   #1
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2007 IC FE Advice

Getting close to making my first purchase. Been reading on here quite a bit and learned a lot. Here is what I’m looking at:

2007 IC FE School Bus. 30’. DT466 (epa2004 build) with Allison 2500pts transmission, 100,000ish miles

From everything I have read, this seems to be a pretty good combo for reliability and cost of maintenance.

What I’ll be using it for. Plan on converting it for use for tailgating and towing a race car to track events. Maybe use it 6 times be year never traveling more than 300 miles from home. Race car is on an open aluminum trailer and weighs maybe 4000lbs total (trailer + car). I live in Texas so no mountain driving.

I have also found a 2002 Blue Bird with the 3126E with an Allison transmission 71 passenger with about 100K miles on it that is relatively close to me.

Any help from you would be greatly appreciated as I recognize the wisdom on this forum!
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Old 10-22-2019, 04:32 PM   #2
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Where on this forum did you find anyone recommending buying an EPA bus?
Drive train is good, but EPA stuff can be problematic, hard to diagnose, and expensive to fix. That siad, I just took a chance on an 05, crossing my fingers.
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Old 10-22-2019, 04:53 PM   #3
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Not necessarily recommended, but the 2007 requirements are what seem to be giving people then most problems (from what I’ve read so far, I’m definitely not an expert!), the 2004 requirements seem to be fairly decent in comparison.

I know the transmission seems to be important driving on the highway and especially with towing. Everything I have found says to stay away from the Allison 545, which is what I keep seeing in buses for sale within a 100 miles of me.

I figured a 2004 epa regulated dt466 mated to an Allison 2000 series transmission was a good compromise and was hoping to either have that validated, or have it disputed, in which I would continue my search.

This bus is also completely rust free, has spent its entire life in the south away from salted roads.

I have also found a 2002 Blue Bird with the 3126E with an Allison transmission 71 passenger with about 100K miles on it that is relatively close to me.
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Old 10-22-2019, 06:18 PM   #4
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Are you going to do any mechanical or diagnostic troubleshooting on it when something goes awry?
If so, go with a pre EPA bus as simple diagnostic work on the "EPA" busses is beyond most folks abilities and at home garage equipment.
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:08 PM   #5
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Probably won’t be doing much in depth. I can work on a gasoline engine, but Diesel engines are pretty foreign to me. So aside from replacing items bolted to the engine (alt, water/oil pump, steering rack, etc plus maintenance items like brakes, filters and such) I probably will leave that to a buddy that owns a repair shop and has expertise in this area.
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:25 AM   #6
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Being in texas, I'd suggest that you find something with highway gearing for sure. 55 mph in an 80 mph zone would be near suicidal.

I'd avoid the at545 if you're serious about hauling a car trailer. I'd also prefer one of the larger displacement engines, like the dt466/530 and cummins 8.3 vs a 5.9/3126.

The only engine I would get in the 2004-2007 range would be from cummins. The others we've seen nothing but problems with, which is why they're no longer making engines for medium duty.

I'd avoid 2008-2013 buses like the plague.

If you could get highway gears with a mechanical engine and an mt643 that's what I would go with. Yes it would be nice to have 5 gears instead of 4, but I'd rather have better engine reliability then an OD transmission.

Ideally, you'd find one of the mid 90's buses that had the option of a mechanical engine and the md3060 transmission. That would be the perfect solution for you.
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Old 10-28-2019, 07:58 PM   #7
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I'd stay away from 05 and up year buses, EGRs and DPFs and expensive and beyond most of the do it yourselfers scope. Don't care how good the deal is, buses after 05 are not going to see the long life without loads of money thrown at them as the older buses would.
They might make a little more power on paper but they don't hold up well to longevity of real life.
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Old 10-28-2019, 08:10 PM   #8
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I'd stay away from 05 and up year buses, EGRs and DPFs and expensive and beyond most of the do it yourselfers scope. Don't care how good the deal is, buses after 05 are not going to see the long life without loads of money thrown at them as the older buses would.
They might make a little more power on paper but they don't hold up well to longevity of real life.
How do you explain the buses being retired now that have never exprienced the issues everyone seems to want to make worse than they actually are. The EGR stuff actually started in 04, not 05. I see lots of post 04 buses that have over 200k and no issues. I hope everyone keeps avoiding them, so I can pick more perfect buses up for $1500.
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Old 10-28-2019, 09:10 PM   #9
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How do you explain the buses being retired now that have never exprienced the issues everyone seems to want to make worse than they actually are. The EGR stuff actually started in 04, not 05. I see lots of post 04 buses that have over 200k and no issues. I hope everyone keeps avoiding them, so I can pick more perfect buses up for $1500.
The issues aren't bad- till they're YOUR issues.
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Old 10-28-2019, 09:38 PM   #10
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The issues aren't bad- till they're YOUR issues.
I refuse to live my life around "what if's".
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Old 10-28-2019, 10:48 PM   #11
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How do you explain the buses being retired now that have never exprienced the issues everyone seems to want to make worse than they actually are. The EGR stuff actually started in 04, not 05. I see lots of post 04 buses that have over 200k and no issues. I hope everyone keeps avoiding them, so I can pick more perfect buses up for $1500.
Mine is a 04, no EGR cooler. No issues but it's only got 91k on it.....
"lots of post 04 buses that have over 200k and no issues." Doesn't mean they have not had these problems and were not fixed 50k before previously....
"you explain the buses being retired now that have never experienced the issues" Can't explain every bus on the road, untelling which have or have not had these issues. I've seen a 6.OH in a F450 that had 260 or so k on it on the stock engine so anything is possible, though rare....

In my way of thinking, I don't want to be stranded and have to deal with a tow so the EPA can play it's game pissing on my day.

Back to what you said about 04s and 200k miles, they will take a dump one day and the cost for dealing with them just gets more costly ESPECIALLY for those that aren't mechanically and financially inclined to coupe with them.... A failed EGR cooler can lead to needing a rebuild quickly, doesn't take long to ruin em bud. I've seen many a 6.oh ruined by EGR failures.

It's not a IF thing but a WHEN thing, they ALL regardless of year will take a dump, while some are going to make more miles the bottom line is the dollar per mile on them or atleast this is how I weight the options.
EGR=more heat, what world is that good for a diesel that is being worked hard in the summer? Just more heat the rad has to get rid of and while cooling a trans on some...... Neah I stay away from the extra heat that isn't directly from making power...
But worse are DPFs, that is the the dumbest thing to come to diesels.....
Then you have to buy horse piss too,.....
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Old 10-28-2019, 11:36 PM   #12
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I can say I have never heard a horror story about these motors from anyone that it actually happened to. Seems odd if it's a case "when" and not "if".
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Old 10-28-2019, 11:52 PM   #13
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I can say I have never heard a horror story about these motors from anyone that it actually happened to. Seems odd if it's a case "when" and not "if".
Okie dokie.
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Old 11-03-2019, 11:02 AM   #14
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Are you going to do any mechanical or diagnostic troubleshooting on it when something goes awry?
If so, go with a pre EPA bus as simple diagnostic work on the "EPA" busses is beyond most folks abilities and at home garage equipment.
You would use the same tools on a 2007 as I use on my 2002. The Scanguage is within most of our reach. Less than $200 if I recall correctly.

The EPA regulations that are troublesome have gradually gotten more strict. I believe the standards changed in 2004, 2007, 2010 and once more that I cannot remember.

I would consider buying a pre 2007 Cummins or Navistar (except the VT365)). The 2007 bus in question has a fair shot at being a 2006 motor. I have run into a handful that the finished bus was sporting the prior years drive train and chassis.
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