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Old 02-17-2016, 10:30 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 11
Another newbie, soon to be full timer

Hey everyone! Bread here. Currently living in the UP, Marquette Michigan. I love it here. I blow glass for a living, and am fascinated with tiny home living. Not to mention sick of paying rent, and with the heart of a gypsy I'm having a hard time picking a place to start a mortgage.

So I am considering finding a bus to full time in. It would be stationary a lot of the time, but would certainly be taking some long trips as I do attend a lot of music festivals in the summer.


I am looking for any advice of which buses to look at. At this point in my research I've gathered that Thomas and bluebirds are the way to go, and the international 466 or Cummins 5.9 are the most reliable. I am looking for a manual if possible. I prefer the control, reliability, and boost of the economy. Any input on trans? What do you guys prefer? Any bad manual trans out there? Does everyone prefer the Allison autos, and what is the lifetime expectancy on them?




What type of mileage is considered good on a used rig? I have a budget of preferably 3k for the bus alone. I am willing to spend a bit more if needed for the right rig.


I've owned three motorhomes before this, and I loved them dearly. A 1984 Toyota sunland express, a 1979 Toyota huntsman (diesel), and a 1991 Toyota Winnebago warrior. I loved them all and they never let me down. So I'm really looking for something that I can rely on no matter when or what.




Last question guys, what in your opinions are the best in fuel economy, and what are your averages?


Can't wait to meet you all, look forward to hearing from some of you.


Coming from my 1974 hunter compact ii trailer,


Bread out
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:50 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 11
Really have been considering this one, but I don't like that it's auto. Does anyone have any input on the mods he did to get extra boost? Bad idea?

1993 Blue Bird TC2000 bus converted to haul snowmobiles
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:09 AM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Utah
Posts: 266
Year: 1990
Coachwork: BB
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins
Rated Cap: 25.999K
Welcome I'm pretty new here as well, but have a bit of experience in the RV world, and have a bit of experience with diesels as well. There is another "welcome to the forum" thread that answers a few of your questions. Read the thead titled "OMG i bought a bus".

enjoy---ryan
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:28 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,607
99% of all school buses have had automatic transmissions for more than 20-years. Finding one with a stickshift is going to be difficult.

The three bus body OEM's out there now are IC (with International chassis), Blue Bird (with their own and Volvo chassis), and Thomas (with their own and Freightliner chassis). Each have their own pro's and con's.

The IC buses will have International and Cummins engines.

Blue Bird will have Cummins and Cat engines.

Thomas will have Cummins, Cat, and Mercedes-Benz engines.

All will have some version of an Allison automatic transmission with the ultra rare exception of a stick shift thrown in out there.

When you go looking for a bus the number one thing to you do NOT want is rust. One can fix a lot of stuff but rust can be a never ending expensive project.

Buses come with a lot of options, some of which you may or may not want. 12" windows will give you 75"-78" headroom. 9" windows will give you 72"-75" headroom.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:29 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 11
I can't find the OMG thread. But has anyone checked out that Craigslist ad I posted?


He removed the fuel plate, and added a wastegate fooler to build 30 pounds of boost. Other than that I'd be ready to go buy, but I'm afraid it may be unreliable or abused.

Thanks for the input from you both
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:36 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,607
I checked the CL ad. It looks to be an okay bus with a nice ramp and garage. The living quarters look pretty Spartan.

The price isn't out of line.

I would be concerned about increasing the boost pressure.

On that bus it could cause some real overheating issues, particularly on a long grade.
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Old 02-18-2016, 04:41 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 11
My thought too. He said he would put everything back to stock if I'm interested. He also said he would take my offer of 3500. I'm tempted, because a lot of the work is done already. I would be finishing the interior quite a bit more, but part of the job is done. And it has lots of recent repairs.

Do you think any damage could have been done already by the extra boost? That's always my fear when buying modified stuff
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:42 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Utah
Posts: 266
Year: 1990
Coachwork: BB
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins
Rated Cap: 25.999K
No damage should be caused from that extra boost. That Cummins should be good to take 60PSI in stock form. The fuel plate removed will just add more fuel sooner to the injectors. I HOPE this has a Pyrometer installed. Too much fuel=high EGT= melted pistons... Its hard to do, but that is a hellofa strain on a 5.9. My bus is pretty much the same as it, just the Half length one. same layout though.....
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:19 AM   #9
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,169
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
I agree with SDR...that engine can handle a lot of boost without breaking down. But, it also comes down to how it was driven. If it spent lots of time at max RPM and/or pulling very heavy loads, it could have experienced more than normal wear & tear. If possible, you might run a compression check as well as an oil analysis to make sure there is not excessive blow by or any trace of water or carbonized material in the oil. Still sounds like a pretty good deal overall though. Best of luck with it.
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:35 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,607
The Cummins 6BT/5.9L engine is one of the best engines ever built.

It has powered I don't know how many Case backhoes, delivery trucks, school buses, and all sorts of other applications.

The engines can be set up to run as low as 140 HP to well over 350 HP with very little more than changing the settings on the pump and/or changing the injectors.

The problem in this case is not the capability of the engine but the lack of cooling capacity of the radiator in this model of school bus.

The TC2000 was a bus designed in the late '80's to meet a price point. With Crown Supercoach pricing well in excess of $120,000.00 per bus and All American pricing well in excess of $80,000.00 bus operators were wanting an inexpensive option for a Type 'D' bus. Back in the day you used to be able to purchase a Thomas/Blue Bird/Superior/Carpenter/Wayne Type 'D' body bus on an OEM vendor supplied chassis that were half the price of a Crown. So Blue Bird developed the TC1000/2000 line and Thomas developed their MVP line of low content Type 'D' buses.

The low content Type 'D' buses were actually a very economical choice when they first came out.

Instead of paying $65,000.00 for a Type 'C' 11-row bus you could get a Type 'D' 12-row bus for $72,000.00 instead of a heavy duty All American 13-row bus for $80,000.00 or a Crown Supercoach 13-row bus for $120,000.00.

Some of the low content differences were instead of 150,000 psi steel frames you got 50,000 psi steel frames. Instead of radiators that were big enough to cool 400 HP you got radiators that were adequate for 190 HP. Instead of engines with 400 HP you got 160 HP. Instead of HT700 series Allison automatic transmissions you got AT500 series transmissions. Instead of 14,000 front axles and 24,000 rear axles you got as low as 8,000 front axles and 16,000 rear axles. Instead of 11" front brakes and 13" rear brakes you got 7" front brakes and 9" rear brakes.

With the move from 25-year life cycles to 13-year life cycles the bean counters could not justify spending nearly twice as much for a Crown that was sold with a 20-year warranty when the life cycle was only 13-years. Hence the demise of Crown and the proliferation of low content Type 'D' buses.

But as the years progressed bus operators were demanding heavier duty options on the low content buses that eventually made them identical to the heavy duty buses which is why the TC2000 and the MVP line are no longer available.

Today, if you want to, you can spe'c an All American, or a Saf-T-Liner, or an IC RE with small HP, small axles, and small brakes in order to be able to get a low priced Type 'D' bus. Some are so low content and light duty that they are available with hydraulic brakes.

Which is all to say, you won't hurt the engine in the above bus by stepping up the HP. What I am saying is you probably won't be able to use it due to overheating issues or over taxing the transmission.

And there is precious little space in the dog house to add much more cooling capacity.
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