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Old 03-12-2018, 10:48 AM   #1
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Durable engines?

Hi,

I am researching 72 passenger buses and would like some input on what engine is the most durable. I have heard good things about the 7.3 international diesel but not much on the T4's and DT's.

Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:15 PM   #2
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In this order:

Cummins 8.3 / DT530
DT466
T444 / Cummins ISB

The CAT engines can be very good, but you need to get a good one to start with.

Mercedes are a newer engine. Excellent but expensive when they break.

Navistar V365 is a boat anchor unless retro-fitted with better parts.

That is not meant to be a complete list, and it's just MY list.
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
In this order:

Cummins 8.3 / DT530
DT466
T444 / Cummins ISB

The CAT engines can be very good, but you need to get a good one to start with.

Mercedes are a newer engine. Excellent but expensive when they break.

Navistar V365 is a boat anchor unless retro-fitted with better parts.

That is not meant to be a complete list, and it's just MY list.
Hope you don't mind sharing. That is my list as well.

I would mention that the 5.9 Cummins and the T444 are great motors they are not powerhouses in this application.

In a full size bus I would definitely strategy you towards the Cummins 8.33 or the International DT466/530.

Just my $0.02
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Hope you don't mind sharing. That is my list as well.

I would mention that the 5.9 Cummins and the T444 are great motors they are not powerhouses in this application.

In a full size bus I would definitely strategy you towards the Cummins or the International DT466/530.

Just my $0.02
This seems consistent with what several people have said over time here as well. Just a reminder, I think the last all mechanical engines were about 95, and there are several jumps in the amount of pollution control (and things to go wrong) in a some of the later years. I think 03 and some early 04's are the last years before one of the big pollution control pushes, and I think if you are looking even newer then there were other years where they mandated a sealed engine, and then another when they started using DEF and DPF. I never had the budget for a newer bus, so I don't know the years those went into effect.

Some localities also added pollution control locally that was above federal standard. California in particular, and it appears Oregon as well may have added DPF earlier than required. If that is true, it (hopefully) should be removable if it starts to cause you problems.

I always wondered why so many big buses had the 5.9 in them. A bus barn manager told me at least for their fleet, they had ordered bigger engines initially. But since they never go very fast, it was causing problem of not heating up the DPF enough to work correctly. So they started ordering the bigger buses with 5.9 because they work hard enough to keep the temps up so the DPF don't clog up. I thought that was interesting point of view (may or may not be accurate, but since he was in charge of the bus specs, it really doesn't matter) So maybe a reason why we see so many with that engine even if it wasn't an economic decision in cost of the bus.
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:58 PM   #5
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My opinion is that it's mostly noise. The 5.9 is a great motor. THe T444E is a great motor. They'll both give long service life with minimal fuss and propel you down the road and speeds more dependant on transmission and gearing than engine displacement. The TC/2000 front engine is a hugely popular platform and other than a few years where they also had a gas version, it exclusively came with the 5.9.

All other things being equal, the 8.3 or DT466 will go faster up a mountain. If you're racing your bus, get one of those for sure. I know I'm disagreeing with friends but I've done the loop of the US with the T444E and am building a bus with a 5.9 to do it again.
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Old 03-12-2018, 01:00 PM   #6
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IMHO: The 5.9 is fine for a city school bus route.

Not so great when you you load it full of it RV stuff and want to cross the Rocky Mountains.
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
In this order:

Cummins 8.3 / DT530
DT466
T444 / Cummins ISB

The CAT engines can be very good, but you need to get a good one to start with.

Mercedes are a newer engine. Excellent but expensive when they break.

Navistar V365 is a boat anchor unless retro-fitted with better parts.

That is not meant to be a complete list, and it's just MY list.
Just a note to add to Twigg's list. The Mercedes engines are also hard to find shops to work on them. From my understanding, even the bus barn service techs hate them as well.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
My opinion is that it's mostly noise. The 5.9 is a great motor. THe T444E is a great motor. They'll both give long service life with minimal fuss and propel you down the road and speeds more dependant on transmission and gearing than engine displacement. The TC/2000 front engine is a hugely popular platform and other than a few years where they also had a gas version, it exclusively came with the 5.9.

All other things being equal, the 8.3 or DT466 will go faster up a mountain. If you're racing your bus, get one of those for sure. I know I'm disagreeing with friends but I've done the loop of the US with the T444E and am building a bus with a 5.9 to do it again.
Brokedown is proof that you don't have to have "the Holy grail" of powertrane to successfully travel the country.

However, Josh has MUCH more patience than I do..... I love my 8.3 and md3060.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:58 PM   #9
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My speed was mostly a factor of gearing. The new bus seems to have a couple mph more, but it's the same transmission/rear end gearing so I think it's down to the larger tires. I'll be happily cruising around 62 mph.
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Old 03-12-2018, 05:32 PM   #10
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The lack of power from the smaller engines is only a factor if you need it.

My 40' bus only weighs 18700 lbs now it is stripped out. I have removed about 1 1/2 tons of material, and will not be carrying 70 kids when it is built out.

Even if I add back in the removed weight, I will still be "unladen" compared to a school bus in service.

So the extra power will be great mostly in hill country, or if I want to tow another vehicle.

Other than that I'm pretty sure the ISB or the T444 would have got the job done.

We talk a lot about "ideal" engines mostly because we can have the pick of the used market, all in the same price bracket. The Cummins 8.3 in my bus was an option that cost about an extra $8000 when the bus was new.

That was the entire funding for one student, for a year.
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