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Old 10-27-2016, 10:45 AM   #11
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 617
Great info from the cadillackid

Also you can do an inframe overhaul to make it a DT530. Tractor pullers love this engine.
Former owner of a 1969 F600 Skoolie.

1998 Ford B700 Thomas body 65 passenger. 5.9 Cummins 12 valve with MT643 Transmission 123,000 miles.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:13 AM   #12
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Danglebury, Tejas
Posts: 310
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 72 passenger
Full disclosure: I'm a DT466 fanboy.

Basically, I think either motor is fine. Unless you will be putting 200k miles on your Skoolie, its basically a push. If you plan on running it long and hard, I'd get a DT466 and whistle all the way to the 500k mark. But most skoolies will never see 20k miles post conversion, so much of the "which is better" discussion is academic.

Rust however, is a deal KILLER. Period. Unless you are buying the bus for parts, run away from rust. Its the metalurgical version of cancer. Once it starts... ouchies... I'd take a clean Briggs & Stratton powered unicycle over a rusty bus powered by ANYTHING. Having a million-mile capable engine doesnt make a bit of difference if the rear half of the bus falls-off leaving the auction lot.

What I'd be looking at too is the people who maintained any of your candidate busses. Go talk to them if you can and see if service records are available. Ask yourself "cattle or horse?". If the mechanics speak about their busses like they are just passing cattle through a barn, that ethic will carry over into how they maintain their busses. But if the discussion seems to be more like someone talking about their favorite horses, thats a good sign. A bit of passion, pride and affection from a mechanic goes a long way towards making a well-maintained bus.

Remember: Your ultimate choice could be "neither bus". Its ok to keep looking until one grabs your attention and screams "pick me!!!".
"You can finally say you have enough horsepower when you leave two black streaks from corner to corner"
(Mark Donohue, famed TransAm driver)
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:17 AM   #13
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 9,333
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I guess i shiould clarify also.. I look at it as a whole package also.. engine, trans, tires, and body condition..

as well as ceiling height..

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Old 10-30-2016, 09:50 PM   #14
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 12
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: CAT3126b
Rated Cap: 64

I ended up going with the freightliner/CAT engine.

I went back to look at them again and the engine itself is really clean, operates well and out of all of the ones I have looked at it still operates the best as a complete unit. There is a CAT/Cummins location 10 minutes from home and half of the local school districts still keep these beasts on their lineups. In addition, I have talked with some coworkers about it. Luckily I work at a railroad so I know a few diesel mechanics and a few other friends have some knowledge on CAT engines in particular.

This one also has no rust on the frame, very little rust (only surface rust) on the body support struts, and no water damage.

I drove it around for a while over the past two days and took it to my workspace about 90 minutes from start. Ran like a charm. Starts up no problem. Even in the cold (so far 38 degrees). Has ALOT of get up and go. 0-45 no problems at all. Max speed is 65 based on gearing I am thinking. No problem getting to max speed either. When pushing hard on uphills or @ max speed the engine heated up a bit. More than I am comfortable with but doesn't overheat. I am thinking that there isn't enough coolant in the system. I haven't been able to check it just yet but based on the lack of heat it seems to have.... I am thinking that i found the coolant inlet valve and opened it, missed the outlet valve, and the system wasn't topped off. No signs of burnoff or smoke of any kind. Will be looking more into it this week when I start working on it.

Other than that I am really happy with it so far and will break out the tools and start pulling the seats here this week.

I'd like to take this moment and say thanks for everyone's input so far.

Its going to be an adventure.
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