Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-01-2019, 01:52 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
geminusprime's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Posts: 214
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Vista 3600
Engine: DT466E / AT545
Rated Cap: 72
Hello! New To Skoolies & The Forum!

Howdy folks, I'm Art. I hope the year treated you well, it's certainly been a wild ride for me.

I've been lurking on these forums for quite a long time, and decided it's finally to take my dream and make it into a reality. I've always wanted to travel around the US, specifically to all the National Parks, but never had the time or money until recently.

I hope I'm on the right track, as I'm looking to buy a bus in the following weeks, but any advise or input is welcomed. I honestly have no real clue what I'm doing but so far this community has been astoundingly helpful from its existing posts.


So here's my current standing:

Initially I thought the TC1000 platform was my preferred option, and did a fair amount of floorplan variations for it. However, I did not notice the incredibly small wheels, which I doubted would be able to get me over unpaved roads that's seen in some of the more remote national park and national land areas. It's also more rare, and I'd likely not be able to find one locally.

I do want the bus to be able to drive in mild offroad areas (that a sedan could go to) and be capable of driving over even terrain in snow/rain. This is pushing me more to the direction of conventional dog-noses which has a better approach angle & clearance, but please convince me otherwise - I love transit styles.

Right now, I've decided to go with a 1995 International 3800 Conventional, ~30'. Fairly sure I'm going with NC School System, their website is horrible but they have some good deals, $2750 to $4500 for most of their buses. I'm sticking with the midlands area, away from the mountains and coastal areas, looking to be either Union or Mecklenburg counties.

Engine in most is the DT444E, I've only found a couple so far with the DT466 (that weren't the 3800). Plenty of Cat's & MBD's, which I've ruled out as options. Cummins are kind of my last choice that's acceptable, but I've read enough to narrow down nearly all searches to the DT444/DT466+545.

I would very much prefer a mechanical DT466, but after reading many users here that run on the DT444E platform I think I'd be okay with the electronic version of the DT466 or the DT444. I know this comes at reduced HP and somewhat lower speed with the 545 and 4.44 back end, but I am comfortable rocking 60MPH max down the highway in a massive piece of speeding steel.


As for the length, I simply am not comfortable with a whale tail in cities, enough that I'd be okay sacrificing ~10 feet in lieu of a smaller vehicle, shorter conversion schedule, and better turning abilities. At maximum capacity, it will be two people and a dog on 1000+ mile trips, and 4 people + dog for <=250 mile day trips.

I also have a need to be able to park within two lateral parking spaces for normal vehicles, such as long ways in a walmart parking lot. Both for general parking, and because the area I'll be doing the build is 32' (with that leaving 2' at the front/back of the bus).
geminusprime is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2019, 02:57 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
bigskypc50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 199
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 70
Hello and welcome. I would start looking at maybe shuttle bus's and van based bus. If you not going to be living in it full time and want just an RV, I would do that. If you're going full time living in it then yes maximize space.
bigskypc50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2019, 02:58 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Jolly Roger bus 223's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 765
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
Hello from the carolina's.
Started a response on one of your other threads but timed out cause of other work.
Are you talking of union point NC as far as looking for a bus?
I have a onslow county spec bus that was well maintained with all records since the build sheet day handed over.
PM and I can help you find what you want.
I am looking for a donor to help re-power what I have now.
Good luck
Jolly Roger bus 223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2019, 04:24 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 4,049
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Welcome!

The T444E is very well respected motor. I would not hesitate to buy one.

But...... I would not even consider trading my Cummins for one.


You may want to call and verify the rear end ratio. I ran into one from NC that had 6.17 rear gears and had a top speed of around 53 mph.

Good luck with your quest.
PNW_Steve is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2019, 05:18 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Johnny Mullet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 922
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
Welcome aboard! I love my T444E and AT545 combo. I just finished a couple long Interstate drives and it cruised along at 60 MPH for hours on end and ran like a champ as it always does.
__________________
Mullet's Thunder Bus Build
Johnny Mullet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2019, 06:05 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
geminusprime's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Posts: 214
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Vista 3600
Engine: DT466E / AT545
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigskypc50 View Post
Hello and welcome. I would start looking at maybe shuttle bus's and van based bus. If you not going to be living in it full time and want just an RV, I would do that. If you're going full time living in it then yes maximize space.
Ah, yeah I left out a bit about the travels. While some trips may be a weekend trip, others I'm trying to push over the course of several months, and at least one venture to Alaska (although air brakes may cause me issues here).





Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
Hello from the carolina's.
Started a response on one of your other threads but timed out cause of other work.
Are you talking of union point NC as far as looking for a bus?
I have a onslow county spec bus that was well maintained with all records since the build sheet day handed over.
PM and I can help you find what you want.
I am looking for a donor to help re-power what I have now.
Good luck
Union County, near Charlotte, but that's just because I'm living in York, SC right now and that's just north of me, but I'm open to pretty much the whole NC state other than coastal areas and mountain areas.

I'd be more than happy to reach out, although not sure what onslow means. I'll shot you a PM a bit later.




Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Welcome!

The T444E is very well respected motor. I would not hesitate to buy one.

But...... I would not even consider trading my Cummins for one.


You may want to call and verify the rear end ratio. I ran into one from NC that had 6.17 rear gears and had a top speed of around 53 mph.

Good luck with your quest.
Thanks! I've only found a select few in the NC system that don't have higher rear end gearing, only found a couple so far that they could confirm was a 4.44 activity buses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
Welcome aboard! I love my T444E and AT545 combo. I just finished a couple long Interstate drives and it cruised along at 60 MPH for hours on end and ran like a champ as it always does.
GReat to hear man, I've honestly been worried that a few backup buses I'm eyeing have the 444/545 and wasn't sure about the top speed (assuming rear ratio is low enough). 60MPH will make me more than happy!

Also amazing build and inspiration, I'm likely going to wind up with a similar/same bus and engine combo as yourself.
geminusprime is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2019, 03:34 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Jolly Roger bus 223's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 765
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
The mountain busses are the ones that are already set up for driving in the hilly areas.
Heavier duty brakes.
Bigger radiator.
Bigger transmission cooler. At a minimum.
Maybe sanders for traction on slippery roads.
Engine braking and other extras you won't find from the mild to coastal area districts.
Rust in any bus regardless of district is always an issue. My coastal bus all its life had very little rust issues.
Only rust I found was under the rubber flooring from the windows leaking.
and maybe the maintenance department pressure washing the bus out?
but it was only surface rust.
Onslow is the county I live in on the coast.
The counties I mentioned. Wake and mecklenburg are an hour or so south of Charlotte on i85/40. But a hilly area and very large districts.
Good luck
Jolly Roger bus 223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2019, 04:43 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
ermracing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Unity, NH
Posts: 208
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466E (195hp, 520tq)
Rated Cap: 29,000
Welcome to the site! We bought our bus from Moyock, NC but it was actually a Chesapeake City School Dist bus. When the dealer inspected it up here in NH, he said it was one of cleanest buses he has seen. He specifically made the comment that even the oil pan didn't have any rust on it. We held out for the DT466(E) with an Allison 2000. Yes, there were lots of T444s with the 545 that we passed on, but the one we were looking for finally did show up!
__________________
Dave
ermracing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2019, 07:48 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 17,244
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
Welcome to the site! We bought our bus from Moyock, NC but it was actually a Chesapeake City School Dist bus. When the dealer inspected it up here in NH, he said it was one of cleanest buses he has seen. He specifically made the comment that even the oil pan didn't have any rust on it. We held out for the DT466(E) with an Allison 2000. Yes, there were lots of T444s with the 545 that we passed on, but the one we were looking for finally did show up!
466E/2000 is an excellent combo. I've got that combo in my 6 window.
I now have a 5 window with Cat3126 and 545. Bus has 64k original miles and is on its second 545. The transmission sucks but its 100% functioning for now so I'll spend a few grand to upgrade it later on since the engine/bus has such low mileage.
I had a 444E/545 bus and always found myself wanting for more.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:48 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.