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Old 04-21-2015, 06:31 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 12
New Guy, trying to figure out what bus to buy.

So I am planning on buying a bus, but I am wondering which one would be best. This has been a dream of mine for decades, and I am looking forward to getting started.

Me and my wife, two children, 7 and eight. Occasionally maybe a couple of guests.

Weekend trips and longer summer trips.

Definitely want a rear engine bus. Inline 6 diesel. Auto.

We live in North Georgia on a gravel road. I need some decent ground clearance, but I think I would like a forty footer. I don't know that I need one, however.

Can you tell how long a bus is without measuring it? Is passenger capacity an indicator of length? I see a lot of 72 pass. buses and 84 pass. Are they different lengths or just different seating arrangements?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice

Brett
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Old 04-21-2015, 09:11 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Yes and no.

Best to measure the length. Some calculate the seating three to a seat, some two to a seat.

Look for a rear engine 8.3 Cummins, with a MD3060 auto trans.

Try to find one 97 or older. They are mechanical engines making them cheaper, and much more simple to work on.

Avoid Cat engines at all costs. If you don't, it will cost you nothing but money down the road.

I like Thomas buses better than Blue Birds for a few reasons I will be sharing shortly. They are a better bus by far. I did not realize this till I started working for Rental Bus Lines. With 400+ buses to look at, it became clear.

Good luck, I hope to see your presence here more.

Nat
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:28 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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Chassis: International
Engine: T444e
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From the perspective of someone like me, a high school student with not much "large" vehicle experience, I like the dog nose busses. Granted, I have ever worked one a RE, or FE "flat face" but the seemingly extra room to work on the engine in nice. Several times I have found myself standing in the engine.

I'm not particularit attached to any bus manufacturer, but I do like the idea of verticle walls, like blue bird has. Tomas walls are slightly slanted.

I would defiantly consider a manual transmision. Busses with manuals are way easier than cars to drive, almost like a tractor. If you can drive standard, I would look for a manual transmission bus. I think there is less to go wrong and they don't take TOO much skill to rebuild.
Temperature is also less of an issue with manual transmisions.

I like the mechanical DT engine series made by international. Most commonly the DT466. Never driven, or maintained one, but the good ol boys I hang with like them.

I know I have "recommended" everything you don't want. Just my opinion and take it with skepticism.
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Old 04-22-2015, 12:39 AM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Gainesville. Georgia
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Welcome Brett to you and your family. Where in North Ga are you? We live in Gainesville, Ga on a sometimes gravel road (whenever we get enough of the people to pay for a load to get dumped) too.

Your more than welcome to stop by if your in the area and check out our 92 FE Bluebird we our converting. Send me a PM and we'll talk off line.

If you are not sure what make, type & size you may want to check out Wade's bus yard up in Alto, Ga and take a look see at the various kinds available (though not necessarily thru them).

We bought our bus there.
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:34 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 12
Thanks for the replies, all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
Yes and no.

Best to measure the length. Some calculate the seating three to a seat, some two to a seat.

Look for a rear engine 8.3 Cummins, with a MD3060 auto trans.

Try to find one 97 or older. They are mechanical engines making them cheaper, and much more simple to work on.

Avoid Cat engines at all costs. If you don't, it will cost you nothing but money down the road.

I like Thomas buses better than Blue Birds for a few reasons I will be sharing shortly. They are a better bus by far. I did not realize this till I started working for Rental Bus Lines. With 400+ buses to look at, it became clear.

Good luck, I hope to see your presence here more.

Nat
Nat, I agree that the mechanicals are simpler and cheaper to work on. However, fuel economy is better with the electronic engines. That being said, I don't know that fuel economy will be a big driver in my decision making process, given the limited number of miles the bus will see.

As far as Cat engines go, I have read reviews on both sides of the aisle concerning these engines. I think, though that I might try to find a dt466 or cummins bus.

What about the MT643 tranny vs the 3060? And what buses did they come in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank's P-O-S View Post
From the perspective of someone like me, a high school student with not much "large" vehicle experience, I like the dog nose busses. Granted, I have ever worked one a RE, or FE "flat face" but the seemingly extra room to work on the engine in nice. Several times I have found myself standing in the engine.

I'm not particularit attached to any bus manufacturer, but I do like the idea of verticle walls, like blue bird has. Tomas walls are slightly slanted.

I would defiantly consider a manual transmision. Busses with manuals are way easier than cars to drive, almost like a tractor. If you can drive standard, I would look for a manual transmission bus. I think there is less to go wrong and they don't take TOO much skill to rebuild.
Temperature is also less of an issue with manual transmisions.

I like the mechanical DT engine series made by international. Most commonly the DT466. Never driven, or maintained one, but the good ol boys I hang with like them.

I know I have "recommended" everything you don't want. Just my opinion and take it with skepticism.
Hank, I agree about the access issue, but I just like the looks of the flat nose, and I want the extra space. I wouldn't mind a manual, but the wife will have to drive it, and although she can drive a stick, she would much prefer an auto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Breeze View Post
Welcome Brett to you and your family. Where in North Ga are you? We live in Gainesville, Ga on a sometimes gravel road (whenever we get enough of the people to pay for a load to get dumped) too.

Your more than welcome to stop by if your in the area and check out our 92 FE Bluebird we our converting. Send me a PM and we'll talk off line.

If you are not sure what make, type & size you may want to check out Wade's bus yard up in Alto, Ga and take a look see at the various kinds available (though not necessarily thru them).

We bought our bus there.
I have driven past Wades many a time, and each time I do, my thoughts turn to the open road, behind the wheel of a bus I love in Dahlonega, and will definitely be looking you up.
Thanks

I have been giving the RE thing some thought.
I think an FE flat-nose might offer a little more space than an RE, but I am concerned about the noise level. Also, an FE has a back door that could open onto a small deck, with a ladder/stair to an upper deck.

Also, perhaps an FE would be better from an engine cooling point of view, as the airflow(I believe) through he cooling system at highway speeds might be better. I am not sure, but I believe the RE's have the draw air through the system(using engine power) for cooling even at highway speeds. I owned a Freightliner Columbia tractor and the fan never came on at highway speeds. But when it did, it could draw as much as 50 hp from the engine!

Anyway,
thanks again for all the input
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:15 AM   #6
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i have a re 8.3 and its so queit you wont believe it,no problem talking without raising your voice. the cooling fan motor is fluid driven. im new here so im still learning. good luck
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Old 04-22-2015, 09:53 AM   #7
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
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The electric version of the 8.3 Cummins makes the same fuel milage as the mechanical version. Sometimes the mechanical makes better mileage due to the electric version not running right.


Quote:
Originally Posted by superdave View Post
i have a re 8.3 and its so queit you wont believe it,no problem talking without raising your voice. the cooling fan motor is fluid driven. im new here so im still learning. good luck
On your bus the power steering pump is a hydraulic pump. The cooling fan is powered by a hydraulic motor that runs off the power steering pump.

This sure makes changing the alternator and water pump a snap. Nothing in front of the engine to get in the way.

Nat
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