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Old 12-26-2018, 11:08 AM   #1
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New to Forum-Looking for a bus

Hi everybody, Iím new to this forum. Iíve spent the last 6 to 8 months trying to formulate my idea of a mobile abode. Iíve looked at Airstreams, Class B and C RVs and Iív come to the conclusion that what I want is either really rare or doesnít exist. This has led me to consider a bus conversion. Iíll be looking at a couple of busses in the next few weeks and have a few questions.

One is a 2005 Chevy school bus with a Duramax 6.6 liter diesel that has 160k with an Allison transmission. Iíve been told that 03-04 were problem years but not 05. They are asking $7000.

Another bus is a 1999 Blue Bird that I believe is a TC1000 with only 65,000 on it. Asking $5000.

Iíve also seen a 2002 Ford Shuttle bus with a 7.3 liter engine. Iíve been told that engines made in subsequent years were smaller and subject to EPA restrictions that can cause problems.

Any insights as to years to look for or stay away from, engine wise, or your opinions of different types of busses - school - shuttle - transit - would be a greatly appreciated. Thanks and I look forward to posting my progress.
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:27 AM   #2
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Hey Woody,

Those three all have some potential. A few questions about them:

Is the Chevy a 3500 or 4500 chassis?

What engine and transmission are in the Bluebird?

Is the shuttle an E350 or E450? How many miles?

I expect that the Bluebird will have the most usable space.

Let us know the details and we can give better answers.
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:32 AM   #3
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Hi Steve, Thanks for the response, The '05 Chevy is a Kodiak C5500 school bus. Shorter than a full size with the usable space of 18x8 with no wheel wells. don't know the head room but it looks like a normal school bus.

I don't know much about the Blue Bird. Owner didn't know the length and hasn't gotten back to me about engine or transmission.

The shuttle bus was too pricey for me to think about ($14,000) but I am curious about the difference between the different engines sizes and years built. A lot of people talk about older engines without emission restrictions having less problems.

Thanks again to all that respond.
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:46 AM   #4
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Howdy & Welcome! Basically, anything built from '04 on will have a host of issues associated with a lot of EPA inspired environmental/emissions electronics that causes far more problems than they resolve. Used to be that school districts kept their buses for as much as ten years and many, many miles. Today they dump them after just a few years and with low mileage due to outrageous maintenance costs. You do NOT want to invest in one of these units.



So much for technological advances.
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:51 AM   #5
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i wouldnt buy a bus built after early 04.
Too expensive to maintain and repair.
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Old 01-28-2019, 09:00 PM   #6
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Looking at a another bus

Hi everyone. I'm now looking at a 1998 Ford shuttle bus with a 7.3 turbo diesel, not sure of the transmission, has only 43K with very little rust underneath. They are asking $5500. Question is is this vehicle viable for a motor home conversion? Top speed is supposedly 65 mph but it seems that this kind of bus was made to take 25-30 people short distances at relatively slow speeds. Anybody have opinions about shuttle buses? Thanks in advance for any help

Woody
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody60606 View Post
Hi everyone. I'm now looking at a 1998 Ford shuttle bus with a 7.3 turbo diesel, not sure of the transmission, has only 43K with very little rust underneath. They are asking $5500. Question is is this vehicle viable for a motor home conversion? Top speed is supposedly 65 mph but it seems that this kind of bus was made to take 25-30 people short distances at relatively slow speeds. Anybody have opinions about shuttle buses? Thanks in advance for any help

Woody

I owned three mini-buses on the E-350 chassis. All had the 7.3L diesel engine and E4OD transmission. If I had it to do all over again I wouldn't have touched those buses if they had been given to me for free.


To be fair, since I got out of the business there are a lot of options to upgrade the E4OD but it is and always be a light duty transmission that did great in F-150's and Crown Vic cop cars and taxis but it really isn't up to the task of handling the weight or torque that is in a bus. In three years I put seven transmission into those three buses. The furthest we got was 42K miles and the least miles we got was 12K miles.


Fuel mileage averaged 11-13 MPG.


Final rear gearing was 4.56 which allowed 70 MPH top speed. Even with such short legged rear gears they got really pokey on the steep parts.


The plastic bodies, regardless of who made them, are all junk IMHO after about ten years or 300K miles, whichever comes first. The marriage between the steel cowl and plastic body is never a happy marriage. In the out years it usually results in a really ugly divorce requiring bracing and a lot of gummy putty to stop up the leaks.


Most came with big windows which is nice for passengers but a nightmare to keep warm when it was really cold outside and a bigger nightmare to keep livable when it got warm outside.



If I was going to convert something on a mini-bus chassis I would look for a G-3500/4500 with the 6.0L and 6L80 or 8L80 power package. I would stay completely away from any Ford for two reasons. Outside of the 6.9/7.3L diesel engine all of the rest of the engines were nightmares or gas hogs. And regardless of what Ford called the follow on transmissions, the E4OD was a piece of junk.


But that is all just my opinion.
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