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Old 05-18-2016, 10:20 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Rear or front engine?

As a newby , i would like to know if i should looking for a front or rear engine for my conversion.i prefer flatnose bus. Is it very noisy to have the engine in the front ? Is it possible to ad some insulation ? Is it more stable on the road ?
What is the main difference? I know that there is no long drive shaft and muffler tubing. But i think that whent the engine is in front,i can put my water tanks in the rear.
If the engine is on rear,i should install the tank in front to ballance the bus .
I also guess the the cooling is better with the front engine.
So many questions......
Alain
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:55 PM   #2
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Well, as far as I can tell, all flat nose buses will take a little getting used to in that your steering tires are behind you so it's not like turning the corner in a car or even a truck/van. You almost have to drive into the center of the intersection before you start turning the wheel.

Obviously a front engine flat nose will be the noisiest of your choices but how noisy may depend on the engine and how well insulated it is... But you're still sitting right on top of that beast!

I don't know about stability but for ride comfort I'd steer towards the rear engine. Think of it this way - with the engine up front, the front axle suspension has to be beefier to carry the weight. You may have more overall weight because of that long drive line.

On the plus side, front engine buses will have less cooling issues and also have better turning radius. A rear engine bus usually has the rear axle as close to the rear as possible but if you look at the rear overhang on a front engine bus it's like half the overall length!

In any case, water tanks should be between the front and rear axles if at all possible. Water is both heavy in weight and in momentum, meaning that when you try to stop there's suddenly a surge of weight pushing you forward as all the water rushes forward. When you try to turn the water wants to rush to the outside of the turn, causing body sway. Simply, as much as possible keep water tanks low in the vehicle, center as much as possible, between the axles and if you have the option baffled or opt for several smaller tanks over one large tank to allow you to distribute the overall weight of water.
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Old 05-18-2016, 11:12 PM   #3
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Agreed, for driving pleasure you should have a nice pusher. Knowing you're getting air ride would be a plus.

I went with a FE for a number of reasons. The best reason is for a back door to load things in and out. That bowling alley works great for lumber, plumbing projects and garage sales. I don't feel that there is a noise problem because I like listening to the engine while I drive. Some people do build an additional plywood doghouse to put over the bus doghouse to block noise or maybe just so they can build in coffee holders.
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Old 05-19-2016, 07:50 AM   #4
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I like my FE. The turning radius is amazing, the ride is AWESOME (air ride), and I have a rear door that's useful.

In an FE bus, everything behind the driver seat is useful square footage.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:04 AM   #5
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I talked to a driver this morning who drive a front engine flatnose and he told me that whent the fan kick in , the noise is terrible.
Still prefer rear engine.
With the rear bedroom done the noise is very low.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:09 AM   #6
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ive always liked a dognose, for one I want something thats easy to work on... with a dognose the hood opens wide and for anything related to the rear of the engine the doghouse pops open..

on a falt nose FE getting to the mid and rear of the engine is easy as the doghouse opens up but servicing things like the fan, radiator, etc is a pain..

on an RE it just looks like a lot is crammed into a small space.. but ive never tried to work on one so I cant say from experience...

I like to be able to hear the engine for the simple fact if anything is going wrong that doesnt show up on a gauge im more likely to hear it, feel it, smell it if the engine is up front..
-Christopher
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:12 AM   #7
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I was fairly certain I wanted a rear engine bus when I was looking, but ended up with a front engine due to availability in my price range and time frame.
I'm super glad I got a front engine bus now because, as Robin said, the rear door is great! My bedroom in the back doubles as a garage when travelling.
The noise is not so bad on mine, although as Templar said, the fan noise is impressive. The fan very rarely kicks on, so I don't mind.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:50 AM   #8
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on an RE it just looks like a lot is crammed into a small space.. but ive never tried to work on one so I cant say from experience...
Depends on the RE. My Amtran/ICBus 3000RE has plenty of space to access both sides of the block. It's a little shy on headroom over the engine and towards the rear, but the full size radiator and two huge airflow vents help make up for that.
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Old 05-19-2016, 12:55 PM   #9
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Is it possible there is something wrong if the fan is making that much noise? I can't hear my fan at all.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:07 PM   #10
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Is it possible there is something wrong if the fan is making that much noise? I can't hear my fan at all.
Same here, man.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:08 PM   #11
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Is it possible there is something wrong if the fan is making that much noise? I can't hear my fan at all.
depends on the fan.. if you have an air-fan-clutch you get Much more fan noise because your fan is either fully engaged or fully disengaged.. so when it comes on its typically a big roar similar to that you hear when semi truck fan comes on.. most of the air fans ive seen are many-blade plastic fan wheels which move alot of air but also are noisy..

if you have an old school thermal fan clutch(its completely mechanical) then your fan gradually speeds up and slows down as the air temperature from your radiator increases or decreases. so you may almost never be running your fan at full speed unless you are under high temperature / heavy load...

thermal fan clutches fail quite a bit more than air fan clutches do so they went to air.. also the fans on the thermal clutch fans ive seen are mainly smaller number of blades and metal so they are typically a lower pitched sound when they operate.. though can still roar pretty good..

-Christopher

P.S EDIT: I should add that mechanical thermal fan clutches are typically MUCH cheaper to replace than air actuated fan clutches.. AND they CAN be adjusted...
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:10 PM   #12
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With the rear bedroom done the noise is very low.
I look at it this way - with RE when you're driving you're up front and the engine is in the back... When you're sleeping in a back bedroom, if there's any engine noise it's probably going to be from a generator which is going to be somewhere forward of the bedroom.
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Old 05-19-2016, 04:43 PM   #13
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Is it possible there is something wrong if the fan is making that much noise? I can't hear my fan at all.
On the 6 hour trip to SE Indiana, my fan never comes on until I'm climbing the long steep hill into Haspin Acres offroad park. You might not have ever heard your fan because you've never gotten the engine warm enough, going slow enough, to kick it on.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:58 PM   #14
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In just about any kind of front end collision i would want the FE Bus. FE Bus will take a lot rougher road than a low sitting RE.
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Old 05-19-2016, 06:33 PM   #15
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In just about any kind of front end collision i would want the FE Bus. FE Bus will take a lot rougher road than a low sitting RE.
I know the driveway I have to go down to store my bus sure is rough. Lots of sugarsand and slightly uphill and very narrow with a 90 degree left into it.

But yeah like many I set out to get a RE bus but am now super stoked I got FE.
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Old 05-19-2016, 07:00 PM   #16
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For whatever reason, I have yet to see a DT466 mechanical in rear engine configuration. I'm quite happy with the FE so far, though.
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Old 05-19-2016, 07:09 PM   #17
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There's definitely advantages to both. I'd really rather be going cross country in a RE with air ride and all that space. For messing around in the mountains like I do this FE seems better for me, and yes I do climb hills and heat this baby up. The length of a RE is what stops me, or any other 40' bus for that matter. My bumper digs gravel on my own driveway as you drive through the creek and this is only 26'.

As for any 40' buses that might visit on our cross country skoolie camping plan, there are areas in the lower orchard with plenty or room to turn around (if it hasn't been raining).
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