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Old 03-05-2017, 06:34 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 12
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Goshen Freightliner
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
TX guy heading to PNW

How's it going. As the title says my wife and I currently reside here in San Antonio TX. The plan is to move early 2018 spring up the the beautiful state of Washington.

We've recently sold our 2400sq ft home and now live in a 1200 sqft apt. We purged and got rid of a lot of material things. Still not enough wild outdoors though. We've grown tired of Texas and really need some new scenery and fresh air. The two trips up to Washington and Oregon have made us envious of those who live in the PNW. After a lot of thoughts and ideas a Small/Short bus would be perfect. Our own custom little RV that can take us where ever we want to go. We want to take our time heading that way and spend some time in Colorado, Utah and where ever else we want to go.

I am familiar with diesel engines specifically the 24v cummins which my truck currently has. Also the 7.3 ford. I am wanting a short bus for sure with around 100000 miles or less if I can find that. We will be carrying our Mtn bikes, some Kayaks and have 2 small dogs. 20lbs each. A roof rack and ground clearance would be great. Something I will figure out when the time comes. Possibly a rack/basket off the rear and a hitch to tow the Subaru.

Before I get to far ahead of myself any recommendations on bus models to look at, what to watch out for, what to avoid etc. I've been told the Ford 6.0 diesel has its issues, but it seems like a lot of buses have them.

Id like to buy something in the next few months to start prepping it for our adventure. We will be living in it for several months while we build our new container home.

Thanks for reading
Ray
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:01 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
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The diesel engine used in light duty Ford products that were known variously as Powerstroke, 6.0L, 6.4L, and 6.7L have a lot of issues. TIt was also known in IHC trucks and IC buses as the VT365 and MaxxForce7. The biggest issue has to do with the EGR system that tends to kill the engines off at relatively young ages.

The death toll of those engines in Ford products was particularly bad due in large part to the way in which Ford upped the power settings to almost twice what the same engine in an IHC/IC product would have had.

There are some workarounds. But if you purchase a new-to-you bus with that engine be prepared to rebuild the engine sooner rather than later.

Ford also had some 6.0L and 6.6L diesels that were made in Brazil. They are not a bad engine. Their problem is that Ford dealers do NOT support them with any parts and pieces. Some product support can be found at New Holland tractor/equipment dealers as the same basic engine was used in a lot of farm equipment of the same vintage.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:32 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Pacific North Wet
Posts: 1,061
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayAllen View Post
How's it going. As the title says my wife and I currently reside here in San Antonio TX. The plan is to move early 2018 spring up the the beautiful state of Washington.

We've recently sold our 2400sq ft home and now live in a 1200 sqft apt. We purged and got rid of a lot of material things. Still not enough wild outdoors though. We've grown tired of Texas and really need some new scenery and fresh air. The two trips up to Washington and Oregon have made us envious of those who live in the PNW. After a lot of thoughts and ideas a Small/Short bus would be perfect. Our own custom little RV that can take us where ever we want to go. We want to take our time heading that way and spend some time in Colorado, Utah and where ever else we want to go.

I am familiar with diesel engines specifically the 24v cummins which my truck currently has. Also the 7.3 ford. I am wanting a short bus for sure with around 100000 miles or less if I can find that. We will be carrying our Mtn bikes, some Kayaks and have 2 small dogs. 20lbs each. A roof rack and ground clearance would be great. Something I will figure out when the time comes. Possibly a rack/basket off the rear and a hitch to tow the Subaru.

Before I get to far ahead of myself any recommendations on bus models to look at, what to watch out for, what to avoid etc. I've been told the Ford 6.0 diesel has its issues, but it seems like a lot of buses have them.

Id like to buy something in the next few months to start prepping it for our adventure. We will be living in it for several months while we build our new container home.

Thanks for reading
Ray
You are moving from Texas to Washington????

Just to maintain balance I should probably move back to God's Country (Texas)... I wish.....

Well I do wish you a wet and slushy welcome to Washington. The 10 day forecast here is: Rain, snow,rain,snow,snow and more rain....

Last week it only rained twice. Once for three days and once for four days....

Seriously, we hope to have a Skoolie get together in May and would love to see you there.

On bus & drive train questions, much depends on the size of bus. You will likely only find 6.0/VT365 on smaller buses. I have an E450 cutaway with the 6.0. Their big failing revolves around the EGR cooler and the oil cooler. If the coolant passages plug you have SERIOUS issues. There are well documented fixes. As the previous poster mentioned, the problems come from Ford's trying to keep up with the Dodge's in the horsepower battle. Also from poorly designed emissions gear. FWIW: There are some folks much smarter than me that say that a 6.0 that has had the EGR cooler & Oil cooler upgraded will give a 7.3 a run for the money in reliability and economy.

I don't think that you can go wrong with a 6BTA/5.9 Cummins or a later model 7.3/T444 International in a small bus. I would not be afraid of a good running 6.0/VT365. Just be aware that there are a couple of things to be addressed to make it reliable.

However... I have seen a few DT-466 equipped short buses and in my book that is the BOMB...

Have Fun!!

S.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:42 PM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 155
The 8.3 cummins diesel ISC probably won't find in a short bus. If you like cummins look for blue birds. They tend to use them. Also, I would recommend getting one from CO. They often have transmission retarders and gear ratios already set for mountain climbing and descending long hills.


-Thomas
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:09 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Pacific North Wet
Posts: 1,061
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas1985 View Post
The 8.3 cummins diesel ISC probably won't find in a short bus. If you like cummins look for blue birds. They tend to use them. Also, I would recommend getting one from CO. They often have transmission retarders and gear ratios already set for mountain climbing and descending long hills.


-Thomas
It's too bad. We see a handful of DT's in short buses but no 8.3's. I am a BIG Cummins fan. 8.3 & MD-3060 in my Bluebird (but no retarder ). I would love to have a retarder. My last bus had Jake's and I made good use of them.

I wonder how the Colorado buses are geared? Good mountain gearing may not play well for highway running. I bought min out of Oregon and it came with 5.38 gears and the MD-3060 has 6th locked out (typical on school buses). It will run 70 mph at about 2250 RPM.
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Old 03-05-2017, 11:17 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 12
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Goshen Freightliner
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Thanks guys for the welcome! I know to some leaving TX makes absolutely no sense. That said I've been here 33yrs and am ready for Mountains, cold water and huge green trees.

If I can find a cummins I will jump on it. The search begins!
I will make my search broad and look nationally.
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:04 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 45
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444E w/5 Spd Allison
If I was dead set on getting a short bus I would try to find the shortest bus I could on a conventional bus chassis. Something like these, both under 25ft.

1996 International Thomas Vista T444E Allison Automatic Hydraulic Brakes 6 row@ BGA School Buses, Inc. Hudson, FL

or

2000 International AmTran T444E Diesel Automatic Hydraulic Brakes 5 row Florida 30 Passenger used bus@ BGA School Buses, Inc. Hudson, FL
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:24 AM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,430
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
It's too bad. We see a handful of DT's in short buses but no 8.3's. I am a BIG Cummins fan. 8.3 & MD-3060 in my Bluebird (but no retarder ). I would love to have a retarder. My last bus had Jake's and I made good use of them.

I wonder how the Colorado buses are geared? Good mountain gearing may not play well for highway running. I bought min out of Oregon and it came with 5.38 gears and the MD-3060 has 6th locked out (typical on school buses). It will run 70 mph at about 2250 RPM.
Not all CO buses have retarders. My 98 doesn't and its fresh from the Aurora public schools district. It doesn't have mountain gears either. Its got a 4.10 rear and will do 75 mph!
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Old 03-06-2017, 05:27 AM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,430
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
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Buy direct and cut out the middle man.
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Old 03-06-2017, 07:43 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 45
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444E w/5 Spd Allison
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Buy direct and cut out the middle man.
I definitely agree, just was using them as a reference. They have WAY too many miles and are over priced.
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