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Old 07-18-2019, 04:47 AM   #1
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What bus too start with.......the big question need help...

I have found 2 buses in my area a huge feet in itself. Both are being sold for the same price the first one is a 2004 thomas with a a benz 4 cyl 250hp pusher 78"headroom 12 window air brakes the better condition bus but not sure about motor combo. The second one is a 2005 blue bird all american with a cat c7 motor up front and 13 window hydro brakes. What is the better starting point? Please help. Also I do all my own mechanic work and a motor swap too a cummins down the road would not be out of the question.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:31 AM   #2
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On one of my early trips to help other skooliers I talked to a chief mechanic at a bus services company that operated a bunch of MB-powered Thomas C2s. He said he wouldn't take a bus with a Mercedes-Benz engine for free (they require too much work and the parts are too expensive).
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:58 AM   #3
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Both engines are somewhat undesirable. I guess I'd go with the Cat, but I'd not really want either.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:14 PM   #4
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And you didn't specify the price, either. Perhaps they're both overpriced. You should figure out whether they are overpriced now rather than later.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:29 PM   #5
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Both buses are 2000 canadian. Not sure if I allready asked how hard would either bus be too convert over too a cummins motor?
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:05 PM   #6
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Given the prices of various buses and the cost/labor involved I would think that buying the bus that you want would be much cheaper and easier than buying one with the wrong drivetrain and having to swap it

I saw a nice looking RE with a T444e and AT545 sell recently for $2850. Not a bad buy. What would it cost to swap an 8.3 and MD3060? That is what I wanted in my RE. Well I stuck to my search and spent more money in order to get what I wanted. I bought my 8.3/3060 equipped RE for $3450.


I would suggest that you decided what you want in a bus and look for one that already meets your needs. I shopped for 18 months before I got mine.

Good luck.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:18 PM   #7
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That's very good advice. I could have had a short bus at a very good price 2 years ago, but I didn't want a short bus, and it was new enough that it had computer chips, and I didn't want any of those.

So I kept looking and waiting. I'm very glad I did, because I really like what I got and at 35 feet I think it's a perfect size. I would like it a little bit better if it had overdrive, but then it would have computer chips, and I was determined to avoid those.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:32 PM   #8
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It's one thing to look for and buy a bus with a preferred drivetrain, such as the 8.3 Cummins (or whatever), but what if you want a drivetrain that was never offered in a school bus to begin with? As an example, an ISX Cummins or 425 Cat? In this case it might make more sense, if you are absolutely determined to have one of these drivetrains, to buy a bus with a dead or missing engine for practically nothing and begin your swap there. Just buy one that meets whatever other criteria you have in terms of length, headroom, brakes (air or hydraulic), air ride suspension, etc. You could even move up to a newer model past '04 as long as you are informed about all the emissions hardware that will be removed and not used on the replacement engine ... the engine/vehicle computer won't be happy about that. In which case it would make sense to either find an older bus without one, or plan to swap to independent gauges if needed to eliminate the vehicle computer.


Also, as appropriate, don't forget about the clutch pedal if you'll need one. And that AT545 won't last long behind a big motor.
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