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Old 09-15-2017, 09:32 PM   #1
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Buying our first bus!

Interested in a 1974 ih loadstar 1703.

It's extremely hard to find specific information thru the forums, but I'm slowly finding everything.

I'm looking at picking this bus up in a few days.

Here's what I know, it was owned and maintained by a Nevada Baptist Church.

It's got the mv404 with a 4spd, but I don't know anything about the specific 4spd it has and I'm having a hard time figuring it out.

I'm attaching a photo, it has 11 windows and is clear of rust.

Runs great, carb was rebuilt or updated 400 miles ago.

Give me anything pros and cons you can think of before making the deal?

Motor and trans information, quality model?, Reliability, anything helps.

About to build something ground up!

Thanks!

Austin and Lieke.

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Old 09-15-2017, 10:26 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,581
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Yeah. Fuel economy - none. Expect between 3-4 MPG on the road and a top speed somewhere around 50, on flat ground. Uphill, 2nd gear (if it's steep). For something you plan to park long term and rarely (if ever) drive it'll be OK but I wouldn't want to cruise the country in it ... and probably couldn't afford to. Also, IH gas engine parts are getting hard to find since they've been out of production for many years, so good luck if you break down on a Friday evening ...
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Old 09-16-2017, 12:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
Yeah. Fuel economy - none. Expect between 3-4 MPG on the road and a top speed somewhere around 50, on flat ground. Uphill, 2nd gear (if it's steep). For something you plan to park long term and rarely (if ever) drive it'll be OK but I wouldn't want to cruise the country in it ... and probably couldn't afford to. Also, IH gas engine parts are getting hard to find since they've been out of production for many years, so good luck if you break down on a Friday evening ...
I want to believe your being mostly positive. Lol
More important in my mind then, I'm assuming there's plenty of other available engine swaps. Like a diesel swap, later if needed?

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Old 09-16-2017, 01:19 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
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Year: 2001
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Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
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A diesel swap will cost far more in time and money than simply buying a surplus diesel powered bus.

1: Boneyard engine: $1000 and up.
2: Boneyard transmission: $1000 or more (old one may not be interchangeable with new engine).
3: R&R fuel tank; drain gas, add diesel fuel. Modify for new fuel pickup if needed. Ensure fuel level sending unit & float are fine for use with diesel fuel.
4: Run new fuel lines and return lines.
5: Install heavier gauge wire for starter.
6: Cannibalize another bus/truck for wiring harness appropriate for new engine. Splice in new harness.
7: Are gauges compatible with new sending units? Speedometer setup? (The existing one is probably mechanical, will it work with the new transmission?)
8: You see where this is going? At what point is a $3000 used diesel bus a better choice?
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Old 09-16-2017, 01:24 AM   #5
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I really don't like throwing water on someone's parade, but I hate even more someone regretting a choice they made before learning better. I'm not saying not to buy, I just want you to make a well-informed decision. I want you to know what you're getting yourself into before making the commitment.
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Old 09-16-2017, 01:38 AM   #6
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At this point, we haven't *EVEN* touched on the myriad of other things to consider. Hydraulic brakes or air brakes? Air ride or spring ride rear-axle? Ceiling height? A/C? Underbelly (also called "Basement") storage?

I prefer air brakes myself, but that's partly because I am a professional driver and am accustomed to them. I also have a sloped driveway and want as much holding power as I can get. Hydraulic brakes are fine for those who have a preference for them.

Spring ride axles are cheaper to buy when new but air-ride has a better ride quality. Air ride is highly preferable and conversions, while possible, aren't cheap. Also, some insurance companies may ask if the suspension has *EVER* been altered. Conversion *IS* an alteration, even if it's professionally done.

I don't know how tall you two are, but is a 6' ceiling high enough for you? Or would you prefer 6'6"? Or are you planning on a roof raise anyway?

Engine-driven A/C will make trips *MUCH* more pleasant and cooler. Some folks think it's a good idea to remove these (I have no idea why), while I plan to add it to mine.

Underbelly storage is immensely useful, though it can be added to a bus that lacks it. It is, perhaps, one of the easier things of the list to add (if not necessarily cheap) ...

I'm sure there are more, but this is intended to serve as food for thought.
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Old 09-16-2017, 05:55 AM   #7
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Expect horrible fuel mileage.
I'd listen to Brad on this.
I was GIVEN a bus similar to this one. It was my first bus. HATED that old gasser. And it only got 3 mpg.
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Old 09-16-2017, 07:26 AM   #8
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Location: Anaconda,MT
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Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
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I agree with others run away from that one!! for storage or to be permanently sitting somewhere it's ok but any chance you might do any driving find a different bus.
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:01 AM   #9
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
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my FIRST bus was a 454 chevrolet gasser.. after I did the heads cam intake carb distributor. that bus ran HARD!! but only got like 3 MPG and it was a shortie.. but sure sounded good and the A/C was Ice cold.. however if you are planning to roam much you'll likely want a diesel.
-Christopher
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:03 AM   #10
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Kansas
Posts: 224
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Engine: 8.3 Cummins, 643
Hello and welcome, I have to agree with the consensus about the usability of this drivetrain. However if you really like this bus for the look and it is in really good condition a drivetrain swap is NOT impossible. It is a lot of work and can quickly get expensive! Take a look at Tango's 46 chevy thread this will give you an idea of what's involved. If you want to get this bus done in a reasonable amount of time and hit the road I would look for something with a modern diesel drivetrain. If it can mostly stay in one place or your longest trip will be across town until you can do a swap it will work for you.

Keep in mind this probably isn't Tangos first rodeo either I have done 2 Cummins swaps with a gifted mechanic present.... and they both turned out well. Just consider all factors and be open minded about shopping around there are Always lots of buses for sale!
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