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Old 10-21-2016, 10:50 AM   #1
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Ford vs GMC vs Chevrolet

Hello all,

I'm thinking about buying a 4 window short bus. Most I've seen are GMC and Chevrolet.

I learned about ford 7.3L engine is good and 6.0 is bad.
Anything I should avoid or prefer in the Chevrolet and GMC van chassis?

Thanks

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Old 10-21-2016, 02:44 PM   #2
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GMC/Chevy had a few options. The 6.2 non-turbo is good, but under-powered in a base van. The 6.5 with the turbo is much better. Neither are a 5.9l Cummins, but the 6.5-t is the better of the two. Both are Diesel.
Now Gas options are plenty depending on the year. Everything from the old stand-by 350 to the newer LT based engines.
All in all, non of the engines listed will go much over 200K without a lot of luck and good maintenance.
If you don't mind a little less power, but want the cheapest to live with, the old 350 is the KING! Cheap parts, cheap to rebuild, cheap to upgrade to make more power(within limits) and will last as long as any of the others.
With Ford 7.3=Good, 6.0=bad. Not all 6.0's are bad, but the odds are not in your favor.
BTW, all of this applies to the short buses, not anything medium duty like a 66 passenger, then the options are vast.
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:18 PM   #3
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Hello Oldmopars,

I know there is probably not a straight black or white answer. But since I'm not a car guy, I figure I go about buying based on some general ideas.
Here are my ideas: diesel under 150k, gas under 100k.
Ford 7.3L
GMC/Chevy 6.5t (based on you)

By old 350, you mean Oldsmobile 350. Is that diesel or gas?
Also what year should I find that engine?

Thanks for the input.



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Old 10-21-2016, 03:33 PM   #4
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What mean by Old 350 is the small block Chevy engine used for about 40 years by GM. In the truck/vans it often was a 350 4 bolt main. This is a good engine and a work horse. Another advantage it that any shop in any town can fix it. If they can't, they don't deserve to be called a mechanic.
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:53 PM   #5
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I believe that same base engine is used in NASCAR as well, though of course built for a LOT more horsepower.

I also helped a friend of mine tear one down, clean it up and rebuild it using parts out of the Summit Racing catalog.... very basic and reliable engine, not a whole lot of things really to go wrong in it.
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Old 10-22-2016, 06:28 AM   #6
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I think alot of it has to do with what your plans for the bus are...

im a huge proponent of small block chevies only because ive built them for years... from mild to wild...

countless number of trips to jegs and summit on late saturday evenings putting engines to gether in my garage fill my memory books...

as far as engines go they are Cheap to fix... in fact if you blow one completely to hell, you can buy a completely remanufactured one ready to run for a couple grand..

any small blcok checy you find in a short skoolie cutaway (similar to the look of your last bus.. looks like a van i nthe front end).. is likely to be older which presents issues of rust on the frame and body...

how much are you going to travel? a gasser in a bus is gonna want quite a bit of gas.. gas is usually cheaper than diesel per gallon but you'll use twice as much.. if you are driving 10,000 or less miles a year then a gasser in a short bus isnt a bad thing at all.. esp when you consider your repairs are less costly as mentioned..

diesels - anything built in a ford before 2004 will have the 7.3.. so most busses you are looking at likely are going to be a 7.3.. the 7.3 is much more solid than a 6.0 but its still not fool-proof.. if its been cared for, had clean oil, and not been run hot you have a great chance at it being a long-lasting solid engine to run...

the BIGGEST expense most normally with an engine is if any of the electronics fail...

the next biggest thing is take your time to find your bus.. you saw what happened by just grabbing the first thing that came along... while you couldnt predict the transmission was gonna be defunct in your last bus.. you can take your time, maybe even find a bus being sold by a local aschool where you can write or call the fleet manager to ask about the bus...

most often fleet managers are honest... they have nothing to lose or gain by being honest about a bus... they arent paid to sell a bus.. and by the time a bus is for sale, if it was a headache for them, its already decomissioned and they will do the happy dance to tell you that it was a pain in their rear...

-Christopher
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Old 10-22-2016, 09:21 AM   #7
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Hello all,

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, I hope to put it to good use in the future.
For now, I will not jump into anything else right away. Been there, done that. I ll definitely take my time.

Thank you all

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Old 10-22-2016, 01:58 PM   #8
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alot of schools unload busses in the spring .. noit sure if you were planning on doing your build in the cooler florida winter or not but I see a ton of busses come up for auction in april may and june

-Christopher
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Old 10-22-2016, 05:36 PM   #9
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I dont really have a schedule for the bus.
basically is just waiting until the right one comes around.
The 6 window I bought before felt bigger than what I thought. I will go with the smallest possible (4 window).
not full conversion, just making a camper out of it.
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Old 10-22-2016, 05:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
I dont really have a schedule for the bus.
basically is just waiting until the right one comes around.
The 6 window I bought before felt bigger than what I thought. I will go with the smallest possible (4 window).
not full conversion, just making a camper out of it.
If you're going much smaller, maybe consider a cargo van conversion. STEALTH factor!
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