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Old 03-13-2016, 11:02 PM   #11
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They aren't loud while you're traveling. Maybe a bit during warm ups. Diesels function best under load and they smooth out. They aren't loud in pickup trucks while you're going down the highway either. Plus I really like having that flat floor all the way to the back door which only the FE provides. I know a back porch would load up with dust or road grime while traveling, but it's still my goal and reason for FE buses.
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Old 03-14-2016, 03:17 AM   #12
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When it comes to engine placement, if there was an obvious 'better' choice, then the bus companies would have settled on a standard a long time ago. Each option has pros and cons, so really the question is, which option is better for you?
To figure that out, you have to find out what is your #1 priority. If you are building a toy hauler, than FE is the obvious choice so you can have a large rear door. If you plan to live full time on the bus storage space becomes a high priority so RE would probably be best. What are your plans for the bus?
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Alan N View Post
Drive both styles yourself. Then you decide.
Personally I like the engine in the back.
Easy engine access for routine maintenance.
I gotta agree with Alan. I've driven both FE and RE GSA/military buses and just prefer the quiet and lack of doghouse up front. Plus, I've got full access to the engine and radiator in the back (full size- Thanks International!) through two access doors and the grille.

If I were toy hauling, then yeah, an FE would be better, but SWMBO and I were looking more for a touring skoolie with the potential for fulltiming
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:14 PM   #14
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There is no single bus that will meet the needs of everyone. Which is why there are so many different styles and sizes of buses.

When it comes down to making a choice between an FE or an RE Type 'D' bus the decision all comes down to how you intend to use your bus.

When you are running down the road the heat and noise production is a few inches away from you in an FE and many feet behind you.

An FE bus has a driveline that can be very, very long. The driveshaft also precludes any sort of pass through under the floor luggage compartments or mounting locations for tankage.

The way in which the engine is mounted in an FE bus tends to put a lot of weight onto the front axle. If you choose an FE bus it is very important as you make your installations of heavy stuff they all need to be behind the rear axle or as close to the front of the rear axle as possible. It is virtually impossible to overload the rear axle on an FE and very easy to overload the front axle on an FE.

With the engine in front you have the whole length of the bus in which to build up. Instead of an emergency exit at the rear you have an emergency door. Amenities like a rear deck or a garage are possible with an FE and not at all possible with an RE.

An RE bus, regardless of who built it, have a tendency to run hot. It is very difficult to engineer a cooling system that is trying to suck cool air from a low pressure area into a high pressure area.

RE buses tend to have a much smoother ride. Part of it is due in large part to the fact RE buses have much longer wheelbases. All IC RE buses built in the last 8-10 years have had air suspension standard in the rear. It is still optional at Blue Bird and Thomas but most of their RE buses have rear air suspension as well. Air suspension really makes the ride really smoooooooooooooth.

Longer wheelbases make it a little bit harder to get around corners. That problem has been improved with front axles that have much tighter turning ability. Back in the day 30* was thought to be tight. Now most have 50* or greater.

A large percentage of RE buses are purchased as trip buses. They may go out on routes during the day but get used whenever someone goes out of town. As a consequence they usually have bigger HP, higher speed rear ends, and many have luggage compartments (most of which are pass through under the floor). They most probably have more miles with fewer hours than most other school buses (lots of miles at speed and not so many miles below 35 MPH and hours of idle time).

At the end of the day it all depends upon how you are going to use your bus. Each type of bus have pros and cons. Only you can decide which one will meet your needs the best.

By the way, don't forget the Type 'C' bus with the truck tilt hood up front. The Type 'C' is the most common bus out there (when new they cost about $10K less than an FE and about $20K less than an RE). Common usually equals lower price. Most can be found with the same engine and transmission as found in an RE or FE. Many can be found with skirt mounted luggage compartments, high speed rear ends, rear air suspension, and many other amenities as found in a Type 'D' bus. The only real difference between a 13-row Type 'C' and a 13-row Type 'D' FE bus is the engine is outside, the service door is behind the front axle, and the Type 'C' is about five feet longer overall. The interior volume is virtually the same.

Good luck and happy trails!
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Old 03-14-2016, 02:21 PM   #15
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One of the great things about Skoolies...there's something for everyone!
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Old 03-14-2016, 04:35 PM   #16
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There certainly is something for everyone. Ebay is almost comical proof of that with all the various types of buses.
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Old 03-14-2016, 05:48 PM   #17
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Best summary of that age-old question I've seen on here so far. Thanks as always, Cowlitz!
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