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Old 01-29-2006, 09:51 PM   #1
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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
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need to be skooled

I need some advice. I'm considering a partial trade of my 1974 Westy for a 1972 GMC conversion. It's complete with bathroom, fridge, stove sinks, heated water. Runs on 350 gas engine and propane for the accesories. The guy is asking $2000.00 Can. dollars. Good deal?
As I don't know much about engines though, I want to know if one could switch a gas engine to a diesel engine and would it be a simple thing to do?
Any thoughts would be great!
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Old 01-29-2006, 11:22 PM   #2
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'round these parts of Canada you can get a Diesel international of more recent vintage for under $2000. I'm 'bout 6.5 hours west of you, I don't think they should go for more than that in Winnipeg. You are looking for a world of expense trying to retrofit the bus to Diesel, these motors sell for more than the cost of the bus ! You would really have to LOVE that bus to make it worth that kind of money if its not what you really want, I'd hold out and check with the school boards and ask how they retire their busses.
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:21 AM   #3
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Location: Grundy, Virginia
Posts: 632
Year: 1985
Coachwork: ThomasBuilt
Chassis: International Harvester S-1700
Engine: 9L IHC V-8 Diesel 180HP
Rated Cap: 60
AFAIK, swapping engines would be more trouble and expense than it is worth. You'd be better off buying a diesel engined bus in the first place. You could probably buy a couple or three diesel busses for what it would cost you to swap engines.

IMHO, YMMV, etc.
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Old 01-30-2006, 08:40 AM   #4
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**If** you did switch to diesel, I'd make sure the tranny could handle the torque.
75 MC8
Arcadia, FL
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:35 PM   #5
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Location: Licking, Missouri
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Sometimes a vehicle will just grab you, draw you to it, and in a compusive reflex impossible to control, you know you just HAVE to have it. If that has already happened between yourself and this vehicle, then your destiny is cast. All ideas to the contrary will be as wheat sown upon solid stone. They will never take root. On the plus side, the 350 c.i. GMC/Chevy motor is very strong and as ubiquitous as tree leaves. No matter where you may find yourself broken down, parts are still plentiful and are usually cheap. Most shade tree mechanics cut their teeth on them. 2K, however, is a lot to pay for old iron so you must pay attention to issues such as rust, not just sheet metal but on something that old, also check around the body bolts holding the body to the frame and all other braces and connectors.
Pay attention to mileage. How many times has the odometer turned over? Does it indicate the mileage is 62,000 miles? Look at the rubber foot pads on the clutch and/or brake pedal. Are they really worn on one side almost to the metal? Then the rig probably has the mileage shown PLUS 100,000 miles. Most of the time though, a conversion does NOT rack up that kind of mileage if it's not a daily driver.
Pay attention to the tires and front suspension. Drive down a flat, straight stretch of road at about 45 mph and take your hands off of the wheel. Does the truck want to vear to one side? Could only be uneven tire pressure but it could also be bad ball joints or other expensive suspension problems. Now maintain that speed and with your hands still up at the wheel though not touching it, begin applying the brakes and steadily increase the pressure so you stop fairly quickly. Keep your hands ready to grab the wheel as the truck may try to strongly vear off to one side. If the truck tracks straight and true while applying the brakes all the way to a stop, your suspension is probably fine.
Good Luck, frannie. There's lots more to look at when buying a vintage rig but if the bug has already bitten you, there's no need to go into more of that here.
1993 Amtran (Ward) 77 Passenger body on an International frame. DT360, Allison 545 AT. The avatar is my first skoolie, "The Rocket" may it Rust In Peace. Follow the links at the bottom to see the horrible details at
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:58 PM   #6
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Location: near flint michigan
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$2,000 canadian, isn't that about 12 bucks US?


Sorry, i live right on the border and just couldn't resist
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (who will watch the watchmen?)
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Old 02-08-2006, 03:59 AM   #7
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Location: Angleton, Texas
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Frannie, If you really want to sell a Westy (don't, you'll regret it later, I did), I'd sugest you place an add at It's a site for Air cooled VW fans, and I sold mine there ( ) a couple years ago quickly for much more than $2,000.

As for the bus in question, I'd go with a gas engine as it's easier to work on and find parts for in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday, which is where you will be when it breaks down. A 350 Chevy engine is also about as common as a rock so parts are plentiful and inexpensive. If you want more power, then swap it for a 454 gas engine.

Tip: for a automatic transmission, a air conditioning condesor (the thingy in front of the radiator) makes a great transmission cooler. Just pull one out of a pickup in the salvage yard, and clean it out.
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