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Old 09-04-2013, 05:22 AM   #1
CHEESE_WAGON
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Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

As it becomes obvious to me that my current Pace Arrow will suffer the same fate of a failed roof as my 28-footer, I contemplate using the two for parts to build a bus when I have the time and money to do so. However, on reflection, there were some things about the Ford-chassis Blue Bird I previously owned that I found I didn't particularly care for...

1) - The Lucas-Girling hydraulic brake system. JUNK. Absolute, unadulterated, JUNK. Are they still built this way, and if not, when did they stop? While I have no real preference (my understanding is that CDL is not required for motorhomes, even if they have air brakes), when I go bus shopping, I will only buy a Ford-chassis with air-brakes.

2) - The utter inaccessibility of the engine, due to the conventional-type hood arrangement. Therefore, again, while I have no real preference, my criteria for a dog-nose is a one-piece tilt-forward nose, like a semi.

3) - The standard height roof and short rear door through which I routinely entered and exited. I know these things are designed for kids, who generally aren't as tall as adults, but I remember reading that some buses came factory with a higher roof, and I have noticed that many newer ones have a taller rear door, as well as additional side doors. Do only certain manufacturers build this way?

I would like to hear from others on what manufacturers and chassis I should stay away from, as well as any thoughts on the pros and cons of flat-nose buses vs dog-noses, and conventional powertrain/drivetrain layouts, vs pushers.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:48 AM   #2
somewhereinusa
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Re: Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

Quote:
1) - The Lucas-Girling hydraulic brake system. JUNK. Absolute, unadulterated, JUNK. Are they still built this way, and if not, when did they stop? While I have no real preference (my understanding is that CDL is not required for motorhomes, even if they have air brakes), when I go bus shopping, if it is a Ford-chassis, it will be air-brake ONLY.
How old was that thing, I don't think Ford has done this for quite some time.

Quote:
2) - The utter inaccessibility of the engine, due to the conventional-type hood arrangement. Therefore, again, while I have no real preference, my criteria for a dog-nose is a one-piece tilt-forward nose, like a semi.
Here again, I think that newer might be better and more likely to have a tilt hood. I think you will also find that the tilt hood may not help all that much since much of the engine may be back further than the firewall with an engine cover inside. Those that have them can better address that. I myself like a Bluebird pusher, the whole back end opens, I believe Thomas is built that way also. I have seen IC's that only had a smaller door in the middle that opened. I can stand on the ground and work on pretty much anything and don't even have to crawl over the tires. The only real things in the way are things I put there.


Quote:
3) - The standard height roof and short rear door through which I routinely entered and exited. I know these things are designed for kids, who generally aren't as tall as adults, but I remember reading that some buses came factory with a higher roof, and I have noticed that many newer ones have a taller rear door, as well as additional side doors. Do only certain manufacturers build this way?
Thomas and Bluebird both had three different roof heights, I don't know about the others. You just have to look around. I don't know what year, but both of those manufacturers have quit offering anything but the tall ones. I think that the side door exit and placement is probably by individual school corporation and or state requirements.

Quote:
pros and cons of flat-nose buses vs dog-noses, and conventional powertrain/drivetrain layouts, vs pushers.

THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION.

Pros to RE(pusher)
noise is "back there" I can hardly hear mine running.
more interior room compared to overall length of bus
no long driveshaft taking up valuable under bus space
better ride
easier to work on
better overall driver viewing area
wider straight entry steps
no engine cowl to have to get around to get to driver seat.

Pros to conventional
looks like a school bus ???

Dick
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:04 AM   #3
wmkbailey
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Re: Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

Ditto what Somewhere said.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:39 PM   #4
CHEESE_WAGON
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Re: Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
Quote:
1) - The Lucas-Girling hydraulic brake system. JUNK. Absolute, unadulterated, JUNK. Are they still built this way, and if not, when did they stop? While I have no real preference (my understanding is that CDL is not required for motorhomes, even if they have air brakes), when I go bus shopping, if it is a Ford-chassis, it will be air-brake ONLY.
How old was that thing, I don't think Ford has done this for quite some time.
It was an '89 model. I drove a '96 F650 box truck that had this junk on it as well, and I have not heard of hydraulic-brake Fords being built any other way. Hydro-boost, I can understand to a degree because of diesel engine options, but why not just have a simple engine-driven vacuum pump? :P
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Old 09-08-2013, 02:29 AM   #5
JDecker
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Re: Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

I'd personally prefer the pusher for the reasons mentioned above, but I can think of two other commonly referenced pros of the front engine configurations: they are more capable off road, due to more ground clearance and shorter wheelbase, and they drive pretty much like any other truck, while the feeling of being so far in front of the front axle(as in the long pushers and especially coaches)is hard for some people to get used to.
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:34 PM   #6
Diesel Dan
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Re: Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

One advantage of a front engine bus that hasn't been mentioned here is the capacity for hauling cargo. I deliberately left my center aisle completely unobstructed front to back (except for a door that separates a rear utility/bath room, but can be opened). So I can load very long pieces of material into the bus. For instance, I am about to install gutters on my house, and will be able to easily load the gutters into my bus. Also, I can fit 8x4 sheets of plywood, drywall, insulation, or whatever, through the rear door. Other people have modified the rear end of their front-engine buses to enable the whole rear section to fold down as a ramp so a vehicle can be loaded in there.
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:52 PM   #7
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Re: Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Dan
One advantage of a front engine bus that hasn't been mentioned here is the capacity for hauling cargo. I deliberately left my center aisle completely unobstructed front to back (except for a door that separates a rear utility/bath room, but can be opened). So I can load very long pieces of material into the bus. For instance, I am about to install gutters in my house, and will be able to easily load the gutters into my bus. Also, I can fit 8x4 sheets of plywood, drywall, insulation, or whatever, through the rear door. Other people have modified the rear end of their front-engine buses to enable the whole rear section to fold down as a ramp so a vehicle can be loaded in there.
X2 it is nice to have 20/24 foot pcs of metal instead of cutting it down
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:04 PM   #8
CHEESE_WAGON
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Re: Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

Well, they are, after all, medium duty dog-nose/cabover truck chassis at their basics...
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:38 PM   #9
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Re: Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

Pusher.... just sayin.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:40 PM   #10
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Re: Dog-Nose? Flat-Nose? Conventional? Pusher?

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
Pros to RE(pusher)
noise is "back there" I can hardly hear mine running.
more interior room compared to overall length of bus
no long driveshaft taking up valuable under bus space
better ride
easier to work on
better overall driver viewing area
wider straight entry steps
no engine cowl to have to get around to get to driver seat.
One aspect of the dog-nose that may be a factor for some folks: driving position. The ones I've sat in are enough like my Class C that I'd have to take a tape measure to notice differences in seat height and steering-wheel angle. The flat-nose models I've seen (especially older models) have a more horizontal steering wheel and lower instrument panel. I'm sure I wouldn't like that as much. If I were going for a flat-nose I'd probably want a pusher for the reasons Dick/Somewhere mentioned, esp. the dang doghouse on FE bodies is bigger than my Class C and in the way of my 3-1/2 feet of legs. Could be that some flat-noses have steering-wheel angle more to my liking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
Pros to conventional
looks like a school bus ???

Dick
I like that school-bus look. Some folks hate it.
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